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One rifle for elk, deer, and other big game?

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  • One rifle for elk, deer, and other big game?

    I am looking at getting a new rifle and was wondering what your opinion is on the practicality of a caliber to use for both deer and elk, plus others such as caribou. I've been looking at the 300 mag, the 300 WSM, the .308, and others. My range limit is 400 yards which is a personal decision. What caliber would you say would be most versatile?

  • #2
    Originally posted by Johnson4274 View Post
    I am looking at getting a new rifle and was wondering what your opinion is on the practicality of a caliber to use for both deer and elk, plus others such as caribou. I've been looking at the 300 mag, the 300 WSM, the .308, and others. My range limit is 400 yards which is a personal decision. What caliber would you say would be most versatile?
    I have been shooting a 300WSM for over 20 years or whenever it came out I had the first one in my county. I shoot 165 grain Nosler Accubonds and this would be my choice for what you are wanting to hunt. 5 shots in 3/4 inch at 100 yards. Simms Limb Saver recoil pad on it and it is very pleasant to shoot. I have a .308 too but the 300WSM would be my choice.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Sarge01 View Post

      I have been shooting a 300WSM for over 20 years or whenever it came out I had the first one in my county. I shoot 165 grain Nosler Accubonds and this would be my choice for what you are wanting to hunt. 5 shots in 3/4 inch at 100 yards. Simms Limb Saver recoil pad on it and it is very pleasant to shoot. I have a .308 too but the 300WSM would be my choice.
      I forgot to mention my 300WSM is a Sako A7 stainless with a Nikon Buckmaster( old style) 3X9X50 scope on it.

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      • #4
        Darn Sarge , did you have to give such great answer right out of the gate!

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        • #5
          I have been shooting elk, deer, and moose with the same dolled up 30-06 Springfield army rifle since I was twelve. I'll be 67 when I go hunting this fall. It's done a fine job. Ammo is easy to find, especially in less civilized locales (where hunting for deer, elk, and caribou is best). I typically shot 180 gr because grizzlies were often in the same country too and they need something with punch. Also my personal choice was to avoid shooting at anything 200 yards away. I once did take an elk (eventually) at about 320 yards but wished I hadn't by the time it was all over and done with. More skill is involved in getting up close and personal before shooting and there's much less margin for error.

          I would suggest going with something not-so-exotic. Also, don't fall for the lightweight BS. Get a gun with a bit of heft to it ... unless you're some kind of walking marshmallow ... in which case you will not enjoy hunting elk much.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Pmacc60 View Post
            Darn Sarge , did you have to give such great answer right out of the gate!
            A lot of people put down the 300WSM because they say they can't find ammo in every Mom and Pop store. I don't buy ammo in Mom and Pop stores anyway. I don't have that problem I load every thing that I shoot except my 22 Hornet rounds and I keep several hundred 300WSM ,.308 and 22-250 rounds loaded all the time, quite enough to hunt with. In the country stores in our area you can find 300WSM rounds if you want them because the 300WSM is really a popular round here.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Sarge01 View Post

              A lot of people put down the 300WSM because they say they can't find ammo in every Mom and Pop store. I don't buy ammo in Mom and Pop stores anyway. I don't have that problem I load every thing that I shoot except my 22 Hornet rounds and I keep several hundred 300WSM ,.308 and 22-250 rounds loaded all the time, quite enough to hunt with. In the country stores in our area you can find 300WSM rounds if you want them because the 300WSM is really a popular round here.
              I don’t buy ammo in mom and pop stores either. I handload therefor I always have ammo. I however like your choice in rifle and caliber . Great accurate rifle with a lethal round for bigger game and not too much rifle for deer. Just a all around first class setup and answered the question perfectly. Nice job.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Sarge01 View Post

