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Location: Colorado
Joined: 07/24/2006
Posts: 3
Input on 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

Don Fischer's picture
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Location: Antelope, Ore
Joined: 03/24/2005
Posts: 3183
Input on hunting rifle please...

Well I gave you a rather windy reply on the other thred, I'm a man of a few thousands words! Thumbs up But I did miss the Remington, Ruger part.

I've had many rifles including the Remington's and Ruger's. Both have their champions but in the end a rifle is a personnal thing. Go look at both and handle them. I'd go for the one that feel's best and looks best if I could aford it.
The quality of todays firearms is very very good and any should give years of service. That goes for that new Mossberg too and I wouldn't have one. Not that it wouldn't work but, it's kinda like a wife. People are going to see you with it and sonner or later your gonna touch it. Boy is that thing ugly! In the end, you may get a lemon but then there's lemons in everything and now and again we end up with one.............or two! Think

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Joined: 12/03/2005
Posts: 1691
Input on hunting rifle please...

What are you saying, Don, that my rifle is ugly too ? Something I'll have to Think about.

Don Fischer's picture
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Location: Antelope, Ore
Joined: 03/24/2005
Posts: 3183
Input on hunting rifle please...

Now I'm pretty sure you don't have a Mossberg! And if you do, well buddy,,,,,,,,you got an ugly rifle! neener! Remember the old 800 series Mossbergs? Think Now those weren't to bad. Of course I never shot one that shot real well. Brick Wall,)

Well there ya go. Come here for advice and we got lot's of that; come here for mercy and we're fresh out! Laugh

Gettin to where I like those emoticons, you could write a whole letter without any spelling mrstakes! Thumbs up

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Location: Central Washington
Joined: 07/10/2005
Posts: 28
Input on hunting rifle please...

I agree with Don in finding the one that looks and feels the best. I'm partial to Remington and bought a 700 XCR last year. I think your choice in calibers are right on. I say though if your comfortable with the 270 stay with it especially if your concern about recoil. Out to 400 yards should not be a problem with mulies or elk. I'm like you in that I don't have the budget to buy mutiple rifles and my primary hunts are mulies and elk. Keep doing the research and eventually you'll find your answer. Best of luck.

Reddog

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Location: Nova Scotia
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Input on hunting rifle please...

Don't rule the 30-06 out of your list. It does everything you mentioned and with light magnum loads it will do your list with authority.

ADKBEAR's picture
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Location: Central NY
Joined: 09/16/2003
Posts: 823
Input on hunting rifle please...

I am inclined to agree with Mr. Chestergolf. If I was to have only one rifle (only one, makes me shiver) it would be a 30-06. I took my Rem 700BDL in 7MM mag. Caribou hunting a couple of years ago and after carrying that cannon around Northern Quebec for a week I was wishing I had taken my Parker Hale 30-06. It is about half the weight and does not kick any harder.

I am trying for Moose this year and will be carrying the 30-06 with 180 gr nosler partitions in it. I have no doubt this will be good Moose medicine.

Price is another consideration. If you will be doing any shooting during the off season (ask anyone, it's a good idea) the difference between 30-06 and your magnum ammo can be substantial.

The magnum calibers are fine guns and any of them would complete the task when hunting for the game species listed. But once again like Chester said the versitility of the -06 is not to be overlooked.

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Joined: 06/18/2004
Posts: 66
First rifle

I recommend a .30-06 rifle for many reasons.

Ammunition for the .30-06 may be the most readily available of any big game cartridge. If you leave your ammo on the coffee table at home and have to replace it in some joint in Canada's North West Territories, you have a good chance of finding appropriate .30-06 loads.

A wide variety of loads in different bullet weights is available in .30-06, again probably more variety than with other cartridges. This is to your advantage when trying to find a commercial load that shoots well in your rifle.

