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  1. #1
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    Good hunting caliber

    My plan is to get a Remington 700 for deer/elk hunting for this year. If I don't go to the Army or Navy, I'll eventually do some bigger game hunting like moose, caribou, and possibly bison if I ever get the money to go out west on a hunting trip.

    I've narrowed my choices down to .308, .30-06, and .300 mag. From the reading I've done, the .308 is plenty for humans and medium game like whitetail, but can fall short in taking down a 600+ pound animal at distances over 200 yards. If that's the case, it's out. The .30-06 is reportedly a more pleasant caliber to shoot consistently than a .300 mag, but has more bullet drop and isn't ballistically as powerful. I've considered the .338 and .375, but I really like the Remington 700 and it's not offered in the bigger calibers.

  2. #2
    zhurdan's Avatar
    zhurdan is offline Senior Member
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    Considering how many countless elk and one moose and countless deer I've taken with my .308's over the last 15 or so years, I'd say that is a complete crock-o-crap probably told to you by a gunstore salesmen, because he wanted you to buy a .300 WM or something else he had overstocked.

    I think we may have covered this in regards to pistols, but shot placement is everything, even at 200 yards. If someone cannot reliably put a bullet where they want it to go at 200 yards, the shot shouldn't be taken. I've made shots at 250 yards, but I won't shoot outside that range. Can I hit at longer ranges? Sure, but I can't be positive I'd take an elk in one shot at anything outside of 250, so I don't shoot, I stalk, get close enough and BANG! It's elk steak dinner time.

    Don't worry about the Bison, they pretty much drive you right up to it, and you can put the barrel about 20 yards away from them and fire. It's kinda sad how they do the Bison hunts out here, concidering how majestic an animal they are.

    Realistically, I wouldn't recommend shooting any game animal out past 200 yards anyways. If you hit it, and it isn't a fatal shot, you have alot of ground to cover while it is going to be moving and you can lose sight of it and end up with a gut shot animal getting away and dying in the brush, and that is a tragedy.

    I've hunted with the venerable .30-.30, .25-06, and the .308, all of which have taken elk with no problem. I've only ever had to shoot an animal a second time three times, so again, shot placement is paramount!

    Bigger, faster, more wham-bam bullets just ruin more meat.

    Zhur

    (welcome back ninjaboy hehe)

  3. #3
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    I've heard mixed opinions on the .308 versus elk. Some say it's enough, some say it's not. But the point about a 200-yard or closer shot is taken, and a .308 is nasty at that range. And it'll work when the zombies come around.

  4. #4
    Mike Barham's Avatar
    Mike Barham is offline Senior Member
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    1. Get a copy of Jeff Cooper's The Art of the Rifle. Read it three times before going to a gun store. Col. Sooper's sound advice will innoculate you from the sales pitches of no-nothing store employees, and the claims of marginally-humane 500-yard shots on pronghorns in gun magazines.

    2. If you like a lighter, shorter gun (as I do), get a .308.

    3. If you can tolerate carrying a longer, heavier rifle over hill and dale, get a .30-06. It will take heavier bullets, which can be handy on larger animals.

    4. Stay away from the over-.30 magnums. You do not have the experience for them. If you have to ask, don't buy a magnum.

    5. Start with deer. Work your way up to the bigger and more exotic stuff.
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  5. #5
    Mike Barham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fivehourfrenzy View Post
    And it'll work when the zombies come around.
    Since you've been on sabbatical, a review of the forum rules is necessary: SHTF, TEOWAWKI, & Zombie Threads.
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  6. #6
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    I like shorter and lighter, but with respect to the 700, it's a marginal difference. The unloaded weights of the three are as follows:

    caliber:_________.308________.30-06______.300 mag
    barrel length:____24"__________24"________26"
    OA length:______43.625"______44.5"_______46.5"
    weight:_________7.25"________7.325"______7.625"

    I've also looked into the Model 770 as a more inexpensive option, but I've heard they're just a "better" version of the 710 that had some issues. They come with a pre-mounted 3-9x40mm scope, but I'm not sure what brand/quality it is.

  7. #7
    Mike Barham's Avatar
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    Do not buy a 770.

    A .308 does not require a giant 24" barrel. Think carbine length for a .308. My .308 has a 19" barrel.
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  8. #8
    Steve M1911A1's Avatar
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    Of the three choices you mention, .308, .30-'06, and .300 Magnum, and the kind of game you expect to pursue, I'd suggest .30-'06 as the best choice.

