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rifle calibers for hunting?


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The past year and a half, I saved up some money and finally, a few weeks ago, I was able to get a new 12ga shotgun I've been wanting. With that done, now I need to start saving for something else :)

One thing I do not have and always wanted to get is a good hunting rifle for bigger game. I have a .22lr semi-auto and a .223 bolt action that I can use for small critters, but I never had a larger caliber rifle.

I have time - I figure I'll save up for a year or two before I go buy something. So before I start even thinking about a budget, price range, make/models of guns, I want to start by picking a caliber.

I would like a rifle for having fun at the range as well as maybe use it one day for PA or NY hunting (or, maybe I will get to go out west one day on a trip of a lifetime).

I also want a rifle that requires ammo that is relatively easy to get (I don't want exotic or hard-to-find ammo).

The three calibers that I keep reading about that seem to fit the bill are: .270, .308, and 30-06.

I have no idea how far of an effective range any of those have, how bad the recoil is, what game is/is not good for those calibers, I know almost nothing.

So... give me your thoughts and opinions. Ready, set, ... go! :) 

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I have a .270 Weatherby Mag, a Rem 700 in .30-06, and an AR-10 in .308.  All are great calibers and all are good out to 300 yards.  Are you realistically going to shoot further than 300 yards?

There are a few good threads on the site about calibers and rifles.  All good info.

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Hands down- 30-06! The best all around cartridge with reasonably priced ammo. The .270 is also a good all around rifle. A .270 is basacially a 30-06 with a .27 caliber projectile. Stay away from .35 Remington- too hard to find ammo. Most deer caliber rifles have about the same recoil. But no worse than a 12 gauge deer slug gun.

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Was in the same boat couple years ago. 

Settled on a Ruger American in 7mm-08.  Slapped a Leupold 2-7x on it. I practiced to 200 yards.  That's the max at the WMA s.  Lol.  I figured I'd use it for whitetails in pa or maybe a pig hunt.  Dropped a 400+lb cow elk with last year.  

You're more than welcome to try it at one of the local WMAs. Let me know. 

Nick

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.308 all the way. 95 percent of the energy of a 30-06 and won't drop like a rock like the 30-06 at longer range. I have 30-06 and .270's as well and have filled tags with all, however .308 performs the best in my opinion. This is a Ford, Chevy, Dodge discussion so there will be plenty of dissenting opinions. All are good calibers and you can't go wrong with really with any of them.

Edited by Bucndoe
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35 Rem Marlin JM stamped Model 336 has been my deer rifle since HS In poconos and been taking her to WV for 20 yrs.  Short barrel brush gun and easy to maneuver in tight quarters or treestands. Furthest shot in all my years was a follow up shot at about 85 yds. Average shot has been about 50 yards.  Never have to take those far shots. 

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8 minutes ago, Bonefreak said:

35 Rem Marlin JM stamped Model 336 has been my deer rifle since HS In poconos and been taking her to WV for 20 yrs.  Short barrel brush gun and easy to maneuver in tight quarters or treestands. Furthest shot in all my years was a follow up shot at about 85 yds. Average shot has been about 50 yards.  Never have to take those far shots. 

X2. One of my favorite brush guns especially in .35 Remington. Are you able to find ammo? I see on GunBroker that most of the ammo offered in .35 Remington is old stock that is selling for just under $100 per box of 20.

Edited by trapoholic
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25 minutes ago, trapoholic said:

X2. One of my favorite brush guns especially in .35 Remington. Are you able to find ammo? I see on GunBroker that most of the ammo offered in .35 Remington is old stock that is selling for just under $100 per box of 20.

I bought a box in the spring up in NY for regular price. 

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2 hours ago, Bucndoe said:

.308 all the way. 95 percent of the energy of a 30-06 and won't drop like a rock like the 30-06 at longer range. I have 30-06 and .270's as well and have filled tags with all, however .308 performs the best in my opinion. This is a Ford, Chevy, Dodge discussion so there will be plenty of dissenting opinions. All are good calibers and you can't go wrong with really with any of them.

150 grain 308 drops a few inches more than a 150 grain 30.06 at 300 yards.  Right?  It feels like you have it backwards.  What am I missing?  

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15 minutes ago, not on the rug said:

150 grain 308 drops a few inches more than a 150 grain 30.06 at 300 yards.  Right?  It feels like you have it backwards.  What am I missing?  

Less recoil in the 308 and a negligible difference in bullet drop. The question was for a deer caliber. There ain't very many places the OP will be taking 300 yard shots at NY deer. At 100 yards the 30-06 will drop a bit but the 308 won't.  Much more of a likely scenario based on the question asked

Edited by Bucndoe
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6 minutes ago, Bucndoe said:

Less recoil in the 308 and a negligible difference in bullet drop. The question was for a deer caliber. There ain't very many places the OP will be taking 300 yard shots at NY deer. At 100 yards the 30-06 will drop a bit but the 308 won't 

I think at 100 yards any difference is negligible.   

The only reason I mentioned 300 was bc the OP mentioned maybe hunting out west one day. 

I think he can't go wrong with either caliber, so either one would be a good choice.  

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If I were looking for a production rifle in a easy to find caliber, it would be a 30/06. Obviously  it's a very proven round. Been around a lot longer than me. Outside this crazy situation we in now with pandemic  BS and hoarding,, you can walk into any general store in anywhere in the country that sells ammo and you'll find your ammo. 

It's great if you handled cause you can load low weight bullets for medium game and then work a load for larger game here in the USA. 

Again talking production rifles. At this point I'd go Browning or Tika. Browning is a quality gun and I'm impressed with the Tika's. I own Browning  but honestly  do not own the Tika,,,,, yet. My buddy's have a few. Quality gun like Browning. Browning $$$$ while Tika $$ . You won't have to save very long for a Tika. 

Wanna save for longer let me know and I'll spend your money easily. :rofl:

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