One rifle for North American big game?

Discussion in 'Firearms & Ammunition' started by biggiesmalls, Jul 20, 2018.

  1. dchamp

    dchamp AH Veteran

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    Out of the rifles I have it would be one of three - 8x57, 8mm Rem Mag or 9.3x62
     

  2. Scrumbag

    Scrumbag AH Fanatic

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    I use a 7x64 which is basically the same thing
     

  3. Say Man

    Say Man AH Senior Member

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    Mine has turned into the 280 as most of my hunting recently has turned into mountain hunting and the thought of carrying a heavier 30-06 or 338 makes me sweat just thinking about it. The pack will be heavy enough without adding the extra weight. The 280 will take everything I need it to in the mountains with the exception of maybe a grizzly but with good shot placement any game can be taken.
     

  4. cls

    cls AH Elite

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    I don't typically join the conversations about rifle selection as one poster put it opinions are like arse holes, everyone has one, but I couldn't resist. I've hunted here in northern Canada for 40+ years and killed everything from moose to antelope and a couple black bears with my 7mm Rem Mag. Have never lost an animal and most were one shot kills. Don't get me wrong I have a bucket load of guns but if I had to choose only one for the animals you mentioned in your original post it would be a 7mm Rem Mag.
     
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  5. Hunting Hitman

    Hunting Hitman AH Senior Member

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    For me it’s got to be the 300 win mag. I have personally shot everything in North America save a Polar Bear with it and had no problems. I shoot a 200 grain eldx custom load from Pendleton Ammunition.
     
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  6. One Day...

    One Day... GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    Is it One rifle for North American big game? or is it one rifle for "whitetail deer and wild hogs in Florida ... west for pronghorn, elk, and mule deer - as well as black bear" ???

    Because these are two different propositions altogether...

    Last I checked, North American Game also includes moose and grizzly, in which case even the .300 is on the light side (although it can do the job with 200 gr slugs) and the .338 makes a lot more sense (although the .375 is not out of line on brown bear).

    I would suggest, 3 answers actually:
    #1 deer/antelope/pig/black bear/caribou/ etc.: .260 .270 .280 . 30 (.308 .30-06) etc.
    #2 deer/antelope/pig/black bear/caribou/etc. + elk: .300 etc.
    #3 deer/antelope/pig/black bear/caribou/etc. + elk + moose & brown bear: .338 etc.


    My personal answer for all of the above: .340 Weatherby. Shoots as flat as 7 mm Mag and hits as hard as a .375 H&H. All basis covered!
     
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  7. One Day...

    One Day... GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    The referred attachment is a grand classic, both in Alaska and Africa. The problem is that the logic is flawed, or at least incomplete. This should be a two-part question:

    #1 for the upcoming grizzly hunt, do you prefer an idiotic client with a brand new canon he is afraid of and can't shoot, or would you prefer an OK guy who shoots a 30.06 well?
    Easy answer, right?

    #2 for the same upcoming grizzly hunt: do you prefer an OK guy who shoots a 30.06 well, or would you prefer an OK guy who shoots a .338 or .375 well?
    Anyone want to take a bet on what the answer would be LOL

    Just because a pro will prefer mitigating the impending unpleasantness (it is marginally better to have a wounded grizzly or cape buffalo in the thick stuff with a likely-fatal-in-time shot from a smaller gun, than a non-fatal shot from a bigger gun), does not mean that it is OK to shoot dangerous game with inadequate guns. You are still placing your pro's skin (and potentially yours) at risk...

    Yeah, I know that in the good old days folks shot elephants with a .256 (6.5x54) Mannlicher 1903 carbine (quite a charming gun, I have one), but most African countries, at their PHs associations' urging, have since established minimum caliber/energy for dangerous game (generally at the .375 H&H level to summarize). What about thinking in terms of self-imposed minimum caliber/energy for American dangerous game? Using the same logic and along the same line as 'yep, you CAN kill an elk with a .243, but, you know what, don't show up in elk camp with a .243, and no I am not interested in debating it endlessly because it is silly.'
     
