what caliber should I buy?

Discussion in 'Long Range Hunting & Shooting' started by buckmaster5563, Nov 13, 2011.

  1. buckmaster5563

    buckmaster5563 New Member

    Nov 13, 2011
    I am looking a deer rifle with tremendous knockdown power. Tired of deer running. Need rifle that will drop them where they stand. Also hunt elk, red stag and caribou. Largest quarry would be a kudu or gemsbok. Have had a lazzeroni warbird, but it was not consistently accurate and did not perform as advertised. Should I look at the 300 RUM, 338 Lapau, 338-378 Weatherby? Price is not a huge concern; will gladly pay for dependable performance. How about scopes...are Zeiss, svarosky, huskemow worth the money or are there cheaper models that perform equally well? Most of my shots are 400 yards or less. Thanks.
  2. TannerGun

    TannerGun Well-Known Member

    Jun 21, 2011
    There are some videos on youtube.com of a guy shooting whitetails (yeah I know, not too tough to knock down, but still) from 600+ yards with a 7STW. I believe he's shooting 168 Bergers, and the thing just slams those whitetail.

    You might be looking for something heavier, but a 7STW/7RUM would definitely beat the bejeesus out of just about any deer you shoot with it.

  3. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

    Jul 29, 2004
    Bullet diameter has a huge effect on knock down ability so for what you want something
    in 338 or larger would be my recommendation.

    A good example is the 444 or 45/70. For short range they will up end almost anything
    because the larger bullet transfers the energy to the game faster.

    But for longer ranges you need something with better ballistics and still a large cross section.

    Bullet selection and shot placement has a huge part of knock down ability also.

    There is no best cartrige for everything so some compromises must be made. One way is to
    have a medium to large bore rifle(300 to 338) and load different bullets at different velocities
    for the game to be hunted and distances expected.

    So for all round hunting I would chose something in a 300 mag to a 338 mag. or do what most
    do and have several rifles from 7mm to 338 to be more specialized for certain game.

    Look at the ballistics of the 300s and 338s and there energy levels and effective range for energy
    (I use 1000 to 1200 ft/lbs for deer size game, and 2000 ft/lbs for Elk size game to determine
    maximum range)

    I know that this does not narrow it down very much but hopefully it will help.

    Good luck

  4. ken snyder

    ken snyder Well-Known Member

    Jul 26, 2010
    Buckmaster you certainly have picked some expensive critters to hunt. I dont think being able to afford only one nice rifle is an issue. You obviously dont need to build only one rifle that combines every shooting sport known to man into one package! I would recommend any of the more popular .375 caliber rifles to you. You have stated realistic and very achievable yardages. The .375 has several advantages. Recoil is about the same as a 338 with the same bullet weights. It is extremely well natured and will shoot different bullet weights to the same P.O.I. which gives the ability to carry more than 1 bullet 1 for long range and 1 for close range. You are probably shooting from an elevated position such as off the top of sticks, and your bullet is probably not encountering any vegetation until about the last 30 yds. or so and the .375 will give a lot less bullet deflection than the .338. They are also more effective for the first 30 yds. For exciting moments they are also very good for shooting short ranges through the Briar and Bramble that a Rabbit couldn't go. ( Although I will never consider them a Dangerous game caliber)
  5. TH

    TH Well-Known Member

    Jan 22, 2003
    Its not about horse power. Its about shot placement. I would buy a rifle that you can hit what you aim at. Many guys think they need a huge caliber rifle to kill something its not the case. If your only shooting 400 yards a 243 is plenty of gun. If you want to drop your deer in their track shoot them in the spine or neck. The problem with the big calibers is the recoil. Many guys try to shoot a 338 ultra mag in a 8lb rifle and the recoil is so great they can't shoot the rifle without flinching. Also try round nose bullets.
  6. Sully2

    Sully2 Well-Known Member

    Feb 28, 2011
    I agree 100%. Instead of a new rifle...it appears he needs shooting lessons instead!!!lightbulb
  7. TH

    TH Well-Known Member

    Jan 22, 2003
    There are sponsors on this forum that build custom rifles that train you how to shoot them also. There are several videos available on the online store that can help.
  8. skyfish25

    skyfish25 Well-Known Member

    Sep 28, 2010
    Shot placement. Helps more than any big cal will. My son shooting a 270WSM gets frustrated that when I shoot a dear with a 250 savage it drops so much quicker. I tend to wait longer for a good shot. I was tring to show him last year to be more patient. Hit them in boiler room, never travel more than a few paces.
  9. ken snyder

    ken snyder Well-Known Member

    Jul 26, 2010
    Well he did mention hunting animals that cost more per day when all is said and done than the average rifle costs. Unless he is hunting with the judge these animals aren't even available on the same continent. Once he arrives at these locations there is more to hunt than mentioned. can a rifle that is not considered over all adequate for the combination of these areas be taken seriously, I dont remember Dik Dik being mentioned as a species on his list. Telling a person to learn to shoot isn't much of a recommendation in this instance, neither are trick shots that are better left for paper targets. Now that we are not in Kansas any more it is probably not wise to equip ourselves as though we were!
  10. Buano

    Buano Well-Known Member

    Nov 28, 2009
    There is no caliber that will guarantee "dead right there" unless it is so explosive it splatters the carcass of what you are shooting. Only bullet placement into the brain or spinal column will guarantee an animal drops in its' tracks.

