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Favorite Big Game Rifle and Why?

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Favorite Big Game Rifle and Why?

Old 09-05-2018, 09:05 AM
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Default Favorite Big Game Rifle and Why?

This is always kind of fun to do and I often learn about a rifle I hadn't looked at before. I'm partial to Browning, Tikka and older Winchesters but am always curious if something is better or just performs a whole lot smoother with the bolt, etc.

Best big game rifle (deer, bear, elk, moose, antelope, etc.) under $1,000 and why?


Budget category--Same big game rifle under $500 and why?


Over $1,000 and why?
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Old 09-05-2018, 09:19 AM
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The first that comes to mind is the .308 Winchester. It will work splendidly on whitetails – I’ve done that – and its sufficient for moose – I’ve done that, too. It’s compact and allows for a properly sized rifle with an ample magazine capacity. With good bullets, 20 inches of penetration is easily obtained, even with 2x bullet expansion. When properly zeroed it will allow you to hold dead on out to just the other side of 300 yards. And, in an 8-pound rifle it will generate less than 20 ft./lbs. of free recoil energy.

An 8-inch kill zone is a reasonable average for North American big game animals. From a trajectory standpoint, the 308 should allow you to hold in the center of this kill zone out to 300 yards and still hit it, even in a moderate cross wind. Given reasonable shot angles, for a bullet to pass through the vitals of all North American big game animals, from pronghorn to moose, it should be capable of penetrating 18 to 20 inches in 10 percent ordnance gelatin. To maximize tissue destruction the bullet should also expand between 1.5 and 2 times its original diameter.

Long cartridges increase rifle length and weight. Fat cartridges diminish magazine capacity. Long and fat cartridges do both. And some magnum cartridges need long barrels to really be magnums. What’s ideal? Eight pounds is a good target weight for a field ready rifle and 40 inches or less is a reasonable length. You must shoot once and a coup de grace might be needed. You also might miss, so you need at least three shots. And, since you never want an empty rifle, capacity must be four or more. That is why this caliber is my choice in the field.
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Old 09-05-2018, 09:42 AM
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a weatherby 340 mag, It originally had a wood stock, I swapped to synthetic as soon as they were available,I purchased the synthetic stainless version as soon as they came out also
both rifles make the trip most years.
250 grain bullet at 2850 fps , consistently accurate, and I can,t remember needing a second shot on anything in over 38 years
yeah its a bit heavy, at about 10 lbs with scope, but if an extra couple lbs keeps you from visiting the next canyon your in crappy physical shape,
I'm 70 and while I'm slower Im just as persistent and a good deal more skilled and knowledgable than I was when I was 23 and bought the rifle
and its been on far more successful hunts than many guys will ever make,
if the targets inside of 500 yards its in serious trouble. Ive yet to see a deer or elk shake off a single hit!

I would have saved a wheelbarrow full of cash if Id stopped buying new rifles trying to find something better.... never did!

Last edited by hardcastonly; 09-05-2018 at 10:03 AM.
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Old 09-12-2018, 04:19 PM
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I suppose my favorite, by default of having taken most of my game with it.... Is a Remington 700 .30-06. it just plain works for me from 0-400 yards. And I'm sure it would work farther if I put in the work.

My current favorites though are Savage 99s. I have a .300 sav and a .375 Winchester that I plan to use this year.



-Jake
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Old 09-12-2018, 08:26 PM
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Under $500, it's a Sears model 53 in .270 Winchester. It was made for sears by Winchester and is a rebranded model 70. It just works for me on everything from black bear/deer all the way down to coyotes on a cattle ranch (thou shalt take out any coyote you see).
Under $1K, it's a Belgium made Browning BAR in .338 Winchester. It works wonders on elk and moose.
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Old 09-13-2018, 08:19 AM
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30-.06 Springfield
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Old 09-14-2018, 03:51 PM
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“Favorite” is a little different than “best” for me, and picking any favorite for me is difficult. I tend to have to think - what would I buy for myself?

What I DID buy for myself under $500 - which still would be under $500 today - was a Ruger M77 Mark II in .30-06, I’ve had it for over 20yrs, and I really enjoy it. If I knew then what I know now, I never would have bought it, and would have missed out. I paid $380 for the rifle, a new set of rings, and a Japanese made Tasco 4-16x44mm with a mil-dot reticle. The scope is NOT my favorite.

Over $1,000 - what I did for myself for my big game rifle is another Ruger M77 Hawkeye, in 300win mag, but very customized. I bought stainless rifles for my wife and I, threw out the stocks, barrels, and triggers. I picked out a couple of blanks at Macon which were more than $1000 just for the wood, plus the cost of duplication, bedding, and finish work. Timney triggers, Shilen barrels, with multiple barrels for both rifles - so any time we take game bigger than whitetail and elk, we can turn on a heavier cartridge.

Between $500-1,000, I’d likely pick another oddball - my first long range rifle I built was a Rem 700 in 7x57mauser. I’d expect this would fall in that price range today - even if I found it cheaper than $500 for the rifle, I’d spend that difference on a new stock to better fit me.
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Old 09-15-2018, 08:34 PM
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I like my browning xbolt in 308 .
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Old 09-16-2018, 11:14 AM
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I like my ruger no.1
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Old 09-16-2018, 11:50 AM
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when selecting the best rifle and caliber for the application I've always felt the characteristics that held the most weight should be
(1) will the rifle and caliber allow you to effectively kill the game, your hunting, with a shot /projectile capable of passing completely through the game, from ANY REASONABLE angle and range
(2) can the user accurately place shots rapidly from any reasonable field position and range.
(3) recoil levels should not intimidate the user from quickly attaining a field position
(4) total dependability
Ive always asked myself, would this rifle.work if I jump an elk in thick timber at 30-40 yards,
as well as it will if I see the elk of a life time walking over a ridge at 300-350 yards with only seconds to make a shot?

Last edited by hardcastonly; 09-16-2018 at 12:45 PM.
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