One rifle for North American big game?

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@Bob Nelson 35Whelen
As you well know my favorite caliber of all time is the 35 Whelen, my father @Shootist43 prefers the 6.5x55 Sweede for most of his hunting unless its in Africa the he uses his 35 Whelen.
Art Lambert 11
Your dad needs to start using his Whelen again. Has he reloaded any of those Speer hotcore for you yet.
If'n he hasn't tell him to get activated and do some for you to try.
Hopefully you and your family are keeping well.
Bob.
 

Art Lambart II

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I'll be sure to remind him on our way the hunting property this morning. Thanks for the heads up.
 

BeeMaa

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I'm going out on a technicality that the OP said "one rifle" and taking the Blaser R8.

As @One Day... is so fond of saying, if you have only one stock...it's only one rifle.
In that case, I'll take the R8 with 3 barrels...6.5x55SE, 300WM and 375H&H.
 

Tra3

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I’m with @BeeMaa !! R8, .375h&h, .300wm and .270 Win.

Coffee, my son’s R8 with a .22 LR and Lake Superior, a fine morning.
D9432336-7DC8-4A83-9D3F-CD46CF0602F4.jpeg
 
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Longwalker

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Hello,

Wondering if any North American hunters can help me out.
I am wondering if anyone could suggest a rifle to sort of "do it all" for North American big game.

The main things I will hunt with it are Whitetail Deer and Wild Hogs in Florida.
However, there are other hunts I plan to do with this ride - out in the west for pronghorn, elk, and mule deer - as well as black bear somewhere further north.

First of all, what caliber would be suggested to take all these species? On average they will be 100-200 pound animals, so it needs to b comfortable to us for that - while still having the power to handle a 500+ pound elk.

As far as rifle action, weight, barrel length, and scope variation - what would you suggest? It's got to be comfortable in denser cover for hunting Florida, but still able to take game to 250+ yards for pronghorn and mule deer.

Can't wait to hear your suggestions.
Drew

Drew, I have done all that type of hunting very satisfactorily with a standard weight, 22" barrel, bolt action rifle with a scope in the 2.5-8 or 3-9 or 2-10x range and 40mm objective. I prefer the .308 cartridge but many others will do fine. I've shot more elk with my bigger rifles like .35 Whelen, 9.3x62, and .375H&H and they seem just a tiny bit more "decisive" but at least a half dozen with the .308 have all been quick, clean kills. Black bears may be hunted with any appropriate elk cartridge. Your scope doesn't need a big objective lens, exposed turrets, fancy reticles, or more magnification. The low power setting is more important than that highest power. Mounting a scope low as possible is a advantage in field accuracy from field positions. I know it's an anachronism but I still like the option of iron sights in addition to a scope. To me a rifle that fits so well it can be quickly and effectively used for snap shooting moving game in close cover is far more important than the ultimate in accuracy. Avoid noisy synthetic stocks, muzzle brakes, set triggers, attached bipods, and slings that are so heavy that their pendulum swing affects offhand shooting.
 
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Longwalker

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A specific example from my rifle collection: I could happily do what you describe with my old Sako L579 Forester deluxe .308 with Zeiss Conquest 2-10x42, Sako QD mounts, backup original peep sight, and a simple leather strap sling. I'd load with Norma Oryx 165 gr. And hunt them all.
 

Forrest Halley

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Sweet mother of mercy, the Whelen heathens have found us again. In another life, not having grown up in a .30-06 household, I would have a .35 Whelen and a .357 magnum vaquero. I'm sure I'd be well equipped for most things North American and able to use just one bullet most of the time in a 180 grain xtp. Unfortunately, that was not to be and I grew up with a lot of different rifles. If the Good Lord had seen fit to deliver me a .375 earlier, I would have had a much shorter journey to happiness.

I'll suppose if we must stay American and not have something for which we make apologies such as the .308, we arrive at the .40 somethings. I've already given my salute to the .35, so I'll begrudge the .405 Winchester its due in passing and look more toward a .45-70 or .458. These big bores have the advantage of taking game in a manner where one doesn't have to search for it after the shot. No they don't have the laser trajectory of the fast little stinger rifles. What they do offer is substantial unexpanded bullet diameter and substantial energy transfer. I can load the .45-70 Hot enough to take care of big animals with bad tempers or light enough to shoot woodchucks at 2-300 yards all day long. It would stand to reason that I can easily do this with a WM or Lott, but making a bit more noise.
 
