Choosing a caliber

pattersonj11

Old Mossy Horns
I’m planning on getting a rifle before next season. I’ve ran into some issues with my current gun and I’m ready to move onto a new one.

Im looking at calibers.

Is a short action really more accurate to the point that it wouldn’t matter outside of benchrest competition?

I’m considering many different calibers but have not been able to narrow down anything.

I’ve hunted with .243s and .30-06s up until now. I’ve shot a deer or two with others but few and far between.

I want something that is the best combination of speed, energy, and accuracy.

Considering .243, 25-06, 260, 6.5creedmore, 280 rem, and 30-06. Others in that range would be considered.

Any comments from the guys on here?
 

Mr.Gadget

Old Mossy Horns
I have always been a 30 cal and 6.5 fan.
Now that the 6.5 creedmoor is out running strong with lots of loads and load data it has been my go to.
Plan to pick up another for this year to tinker with.
Looking another 6.5, may end up getting the the upper end Ruger.
The American 6.5 Predator has done me fine and would strongly recommend that. Hard to find a rifle that shoots like it does with the same cost.
 

CRC

Old Mossy Horns
A lot of the short, fat magnums are pretty accurate but ammunition for them is pricey.
 

All Pines

Eight Pointer
You mentioned issues you’re trying to avoid? Do you mind stating what they are? Were they caused by the gun or the caliber?

I think that bullets of similar construction, sectional density, and velocity kill deer really, really similarly...regardless of caliber.

Accordingly, I’d look more into a reliable, affordable gun with the best optics you can afford and then find the best bullet you have access to.

That said, hornady 6.5 superformance intebond is a bad, bad round
 

CRC

Old Mossy Horns
I would not rule out a 257 Roberts either if you can find a rifle chambered for it
 

hoyt85

Spike
I've shot the same Rem 700 30-06 for 21 years. Also killed a few over the years with my dads 25-06.....It is a very nice caliber and one that I've grown very fond of. As others have said it is very flat shooting and very accurate. I think both of these calibers are great choices for southeastern deer. Slightly limited to the bullet selection in the 25-06 if you wanted to go out west and pursue a little bigger game. There will be a wider selection of bullet weights with the 30-06.

I know there are thousands of deer killed every year with a 243. However, I'm just not found of that caliber.

I would agree with the others and look into the 7mm-08. It also has a great bullet selection. It's a caliber that I'm looking into for my wife.

I'm not on the 6.5 fan.

Just my .02
 

pattersonj11

Old Mossy Horns
no such critter really,,,,,all have tradeoffs and often the accuracy part has as much to do with the gun/scope combo as the caliber
I am more such looking into the best all around I can find. I guess trying to answer the age old question with no correct answer known to man.
 

pattersonj11

Old Mossy Horns
I would not rule out a 257 Roberts either if you can find a rifle chambered for it
I’ve thought about that one. You are really limited to reloading if you want a consistent ammo source outside of mail order. That’s the down fall there.
 

pattersonj11

Old Mossy Horns
I would not rule out a 257 Roberts either if you can find a rifle chambered for it
I’ve thought about that one. You are really limited to reloading if you want a consistent ammo source outside of mail order. That’s the down fall there
I've shot the same Rem 700 30-06 for 21 years. Also killed a few over the years with my dads 25-06.....It is a very nice caliber and one that I've grown very fond of. As others have said it is very flat shooting and very accurate. I think both of these calibers are great choices for southeastern deer. Slightly limited to the bullet selection in the 25-06 if you wanted to go out west and pursue a little bigger game. There will be a wider selection of bullet weights with the 30-06.

I know there are thousands of deer killed every year with a 243. However, I'm just not found of that caliber.

I would agree with the others and look into the 7mm-08. It also has a great bullet selection. It's a caliber that I'm looking into for my wife.

I'm not on the 6.5 fan.

Just my .02
I like the 25-06 concept. It isn’t rare, but not all rifles are chambered in it.

My best 2 bucks were both taken with a .243. I haven’t seen what the 7-08 can do that a .243 cannot do. 7-08 has a bit more umph but also gives up the flatness of the .243.

It’s on the list, but I haven’t looked very hard at it.
 

woodmoose

Administrator
Staff member
Contributor
I haven’t seen what the 7-08 can do that a .243 cannot do. 7-08 has a bit more umph but also gives up the flatness of the .243.
I'll take the extra bullet weight and better overall ballastics of the 7-08 over the relative "flatness" of a .243 when measured against the drop of a 7-08, you only give up 10(ish) inches of drop at 500 yds with a bullet that is over 50% larger and at a more realistic (for most shooters) distance of 300 yards it's less than a 3" difference

the .243 is a fine deer round at most ranges, but it's not a 7-08,,,,just as neither of them are quite as good as their parent round,,,,for OVERALL ballastic capability
 

nontypical

Six Pointer
I would say 6.5 Creedmoor for the calibers you listed. 30-06 would probably be the most versatile of those you listed. You might want to consider 308 as well. Almost the velocity and energy of the 30-06 with less recoil. As was stated before get the best optics you can afford and choose good quality mounts. I personally have a Ruger American Predator in 6.5 Creedmoor and shoot Hornady 143 ELD-X with great results for accuracy and deer killing effectiveness.
 

45/70 hunter

Ten Pointer
I'm a quaterbore fan. I just added a 250 Savage but it's a mainly reloaders caliber these days. I really like my 25-06 Browning BAR. Accurate, light recoil, flat shooting, and plenty of punch. I've been thru 308,
30-06, 7 Rem Mag, 300 Win Mag.
 

