What caliber for a sheep rifle?

Discussion in 'Long Range Hunting & Shooting' started by srhaggerty, Oct 20, 2006.

  1. srhaggerty

    srhaggerty Well-Known Member

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    What caliber would you choose for a sheep hunt and why, and you wanted to keep shots 500 yards and under?

    I will start it off. These are some I thought of:

    260
    7-08
    270WSM
     
  2. tsmiller4

    tsmiller4 Well-Known Member

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    22.243. 25/06, 25wssm, 6.5/06, .308, 270wsm, 7wsm, 300wsm, etc.
     

  3. srhaggerty

    srhaggerty Well-Known Member

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    I had never really given thought to a 22 cal for a sheep gun. COuld you put him down right where he sits, without a head shot? I do like the 25/06 or equivalent cartrides.
     
  4. remingtonman_25_06

    remingtonman_25_06 Well-Known Member

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    I wouldn't take no .22 center fire for a sheep, you gotta be nuts!! Sheep are some of the toughest critters pound for pound, theres about 350-400 lbs of solid muscle on a big Ram. I wouldn't even use my beloved 25-06. I would say the minimum I would take is a .270 win w/140g AB or something similar. Sheep are known for being tough and any 7mm, 300, 338 WM is not out of place. YOu want to be able to anchor them on spot because you dont want them running off in that kinda terrain, not to mention it might be a trophy of a lifetime.
     
  5. srhaggerty

    srhaggerty Well-Known Member

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    Rem,

    I agree 100%. I was thinking the 7-08 would be a good choice, but maybe the 7WSM would be more wiser choice.
     
  6. tsmiller4

    tsmiller4 Well-Known Member

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    Not saying the .22 cal is the best choice, but it will do the job. I've seen more than several wyoming elk fall to the .22x.243 at ranges up 800yds. Like I said its not the best tool, but it will get the job done with precise bullet placement, an experienced shooter, and the proper bullet selection. Also I agree that the WSM's would be hard to beat in that situation.
     
  7. Fiftydriver

    Fiftydriver <strong>Official LRH Sponsor</strong>

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    If I were looking to build as light of a rifle as possible and still have legit consistant 500 yard reach, I would probably go with a 280 AI. The reason would mainly be that the 7mm offers a great selection of bullets. My first choices would be the 169.5 gr ULD RBBT Wildcat or the 160 gr Accubond.

    These are more then you need for sheep but in sheep country it is often windy. Alot of times VERY windy with alot of updrafts, down drafts and multidirectional winds. The high BC bullets would help greatly in these conditions yet still they are not so heavy that recoil would be severe.

    The 280 AI can be housed in a Rem 700 which is lighter then most custom receivers of the same design. I would go with a carbon fiber Manner stock, two piece Burris DD bases and DD signature rings with a lightweight Leupold scope in the saddles.

    More then likely I would use a DE brake as well. barrel length would be 24" and barrel contour in the #2 to #3 Lilja range, 1-9 twist 6 groove.

    The 280 AI will do pretty much anything the 7mm WSM will do and feed MUCH better as well then the stubby fat WSM. Most of the 280AIs I have built for customers come suprisingly close to matching the 7mm Rem Mag in 24" barrels.

    For a bit more weight though, I would also lean toward the same basic rifle but with a 26" barrel in 270 AM loaded with the 169.5 gr ULD RBBT to 3350 fps. 500 yards would be a chip shot and terminal energy would be far greater then most other chamberings in such a light weight rifle.

    Kirby Allen(50)
     
  8. srhaggerty

    srhaggerty Well-Known Member

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    I never thought of the 280 AI. Can you do a 280 in a short action?

    Obviously this would be as light a gun as possibly.

    You know the reason I am thinking of this is because my 277AM is to heavy. It is by no means a pig to carry but for sheep hunting I would prefer less weight. Although I love the recoil of the 277AM with the 169.5's, incidentally those 195's wake you up a bit more, I thought in a light weight rifle recoil might be more than desired. My thought is to build twins one for me and one for my wife.

    Could you or would you go shorter? 22"?

    What is an achievable weight? 6 lbs?
     
