Guests - If You want access to member only forums on FM. You will gain access only when you Sign-in or Sign-Up on Fishing Minnesota.

It's easy - LOOK UPPER right menu.

Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
vermilionwally

Opinions on rifle calibers

42 posts in this topic

Im looking at buying a rifle this winter to use next year. I currently use a .300 savage that another guy from the shack has been letting me use the last 3 years until i get my own rifle. I will only be hunting white tails for now (although i would like to go elk hunting in Colorado someday). Ive pretty much narrowed it down to a .30-06 or a .30-30. I dont want to spend anymore then 300$. Looking at both new and used. Does anybody have an opinion on which caliber i should look at? I would say the area where i hunt most of my shots would be between 50-100 yards with maybe an occasional longer field shot.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you eventually plan on elk, forget about the .30-30. Just not enough punch.

I have shot half a dozen calibers for deer (including the .300 Savage in the Model 99 Savage lever action). I now shoot the venerable .30-06, and though I think the .308 is the best all-around standard rifle cartridge ever made for white-tailed deer, the .30-06 has more muscle, and that's important for bigger game. Elk will be no problem for the .30-06. You'll want to shoot the heavier grain bullets for elk, and that won't be a tremendously flat-shooting cartridge then, but as a compromise between deer and elk it's hard to beat. Shots at elk tend to be farther than the deer shots you mentioned, so ideally for those distances and a much bigger animal you'd want to shoot a 200-grain or bigger bullet with a bigger powder load for flatter shooting.

I shoot 165-grain bullets in the .30-06 for deer, which are fairly thin skinned, and that load knocks them down hard and fast. If I was elk hunting with it, I'd use the heavier loads. I think 220-grain is the biggest factory .30-06 load available. I think?

Now, that being said, there are tons of cartridges out there that will do a great job in combination on deer and elk. Lots of long-time magnums like the 7mm, .300 Winchester and so forth, and of course the WSM cartridges are all the rage the last few years and do an excellent job as well.

Really, you're looking for a cartridge that's a bit of overkill for deer so it will also be able eventually to handle elk.

Just hard to find a standard, non-magnum cartridge that is as versatile as the .30-06. Not to mention you can find 06 cartridges in any little Mom and Pop store in hunting country all across the U.S. if you're in a pinch.

There, that's my .02. Let the bloodbath begin. grin.gifgrin.gifgrin.gif

Oh, BTW, I shoot the Remington Model 710. It's billed as Remington's most affordable deer rifle. It comes with Parkerized barrel, composite gray stock and 3x9 Bushnell scope factory sighted at 100 yards. Not sure about current prices, but it's competitive with the Savage models.

Your high-powered deer hunters won't look twice at the 710, but I've used it extensively on the range and in the field these last three seasons and it's a good rifle. I've always been on a budget, and I found a sweet deal on this one, getting it new in the box for $100. I could tell you how I got that deal, but then I'd have to kill you. grin.gifgrin.gifgrin.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Quote:

I will only be hunting white tails for now (although i would like to go elk hunting in Colorado someday). Ive pretty much narrowed it down to a .30-06 or a .30-30. I dont want to spend anymore then 300$. Looking at both new and used.


