Hi, new here. Recently went on a hunting trip with some friends and am highly interested as picking it up as a hobby. I'm not new to guns, I have a couple, cx4 .45, Glock .45, .22 rifle, etc etc (PS, if you know where I can find cx4 .45 magazines, I would highly appreciate you pointing it out.) ANYWAY, I've always went to the range to shoot for fun for the last several years and shooting at pieces of paper and beer cans just aint fun anymore, so I want to try something challenging. Obviously my current firearms loadout isnt ment for hunting, so I'm in need of something different. I have literally 0 hunting rifle experience, and I doubt its the same as firing a carbine. Ive been doing alot of reading so far I'm at a loss for what I want. I've pin pointed I want .308, from what Ive read they're more then capable of deer hunting as well as moose/elk should the opportunity arrise. I've been eye balling Armalites AR 10 series, mainly because of the familiar feel they have from being in the military, but theres alot of controversy as far as how well they can actually hunt. So I have a couple of questions I figured would be best to hear from some veterans of the sport. When I'm looking at a guns specs, how do the barrels materials affect range/accuracy? I've looked at several guns, and alot are identical minus what material and how the barrel is made. I'm assuming 20" barrel is adequate enough, but I might take it a step further. Price isnt a huge issue, I've been saving up for some time and have roughly 2k to play with, at the same time I'm not gonna fork over all that money and assume its a good buy because its expensive. I've already got a good understanding on what bullets to use from various guides on the site. I know these questions dont have cut and dry answers, people hunt with a wide variety, I'm just looking for some opinions/input on where to start.
9 replies [Last post]
Fri, 2010-12-24 16:08
Rookie big game hunter looking to try it
Fri, 2010-12-24 16:41#1
Welcome to the forum. And congratulations on becoming a new hunter as well. You have done well with your choice of the .308. It's a very fine cartridge and about as good as it gets for deer hunting, IMO. It will also do well on larger game as you mentioned if you don't try to extend the ranges too far.
Everyone has their own preferences for hunting firearms and mine do not run towards the AR styled rifles. Nothing wrong with them, simply not my cup of tea. I think you may also find some areas that restrict their use, but if you're willing to accept that, then I am sure the rifle/cartridge combo will work for your needs. Try to understand that in hunting game animals it's not the high rate of fire that's needed, it's more towards a steady squeeze and one good shot.
Again, nothing wrong with a semi-auto, but it's not normally needed or useful in game hunting. I'd simply suggest that you also look at some other action types as well. The bolt rifle is very popular and although it may not be a very "exciting" selection, they typically provide excellent accuracy and are available in a wide array of rifles, from a Ruger 77 Hawkeye RSI with 18.5" barrel to a CZ 550 with 24" barrel and both found in .308 Win.
There are also a couple of lever rifles that might interest you as well. The fine Browning BLR lever rifle is found in .308 Win and the new Marlin .308MX is chambered in the very similar .308ME cartridge.
In your price range there are a lot of quality rifles available in addition to the ones already mentioned and I'd look at such brands as Winchester (mod 70), Kimber (M84), Remington (model Seven and 700), Tikka (T3) and Sako (mod 85). When selecting a rifle up to your price constraints remember to save perhaps $500. for a quality scope, bases and rings.
Although it can, at times be confusing, I also believe searching for a new quality rifle is also one of the most enjoyable things any hunter can do!
Fri, 2010-12-24 17:03#2
Thanks for the quick response. Just a quick question, in your experience what would be considered over extending the range of a .308? 200 yards?
Fri, 2010-12-24 19:35#3
In my opinion, extending the range on big animals means at ranges over 250 yds. You can decide for yourself by comparing the power (FPE) at the yardage between a .300 mag and a .308. If it's in the 1500 FPE range and you are confident in shooting at that distance then the .308, using a premium bullet, is in your realm!!
Mon, 2010-12-27 09:50#4
As of right now I'm highly considering the AR 10 .308, *trying to find a range where I can test fire it first* but now I'm researching scopes. I'm leaning towards the Leupold VX-II 3-9x40mm. I'm goin with what you mentioned about not exceeding 250 yards, from what I've read a 3-9X40 works pretty well when working within that range. Also, how huge of an affect does barrel length have on accuracy? I'm leaning towards 20'', but if 24''-26'' would make that much more difference I might go with the later.
Mon, 2010-12-27 10:11#5
barrel & scope
The VXII 3-9x40 is a very good scope. I'd recommend you also take a look at the VXII 2-7x33 as well. At the ranges we've mentioned, I think it's plenty of magnification and a good bit more compact scope. Both are great scopes and simple personal preference is the only difference between them.
I'd say to go with the 20" barrel, making the gun more compact and handy. The .308 does not lose a lot of velocity as the barrel gets shorter; less than the 30/06 or .270, as a comparison. Likely about 20 FPS per inch. You could make up most or all of that by using a faster load, something like the Hornady Superformance, which would equal or perhaps even outperform in the shorter barrel, a standard loading in equal bullet weight in a 24" barrel. The new Superformance ammo is perfectly safe for all rifle types including semi-autos, unlike the older Light Magnum loadings.
