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jmk_412 12-29-2018 04:04 PM

Rifle Caliber Recommendation
I'm looking to go whitetail hunting in PA and NC next year and am currently in the process of deciding on a new rifle to get specifically for hunting. I have decided on the Tikka T3x Lite but I'm having a hard time deciding on the caliber to go with. I was hoping I could get some guidance between the 270 Win, 7mm-08, and 6.5 creedmoor. I was originally going for the 270 but started considering the other two for their reduced recoil. Any advice would be appreciate, thanks.

mrbb 12-29-2018 04:56 PM

all three are great deer calibers
I prefer the 7mm08, own a few from bone stock to full custom built rifles, so this caliber gets my vote
but honesty any of these calibers with a decent bullet and one that shoots well in what ever rifle you have will do you fine at REASONABLE ranges and with i your SKILL SET! not just what things say on paper!

YTCLT 12-29-2018 05:30 PM

I grew up with a 30-06, used a 270 for a while and have since gone to a 280. Personally I like the 280 the best. It shoots as flat as the 270 and hits pretty much as hard as the 30-06. The best part is it takes a wide range of bullet weights and my hand loads shoot to 5/8 inch at 100 yards. The only downside is the ammo is harder to find if you dont load them yourself. Not impossible, but not as available as the other 2.

Bocajnala 12-29-2018 07:08 PM

Given the three options, I don't think there's a bad choice.

Of those listed, for a deer rifle only, I'd be reaching for a 7mm-08.


sconnyhunter 12-30-2018 05:55 AM

I would go with the 7mm-08 myself, but I'm biased. I already have 3 - 243's in the house. And they are just a little smaller than a 7mm-08.

tatonka 12-30-2018 06:08 AM

All are great rounds for whitetails. You might want to consider the 30-06. There's a much wider range of bullets available so if at some point in time you were to hunt something other than whitetails, you'd have a wide selection of ammo to choose from. You can hunt anything in North American with a 30-06 except probably for Grizzly or Polar Bears!!

If recoil is an issue, the 6.5 or 7mm-08. Of course there are always muzzle brakes and suppressors if you'd rather go with a larger caliber... These days the 6.5 Creedmoor is getting a lot of attention....Very large assortment of factory ammo available for it and the ballistics are hard to argue. I don't own one. I've shot a .270 and an old 30-06 for many years, but with a torn rotator cuff I'm considering downsizing..

Don't discount a .257 Roberts or .243 also...both will kill any whitetail anywhere. Just hit 'em where you aim and they'll go down. :)

Ridge Runner 12-30-2018 07:07 AM

deer won't know the difference!

JagMagMan 12-30-2018 09:36 AM

As RR said, "deer won't know the difference!" If I had to pick one of the three you listed, I would take the 7MM-08.

archeryrob 12-31-2018 02:57 AM

I shoot an .30-06 and a 270 shoot flatter and is all the bullet you need for whitetails. 130 - 150 grain is more than enough. I shot hornady SST this year and thought it did a hell of a lot of damage. I have seen 220 grain core-lokts do similar damage

nchawkeye 12-31-2018 03:37 AM

I'd go with a .243. :)

Jenks 12-31-2018 04:22 AM

If I were to buy a nice rifle I would want it to be versatile, not just a deer rifle. As several have said that would lead me to buy a 30-06. If the recoil is a problem put a limbsaver on it, they are great at reducing felt recoil.
My son has a 25-06 that he uses for deer and is well pleased with it. It is also a versatile caliber with less recoil then the 30-06. I am old fashioned and like the older calibers, 270, 243, 7X57, 6.5X55, etc.

JGFLHunter 12-31-2018 04:51 AM

Id recommend the 50 BMG

billyboy 12-31-2018 07:18 AM

I really like the 7mm-08 low recoil and is deadly on deer .

LKNCHOPPERS 12-31-2018 10:44 AM

I have a 270 and I really did not think it kicks very much. I have owned it for many years and the bullets are very easy to come by. They are all pretty good.

hardcastonly 01-02-2019 06:06 AM!/!/
lots of guys fall for the marketing on the NEWEST AND LATEST, being the best,
the marketing departments of most rifle vendors would have you think theres huge, improvements being made almost every year,
the truth here is that the nearly 100 year old 270 win is still very competitive,
with the newer calibers if correctly selected hand-loads with the newer powder and projectiles are used.
your more than likely debating a difference in recoil energy between about 16 ft lbs and 21 ft lbs depending on the ammo and rifle weight
even the higher energy 270 which gives you a significant advantage in range and power
with the higher recoil is a ridiculously low recoil rifle even my 12 year old grandson easily handles
don,t get the idea the 6.5 mm shoots significantly flatter than the 270,
if each cartridge has good hand loads and keep in mind easily 80% of all game is shot at well under 300 yards
within reasonable limits its not the rifle or caliber used that matter nearly as much,
as the skill , persistence and experience of the guy using it.

reload data pe=rifle&Order=Powder&Source=
figure 3000 fps 140 grain Source=
figure 2800 fps 140 grain
figure 2700 fps 140 grain

Coastal Mountaineer 01-02-2019 07:49 AM

If you're planning to hunt the more open woods and fields of piedmont and western NC, any of the calibers listed will be fine. However, if you're hunting the eastern part of the state, especially southeastern coastal counties, you'll likely be in very dense woods with tons of underbrush and pine straw. Even if shot in a shooting lane or on the edge of a field, the deer will be in the rough stuff quick.

