Originally Posted by buck slayer
I'd take the 308Win over the 7mm-08.
I'm going to ask you two questions... how realistic is the 50-500yd range requirement? Here is why I ask, becuase if 95% of your shots will be within 250yds, and 5% past that... then that is a HUGE factor.
Are you looking for a caliber that will be effective at? Or are you serious about hunting deer out to 500yds and this will be a normal thing?
Do you handload?
Here is criteria I'd look at if I was picking a hunting caliber.
- Can stop the game I'm hunting
- Has some added safety factor to it(I don't like the response it will do good, just avoid the shoulder bone)
- Can be easy/economic to reload
- Is capable of flying flat for the distance needed
If its within 250yds and you handload.... then IMHO, just about all calibers that are in the 243/25/6mm etc. range will do fine.
All of them have enough punch to knock down a whitetail... without much of a change of where you aim. Even if you don't reload, factory ammo for all those calibers is more than good enough.
If you are talking about past 250yds... You need to take into consideration that a lot of calibers begin to drop significantly... A lot of the short action calibers(like the 308) start to tank fast past 300 yds. While not a problem on paper at the range, it is in the field where you only get one shot... you need to be spot on with your range estimates... I know from experience at the range, if you estimate the range to be 375yds and it really is 400yds your drop will be off by around 4-5"(200yd zero).... that is the difference between a hit or miss on a whitetail... The solution to this is get yourself something that will throw a good bullet quickly... this will allow you to require less adjustment/give you more forgiveness at longer distances with your elevation.
Now, you can take something like a 308win and shoot out to 500 yds(I shoot targets at 600 all the time with it) it will do the job, and have enough energy to kill a deer, but personally... in my opinion, I'd rather take any risk/guessing/etc. out of the picture when it comes to hunting... you screw up you will either miss, have a hell of a day tracking something, or worse cripple an animal.
Since you are talking about only whitetails(which aren't armor plated like people think) ... and plan to shoot "far"... I'd look into the 7mm rem. mag. I gives you the ability to throw a good bullet, far and fast.... If you plan to have the rifle for more than just whitetails, a 300 win mag will have the advantage of better ballistics with heavier bullets.
I was between a 7mm and a 300 win mag for hunting... I wanted one rifle for everything(I plan to go out west some day for something bigger) so I went with 300 (and becasue I already reload it) I think it the best "all around" caliber... it can be loaded down to light 30-06 when needed, doesn't have the goofy radius shoulder of a weatherby cartridge... has the ability to throw light bullet fast like a 7mm, and can be used with heavy bullets when they are needed... plus if you get a rifle equiped with comp it will be very manageable to shoot... I took my 300 out yesterday with 165gr at a little over 3000fps, and the recoil feels softer than my 308 shooting 168grs at over 2800fps, and that rifle is 4lbs heavier.
There is "dead" and there is "there it goes"..... and the challenge of hunting should be finding the game, and setting up the shot.... no whether the bullet will do its job.