    You don't really need .300 Magnum for any North American game. It's overkill for deer, antelope, elk, and caribou, although I understand that it's correct for moose and large bears. Instead, .30-'06 can be loaded (or purchased) with ballistics sufficient for even the largest bear, and is also available with a flat-enough trajectory to be quite suitable for antelope. Its case is large enough to allow loading with pretty strong charges, and it will safely accommodate bullets of 200 grains and heavier. It is the most versatile cartridge of the three you mentioned, which is why it's still the most popular of all, even after more than 100 years. The .308 comes close to the .30-'06, ballistically speaking, but its smaller case tightly restricts your choice of load. It is the least versatile cartridge of the three which interest you.

    If you could afford three rifles, each suited for a different game, I'd say you'd do well to buy one in .300 Magnum for bear and moose; one in .308 for caribou, deer, and elk; and one in .270 Winchester (or even a 6mm wildcat) for antelope. But that's a rich man's choice, and it's not really necessary. One accurate rifle in .30-'06 will suffice.

    Don't get more scope than you need. A huge variable-power glass is a waste of money, unless you can afford the top-of-the-line Zeiss or Swarovsky, because cheaper ones will have relatively rotten optics. If your eyes are good, you can make accurate shots out to 500 yards with a good quality, plain-vanilla, four-power scope. I'd say that even a two-power instrument will be fine at 200, or even 300, yards. Use a duplex reticle, and get to know what each increment of the reticle subtends. That will help you use "Kentucky windage" (and elevation), so you won't have to waste time readjusting the scope to range. (Also, if you use a low-power scope, you can keep both eyes open for very-short-range shots. It helps.)

    Get a trigger-job for your rifle, down to three pounds, if possible; and either glass-bed it yourself or have a gunsmith do it. I like free-floating barrels, but other people don't—consult with the gunsmith on this.

    Finally, don't go for long-range hunting shots. Stalk closer instead. Excepting perhaps antelope, you really shouldn't ever have to make a game shot from more than 100 yards away.

  9. #9
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    If I'm not gonna be taking shots at over 200 yards, a 3x or 4x scope will be enough. Zero it at 100 yards, and find out proper holdover for longer ranges. I don't have the best eyesight, and although I wear contacts, they never seem to get my right eye at 20/20. My left eye always gets 20/20 but I'm right-eye dominant. Nikon has some nice scopes for not more than $300 that would fit my purposes quite well, probably.

    If the .300 mag is too much for the game I'll be hunting and the .308 isn't very versatile, a .30-06 it is. I've held a Remington 700 and I loved the way it felt, and one of the guys in my class is gonna let me shoot his to get a feel for the gun.

  10. #10
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    TOF
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    I have hunted with a Winchester model 88 in .308 since 1961. I bought a remington 700 BDL 7MM mag for a trip to Alaska in the 60's. I have had other guns and calibers through the years.

    It didn't take long to determine the Magnum was not comfortable to shoot and not required for North American game animals.

    I have taken a number of Elk . One with the 700 Mag and the rest with the .308. None of them traveled more than 10 feet after being hit. Just as with pistols, shot placement is key to your success. I have also taken Elk with a recurve bow so know lots of bang is not necessary. It's a lot more fun that way also.

    In my opinion .308 vs. 30-06 is a wash. They are in the same ball park but the .308 can be had in shorter actions which I view as a plus. Military surplus ammo is available for either of them but not for any Magnums I am aware of.

    Get a .308 for the next few years. When you are making loads of money in later years fill a room with all the exotic styles and calibers you want and can afford but you will keep going back to that .308 IMO.

  11. #11
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    Dick's had a 700 Buckmaster in .30-06 for $740. It had the camo print which I am not a fan of, but other than that, the gun was beautiful. It was incredibly light, had a short stock, and had a pre-mounted Nikon ProStaff 3-9x40mm scope with a duplex reticle. I spent some time looking through the scope and it was incredibly clear, although it was hard to focus in on something that was a mere 30 feet away. The zoom dial was so very smooth, and with it set at 3x, I could sight in on the deer head that was possibly 40 feet away with extreme clarity. The action was smooth and had a very positive lockup, and it has the 4-round magazine that is loaded from the top with a hinged floorplate. I really like the Buckmaster model.