I'd go with the .30-06 definitely. especially if you're emotely thinking about elk hunting. I'm sure a few elk have fallen to a .30-30, but for the elk's sake and a better piece of mind to you, I'd go with the .30-06. I've been on elk hunts with my dad and have been with him as he dropped an elk at 418 yards. It ran all of 40 yards before collapsing. Try that with a .30-30. With a .30-06, you don't have to worry about much as far as bullet drop unless you're shooting past 250 yards, which it doesn't sound like. My .30-06 only drops about a foot at 400 yards, so even at that range, a) you still have plenty of knock down power and B) there isn't too much drop. As far as what you want to spend, you won't find many good guns, especially in .30-06 under $300. I'd recommend spending the extra little bit, even with a used gun, and go with quality. You don't want to be in the deer stand on a cold morning and have it lock up on you, or worse, spend thousands of dollars on your first elk hunt only to have the gun not work because you decide to save a few bucks buying it. My set up it up there in price, but I can shoot anything from a woodchuck at to a moose from 0-400 yards comfortably. I currently have 3 Browning A-bolts with Leopold vari-x III scope on it. It's an adjustable 3-9 power scope on it, making shots easier and more comfortable. I paid the extra few bucks for my set up, but have the piece of mind to know that I won't have any problems in the field and, if it's within a quarter mile, I can comfortably send a 165 grain ballistic tip to it air mail express. I paid alot for the setup, but have yet to have a single problem in hunting with the gun for over a decade.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ok so Kingfisher and STF have given great advice. The 30-06 has been hailed as the world caliber meaning that most everything on this earth can be taken down with that caliber in the right hands. Now STF mentioned the .308. I love my .308 and it has not failed my father yet. (I haven't shot anything with mine yet) The .308 uses the same size bullets as the 30-06 but I think you can only go up to 180 grains, which by the way is plenty for deer and Elk too. I feel the .308 has a few advantages over the 06. The felt recoil will be less because there is less powder pushing the bullet. This doesn't mean it is less than the 30-06 however. The main advantage to shooting the .308 is the action is shorter thus reducing weight in the gun. (nice for hiking across mountains, 3/4lbs is a lot over 6-7 miles) This brings up a point of energy transfered to the game. I always like to say I would rather shoot a deer with a smaller caliber (or less powder in this case) on a well placed high percentage shot than compensate with a big rifle on a bad shot. The biggest thing in this instance is knowing what you and your rifle are capable of doing. Many match shooters prefer the .308 over the 30-06 in accuracy but remember they are shooting day in and day out, hand loads made for that specific rifle barrel and know how to max out a rifles capabilities. in the end it is your choice and you really can't go wrong with either caliber. I wouldn't restrict yourself with 300$ or less, if you bump up 2 bills or so you can get a really accurite rifle like the one I have from Tikka, it is the T3 lite, guaranteed an inch or under at 100 yards. There is nothing wrong with the rifle STF mentioned but the bolt on mine is what sold me, smooth as glass and I like clips on all my rifles. Easy load easy unload, minimal noise. My gun fits my style of hunting. Two things to remember; shot placement is more important than caliber, Do not for any reason skimp on the scope. Your gun will only be as accurite as your scope. My next Tikka will have a scope that costs more than the gun. grin.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yep, Brassman, I gotta say I loved that .308. If I had the budget, I'd definitely go with the Browning lever action .308 for deer. And lots of .308 cartridges have killed elk for sure. Just don't have the knock-down power of the .30-06 on those really big animals like elk. A pass-through heart/lung shot is easy for any .30 caliber cartridge. Bullet goes in, mushrooms, exits. No problem. It's when you've got a more difficult shot angle and may, for example, have to break down an elk's shoulder that the extra energy is important.

That being said, you're also dead right about shot placement, and I wasn't at all reluctant to take the .308 elk hunting when I lived in CO. I just made up my mind to avoid longer shots and to limit myself to heart/lung pass-throughs or neck shots. I shot a WWII era Swiss military rifle with a straight-back pull bolt action that was rebarreled to .308. It had the elevated rear sight with yardage gradations. That and the old Model 99 Savage (pre-1948) .300 Savage I shot for a goodly while were the two most accurate rifles I've ever shot with open sights, and that Model 99, with its internal hammer, made a perfect saddle gun.

BTW, my Remington 710 has a clip and a smooth bolt. grin.gif

Also BTW, I might have gone into more detail on other cartridges that could do great double-duty for deer and elk, but the OP said his choice was between the .30-30 and .30-06, so I left it in that ballpark. The .30-30 has accounted for its share of elk over the years, but it's no gun to take into the mountains for big game if you can bring something stronger. grin.gif

