Originally Posted by firehammer
.... The area that I hunt is a wildlife management area & in has some areas that have been logged because Weyerhaeuser owns parts & some parts are U.S. forestry land. The logged areas would probably give me a shooting distance of no more than 300 yrds. but maybe as short as 75 or 100 yrds.
First get a rifle with, at least, a 24” barrel. (Stay away from anything that’s shorter; and, anything longer than 26” is a waste of good ordinance steel.) I’ve watched many a hunter hit low on long shots while using a short 16.5” - 18” barreled carbine.
The terrain is mostly rolling hills & in the bottoms of the hills they left the hardwoods which is why the shots wouldn't be more than 300 or so. The woods have a lot of under growth in most places but there are food plots that the wildlife, fish, & parks maintain where a shot of maybe 50 or 100 yrds is possible.
OK, then, when using a rifle hold a little low on the close-in shots. When you have the time read,
I figure that I can bring both a rifle & shotgun with me & get the best of both worlds. If I use a tree stand I may have a decent shot with a rifle through the trees... but not on the ground. So, since I'm new to centerfire rifles, is a .270 cal. too much gun for what & where I'll be shooting? I figure a .270 is also pretty good all around caliber if I ever get to hunt west of the Mississippi as well.
Sounds great! However, in practice, I think you’ll find carrying two long arms to be a real nuisance. I always used to bring a slug gun and a centerfire rifle with me to deer camp. Whichever one I carried depended on where I intended to hunt that day. When I was out in the hardwoods, moving along ridge lines, I carried my Sako FinBear 30-06 with a 24” barrel. When I was down in the bottoms still hunting the edges of swamps, I carried my old Remington 870 slug gun.
A word about the 270 Winchester: It’s a great cartridge, shoots nice and flat, doesn’t always have the range, and won’t do a damned thing that a 30-06 can’t do better. When I was a young man I worked as a guide at a commercial Pennsylvania deer camp. We used to have all these affluent, fat bottomed, ‘city slickers’ show up with their fancy deluxe grade rifles in the trunks of their cars.
All arriving hunters had to demonstrate that their rifles were zeroed-in. More often than not, these rifles were scoped with the best of optics and so far out of zero that their first sight-in shots would be as much as 3 feet off in any direction! Naturally, none of these guys had a clue; and, it always fell to me to have the task of sighting-in these thoroughly screwed up rifles before we could turn the owners loose in the woods with their fancy artillery.
Now, don’t misunderstand. Some of these hunters were big tippers – That was the good part. The bad part was that by the third day of arrivals my shoulder was sooo …. sore from sighting-in everybody’s rifles that I (truly) didn’t feel like shooting for the rest of the season!
The rifles that used to annoy me the most were those damned 270’s! All the frigg ‘in kick of an 06 and little more than half the performance! Consequently, I have never sighted-in anyone’s 270 in my life that I didn’t think to myself; ‘Stupid jerk, you should have bought a 30-06.’
Almost 40 years later I haven’t changed my mind. If you’re going to carry that much rifle make it the right rifle: If you want a nice small caliber rifle that’ll work effectively out to 300 yards on deer-sized game look at the 243 Winchester. It won’t beat the Hell out of your shoulder; and, it’s based on exactly the same cartridge case as the: 270, 308, and 30-06 calibers.
My own personal favorite, ‘small rifle’ deer cartridge is the 6mm Remington – I love this cartridge and everything about it! It’ll do everything a 243 will do; only, it will do it better!
If you decide to go with a larger caliber hunting rifle I’d start with the excellent 25-06 Remington. It is an ideal round for long ranging shots at far off deer-sized game; but, now, you’re going to start noticing the kick. Bigger than this? I’d go straight to the 30-06 Winchester.
You’re going to need a decent scope. Personally, I’ve never used anything except Leupold scopes all of my life, and have never had a (good) reason to want or need anything else. My smallest hunting scopes are 4X; my largest are 3-9X variables. I’ve used much more powerful scopes; but, I’ve always felt that the disadvantages outweighed the advantages. 12X is as high as I prefer to go.
As for Range? I can't remember a hunting shot that I ever made at greater than 9X magnification. Most have, probably, been around 4X. If it’s within 400 yards, there’s a 99% chance that it’s going to be dinner. (Been this way all my life!)
I know the legendary Jack O’Conner loved the 270 Winchester; but, as far as this old deer camp guide is concerned, it’ll never be more than a genuine pain in the neck. If I’ve got to suffer that kind of recoil, give me a 30-06 every time!
Good luck to you!