Skip to comments.FReeper Advice Needed on Selecting Hunting Rifle (.223, 30-30, 30-06, 308 or 7mm)
Posted on 08/12/2011 10:58:36 PM PDT by wac3rd
I need to choose a weapon for deer or bear hunting, typcial range is 200-400 yards.
Also, what is a good scope set-up to get? A few of the Remingtons (308 and 30-06) come with peep sights as a package.
Thank you in advance.
(Excerpt) Read more at remington.com ...
Don't get a pop gun.
200 to 400 yards? Bear? 30-06 at a minimum. Deer at the high end of that range, a 308 would be fine. Low end of the range a 30-30 would do what you need for deer (I’d still do the 30-06 for bear, however).
Also consider the 300 WinMag - plenty of power, good all-around cartridge.
Also expect to pay pretty heavily for a good set of optics - misses and wounded animals at that range are a real concern.
.308 or 30-06 would be acceptable. I personally use a 300 Winchester Magnum for those kind of targets at the range you describe. Regarding scopes, the larger the objective lens diameter the more useful it will be in low light. Hope that helps- not sure how much detail you need-!
.50 BMG for bear. Think about it, it gives you a great excuse to go ahead and buy one if you have a wife. I like .270 for deer.
Whatever you get...remember to practise practise practise. And know the limitations. 7mm or 30.06 will generally fit the bill. But, the .300WM could be overkill in some situations.
I don't have a preference for a scope.
Hunted the close-in brushy mountains of PA and also wide open spaces of Wyoming and Idaho. 30-06 is a great all-around weapon. Depending on the terrain and the game, you can go with a heavier or lighter slug to hunt in brush or for flat shooting over long distances. I used a Remington 30-06 pump with a 3X9 scope.
Dropped a slow-galloping antelope at 400 yards. When the bullet hit him he flipped a complete somersault like a running rabbit when hit with a shotgun. When I checked him out I found that I had led him a little too much. I hit him in the head instead of the chest. The bullet went in behind his right ear and exited through his left eye.
What, you trying to make the bear mad?
Been a while for me but an .06 is great. If you can deal with the added size/weight and like getting your shoulder kicked by a mule regularly, that’s the way to go ;) Properly sighted in, 2-400 yards yards is not at all close to a problem.
A 308 is a beautiful little piece of hardware as well, but others here are far better versed in recommendations than I.
P.S. That was a 3X9 Redfield scope. There are lottsa’ good scopes available.
Since you linked to Remington. If you go that way consider the Model 700 BDL chambered in 300 Remington Ultra Mag.
Fairly good summary with scope info.
This may be a somewhat unusual answer, but I hunted for years in Wyoming with a WW1 era 7mm Mauser (7x57mm) carbine I bought for $75, and they threw in 500rds of WW1 FMJ ammo with it. I took off the excess wood and shaped the stock down quite a bit...I did a lot of walking and wanted it light as I could get, also the reason I chose the shorter barrel. No scope, and I had a gunsmith change the block and toggle sights to a gradient peep sight, which I prefer. I think he charged me $30 to do it.
That was the ugliest gun I’d ever owned in my life. I was embarrased to be seen with it. But it was the lightest gun I’d ever carried going to desert waterholes or climbing hills after mule deer. Easy to shoot, ballistics are almost identical to a .308 but Mauser freaks insist it exceeds it in knockdown power. That gun was accurate and indestructible, but so ugly when I moved to the boat I had trouble giving it away.
All that would be left from the bullet's impact would be 2 very large chunks of flesh of what used to be the bear!!!I can almost guarantee it would split the poor animal in two or more pieces.
It is very difficult to go wrong with a .30-06. With a .30-06, correct choice of bullet and good shot placement, you can take anything in the lower 48.
You can find ammo nearly anywhere, and with a bolt gun in .30-06, you can push the heavier bullets for things like bear (> 190 grains).
.223 is right out. Many states clearly outlaw such a round for large game hunting.
.308 is OK, but if you’re going to use it first and foremost as a hunting rifle, I’d stick with the -06.
7mm - do you mean 7mm Remington Magnum or 7mm-08? Both are great hunting rounds, and the 7mm RemMag has taken a lot of game at extended range. But the ammo is more expensive, and if you’re going to become a good game shot, you’ll need to practice.
