Moving to Florida- which rifle(s) and caliber(s)?

7mm is plenty for all things you’ll encounter in the south. Yes the 270/308/30-06 are popular - and for good reason, they all work quite well - so does the 7mm. Everyone has their favorite but at the end of the day you are talking about sending a 140-150gr bullet at your intended game - a couple hundred fps - faster or slower - within 200 yards shooting distance isn’t that big of deal.
I’d happily stick with the 7mm and as a bonus most guys out East comment on the 7mm as being a “big gun” too much for whitetail…. So there is usually ammo on the shelf when the 6.5 manbun and 308 are sold out.
If you have time - check out the ballistics charts and compare various cartridges.

If you are itching to get another rifle I would vote for a slower .30 bullet let prone to deflection - the 30-30 would be a good option.
 
You do not need anything bigger than a thirty for anything east of the Mississippi to include reintroduced elk or a coastal black bear. Show up on a hog hunt with a .375, or God forbid a .404, and you will draw a crowd of the curious and amused. Frankly, your 7 mag is more rifle than you need for southern deer, but will certainly work. Most people who you will encounter will be using a .270, .308, or .243.

The other gun you should consider is a 20 bore OU. There is a lot of great dove and quail hunting around you, particularly southern GA. Most places don’t allow anything heavier than a 20 or a repeater of any sort. In fact, I would be inclined to spend my budget on that, and use my 7 mag until I decided what rifle would be ideal for me (not a bunch of guys on the web who live elsewhere).
It's fun to show up just at my range with either of those guys and watch the reaction done the line. During the range cold, at least one if not two range masters and several others will come by to ask about them. I tell them both the 375H&H and 404J are mid-bores and then their eyes get really big!
 
3 guns? What in the hell are you going to shoot the other 362 days of the year? I like your 3 gun choice, throw a shotgun or two and a few handguns and a guy should get by just fine! Good luck on your move!
 
Welcome to the forum. I lived in South Florida for 12 years. Don't know where in Central Florida you will be located, but Okeechobee was our get away spot. There is a great shooting club and another really good range there. We were members of the club.

I never hunted deer in Florida as we have a lease in Texas. I did hunt a lot of pigs and they were my primary test medium for guns and loads. The dove, snipe and quail hunting is really good. The quail will be fly pen raised and released birds for the most part. If you hunt a good place there will be good flushing and flying birds. Also, there are some exotic places. Most that I saw I drove away from as they were overstocked kill pastures. However, we did hunt axis at a place outside Indiantown. It was a well run operation.

If you like turkey hunting, Florida is the only place for Osceola turkey. Also, there are gator hunts available using every method imaginable.

Having said all that, almost any rifle you want to use and a good shotgun of 12 or 20 bore will have you covered for everything in the state.

Safe hunting
 
The 7mm Rem Mag will be just fine for any of the game found in Florida requiring a centerfire cartridge. Your budget is the only limitation as to how many different firearms you can own so many of us in the US tend to have numerous firearms with overlapping capabilities. Your choice of bullets will be more important than cartridge, shot placement goes without saying.

If you decide to hunt management areas open to the public in Florida the season dates vary by zone but generally run archery, muzzleloader, and then rifle season. A Florida hunting license allows the hunter to hunt all of those seasons. Certain areas are bow/muzzleloader only so that type of equipment is something to consider if you want to take advantage of those opportunities.

Quality private land to lease in Florida can be difficult to find. I have several friends here in Florida that lease land in South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama for that reason.

I will not get into what action type of shotgun is best but if you are fortunate enough to get a chance at a good dove, duck, turkey or quail hunt you need to be ready. Redleg brought up a good point as far as gauge restriction on a plantation style quail hunt which is a good excuse to own a nice 20 or 28 gauge.

I have attached an old cover photo of a magazine that you may want to check out once you get to Florida.
Good luck with the move and don't hesitate to PM if need be.

thumbnail_20220821_090855.jpg
 
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I have heard about the "no 12 bore" restriction but never hunting anywhere that had it in place and I have shot quail at a lot of places in Florida and Georgia. I normally use a 12 bore, but it is an old Charles Lancaster hammer gun and I shoot 7/8oz light loads when hunting with dogs. On driven birds or a tower shoot, I will use 1oz light loads normally. Maybe since I am basically shooting 20 bore loads nobody cares.
 
.257 w/ a sidearm for pigs and (cci shotshells) for snakes. Snakes and spiders, actually. Refrain from shooting the really small, southernmost variety of whitetail in FL as they frown upon that!!! A larger caliber could arguably be a better choice (06) in the thick stuff, where the 8m alligator lives! 'Have hunted FL a bunch in the past, but used a 257 Wby and AI the most, to good effect, on both deer and pigs. Contrary to popular belief, the avg wild pig really isn't that big as their litters are huge and areas often overpopulated. I've seen some (caught-castrated-released) whoppers up in SC, but never like 'em down in FL. 'Same thing that'll work on warthogs is just fine for feral hogs in the US (257-264.) There are some bigger, nicer deer way up N. in FL and those calibers will work just fine. Many hogs are also taken with pistols at short range in FL, and many use hounds to round 'em up. I used the Wby as some ranches have some really long open areas, but not so much on overgrown state lands. Good luck, enjoy, and don't discuss your evil passions with the (coastal, non-endemic) NY/NJ/CA Dems of FL! :p Also 20 ga for quail and clays!
 
i won’t wade into the caliber suggestions as you’ve been inundated with appropriate recommendations. However, I would suggest investing in a rifle with cerakote and a quality synthetic stock like H&S, etc. FL is hell on metal finishes and the humidity and hunting conditions can be very hard on fine firearms. There will certainly be occasions for a nice wood stocked piece, but you’d probably appreciate having a hunting rifle that can handle the conditions well.
 
remember that old ss 410 shotgun "the snake charmer?" stainless/plastic. perfect for FL, although I've used fine wood on nice days too...
 
