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Deciding on a new big game rifle...

 
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  #1  
Old 10-29-2012, 01:11 PM
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Deciding on a new big game rifle...

I have been doing a lot of reading on here for a long time, but decided it was time to make the first post! I am looking to buy a new big game rifle that will be used primarily for elk, deer, and antelope hunting. My goal is to get a very flat-shooting gun that I can kill confidently with at 500 yards, possibly a little more once I get comfortable with it. Having said that, I am trying to decide between the 300 Win Mag, 7mm Ultra Mag, or the 300 Ultra Mag. I could be swayed towards another caliber as well (7 Mag, 300 WSM, etc), but these seem to be the best choices that I have seen. I am just looking for any and all opinions as to why you would choose one over the other. One thing that I have already been contemplating is the ease of finding ammo and/or reloading components for the 300 Win versus either of the Ultra Mags. Any other positives or negatives about one or the other would be appreciated!

Last edited by cohunter14; 10-29-2012 at 01:52 PM.
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  #2  
Old 10-29-2012, 02:01 PM
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Re: Deciding on a new big game rifle...

Most modern chamberings shoot flat to 500 and are very adequate for Elk at that range, and that list start s with the old work horse 30-06.

Of the 3 you listed I would just go get the 300Win and be done with it. Ammo and fire arm availability being the major deciding factor, with less recoil than the 300ultra, and wider range of bullets over the 7mm being the icing, and since your also realizing you have to practice the better barrel life of the 300Win would be your sprinkles.

I shoot a 7mag and to be honest I really don't feel any desire to use anything else, it's got plenty of poop to 1000yrds.

One other thing to keep in mind, how the rifle fits you is more important than anything else, since if you can't drive it well to begin with, your going to fight it some and that's not good for the confidence.
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Keep in mind the animals we shoot for food and display are not bullet proof. Contrary to popular belief, they bleed and die just like they did a hundred years ago. Being competent with a given rifle is far more important than impressive ballistics and poor shootability. High velocity misses never put a steak in the freezer.

Joe
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  #3  
Old 10-29-2012, 02:27 PM
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Re: Deciding on a new big game rifle...

Welcome to LRH!

Here is my take on your situation!

You should prepare for elk even if it is overkill for the other animals you intend to shoot. Your narrowed down list will all handle elk but I prefer as big of a whole as possible for elk so I would go 30 cal. To 500 yards about any 30 cal will get the job done, even less powerful cartridges than you listed. I would personally go with the 300 Win Mag and not look back for these reasons.
1. It handles many different bullets weights well which will help it be a better all round gun.
2. Less recoil is always better for most guys when it comes to accuracy so don't get more than you need. And the Win Mag will do about anything you need, just look at the performance that Broz gets with his! http://www.longrangehunting.com/foru...-hybrid-88657/
3. Better Barrel Life
4. Less expensive to shoot which gives you more money from more practice!
5. Very popular so you can find components and ammo everywhere.

I might encourage you to look at the 338 Win Mag. There are some great threads here about what guys are doing with the light weight bullets in this cartridge for a flat shooting option while still having the option to go big and heavy if needed. High BC to 500 yards isn't a big issue so this would be a great way to put an even bigger whole in the critter while still getting good ballistic performance.

Good luck!

Scot E.
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Old 10-29-2012, 02:37 PM
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Re: Deciding on a new big game rifle...

Thanks for the replies guys! I haven't looked into 338, but I definitely will. As far as finding a rifle that fits, I think I have my choice down on that one in a Remington 700, which is what I have shot forever in a 30-06.

To add on to my questions, I understand that a 30-06 can shoot out to 500+ yards, but between bullet drop (4 feet) and decreased retained energy (less than 1,400 ft-lbs) with a 180 gr bullet, that isn't really a combo for killing elk, correct? I see some of the same problems with the 7 mag at those ranges as well. Am I missing something there?

Thanks again for the input guys!
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Old 10-29-2012, 02:51 PM
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Re: Deciding on a new big game rifle...

Quote:
Originally Posted by cohunter14 View Post
Thanks for the replies guys! I haven't looked into 338, but I definitely will. As far as finding a rifle that fits, I think I have my choice down on that one in a Remington 700, which is what I have shot forever in a 30-06.

To add on to my questions, I understand that a 30-06 can shoot out to 500+ yards, but between bullet drop (4 feet) and decreased retained energy (less than 1,400 ft-lbs) with a 180 gr bullet, that isn't really a combo for killing elk, correct? I see some of the same problems with the 7 mag at those ranges as well. Am I missing something there?

Thanks again for the input guys!
I know many gents here subscribe the the ft-lbs theory but I am not one of them. I choose a velocity where I know I will get proper expansion and that is how I choose my max shoot to distance. Every bullet is different so a lot comes into play figuring out that info. There has been a lot of elk taken with a 180 grain bullet to 4-500 yards! A LOT! With the 190-208 grain bullets I wouldn't hesitate to take a bull at 500 yards with my 30'06, IF a good shot presented itself. It really is all about shot placement with proper expansion.

Not trying to talk you out of a new gun but if you really have an accurate shooting '06 I would look pretty hard at finding a good load, then buying a upper end scope where you can trust it to dial repeatably and then start practicing. Or square it up, add a good barrel and get your scope. You would still be well under a new gun. Again, not trying to talk you out of anything. There is just a lot of magnumitus on this forum and many guys end up not being able to make it work. Just look at how many magnum calibers you see for sale here. That isn't a coincidence. Most guys end up not liking the recoil and cost.

Scot E.
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  #6  
Old 10-29-2012, 03:04 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2012
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Re: Deciding on a new big game rifle...

Quote:
Originally Posted by cohunter14 View Post
Thanks for the replies guys! I haven't looked into 338, but I definitely will. As far as finding a rifle that fits, I think I have my choice down on that one in a Remington 700, which is what I have shot forever in a 30-06.

To add on to my questions, I understand that a 30-06 can shoot out to 500+ yards, but between bullet drop (4 feet) and decreased retained energy (less than 1,400 ft-lbs) with a 180 gr bullet, that isn't really a combo for killing elk, correct? I see some of the same problems with the 7 mag at those ranges as well. Am I missing something there?

Thanks again for the input guys!
yea you are missing one thing, elk aren't that hard to kill their not bullet proof, putting that round on target the 1st time is far more important than all the energy and lazer flat trajectories in the world. Those numbers you see on the web and ammo boxes, and ballistic calcs, are just that numbers. A 243 with a properly placed bullet will kill an elk just as dead as 20mm canon. My point is if you want to shoot an animal at any range, you'd be far better off with a scope capable of longer ranges and learning to drive the rifle you already have to it's very edge, then move up and employ what you've learned, you shoot a lot more and spend less. I get how easy it is now days to underestimate just how capable the chamberings of yesterday are when you look at whats out now. But they will still do the job as long you are up to the task, if your not up to it, no rifle of any caliber is going to help that.

On the other hand if you really need feel the need to get another rifle, then by all means! A guy can't have to many! I sooo can't wait for the day I can afford a 338 Lapua.
__________________
Keep in mind the animals we shoot for food and display are not bullet proof. Contrary to popular belief, they bleed and die just like they did a hundred years ago. Being competent with a given rifle is far more important than impressive ballistics and poor shootability. High velocity misses never put a steak in the freezer.

Joe
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  #7  
Old 10-29-2012, 04:19 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: pa
Posts: 377
Re: Deciding on a new big game rifle...

I would go for a 300 WSM just to get away from the belted case . As far as a rifle I would go with a custom action or used action and custom barrel for accuracy. Buy once and get the rifle you want the first time .
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