If this is the case, go with a caliber and bullet that will exit the deer and leave a good blood trail early. It's tough to find blood when the deer runs 70-100 yards barely dripping blood and doesn't leave a good trail until well into the brush.


rogerstv 01-02-2019 01:03 PM

Originally Posted by JGFLHunter (Post 4349645)
Id recommend the 50 BMG

Has anyone seen the Keith Warren video where he harvests a deer without hitting it? Shooting a .50 caliber at the doe's head. It drops. Turns out he missed. However, the round passing that close to the head kills the deer. Amazing

dhasemann 01-02-2019 01:11 PM

If you don't reload I would pick the caliber that was easiest to find stocked in stores around you. That was my main reason for purchasing a 30-06. You can find ammo anywhere and cheap.

Bob H in NH 01-03-2019 10:09 AM

I have both .30-06 and 7-08. Actually wife has the 7-08.

she's taken a 300 lb mulie a 200 lb mulie and 3 antelope, ranges from 200 to 75 yards, all one shot kills.

I'd get a 7-08 if I did it again.

she shoots 139 interlocks and they work just fine.

mrbb 01-03-2019 10:37 AM

Originally Posted by rogerstv (Post 4349764)
Has anyone seen the Keith Warren video where he harvests a deer without hitting it? Shooting a .50 caliber at the doe's head. It drops. Turns out he missed. However, the round passing that close to the head kills the deer. Amazing

I will add this here since you bought up a 50BMG, I have owned and shot a LOT of them, I have killed deer with them as well as other things, they are NOT perfect killing machines that give 100% of the time instant drop right there kills even when in the boiler room!
I have seen (and it was on video too) while shooting a video series I was part of yrs back(late 90's) a 60-70 lb doe standing broad side , at MAYBE 75 yards or less!
, eating in a food plot, shot off a rest from inside a shooting house.blind,

get shot with a 50 bmg, a 750 grain soft point with about 11,000 FT LB of energy, take a hit in the shoulders
and that doe ran over 200 yards
when we got to the deer , there was a hole, large enough to throw a soft ball thru and NOT hit any part of the deer, guy in video actually stuck his fist and arm thru the hole, and THAT deer RAN after the hit!
after this I gave up believing ANY "X" caliber is ALWAYS a DRT deal
SO when folks bring up this military caliber for hunting deer with, it makes me laugh
as its NOT really the size or power of the bullet that kills, its destroying vitals that does, and even then some times dead things can cover some ground before stopping!(prime example is cut the head off a chicken and watch it go)
IMO< some deer, for what ever reasons , just have the ability to RUN dead on there feet!

and as for a guy using a 50 and to be TRYING to take a head shot (IF THAT WAS WHAT HE WAS DOING) was also Silly IMO!(didn;t watch this video)

and then to miss and use the gun/caliber/bullet was able to kill without hitting it?? DUMB luck at best, might of had a heart attack too and nothing to do with bullet passing near it at all LOL

back to topic, the average deer hunter and the AVERAGE hunters HONEST shooting skill set, MOST should NOT be shooting past 300 yards IMO, based on YRS of training shooters and being in the gun business and shooting sports
so with this, , any of the OP's calibers will be fine for most ALL deer hunters
don't get caught up in the marketing hype of needing so many things, there deer, not sci fi creatures that take special needs to kill them here, pick one of these 3 calibers and learn how to shoot the rifle you get it in!, practice practice practice, nothing beats hands on shooting time!

rogerstv 01-09-2019 10:50 AM

Didn't bring it up first. Just inserted the video after it the 0.50 caliber round was mentioned likely as sarcasm. I find the video interesting. I disagree with your opinion about the deer in the video dying from a heart attack. Maybe you should view it before posting an opinion about the results.

I am not advocating a .50 BMG or head shots for deer hunting.

To the OP, a .30-06 is your best bet.

IronWill 01-16-2019 05:33 PM

Originally Posted by jmk_412 (Post 4349587)
I'm looking to go whitetail hunting in PA and NC next year and am currently in the process of deciding on a new rifle to get specifically for hunting. I have decided on the Tikka T3x Lite but I'm having a hard time deciding on the caliber to go with. I was hoping I could get some guidance between the 270 Win, 7mm-08, and 6.5 Creedmoor. I was originally going for the 270 but started considering the other two for their reduced recoil. Any advice would be appreciate, thanks.

