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Joined: 08/24/2009
Posts: 1
Which caliber for deer/black bear? (new user)

Please help an advanced beginner who happens to have some pretty good equipment. Please don’t hate me, but I inherited a number of quality rifles and have access to 25 acres of good hunting land for deer, turkey and black bear in VA. I am pretty good with a pistol but fairly poor with a rifle. For a beginner, which is the best for deer hunting with the possibility of a 300lb+ black bear ~125yard max? I have seen been practicing with a Browning .22 semiauto and a Kimber .308 (cheapest ammo). Unfortunately, I’m only making 12” groups at 100 yards standing position. With few months for practice and then hunting, what is my best option? I plan on practicing every two weeks for 2-3 months. Also, which would be best loan to a truly beginning friend? These are bolt action unless otherwise noted:

Kimber 84 .308, +Leupold variable scope, cheap for practice, but a bit light for me to aim very well
Savage 14 .270 WSM +Zeiss variable, ammo somewhat expensive
Remington 30-06+Nikon 4x fixed, trigger is a bit heavy for me given the other options
Marlin 35 Rem Iron sights lever action
Sako 75 Winchester 300 Magnum+leupold variable (kicks a bit too much for heavy practice but not for use) I feel accurate with this one
Weatherby Mark V .240 Weatherby Mag+Leupold Variable – ammo too expensive for practice I haven’t even used it yet ?
Winchester Model 94 30-30 lever Iron sights (I have now inherited two of these)

As for turkey, squirrel, crow, etc. I’m guessing my Remington 11-87 Special Purpose 12 AWG is best. . . but that is another topic of conversation.

P.S. I loathe being the over-equipped under skilled individual. Please consider this an opportunity to introduce one or more new people to the sport!

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Location: Tennessee
Joined: 04/13/2009
Posts: 1110
Re: Which caliber for deer/black bear? (new user)
lungbrown wrote:
Please help an advanced beginner who happens to have some pretty good equipment. Please don’t hate me, but I inherited a number of quality rifles and have access to 25 acres of good hunting land for deer, turkey and black bear in VA. I am pretty good with a pistol but fairly poor with a rifle. For a beginner, which is the best for deer hunting with the possibility of a 300lb+ black bear ~125yard max? I have seen been practicing with a Browning .22 semiauto and a Kimber .308 (cheapest ammo). Unfortunately, I’m only making 12” groups at 100 yards standing position. With few months for practice and then hunting, what is my best option? I plan on practicing every two weeks for 2-3 months. Also, which would be best loan to a truly beginning friend? These are bolt action unless otherwise noted:

Kimber 84 .308, +Leupold variable scope, cheap for practice, but a bit light for me to aim very well
Savage 14 .270 WSM +Zeiss variable, ammo somewhat expensive
Remington 30-06+Nikon 4x fixed, trigger is a bit heavy for me given the other options
Marlin 35 Rem Iron sights lever action
Sako 75 Winchester 300 Magnum+leupold variable (kicks a bit too much for heavy practice but not for use) I feel accurate with this one
Weatherby Mark V .240 Weatherby Mag+Leupold Variable – ammo too expensive for practice I haven’t even used it yet ?
Winchester Model 94 30-30 lever Iron sights (I have now inherited two of these)

As for turkey, squirrel, crow, etc. I’m guessing my Remington 11-87 Special Purpose 12 AWG is best. . . but that is another topic of conversation.

P.S. I loathe being the over-equipped under skilled individual. Please consider this an opportunity to introduce one or more new people to the sport!

Congrats on your new battery of nice rifles. If you are a decent shot with a handgun, then there's no reason you cannot become a fine shot with a rifle as well. First, I'd say to get comfortable shooting your rifle(s) from a good padded rest/bench to test their accuracy and sight-in along with you becoming familiar with the individual rifles themselves.

The rifles you chose to begin with are decent choices; the Kimber in .308 and the .22. They are both relatively inexpensive to shoot and will prove to be fine rifles for you, I'm sure. Be sure to clean all the rifles completely so you know what true potential they have. While cleaning check all the stock bedding and attachment screws for tightness and especially, all scopes for proper eye relief for you as well as properly leveled crosshairs. I'd also have the Remington '06's trigger adjusted by a competent gunsmith to a smooth consistent pull of 3.5 lbs.