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Sweet mother of mercy, the Whelen heathens have found us again. In another life, not having grown up in a .30-06 household, I would have a .35 Whelen and a .357 magnum vaquero. I'm sure I'd be well equipped for most things North American and able to use just one bullet most of the time in a 180 grain xtp. Unfortunately, that was not to be and I grew up with a lot of different rifles. If the Good Lord had seen fit to deliver me a .375 earlier, I would have had a much shorter journey to happiness.

I'll suppose if we must stay American and not have something for which we make apologies such as the .308, we arrive at the .40 somethings. I've already given my salute to the .35, so I'll begrudge the .405 Winchester its due in passing and look more toward a .45-70 or .458. These big bores have the advantage of taking game in a manner where one doesn't have to search for it after the shot. No they don't have the laser trajectory of the fast little stinger rifles. What they do offer is substantial unexpanded bullet diameter and substantial energy transfer. I can load the .45-70 Hot enough to take care of big animals with bad tempers or light enough to shoot woodchucks at 2-300 yards all day long. It would stand to reason that I can easily do this with a WM or Lott, but making a bit more noise.
@Forrest Halley
Young Mr Halley us 35 owners aren't heathens young man.
We are the intelligentsia of the shooting world.we have gained the insight that the 35 is better than the little guns and we don't need to be belted around by the big boys to get the job done. The 35 will do it as well.
See the light young'n and step into the 35 circle you will be m are feel most welcome.
Ha ha ha ha
35 lunatic
Bob
 

BeeMaa

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@Forrest Halley
Young Mr Halley us 35 owners aren't heathens young man.
We are the intelligentsia of the shooting world.we have gained the insight that the 35 is better than the little guns and we don't need to be belted around by the big boys to get the job done. The 35 will do it as well.
See the light young'n and step into the 35 circle you will be m are feel most welcome.
Ha ha ha ha
35 lunatic
Bob
The best thing about crazy people...they don't know they are crazy. ;)
 
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The best thing about crazy people...they don't know they are crazy. ;)
@BeeMaa
The only thing I know of that is normal is a cycle on a washing machine.
I know I'm not crazy I've got a letter from the lunatic asylum to say I'm sane. Ha ha ha ha
Bob.
 

Forrest Halley

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The .35 crowd is just as infatuated and fanatical as the .404 crew. I'm certain that both calibers have their merits, but when you have bypassed them, you have bypassed them.
 

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I actually get it.

And if I didn't already use the .338, I might be one of those who find some utility in a .35 - at least until I would eventually discover the .338. :Finger:
 

35400Whelen

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Col. Whelen used a lot of caliber/cartridges over his life time, from small American rounds to British big bores and liked them all. He said the best two all around for America was the 257 Roberts and the 270 Win., He also saw the advantage of larger bores and with James Howe they developed the 35 and 400 Whelen cartridges. He also said you can't go wrong with the 30-06. His largest moose was taken with the 270 win.
Jack O'Connor who used the 270 win on all North American game and many world wide said elk was approaching 375 H&H territory.
Elmer Keith hated the 270 win and called it a coyote cartridge, later said if a person was a good shot the 270 win was a capable elk cartridge. He thought highly of the 45-70, he spook highly of the 35 Whelen and the 400 Whelen. I have heard the he did not have a favorite cartridge just wanted one that could throw a 300gr. bullet. But it seams that he became very fond of 33 calibers as he co-developed the 333OKH and 333OKH mag. and used them extensively.
For me if I was to just be hunting deer and hogs I would probably stay with my 270 win. But I now live were I hunt or can hunt pronghorn, deer, black bear, big horn sheep, mountain goat, elk, moose. Can't hunt now but we have grizzly bears too. So if I was going to have just one it would be my 35 Whelen, but my 400 Whelen my get the chose too.
It also drives my crazy at how many think any thing over 30 cal. is going to blow a big game animal up. A lot of the size of hole depends on the bullet used. A 375 H&H can be less destructive on a pronghorn then a 270 or 30-06 if the 375 has the right bullet in it.
As to the OP's question, he has lots of choices, looks as he is thinking of just hunting the lower 48 and maybe lower Canada, he will need to decide on what range he intends to shot and go from there, and he still has lots of good choices.
To those who say leaver guns are not accurate, they most have not used them as there are many who hunt with them all the time and are very successful, the ones I have shot very well. Leaver actions have been used for over a century and proven well.
If a person really wants a one rifle cartridge to hunt it all any where, they would get a 458 Lott and hand load. You have a good selection of bullets, you can load down to black powder 45-70 levels all the way up to full 458 Lott loads. This would allow you to tailor loads for small hogs and whitetails up to dangerous game and every thing in between.
 
