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Joined: 08/24/2013
Posts: 7
Rifle & Optic Advice

Hi everyone!

I need some advice with the Maine rifle season on deer approaching quickly.

For years now, I've hunted with a 7mm Rem. mag.  Just recently, my scope broke and due to other priorities, am not really in the market for a new one right now.  I could spring for an entry level, but would rather take my time to research a better quality scope and spend the money in one instance vs a little here, a little there.  My 7mm is a Rem. 710 and the original Bushnell scope (which has worked quite well for me until now) is the scope that broke.

I threw a Barska (laying around & given to me a long time ago) 3-12 x 50 on the 7mm, and after being told by several people that the scope isn't the best, am concerned if it will hold up to this deer season.  It held it's zero up to sighting in, and realistically, I only need one shot right?

I also have my first ever deer rifle that I bought when I was 14. It's a Rem. 742 (semi) in .243.  When I bought it, I put a Tasco World Class 3-9x40 on it and it served me just fine for many years.

My conundrum is this:

It's not uncommon to encounter black bear while out where I hunt, and I'd like to take advantage of any opportunity to harvest one, as well as a deer.  That being said, I'm not sure what to do.  Both rifles reach out far enough for my application. I like the knock down power of the 7mm and it's versatility, but wonder if the .243 would do well enough on a black bear, if given the opportunity.  I am proficient enough that I could take a head shot, but much prefer the heart/lung shots.

So what would you all recommend?  Do I leave the Barska on my 7mm and take my chances? Do I take the Tasco off the .243 and put it on the 7mm to get me through this season, or just leave the Tasco where it is on my original girl...the Model742, and hunt with that? 

Either rifle will need a sight in.  The model 742 was borrowed by a friend and sighted in to them a few years back.

Lastly, with regards to the .243 I've seen a lot of media regarding Winchester's "Deer Season" cartridge that just came out.  Does anyone have any experience with this over the Hornaday "American Whitetail" round or a better recommended round in the event I go with the .243?

Thanks one and all for your advice!!!

Critter's picture
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Location: Western Colorado
Joined: 03/26/2009
Posts: 4423
From what I know the Barska

From what I know the Barska scope is in line with the Bushnell and Tasco's that are out there.  Not the best but good entry level scopes.  The Bushnells and Tasco's are usually ones that are installed on rifles in stores as a package sale.  My personall opion is that they are no better than that and I have seen quite a few problems with them over the years of helping others sight in their rifles.

Almost all of my rifles wear Leupolds, either VXII or VXIII's and I have never had a problem with any of them so that is what I would recommend.  Vortex scopes are also one of the better ones out there for little money, but just remember you get what you pay for.  If the scope is only $100 that is all you can expect of it but you also don't have to break the bank with the purchas of one. 

As for shooting a bear the .243 will get the job done but the 7mm is a better choice.  I would also never take a head shot on a animal.  Bear, dear, elk or what ever unless I am at point blank range to do it to finish one off.  There are way too many problems with a head shot with the bullet just glancing off of it to only breaking the jaw of the animal and having the animal run off to die of starvation. 

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Joined: 08/24/2013
Posts: 7
Rifle & Optics question

I would also never take a head shot on a animal.  Bear, dear, elk or what ever unless I am at point blank range to do it to finish one off.  There are way too many problems with a head shot with the bullet just glancing off of it to only breaking the jaw of the animal and having the animal run off to die of starvation. 

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My thoughts exactly, which I why I said I much prefer the heart / lung despite my proficiency level...too many other factors come into play as well, such as fatigue, Buck fever, etc.

 

Thanks for your reply. I appreciate it! I guess I've been one of the lucky ones in the scope department as the Tasco and Bushnell, albeit entry level, served me well and due to their performance  (until now) I never considered upgrading. Any thought to do so was usually masked quickly after the season by other life commitment and expenditures, and add that when I was younger, I usually only did the cursory pre-season sight in for shooting. Looks like the past has come full circle again as I'd planned on shooting the 7mm all year, but only got to it recently...my bad.

Thanks again for your insight and experience!

buffybr's picture
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Location: Montana, USA
Joined: 11/15/2007
Posts: 358
Rifle & Optics question

Like Critter, most of my rifles wear Leupold scopes and have for many years.  I did put a Nikon 4-12x with BDC reticle on my 7mm Rem, but I haven't used it much.  You can sometimes find good deals on scopes (and rifles) at pawn shops.

As to the two rifles you have, I would prefer the 7mm, but I wouldn't hesitate to shoot a black bear with a .243 if that was all I had.  I have a friend that kills a black bear almost every year with his .22-250.  I killed my first black bear with a single 220 grain cast bullet from my .45 acp, and it has far less power than a .243 Win.

Bullet placement is criticle and I favor the behind the shoulder shot on just about everything.

Tentacruel's picture
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Only muzzleloaders that are

Only muzzleloaders that are 40 caliber or greater and capable of firing only a single charge and crossbows by persons 70 years of age or older may be used to hunt deer during this season. Muzzleloader means a firearm that is capable of being loaded only through the muzzle; is ignited by a matchlock, wheel lock, flintlock, or caplock, including an in-line caplock or shotgun or rifle primer mechanism; has a rifled or smooth-bored barrel capable of firing only a single charge; propels a ball, bullet, or charge of shot; and may have any type of sights, including scopes.

Tentacruel's picture
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Joined: 11/29/2016
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Only muzzleloaders that are

Only muzzleloaders that are 40 caliber or greater and capable of firing only a single charge and crossbows by persons 70 years of age or older may be used to hunt deer during this season. Muzzleloader means a firearm that is capable of being loaded only through the muzzle; is ignited by a matchlock, wheel lock, flintlock, or caplock, including an in-line caplock or shotgun or rifle primer mechanism; has a rifled or smooth-bored barrel capable of firing only a single charge; propels a ball, bullet, or charge of shot; and may have any type of sights, including scopes.