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Best all around bolt action rifle

This is a discussion on Best all around bolt action rifle within the Ruger Bolt Action forums, part of the Rifle & Shotgun Forum category; Caliber discussions crack me up. We discuss numerical data differences in great detail as if they matter a whole lot. I'm as guilty as anybody ...

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Old November 25th, 2019, 01:48 PM   #31
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Caliber discussions crack me up. We discuss numerical data differences in great detail as if they matter a whole lot. I'm as guilty as anybody else but the truth is almost any modern centerfire caliber is more than adequate for almost any thin skinned game. Plenty of elk have been killed with a 243, a boatload of moose and bear have been killed with a 30-30 and on other continents the 6.5x55 has killed everything that walks.

Sticking with the one gun theory means a couple of reasonable assumptions have to be made.

1. Thin skinned game only. A rifle that's appropriate for Cape Buffalo is rarely considered an all around rifle. The 375H&H or 9.3x62 are the only two exceptions generally considered 'all around' rifles with the chops to also hunt DG.

2. All shots will be taken at reasonable distances. Most hunters, me included, have no business shooting at game beyond 400 yards and I'm being generous. Reality is more like <250 yards. I've seen a lot of people shoot and IME 300 yard shots are beyond the ethical capability of 2/3 of hunters. That's a harsh truth but any discussions of all around calibers has to consider that reality. Also, at the responsible distances I'm talking about any arguments about trajectory are pointless. All the calibers we're talking about shoot 'flat' inside 400 yards. I guess some are 'flatter' than others but not enough to make any meaningful difference. If the rifle is sighted in and the shooter knows his rifle the trajectory is irrelevant.

That being said and keeping in mind we're talking about only one rifle I'm still sticking with the venerable 30-06. A well placed 30-06 will easily kill any thin skinned animal on any continent at responsible distances. Put a bullet in the vitals and that animal is done.

In reality any 7mm or 30 caliber rifle is a great choice for an all around rifle. They all work well. IMO the smaller calibers (243, 6mm, 6.5, etc) don't have quite the versatility on the big end but they'll still get the job done under most circumstances even on big animals. While I prefer the '06 if I was forced to pick a smaller caliber I'd be more than satisfied with 6.5x55 as my one and only rifle.

It's shot placement that matters. It has always has been that way and always will be. Caliber wars are mostly an expression of personal preference vs actual effective differences. That and it's an excuse to buy a new rifle.


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Old November 25th, 2019, 02:24 PM   #32
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I have a Hawkeye .30-06--a X-bolt .270 and an Axis .308

If I had to pick one, it would probably be the Browning---nice light and trim and the .270 will drop anything I aim it at.
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Old November 26th, 2019, 02:11 PM   #33
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Tikka. Maybe someday I can bump up to Sako to see what the difference is.

Bolt....smooooooth like warm butter.

Trigger....right on the wall, crisp ping of breaking glass.

I have a T3x Varmint .223. This thing can put 'yer eye out at 200 yards (longest range I have)...over and over and over again. Bull barrel on this rifle can just shoot and shoot and shoot. No take a shot, wait for it to cool, repeat.

Love this thing.
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Old November 26th, 2019, 08:08 PM   #34
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My hunting rifles are Pre '64 model 70 Winchester .30-06, Remington pump ,270 and a Remington model 722, .257 Roberts. The .30-06 and the .257 are the best shooting. The .257 has killed more Whitetails then the other two combined.

It all depends on what you hunt and where you are hunting. Open range or brush.

If I am going to be possibly brush and longer ranges, I take the .30-06.

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Old November 27th, 2019, 12:47 PM   #35
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My favorite rifle is my Remington Model 725 in .270 Win. I bought that rifle in 1961 and have hunted with it ever since.. Now, one disclaimer, I have never, nor do I intend to, hunt Brown Bears with it... My 2nd. Choice would be a .30-06, followed by the .308 Winchester..

Just my humble opinion...

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Old November 27th, 2019, 01:55 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by Bozz48 View Post
I think a .270 Winchester is about the best all around cartridge, followed closely by the .308. Couple them with a Winchester Model 70 and you have your near perfect hunting rifle.
Agree completely
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Old November 28th, 2019, 04:01 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by Priest78 View Post
Let's here those opinions. What is your favorite or in your opinion the best bolt action rifle for hunting all around? I know people out there have specifics for specific animals but in general, for a "beginner" hunter, what do you believe would be a good one to use for multiple animals and why?aaaaaaaaannnnnnnnndddddddd GO!
A Savage or Tikka III would be my choice. Both sub MOA out of the box, both with adjustable triggers and both affordable. The caliber, choose a proven standard, .308, 30-06, .270 for all around. Every podunk grocery or county tavern will have a box for sale.
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Old November 28th, 2019, 06:33 PM   #38
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I have killed well over 100 deer and antelope, most with a 30-06. I killed an antelope at 563 yards once, bullet entered the chest went to the back hip and lodged under the skin. Still have both the case and the mushroomed bullet. I have also killed a whitetail at 460 with an 06 and an antelope at 429 yards with a 243. I have many to choose from including Ruger, Weatherby, Remington, Mauser, and Winchester. A 243 killed my biggest mule deer a B and C deer and I have also used 12 gauge, 7.62 x39, 303, 308, 30-06 and 300 Weatherby. I retired and was given a Weatherby Vanguard (cheapest they make) as a retirement gift. It is 257 Weatherby and easy and cheap to reload making brass from 7mm mags. Is the flattest shooting round in general sales. However, if you look at the hot 7mm mag or 270 Winchester, they do as well and have bigger bullets.

