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Choosing a caliber for first rifle can be such a pain.

This is a discussion on Choosing a caliber for first rifle can be such a pain. within the Ruger Bolt Action forums, part of the Rifle & Shotgun Forum category; Originally Posted by DougGuy My first big game rifle was in .308 which I later found out was a good move because in Virginia, there ...


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Old March 13th, 2013, 05:17 AM   #76
 
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Originally Posted by DougGuy View Post
My first big game rifle was in .308 which I later found out was a good move because in Virginia, there was a law on the books that said nothing smaller than .30 caliber for deer. It was good out to 350yds and probably beyond that if I had a decent scope with bdc instead of the old school duplex reticle.

My son just got his first one too, told him to get .308 but he wound up with a 7mm mag. Great gun, just 3x more costly to shoot. Live and learn.

Also, regardless of what paper ballistics say about a round, if you are using it to hunt deer, look at your surroundings. Long shots, open range, .308 might be heavy and slower and may not be the best choice. Hills, woods, farmer's fields, where shots are generally less than 300yds the .308 is as close to perfection as it gets.

OP, I think you have answered your own question:
Whaaaaaattttt?????? Do tell more please.



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Old March 13th, 2013, 05:23 AM   #77
 
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Not considering the .30-'06?

In that case, I reckon you wouldn't really love to hear from me. Because I think the .30-'06 is a FANTASTIC paper punching round. Especially when you're shooting at extended ranges. But you don't really want to hear about that.

And your analogy doesn't work for me. Probably because I'm more impressed with the .30-06 and its deserved reputation for power, accuracy, tolerable recoil, and versatility than you are.

TC
.30-06 is about the best cartridge for going all 18 holes that I could think of. Its done its fair share of long range competition, it's fought its wars, and its killed plenty of game. There isn't much a man can't do with $1000 and a .30-06, and let's not forget duct tape......


But then again I'm a .270 guy...........
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Old March 13th, 2013, 07:40 AM   #78
 
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If you load your own the 7mm-08--308--30-06 are good choices because of the variety of bullets you can get, down load them with light bullets for paper punching. The .270 and .243 are excellent especially if you plan on loading your own. Have shot all of them for years. Here in New Mexico.
Have used the 308 and 7mm-08 in IHMSA competition with an XP-100 15" barrel. They are very accurate calibers even in a pistol.
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Old March 21st, 2013, 12:59 AM   #79
 
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Been one myself, a time or two.or....

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Originally Posted by trigger creep View Post
.30-06 is about the best cartridge for going all 18 holes that I could think of. Its done its fair share of long range competition, it's fought its wars, and its killed plenty of game. There isn't much a man can't do with $1000 and a .30-06, and let's not forget duct tape......


But then again I'm a .270 guy...........
Nothing wrong with being a ".270 guy." I've been one myself, on occasion. My first No.1-B was in .270. I had an M-77 MKII so chambered. A Whitworth Mauser in .270. Most recently, as in a couple of years ago, I bought a new in the box Remington Model 721 in .270 that was an excellent shooter and easily one of the most accurate sporting rifles I've ever shot. Selling it a couple of months ago rates as one of the dumber things I've done in life.

That said, I bought all of those rifles in spite of the cartridge they were chambered for, rather than because of it, and given my 'druthers, I'd rather have had them in .30-'06. A lot of my preference stems from the easy availability of a wide variety of match bullets in .308" and really doesn't have a lot to do with factors related to hunting. I can kill everything I care to hunt very dead with either round, and frankly, in the field, I haven't noticed much difference between them.

I had that M-77MKII that I mentioned at a time in my life when I was filling elk tags every season. I shot six elk with it while I had it, and I had more powerful rifles at the time that I could have used, instead. But the .270 got the job done splendidly and there never was any doubt in my mind that it would.

If there were as many .277" match-grade target bullets on the market as there are in .308" and they were as readily available, I'd likely be more gung-ho for the .270 than old Jack O'Conner, himself.

