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what a concept.. using logic and facts to select a rifle

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what a concept.. using logic and facts to select a rifle

Old 02-06-2019, 05:28 AM
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Default what a concept.. using logic and facts to select a rifle

mentally step back and ask yourself ,
its the last day of the season, the biggest deer or elk you've ever seen is about to run,
over a ridge hes currently standing on,and it getting dark rapidly,
your only option is a raking shot angle,
whats the longest range, worst shot angle, your likely to ever be faced with,
will the rifle you carry easily allow you to drop game under that set of conditions?

if your one shot will be the only chance you get to fill your tag with the largest deer or elk youll ever see...
would you rather have a different rifle in your hands?
now realistically thats very likely to be at a range under 300 yards.
you'll have less than 6-10 seconds to make that shot, from a hasty field position,
and you will not have an ideal angle,
you may need to bust a lot of bone or punch a raking angle shot,
through a few feet or rump & guts to destroy the vitals.
if your smart you select a rifle and cartridge thats up to tackling the shot ,
under the most adverse conditions, not the ideal conditions
a 7.5 barrel 357 mag revolver loaded with a 158 grain soft point, will kill any deer or elk at 30 yards in skilled hands
a 243 with a premium 100 grain bullet is certainly lethal in skilled hand under close to ideal conditions
but what do you want if your only chance is about to disappear off that ridge at 300 yards, and his rump is almost 3/4 facing you as hes walking off that ridge crest?
personally I want a 270 win or 308 win as a minimum, and would be far happier with a 35 whelen, or 338 win.

I was at the local outdoor range rather briefly to check the zero on one of my rifles,
when the guy on the next bench started a conversation.
he was very sure to announce that he had purchased one of the newer short case 7mm magnums
he almost immediately wanted to discuss what he considered to be the best possible rifle and cartridge combo ,...
he was not having much luck setting his rifle zero
now if you've read many of my previous posts,
I've used about everything from a 44 mag marlin and a 357 mag revolver to a 458 lott on deer,
and I've seen elk consistently killed with a 257 Roberts and a 45/70 and most of the cartridges between the two.
there are no really bad 7mm magnum cartridges so if he learns to shoot consistently well he will be well armed.
and in my opinion, its much more important that the guy operating the rifle , know the games anatomy,
and fully understand the particular rifle or handguns strengths and limitations than the head stamp on the brass.
so I ask him to point out both what he expected the rifle to do,too the game being hunted,
and the conditions and ranges he expected it to function under, and pointed out that his selection should be fully capable,
of working under less than ideal ranges, shot angles on game and be reasonably accurate to the longest range he was likely to see or hunt game.
now theres thousands of articles written about the "best deer rifle" or "best elk rifle" every year.
news flash, theres hundreds of fully functional cartridge and rifle combos and there have been some available for over 100 years,
(30/06, 375 H&H,30/40 krag 6.5 mm swed,, 7mm mauser, 7.62.54r 8◊64mm Brenneke, 303 brit, 333 jeffery, 470 nitro,405 win, 8mm mauser, 45/70 come instantly to mind)
if you read all the articles you would be sure to think, that only the newest and fastest, and flattest trajectory firearm would be up to the task.
funny how a 30/40 krag was used to kill one of the largest elk ever taken
yes the rifle and cartridge matters, but its the skill , experience and knowledge of the guy holding it that matters far more
theres hundreds of thousands of good rifles and cartridges combos, but theres fewer really skilled hunters.
learn to use what you selected very well , to place accurate shots from field positions, and your odds of success skyrocket

Last edited by hardcastonly; 02-06-2019 at 05:56 AM.
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Old 02-06-2019, 12:01 PM
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This kind of happened to me this past season. He wasn't the biggest bull elk that I've ever shot or seen, but he was a decent 6x6 and was the only bull that I saw this season.

I had my favorite elk rifle, my .300 Weatherby with 180 gr Barnes TTSX bullets, and I was laying prone with my rifle on my bipod. I had lasered him at 250 corrected yards above me on a hill. When he walked out from behind one tree I had my crosshairs on him for about 40 yards until he disappeared behind another tree near a property line where I don't have permission to hunt. The problem was that he was walking almost straight away from me and I didn't even get a good quartering angle for a shot.

