Hunting Caliber choice

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by SmokyMtnHiker, Feb 18, 2013.

  1. SmokyMtnHiker

    SmokyMtnHiker New Member

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    I am looking into a new bolt action hunting rifle. Im not a hunter first off but I do want a caliber take can do the job if needed. The only hunting I do is paper targets :)

    The actual caliber isnt my focus, because its about shot placement, IMO. My real focus is cost of ammo. I want a rifle that I can shoot on the weekend without breaking the bank.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. derpie

    derpie New Member

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    My personal favorite is 308, it will do nicely for targets or large game. :)
     

  3. ninjatoth

    ninjatoth New Member

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    You will get alot of opinions probably pointing to .308win,30-06,270win or 243,or even .223 depending on what you "might" hunt in the future.Personally I went with the .308 because it's the most available and cost friendly medium/large game ammo out there.
     
  4. luckey37

    luckey37 New Member

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    If it was me I'd go see what ammo I could find regularly. I can find .270 all day long but others are pretty scarce. No sense in buying a rifle you can't find ammo for. All of the above mentioned calibers will do well for medium to large game.
     
  5. SmokyMtnHiker

    SmokyMtnHiker New Member

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    I just did a quick internet search. I found more options for .270 than the others. I typically wont buy ammo online do to shipping cost.
     
  6. Apex-Predator

    Apex-Predator New Member

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    My top four picks.
    1st choice for me is an unusual one, my 6.5x55 is my most accurate rifle, the least expensive to shoot with either factory or handloaded ammo, and is simply perfect for deer class game. I buy Prvi ammo for $13 a box and it shoots 3/4" with boring regularity, my handloads vary from easy sub moa with 120gr, cloverleafs with 140s, to one ragged hole with 129gr SSTs over RL19, brass is very well designed and lasts a VERY long time. Easily the best ballistics of the cartridges listed, which cuts down on wind drift and energy loss at range making this not just a decent paper puncher but a competitive F class 1,000yd competition cartridge, I know several people who use it for that, six different types of quality match ammo are available at my last count. Very low recoil too. Only problems with that one is it is rather hard to find a modern action rifle and if I want anything other then Power Point or Core-Lokt ammo I would have to order online. I would also consider it's modern cousin the 6.5 Creedmore for 1,000yd shooting, it is the first commercial cartridge designed spacificly for that role and factory ammo matches what my 6.5x55 handloads do.
    2nd choice 308 Win, shoots good with both cheap factory ammo and handloads, more then enough gun for deer class game, and it is also available in several high end match loads. Only real advantages this has over my 6.5 is you can get a rifle and ammo at just about any Wal-Mart.
    3rd choice 270 win, a solid all around cartridge that can be had at most local stores, mine have historically been good shooters just not 6.5x55 or 308 good. They don't have 6.5mm ballistics but almost make up for it with slightly higher speeds, makes for a great open country hunting rifle but impact speeds can be excessively high while hunting up close in the woods. Sadly no real match loads are available from the factory you will have to load your own if you want to be punching paper at very long distances.
    4th choice 243, the speed of a 270 and the recoil of a 6.5x55, ammo is everywhere and affordable. It is available with match ammo but unfortunately you need an aftermarket barrel with a tighter then factory twist to use the good stuff. Enough gun for deer but less then ideal for that role. Throat erosion can be an issue as well if you shoot alot, the 243 crams alot of powder through a rather small bore so barrel life is much less then the others listed here, also tends to have the worst external ballistics of all the cartridges listed unless you are going to use that custom barrel and heavy VLD style bullets. Sounds pretty bad but if you can afford the custom stuff it does come together beautifully.
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2013
  7. SmokyMtnHiker

    SmokyMtnHiker New Member

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    I did an ammunition run around my town to all the Meijers & Walmarts & farm stores, as I do, for 9mm and .45 rounds to see how available the most common rifle cartridges mentioned on previous posts were.

    I could not find any .308 but I could find 30-06, .243 & .270s all day with prices around $1-2 of each other.

    At this point it looks like .308 is out of the running.
     
  8. locutus

    locutus Well-Known Member Supporter

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    .30-06 is the standard by which all others are judged.:)
     
  9. Apex-Predator

    Apex-Predator New Member

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    ^ You stole my exact words. My only gripe with the 06 as a target gun is they don't make any heavy grain match bullet for them like they do the 308, ironically the higher case capacity and standard 1:10 twist of the 06 would make it better suited to the heavy match bullets. If you handload the 06 can make for a very respectable target gun, my friend Donald shot F class with one using 190gr SMKs but latter switched to a 6.5x55, says it takes 5 MOA less adjustment at 1,000, he is pushing 142gr SMKs to 2950fps in a 30" custom using RL22.
     
  10. cottontop

    cottontop Guest

    I believe Howa still markets the 6.5x55.
    ct
     
  11. Apex-Predator

    Apex-Predator New Member

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    DON'T GET THE HOWA! I help new 6.5x55 reloaders all the time on my other forums and the Howas have fits every single time, they are the only ones that do, Sakos, Tikkas, CZs all shoot great but the problems with Howa are unreal.
    My Tikka is remarkably accurate, affordable, reliable and handles like a dream, for someone with the extra cash the Sako is a cut above. CZ lacks the 1:8 twist the others have but if you are happy with 120-130gr poly tips go for it, the Howa just falls on it's face though, I would own one in 308 but they really mangled that 6.5x55 chamber somehow, I think the real problem is in the throat and lands, have had several people tell me they could not touch their lands with slightly over max length loads.
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2013
  12. bamashooter68

    bamashooter68 Member

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    My favorite target/hunting rifle is my Remington made 1903a3 30-06. I think factory ammo is loaded down for the 30-06. I get much better performance with my handloads. My handloads loaded with 155gr Sierra Matchking Palma and IMR-4895 have always shot under MOA with a 5 shot group average of .840''.

    I also have a .243 but dont reload for it. I think if I did I would be pleased. Its a great long range caliber. Things to think about.
     
  13. Axxe55

    Axxe55 The Apocalypse Is Coming.....

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    just out of curiosity, what are the details of the problems with the Howa 1500's ? Weatherby makes the Vanguard and it's also the same action, made by the same maker.
     
  14. Apex-Predator

    Apex-Predator New Member

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    Seems to be an excessively long throat, combined with some weird problems that I cannot diagnose over the internet, the people I have been helping with loads have reported excessive pressure well below my Tikka loads. Long story short I like Howa/Weatherby rifles, but everyone I know with their 6.5x55 chamber has issues with it, on the flip side everyone I know with a Sako/Tikka 6.5x55 loves it.
    For those who cannot get their hands on a Finnish made Sweed (they are HARD to find) the 260 Rem, and 6.5 Creedmore provide performance on par with my handloads and are available in more common rifles. I think a T/C Icon in 6.5 Creedmore would make a very comparable rifle in terms of accuracy/performance.
    I am a big fan of the 6.5s, shoots flatter, further and with less wind drift then a 243 delivering 40% more punch at 300yds with comparable bullets, burning no more powder making barrels last longer, and all that for a not even noticeable increase in felt recoil. I call that a ballistic sweet spot for sure.