FireDuck401

Eight Pointer
Contributor
I'm a fan of the .260 Remington. I've killed several deer with it, and have been very pleased with its performance.
However, 6.5 CM has so many offerings today in both rifles and factory ammunition; I would probably pick it over the .260.

-06 is about as versatile a round there is.

Don't overlook .308 either, also pretty versatile.
-06 and .308 aren't new and flashy but they're proven killers.
 

Winnie 70

Eight Pointer
Have shot a 308 for years and reload for it, a fine round for deer and can be loaded all the way down to 110 grain up to 165-180 and all in between, very low recoil and report. One of the most accurate rounds out there. Have taken deer out to over 300 yards and little more. With that been said, also load a 243 in 100 grain that is even lighter recoil and one pleasure to shoot and a deer buster too. Take your pick, but a short action is my choice in all the mentioned rounds. The 6.5 creed is very popular now , have never shot one but got to be good.
 

pattersonj11

Old Mossy Horns
I’m thinking now either 6.5crdmr, 7-08, .30-06, or maybe .300 wm

Rifles I’ve narrowed down to a cz or a savage
 

1SHOT1KILL

Old Mossy Horns
I would consider the 35 Whelen. With Hornday Superformance 200gr ammo at 2,900 FPS, you'd have plenty enough flat trajectory out to 300yds and plenty of FPE as well. I've been building more 35 Whelen custom rifles the last 3 year than all other cartridges combined. With the Hornady 200gr Superperformance ammo they have all been 1" or less shooters and delivers the advertised 2,900 FPS velocity, even out of 22" barrels. The reports I am getting back are that the 35 Whelen is not only surprisingly fun to shoot (less recoil than you'd think), but very accurate as well, and plants deer, hogs, and other game DRT.
 

Guybo

Eight Pointer
A 25-06 is hard to beat for a deer rifle. Flat shooting and accurate but I would look for a rifle with a 24 inch barrel.
I agree but my opinion may be a little biased because I've shot and loaded for one for about 25yrs. I also agree to look for a 24" barrel no matter the caliber to really get the speed that it's capable of producing. It's a fast flat shooter with low recoil that hits the target hard. My brother uses a .308 and has for years with excellent results on deer. It's not a speed demon but you can get some good velocities out of the .308 with the lighter 125-130gr bullets. My daughter shoots a .260 and it too is very accurate and flat shooting with low recoil and if I didn't shoot a 25.06 i'd probably be shooting a .260. Others mentioned here are great calibers as well, 7mm-08, 6.5 creed, .280 and of course the do it all 30.06. My other brother shoots a 30.06 using the lighter bullets and it shoots flat as well with good velocities. So many good choices out there to choose from so it really comes down to personal preference. Good luck in your choice. Mike
 

bryguy

Old Mossy Horns
Only have 2 cartridges I use for deer hunting..........308 and 6mm creedmoor. Roll my own 308, shoot factory fodder out of the 6mm creed. Killed all 4 of my deer with the 308 and longest recovery was less then 50 yards. Did not get a chance to take one with the creedmoor, but only because i carried it in special circumstances and did not get a shot with it,
I would stay with tried and true unless you reload. 257 is great if you plan to roll your own, but facotry ammo is scarce and what you can find is often anemic. 308, 243, 6.5 creed, 30.06, 270, 7mm rem mag or 300 win mag ammo will be easy to find in factory fodder almost anywhere on the planet, other rounds not so much. Deer are not that hard to kill.
 

darkthirty

Old Mossy Horns
Here’s how I pick out a new rifle caliber. I look and see what’s popular and what everyone has, then I look for anything other than those.
A lot of people have 25’s now, but I bought mine in the mid 90’s. That’s my “go to” rifle. Had a 260 Rem and loved it too but sold it to a friend who had a son getting old enough to start hunting. Got a 6mm Rem now I really like I bought for my daughter if she ever wants to go.
I don’t worry one bit about ammo availability. It’s easier to buy online than store hopping anyways. Nothing wrong with any round mentioned, Ive just never been a fan of having what everyone else has. 280, 284 win mag, 257 Roberts, 264 win mag. All appeal to me for no other reason than you can’t can’t go into most stores and buy one.
 

JJWise

Eight Pointer
I like 270 and 308 the best. Similar power and recoil, enough for 99% of game. A lot of it depends what you’re doing. Out of a box blind in a bean field, a 270 with 24” barrel is the winner. But if you’re moving around a lot and stalking through the woods, I’d take a 308 with a 20” barrel all day. Both of them offer cheap ammo if you buy factory stuff, but are also easy to find reloading components for. Every deer I’ve shot with a rifle in the last 4 years has been killed with one of those two rounds.
 

Eric Revo

Old Mossy Horns
Contributor
The 6.5 caliber is a very versatile caliber available in many different cartridges and bullet weights. The 6.5 Creedmore seems to be able to accomplish alot of what the 6.5 caliber has to offer in shooting and hunting and although I don't own a Creedmore it's one to look at seriously.
 

hoyt85

Spike
Why?
What guns you shot and what you see wrong with it.
Been shooting 6.5 for maybe 20 plus years. Many gun and designs, all shot very good.
Didn't say there was anything wrong with the 6.5. I said I'm not a fan of them. Just like I'm not a fan of a 243, but like I said, there are thousands of deer and various other game killed every year with that caliber.
 

Mr.Gadget

Old Mossy Horns
Didn't say there was anything wrong with the 6.5. I said I'm not a fan of them. Just like I'm not a fan of a 243, but like I said, there are thousands of deer and various other game killed every year with that caliber.
Thats cool.
Was just going to pick your brain if you had a problem or found something you did not like.
Nothing wrong with that at all.
Just like a 7mm o8
Had them, shot them but really for me I did not see a reason to own them outside of the 308's that I own.
 
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