I will not shoot an unwounded animal in the butt, so that season ended in tag soup.
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Old 02-07-2019, 05:02 AM
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most of us have been involved ,in these rifle/ammo choice selection discussions.
when I was younger and far less experienced , I was rather easily impressed, with isolated results I saw in the field.
after seeing 5 decades of game killed I think I gained a much more realistic perspective.
my mentors in the late 1960s and early 1970s almost exclusively suggested I buy and use a 30/06 loaded with peters 220 grain bullets.
as a group we hunted the area around EAGLE,MEEKER ,RIFLE and GYPSUM Colorado

I was not overly impressed with my first two elk kills using that combo, both elk were well hit at ranges under 150 yards
both ran, 40-60 yards on / after bullet impact
I swapped to a 340 weatherby using 250 hornady bullets and the next couple elk dropped within a few steps...
.I was convinced Id found the answer.
over the decades watching other guys use damn near every common cartridge,
it slowly dawned on me that damn near everything worked if the shot placement was good ,
and it was rather common for well hit elk to make a 30-50 yard run when hit.
my late hunting partner RON, used a 358 win BLR for decades and had good success,
another guy stuck to using a ruger #1 in 270 win with 150 grain speer bullets.. he was just as successful.
in over 28-29 individual out of state hunts I made, and 45 or so our group made,
our group did far better than the game department odds might suggest.
over time I watched the more experienced guys (other than myself) gravitate away from magnums,
the 30/06, 338/06 , 358 win and 35 whelen have become well respected choices
I stuck with the 340 wby and a 375 H&H carbine on most hunts
(hey I have 100% confidence in those)yes I tried a 358 win, a 30.06, a 270 win, 45/70, 450 marlin and Ive carried a 257 roberts,
they ALL work if you can shoot well.
its not the cartridge, or rifle or cartridge you select, (yes the projectile you use maters )
its your ability to find the elk,and get into decent range, and shoot accurately, thats critical.
looking at the guys that were consistently successful, it was dogged persistence, the ability to get your butt up before dawn and hunt until your successful
accumulated knowledge, learning how and why elk travel in , and avoid some areas that was the most critical skill
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Old 02-07-2019, 06:29 AM
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my question might be, if the shot is a low odds , poor shot, why take it at all?
is filling a tag worth risking loosing/wounding a trophy animal?
I hunt with many caliber rifles, I tend to take a rifle that I feel will cover most all shots I WOULD take on the targeted game animal
I don't take poor shots I DON"T have to fill a tag to have had a great hunt?
also there is way more to shooting /killing than caliber
this real fast can turn into a pissing match
as there is WHAT bullet, some smaller caliber bullets will do better than others, same with larger caliber

then add in after decades of shooting and training shooters
the FACT< that many folks DON"T handle recoil very well, and as such will flinch and miss way more due to fearing that recoil!
SO< IMO< again, I think it should come down to WHAT caliber is up to the task of the targeted game animal in the hunt that you can shoot WELL< and KNOW your limits and the limits of said caliber!

this reminds me of when folks go and BUY a big large caliber rifle that TV/magazines all hype up as being able to kill at extreme ranges
when the shooter has ZERO skills to shoot far
but THINKS due to they bought"X" rifle scope , NOW they see a trophy far off, past any distance they ever shot at before, BUT THINK< due to they have "X" rifle scope, all they need to do is fire away and they will have there trophy down!

SO< sorry for getting off topic, but, at same time
WHAT IF 's like this are just this, to me!
one really I think has to ask themselves what are THERE limits and skills, and HOW bad do they feel they NEED to fill a tag! to take poor shots or not?
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Old 02-07-2019, 06:48 AM
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thats a valid point ! I may be wrong, but I've always assumed that most ethical and experienced, hunters will use and exercise,
reasonable judgement, before making a shot and only shoot under conditions they feel confident in making the shot well,
and have a respect for game, and have a solid grasp on their personal limitations.
I have also noticed as you stated that a good many people seem to think the rifles recoil level can be objectionable and that it effects their accuracy.
obviously thats a factor each of us has to deal with and tolerance differs wildly.
obviously no one can control others judgment, but felt recoil can be significantly reduced
use of a PAST recoil shoulder pad , a rifle stock recoil pad, and proper use of a sling and bi-pod goes a long way toward reducing the potential problem.