The .30-06 has very manageable recoil. Larger cartridges, such as the .300 mag, have greater recoil which may disturb some people. If it doesn't disturb you, it may disturb your wife, girlfriend, or nephew when you loan them your rifle for their hunt sometime in the future. At the same time, the .30-06 is entirely adequate to the range of animals you identified, while lighter cartridges begin to be viewed as marginal for elk.

If you are like most of us, over time you will acquire additional rifles, perhaps rifles more specialized for specific game animals. For example, I love my .25-06 for deer and pronghorn antelope. Even then, however, your .30-06 can make a valuable contribution as a back-up rifle to take on your hunts. When I drive out of town to hunt I want a back-up rifle in case I drop my first string rifle on the concrete at the hotel. I recently bought an inexpensive Remington ADL with a synthetic stock in .30-06 for a back-up. I can carry it in the rain without fear of damaging it (if it does damage, I can afford to replace it -- different story for my beautiful wood stocked rifles, some custom built by my now deceased father). It can be a back-up for pronghorn antelope hunting or for elk hunting. One point, even though my ADL was dirt cheap (about $289 at a Bass ProShop grand opening event) I put a high quality scope on it. Don't scrimp on your targeting system.

Magnum cartridges provide some advantages in long range shooting. My response to this point is that I don't shoot at long range and hence this is no advantage to me. Beyond 350 yards -- where the magnums begin to show enough advantage to distinguish themselves from the .30-06 -- I probably should not be shooting in the first place, as my limited marksmanship may make that an unethical shot. And I do not consider myself to be a below average marksman, I just know my limitations. Additionally, if you are a competent hunter you usually don't need to shoot at this range.

For all these reasons . . . get the .30-06 and you will never regret it. Down the road, pick up other more specialized rifles as you desire and/or need them. I'm going elk hunting for the first time this year, using .30-06. If I like my hunting and am successful, I'm mighty tempted to acquire a .338 Winchester Magnum. I'm not sure if this inclination is just to add another rifle to my collection or if there is a bonafide advantage of the .338 Winchester Magnum over the .30-06. Whatever, I will still carry the .30-06 as a back-up for elk hunting if in fact I do acquire the .338.

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Location: Utah
Joined: 03/03/2005
Posts: 383
Input on hunting rifle please...

As Don Fischer said:

Choose a rifle that fits you well and get to know it with plenty of practice. It's hard to beat the venerable 30-06 that is extremely flexible on choice of a wide variety of bullet types, weights, and cost of ammo is reasonable due to mass production.

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Location: Utah
Joined: 03/03/2005
Posts: 383
Input on hunting rifle please...

After doing a lot of research and shopping around, we decided to purchase a new Remington 700 SPS Stainless 30-06 as a gift for my son's earning the Eagle Scout Award.

Rifle was $469.00 from Sportsman's Warehouse in Utah and included a 24" stainless / parkerized barrel and Limbsaver Recoil Pad.

FYI:

The blued version was discounted to $398.00, but we liked the stainless at $469. (Note: The 2005 Stainless version retails for $613 and has replaced the 2004 BDL's Stainless. The 2005 SPS in blue ($520 retail) has replaced the 2004 ADL line which was dropped.)

We piller bedded the action / free floated the barrel, and adjusted the stock trigger to a crisp 2 3/4 lbs. So far, results have been 7/8" MOA with Federal's 180-gr. (Nosler) Solid Base ammo.

While Winchester Supreme 180-gr. Ballistic Silvertips are my favorite load for deer (front half of the bullet explodes like a grenade & rear half keeps on penetrating for a complete pass-through like a Nosler Partition), the 700 SPS with 24" barrel only shoots 1 1/4" groups with the Ballistic Tip - plenty enough for deer.

Funny thing, Federal High Energy Nosler Partitions at 2,880 fps measured 11/16" groups on 7/21/06 and Winchester 180-gr. factory Nosler AccuBonds were about 1".

redrider's picture
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Location: NE Kansas
Joined: 03/20/2006
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Input on hunting rifle please...

That's a great gift Thumbs up

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