    That said, kinetic energy does matter, and cartridges starting with 7 MM RUM, going through .300 Weatherby & RUM, then jumping to .338 Lapua, RUM, and the .338-378 Weatherby.

    If you were only talking deer & staying inside 400 yards I would say look no farther than the .25-06 or .257 Weatherby. Both are fast enough they liquify tissue on contact. The first 3 deer I shot with a .25-06 didn't have a heart or lungs when I opened them up. The area ahead of the diaphragm was full of red soup.

    For elk on up I believe a .300 Weatherby is the smallest cartridge I would recommend. Yes, I know elk are killed with .243s, but a lot of elk are also hit with those bullets only to die a week later. I am seriously thinking about a .338 RUM or .338-.378 Weatherby for my next elk cartridge — and it looks like you are also. I picked up a nice .375 H&H for elk in the timber where shots shouldn't be over 400 yards but I prefer a flatter shooting cartridge for open ground.

    There is a big problem with shooting deer with a cannon — the cannon ball sized hole through the deer. One reason I went to the .25-06 for deer was the damage my 7 Mag did to deer carcasses if I shot one within 75 yards. There is also the reality that few people shoot big guns as well as they do smaller guns.
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2011
  11. AJ Peacock

    AJ Peacock Well-Known Member

    Oct 7, 2005
    As has been mentioned, there is no perfect caliber. A single day hunting might need 2-3 "perfect" rifles, depending on the range, terrain and wind. Hunting in Africa would complicate the issue of "perfect", since the quarry can change in 2 minutes time. I've given this question a considerable amount of thought over the last 30 years, and have come up with a "set" of rifles that I can choose from for just about any task at hand. I'm still looking for #4 below, but own the others and all shoot 1/2 MOA or better.

    In order of smallest game/lightest skin/closest to largest/heaviest/furthest
    1)243 Winchester (55gr and 90gr bullets)
    2) 7mm Rem Magnum (160gr Accubond bullets)
    3) .338 Edge (300gr SMK bullets)
    4) .375 H&H / .375 Ruger / .375 RUM
    5) .338 Allen Magnum (probably re-barrel to .375 allen mag in 5-6 years when barrel is toast).

    If I was visiting Africa, I'd bring #2 and #4.

    I bring #1, #2, or #5 when going after deer, the terrain and situation will determine which one I use.
    I bring #2,#3,#5 for Elk (it would be #2,#4,#5 if I had #4)

    For coyotes, I take #1,#2 (and a .22lr :) )

    So answering your question "which caliber should I buy?" is pretty much impossible. For expensive game up to 400 yards (including Africa), I'd just get #4 if you can handle the recoil, add something similar to #2 for the plains game.

    Scopes are an entirely different discussion. I really like the 4.5x14x40 Leupold for general use. I wouldn't use that much magnification for dangerous game.
    I use the Nightforce scopes on my sit and wait guns (ie. Long range style,NP-R1 reticles)
    The 1x4 has a HEAVY duplex, on 1x I can keep both eyes open and focus on anything from the end of the barrel out to 50 yards easily. At 4x, it's not an issue shooting to 400yards.
    The others have standard duplex (#1,#2)

    I have the following scopes for the above rifles:
    1) 2.5x8x36 Leupold
    2) 4.5x14x40 Leupold
    3) 3.5x15x50 Nightforce
    4) 1x4 Leupold (I have the scope, just looking for the right rifle) (will upgrade to 1x4x24 Nightforce at some point).
    5) 3.5x15x50 Nightforce

    Hope this is of some help,
  12. WildRose

    WildRose Well-Known Member

    Feb 3, 2011
    At those ranges the 300RUM is plenty of gun for just about any game and is much more tolerable on recoil than the big cased .338's.

    Of course at those ranges the .300 and .338 WM would also suffice pretty well.

    More often than not critters running off isn't so much a problem of "not enough gun" vs "not the right chioce in bullet selection."

    What caliber have you been shooting and what ammo/bullets that is giving you problems?

    As for the scopes you named all make great glass and are very dependable with good warranty and service. I can't speak directly to the Huskemaw as I have no first hand experience with them but they are spoken highly of by those that use them.
  13. LazzInc

    LazzInc Well-Known Member

    Nov 26, 2011
    Buckmaster5563 ,,,,,

    Lazzeroni caliber 7.82 (.308) Warbird is by far Lazzeronis’ #1 chambering, and I believe that it is the world's BEST all-around hunting caliber ,,,,

    The Warbird is the fastest commercially chambered/factory loaded 30 caliber cartridge in the world, it is beltless, it headspaces on the shoulder, and makes the most efficient use of its powder capacity, compared to all other super-magnums available ,,,,

    Smack any sized deer in the chest cavity (heart, lung, liver), using our extremely accurate 168gr HPBT factory loading for the Warbird, and 90% of them will never take another step ,,,, the other 10% are what we call "walking-dead" ,,,

    please tell me more about the Lazzeroni Warbird rifle you had with accuracy issues ,,, serial number if possible ,,,,,,
  14. Derek M.

    Derek M. Well-Known Member

    Jul 12, 2004
    I've been using a 270 on deer since the 80s. I've killed a LOT of deer. I can think of maybe 2 that didn't drop dead but actually made it around 3-15 steps, at best maybe 30 yards from where hit.

    The bullet I used more than any other was a ballistic tip.

    Just a thought, but if you are tired of deer running off then put the bullet in the shoulder and it won't matter what you shoot.