T-C
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Old March 21st, 2013, 02:13 AM   #80
 
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243
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Old March 21st, 2013, 05:28 AM   #81
 
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Nothing wrong with being a ".270 guy." I've been one myself, on occasion. My first No.1-B was in .270. I had an M-77 MKII so chambered. A Whitworth Mauser in .270. Most recently, as in a couple of years ago, I bought a new in the box Remington Model 721 in .270 that was an excellent shooter and easily one of the most accurate sporting rifles I've ever shot. Selling it a couple of months ago rates as one of the dumber things I've done in life.

That said, I bought all of those rifles in spite of the cartridge they were chambered for, rather than because of it, and given my 'druthers, I'd rather have had them in .30-'06. A lot of my preference stems from the easy availability of a wide variety of match bullets in .308" and really doesn't have a lot to do with factors related to hunting. I can kill everything I care to hunt very dead with either round, and frankly, in the field, I haven't noticed much difference between them.

I had that M-77MKII that I mentioned at a time in my life when I was filling elk tags every season. I shot six elk with it while I had it, and I had more powerful rifles at the time that I could have used, instead. But the .270 got the job done splendidly and there never was any doubt in my mind that it would.

If there were as many .277" match-grade target bullets on the market as there are in .308" and they were as readily available, I'd likely be more gung-ho for the .270 than old Jack O'Conner, himself.

T-C
I agree 100% about the match bullet situation, it's pretty bad. It's been my experience that the .270 is a very accurate cartridge, and I believe it could use a heavier Matchking weight than 135. I know of 3 particular .270's that were around .75 MOA, and could have utilized some good match bullets. I don't know why someone doesn't offer say a 150 grain match bullet for the .270, because I know I'd get some! Just a few short years ago Sierra didn't offer any match grade bullets for .277 and now they offer two bullets, so maybe they'll take the next step soon?
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Old March 21st, 2013, 05:46 AM   #82
 
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I have been beating myself up lately with the same question and it seems like the .243 is the way to go for now. It is an interesting and useful caliber for a lot of things. There is nothing in the Midwest (where I live) that can't be taken with a .243. I knew nothing of it until I started asking about a mild recoil rifle caliber.

So .243 get my vote and I hope to be adding one very soon.
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Old March 22nd, 2013, 01:59 PM   #83
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trigger creep View Post
I agree 100% about the match bullet situation, it's pretty bad. It's been my experience that the .270 is a very accurate cartridge, and I believe it could use a heavier Matchking weight than 135. I know of 3 particular .270's that were around .75 MOA, and could have utilized some good match bullets. I don't know why someone doesn't offer say a 150 grain match bullet for the .270, because I know I'd get some! Just a few short years ago Sierra didn't offer any match grade bullets for .277 and now they offer two bullets, so maybe they'll take the next step soon?
Check out Berger, they are match grade hunting bullets, and i can speak personally to the quality, accuracy and effectiveness on game after three seasons with them in my 7mm Rem mag. They offer 130, 140 and 150 grain .277 VLD match grade hunting bullets, and i daresay you would be impressed with them Locally, they go for around $40/100, which is cheaper than Nosler or Barnes bullets by a long shot. Might be worth a look!

Edit: I just looked, the 150 grainer has a G1 BC of .531, that beats a 168 gr .308 VLD match bullet (.473) by a fair shake!

Last edited by 429421Cowboy; March 22nd, 2013 at 02:04 PM.
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Old March 23rd, 2013, 08:36 AM   #84
 
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Originally Posted by DougGuy View Post
My first big game rifle was in .308 which I later found out was a good move because in Virginia, there was a law on the books that said nothing smaller than .30 caliber for deer. It was good out to 350yds and probably beyond that if I had a decent scope with bdc instead of the old school duplex reticle.

My son just got his first one too, told him to get .308 but he wound up with a 7mm mag. Great gun, just 3x more costly to shoot. Live and learn.

Also, regardless of what paper ballistics say about a round, if you are using it to hunt deer, look at your surroundings. Long shots, open range, .308 might be heavy and slower and may not be the best choice. Hills, woods, farmer's fields, where shots are generally less than 300yds the .308 is as close to perfection as it gets.