Tue, 2010-12-28 12:37#6
Hullsnipe: Welcome to the website and to hunting!
TNdeerhunter has given you good advice. I don’t disagree with anything he says. While I am not a fan of the AR style rifles I have hunted with semiautomatics and with military style rifles. I prefer the Heckler and Koch style like the HK91. JLD Enterprises makes a semi auto only civilian version of the famous military rifle that they call the PTR91. The chief advantage to my mind is the price of the magazines. The military surplus HK style twenty round magazines can be had for as low as $2 each. While you can’t use the surplus magazines for hunting, I think they are worth having. I think the AR10 magazines run at least ten times that each. So if you plan on stocking up on magazines that might be a factor to consider. The semi automatic FAL rifles (FN-FAL) and their copies are also widely available. Like the HK 91 (aka G3) the “Right Arm of the Free World” has a long history of military service through the 1950s through the present. They are known for reliability with their adjustable gas system. If the AR10 has a flaw it is a reputation for failures to function if they get tossed in the mud, sand, or swamp water for too long. When they are clean they are very accurate and fine weapons, so they are just about perfect as a hunting or bench rest gun, but maybe not what you want slopping through the thick stuff or crawling through the undergrowth.
In my mind, a 308 is a 308 is a 308. The cartridge determines the effective range more than any rifle platform it is given. Yes some rifles are more accurate than others. I tend to think that a longer barrel delivers more accuracy rather than thinking it has any effect of velocity, although it does affect it slightly as noted. So I would lean toward a twenty four inch barrel over the twenty inch for a hunting rifle. But you may want a twenty inch for ease of movement too.
You really can’t go wrong with any choice that you make. Whether you end up keeping the first rifle you buy or swapping it for some upgrade or different platform later on. Go ahead and get one, be safe, and enjoy it. Actually getting started is the most important thing that you can do. And it sounds like you are off to a fine start.
Sun, 2011-02-27 07:03#7
I've been looking into this
I've been looking into this quite a bit also; I'll try and share a few of the things I've managed to figure out so far.
As others have posted the thing that really matters is the ammo you are using. With a gas powered semi-auto AR-10 or DPMS LR rifle this can be an issue if your switching out your loadings for various game or trying to fire a 240 grain bullet. lets say your using 168 grain full metal jacket rounds for practice, and load hand loaded 180 grain bronze tipped rounds for hunting.
you may need too change out your buffer weight for something heavier with the 180 grain rounds; the higher chamber pressures may cause your rifle action to cycle so fast that rounds get stove piped or jammed in your chamber every shot. You may find that you have to cock the charging handle after ever shot to load the next round when using lightweight bullets because there is not enough pressure to cycle the bolt carrier.
Unless you can have a barrel custom made the highest twist your going to find will be a 1x10; this limits you to a max sized bullet of 220; anything heavier will not stabilize in flight. .308 rounds are at a disadvantage in comparison to 30-06 rounds for bullet weights over 180 grains. after 180 grains there just is not enough room in the case to safely take the heavy bullets up near max muzzle velocity (.308 and 30 -06 rounds fire the exact same bullets with a different case).
If your going to be using a semi-auto .308 rifle for hunting your going to need to do your homework. A hunter using a bolt action rifle only really needs to know how to sight it in and where to buy ammo. A hunter using an AR platform will need too have a much more in depth understanding of his firearm and ballistics in general in order to be proficient. You can take down an elk at 600 yards or hit a paper plate at 1200 yards with a semi-auto .308. In a panic you can unload 20 rounds into that mountain lion that snuck up 5 feet behind you while you were making predator calls. They are great weapons because nearly every aspect of it can be customized and adjusted too your liking.Their major downfall of course is the fact that they are just not that user friendly and will give you hell if you don't know how to operate it.
I know this is an old post, just wanted to share my thoughts for anyone else who may be asking themselves the same question.
Mon, 2011-02-28 09:27#8
Welcome to biggamehunt Hull Snipe. Not to worry, as you get into guns you'll acquire more than one type and caliber of rifle. If you have your heart set on a .308 Win right now then get one. It's a great cartridge. Plenty good for most biggame. Just like with all calibers, you have to learn and know your weapons limitations. They all have them, so know them well before hunting with them. But overall, for deer and pronghorn sized game a .308 Win is a real good cartridge. For elk? It will be fine as long as you keep shots inside a 1300 ft/lb to 1500 ft/lb energy range with that cartridge which is generally inside 150 yards with that cartridge. For very large bull moose consider something along the lines of a .30-06 Springfield, 7mm Mag, or .300 Win Mag for example. As far as barrel length goes for a biggame hunting rifle, don't try going with a compact carbine length rifle. Biggame rifles and short tactical rifles are two different things. In a biggame rifle, my recommendation is to go with a bolt action type rifle with at least a 22" barrel. But in a magnum caliber, better to go with a 24" or even 26" barrel. The extra length barrel in a magnum allows more efficient burn of all the powder. Magnums typically use a heavier charge of powder that's much slower burning than in smaller cartridges, you'll want that extra length barrel for those. Good luck.