That said, I’m not a huge fan of Remington for my hunting rifles, but that’s a whole ‘nuther story.
Don’t forget to consider the new tactical style optics that have the red or green dot.
For big game at 200 to 400 yards, a quality 3-9X40 scope will be fine. Remember, you can spend $5,000 on a gun, but if you mount a $50 scope on it, you've got a $50 gun. I'd check out Redfield Revolution scopes on gunbroker. They're now made by Leupold and are quality scopes. Or you could buy the Leupold Rifleman for right around $200.
It's important for you to practice and know the rifle's quirks.
Springfield M1A or Remington 770.
M1A can be used with iron sights to about 800 yrds.
770 should have a Leupold Mark II
As far as optics go, I have tried many and don't have a particular scope to recommend however in my experience its the one product that price usually is a good judge of quality. Spend the money and get the best you can right away. Experimenting and trying to save money has cost me a ton in the long run, I hope to save you the $$ I've wasted by offering that advice :~).
You could shoot deer with a .223 (check regulations before you hunt) but I wouldn't advise it. In my opinion its way to small of a round to reliably take down big-game in one shot, which should be the objective.
On my hunting rifle, I have a Leupold 6x42 fixed. A fixed power scope is more durable than a variable power. For 400 yards and under, depending on your eyesight, you really don’t need more than 4 to 6 power.
That said, there’s lots of good variable power scopes out there. I like Leupold because they have a no-BS guarantee. If you buy a Leupold scope and you have a problem, they fix it. Doesn’t matter how long you’ve owned it.
I also like the Nikon Monarch, and use one on one of my rifles.
That said, you need to know that your low-light capabilities are limited by the “exit pupil” of the scope. You divide the front objective size by your magnification power and you get “exit pupil.”
For example, my 6x42 would be: 42/6 = 7mm exit pupil.
The human eye, when young, might be able to dilate in low light conditions as much as 7mm. As we get older, your eye cannot dilate as much.
So when you’re young a exit pupil less than 7 might give your eye less light than you can deal with. As you get older, an exit pupil of 5 might be all that your eye can use. The larger the exit pupil, the more light you will get transmitted to your eye and the less “dim” the scope will seem in low light (morning/evening times).
I would suggest staying away from any scope with a front objective of more than 42mm in the middle price range (say, up to $600). Any scope you see with a “56mm objective” and a low price tag will almost certainly have distortion in that large objective. Getting optics right takes money to invest in quality glass.
Next, you might want to consider a “ranging” reticle in your scope. The military trains our guys to use a “mil-dot” scope, but that’s needlessly complicated for your purposes. Many good mid-range scopes are offered with a big game reticle that will get you in the ballpark for extended range shots. Leupold will put just about any reticle you want into one of their scopes for a fee.
Leupold, Redfield, Burris, Nikon, et al - they’re all making “good” scopes these days. If you pay between $450 to $650, (plus the cost for rings/mounts), you’ll get a pretty good sealed, fog-proof scope.
If you want a superb scope, expect to pay $1200 and up.
Good second gun choice if your primary breaks and is my first choice in a "deer-drive" type hunt or for carrying while tracking a wounded animal.
Buy both - tell your wife you got a deal on the package :~)
The questions you are asking, and the way you are asking them, would seem to indicate you haven't spent much time with either hunting or with rifles, and asking the questions here tells me you don't spend time among those familiar with the outdoors or with guns.
Planning to shoot 200 - 400 yards in a hunting situation, at that level of experience, runs a strong risk of a wounded animal. Even if you are Deadeye Dan on the range, putting a live round into a game animal can be an entirely different story.
Bear? Where? Bear in the west can be considerably different than bear in the east -- Lewis & Clark found that out a couple of hundred years ago, but you don't make mention of that (although the "200 - 400 yard" range would suggest you are talking about the west.
But to engage the question specifically ('cause I like to talk about that stuff) --
When you are talking about one caliber for both animals, you actually mean what round will deal with the heaviest shot you have to make, since a too-heavy round will just spoil some extra meat on deer (and get a few sportsmen shaking their heads), while a too-light round on bear can really ruin your day and put you in the situation of letting a wounded animal go (likely for an inexperienced hunter -- don't take it personally, I'm not singling you out, just sharing an observation), or going after a really dangerous animal under less-than ideal conditions (scenario -- last day of the hunt, a wounded bear, fading light, long way back to vehicle or worse -- close by your camp. Would you go after it? Would you break camp to avoid sleeping in a fabric shelter in the area where a bear has been wounded? If so, would you go back after it the next day?).