My point, any brand will do. The Vanguard is perhaps the least expensive bargain out there. I leave my Mark IV in the safe and take the Vanguard out in the Weather, I killed a deer about 175 pounds dressed on Sunday. If you do not shoot over 300 yards, and mule deer or smaller, go with the 243. If you shoot farther then 270 or 30-06, 25-06 or 257 Weatherby is probably a better choice. I also have a Ruger RSI in 308 and have killed maybe a dozen deer with it. I just think the 30-06 with its slighter better velocity is better if you insist on 30 caliber, BUT, if you do not shoot past say 300 yards that extra 150 fps does not really matter. It just give you a little more flat trajectory on those longer shots. My 2 cents.
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Old November 28th, 2019, 07:25 PM   #39
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My father bought the M77 1st generation in 270 with Burris 4x in the early 90's. He and I have bagged much game with it. Best feature is reliability. Never had any malfunction of any type in all those years. The 130 grain Ballistic tip for deer, and the Partition for elk. That gun and I just gel together, such a good shooter!
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Old November 28th, 2019, 08:23 PM   #40
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One Size may not fit All

That's a really open ended question, and really does depend on what range of game you will be hunting and the end user. For example, if you are starting out and looking at small everyday game, like Rabbits, Squirrels, and small birds (quail, dove, etc). then you can go 1 of 3 directions. There are rifles, shotguns and combos of each. For a youth, an over/under .22LR/20Ga firearm is an extremely good learning weapon. It teaches conservation of rounds, which demands accuracy as well as providing versatility for a wide range of game.

Moving up to larger game such as dear, pigs/hogs, turkey... Again, you would need to decide if you wish to go rile or shotgun. Each will have their range and versatility. A good 12 ga Mossberg 500 is hard to beat for all-round flexibility from bird, buck and slug shot options. Going into the rifle range then you want something that can reach out and touch your target. Pretty much anything in the .30 cal line would be the best overall choice and will have good stopping power and accuracy. A Remington 700 .30-06 will do a fine job on any medium to large game you desire. Plus, the range and availability of ammunition for these two is outstanding.

Any brand from Remington, Ruger and Winchester are good solid choices depending on your wallet. The Mossberg 500 shotgun and the Remington 700 Rifle are both very affordable. If you are just starting out, I would suggest one of each and you will be set for any hunting situation you decide to undertake.

Good luck, good hunting and be safe.
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Old November 29th, 2019, 12:54 PM   #41
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The GSR in .308, I have other rifles but I need no other.
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Old November 29th, 2019, 01:45 PM   #42
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First off, a HUNTING rifle needs the safety in the correct position and that is ON THE TANG. So that leaves us with 'original' Ruger Model 77, the, Ruger American, the Browning A-Bolt and X-Bolt rifles, and Savage bolt actions (too many model numbers and names to keep track of!)

The Savage is out for me because I'm not a fan of the 'sliding plate' extractor. Just a personal 'issue' since one broke on me leaving a fired .30-06 case in the chamber and ending that day of shooting.

The Ruger American, while very accurate and affordable is 'out' for me, too, as it also has a sliding plate extractor AND when the gun is on 'safe' the bolt is NOT locked down. That's a problem on a hunting rifle. The bolt WILL get lifted by brush and such and you WILL lose a cartridge that way. Hopefully you notice all this happened before it is time to take a shot and the rounds in the mag are still there. I'm just not a fan of a gun where the action isn't "locked" when the safety is on.

So we are left with the 'original' Ruger 77 and the Brownings (A-Bolts/X-Bolts). The 77 is my favorite gun, and it pains me to say this, but it must be taken "off safe" to unload the chamber. Not a huge deal, but it can be a safety issue (guns can and have gone off when going from safe to fire position.) The Browning A-Bolt is in the same category - must be 'off-safed' to unload the chamber.

That leaves the Browning X-Bolt. Tang safety. Bolt remains locked when on safe. And it can be unloaded with gun still on safe by pushing in the 'button' at the top of the bolt handle. I like that. This would be my pick if I had no guns and was starting from scratch today.

Honorable mentions are the Rem 700 series guns. Safety isn't on the tang, but pretty dang close. Bolt does lock on safe (on older guns; I hear that is not true on the newer guns?) Win 70 series guns. The three position safety is great, but it isn't on the tang, and that's a "criteria" for me. The Mauser 98 style action and extractor is a plus on that gun, too. A classic. Ruger Hawkeye and Ruger Mark II - basically the same attributes of the Win 70 guns, but they say Ruger on them, so that makes me happy ;o)

So many hunting rifles to chose from. A guy or gal just needs to figure out what most matters to THEM and then shop accordingly.

You didn't ask for cartridge recommendations, but since so many have chimed in, here goes:
* For a young shooter, old shooter, or a lady shooter: .243 Win (or 6mm Creedmoor if you just have to have something that says "Creedmoor" on it.)
* For a grown, adult man: .270 Winchester; does it all for North American hunting, without being abusive to the shoulder. (The .30-06 is a very close second; the .308 Win is perfect for a 'short-action' rifle; 7mm-08 Rem is also very good; Sentimental favorite? The .25-06 Rem; it punches far above it's weight class but the kick is very easily manageable.)
* For big stuff (Alaskan bears & African trips): .375 H&H Magnum; a classic cartridge that can be legally used to hunt all game animals, world-wide. And, surprisingly, it isn't too abusive if put into a 10lb gun with a Limbsaver recoil pad.
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