Again, all just IMO, of course. Lots of good opinions out there that are different than mine. grin.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the opinions guys. Lets keep em coming. I would consider a .308 also, the guy i would hunt with in colorado said that a .308 is a decent elk rifle. Elk hunting however would be a few years from now, not any time soon so im not that worried about being able to take down an elk just yey. Although it would be nice to not have to buy another rifle if i go out there. I was thinking i could maybe get a nice used .30-06 for 3 bills or less but maybe not. This would be the first rifle i ever owned, and im still in school so i dont really have a big budget right now. The only advantage i like in the .30-30 is that its light and would be nice to carry through the woods. Thanks again for your opinions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I totally agree that the 30-30 is a great light gun to carry through the woods. But, as both brassman and stf said, shot placement is very crucial. Regardless though, you're going to want a gun that you can carry, can shoot comfortably, and that you're confident in. When the distance is irrelevent, with the right shot placement, a deer or elk isn't anymore dead if you shot it with a 30-06 than with a 30-30. They will both do the job, but like stf said, you want something that will go in, mushroom, and travel all the way through. It makes for a better blood trail, a quicker kill, and easier tracking. A .308 is another great caliber choice as well, but if it were my choice, I'd go with the time tested, proven .30-06 anyday. Good on anything from 'yotes up to bears given the right bullet choice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lots of good advice. I shoot a .308 and also have a 30-30 and a .243. If you are only going to have 1 rifle the 30-06 is the only choice. You have the widest variety of bullets available on the market. With all the technology advances on bullets you can really tailor your load and increase the ability of the bullets. With 150-165 grain bullets, fast expansion you have a excellent whitetail gun, with 180-220 muleys and elk and if you have to Hornady even has a light magnum round that approximates a .300 winchester. Accuracy is more than acceptable, it may not be as accurate as a .308 but your not benchrest shooting where thousanths count. It is not far behind. The -06 has killed elephants with one shot, grizzly bears and virtually all game on the north american continent. It is never a bad choice. No caliber will make up for a bad shot and with the reasonable cost of ammunition, you can shoot the gun and become confident of bullet placement and that is the most important factor, period. As far as lower cost rifles, I would recommend two. The first choice would be a Savage. They have long been known for inherent accuracy and with the new accu trigger are even better. The second would be the Remington 700 ADL. I would steer clear of the 710 as it has had some real problems with reliability, at least in the first couple of years of production. On the used rack, same as above, unless you get real lucky and find a Remington 788. This was intially a low cost gun from remington much like the 710 but proved to be exceptionally accurate and durable and is much desired by those who know. Hope this helps. Have fun and enjoy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would say 30-06, 7mm rem mag, 280, .308 .300 WSM or .270 WSM are all good rounds. In all reality, you can kill anything in North America with a .243, but you owe it to the animal to end it quickly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My hunting rifle is a Winchester Model 70 30.06 featherweight with a 2 x 7 Leopold scope. I have owned this rifle for over 20 years and have taken many whitetails and a few elk with it. That being said, if I were to buy the same rifle today I would probably opt for the .308, simply because it is a shorter cartridge and you can go with the short action.

The only rifle I know of today that sells new for under $300 is the Model 200 by Stevens. A friend of mine has two - a .243, and a 7mm-08. He bought them for $240 ea. a couple of years ago, and he says they are both good shooters. I would take the advice given above, and spend a little extra for a good scope - don't really know what the most cost-effective choices for scopes are today - haven't kept up on that....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For the sake of argument I suggest getting the gun you are most comfortable with. An '06 is very good and versatile but if you are comfortable shooting the 30-30 by all means get one. It was my first deer rifle and I unfortunately do not have it anymore. they are a great deer gun and that is primarily what you are going to hunt, plus you can often find a marlin 336 for around $300 with scope used. I am not sure you will ever see a Win. 94 for that little again. When you get the money to hunt Elk maybe the money will be there for a new rifle. But I say get a gun you will be comfortable using for what you hunt the most.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great advice by all. The Weatherby Vanguard is a very good value for a new rifle, but that won't get you a scope as well. The savage is also a good value. Be careful on used - sometimes there is a reason they are on the used rack. Your budget could make it hard to find a decent gun - new or used.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

30-06 all the way... you can get shell anywere and if the kick is to much, I like shooting my wifes .243 It shot 2 speed goats in WY. and a 8 pt. and a doe here at home ..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Vermilionwally, I believe you're missing the boat here. Now would be a good time to get your first rifle, and use it on deer. When, and if, you decide to go after elk or moose, get another rifle, in a more suitable caliber.

I'd go with a 243, 270 or 308 for deer, and look at a 7mm Rem Mag for bigger stuff. Ruger 77's or Remington 700 are really good - buy the same gun in two different calibers, and you'll have it just fine.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another vote for the 30-06. If you don't want the recoil just downsize to 125gr. You'll be shooting about the same thing as a .243 then. Want more pumch for larger game, increase to 225gr. You won't find a more versatile caliber with more choices in bullet design, weight, and availability. That's my gun of choice today.

I will say this about the 30-30. I used my Marlin 336C for 25 years. Never had to shoot a deer more than once and NEVER had to track one. They always fell dead where they stood. Maybe shot placement had a lot to do with it but I believe the gun is way underrated. However, to use it for shots further than 100 - 150 yards or so is inviting a less than effective shot. They just don't retain enough energy at longer range.

Bob

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The choice between a 30-30 and a 30-06 is a "no-brainer" if you ever want to shoot anything besides whitetails. Even for a mule deer you'd be WAY better off and for an elk, just forget about it with a 30-30 (yes I know it can and has been done, but its not a good choice).