Approaching it from that perspective, I'd go with at least the .300 Win Mag, for a hunt in the west, and the .30-06 or .308 (although I might lean more to the .270/7mm cause I like them) for a hunt in the east.
For optics, there are plenty of good, reasonably-priced scopes, but you can pretty much figure on spending around 50% of what you paid for the rifle on the optics. Variable-power scopes are better than ever; in the east I'd look at 2-6 power, in the west, 4-10.
But that's just my thoughts. That's one of the fun things -- batting these ideas around. If you head for a hunt, good luck.
Browning BAR: STILL THE NUMBER ONE AUTOLOADER.
Few hunting rifles in history have achieved the status of the Browning BAR. And no other autoloaders have even come close. Here are a few reasons why.
THE HISTORY OF THE BROWNING BAR.
The Browning BAR is one of those key products which have defined the Browning mystique throughout the last century. Much of the fame of today's sporting BAR began through the fame of the original military BAR designed by John M. Browning near the end of World War I.
This rifle, called the BAR M1918, was commissioned by the U.S. Army in an effort to break the stalemate of trench warfare in the battlefields of France and Belgium. It took John M. Browning three months to design it. Browning took this project so seriously that his son Val personally did testing and training of the American troops.
In its short time at the front the sound of a BAR became legendary. At 330 rounds per minute every shot was distinguishable and the sound became uniquely associated with the BAR, a sound that struck fear into the hearts of the enemy.
The BAR made a strong comeback in World War II as the 1918A2. The newer version had a higher rate of fire (550 rounds per minute) and soon became an integral part of many American units on every front.
But this Browning Insider report is about today's BAR. Here are a few interesting BAR facts you may never have heard before.
The Browning BAR sporting version is certainly a distinct and separate rifle from the military BAR M1918, but its design is the result of Browning's unmatched understanding and expertise with automatic rifles that started with John M. Browning. His grandson, Bruce Browning, was the driving force behind today's BAR. A large team of automatic firearms experts at the FN factory in Belgium also played a key role in its development.
This group of FN automatic rifle designers, lead by Marcel Olinger, began serious work on the project code named "Carbine 66," with full scale development and testing done throughout 1966 in preparation for an official 1967 product launch.
The original prototypes had the distinctive scalloped receiver, which all early BARs had. The trigger group assembly was reliable, but complex. The design required the disassembly of the buttstock from the receiver to remove the trigger group. BARs at that time came with your choice of a right or left handed safety, but they were not reversible. All calibers were built on a long action length receiver.
The BAR rifle was initially produced totally in Belgium and then assembly was transferred to Portugal in the early 1970s. This was history making for Browning, as the BAR was the first Browning firearm made in Belgium with assembly at an all new Browning plant in Viana, Portugal. Today, the Portugal factory has grown to be a major component of the Browning manufacturing system and is where the BAR continues to be assembled today, as well as the 12 and 20 gauge Gold and Silver autoloading shotguns and limited runs of the Hi-Power pistol. Contrary to what some have said, the BAR has always been made in Belgium and assembled in Portugal from the beginning.
The BAR has evolved slightly for over four decades. Rifles before 1976 are usually called Type 1 rifles. Between 1976 and 1992 they are often called Type 2 rifles, but these rifles are very similar to the original models. 1993 marked the introduction of the Mark II versions, which are still in production today.
Not well known to many was a special project in the early 1970s to produce a BAR version just for law enforcement. This rifle featured a slightly modified, high capacity FN FAL magazine and was chambered in 308 Winchester. However, the rifle never made it into production.
The product development team on the Mark II included a young engineer named Joseph Rousseau. It was on a trip to Browning's Morgan, Utah offices in 1988 that Rousseau fell in love with the Utah mountains and Utah hunting. Rousseau eventually moved his family to Utah and today he is the Vice President of Research and Development at Browning's Morgan, Utah headquarters.