                A lot of people put down the 300WSM because they say they can't find ammo in every Mom and Pop store. I don't buy ammo in Mom and Pop stores anyway. I don't have that problem I load every thing that I shoot except my 22 Hornet rounds and I keep several hundred 300WSM ,.308 and 22-250 rounds loaded all the time, quite enough to hunt with. In the country stores in our area you can find 300WSM rounds if you want them because the 300WSM is really a popular round here.
                Well, I suspect the ballistics for 300 WSM are not that much improved over 30-06. Let's see ... okay, there's a bit of difference. But is it an "improvement?" With IMR 4451 powder the max for 165 grain bullet in 300 WSM is 65 gr which delivers 3,108 fps @ an obviously uncomfortable 63,300 ft pds pressure. 30-06 max with same weight bullet and brand of powder is 57 gr delivering 2,858 fps @ a more shoulder friendly 59,200 ft pds pressure. Sure, the 300 WSM will deliver more punch downrange if shooting into the next township (which I don't think is ethical anyway) but at seventy yards with a bullet that size travelling at that velocity the splatter factor will be significant ... especially if the bullet hits a bone. And given the percentage of bone to body mass for deer and elk, I'd say that's a high probability (a bit higher for moose). I always took a lot of pride in taking meat to the butcher that didn't have holes in it big enough for a cat to crawl through. I say pick a gun with some clout that reaches to two hundred yards with reasonable accuracy (because that is the ethical range for big game) but doesn't blow the animals or your shoulder to pieces.

                Sarge, you're hunting deer in the thick country of West Virginia with a 300 WSM? Really? I would think long shots are more the exception than the rule there.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Ontario Honker Hunter View Post

                  Well, I suspect the ballistics for 300 WSM are not that much improved over 30-06. Let's see ... okay, there's a bit of difference. But is it an "improvement?" With IMR 4451 powder the max for 165 grain bullet in 300 WSM is 65 gr which delivers 3,108 fps @ an obviously uncomfortable 63,300 ft pds pressure. 30-06 max with same weight bullet and brand of powder is 57 gr delivering 2,858 fps @ a more shoulder friendly 59,200 ft pds pressure. Sure, the 300 WSM will deliver more punch downrange if shooting into the next township (which I don't think is ethical anyway) but at seventy yards with a bullet that size travelling at that velocity the splatter factor will be significant ... especially if the bullet hits a bone. And given the percentage of bone to body mass for deer and elk, I'd say that's a high probability (a bit higher for moose). I always took a lot of pride in taking meat to the butcher that didn't have holes in it big enough for a cat to crawl through. I say pick a gun with some clout that reaches to two hundred yards with reasonable accuracy (because that is the ethical range for big game) but doesn't blow the animals or your shoulder to pieces.

                  Sarge, you're hunting deer in the thick country of West Virginia with a 300 WSM? Really? I would think long shots are more the exception than the rule there.
                  Of the 100's of rifles I have owned in my lifetime I have never owned a 30-06. I don't like tracking deer through the woods that is why I use my 300WSM. One time I went to Alabama to hunt with the race car driver Davy Allison I loaded Nosler 125 grain ballistic tips in my 300WSM that was a devastating load. I think that the Sako A-7 300WSM is probably the best and most accurate hunting rifle that I have ever owned. My Limb Saver recoil pad takes away about 30% of the recoil about the same as a muzzle brake without the noise. In a couple places that I get invited to hunt I can shoot over 300 yards. My 165 grain Nosler Acubonds even at 100 yards don't tear up everything they mushroom to over twice the size and stay together unlike a regular bullet . I have 125 Nosler Accubonds loaded in my .308 and that is a wicked load. Last deer I shot with it the bullet traveled through both shoulders and was resting under the hide on the opposite side. The deer dropped like a rock. The bullet mushroomed to .625 and weighed 80 grains. Looked like the perfect mushroom that all the bullet manufactors show you in the hunting books to try and make you buy their bullets.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Sarge01 View Post

                    Of the 100's of rifles I have owned in my lifetime I have never owned a 30-06. I don't like tracking deer through the woods that is why I use my 300WSM. One time I went to Alabama to hunt with the race car driver Davy Allison I loaded Nosler 125 grain ballistic tips in my 300WSM that was a devastating load. I think that the Sako A-7 300WSM is probably the best and most accurate hunting rifle that I have ever owned. My Limb Saver recoil pad takes away about 30% of the recoil about the same as a muzzle brake without the noise. In a couple places that I get invited to hunt I can shoot over 300 yards. My 165 grain Nosler Acubonds even at 100 yards don't tear up everything they mushroom to over twice the size and stay together unlike a regular bullet . I have 125 Nosler Accubonds loaded in my .308 and that is a wicked load. Last deer I shot with it the bullet traveled through both shoulders and was resting under the hide on the opposite side. The deer dropped like a rock. The bullet mushroomed to .625 and weighed 80 grains. Looked like the perfect mushroom that all the bullet manufactors show you in the hunting books to try and make you buy their bullets.
                    As OH said about the bears the place in British Columbia that I hunted had grizzlies and we had trouble with them after one of the guys killed an elk. I have Hornady 180 Interbonds loaded for my 300WSM that I would probably use hunting in grizzly country. They shoot really good too.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Sarge01 View Post

