Originally Posted by pyroducksx3
Stuck between the two calibers and lookinf for some advice. Type of hunting rifle will be used for is primarily high country mulie hunts in eastern wa / sheep hunt, Second black bear hunting 50/50 in forest of western Wa (heavy) and open areas similiar to mule deer (eastern Wa.), Third varmint hunting (coyote)#4 occasional elk. Looking to be able to make long range shots out to 500+ when I become more capable. Concerns are #1 recoil (although hear both are light), #2 Barrel life (it's a hunting gun but will shoot more than average hunter between 150-200 shots per year maybe more, #3 long action/short action. Was leaning toward the 6.5-06 but is the long action, recoil, barrel life worth the extra 200+ fps for me? Was also notacing that the 260 can be formed from 243, 308 brass offered by everyone (hornady/lapua/winchester) compared to the 6.5-06 with 270 win, 30-06 from hornady, 30-06 from lapua, and 25-06, 270 win, 30-06 from winchester. Any help would be appreciated, especially from anybody with expierence with both. I guess concerns could be further reduced to is the 260 enough for what I want to do? I'm worried 260 falls short for hunting but is great for long range targets, while the 6.5-06 is more adequate for both.Thanks again for any help.
There have been some good recommendations already made but I'll add my thoughts:
First & foremost, a 1-gun arsenal is always a compromise, and with the differences between the animals you will be hunting you are looking at a lot of compromise. Compromise means you will not have the ideal for some situations.
A .260 Rem is a nice little cartridge with a reputation for accuracy and the advantage of using standard dies & off-the-shelf ammunition. I bought my daughter a .260 for whitetails. It is a nice cartridge.
The .6.5-06 has a little more power but doesn't use standard anything. A .270 shoots almost as flat & uses standard ammunition that is only 13/1,000 of an inch larger in diameter, .264" vs. .277". If it's a debate between the .308 case & the 30-06 case, go with the latter, but use at least a .270 for what you are hunting!
Neither .260 is enough for elk hunting or long-range muley hunting. Yes, both have been killed with such a load, but how many others have been wounded only to die 3 days later?
For Muley or elk you should be looking at a .270 WSM or larger
. I've recently seen a (second) shot taken on a LARGE elk that hit directly on the shoulder with a 160 grain bullet going about 3000 fps (at impact) where the bullet didn't even break bone! 6+" of muscle can do a lot to slow a bullet down. Thankfully the first shot took out the lungs. Yes, with a perfect shot an elk will fall regardless the rifle, but when hunting such monumental animals you should use enough gun to put it down even if your shot is "less than perfect". (That rule should be followed whatever you are hunting.)
I would normally recommend elk hunters carry at least a .300 mag, but as you are talking about a 1-gun arsenal for all those animals, you should be looking at: .270 WSM, 7mm WSM, 7mm Rem mag, .300 WSM, .264 Win Mag, .300 Win. (in my order of preference). Yes, you will be over-gunned in some situations but that's vastly preferable to being under-gunned.