The Mark II included several significant modern upgrades. A trigger assembly retained by cross pins was included for easy disassembly. At the same time the gas system was redesigned for greater reliability. A slide stop was added as a separate lever allowing you to keep the bolt in the open position with or without the magazine inserted. At this time the BAR received major improvements in both reliability and accuracy. According to Rousseau, the Mark II was originally qualified with a fully detachable magazine, but the change was never put into production. The BAR Mark II kept its original hinged type magazine found on the originals.
Few people recall the pump action version of the BAR introduced in 1997 and called the BPR. It was offered in seven calibers in both long and short action versions, including magnums. It provided many of the distinctive advantages of the BAR Mark II, but in a version that could be used in states that were not enthusiastic about civilian ownership of autoloading centerfires. At the time Browning management was worried that this could become a trend, but luckily this did not happen. In 1999 another variation, the Acera, made its U.S. debut. Originally developed for the European market, this straight-pull bolt-action design based on the BAR hit the U.S. market with minimal fanfare. The BPR and Acera are among the rarest of BAR variations and highly sought-after by Browning collectors.
Today's BARs come in the new ShortTrac and LongTrac variations. Built with lightweight aluminum receivers and modern styling, they offer all the advantages of the originals. Both the Lightweight and the Safari - based on the Mark II configuration - are still in the line as well.
If you demand fast follow-up shots from your deer rifle then look no further than time tested, reliable Browning BAR.
You want a .308 Ruger Scout. You will not regret it.
If you are as ignorant on the subject as you proffer, I will be very blunt. Until you become much more knowlegable about firearms, my advice is to stay out of the woods.
Why say that? The man is asking for advice on a common hunting setup. Everyone has opinions on what is best....doesn't make him an idiot for asking.
It’s hard to beat the flat trajectory of the 7mm Rem magnum.
Wow, 200-400 yards?
That’s really looooong range. 97+% of all game is shot at UNDER 100 yards—sometimes WELL under.
My longest shot here in the wooded East was about 100—using a .54 flintlock and iron sights.
To be good at your max range of 400 yards or so you will need one of the magnums, and they are NOT for the beginner.
I never heard a good explanation either. Perhaps it's something like imitation being the best form of flattery.
No one would try to market a modern sporting rifle named Chauchat.
I love my Marlin 30-30 and at 200 yard or less it’s very effective for white tail deer, small to medium sized mule deer, and black bear; but even at 200 yards a trophy sized deer or bear could walk away from anything less than a perfect hit. If you want a gun for bushwacking, go with the Marlin 30-30. If you are shooting 200 - 400 yards or more, across ravines, up hill, or in higher elevations, think .308 or 30-06.
About 15 years ago the Missouri Department of Conservation set new minimum standards for rifles and pistols used for deer hunting. For rifles it was approximately a 243 with 85 gr bullets, I don't recall the requirements for handguns.
On July 1 each year the MDC releases the rules and regulations for the fall and winter deer hunting. As soon as the new requirements were announced ammo retailers burned up the phone lines to Jefferson City since they had already placed their ammo orders for that year.
Before the end of July the MDC Commission had scraped the new minimums and hastily came out with a new simplified law. All center fire rifle and pistol ammo is legal, with the exception of full metal jacket.
So if you are getting older and tired of lugging that old beat up heavy rifle around in the woods you can now hunt deer with a palm sized 25 ACP pistol and be legal in the state of Missouri.
There will be many opinions about the caliber you should pick. 223 is too small for what you are asking. I prefer 7mm Mag. That said I think it is more important to find a gun that fits YOU.
I would not own a Remington on a bet.
I use Sakos for my personal guns.
Browning A Bolt is a fine weapon. Ruger has made very good rifles for years.
I go along with just about all posted here.
For your purposes... I’d recommend:
- a cheaper 30-06 gun so you have more money for a good scope and lots of ammo.
- Shoot 3 or 4 brands of ammo to see which is most accurate in your gun. Shoot 3 or 4 three-shot groups out to 100 yards using a steady set-up.
- Buy a lot of the most accurate ammo and zero your scope to be 1.5 inches high at 100 yards so have a “zero” hold out to 300 yards. (Read up on this technique; forget 400 yard shots until you really know your gun.)
- Shoot at least 100 rounds over several days/weeks, using various shooting positions and supports.
Ready to hunt!
