Best Rifle for all Deer hunting

Discussion in 'Firearms & Ammunition' started by Bullsbar, Mar 6, 2017.

  1. rookhawk

    rookhawk AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    I think there was some consideration to the larger grain weight bullets found on the shelf for the latter coupled with handload bullets out to 220-240gr that the 30-06 can use with its long neck but the 308 cannot.

    Both are fine, I just think that's why some would give 06 the edge.
     
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  2. sheephunterab

    sheephunterab AH Fanatic

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    At one time I'd have agreed 100% but with modern premium bullets and especially mono metals there is little advantage to going to very heavy for calibre bullets in the 30-06 any more.
     
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  3. rookhawk

    rookhawk AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    Educate me as I'm not a 30 cal guy. I thought the whole point of 06, 300hh and win was the long neck? That was supposed to allow the 220-240 grain long bullets and a longer, heavier mono metal of say 170 grain. Isn't the short neck of the .308 problematic for this?
     
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  4. ZG47

    ZG47 AH Enthusiast

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    First advantage of .30-06 over .308 is that it feeds more reliably. Second advantage is that it works better with heavy bullets. Third advantage is easy use of cast bullets.

    Back when the .308 was first allowed for deer culling in NZ, the cullers preferred to buy Sako rifles in that chambering. One reason why they did, is that a Sako is one of the few rifles that reliably feed the .308 Winchester, out of the box. Cheaper brands tend to be hit and miss, until fettled by a gunsmith.
     
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  5. sheephunterab

    sheephunterab AH Fanatic

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    Back in 1906 when the 30-06 was invented and bullets were of poor quality there was a huge advantage. But now that we can get lighter bullets to achieve full penetration because of superior construction, there is no real advantage to those big heavy bullets any more so the ability of the 30-06 to utilize them is kind of moot..

    I've honestly never heard of significant feeding issues with the 308.
     

  6. Art Lambart II

    Art Lambart II AH Fanatic

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    Welcome to AH and yes because you limited your rifle to plains game their is an answer to your question. Without question the best all around PG rifle is the 35 Whelen. Other people will recommend other fine caliber based solely on personal preference but the truth is no other cartridge on earth can match the combination of accuracy, energy and felt recoil of the 35 Whelen.
     

  7. PHOENIX PHIL

    PHOENIX PHIL AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    @Bullsbar,

    You've received a lot of good suggestions here. As is normally the case there's a lot of personal preference in the replies, nothing wrong with that, but as one person said without knowing your typical hunting scenario it's hard to answer the question.

    Up close and personal say in the Limpopo and it's thick brush, it's hard to argue with any of the less powerful guns such as the 7x57 or .308Win. Put a little more distance in the equation as you might see in the Kalahari, and the magnums have their place with their higher velocities. Less drop, less wind drift, more energy/momentum at point of impact.

    So I won't add anything more to the discussion regarding calibers. What I will say is that in my opinion we are now in the golden era of bullets. The bullet selection today is far better than it was 100 years ago. In my opinion many of the calibers that were developed were as much in response to poor bullet performance as anything else in my opinion.

    Whatever you decide on in regards to caliber, give as much attention to bullet selection if not more. Once you've pulled the trigger, the rifle has done its job. The bullet now does all the heavy lifting in bringing that animal down. You are in RSA I see and as such you have access to some of the better USA made bullets such as Barnes, Swift and North Fork. But RSA has it's own contributions to today's bullets such as those made by GS Custom and Peregrine.

    Best of luck on whatever you decide!
     

  8. markferrigno

    markferrigno AH Enthusiast

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    What my guide told me when I booked my first Pains Game hunt. "Bring your favorite deer rifle, which ever you can shoot best. And make sure you bring Barnes ammo"

    I never had any issues taking down Plains Game with a .308 and Barnes bullets..........
     

  9. rinehart0050

    rinehart0050 GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    600 NE!!! Go big or go home!

    Just kidding.

    We used a 7mm Rem Mag fed with barnes 160gr ammo and it worked on everything from warthog and impala to kudu and sable.
     
