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Location: Colorado
Joined: 07/24/2006
Posts: 3
Advice on New Hunting Rifle Please...

Hey - I'm new to this forum and I'm sure this topic has been discussed ad naseum but I couldn't find anything in the archvies. I am looking to purchase a hunting rifle (my only) this year. I hunt in Colorado for Mule Deer and Elk and plan on hunting for Antelope, goat, sheep, and someday Moose. Mulies and Elk are the sweet spot with Elk being the primary objective.

In the past I've used a borrowed .270 and liked it fine I just don't think it's enough to make those 400yd cross-canyon shots. I will have the opportunity to shoot a Winchester 70 .300 in the coming weeks but I won't have the ability to test others. I know there is no such thing as the perfect all around hunting rifle but I need to get close - at least for the nest few years - as I don't have the budget to buy multiple hunting rifles. Keep in mind that I hunt in wide open spaces where long shorts are the norm.

Based on my research I'm looking at a 7mm, .300 Mag, or .300 WSM. Most likely in a Remington or Ruger. Lately the Browning with BOSS has crept into contention as well. My biggest concern is recoil and walking around with too much gun. Conversely, I don't ever want the situation to leave me out gunned.

Any comments or concerns on the best caliber suited for my hunting scenarios would be greatly appreciated. Any thoughts on the Remington vs. Ruger debate are welcome as well.

Many thanks to any and all replies.

Best,

mg

redrider's picture
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Location: NE Kansas
Joined: 03/20/2006
Posts: 2603
Advice on New Hunting Rifle Please...

Welcome to BGH Big smile I'm not a gun expert by any means, but I know you will get all kinds of advice Thumbs up I personally have a Rem 270 and an old Marlin 30-30, but I'm basically shooting deer only. I have tagged some deer past 300 yds. though with 270. Good Luck!

Don Fischer's picture
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Location: Antelope, Ore
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Advice on New Hunting Rifle Please...

You say some things that indicate some misdirection. First this will be your only rifle? First? Your experience is with a 270, anything else? All those 400yd cross canyon shots? How many 400yd shots have you tried, even on paper?

I would almost bet that the 30-06 has made more 400yd shots than any of the cartridges you mentioned. Shooting at those ranges is a matter of skill level more than cartridge! And I'm not a big 30-06 fan either but give the devil his due!

Now there are few situtations where you'll be undergunned. You may not have the skill to make the shot, but if your using a good cartridge with a properly selected bullet you'll likely NOT be undergunned. Funny thing, a lot of guy's find that those 400 yd shots are not necessary. And a lot of those guy's are more than capabile of making them!

Now, if what you really want is to not think your undergunned, check out the 7mm Rem mag and zero in on 160gr bullets. There's nothing it will do that the 100yr old 7x57 won't do except maybe make you feel better about it. I've had and used both a lot. I reload so my own first choice in 7mm would be the 280 Rem, another I've used quite a bit and a favorite.

You mentioned someday going for a moose. Well with luck, when someday get's here, you'll have a good excuse to buy a new rifle and more experience to draw from. Fact of the matter is that very large animals can be killed very well with very small cartridges. And animals can be killed much farther away than anyone should be shooting with some very very old cartridges. The 30-06, 7x57 and 6.5x55 just to name a few.

I think probally the only reason to feel undergunned is because you lack faith in your ability with the cartridge your using. May be well deserved too. For instence you may be using, say, the 7mm mag with a 140gr bullet of improper construction to do what you need. If it fails, it won't be the fault of the cartridge, it'll probally be the fault of the user selecting the wrong bullet and taking the wrong shot! I use that example because I did it with a 7mm mag and 140gr bullet. I shot a black bear just under the chin at about 40 yds. The bullet was a Sierra handload and didn't penetrate 4:". The bear ran off about 50 yds and laid down sick. The next shot with the same load went in just under the skull at the back and killed it instently. Same bullet, same bear, grossly different results with different shot placement. Both placements would have been good with the right bullet.

What I'm trying to say is there's more to it than just picking a cartridge, many cartridges will do. I think I'd suggest the 270 as your somewhat familur with it. Even if it's all you ever get, it'll be limited only by your own ability. By the way, welcome aboard.

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Joined: 12/03/2005
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Advice on New Hunting Rifle Please...

The 270 with 150 gr bullet is, in my humble opinion Big smile , you best choice when 400 yd shots are possible. Shooting at this distance requires nothing less than a high quality riflescope, regardless of rifle selection.
Wind drift( cross wind) affects the bullet far more than most realize and if windy conditions are the norm, a 400 yard shot can be quite difficult for even the more advanced shooters.
Remington or Ruger ? Both are excellent. It's going to boil down to which one you like the look of, carry etc.
Check out the Long gun/Firearms section of this forum, lots of interesting opinions on rifle selections etc

Welcome to BGH Forum, great choice Thumbs up

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Location: Fort Collins, CO
Joined: 07/24/2006
Posts: 36
Advice on New Hunting Rifle Please...