  9. Michael Eichele

    Michael Eichele Well-Known Member

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    Sheep are a life cycle waiting to expire. In other words, they are NOT tough to kill.

    A good 308 gets my vote due to its exceptional accuracy and will cleanly harvest a big ram out to 600 yards and beyond with the right bullets, AMAX, ACCUBOND ect....Also the bore life will last you much longer than most other "hotter" mid sized cartridges. The one thing you want to do a lot of when planning a sheep hunt is practice. Sheep opprotunities are hard to come by and/or are very expensive, the last thing you want to do is miss your 1 life long opprotunity. 308's are cost effective (so are others) but the 308 barrel will still shoot more accurate longer so you can really get profficient with your weapon. I dont like long action calibers for sheep because you DONT need that kind of horse power to kill a ram and it adds weight and length to the firearm. A sheep rifle should be at least semi light and semi compact. Dont get me wrong, my sheep rig is almost 13 pounds due to the heavy barrel. My point is you dont want unnessecary weight. A heavy barrel can help you hit a small target at LR in cold weather, a long action wont help you kill any ram any deader. It will just slow you down even more.

    Sure, if a 243 or 6.5 or 7-08 tickles your fancy, they will cleanly kill any ram just as good as a 308 out to 600 yards and beyond.

    Bottom line, pick the caliber you like best and dont look back. All the medium calibers (308, 243, 6.5x284, 7-08 not neccesarily in that order) are pretty darn accurate. It will be a question of cost, predudeces and barrel life.
     
  10. dawaba

    dawaba Active Member

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    Here's what I used for my Grand Slam:

    Dall--.30-06, 150 Nosler Partition, one shot, dumped in his tracks.
    Stone--7mm Rem Mag, 140 Nosler Parttion, one shot, dumped in his tracks.
    Desert Bighorn--25-06, 120 Nosler Partition, one shot, ran 40 yds.
    Rocky Mnt Bighorn--.284 Win, 140 Nosler Partition, one shot, did a back flip.

    Look in your gun safe.....you already have a sheep rifle. They have no constitution and any whitetail cartridge will work. Only the desert ram was further than 150 yds, 280 yds in this case. Last Sunday, I also shot a trophy elk at 280 yds in Arizona, but with a .338 Win Mag. I wouldn't shoot a sheep with a .22 calibre cartridge, nor a whitetail either. Dave
     
  11. TMR

    TMR Well-Known Member

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    Maybe through the 243AI in there also......with the 105gr Berger it is almost the same energy as the 260 with a 140gr bullet at 500 yds. Sounds like you are wanting to have a short action by the calibers you first listed. In a long action, I would agree with Kirby, the 280AI is hard to beat. In a short action, I would go with the 243AI with a 1-8 twist barrel. Would be low recoil and lightweight. Just another option.
     
  12. Freebore

    Freebore Well-Known Member

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    1. A .257 Weatherby in the lightwt. Fast, Flat, Kills like lightning. 115 grain bullet.
    2 .270 but the Lightweight is lighter.
    3. A 7Mag w/140 barnes SS Stalker also fill this ticket.
     
  13. Andy W

    Andy W Well-Known Member

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    As a former sheep guide I will tell you that way too much emphasis is put on the gun. I guided for dall sheep and I have personally killed 4 rams (with my bow) and they are not tough to kill. THe 3 most important things when hunting sheep are physical fitness, mental fitness and being able to shoot watever weapon you are toting. 6mm on up is fine. Bring which ever gun you can shoot accurately and pack with you for 10 miles a day for 10 days.
     
  14. Wild_Bill

    Wild_Bill Well-Known Member

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    Hi a good 6.5 or 7mm would be my choice i would use my Model7 SS in 7MM SAUM as it would be awsome but a 6.5SAUM or 7mmSAUM would both be awsome in a short action like a Model7 but in a long action a 6.5-248, 284 or 280AI would all be great choices. My choice would be to have a rifle that shoots 1/2" groups at 100 yards is light enouge to carry i would fir a 2.5-10 Nightforce scope and in a Model7 Magnum with muzzle Break. the Model7 magnums have a 22" barrel so it is still under 24" with break perfect for me.

    Cheers Bill
    Australia