Choosing a caliber

41magfan

Twelve Pointer
Contributor
While we cling to our subjective choices, we often lose sight of the fact that the bullet does all the work (regardless of the cartridge it's being fired from) and that any quality (i.e. appropriately constructed) bullet from just about any of the cartridges mentioned will kill a deer with the same effectiveness inside of 250 yards ..... if you hit 'em in the right spot.

I will readily concede that the MPBR with some cartridges makes hitting 'em easier, but the real ballistic advantages offered by many high performance cartridges doesn't really begin to show its stuff until you reach out to 500 yards or beyond. My gut says that's fairly irrelevant to most deer hunters around these parts ..... but I could certainly be wrong about that.
 
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nontypical

Six Pointer
Just my rambling thoughts.

.308 was nice.
.243 was nice.
At that point, they should have just come out with a .277 caliber based on a .308. Call it a .277. That would have virtually eliminated the 7-08 and 6.5.
That very same thought has crossed my mind before. I guess the longer higher BC and SD 6.5 and 7mm bullets buck the wind a little better. I wonder what the new 6.8 military round will look like? 270 short mag?
 

Mike Noles aka conman

Administrator
Staff member
Contributor
Your listed criteria of speed, energy and accuracy for a deer round would point me to a .270, 6.5 creedmoor, 7mm08 and .308. I like the .308 the most for filling your "want" list.
 

41magnum

Twelve Pointer
ANYTHING that delivers lead in the 2500-3000 fps range, since that is what bullets are designed to mushroom.

I am partial to the rounds based on and including the 308 Win, 7mm/08, .270/08, .260, 25 Souper (.25/08) since they drive bullets flat enough to shoot game at 500 yds with mild recoil.
 
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MJ74

Old Mossy Horns
I own a few different rifles and IMO if you want one rifle that will kill anything in North America, and can walk into any place and find ammo for it would be the 30-06.

I own a 30-06,25-06 ,7mm RemMag,308win,35remington and 7mm-08 as my deer hunting rifles and love them all. If I had to get rid of everything and pick one it would be the 30-06 I would keep.

sent from...... Tapatalk
 

Greg

Old Mossy Horns
.270-08 exists as a wildcat, I believe. I'd just go with the 7mm-08. There's not going to be a gnat's ass difference in performance, bullets and loaded cartridges are plentiful and available in a wide variety.
 

shadycove

Twelve Pointer
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.
Once again Bill, you have hit the nail on the head.
Maybe my favorite caliber along side of some other mid-bore rifles.
And even though it is really good at putting a deer DRT, the 35Whelen messes up much less meat than most faster bullets.
Long range is not a problem as long as you have a good scope and a rangefinder.
Less common but a nearballistic twin of the 35Whelen is the
358Winchester [308 necked up to 35 caliber].
 

pattersonj11

Old Mossy Horns
Regarding the 35 Whelen:

Why can it do 2900fps with 180 grains of bullet in front and the -06 only do 2700 with the same weight of bullet up front?

Is there an efficiency difference? 30-06 overbore? That has me a bit confused.
 

klim

Twelve Pointer
I’ve pretty much got the calibers I’ve always wanted as a kid growing up. 6mm, 25-06, 270, 280, 308. (Bought it because I got a deal in it) 264 win mag, 300 Win Mag. I’d like to find a another 6mm Rem or a 260 Rem youth rifle for my oldest daughter. I just haven’t fell in 6.5 CM craze yet, to me it looks like the 260 Rem and they just renamed it 6.5 CM.
 

MJ74

Old Mossy Horns
I just haven’t fell in 6.5 CM craze yet, to me it looks like the 260 Rem and they just renamed it 6.5 CM.
Same here....there's not enough difference between the 6.5x55, 6.5 Creedmoor, 260 remington and the 6.5x284 for anyone to notice.
Of course that's a whole different thread...lol

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klim

Twelve Pointer
Same here....there's not enough difference between the 6.5x55, 6.5 Creedmoor, 260 remington and the 6.5x284 for anyone to notice.
Of course that's a whole different thread...lol

sent from...... Tapatalk
I thought I may have wanted one when they first came out but, the more I read on them it’s just a 260 Rem Imho. I don’t have anything against them. I can’t say I might own one later after the craze dies down but I just don’t see the need right now.
 

rangerxp

Six Pointer
270 Win , All day long . Taken deer from 50 yards to 450 yards .
I've tried most calibers and have always stayed with the 270 Win for deer hunting.
Always stayed with Federal Premium 130 gr BTSP also. I've tried other bullets & brands and even hand loaded some too.
But , like the caliber choice , I've always stayed with the FP BTSP for deer .
 

1SHOT1KILL

Old Mossy Horns
Regarding the 35 Whelen:

Why can it do 2900fps with 180 grains of bullet in front and the -06 only do 2700 with the same weight of bullet up front?

Is there an efficiency difference? 30-06 overbore? That has me a bit confused.
I would say that the reason you'd hit the max pressure in the 30-06 with 180gr bullets at 2,700+ FPS before the 35 Whelen would hit max pressure with a 180gr bullet at 2,900+ FPS, is all about bore diameter with the 35 Whelen having the advantage. I have a guy that is hand loading the Barnes 180gr TTSX in his 35 Whelen and is getting over 3,100FPS out of it. I got another guy in LA that I built one for that is hand loading the Sierra 225gr SBTGK at 2,850 FPS.
 

