Which Caliber/Rifle to Choose?

Oliveralan

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Sep 15, 2009
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lots of good advice. Ill be short and to the point. 7-08, 308 win, 260 (little small for 700yard elk) and 300wsm would all be great guns. I am also a lefty and just got a savage 116 FLHSS in 300wm, had my smith put on a williams brake and now i have a 300 mag that weighs 8lbs scoped, recoils less than my .308 and hits like a sledgehammer. All of those mentioned will get it done.
 

racerngr1

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Jun 6, 2011
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Do you ever get more technical when selecting a caliber to hunt a specific animal with such as looking at the engergy at 500 yards and determining whether that would be adequate for your goal, or just say "I'll take my 30-06 for my deer that I'm expecting to hunt at 600 yards, should be good." Newbie hunter just trying to learn more, not offend anybody.
 

liltank

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Do you ever get more technical when selecting a caliber to hunt a specific animal with such as looking at the engergy at 500 yards and determining whether that would be adequate for your goal, or just say "I'll take my 30-06 for my deer that I'm expecting to hunt at 600 yards, should be good." Newbie hunter just trying to learn more, not offend anybody.

Welcome to LRH.com. To answer your question from my perspective... yes, I spend a lot of time crunching numbers to ensure that my rifle will get the job done. I like to make sure the bullet that I choose will carry me as far as the caliber is capable. If you choose the wrong bullet for the wrong application, it won't matter how big the caliber is, you won't be able to kill an animal properly. You won't want to use a 130grn bullet in a 30-06 to shoot 600yds. You will want at least a 165grn bullet minimum for that application.

Tank
 

rscott5028

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I agree with Tank. ...especially as you extend your reach.

At shorter distances, there's so much overlap that it's almost not necessary.

-- richard
 

racerngr1

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So do you look at how much energy the bullet is going to impact the target with? So for instance if if a bullet impacts the target with 1,200 lt/lb of energy at 500 yards is that enough or do you want something with more? What is that magic number in ft/lb's that you look for?
 

angus-5024

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rather than looking to energy for your answer, look to velocity. Your bullet needs "X" amount of velocity to open reliably. Some bullets need more than others. A-MAX's for example have a fairly low Minimum Expansion Velocity. Barnes on the other hand not so much (not to say that barnes are bad, I use them alot). MEV is usually between 1650fps and 2000fps. I always like to keep it higher by quit a bit, usually 400fps. All that being said I havent ever had a shot long enough to stretch a round to that point. hope that helps.
 

racerngr1

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rather than looking to energy for your answer, look to velocity. Your bullet needs "X" amount of velocity to open reliably. Some bullets need more than others. A-MAX's for example have a fairly low Minimum Expansion Velocity. Barnes on the other hand not so much (not to say that barnes are bad, I use them alot). MEV is usually between 1650fps and 2000fps. I always like to keep it higher by quit a bit, usually 400fps. All that being said I havent ever had a shot long enough to stretch a round to that point. hope that helps.

So you look at velocity at the POI? That would be interesting to know how much each bullet mfg. needs to do this to an optimum level.
 

rscott5028

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So do you look at how much energy the bullet is going to impact the target with? So for instance if if a bullet impacts the target with 1,200 lt/lb of energy at 500 yards is that enough or do you want something with more? What is that magic number in ft/lb's that you look for?

Lethality is purely a function of damage to vital organs. Hydrostatic shock, dumping all the energy inside the animal, gaping exit holes for blood trails, all takes a back seat.

Hence, you have to hit what you're aiming for. So, you want the right bullet for your twist with a high BC for long range performance.

Then, you need an accurate load with good velocity and temperature stability. MOA is usually good enough. But, the main thing is that you should have confidence that your first shot is going to hit the vitals at whatever distance you're shooting at. The more dope you have on the rifle/load/conditions, the better.

You can analyze mass, sectional density, etc... But, I usually consider 1,000 ft-lbs sufficient for soft-skinned animals such as deer.

Then, bullet design becomes a factor for terminal performance.

Solids will give maximum penetration for thick bodied animals. Monolithic bullets often need higher velocity on impact in order to expand properly (e.g. ~2000fps for TTSX). Jacketed, lead core bullets will expand at lower velocities which gives you a greater effective range (~1800fps Berger or less).

Most modern high powered rifle cartridges and bullets have plenty of capacity out to 500 yds. Many still do from 500 to 1,000 yds with handloads for better precision. After 800-1000yds, it takes exception equipment, skill, and practice (usually teamwork) to connect reliably on game animals.

JMO
-- richard
 

crittrgittr

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Apr 14, 2011
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You can't go wrong with a tikka. I own one in 22-250 and love it. I would recomend them to anyone. very accurate, smooth. and reliable.
 

bowhunter42

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Mar 23, 2011
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Cheney Wa
I would cast my vote for the Savage model 116 in stainless in 300 win mag. I just bought one a couple of months ago and it is shooting 3 inch groups at 600 yards. I did have a muzzle break from Shawn Carlock at Defensive edge installed, Its loud but No recoil and so much fun to shoot. you have a ton of bullet choices and weights to choose from. Mine is topped with a Huskema blue diamond and shooting 185 gn bergers. my girlfriend and her 12 year old daughter have hit stuff at 750 yards with itgun)
 
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thewileyone13

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Feb 6, 2007
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65
7mm, 7 RUM, 300 WM, 300 RUM, 6.5-284... all of them are good. just depends on if you reload and what your budget is. I would go with the 300 RUM. 180 gr will kill everything and you can go up to 220 if you feel that you need to.
 

walserjack

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May 23, 2011
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300 Mag would be my choice. It can kill anything in North America. I had a 300 mag win mdl 70 black shadow. It would shoot win.168 gr balistic silvertips at 1"1/4 at 200 yards from bags. If you put a muzzle brake and add a little weight it will be as or milder than a 308. I added fake lead duck decoy weights to mine after it cut me between the eyes during a 220 yard neck shot on one of my better 8pts. Just my 2 cents.
 
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