7mm-08 and Creedmoor are both fine, a .308 would be versatile as well. The people advocating the 7x57 and 257 Bob+P have a point. Choose what you will but you might find the deal best in the 308 and 7mm-08. Then you have more $ for scouting trips, my favorite part.

hardcastonly 01-17-2019 10:40 AM

just a question here , that does not only relate to this thread
is the rifles recoil level really all that significant in ...
your choice of the rifle you select and use?

yeah, Im fully aware theres instantly going to be someone posting that lower recoil tends too increase accuracy,
and at some point we all have a limit to what we deem acceptable,versus objectionable.
and while that may be true in many cases.
many in fact most of the guys I hunt with started out hunting with a 30/06,
and while its sure not a heavy recoil magnum,
it sure seems like even that level of recoil is objectionable to some guys, and on the other hand,
I know a lot of guys that use harder recoiling rifles that shoot exceptionally well.
the rather common 30/06 and 358 win and 35 whelen,
have all developed a strong following among several the guys I've hunted with for decades.
personally I find nothing objectionable in use of a 450 marlin, 35 whelen,340 wby and 375 H&H,
I have a great deal of experience and confidence in using those rifles,
but Id be the last guy to suggest everyone should use those calibers.
theres certainly no need for more power than a 30/06 in skilled hands, provided you get the shot placed well, in the vitals
but theres some advantages to be had in flatter trajectory and or deeper penetration with other options also.
Ive had a good number of people try my rifles at the range ,
and yes a few thought the recoil was more than they choose to accept,
well until I showed them how a recoil pad in a vest and holding a rifle with proper sling use,
effectively reduced their perceived recoil significantly.

so whats your limit or concept of objectionable vs easily tolerable recoil
my limit on easily tolerable, seems to be near 60 ft lbs,
but certainly that appears to be in the higher range.

Felt rifle recoil is not always, simply a mater of stock fit,
cartridge used and the rifles weight, yes theres calculators that can be used to simplify the related math
but theres other factors like the proper use of a sling and the position your in when firing a rifle, that can make a huge difference in perceived recoil.

one example is my buddies 338 savage bolt action.

HE PURCHASED A 1.25INCH thick recoil pad

I remember one rifle very well, RONS 338 win, he even bought a thick recoil pad as he thought it might require one for him to tolerate the recoil, even carefully installed it himself, then used his belt sander to carefully fit it to his stock contour...what he FAILED to notice during the process was that the TIP of the detachable screw driver he used (SEE RED ARROW) had remained fully embedded inside the recoil pad when he had tightened the upper retaining screw in the recoil pad with the easily foreseeable result being that the small phillips, screw driver bit was always perfectly lined up with his shoulder so after 3 shots his shoulder was really badly bruised , he asked me to try the rifle, after a single shot I looked at the pad and FOUND THE GUILTY PARTY, and we still joke about that little over-site!

Bigindian 03-07-2019 07:59 AM

I just purchased a Winchester model 70 in 30-06, and I too will be hunting NC this November!

Hunted most of my life with a shotgun with rifled barrel and lightfield slugs for deer. Have been an active shooter all my life of everything, but have never owned a "true" hunting rifle.
After a year of research and talking with many nationally known big game hunters, and many non known hunters that have downed MANY a record book buck and tons of meat deer I came upon my choices.

You can't go wrong with the 30-06 in terms of trajectory, energy, versatility in ammo and versatility in reloading. "yes you can take on grizzly bear".
And the .308, a little bit lighter of a 30 cal cartridge but highly versatile also.

4everrunning 03-08-2019 10:01 AM

All 3 of the choices are excellent deer rifles. I have been shooting the 6.5 using the 143 eldx for a few years now and have had great success. However, the 7mm-08 is an all around great gun as well with not much more recoil than the 6.5

elkman30 03-08-2019 10:04 AM

Welcome aboard and good choice. :D

CalHunter 03-08-2019 10:38 AM

Now you're set for all North American big game. Congrats!

Rob in VT 03-10-2019 08:31 AM

My Winchester Model 70 chambered in a 30-06 has taken coyotes, antelope, Whitetails, Mule Deer, Woodland Caribou, Rocky Mountain Elk (cows and bulls), and bull Moose. A very versatile caliber in deed!

salukipv1 03-13-2019 03:13 PM

6.5 PRC

.270 Win.

RaySendero 03-17-2019 02:24 PM

Go with the 270W.
Never problems finding ammo.
Of all the hunters on our lease,
the 270W numbers more than all the other deer rifles combined.
Its just the standard for deer rifles.
If you choose something else, make sure it will do some thing the 270W won't do.

bronko22000 03-19-2019 11:58 AM

If it means anything I've hunted in Maine, PA, SC, and a half dozen western states using a .270 Win. and never felt under gunned. That rifle shoots under 1 MOA consistently with Nosler 130 BTs and 54 gr of IMR 4350 powder. I would have to sit and count how many deer (whitetail and mule) and a few antelope I shot with that rifle and practically all of them dropped where they stood or only traveled a short distance at ranges from literally 10' off the end of the barrel to over 400 yards. Unless you're going after big bears there is no reason the 270 Win won't fill your bill. But frankly either rifle will work. I also like the 7-08 because it comes in shorter lighter rifles like my Browning Micro Hunter.

Lalhala 04-01-2019 11:38 AM

I would go with the 7mm-08 myself, but I'm biased. I already have 3 - 243's.

Lorraine02 04-16-2019 02:56 PM

I prefer the 7mm08

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