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Heavy hitting/light recoil elk/moose/griz rifle for the misses

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Unread 09-17-2007, 11:31 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 64
Heavy hitting/light recoil elk/moose/griz rifle for the misses

Well, it has been a while since I've spent much time on here:(, but thats the joy of a new job. Thanks to this new job and all the overtime, I will have a new rifle in my hands as soon as the scope gets in(back ordered). During a recent conversation with Jen about this rifle, she hinted at wanting a new rifle herself within the next year or two. Specifically, she wanted something that would be able to take care of any North American big game that her current rifle(25-06) couldn't quite cover. However there are two things that make this choice a bit of a challenge to me. In addition to her small frame, she also has issues with her firing shoulder, and both of us fear that anything with too much recoil could do more harm than good while in the back country(my 870 12-gage will dislocate her shoulder with any heavy hunting load). I know that having a heavier rifle will help, as will a brake(will have to hunt with it on though), but what calibers provide a viable option for her while still being able to be a rifle that she could carry all day long. She refuses to hunt big game past 300 yards, so long range terminal performance is not a requirement here. First thing that comes to my mind would be the 338 Federal or the 350 Remington mag, but as I have experience with neither of these I cannot say for sure. The other thing to consider would be weather to go with a factory chambering or a custom chambering, as I doubt(though I hope) that she will be active in reloading herself, and I am not sure I want her to rely on me as her only source of ammo. But she is open to wildcats, and has already given the green light to this being a custom build, so that is not a worry on that end.

I appreciate your time and thoughts on this, and once again I do apologize for not being able to spend as much time as I know I enjoyed on this great site(BTW, I like the new layout). And as soon as my scope gets here and she gets put together, I'll find a digital camera to borrow and get some pics posted up. Thanks again everyone.


Edit-I guess since we are on the subject, would any of these rounds get the job done in Africa as well? If I could get one rifle for her that could cover it all, the happier I am sure she would be and the quicker(I feel) that she would jump on the chance to hunt with me if we ever went to Africa. Thanks again.
Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori

Last edited by metau; 09-17-2007 at 11:34 PM. Reason: additioanl thought
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Unread 09-18-2007, 12:58 AM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Blackfoot, Idaho
Posts: 8,876
I'm up a a bit late and was about to head for the sack and you post popped in and got me to thinkin'.

If 300 yds is the max distance a bunch of cartridges can be eliminated. Any north american game and maybe africa eliminates a bunch more.

I'd say that the 338 cal would be the caliber of choice.

The 350 Rem has a belt and clunky bullets. (Girl talk for not pretty and no BC) The 35 Whelen is a dud in my opinion.

My original thought was the 280 or 280 AI but that kind of fell shot on the bigger game like brown bear and such.

I'd also say that the 338 Federal is a bit small as far as case size goes which would limit upper end loads a little more than necessary.

I'd suggest something like the 338-06 or 338 A-Square (same thing I think, or close). With a decent brake (I'd consider checking with a qualified smith on the number of ports for this special condition) you would have plenty of flexibility for velocities in any of the many good bullets available for this caliber.

The barrel doesn't need any excessive length to get that caliber of bullet going so the gun could be light and easy to handle.

Keep in mind that the lighter the gun the more effective the brake.

Good luck on you quest.
I may be the slowest guy on the mountain . . . . but . . . . I'm on the mountain!
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Unread 09-18-2007, 09:18 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Wilmington NC
Posts: 4,787
338 Federal or 325 WSM

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Unread 09-18-2007, 09:24 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Great Falls, MT
Posts: 205
+1 for roy.

I'm sure there are some folks here who may have better ideas but I would have to take a good hard look at the 338-06 also. I have a few friends who have shot it and ALL of them love it.
Genises 27-3: Now therefore take, I pray thee, thy weapons, thy quiver and thy bow, and go out to the field, and take me some venison...
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Unread 09-18-2007, 02:32 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Texas
Posts: 7,236
Heavy Hitter

Bounty Hunter had a good idea in the 325 WSM

You can use a short action and a 22'' to 24'' barrel
in about a #5 taper with a good muzzle brake,
this would keep the balance point well back.

I blue printed a 325 WSM in a Winchester with a #3 taper
and no muzzle brake and recoil was not bad, but the heaver
barrel and a brake should tame it way down.

And with a choice of 180,200 and 220grain bullets you cant
go wrong and you could reload lighter loads .

With 180gr factory loads and no break the recoil will be about
25.9 ft/lbs (about the same as a 3006 ) with the rifle weight
around 8.0 lbs .

Adding a muzzle break should reduce recoil to around 14 or 15 ft/lbs

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Unread 09-18-2007, 04:06 PM
Bronze Member
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 64
Thanks for the quick replies all. I decided to browse the web and my reloading manual after I posted and have to admit that neither the 325wsm or the 338-06 had entered my mind prior to me posting, but see like obvious shoe-ins once I glanced at their balistics. As for your comments on the 350 not being a pretty round, she don't care much for how a cartridge looks, as long as the rifle is visually appealing and even more so if it has a bit of character(read: lots of scratches). In fact, her biggest concern would be the quick, efficient and humane dispatching of game, wrapped up in a package that would allow her to do so while still keeping the spirit of the hunt alive and well inside. Her current rifle is right about 8.5 lbs unloaded, so I'd like to think that a total weight of 10 lbs would be more than resonable for her, and could maybe even approach the 12lb range if need be. I will have to take some more time and actually sit down and compare as best as I can all these rounds and then likely have a talk with some of the smiths on here about brakes v. weight v. chambering and try to figure out a happy medium. Thanks again for all your suggestions.

Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori
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Unread 09-18-2007, 06:12 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Pennsyltucky
Posts: 2,633
338WSM. you stated wildcats were a possibility. better bullet selection, more versatile than the 325.
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