I shot my bull last year with 180 grain 30-06's. I shoot 165 or 150 for deer. I have some 225's I used for Bear, but they aren't great at Elk distances. With the modern premier bullets out there matched to the game you are hunting, there just isn't much of anything the 30-06 can't handle...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For MN woods hunting I absoulutly love my Marlin .30-30. People give it such a bad rap because it is not magnum caliber. And most if not all that give it the not enough power obviously don't own one. I have shot about 5 deer in the last 3 years since buying it. Every one has been a 1 shot kill. I use it over my .270 since I find it about the best deer rifle out there. In your price range you can pick one up with a scope no problem. I have a 1.5 x 4.5 Bushnell Banner and love the combo. For elk hunting it defintily would not work. But for $300 you won't find a good elk gun anyways. Another great caliber to consider is the .308. Just about the same power as the 06 but much more accurate. And it will take out a elk. Truley if I was going the elk Route I would look at a 7mm mag, .270 WSM, .300 Win mag or .300 WSM. Non of which you will find for the $300 you want to spend.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the opinions. I may check out a .30-30, ive seen the winchester 94's new for under 300. If i bought a used gun it would mostly likely be from gander or cabelas, where i would know it was in decent shape.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow under $300.

For a rifle and scope? You might be streching it at 100yds. blush.gif

30-06 all the way. Just remember to shoot as many differant round weights through it at the range as possable and let the firearm tell you what it likes best. It is the only way to find out how good it can shoot without reloading rounds for it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I dont neccesarily need a scope yet, but it would be nice. Right now my top priority is to just get a rifle, and plenty of deer are killed with open sights grin.gif. A scope would be nice though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm on board with the 30-06 recommendation...

Personally, I shoot a 270 and have no complaints. However, if I were to do it again, I'd go with a 30-06 just because of the wider range of loads.

One other consideration I might make is the 300 Mag. Much too big for deer, IMO, but they have some managed recoil/light loads that look to be just the ticket for deer. The light managed recoil loads and the full power magnum loads seem like they would make the 300 Mag very versatile indeed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I too vote for the 30-06, I have hunted with one for years, it is the most versitle gun because of the wide load ranges. Mine is very accurate, I would shoot any where from 10-300 yards, and even at 300 there is lots of knock down power. I use 165 grn and have dropped deer in their tracks at above 300 yards in an open field, it drops some in this range but as long as you have practiced and know how much it drops, you can put a kill shot on at those yards.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Quote:

Thanks for the opinions. I may check out a .30-30, ive seen the winchester 94's new for under 300. If i bought a used gun it would mostly likely be from gander or cabelas, where i would know it was in decent shape.


well, good luck finding any win M94 for under 300 these days... it's been a long time since I've seen that.

if you do, buy several, turn around & sell them for 700-800 each, take the proffits & buy yourself a good bolt action & hang a $200-$250 3-9x40 scope on it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think you should save your $300 and use your buddies gun for another year, and see if you can double that $300 for the next year. With $600 you will be able to find a good gun. $300 you will end up with someone elses problem, that you wont find out why they sold it until there is a huge buck, and it doesnt fire!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I highly recomend the Marlin .30-30 with it's side ejection it works much better than the Win 94 with a scope. I have a $300 leupold on my .270 and it is a great scope but I bought a Bushnell for around $90 and have no complaints. Bottom line for your price range the .30-30 would be a great buy. The balistics are virtually the same as the .300 savage and this caliber has kill more deer than just about any other caliber ever invented! I love the .308, and who can argue with the .30-06. If sticking to the $300 you can't go wrong with the .30-30. This caliber will drop any deer that roams in MN. If I didn't think so I would deffinitly be taking my .270 with me. I can shoot 2" 5 shot groups at 100 yards easily with the Marlin. Good luck!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0



  • Posts

    • grundy
      I used XR5AH (which are 5amp) DeWalt 20v max batteries last winter and never ran out of power.
    • Rancid Crabtree
      I scored a set of Striker Hardwaters for 25% off   bibs+coat. I fish early ice alone, decided to pull the trigger on a warm suit that can float if I end up breaking thru.  That crowd was insane. Happy to see the big turnout. All of the TV dudes were roaming around too, talking with ppl and taking pics. Had a great time and I'm happy to see how big the ice fishing community is getting. Just stay away from my holes!!!     jk. Looks like we could be gaining up to an inch of ice/day in metro lakes if this forecast holds. 
    • Big A
      That ion x does look sweet! Not sure if I can justify the switch from my current ion... what was your out the door cost?
    • vanwalleye
      I was thinking the same thoughts, I saw the pond by my house locked up, figure someone will be sitting in front of the courthouse before you know it..
    • Jim Uran
      I have to add that my buddy has had the Eskimo propane auger and loves it, he has a season and half using it and it hasn't given him any problems.