Eric Revo

Old Mossy Horns
Contributor
I would say that the reason you'd hit the max pressure in the 30-06 with 180gr bullets at 2,700+ FPS before the 35 Whelen would hit max pressure with a 180gr bullet at 2,900+ FPS, is all about bore diameter with the 35 Whelen having the advantage. I have a guy that is hand loading the Barnes 180gr TTSX in his 35 Whelen and is getting over 3,100FPS out of it. I got another guy in LA that I built one for that is hand loading the Sierra 225gr SBTGK at 2,850 FPS.
I'd say either the rifles are built like tanks, or they do damage on both ends.
Years ago when I used to browse the clearance racks of the barrel makers it wasn't unusual to find an abundance of good, air gauged barrels already chambered in .35 Whelen. I have built many for resale but never kept one for myself due to the recoil factor and just because I always preferred the belted magnums when you got up into those kinda pressures.
I have to say that for larger game it's a caliber that's tough to beat.
 

DaddyRat

Spike
If I had bought my 308 first, I would never have owned a 3006. In a pinch you can find suitable ammo just about anywhere for either but I just like a short action a bit better. Deer have not expressed a fondness for either offering. When the cool factor is wanted I break out the 257 wby in a LH 700.
 

BackCreek

Button Buck
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?
Here's my .02........ I chambered 270 for years loved it, still love it. Harvested many, many deer with it but got bored with the same ole same ole. I've owned and own a multitude of calibers from 30-30 up to 300 and am currently "hunting" with the 300WSM, probably not the most popular choice of many but I like it and when I bought my first 300WSM ammunition was hard to find so I bought 2 cases of it so....... I just purchased a 6.5 creedmoor this past weekend, out of the box I really like it, very minimal recoil and dang the gun will flat shoot!!! As far as hunting the jury is still out since our season is now over so next season we'll see..... Honestly the list you have above is a very wide variety ranging from .243-30-06. the .260 and 6.5 and dang near identical calibers but if I were you looking a hunting rifle and having shot 30-06's before and being able to manage the recoil (some don't care for it) I would go with a .308 or 30-06. Both are great hunting calibers that are offered in a wide variety of weights and both are accurate calibers in the right platform (my opinion the .308 is more adaptable for accuracy). You can go in nearly any mom and pop store up to a big box store and find ammunition for either caliber easily. When you get into 6.5, 25-06, 260, 280, 7mm-08, 300wsm etc. not everyone carries ammo on the shelf (things to think about). The only .308 I've ever owned was a old Remington 760 but it would SHOOT!
 

DC-DXT

Ten Pointer
My .257 Weatherby Magnum is the only caliber I’ll use for deer. Fast, flat, and energy. I actually have 2 of them. Ammo can be pricey though, not sure if you reload. I’ve killed deer in NC, KS, and MO with mine.
 

sll

Spike
I own a lot of different cailibers. But, if I wanted only one gun to use for any wild animal regardless of the location, it would be a 300 Win Mag. It is an inherently accurate caliber with about anything you feed it, factory ammo is available anywhere if you don't reload, and recoil is manageable.

That being said, I have killed more deer with a 270 than any other caliber.
 

pinehunter

Six 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.

This, 100%
 

JJWise

Eight Pointer
For what it’s worth, it seems that anything between a 25-06 and a 300Win Mag is almost not even worth debating when it comes to terminal preformance on game. I’ve never seen a deer “knocked down” any better by a 270 than a 260, or by a 30-06 than a 7-08. Bullet construction matters, but the caliber/cartridge seem almost negligible. Anything within that power band will suit you fine, so for instance if you wind up with a 270, the next real step up in my mind would be a 338 Win Mag.

But I have multiple 308s, a 270, and a 30-06 so I have no room to speak.
 

BackCreek

Button Buck
I own a lot of different cailibers. But, if I wanted only one gun to use for any wild animal regardless of the location, it would be a 300 Win Mag. It is an inherently accurate caliber with about anything you feed it, factory ammo is available anywhere if you don't reload, and recoil is manageable.

That being said, I have killed more deer with a 270 than any other caliber.
I agree with everything but the "recoil is manageable" that's a matter of perspective to most. 300 recoil is certainly nothing crazy (depends on the gun in a lot of cases, but I think a lot of people suffer from the flinch syndrome. Anticipating that recoil (which really is nothing) and can't make an accurate shot because of it LOL
 

22LR

Twelve Pointer
I thought I may have wanted one when they first came out but, the more I read on them it’s just a 260 Rem Imho. I don’t have anything against them. I can’t say I might own one later after the craze dies down but I just don’t see the need right now.
When I heard of the 6mm Creedmore, I said to myself its a 6mm Remington all over again...
 

Dinny

Button Buck
I like the 6.5 Grendel and find it quite adequate for deer out to 300yds. As usual, shot placement is key. Given how easy it is to shoot, practice is enjoyable.

Thanks, Dinny
 

wcjones

Twelve Pointer
Contributor
I was fond of my 30-06 for the longest time. Didn’t see the need in anything else as far as bolt action rifles go. Last year my wife got me a 6.5 creedmor for Christmas and I am sold. It’s loud but no recoil. I took it and my 06 to the range a few weeks ago to shoot some steel at 300 yards and decided then that my 06 would probably become a safe queen.
 
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