http://www.midsouthshooterssupply.com/i ... 0094310010

HB25CS 25C Model S -13.5-27" Swivel Bipod

Last edited by hardcastonly; 02-07-2019 at 07:59 AM.
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Old 02-07-2019, 07:19 AM
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I have only one “hunting” rifle, many rifles, but only one dedicated to hunting! It is as much at home in Africa as in North America. With it, if good conditions, feel comfortable to 600 yards. However, this past season, I passed on a 560 yard shot. I didn’t want to risk the shot because of time of day ( about 1 1/2 hours of light left), in Grizzly country. If I didn’t make a clean shot, I may be trailing a wounded elk after dark.....it simply didn’t meet my self imposed limitations. There was plenty of season left, nearing my maximum”comfortable “ shot range, nearing dark, in bear country. The caliber and bullet were easily up to the task, I choose “not” to take the shot. Had it been before noon, the shot would have been taken! I try to weigh all the possibilities, prior to taking a shot, caliber and bullet never enter the equation! memtb

You should not use a rifle that will kill an animal when everything goes right; you should use one that will do the job when everything goes wrong." -Bob Hagel

Last edited by Memtb2149; 02-07-2019 at 07:48 AM.
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Old 02-07-2019, 08:15 AM
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yes, my comfortable range for taking a shot also varies a great deal with conditions terrain and lighting,
while I practice out too 500 yards every chance I get, I vastly prefer taking shots while sitting and use of a bi-pod and sling,
most Of the elk and deer I've shot were taken at ranges under 300 yards, simply because the areas I hunt,
tend to be thicker aspen and conifer and rather steep narrow canyons
leaning on a tree, trunk, or over a blow down,
and / or use of that bi-pod and sling with the rifle,are very common, in my experience.
if you walk one slope of some canyon watching the far slope your potential shot ranges rarely exceed 300 yards due to terrain limitations.
that and the fact you can,t see due to the aspen and conifer growth and elk not being stupid enough to wonder out into open areas during the daylight

pictures like these are much more common in my experience than open fields you occasionally see in magazines of elk pictures posted

Last edited by hardcastonly; 02-07-2019 at 08:21 AM.
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Old 02-07-2019, 01:34 PM
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I can't decide if you're saying my .30-06 is good to go or not....

If it isn't let me know so I can begin shopping for something that isn't 110 years old.

My rifle choice, at least for deer, usually isn't based on anything other than what spikes my interest. I suppose I could look at some numbers and come up with one rifle and one load that I could call the "perfect" whitetail set up. It would probably be something short, light, and in 7mm-08.

But I like to mess with different things and play with stuff until I'm bored and then move on to something new. So I'll Keep making my decision based off of what interests me. It's worked so far and I've taken deer with some fun rifles. .30-40 krags, various WW2 era bolt actions, old pumps and old levers, the things interest me . And they are often what I reach for to take into the woods. And that's how I select my rifles

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Old 02-07-2019, 01:36 PM
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my opinion may not matter , but youll have A more difficult time ignoring the science of ballistics, and the laws of physics
and decades of field testing,
your 30/06 if loaded with about any decent 165-212 grain projectile will work just fine if you can shoot accurately
but then almost any center-fire rifle if used in a rational manor, inside its known limitations would also.
obviously a good knowledge of the games anatomy and skill operating your rifle of choice helps
One guy I hunt with regularly uses a 1917 endfield mil surplus rifle he really likes , similar to the picture below
thats over 90 years old... the elk never notice, hes 90 years behind the times..

Last edited by hardcastonly; 02-07-2019 at 02:51 PM.
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Old 02-07-2019, 05:49 PM
Nontypical Buck
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I don't take iffy shots. Even the near-perfect shots can provide iffy results. I keep my shots on game animals (eatable) to reasonable distances. My rule of thumb is any distance with 15 inches of drop is the max for that rifle. I will push the envelope on Varmints.
I took a broadside shot at a Roebuck, maybe 70 lbs., at forty yards. A near perfect shot a couple of inches above his heart. He took off like I'd burned his rear end, up a steep slope. I got ready for a second shot, I figured he'd stop to blow and check his back trail. When he stopped at maybe 125 yards, I put a second shot into him broadside quartering away. He ran another thirty yards. When I skinned him I noticed two bullet holes an inch apart. His heart looked like a bowl of chopped up Jello, it kind of dribbled chunks between my fingers when I picked it up..

Plan for the worst, hope for the best. IMO iffy shots are going to give you iffy results, even near perfect shots can result in problems on occasion, IMO you have an ethical duty to put an animal down dead, as quickly and efficiently as possible.
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