Discussion in 'Large-Bore/Small-Bore Rifle/Shotgun' started by Trevor1837, Apr 1, 2012.

  1. Trevor1837

    Trevor1837 New Member

    Sep 22, 2011
    For those of you that dont know, I'm a noob when it comes to center fire rifles. ( I am mostly a waterfowl hunter, but have outings for rabbits and squirrels 7 or 8 times a year.) I haven't shot many and I've never owned one. I recently got invited into a friends deer hunting camp and am looking for a rifle. But my first question is caliber. I want to be able hunt whitetails and elk. As with every question I have that is firearms related I figured Id come here.

    Recoil is not a major factor for me (I'm a big guy and can handle it)

    I'd like it to be an accurate round (duh)

    I want to be able to put an elk on the ground, and not tear up whitetail.

    So if these are my requirements, what is the best caliber for me?

  2. carver

    carver Moderator Supporting Member

    30-06 is what comes to my mind. You can shoot bullets from 55gr, all the way up to 220 gr for bear.
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2012

  3. 7mm is another good choice.
  4. Trevor1837

    Trevor1837 New Member

    Sep 22, 2011
    Mag or -08?
  5. My choice would be the can use heavier bullets at farther ranges with a flatter trajectory. This would assist with putting an elk on the ground as described in the OP.
  6. CHW2021

    CHW2021 Well-Known Member

    Feb 16, 2009
    In my opinion, you would probably do well with a .308 or 30-06. My reasoning is that these are 2 of the most popular calibers and have a wide range of loaded ammo available. With either caliber you can go from a light/reduced recoil load up to a "premium" load with almost any bullet type that would be available for any application.
    Want to shoot bear, you can get 200+ grain bullets in bonded core or solid design easily; want to varmit shoot, you can go down to 75 grains just as easily.
    Additionally, the range of rifles available new or used is almost unlimited; every company seems to make or have made rifles in either or both of these chamberings.
    Just my opinion, and I wish you luck.
  7. Zane71464

    Zane71464 Well-Known Member

    Aug 1, 2009
    Ohio NRA Member
    IMO, the .270 WIN caliber, 130gr would be an all around good round and the reciol
    isnt bad either. Flat trajectory and has a good range and the knock-down power
    to do the job.
  8. Trevor1837

    Trevor1837 New Member

    Sep 22, 2011
  9. Twicepop

    Twicepop Well-Known Member

    Jan 9, 2012
    NW Ohio
    To Trevor1837, if your thinking about a 7mm, put the .280 Remington in the consideration list. It's a great cartidge that doesn't get the respect it deserves.

    those who beat their guns into plowshares, will plow for those who didn't
  10. gun runner

    gun runner Former Guest

    Nov 23, 2011
    South Texas
    Just get a .270 Savage
  11. CHW2021

    CHW2021 Well-Known Member

    Feb 16, 2009
    Maybe the easiest solution is to go to your local gunshop and look at the types and prices of rifles on the shelf and the options and prices of ammunition available.

    You will have to decide what type of rifle and which make; talk to your friend about what type of hunting you will be doing. If you are looking at short range 100 to 200 yd. hunts that you can drive to the stand, get what you want. If the rifle is heavy target profile, who cares?
    If the hunt involves extended ranges that you walk miles to get to you may want a light weight sporting rifle in a flat shooting long range caliber.

    Almost any caliber will do the job at a reasonable range (+- 250 yards.); you will need to get more info to see how much in excess of that you will be doing (or not doing). I have a nice Remington 300 H&H that is almost useless to me as I will not often hunt beyond 100 yds. due to local terrain. It is a good gun in a great powerful chambering that is hopeless overkill for what I hunt, both in range and power. I see guys hunting with the latest short mags (at +-$3.00 a round) at distances that hardly warrant that type of load; I have also seen guys using .243 rifles for 300+ yard hunting in powerline cuts (a tad underpower in my opinion) that take 1 shot kills.

    Match the rifle and chambering to the distance and you should be good. You do not need to go cutting edge on either, that is why I originally recommended the flexibility of the .308 or 30-06.
    You do bird hunting, a 3 1/2 inch 12 ga. mag is good for extreme range geese; the same round will make a mess of doves and be a "bit" excessive; the same ideas apply. Your standard 12 ga that will handle loads from 2 1/2 inch rounds at one power and still fire the 3 1/2 shells when needed will be your most flexible choice. Look at rifles the same way. My .02, good luck.
  12. whirley

    whirley Member

    Jan 27, 2008
    Depending on your preference and available rifles in your area, the .308 is available in lever action, pump, semi-auto and bolt action. The 30/06 and .270 are usually bolt action but Remington makes a pump action and semi-auto in those calibers. With practice, any of them are very effective to 300 yards on elk and deer. I hunt in Pa in cut over slashings for whitetails. Fifty yards is often a long shot. I've hunted with many different calibers including a .375 H&H. They all work. Now I use a Savage 99 in .243. No elk available here. Actually the 30/30 in good hands will do the job, but you're limiting yourself to about 150 yards effective range. I hit a deer at about 125 yards, with a 170 grain 30/30. The bullet went through the lungs, hit the far shoulder blade and up into the neck muscle. The deer ran almost 100 yards before dropping. That was a shot in a swamp, fairly open. Are you superstitious? One of my sons hunts with a Savage 99 in .303 caliber. He always sees deer. Hunting with him, often I see nothing. I've taken it and then I see deer. But I'm not I?
  13. ka64

    ka64 Well-Known Member

    YEP, or 270. I owned a 7 mag & never had to track a whitetail. I also threw shoulders away, unless your shooting @ 300 yd's.
  14. Trevor1837

    Trevor1837 New Member

    Sep 22, 2011
    Is .270 enough for elk though? I would personally (and this is by no means an expert opinion) think that that would be right about the minimum you would want for an elk, am I wrong?
  15. Bindernut

    Bindernut Well-Known Member

    Oct 24, 2007
    ND, USA
    I'll have to agree with all of the .30-06 family suggestions posted so far.
    The .308, 7mm-08, .260 Remington will also get the job done very nicely.
    All of these are more than adequate for deer and elk out to 300yds...if you can shoot accurately that far. Most often, the range/power limitation falls more onto the shooter and not so much the cartridge chosen.

    I've used the .25-06 on elk and I know several others in Montana and Wyoming that use the .25-06 regularly for elk.
    It is pretty much what I would consider the bottom of the power scale for elk though and I don't feel comfortable taking an elk much farther than 250yds with it.

    There's nothing wrong with going with a 7mm or .300 magnum if you're wanting more knockdown power or a bit more effective range, but for most whitetail hunting they're serious overkill. They're both excellent long-range elk cartridges though.

    More info would help with the suggestions too.
    What part of the country are you located in?
    What is a typical hunting range for where you're at?
    Is Elk an occasional hunt or will it be an annual thing?
    Are you looking for a lightweight rifle to carry for miles at a crack or a nice heavy rifle primarily for hunting from a blind/stand?

    Especially if you're fairly new to centerfire rifle shooting...
    I would probably also consider what are common calibers on the shelf in your area. If you go with a more uncommon caliber, it'll be harder to find ammo. Not a problem if you're a reloader, but most newbies aren't so the "off the shelf" availability is nice to have.
    Here in most places I've been....270, .30-06, .308, 7mmMag are very common to find in any store.
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