A little history. Grew up in Washington state and hunted mule deer for many years in the large canyons of the snake river. Beautiful country and to bag any type of deer, you had to be able to take one at around 250-400yrds. Not really a long range for today's equipment, but that always will depend on how anal you want to be about your shooting craft. Hunted with my father's 8mm Rem. Mag and loaded my own rounds in high school and college. I believe I was loading 185grain noslers back then but can't be sure. Loved that gun, but it was not really a hunting piece as it was tricked out and mainly a "show piece." I could see my father shudder whenever I went hunting with it...lol.
Went to dental school a while back and basically have not even fired a rifle for 12 years and my wife is a "hippie" who hates guns altogether.
Anyways, I'm getting the fever to get back into shooting and reloading. I've been trolling several websites on which gear would be best for basically any north american game, and a good all around long range target shooting piece. Been on several "sniping" websites and the .308 seems to be everyone's favorite. For me, being accurate and "perfect" in your approach when you are about to take another life is paramount.
While the .308 may be great on the range, I suffer from "rifle peen" and have some serious doubts about using it on a large muley at 400yrds. I understand that shot placement is the ultimate killer of large game, but most of us who have hunted for any amount of time know that some of our shots have been less that perfect. I've had perfect shots, and poor shots, but the 8mm mag made up the difference except once where I had to shoot 3 times and was basically embarassed and shamed because the animal suffered so much.
To make a long story short, I would like to hear from anyone who has used a 30 06 as a competition rifle and a hunting rifle. The 30 06 used to be the bread and butter of target shooter, till the .308 was proven to basically just perform better. "Competition" can be used lightly. Thinking of a 7mm mag, .338, 30 06, .308, or the big pig .338. I want tight groups at 400-600 and enough power to take a monster muley or elk. I would love to purchase a great Remmington 700 ss 5-R Millspec, but don't know if it will be enough for an elk or huge mule deer. I know my skill, but NEED to know I'm doing the right thing for the animal in being resposible with the correct caliber. I also LOVE target shooting, so I need a "all-around" gun. Probably a 7mm mag...lol.
To those who read this post, I thank you for your follow up.
Yeah, I think I'll get a .308 and shoot the heck out of it at the range. I'll use it for hunting when appropriate down here in South Carolina. When I go home to hunt, I'll have to break out the 7mm mag for the longer shots, and quite frankly, the larger deer.
Just a suggestion that might fit your requirements---300WSM. The 7's are good to because both of these calibers have great powder and bullet selections now that will give you the versatility and accuracy you are looking for given you do your part. If you want PM me with a number and we can discuss. I am a 1K BR competitor who likes to win as well as a hunter and shooter who has been doing this for 28 years.
The Truth Is Not Always Good For Business!!
Nocode111, I am in a similar situation as you. I was out of the shooting game for many years due to some personal issues, such as a couple of divorces, etc. I used to shoot and hunt with a 7mm RM and it's a great cartridge, but after getting back in the game I opted for a 300 WSM for a few reasons which I wont get into. Anyway, the 300 WSM is IMO a good LR hunting rifle out to 800-900 yds for elk size game and large mullies. I base that on the fact that it will deliver a bullet to those ranges with terminal opening performce velocities. If you want to shoot farther than that, then you should consider something like a larger bore 7mm, 300 RUM, or big 338 etc.
Before you make a decision check out a lot of these threads. Hope this helps. And welcome back.
Just made my purchases for some shotguns. They should be here soon, but my poor head is swimming with all this information available on this forum for rifles. It's quite frankly, awesome.
I think of it this way, and it's how I run my practice. I buy the best equipment and technology available based on good science, then there is no excuse for a poor product. If it's bad, then I did it, not the equipment.
So, for the next couple months, I will be trolling all over this website to figure out what I want. Probably a 7mm something. Have to love the capabilities of the 338 though. Get the rifle made, then show up with my old hunting buddies in Washington/Idaho with a tricked out rifle. I will have to endure the rolling eyes and whispers about....."just another Dr. with his crazy rifle." Pulling out a range finder and a palm pilot will definately seal the deal. haha. I'll never hear the end of it. I just better not miss that LONG shot!!!
Well, you could go both ways (at the same time). 338 AND 7mm. talk to Kirby (Fiftydriver)
7mm Allen Magnum 338 Lapua Magnum parent case, necked down to 7mm and fireformed to min body taper and shoulder angle.
140 gr.(3800 fps) up to 200 gr. ULD RBBT(.900 bc) 3200 to 3350 fps from 26” to 30” barrel lengths
Designed for long range big game hunting up to and including elk and moose. Has been used effectively on elk out to 1300 yards and has also proven one of the most ballsitically potent rounds in use today including the 277 AllenMagnum and the 338 AllenMagnum. Has proven capable of ½ moa accurate out to 1000 yards and 1 moa accurate out to 2800 yards in good conditions.
Appropriate powders: H-Retumbo, H-50BMG, H-870, H-US869, AA8700 and WC872
Although I don't think it would live long on the target range, but then again, everybody's defination of long is subject to discussion.
I had the opportunity to visit Kirby and shoot a couple of his guns. My first 2 shots from his 7mmAM resulted in a 2 3/4" group @ 630 Yds. from bipod/rear bag. I'll get mine next year and I should be able to do better once I get dialed into the gun.