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  8. 70worm

    70worm AH Member

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    9.3x62 would be great for all 3. A 300 mag might be a bit hot for whitetail. A lot of people talk about blood shot meat when using 300 mag on deer. I have no personal experience with this so you'll have to research it. The 9.3 moves slower therefore eliminating this effect, in theory.
     
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  9. One Day...

    One Day... GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    Entirely correct on all accounts @70worm :)
    You can mitigate some of the bloodshot meat issue by using a less frangible bullet, or, more pragmatically, by taking a behind the shoulder lung shot rather than a shoulder shot, and a .300 still gives you a further reaching flat trajectory.
    I used a 9.3x62 Mauser 98 extensively in Europe on wild boars and it worked marvelously, but the round is still a bit limited in range if you go West (I now live in Arizona) where you are likely to see longer range shooting that in Europe or in the Eastern woods. The 9.3x64 certainly would deal with this, but this is essentially an improved .375 on steroid, so definitively too much for about anything but Griz LOL.
     

  10. WAB

    WAB AH Elite

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    I think I read the original post wrong, did it say one rifle? I know my hearing is going but didn't know it was translating to my reading... Just peeked around the corner into my safe, I stopped counting at a dozen and that was skipping the shotguns. One rifle? Where is the fun in that???

    Seriously though, I've shot everything on the list with a 7x57. However, if you ever intend to hunt general draw areas in the West, I recommend that you carry a rifle that will put them down in their tracks. If it runs over the ridge before expiring you are likely to find someone else's tag hanging on it. I personally wont hunt those areas anymore, if I don't draw a limited tag or have access to a private ranch I find something else to do.

    Lots of good advice on this string. I can't see how you could go wrong with any number of the calibers listed. I don't think I saw it, so I'll throw the 300 WSM in the mix. More compact rifle and slightly lighter than the typical 300 WM. Very good reputation for accuracy and good ballistics. However, if you've got a .30-06 or .300 WM I wouldn't go trotting off to the gun store to trade them in.
     

  11. Dwight Beagle

    Dwight Beagle AH Enthusiast

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    6.5x55 or 7x57 with a VX-3 2.5-8x36
     

  12. todd9.3

    todd9.3 New Member

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    either the 7x57 or 7mm-08.
    bolt action(ruger or mauser)
    20-22" barrel
    leupold 2-7x or 3-9X
    i would personally go with a 7x57(custom 98 mauser with a 20" douglas premium barrel). for deer i'd go with 140gr(hornady sst, nosler bt) and 175gr rn for elk.

    if it was me, i'd take a 1898 spr armory(bubba got it) in 30-40 krag with a 165gr ranch dog( with h4198).
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    if grizzly bear is on the menu, then i'll take my tc encore in a 23" MGM barrel in 500 linebaugh with 525gr lfn gc.
     

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  13. fourfive8

    fourfive8 AH Fanatic

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    One for all with the extremes considered, IMO, pronghorn to brown bear? Nope no such gun/caliber I'm aware of. Pronghorn caliber could include any number of small to medium bores (24-30 cal types) while the brown bear really needs larger (375 HH or so). Maybe a two rifle battery? But no matter since the question/premise is loaded! :)
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2018

  14. One Day...

    One Day... GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    Beg to disagree @fourfive8. There are two 'obvious' caliber options for pronghorn to brown bear, although with different bullets:
    #1 on the lighter side: a .300 (Win, Wby, RUM, etc.) with a range of 150 gr to 200 gr bullets;
    #2 on the heavier side: a .338 (Win, Wby, RUM, etc.) with a range of 185 gr to 250 gr bullets.

    If memory serves, Elgin Gates (152 African trophies listed in Rowland Ward's Records of Big Game; 54 trophies from Asia listed; 26 trophies from North America listed, for a total of 232 trophies in the book; Weatherby Award winner in 1960 - a guy who knew a bit about hunting... LOL) used nothing but a .300 Wby world-wide (https://www.fieldandstream.com/blogs/gun-nuts/2013/11/one-gun-hunter).

