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If I had only one rifle

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If I had only one rifle

Old 02-28-2019, 11:36 AM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 388

Interesting (and common) topic. I hunt in Wyoming where the Deer and the Antelope play. I've shot deer, antelope and elk with .270, 338, 300 WM, 7mm, 7mm-08, 25-06,and .308. Also 243, 223 (deer & lopes only), I also reload my own ammo for increased accuracy and killability. I also guided a few years ago and met many out of state hunters with the same kind of question. Most were under the opinion that "the bigger the game, the bigger the gun you need." Personally, I disagree. First and foremost I want a gun that I can enjoy shooting at the range without padded vests, recoil pads, and muzzle brakes. We always told clients to "bring the gun you are most comfortable shooting". Provided it meets local regs of course. Because what you shoot is secondary to WHERE YOU SHOOT! Shot placement and the ability to hit the target is paramount for a clean. ethical shot. Out here, a 500 yard shot is often what is presented to you. Not that you want to shoot that far, but you should have a gun and the skills to be able to do that. If not, get closer!
So......... I've been down to ONE rifle for the past few years with very effective results (full freezer). The trusty .308. Mine is a Savage model 11 with Vortex optics, a trigger job, and nuttin else. Longest kill was 507 yards. Dropped her in her shadow. (Most of my shots I try to keep under 200).
So, one gun for "everything", that'd be my choice. The .308 WIN. Easy on the shoulder, dropping power, readily available ammo everywhere, easy to load, lots of bullets available, overwhelming reputation. Was a favorite with military snipers for a reason.
2nd choice . . . 7mm Rem Mag. (with a muzzle brake)
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Old 02-28-2019, 09:41 PM
Nontypical Buck
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Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Kansas
Posts: 3,859

Jake - I suppose I should admit, I did start putting together a couple rifles for my wife and I to use as our “go-to” hunting rigs a few years ago, intent on reducing how many rifles we put one or two special memories on... Admittedly, in the spirit of this game, they are cheater’s answers... I ordered a pair of magnum Ruger M77 Hawkeye All-Weather’s, hers in 7mm Rem mag and mine in 300. They’re a complete money pit, waste of money, but we love Ruger’s and wanted personalized rifles we could always use for anything. Hers is a 7RM most of the time, but has barrels for 338wm and 416 Ruger. Mine has a 300 barrel and a 458wm barrel. I might add a 416 Ruger barrel for mine this summer as well. So they’re still gross overkill for deer, about ideal for elk, and can be everything we need them to be for bear and dangerous game.
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Old 03-01-2019, 03:07 PM
Nontypical Buck
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Originally Posted by Nomercy448 View Post
I tend to assume if a guy only cares enough about hunting to only own ONE rifle, then he doesn’t need a rifle capable of the largest, most exotic game. More likely, the guy is the average Joe deer hunter, and will be properly served by a 243win/7-08/6.5 Creed class rifle.
Those are fine deer cartridges but some of them do seem on the light side for elk, etc.

I know some fellows that own one centerfire rifle simply for monetary reasons but do not let it stop them from hunting various game when they can.
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Old 03-04-2019, 10:35 AM
Nontypical Buck
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Alberta Canada
Posts: 1,081

In my younger days, I carried a custom Sako 375 H&H, and it was used for everything from gophers to moose. I still feel that it is an excellent choice for everything on this planet. After I broke my back, I went to a 300 Mag. Back issues dictated that it was too much for me. I then went to the 270 Weatherby magnum. Super cartridge that served me well for a lot of years. Again, my back told me don't shoot it any more. I went to the 25 06, and have used it on everything, with excellent results, and no back issues. It isn't displacement, it's placement that puts your meat on the table. The only reason that I used the big bores, was that I hunted the mountains exclusively in grizzly country. A 25 06 with a 120 grain bullet will drop an elk with authority. I surely miss my heavies, but in reality, in most situations, they are not needed. I sold everything from 458 Winchester mag on down. If I can't shoot and enjoy them, I don't want them. I truly miss my Weatherbys, but in reality, they aren't needed for most of the hunting situations. I never seen any difference in the level of dead on an elk whether I shot it with a 340 or a 25 06.
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Old 03-04-2019, 10:51 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: texas
Posts: 1,187

redgreen. thats been almost my experience, Ive seen several elk dropped very effectively with rifles chambered in 257 Roberts, 270 win and 308 win, over the years
lethality is more about shot placement and bullet construction than in brute power,
but theres very surely a difference in the games reaction to being hit well between the sub 27 caliber and over 30-375 caliber
not so much in eventual lethality, but definitely in initial reaction to being hit well, in my experience and I'm not alone in that assessment.
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Old 03-06-2019, 11:51 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: SW Montana
Posts: 550

Originally Posted by Jenks View Post
In the US(and I only hunt in the US) I prefer a bolt action 30-06. I have several Mouser actions in various calibers but the preferred is a Mark X 30-06 with a Leupold 3X9 scope. I do not hunt grizzly or brown bears and I think the 30-06 will safely dispatch any other big game in the US.
When I started hunting I didn't own a centerfire rifle, so I asked a couple of the guys that I worked with (who had grown up hunting deer and elk in NW Colorado) what rifle I should get. They said either a .270 Win or .30-06 bolt action with a 3-9x scope .

I chose a .30-06, and for the next 10 years it worked very well for deer, elk, antelope, and even prairie dogs. I also carried it for the first 3 years that I lived in Montana and I had an OTC grizzly tag in my pocket, hoping to find a bear on my elk gut piles.

After hunting a few years with my new Montana hunting partner, who had rifles in a variety of cartridges, that I decided to rechamber my .30-06 to .30 Gibbs for elk and get myself a .22-250 for varmints and a .257 Ackley for deer and antelope.

The Dems haven't completely taken over America yet, so why limit yourself to just one rifle?
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Old 03-08-2019, 11:11 AM
Join Date: Mar 2019
Posts: 5

For all US game I would go with the 7mm Rem Mag. I grew up hunting with the 30-06 and absolutely love the cartridge but now prefer the 7mm Rem Mag.
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