                      Of the 100's of rifles I have owned in my lifetime I have never owned a 30-06. I don't like tracking deer through the woods that is why I use my 300WSM. One time I went to Alabama to hunt with the race car driver Davy Allison I loaded Nosler 125 grain ballistic tips in my 300WSM that was a devastating load. I think that the Sako A-7 300WSM is probably the best and most accurate hunting rifle that I have ever owned. My Limb Saver recoil pad takes away about 30% of the recoil about the same as a muzzle brake without the noise. In a couple places that I get invited to hunt I can shoot over 300 yards. My 165 grain Nosler Acubonds even at 100 yards don't tear up everything they mushroom to over twice the size and stay together unlike a regular bullet . I have 125 Nosler Accubonds loaded in my .308 and that is a wicked load. Last deer I shot with it the bullet traveled through both shoulders and was resting under the hide on the opposite side. The deer dropped like a rock. The bullet mushroomed to .625 and weighed 80 grains. Looked like the perfect mushroom that all the bullet manufactors show you in the hunting books to try and make you buy their bullets.
                      So Sarge are you going to tell us the Davy Allison story.... you don’t just drop that kind of name and leave us hanging!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I hunted elk once, with MZ.
                        But if I go again I'll take my .30-06.

                        Have had 7mm and .300 magnums.
                        They aint bad but of the two the 7mm is more comfy.
                        As for .30-06.............had a 760. Had three 742's. Have shot others.
                        No big deal. Just bought a Steyr.

                        IMHO a thirty is a thirty, the diff is a bit of boot work.

                        Can buy reduced recoil and Superformance.......should cover a wide range if not a reloader.

                        Figure I'm good to 400. Rifle/load not my concern. Heart, lungs and overall body condition is.
                        Had to learn how to chew on a mountain way back. Was in damn good shape then too.
                        Will be much different if I go now.
                        Rifle/load not of concern.
                        Put a 180 through the lungs and it should be over.
                        I'll shoot em twice too.
                        ( LOL............on another thread).

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I still want an exit wound on my critters. Think two holes spilling red makes for less stress in tracking. Stuff happens, and IMHO a load that gives an exit offers some insurance.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Pmacc60 View Post

                            So Sarge are you going to tell us the Davy Allison story.... you don’t just drop that kind of name and leave us hanging!
                            A sports writer from the local paper covered NASCAR in the early 90's. He asked Davy Allison if he would like to come to WV to deer hunt. Davy said yes because he was a fanatic deer hunter. The writer told him I was the man to contact. Davy had me to the Rockingham race and we ending up in victory lane. Davy came to WV to deer hunt with my buddy and I. My buddy has a hunting cabin and over 1000 acres to hunt. Davy and his Busch crew flew into Petersburg and I picked them up and brought them to my house. After supper we went to the hunting cabin. I started going to Alabama to deer and even after Davy got killed I still went to Alabama to hunt with his cousin. While Davy was here on his first trip he went to the local high school and did a 2 hour assembly free of charge for me. We are off the beaten path and don';t usually get people like Davy to do an assembly for the school. I was in charge of the WV Hunter Education program for my district and Davy even went to the local radio station and did some safe hunting spots for me. My wife and I started going to just about all of Davy's races. We never sat in the stands we watched from the pits. I even ran second gas can for his Busch races. Davy was one of the finest young men that I have ever met. He never forgot where he came from. At North Willksboro after the race was over Davy backed his pickup into the garage and we sat on the tailgate and talked for hours after the race.t was like he didn't want us to leave. That was the last time we saw him alive. He called me and told me he had bought a helicopter and he could set it down at the hunting cabin on the next trip. When I got off the phone my wife asked me who it was and I told her it was Davy and he had a helicopter and could land at the hunting camp. Her exact words were" He will kill himself in that thing" 3 days later is wen he got killed.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Great story Sarge, It’s nice to hear that a young man I admired was good guy. We lost him way to soon ! I always wonder how many championships he would have won. Thank you for taking the time to write that.

                              Comment

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