long450 mentioned christensen arms. I work for them and have shot pretty much every caliber that we have made with and with out muzzlebreaks. with that said i would recomend a 300 WSM or 325 WSM with a muzzlebreak, i would compar these to a very light 243 win with no break recoil. just a suggestion. if you have any questions you can drop me a PM. huntinfool18
How hardcore of a hunter is your wife? How many times have you both been to Alaska to hunt? Do you have a trip to Alaska planned? Does she hunt without you? I think it would be best to be more practical and gear your choice for the majority of the hunts she likely to experience
If you wife is small in stature and already has problems with her shoulder, I’d rule out the magnums right off the bat in a carry rifle - If it hurts her to shoot it, she’s going to reach for her 25-06 and dread shooting the new rifle.
Take advantage of the new light weight technology and build her a light weight rifle that is well balanced. I’d try and go lighter than her current rifle - she’ll appreciate it and it shouldn’t be that hard. Get a removable muzzle brake with protective crew on cap. She can practice with the muzzle brake and remove it for hunting (…it goes along ways in removing a flinch response).
If she always hunts with you then you can definitely go with a milder caliber that still gets the job done. A 308 with a 1 in 10 twist can shoot heavy bullets and is fine for short distances. I’d say a 7mm-08 with a fast twist is okay; really either caliber is fine for most animals in North America if you eliminate the big bears. If by chance you do go for the big bruins, you can carry your big stick for back up.
If you build her something she enjoys shooting, is light weight and is accurate, she’s going to grab for it every time. If she hurts every time she shoots it, then you’ll be going to Alaska with your buddies…. Hmmmmmm.
I've been down the same road with my wife. She shoots a Ruger no. 1 in 280 rem (168gr SMK's at 2800Ft/s). It's a light rifle with a fairly sharp recoil for a 110 pound lady. Shooting one or two shots is no problem, but extended bench sessions, pretty much anything after 5 shots, starts to take it's toll.
Fitted a mercury recoil reducer, and probably even more effective a limbsaver recoil pad. Made a huge difference. She feels a lot more comfortable, shoots a lot better, and can spend plenty of time on the bench sighting in loads etc.
My vote would be for the 338-06. WSM's use about 15 grains more powder to get extra velocity that she would never need. Build it in around an 8 pound rifle with a well designed stock, Limbsaver, and muzzle brake and it should be about as good as you can get for what she wants. I've always liked the 338-06 but just not enough reach for me. Best of luck.
Ignorance is bliss...unless you're aware of it.
I would get her out and shoot several of the calibers mentioned if you have access to them. I think that will determine what you can hunt. On a small frame or recoil shy I vote for a 7-08 with a 175 smk. BUT I wouldn't personally hunt Griz with it.
Certain animals gain respect and kind of go along with hard kicking rifles, and I would put a Griz on that short list.
As for Africa Plains game in an open area such as the Eastern Cape can be taken with a light lo recoil rifle such as a 7-08 Although an Ealand would be pushing the envelope. In the thick areas I would shoot a mid or big bore to anchor them.
"Fast is fine accurate is final"