    I do not know if Gates used his .300 Wby on African dangerous game (I would not if only due to the fact that it would nowadays be illegal) but keep in my that the .300 Wby with 150 gr Partition shoots FLATTER than a .257 Wby with 120 gr bullets (that goes for Pronghorn) and hits slightly HARDER than a .375 H&H with .300 gr bullets (that goes for Grizzly). No opinion, just facts ;-)


    Beg to disagree also @todd9.3 and @Dwight Beagle, 6.5x55 or 7x57 (or similar .260, .270, .280. .30) will certainly kill anything that walks, but you will be serisouly limited in the shot you can take in terms of both range and presentation. All will kill an elk any day broadside at 200 yd, but you better not be in a position where you need a quartering away finishing shot at 350 yd, these will give you neither the trajectory nor the energy.
     

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  15. fourfive8

    fourfive8 AH Fanatic

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    Hmm- No opinion just facts?? Whatever
     
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  16. 70worm

    70worm AH Member

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    If your a "one shot, one kill" confident kinda guy, you could always get a Thompson with a couple of different barrels.
    Us gun guys can talk about this til the cows come home! If your serious about it then the first place you need to start is find a good bear guide that you want to use and find out what the minimum is that he will allow you to hunt with and that will determine what you buy.
    And don't worry about us, we'll still be here debating which caliber is best when you get back.
     
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  17. One Day...

    One Day... GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    Yep, "the .300 Wby with 150 gr Partition shoots FLATTER than a .257 Wby with 120 gr bullets and hits slightly HARDER than a .375 H&H with .300 gr bullets" are objective FACTS. Consult the DATA ;-)
     

  18. WAB

    WAB AH Elite

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    I don’t agree that kinetic energy translates to hitting harder. My experience with brown bear leads me to believe that they are much more impressed with size than speed. I’ll take the .375 H&H over the fastest .30 cal on the planet for brown bear. Kevin Robertson has a very interesting formula for what it really means to hit harder. It’s much closer to momentum than kinetic energy. Velocity is an American phenomenon and addiction.
     
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  19. One Day...

    One Day... GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    Completely agreed @WAB. Same goes for cape buffalo etc. This discussion goes back all the way to 'Pondoro' Taylor's 1948, what did it call it? "KO factor" if memory serves, and my personal field experience, although infinitely much more modest than Taylor's LOL, absolutely supports his perspective, 'Doctori' Robertson's, yours, and many others' who have actually hunted dangerous game.

    The challenge in this thread is "One rifle for North American big game," therefore, by definition, the answer will be a compromise, which, again by definition, is not ideal in ALL situations. Of course, I would take a .375 (H&H, Wby, RUM, Ruger, etc.) any day over a .300 (H&H, Win, Wby, RUM, WSM, etc.) for dangerous game, and truth be told - believe the timing of this discussion or not ;-) - I am flying tonight to Africa with a cape buff on license, and my caliber of choice is not even the .375 H&H but the .470 NE. Now, how is THAT, for TOTALLY agreeing with you that "they are much more impressed with size than speed" LOL?

    But I think that neither you or I would recommend the .375 as "One rifle for North American big game" (although truth be told, if one was willing to limit oneself to 200 yd, the good old .375 H&H would do quite well on pronghorn, as it has done for over a century on everything that walks in Africa, as THE "one rifle safari" gun since 1912...). And yes, we both know that a great many elephants were killed by 'Karamoja' Bell and others with the 6.5x54 Mannlicher Schoenauer or 7x57 Mauser, but we still won't recommend it for dangerous game, correct? So, for lack of a .375 with 300 gr premium bullets as "One rifle for North American big game" I will still, and I suspect you will too, favor a .300 with 200 gr premium bullets, or a .338 with 250 gr premium bullets, over a 7x57 for brown bear, right?
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2018
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  20. WAB

    WAB AH Elite

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    Totally agree and one rifle is a tough restriction. I started using a .375 when I lived in Alaska and was unimpressed with my .300 on brownies. If I was actually restricted to one rifle (not gonna happen) and brown bear was going to be a regular occurrence, I would go a little heavier than you, .350, 9.3x62 or .375. This is probably colored by years in Alaska and more than a few close up conversations with the big guys.
     
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