I have a Browning A-Bolt with the BOSS (.30-06). I think it makes a huge difference in recoil. Night and day as compared to my brother's Remington .30-06. My friend has an A-Bolt BOSS in .300 Win Mag. The recoil on that feels like about a standard .30-06.

So, if you're looking for ways to reduce recoil, I'm a big believer in the BOSS. Of course, there is a trade-off: noise. The BOSS is louder than a standard rifle. Also, you lose the classic line -- many people hate the look of the BOSS.

As for out-of-the-box accuracy, I had an Oregon Master Hunter help me sight in my rifle. He was pretty impressed. Of course, I think all the major rifle manufacturers probably make a good rifle these days. The BOSS is supposed to enhance accuracy. I don't know if this is true or not. My rifle shoots very straight and very accurate, but that's probably not unique.

As for a "one rifle for all seasons" approach, I think you're looking at .270 or .30-06. Some claim that a .270 is a bit light for elk, but I know too many people who hunt elk with a .270 to buy into it. Possibly a .300 Win Mag (a bit heavy for deer, though I know people who hunt 100 lb. black tail with this cartridge) or a 7 mm, though I know nothing about the latter.

The .270 WSM may be a good choice if you're looking for such a long shot. I think its ballistics are closer to the .300 Win Mag in a smaller, deer-friendly bullet.

If you're an elk/moose guy, then .270 falls off the map. .30-06 is still there, but you may want to go ahead and get the .300 Win Mag. I have friends who swear by the lesser known .300 Rem Ultra Mag. You could still hunt the smaller deer and pronghorn, you just might blow their heads off! ;-)

Good luck.

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Location: Colorado
Joined: 07/24/2006
Posts: 3
Thanks and keep 'em coming

Thanks for all the replies. You are all definitely hitting on things I didn't even think of. I look forward to hearing more.

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Location: Colorado
Joined: 09/28/2005
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Advice on New Hunting Rifle Please...

I am so partial to my .338 WM. I shoot it at everything and reload my own stuff for it. May be a bit big for deer my I lighten up the loads a bit and it seems to work just fine!! I know a guy that all he hunts with is a .338...even for antelope!! I think it is a great all around gun and in some parts you can use it it Africa!

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Location: Fair Grove, MO
Joined: 07/27/2006
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Advice on New Hunting Rifle Please...

I have tried several guns and the one I keep coming back to for deer, antelope, and elk is my 300 Win Mag. It is a Remington 700 BDL I bought new in 1992. If I only had one hunting rifle, it would be the 300 WM hands down.

Shoots like a dream, extremely accurate, and versatile.

I use 150 gr Nosler BT for deer and antelope and 180 gr Barnes X for elk. Although last year I did use the Barnes X loads for deer hunting too and they worked just fine.

With the right bullets, you can just about hunt anything in North America with a 30.06, 7 Mag, or 300 WM. I had a 7 Mag and didn't really care for it. I know it has a huge following but it seemed to do a lot more meat damage than either my 30.06 or 300 WM and didn't drop game any faster. I used both Trophy Bonded and Nosler Partitions and got the same results so it wasn't too light of bullets.

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Location: Wyoming
Joined: 08/04/2006
Posts: 38
Advice on New Hunting Rifle Please...

I've used four different calibers for the various species you listed a desire to hunt:

.243 Win - The absolutely most consistent one-shot-killer I have for deer and antelope, but way out of line for elk, even worse for moose.

.30-06 Sprg - Has the most field time of any rifle I've owned. Sometimes a bit much for antelope, but no issues with deer, elk, moose, or caribou.

.300 Wby Mag - Tack driver, but light and painful. Has yet to bag an animal (blame the .30-06)

.375 H&H - Hard to fear anything (except the weight) when packing this one (bear country gun), but really hasn't killed elk any "deader" than the .30-06 has.

So - if I were to give all but one of them up? I'd probably keep the .30-06.

An aside, I've NEVER had to make a shot at over 100 yards, even on antelope. A guy I'll never hunt with again takes pokes at just about anything he sees, I'm sure contributing the the number of cripples one of us has to finish off later. Part of the challenge is getting in close, otherwise you're just a "shooter." Some day, I hope to be a good enough stalker to use my .44 handgun.

My brother shoots Ruger M77s in both .270 and .300 Win Mag. He'd tell you to steer away from the .30-06 and keep the .270.

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Location: NE Kansas
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Advice on New Hunting Rifle Please...

Welcome to BGH Doghouse Big smile Sounds like some good advice.

WesternHunter's picture
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Joined: 05/05/2006
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Advice on New Hunting Rifle Please...

.270 Win 130gr loaded at max velocity is a good choice. Just please don't ever attempt those 400+yard cross canyon shots. Ask yourself two questions - can I really cleanly harvest my game with this shot? Will I be able to pack my game animal out of the area it goes down in? Long shots like that may be fun for some to brag about on internet forums, but just don't happen much with success, especially by new hunters.

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