When testing for most accurate ammo, test all ammo on same day, with no/low wind; have an experienced shooter help you, or even do the shooting.
May only get one three-shot group of each ammo on a single day, but that’s ok if all ammo brands are shot under same conditions.
Let gun barrel cool down after each three-shot test; want to test like would be shooting at game... with a cool barrel. Also, a hot barrel shoots to a different point than a cool barrel and you won’t have consistant conditions.
1. My preference for your needs would be what I shoot now, .45-70 Harrington and Richardson Buffalo Classic. More fun than a body should be allowed to have. Get a PAST Magnum shoulder pad for the heavy loads.
2. Deer - 250 grain
bear - 400-600 grain
rabbits - 144 grain round ball, 6 grains of Unique
bird and squirrel- load the cartidge as a shotgun shell (replace the shot cup with a simple wad), it works well and was issued to troops for food gathering thoughout the service life of the round.
Plinking - 144 grn roundball 6 grains unique
Shooting in your basement or garage during the winter - 144 grn roundball, .5 grn Unique. About as loud as a pellet gun.
There also some guys who are casting .45-70 bullets using hot glue guns and Gluettes adhesive. The bullets are shot indoors and are reusable. Not sure of the load or if it is just the primer.
Endless entertainment, a lifetime of fun.
Learn to reload. It is fun, cheap and you can shoot about 10 times the number of rounds for the money. Lee Precision equipment is good and cheap, they outsell the rest of industry every year.
Learn to shoot well with steel sites before you go after bear. I use Williams FP target sites but there are others.
To even consider a .223 mouse rifle for potentially dangerous big game told me all I needed to know.
There is probably very few animals in North America that cannot be taken with a 30-06.
Ammunition is plentiful and in enough bullet weights and loadings that is is easily adaptable to most conditions and game.
Go with a decent quality scope, midrange cost. There are plenty out there. The high end is not going to make enough of a difference to the average shooter to justify the extra cost. A decent 3-9 variable with around a 40mm objective is just fine.
Well, yea, and not a single post on this thread recommended a .223. If you don't ask you'll never know. As far as your 60 years, well I have 40 years myself.....but I never turn down an opportunity to teach....
BTW, if that is your website it's quite nice....
It is our family home page I attempted to put together, not very professional, but will have to suffice.
It's great! Now you old curmudgeon....;) What would you suggest for the poster......experience DOES matter.....and it would be great if you share some wisdom.
Also wanted you to know, as you can see from my recommendation at post 25 I like scout rifles.....that Mosin-Nagant scout on your webpage is....genius.
“What would you suggest for the poster......experience DOES matter.....and it would be great if you share some wisdom.”
There is a wide choice of calibers for specialized work.
But for just one cartridge, one will never go wrong with a 30-06.
For close range woods, 150 grain bullet or heavier. For dangerous game penetration, 220 grain RN. (round nose)
For open western prairie and mountains, 165 grain SPBT (soft point boat tail) bullet would be my top all around choice. Little much for goat, (antelope) but a sure killer for elk and heavy body muleys.
For many years now my use of muzzleloaders as personal choices for hunting would be of little or no interest to a neophyte. I tired of cartridge rifles and later handguns for hunting long ago.
All my cartridge reloading for many years has been restricted to cast boolits (bullets) with smokeless powder which offers a real challenge. To achieve accurate velocities with paper patched boolits that are near the same for jacketed bullets in given calibers gives me much satisfaction. For general shooting up to 2,000 fps, water dropped hard cast gas checked boolits are great.
If one may have an interest in boolit casting for being freed up from buying commercial ammo and jacketed bullets for reloading, cannot go wrong by going here for info: http://castboolits.gunloads.com/index.php
Thank you, I have just recently tried casting my own.....thank you for the link....
I too like scout rifles very much, for desired use, the concept is hard to beat.
The MN is my truck/ATV gun, it receives hard usage but is a great little rifle.
Got it cheap and the way it came, tricking it out as a pseudo scout was cheaper yet.
That FN 98-k in 7.62x51 is my favorite scout, it is deadly accurate with cast boolits.
I have a load for my model 700 that features a 165 Partition. It will do an inch from the sporter for three shots if I do my part. Factory 165 works acceptably sighted in for my load.
If I could have only one rifle, it would be that one with that load. Anywhere in North America.