First magnum caliber

James K.

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Apr 3, 2019
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I had a Ruger American .308 for several years, but wanted to step up to a magnum as well. I chose a Bergara .300 Win Mag , upgraded Premier Pro in a Ridgeback Stock, by Grayboe… & installed a Leupold VX6-HD 3-18x44 with a TMOA reticle. Its a bit heavy at 11lb but I think this will work for any big game (elk, bear, moose,) in North America (providing distance & shot placement are reasonable).
 

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HRM Johnny

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I’m surprise nobody has mentioned in 26 Nosler. It’s not called magnum, but it is hugely overbore. If you want a big increase in muzzle velocity that might be a good choice. You seemed interested in 6.5 earlier.
I don’t own one. It’s on my bucket list. Just a thought. Something you might consider.
 

Subzero

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I’m surprise nobody has mentioned in 26 Nosler. It’s not called magnum, but it is hugely overbore. If you want a big increase in muzzle velocity that might be a good choice. You seemed interested in 6.5 earlier.
I don’t own one. It’s on my bucket list. Just a thought. Something you might consider.
I personally feel like a 6.5 bullet is too small for elk, no matter how fast it's going.
An impact velocity at or above 3,000fps may cause the bullet to explode on impact without necessary penetration. It also creates a bloodshot mess with a lot of wasted meat.
28 nosler would be a good choice shooting the 195g berger.
30 nosler would be even better. With a huge bullet selection.
 

HRM Johnny

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personally feel like a 6.5 bullet is too small for elk
I agree with @Subzero. However, the original poster indicated that he has a 30-06 that would be sufficient for elk. He also stated that the overwhelming majority of his hunting was deer and blackbear. 6.5 is it a reasonable choice for deer and blackbear.
So while I agree that 6.5 is not a good choice for elk; he can always use a 30-06 for elk. I think from what he said, elk will be a very small percentage of his hunting. He apparently lives in North Carolina. He said he hopes to be able to hunt elk next year. If he ended up having to hunt elk with a 30-06, that’s not a bad thing.
I did not have the impression that he was interested in building a dedicated elk rifle. If that’s the case, I would certainly withdraw my comment about a 26 Nosler.
 

ofbandg

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Jul 26, 2015
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For what it's worth 6.5 is a traditional Moose hunting cartridge in the Scandinavian countries, although I believe they hunt them at fairly close range. I have loaded 160 gr. Hornady round nose and Woodleigh Weldcore bullets in my 6.5's and they stabilize them well enough.
 

Appalachiangunslinger

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Feb 3, 2018
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Going to interject something here. I do agree on the 300win for a first mag and being easier to find components for.
That said instead of reusing you current action. Might look at selling it and using one of the custom actions like the Bighorn Origin or others in this range. In the end it will save you a few hundred bucks over using a stock action when all said and done with a few extras you can’t get with a stock action like. Pinned rails, integrated recoil lug, shouldered barrels, etc. Which would allow you to have a 6.5 for you majority of hunting and can switch to something else by changing the barrel and bolt face. Good luck with your build.
 

Calvin45

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Nipawin, Saskatchewan, Canada
I agree with @Subzero. However, the original poster indicated that he has a 30-06 that would be sufficient for elk. He also stated that the overwhelming majority of his hunting was deer and blackbear. 6.5 is it a reasonable choice for deer and blackbear.
So while I agree that 6.5 is not a good choice for elk; he can always use a 30-06 for elk. I think from what he said, elk will be a very small percentage of his hunting. He apparently lives in North Carolina. He said he hopes to be able to hunt elk next year. If he ended up having to hunt elk with a 30-06, that’s not a bad thing.
I did not have the impression that he was interested in building a dedicated elk rifle. If that’s the case, I would certainly withdraw my comment about a 26 Nosler.
For what it’s worth I know of a lot guides and sources that suggest 270 Winchester as a practical minimum elk cartridge (I also know a number of folks who take them with 243s year after year but that’s not to say it’s ideal, it’s that they’re disciplined hunters and shooters). My thinking is, I know they have to draw the line somewhere but if a 270 win is acceptable then it has to be that a 26 Nosler, 6.5-300 wby is all the more, good bit more horsepower, just as heavy projectiles, harder hitting at distance by far.

and all this to say I still maintain the big 7mms and 30s are the kings of all purpose all range all non-dangerous game cartridges.
 

Appalachiangunslinger

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I appreciate every one's input I ended up going with 300 wsm and will be do a 30-06 ai build off my remington 700 that I have now.thank you everyone
FYI I have taken elk from 350 with a 30/06 and with a 270 in the 200 range. Point as above get to know why your going magnum. You want an all around caliber and honestly there isn’t one do all well. It will hurt somewhere. It’s a hard lesson for sure. I moved from Colorado to Georgia. I still go west to hunt there just went to 28nosler from a 300win. The jury is still out here. But all other hunting out east is done with my 6.5 creed. Except pigs I prefer either a 30/30/45/70 or in an ar platform. Point is to really consider going switch barrel if you want a one do it all firearm. I’m heading that way but with separate builds for each.
 

RevJim

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Dec 25, 2014
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Sandy, UT
I too believe that the 300s are a step up from the 270/30-06. I base this on much shooting I did with "my first magnum", a 7mm Rem Mag ( both in a BAR and in a Mod 700) For me, the only difference I could tell ( shooting to 600yds) was the 7mm Mag was "slightly flatter" from 350 on out. But both rifles were heavier than the 30-06/270 ( well 280 I used then) My first 300WM shot as flat as the 7mm Mag, but hit my gong much harder. I love the magnums for bigger animals. (We shot a wad of Plains Game in South Africa and Namibia with the 300WM and old Barnes 180 XBT, from near to far. From Sprinbok/Blesbok to Wildebeast/Kudu/Zebra, Big Kalahari Gemsbok, it hammered them. For deer/even long range deer, I had terrific results with the 240 and 257 wby, I also shot alot with 7mm Mag with 120X. I like the 300WSM as you can easily find good loads in the 30-06 level or steam it up to 300WM levels, pretty much. Around here, the 168 Barnes and 180 NAB are the most popular in the WSM. Good choice!
 
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