Good day Forum,

The family is moving to Florida, East Coast Central.
So what are your opinions of what kind of rifles and caliber would I need? I hope to be able to hunt around Florida and perhaps make a trip to Georgia once per year for white tail.
I have a budget of $3000 for hunting rifles. I’ll utilize the scopes I have.
I have a 7mm Win Mag already, but anything else is up for discussions, style of action, material, make etc.
What would YOU do? Go wild…
What else do you need? Your 7mm is more than enough for anything in Florida. I’d wager you already know that-lol. Anyhow, I’ll bite and go through -what I call - the motions for millennials because of their desperation to be noticed. What do you plan to hunt? If you plan on bird hunting, get a shotgun. Most small bores above .223 should work. And I’ll throw in the hilarious and commonly used phrase: if you do your part. Lol. I’ll put it another way. I use a 30-06, 30-30 and a shotgun here and they work fine. Of course a .22lr can always come in handy. And if you want to do some iguana hunting, you can get an air rifle and have tons of fun. Southeast Florida is infested with this invasive species. Pay attention if your hunting by foot. I’ve been hunting here two years now and have encountered alligators by the canals and sloughs, and plenty of snakes. So you may want to get gaiters if it will make you feel more safe. One more thing if hunting by foot, carrying an open side arm will make you feel more secure. Expect to see swamp buggies down here, Floridians love their toys. Guys using those buggies really rack up them hogs. Plenty of dear down here too. Also, don’t get caught in the deep water holes. Study the maps and take time finding out where they are or you will end up in trouble. Lots of folks get their vehicles stuck in deep waterholes. That’s why so many use buggies; and they get stuck sometimes. Almost forgot to mention, even though there is thick brush, you will find many open areas that present some very long shots. And there’s plenty of tall grass. So your 7mm can actually be very practical for the long ranges . Have fun, stay safe. Welcome to Florida.
 
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Already having a 7mmRM, your next step should be a medium bore. 375H&H would be my choice, but anything from 8mm to 378WBY will serve you well. Real hog stoppers.

Then we can start talking about a big bore over .400 caliber.
@BeeMaa
If you want a real hog stopper that won't smack you around but do the job emphatically you can't go past a nice light weight 358 Winchester. That little round really knocks the snot out of any hog.
He could go one better and get the 358s big brother the 35 Whelen.
Both excellent hog guns that also cover game from mice to moose.
Bob
 
Good day Forum,

The family is moving to Florida, East Coast Central.
So what are your opinions of what kind of rifles and caliber would I need? I hope to be able to hunt around Florida and perhaps make a trip to Georgia once per year for white tail.
I have a budget of $3000 for hunting rifles. I’ll utilize the scopes I have.
I have a 7mm Win Mag already, but anything else is up for discussions, style of action, material, make etc.
What would YOU do? Go wild…


Use the whole budget and then a bit extra, get one rifle for your whole Florida experience. Options:

1.) Stalking rifle. Single shot or bolt. 7x57 or similar. Low power scope in the 1-6x range.

2.) An over under double rifle in 7x65r, 7x57r, 9.3x74r, or 303.

In either case, you're hunting most often in palmetto jungle and your ability to make a snap shot on hogs and deer will all be about gun fit. Either will handle a once a year Georgia whitetail shot at 150 yards, the stalking rifle out to responsible distances of 250 yards or more. (if there is a clear shot in GA that far)
 
Use the whole budget and then a bit extra, get one rifle for your whole Florida experience. Options:

1.) Stalking rifle. Single shot or bolt. 7x57 or similar. Low power scope in the 1-6x range.

2.) An over under double rifle in 7x65r, 7x57r, 9.3x74r, or 303.

In either case, you're hunting most often in palmetto jungle and your ability to make a snap shot on hogs and deer will all be about gun fit. Either will handle a once a year Georgia whitetail shot at 150 yards, the stalking rifle out to responsible distances of 250 yards or more. (if there is a clear shot in GA that far)
I haven’t hit the FWCs further north yet. The
ones in south Florida have the jungle terrain
in the same areas that have long range wide open shots and even longer sendero type paths. I’ve found the blend quite interesting being it has both options. In the northeastern US where I used to hunt in my early years, that was rarely the case unless you were near an adjacent farm.
 
I hunt in coastal SC. It's very much like Florida in the summertime with the heat and humidity. BTW - summertime lasts until about Thanksgiving. I have a real problem with a couple of guns. If I have them in an air conditioned house or car then take them out into hot, humid weather the entire gun will condensate like a glass of iced tea. This isn't terrible on blued gun parts or external parts but I can get a fine layer or light, dusty rust on bare metal parts especially if they wear against other metal parts.

I solve this by leaving the gun either in a locked truck in a locked garage before I hunt or by keeping it behind an upstairs door that opens to the attic. With the warm gun in a soft case, even if I run the AC in the truck on the way to hunt, it doesn't cool off enough to cause condensation problems.

I say all of this - if you're getting new guns, consider stainless steel and composite stock guns for Florida.
 
I do like a light AR-15 in 350 legend on hogs. think I'm going to take my carry handle ar pistol this year in 350

I’ve got a 16” AR in 350 Legend topped with a sightmark wraith that is a hog slaying machine…

Ive found nothing better to have on hand when a sounder of 20 of those forest demons walk out of the wood line..
 

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