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Assuming that you have no intention of ever hunting in Africa , then I would highly recommend ( Among commercially manufactured rifles ) a :
> Pre 64 Winchester Model 70 , chambered in .338 Winchester magnum calibre . It should wear a “ Super Grade “ stock and have a bull barrel . It should be equipped with a low power telescopic sight ( Not too high magnification ) .

Among custom rifles , I would highly recommend a :
> Griffin & Howe custom piece , built on an Enfield Model 1917 action and chambered in .338 Winchester Magnum . It should be equipped with a French Walnut stock , Douglas barrel and a low power telescopic sight .

The .338 Winchester magnum could easily floor even the largest of the American Kodiak Bears ... With utter impunity . Now , should you have Africa planned some day ... Then , it would not be unwise to swap the .338 Winchester magnum calibre for a .375 Holland & Holland magnum calibre .
@ major Kahn
My dear friend Poton how bout an Enfield M17 full custom styled after a Remington 30s with a Douglas competition barrel, timney trigger and a pepper laminate stock in 35 Whelen AI.
20200131_113934.jpg

It's the rifle on the left the one on the right is a P14 in my own designed 25/303 Epps Newton improved.
 

Major Khan

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@ major Kahn
My dear friend Poton how bout an Enfield M17 full custom styled after a Remington 30s with a Douglas competition barrel, timney trigger and a pepper laminate stock in 35 Whelen AI.View attachment 361933
It's the rifle on the left the one on the right is a P14 in my own designed 25/303 Epps Newton improved.
You have exceptionally refined taste , Bob ! It is truly heart warming to see that Douglas Barrels are still popular among international sports men . They used to be extremely popular among American bespoke rifle makers ... During our time .
 
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I actually get it.

And if I didn't already use the .338, I might be one of those who find some utility in a .35 - at least until I would eventually discover the .338. :Finger:
@Red Leg
You can always undiscover the 338 and go with the mighty 35.,
Bob
 

Professor Mawla

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Keeping things strictly to the game of North America , I would say that the .338 Winchester Magnum covers all bases ( right up to Kodiak bear ) . My favorite factory loaded ammunition for this calibre would have to be the original 250 grain Nosler Partition. The new Winchester Model 70 Alaskan is a really good value for the money , if you look strictly at factory rifles .

With African or Australian game in mind , I would recommend the .375 H & H ( Holland & Holland ) Magnum . Of course , larger calibre rifles can be used by those who fancy them . I have successfully hunted countless North American game with my .458 WM ( Winchester Magnum ) , by carefully selecting my ammunition of choice .
 

Areaonereal

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30 06. Why consider anything else....ammo available anywhere....reasonable pricing on rifles and ammo selection limited only by your imagination...if you handload...up to 220 grain. Accurate and enough energy for any NA game if common sense enters the picture.....I have used the 30 06 for Africa up to and including Giraffe(3), Eland(1) and to many to count Zebra, Wildebeast, Oryx, and everything else on down to Steenbok. If it works in Africa, it works in the US. 180 grain Accubond, 200 grain Nosler Partition, 220 grain Nosler Partition. Pick your Poison...it gets the job done. Might be a little much for Prairie dog, but I know it has even been used for such, why?, I can not answer that but it worked on them.
 

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Hello,

Wondering if any North American hunters can help me out.
I am wondering if anyone could suggest a rifle to sort of "do it all" for North American big game.

The main things I will hunt with it are Whitetail Deer and Wild Hogs in Florida.
However, there are other hunts I plan to do with this ride - out in the west for pronghorn, elk, and mule deer - as well as black bear somewhere further north.

First of all, what caliber would be suggested to take all these species? On average they will be 100-200 pound animals, so it needs to b comfortable to us for that - while still having the power to handle a 500+ pound elk.

As far as rifle action, weight, barrel length, and scope variation - what would you suggest? It's got to be comfortable in denser cover for hunting Florida, but still able to take game to 250+ yards for pronghorn and mule deer.

Can't wait to hear your suggestions.
Drew
378 weatherby with NF mil-dot scope deer at 500 to bbear at 10 yards $$$ money
 

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