Caliber for Deer and Elk

Discussion in 'Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics' started by bobh918, Dec 1, 2010.

  1. bobh918

    bobh918 Well-Known Member

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    Was open to opinions on selecting a caliber to be used mainly for mule deer and some elk. I already have 300RUM, but it is a tank to carry at over 15lbs, so I was looking for a lightweight pack rifle in factory chambering. Was thinking about a 270wsm as it would be in between my 300ultra and 25wssm, but as said above, I am open to your thoughts. Also, I am really torn between which rifle to go with. I have remmys, a winny, and savage and all of them are great shooters. Guess I'm just trying to say what should I go with for out of the box accuracy. I know I can always rebuild any of those three later on down the road, but how are the brownings or tikkas? Just want to get a good out of the box rifle that I don't have to worry about messing with too much to take an elk or deer with a little ways out. Forgot to mention shots would probably max out at 600-700 yards. Thanks in advance for your thoughts.
     
  2. Long Time Long Ranger

    Long Time Long Ranger Well-Known Member

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    For a hunting rifle at the max range you stated get a Tikka T-3 Light in 338 Winchester. Mine is a one hole rifle at 100 yards and easily takes big game to 800 yards. It is extremely accurate with low recoil and is a hammer at dropping big game. I am shooting the 185 Barnes TTSX at 3220 fps. Needs no brake and weighs 7 1/2 pounds scoped out. It has become my favorite carry rifle.
     

  3. Nomad

    Nomad Banned

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    You might think of a 06.....
     
  4. JARHEAD1371

    JARHEAD1371 Well-Known Member

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    It's tough to beat a 7mm SAUM or WSM. Very accurate and very deadly.
     
  5. 338 bruce

    338 bruce Well-Known Member

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    338 federal, 338-06, 338 win mag with a 225 accubond. I dont think very many people that have used a 338 for hunting would suggest anything less. you cant tell the differance when looking thru the scope and theres a lot less meat damaged with the larger caliber.
     
  6. sniperjwt

    sniperjwt Well-Known Member

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  7. roninflag

    roninflag Well-Known Member

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    ehat nomad and jar head said. either a sako or remington
     
  8. mntnflyr4fun

    mntnflyr4fun Member

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    I have taken lots of bulls with 30-06 and 300 win mag w/ 180 gr. Speer Grand Slams and my 338 win mag with 250 gr. Speer Grand Slams. Both magnums kill elk at 500-600 yards, BUT the 338 knocks em to the ground hard, and ruins no meat. The 06 worked fine, but leaves a lot on the table when the range starts to stretch past 400 yds.

    My personal experience with my 300 WinMag is that its a little to hot for deer sized game unless they are out there pretty far, and a little on the light side for elk when the range starts to stretch. Plus it has a much sharper(faster) recoil than my 338 which hits you pretty hard, but does it a little slower which I like better..... The elk country I hunt (coast range of Ore) puts a majority of shots at 500+ yds.

    The 250gr. Speer Grand Slams have been very effective bullets for me at all ranges from 75yds to 600 yds, and I have confidence in the bullet when I pull the trigger. I have always felt that if I could put the bullet on the elk, that the bullet would be up to the job.

    I have never tracked a bull yet that I have shot with my 338, as I said it literally knocks them to the ground and it leaves a nice 4" hole where it comes out. The last bull I killed was at 485 yds, 1 shot behind the shoulder, the bull dropped in his tracks and the recovered bullet weighed 220gr. I am currently evaluating other bullet designs(boat tails/polymer tips) for the 338 to get a little flatter trajectory for up to 800 yds, but I can't think of any reason that I would change my 338 for any other of my guns.

    Is a 338 overkill for deer? My opinion, no way. I am a fan of heavy slow bullets as a way to kill game without "blowing them up".
     
  9. screech

    screech Well-Known Member

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    If your doing a custom, 6.5x284 or 7wsm
     
  10. mntnflyr4fun

    mntnflyr4fun Member

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    "overgunned" is when the other guy has one too.
     
  11. mntnflyr4fun

    mntnflyr4fun Member

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    Although under-appreciated by the rifle toting crowd, I have been a BIG fan of Ruger rifles for decades and have owned a 1/2 dozen or so in various calibers. My brother and I both bought Stainless .338 Win Mags from Ruger a number of years ago that produced 3 shot 100yd. groups you could cover with a quarter right out of the box for around $450 bucks and I've never tried a load it didn't like pretty much as well.....pretty hard to beat that.

    Ruger doesn't win any competitions for fancy, but all of mine have been ultra reliable and thats what I demand in the woods.

    There are MANY more factors affecting shot placement than inherrent accuracy of a gun/load than the difference between a 1" group and a 1/2" group when you get to shooting over a log across the canyon with the wind blowing 30mph sleet and rain, downhill through the brush etc......and as far as a butter smooth action? Only matters when you are sitting around petting your gun at the end of the day. I don't know about the rest of you, but when the shooting starts, I have yet even notice the gun going off, let alone how smooth the action felt in my hands while racking in another round.

    IMHO Ruger rifles meet the hunting requirements very nicely at a great price and when you beat one up a little, the gouges become battle scars, not wounds needing healing.

    With a synthetic stock my .338 comes in at round 9 1/2 lbs with scope.

    I guess it all depends if you are building a gun to go or a gun for show........
     
  12. bobh918

    bobh918 Well-Known Member

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    I appreciate all of the feedback you fellow members have given me. It seems like the 338 caliber is a clear winner. on another side note, how would you guys compare the recoil of the 338 win mag to say a 300 weatherby? I am not so much worried about myself, but I do let my father-in-law borrow my rifle for his elk hunts and I don't want something that will put him into the ground. I have been letting him borrow a braked 300 ultra, but it has a 28" barrel and I would like something shorter that would be an excellent backpack gun. Also, would prefer not to brake this rifle as well.
     
  13. bobh918

    bobh918 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks
     
  14. mntnflyr4fun

    mntnflyr4fun Member

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    Recoil has lots of variables related to gun weight, the load your shooting etc., but my experience is that shooting the 338 with a 250 gr. bullet the recoil is "heavy" but "slow" when compared to my 300 WinMag with 180's and my 300WSM with 180's. None of which are equipped with any muzzle brakes etc. Just straight sporter contour barrels...

    Out of the three, I prefer to shoot my 338 as both my 300's have a "sharp" recoil which is uncomfortable to me.

    I will say however that I have never fired any of these guns at game where the recoil was noticeable. The rush of getting on game, takes the recoil out of the picture. The only place I ever deal with recoil in regards to its comfort level is at the range when doing load development or sight-in work. For this reason I purchased a high density foam shoulder kick pad to wear at the range. That pretty much deals with all the recoil issues with my guns.

    I personally don't feel that anyone who is experienced shooting magnum calibers would find the 338 any more/less uncomfortable than others of the same capability and certainly less than the big Weatherbys or ultramags.