OP, I think you have answered your own question:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I'm confused. Does your son live in Virginia? If so, and the .30 caliber rule exists, then his 7mm is not legal as it is technically a .280 not .30 caliber. Interesting Virginia would have a .30 caliber rule. In Wyoming, the .243 is the smallest legal caliber for big game including Elk and Moose. I know many would disagree, but that is the rule out here, and it works.

In any case, your choice of .308 is a good one. Hunting in the Rockies for the last 50 years, .308 and 30/06 have served me well. Don't discount the .308 at the longer ranges, it has proven itself in many situations well out to 1000 meters at Camp Perry Matches. I have seen it done. In general the .308, using the same bullet weight as the 30/06 is only 100 fps slower and has the advantage of being in a short action and generally a lighter rifle that is easier to pack around out here in the mountains where weight makes a difference.

I will say that the caliber that is used more often than any other, at least in my part of the country, for small game and varmints is the poor little .22 LR. Maybe the best all around caliber if the shooter knows what he is doing. A lot of meat has been taken down with the .22. Not a first choice for hunting big game, but a great caliber when the situation and opportunity present themselves.

Last edited by Meeteetse; March 25th, 2013 at 08:48 AM.
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Old March 23rd, 2013, 09:06 AM   #85
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Re: Choosing a caliber for first rifle can be such a pain.

My preference is the .308 over 30-06, but they are close to the same. Here's a comparison between the two.

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Old March 24th, 2013, 10:04 AM   #86
 
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If you want to get serious about paper punching and are only going to shoot factory ammo, .308 is the way to go. Every ammo company makes 308 Match ammo, some of which is darn hard for even an experienced handloader to beat.

The 270 and 7-08 are excellent hunting rounds. I have hunted with a 270 a lot. With good handloads they can be very accurate. My brother uses a 7-08 to good effect but he is a serious handloader. That said, I have never seen a box of factory "match" ammo for either cartridge. I'm not even sure if there are match bullets for the .270.

.243 is also a good cartridge. I don't recall seeing any factory match ammo but if you handload there are a lot of match bullets for the .243. Gotta have match bullets for match ammo.

I'm a 30-06 kinda guy. You can get 30-06 match ammo as well as darn near any other type ammo imaginable for that old warhorse. Versatile is its name. While it might not be as inherently accurate (if that really exists) a good 30-06 fed good ammo tends to shoot little groups.

Finally if you are going to punch paper, it might make sense for you to look at rifles with heavy barrels. That suggests the 308 or 243. I don't know of any factory heavy barrels in the other cartridges mentioned.

Good luck.
Jim
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Old March 25th, 2013, 05:52 AM   #87
 
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Originally Posted by 429421Cowboy View Post
Check out Berger, they are match grade hunting bullets, and i can speak personally to the quality, accuracy and effectiveness on game after three seasons with them in my 7mm Rem mag. They offer 130, 140 and 150 grain .277 VLD match grade hunting bullets, and i daresay you would be impressed with them Locally, they go for around $40/100, which is cheaper than Nosler or Barnes bullets by a long shot. Might be worth a look!

Edit: I just looked, the 150 grainer has a G1 BC of .531, that beats a 168 gr .308 VLD match bullet (.473) by a fair shake!
I'll be looking into them.... Thanks.
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Old March 25th, 2013, 09:17 AM   #88
 
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Originally Posted by jwkeene View Post

Finally if you are going to punch paper, it might make sense for you to look at rifles with heavy barrels. That suggests the 308 or 243. I don't know of any factory heavy barrels in the other cartridges mentioned.

Good luck.
Jim
Dunno if you spotted this in my first post but I've decided on the RAR as my first rifle. After much consideration, and help from forum members, I decided to get it in 243.

I am really hoping Ruger, or some other company, will offer a heavy barrel upgrade for the RAR. I have no problem with the sporter weight barrel, it keeps the cost down and makes it easier for hunters to lug it around. Cost aside, if the RAR came in an optional HB configuration, I believe it would have great potential as a range rifle or varminter. I don't think my rate of fire will be an issue though, I'll be taking my time between shots so heat build up should not be a big problem.
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