Perhaps buying something like a steady rest or lead sled would aid in your target sessions. Be sure to keep a decently padded shoulder, even if only with a folded towel, or something similar. There is no reason to try and prove your masculinity at the range by not easing the recoil of most C/F rifles, it's simply not in your best interests. IMO, standing offhand shooting at 100yds is a difficult task for most experienced shooters/hunters, never mind a beginner. Practice from a rest, and then utilize a rest whenever possible in the field at any range. Shooting with a rested, stable rifle is key to success in the field.

I'd leave the couple magnums out of the mix for the time being, as well. None you listed would be ideal for the hunting you mentioned and they will whack you a good deal more than is necessary for the time being. I'd certainly add in two more of the rifles, the 30/30 and .35. I'd also say that IMO the .35 Marlin (scoped) is just what the Doctor ordered for your needs. Ammo is not expensive (nor is the 30/30 fodder).

Most any hunter that shoots and practices properly with a properly mounted quality scope will shoot MUCH better using it, rather than irons. The Marlin is a simple rifle to scope, with a weaver angle lock base being a good choice and rings by Weaver, Burris, Warne, etc some good choices. I'd stay away from el cheapo rings such as Tasco, Simmons etc. No offense meant to anyone, but the difference in quality between a $10 set of rings and a $25. set can be significant and could be the best $15. you ever spent.

As far as a scope for your Marlin, there are many that would work fine. They include the nice Weaver V3 at about $140., the Leupold VXI 1-4x20 at $200., abnd the very nice Nikon Monarch 1.5-4.5x20 for $280. Scopes can go much higher in quality and price, but these couple are very good quality for decent prices. You do not need a big scope on a lever gun destined to shoot no further than 200 yds or so. A max power of 3,4, or 5 is certainly all you'd really need.

Purchase some standard 200gr loads for the Marlin .35 and some 150s for the mod 94. Shoot both, the scoped Marlin and iron sighted 94 enough to feel comfy. Then when you've become proficient, at least in the Marlin .35, I'd move up to the very fine hornady LeverEvolution ammo(also 200gr). Of course, continued practice with the Kimber 84 would be good as well, but this light bolt gun will recoil harder than either lever, more than likely.

I'd also recommend you do some "dry firing" practice with these new rifles. I feel dry firing can be of considerable help in between range sessions.

Good Luck!!

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Location: Southern Va
Joined: 08/26/2009
Posts: 3
Which caliber for deer/black bear? (new user)

I really like the 30-06 for all large game. Test the break lbs. on trigger and have a gunsmith adjust it for you.
Good Luck

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Location: Texas
Joined: 08/13/2009
Posts: 37
Which caliber for deer/black bear? (new user)

Nice collection… except for how you came by them… my condolences.

As far as which rifle to go with… go with which ever one you feel the most confidence in making a good shot. Then practice. If you are going to be making shots from a standing position I suggest that you tie two sticks together close to the top to make a bipod rifle rest. That’s the cheep way to steady yourself and improve your groups. Also you can cut them when you get to the woods and leave some leaves on for added camo. You can look up all kinds of information on shooting techniques online. Find the ones that work for you and practice. Use your .22LR for practicing daily (cheep ammo and the same techniques apply). When you learn the basics, breathing, scope adjustment, figure 8, ex… then zero the rifle you are going to use for 200yds and from a resting position, ie, prone or sitting with a longer bipod. I zero at 200 for this reason; if your shot is under 200 yds it won’t effect your shot placement more than ¼ inch, if it’s 400 yds, just hold ½ inch high. If it’s over 400 yds, just hold… YOUR FIRE!!! Stalk up for an easer shot.

Hope this helped… just remember, KISS… Keep It Simple Stupid.

Location: cleveland county, north carolina
Joined: 11/13/2009
Posts: 3
comfort

go for what you are comfortable with, thats the only way to have confidence in your shooting. I shoot a savage arms. 270 win. with a center point 4x16-40 scope with winchester silver bilistic tips( 130 grain) it proves time and time again that it can do the job and i plan to take a bear this year and i will let you know how it goes.

Happy hunting!

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