Deciding on a new big game rifle...

Discussion in 'Long Range Hunting & Shooting' started by cohunter14, Oct 29, 2012.

  1. cohunter14

    cohunter14 Well-Known Member

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    I have been doing a lot of reading on here for a long time, but decided it was time to make the first post! I am looking to buy a new big game rifle that will be used primarily for elk, deer, and antelope hunting. My goal is to get a very flat-shooting gun that I can kill confidently with at 500 yards, possibly a little more once I get comfortable with it. Having said that, I am trying to decide between the 300 Win Mag, 7mm Ultra Mag, or the 300 Ultra Mag. I could be swayed towards another caliber as well (7 Mag, 300 WSM, etc), but these seem to be the best choices that I have seen. I am just looking for any and all opinions as to why you would choose one over the other. One thing that I have already been contemplating is the ease of finding ammo and/or reloading components for the 300 Win versus either of the Ultra Mags. Any other positives or negatives about one or the other would be appreciated!
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2012
  2. Joe King

    Joe King Well-Known Member

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    Most modern chamberings shoot flat to 500 and are very adequate for Elk at that range, and that list start s with the old work horse 30-06.

    Of the 3 you listed I would just go get the 300Win and be done with it. Ammo and fire arm availability being the major deciding factor, with less recoil than the 300ultra, and wider range of bullets over the 7mm being the icing, and since your also realizing you have to practice the better barrel life of the 300Win would be your sprinkles.

    I shoot a 7mag and to be honest I really don't feel any desire to use anything else, it's got plenty of poop to 1000yrds.

    One other thing to keep in mind, how the rifle fits you is more important than anything else, since if you can't drive it well to begin with, your going to fight it some and that's not good for the confidence.
     

  3. Scot E

    Scot E Well-Known Member

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    Welcome to LRH!

    Here is my take on your situation! :)

    You should prepare for elk even if it is overkill for the other animals you intend to shoot. Your narrowed down list will all handle elk but I prefer as big of a whole as possible for elk so I would go 30 cal. To 500 yards about any 30 cal will get the job done, even less powerful cartridges than you listed. I would personally go with the 300 Win Mag and not look back for these reasons.
    1. It handles many different bullets weights well which will help it be a better all round gun.
    2. Less recoil is always better for most guys when it comes to accuracy so don't get more than you need. And the Win Mag will do about anything you need, just look at the performance that Broz gets with his! http://www.longrangehunting.com/forums/f19/cmparing-berger-210-vld-215-hybrid-88657/
    3. Better Barrel Life
    4. Less expensive to shoot which gives you more money from more practice!
    5. Very popular so you can find components and ammo everywhere.

    I might encourage you to look at the 338 Win Mag. There are some great threads here about what guys are doing with the light weight bullets in this cartridge for a flat shooting option while still having the option to go big and heavy if needed. High BC to 500 yards isn't a big issue so this would be a great way to put an even bigger whole in the critter while still getting good ballistic performance.

    Good luck!

    Scot E.
     
  4. cohunter14

    cohunter14 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the replies guys! I haven't looked into 338, but I definitely will. As far as finding a rifle that fits, I think I have my choice down on that one in a Remington 700, which is what I have shot forever in a 30-06.

    To add on to my questions, I understand that a 30-06 can shoot out to 500+ yards, but between bullet drop (4 feet) and decreased retained energy (less than 1,400 ft-lbs) with a 180 gr bullet, that isn't really a combo for killing elk, correct? I see some of the same problems with the 7 mag at those ranges as well. Am I missing something there?

    Thanks again for the input guys!
     
  5. Scot E

    Scot E Well-Known Member

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    I know many gents here subscribe the the ft-lbs theory but I am not one of them. I choose a velocity where I know I will get proper expansion and that is how I choose my max shoot to distance. Every bullet is different so a lot comes into play figuring out that info. There has been a lot of elk taken with a 180 grain bullet to 4-500 yards! A LOT! With the 190-208 grain bullets I wouldn't hesitate to take a bull at 500 yards with my 30'06, IF a good shot presented itself. It really is all about shot placement with proper expansion.

    Not trying to talk you out of a new gun but if you really have an accurate shooting '06 I would look pretty hard at finding a good load, then buying a upper end scope where you can trust it to dial repeatably and then start practicing. Or square it up, add a good barrel and get your scope. You would still be well under a new gun. Again, not trying to talk you out of anything. There is just a lot of magnumitus on this forum and many guys end up not being able to make it work. Just look at how many magnum calibers you see for sale here. That isn't a coincidence. Most guys end up not liking the recoil and cost.

    Scot E.
     
  6. Joe King

    Joe King Well-Known Member

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    yea you are missing one thing, elk aren't that hard to kill their not bullet proof, putting that round on target the 1st time is far more important than all the energy and lazer flat trajectories in the world. Those numbers you see on the web and ammo boxes, and ballistic calcs, are just that numbers. A 243 with a properly placed bullet will kill an elk just as dead as 20mm canon. My point is if you want to shoot an animal at any range, you'd be far better off with a scope capable of longer ranges and learning to drive the rifle you already have to it's very edge, then move up and employ what you've learned, you shoot a lot more and spend less. I get how easy it is now days to underestimate just how capable the chamberings of yesterday are when you look at whats out now. But they will still do the job as long you are up to the task, if your not up to it, no rifle of any caliber is going to help that.