  12. #12
    Ram Rod's Avatar
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    6.5x55 or .260 Remington

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ram Rod View Post
    6.5x55 or .260 Remington
    Too bad elk calibers have to be at least .270 in KY. [shrug] Is the 6.5x55 the 6.5 Grendel?

  14. #14
    Ram Rod's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fivehourfrenzy View Post
    Too bad elk calibers have to be at least .270 in KY. [shrug] Is the 6.5x55 the 6.5 Grendel?
    Nope. 6.5x55 Swede. Yeah, there are a multitude of 6.5mm rounds, and alot are used mainly for long range target. There is a 160gr RN bullet that can be loaded for the 6.5x55...I've never done it, and the 140gr bullets are my top end as far as I'm concerned. The 6.5x55 and the .260 Rem seem to have very good SD's and BC's for the caliber was the reason I listed them as good options for the elk...again, shot placement. By the way, you are on the edge about the .308? Sight it in for PBR of 200yds. 2" high at 100yds and 7.5" drop @300. This year I'm going to try the 175gr bullets in my Savage.
    Last edited by Ram Rod; 07-31-2008 at 01:17 AM.

  15. #15
    DJ Niner's Avatar
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    I'm another fan of the .308. With premium bullets and a good shooter, it is the equal of the '06 for medium/large non-dangerous game. The .30-06 will handle heavier bullets better, and push them faster, but with the current crop of premium hunting bullets, the older-style heavyweights aren't really necessary any longer, IMO. The cheap(er) FMJ or mil-surplus blasting ammo is a fine choice for less-expensive practice, which can really pay-off when shooting from unsupported field shooting positions. I see a lot of hunters shooting from a concrete bench at the range, but I never see them hauling those benches into the woods and fields...

    Having said that, the .30-06 is almost NEVER a bad choice for hunting, and unless you are going to seek out and use a shorter/lighter weapon to take advantage of the .308's compact dimensions, then a good '06 will serve you just as well; if you're going to carry a longer/heavier weapon, it might as well give you a few more FPS. It's not new or "sexy", but most knowledgeable folks consider it a true classic choice for the hunting fields.

    I have no use for the magnums, and I believe their excessive blast and recoil turn some average hunters into poor ones by discouraging practice with the rifle (recoil and cost of ammo) and making otherwise sane foks believe they can kill something in the next zip code just because they have a MAGNUM. Same kind of thinking would have a person believing they are a concert violinist because they bought/own a Stradivarius...
    Last edited by DJ Niner; 07-31-2008 at 02:08 AM.

  16. #16
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    I've seen hunters dragging shooting stands into the woods by hand. Didn't look fun. Okay not really.

    The only real advantage I see for choosing a .308 over a .30-06 is the size/weight difference, and in the Remington 700, the difference is 1.125" (for the longer chamber) and a whopping 2 ounces. Not enough to make up for the added versatility of the .30-06, so that's what I'm gonna go with. I've stalked coyotes with my 870 and it probably weighs 12 pounds loaded with all the crap I have on it. The weight wasn't much of an issue, so a 7-8 pound .30-06 won't do me in.

    How does the bullet trajectory of a .30-06 compare to a .308?

  17. #17
    Mike Barham's Avatar
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    An 8-9 pound rifle is probably better for an inexperienced shooter, anyway.

    There are ballistics tables all over the internet. The difference in trajectory is minor, and will be less than your wobble.
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  18. #18
    4X4SNEAK is offline Junior Member
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    fivehour, good choice on the 30.06. I have both and have shot an elk with a 308/165 grain interlock.

    The 30.06 is a better round and the difference in weight and size is minimal. Now I use two bullet weights 150 for deer/antelope and 200 for elk. The 30.06 shoots flatter and faster than the 308 regardless of bullet weight.

    Enjoy your hunting rifle.

  19. #19
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    I checked with Sportsman's Warehouse today and they sell the 700 SPS for $489.99. So for around $700, I could have the rifle and a Nikon ProStaff scope. Now I just gotta save money.

  20. #20
    DJ Niner's Avatar
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    Don't forget scope rings and mount base(s); figure another $50, minimum, if it wasn't already included in that price. Don't let them up-sell you on this stuff; you don't need sniper-grade/TactiCool rings and bases for a deer rifle. Weaver bases and Burris Zee (Weaver-style) rings will do fine.

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