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  10. Ryan

    Ryan AH Fanatic

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    From the sound of things you're after a good all around mid range caliber for your first rifle. In that case your friend is correct, the 308 will do the job nicely as long as you put it in the right place with the proper bullet. It and the 30-06 are probably the most cmmon rounds out there, and it's not by chance. It's interesting to see people contrast the 308 and 30-06 when they are essentially the same round once they leave the barrel. The 308 was actually created to replace the 30-06 to improve some of it's shortcomings such as reliability in cycling of machine guns. It's only shortcoming is it's a hair slower. Trust me the animal won't notice. As for bullet choices because of shorter neck, not for what you're after. Use a good 165/168 gr monometal like the Barnes TTSX or a 180 grain bonded bullet such as the Nosler Accubond and it'll drop all you mention. Practically it's chambered in just about every rifle out there, right and left handed, and there's lots of manufactured ammo too. It's also known to be reasonable in the recoil department, lending itself to accuracy over the harder kicking magnums.
    Enough said.
     

  11. Streifengnu

    Streifengnu AH Member

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    My Merkel Rifle RX.Helix is my companian with the good old 8x57IS caliber. IS means Infantrie stärker (not islamic state !!! ;-)) which is the same as Magnum. 8x57IS was the caliber of the german army in WWII. I shot my zebra with it. For Oryx i used the 9,3x62.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2017
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  12. Banater Bu

    Banater Bu New Member

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    With a 30 cal youl be go to go, anywhere from .308 to 300 WinMag.
    Pay attention to the bullet though. Use a good construction, hard bullet anywhere from 165 to 200 grains.
    Choises include, but are not limited to Nosler Part, Accubond, A-Frame, Woodleigh, Norma Oryx, and many more.
     
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  13. Marquetta Pisarcik

    Marquetta Pisarcik AH Member

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    I use a 300WSM... Has never let me down
     
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  14. Tom Leoni

    Tom Leoni AH Senior Member

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    Marquetta, thanks for the contribution. 300 WSM, 300 WM, 300 H&H--all really good cartridges for use on anything that walks in North America or Europe, as well as for plains game in Africa. But so are the non-magnum counterparts--308, 30/06 etc.

    Interestingly, I've noticed a shift away from the heaviest-for-caliber bullets (e.g., 220gr for .308-dia) now that slugs of really good construction are pretty much the norm. You can get good controlled expansion out of a 180-gr .308 bullet, as long as you know at which velocities it does best.

    PS: I'm amazed that there was such a poor show of hands for the various 7mm magnums. I'm not a fan particularly, but they are great cartridges in their own right.
     

  15. curtism1234

    curtism1234 AH Enthusiast

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    I agree, I think recoil probably has the most to do with it. Many people will top out at the 3006 (though the 7mag is not much more) and would rather have a 270/280. Many others who can handle the 7mag will just go ahead and get the 300.
     

  16. Ragman

    Ragman AH Elite

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    I grew up hunting with the .308 for over 30 years now. It's all my father has hunted with since the '60s. The number of animals we have sent to the happy hunting grounds with them is very large. Together we have killed whitetail deer, mule deer, elk, moose and black bear. When we did our jobs, the animals reacted exactly like the ones I have seen my buddies shoot with their .300 Win Mags and WSMs at ranges of 350 yards and closer (I won't shoot farther than that with any caliber). The only failure I've had was from a Federal Fusion bullet that did not expand. But that is on another thread.

    I would not hesitate to hunt the animals you mentioned with the .308....even though it's not flashy like so many others, it just works and I love it.
     

  17. Ragman

    Ragman AH Elite

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    I haven't either.
     

  18. lcq

    lcq AH Elite

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    The 308 was brought out so that semi and full autos would feed more reliably than the 30-06
     
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  19. sheephunterab

    sheephunterab AH Fanatic

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    The 308 Win was actually introduced as a hunting cartridge in 1952 and offered in a bolt and lever action. It was a full two years later until the 7.62x51 was adopted by NATO. The 308 was one of a very few cartridges that didn't have origins as a military cartridge that became a hunting cartridge. It was the opposite.
     
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  20. lcq

    lcq AH Elite

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    lots of good advice here. A wise old tech at Hornady once told me "deer don't need much killing" so anything from a 243 up will work for them. Kudu and Gemsbok are way tougher than deer but as others have said, keep your shots well placed and distances reasonable and 7mm08 7x57 270 257 7mm mag 308 3006 300 mag will work just fine. I would stick to common calibers so that if the monkeys lose your luggage you can find ammo in Africa. 7x57 308 3006 300 mag common as dirt
     
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