    On the other hand if you really need feel the need to get another rifle, then by all means! A guy can't have to many! I sooo can't wait for the day I can afford a 338 Lapua.
     
  7. snowpro440

    snowpro440 Well-Known Member

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    I would go for a 300 WSM just to get away from the belted case . As far as a rifle I would go with a custom action or used action and custom barrel for accuracy. Buy once and get the rifle you want the first time .
     
  8. cohunter14

    cohunter14 Well-Known Member

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    I hear what you guys are saying, and I completely agree: a well placed shot takes care of everything. Having said that, Scot, is there somewhere you can find what velocity each bullet requires? Or is that a trial and error type of thing? I have heard that it varies significantly from bullet to bullet, but I have never been able to find the numbers.

    On a side note, I guess I should have pointed out my goals and reasoning for looking at these calibers: When it is all said and done, I would really like to have a gun that I can have one load that is used to hunt all of the big game I hunt. I also like the idea of the flatter shooting rifles simply because when hunting, most often times you are not presented with time to make adjustments to a scope, at least in my experience. I would rather know that I am going to get 24" of bullet drop at 500 yards and be able to account for that versus 4+ feet of bullet drop. It would also make for the in-between yardages being easier to adjust for as well. Just my thoughts, but I could be way off! :D

    Snowpro, if I were to go for a WSM, why not just go for one of the RUM's? It seems that the same issue with all of them is lack of available ammo, so if I were going to deal with that issue, wouldn't it make more sense to just get a RUM? Again, I could be way off on my thinking so correct me if I am wrong.

    Thanks again for all of the input guys, it is really appreciated!
     
  9. Broz

    Broz Well-Known Member

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    I have been through many 30 cals on many different cases. Now it is the 300 win for me hands down. Mine has taken 11 big game animals in 12 days this season. Closest was 200 yards , farthest was 1285 yards. They wera all either DRT or only took a few steps.


    edit:
    PS: Scott E pointed out a thread I have put up this season with a ton of data on my rifle with the 215 Bergers. After reading your last post I too would encourage you to read it and look at the velocities and success rate of this rifle. 3050 fps from a 215 gr bullet is nothing to pass over. It has proven to be a sweet deal for me. Look it all over and see if you feel it will work for you

    http://www.longrangehunting.com/forums/f19/cmparing-berger-210-vld-215-hybrid-88657/


    Jeff
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2012
  10. cohunter14

    cohunter14 Well-Known Member

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    Broz, what are you shooting ammo-wise?

    Edit: didn't put two and two together there, thanks Broz!
     
  11. Broz

    Broz Well-Known Member

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    I edited and added a PS: to my last post. I use hand loads with H-1000 and a 215 Berger this year. In the years past I used H-1000 and the 210 Berger.

    Jeff
     
  12. Ridgerunner665

    Ridgerunner665 Well-Known Member

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    I would just use that 30-06...big boomers are one thing, but familiarity trumps all...use high BC 180 grain bullet,, and go kill elk....500 yards, maybe even 600 if you can put the bullets where they need to go.
     
  13. Ridgerunner665

    Ridgerunner665 Well-Known Member

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    Ok...made that other post from my phone...I hate posting with that thing, the spellchecker plays tricks on me.

    The 30-06...
    A 180 grain Nosler Accubond (or Ballistic Tip) launched at about 2,800 fps will have a good bit of power at 600 yards, the BC is pretty good...at it will expand at 1,800 fps, which is about the 600 yard velocity.

    I would say Berger 185, but I have yet to see what they do at 1,800 fps...they'll probably work fine, I just haven't seen it yet.


    This is the route I have gone myself...I've never hunted elk but I plan to in the coming years, hopefully several times. I built a rifle just for this purpose, its a Win M70 with a McMillan stock and a Vortex Viper HS 4-16x44 scope....I'll admit that 600 yards is pushing it, but it is well within the realm of possibility...its not a real long range rifle (by comparison to a 338 EDGE), I like to call it a "medium range hunter"...death to any deer at 600 yards, I may call it 500 yards for elk...but still...its far more practical for me than one of these big magnums, and I learned long ago that I'm a MUCH better shot with something that doesn't kick like a mule...I have a 300WM, shot it enough over the years to wear the barrel plumb out...and I'm still a better shot at 800 with a 308 Win....thats why I say "familiarity trumps all".

    As I have said before...I have nothing against the big guns, I just know I don't shoot them as good as I do the little ones.

    EDITED TO ADD: Now I wouldn't exactly say I'm a recoil wimp :D ... I shot pretty good with my 300WM, but I have always been better with a 308...so when I spec'd my new rifle...I chose accuracy over power and have really taken a liking to my new 30-06.
     
  14. Scot E

    Scot E Well-Known Member

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    I hear what you are saying. I would say go with the Win Mag and don't look back! I would encourage you to at least try getting used to a ballistic card and using holdover on your reticle or dialing your turrets for the exact distance. With some practice it doesn't take any time at all and your accuracy will be much better than the "I need to hold 16 inches over his back" style!

    Scot E.