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One hunting rifle!

14 Sep 2016
@ 02:35 am (GMT)

Aussie hunter

If you were to select one caliber to have as a dedicated bolt action hunting rifle what would it be? So it's an allrounder to save deciding which rifle you want to take this time and must meet the Aussie legal requirement for some deer species of being larger than .270 caliber. I have heard many people speak highly of the .270 but don't own one (yet!) in a perfect world I would like more guns in different configurations but I have a few and for example I have a .308 bolt action and would like a .308 pump action. That would be a dedicated pig hunting set up with a low power scope or red dot style sight. (Scrub hunting) . I think the .308 meets the criteria but I am thinking along the lines of if I had a pump .308 then I'd like a bolt action in a different caliber. My thinking is that a 7mm REm mag or .300 win mag should do anything a .270 does and better. I have always had a It has long range potential or would flatten a Dingo at 300 m if you know the trajectory and shoot it well. It could do African plains game or cull camels in central Australia and probably bear in Alaska. I hand load but happy to stick with standard calibers. I have my bunny guns and varmint rifle. I have always had some fascination with the .300 win mag and maybe because of the range of .30 cal projectiles.
But what do others think what's the perfect hunting caliber? If you had one chance to set up the one hunting rifle and hoped to use it for whatever you might be lucky enough to hunt what would it be?

Replies

14 Sep 2016
@ 07:31 am (GMT)

Mike Davis

Re: One hunting rifle!
you SHOULD be able to "flatten a dingo at 300" with any of the above without any issue.
and as to your question, I'm a .270 man myself but if the larger animals were going to be main target the good old .30/06 would be plurry hard to beat.
my .270 has taken just about all game animals here in NZ and the 3 it hasn't would go down like sack of spuds with a 150 grn partition (Nathan you have gone and got me all converticated) through the boiler room/shoulders.
14 Sep 2016
@ 07:39 am (GMT)

Bob Mavin

Re: One hunting rifle!
30-06
14 Sep 2016
@ 08:40 am (GMT)

Aussie hunter

Re: One hunting rifle!
Yes, any would drop a dog in its tracks at 300 with correct shot placement. I've shot plenty with a .223, and good shot placement. I am thinking maybe the 270 nod others mentioned have an advantage with trajectory etc and big enough for most game.My HB .223 is accurate and good from a vehicle. What I have observed though is quite a few that get out around 300m and look back, I give these a chance to see another day as I like to see the bang flop as described in another subject. I've head shot pigs with a .223 and believe they were dead before they hit the deck.
One hunting rifle and one caliber. Tell me what you think.spark a discussion.
14 Sep 2016
@ 11:01 am (GMT)

Lane Salvato

Re: One hunting rifle!
I'm speaking of regular hunting situations, and not dedicated long range calibers, but it's hard to beat the 270 or 30-06. Both will do the job on just about anything, with the 30-06 having some advantage in bullet weight selection. The most accomplished hunter I've ever known has taken everything he's hunted except for dangerous game with a 30-06. Wolves, musk ox, elk, pronghorn, black bear, mule deer, whitetail, cougar, bighorn sheep, aoudad sheep, and most of the plains game in Africa. You'll always find cartridges for either of these calibers wherever you go. My preference between these two is the 270 because I grew up shooting it.

In reading Nathan's books I think if I ever do set up a rifle specifically for dedicated long range hunting I'd have to look hard at either the 7 Mag or the 300 Win. Mag., but I'm speaking only from what I've read.

Let us know what you decide, as I always get a thrill of seeing other hunters find what they want!
14 Sep 2016
@ 03:55 pm (GMT)

Paul Yates

Re: One hunting rifle!
I too am partial to the .270 because that's what I shoot. I find it to be incredibly versatile. You can put little 110 grain Accubonds or TSX in it and have something virtually identical to a .25-06 for lighter plains animals, varmints, etc. or you can work up some 150, 160, (even 170!) grain loads with max powder charges that come fairly darn close to factory 7mm RM performance. Brass and projectiles are affordable and widely available. The .270 has a lot going for it.

On the other hand, there are certainly animals that I would not try to take with a .270. Here in BC, there are 2 such animals. 1) Grizzly bear (for obvious reasons) and 2) Bison (because legally one must use a 175 gn or larger projectile that carries a certain amount of energy).

I will never kill a Grizzly bear and the chances of winning a draw for a bison are very low. I have no plans to hunt in Africa or any other continents, so the .270 truly is perfect for me.

A .30-06 would allow me the option of shooting bison, but then has less options at the "light" end of the scale. Still, it is also a very versatile cartridge and components are widely available as mentioned by others.

In hindsight, a 7mm RM might have been the "perfect" cartridge for me, but the difference isn't enough to make me switch at this point.

.300 Win Mag - I have a distaste for this cartridge. It seems in my neck of the woods every guy who owns one of these is the type of hunter that I'd rather not spend time with. The type of guy who thinks every other cartridge other than the .300 Win Mag is for girls or "fags". The recoil can be quite punishing and the damage inflicted on most medium-sized game at short to medium ranges is over-the-top (depending on bullet choice, of course, but most of these guys also have to use the biggest, meanest bullets too). Of course, the cartridge really does have practical uses for long-range shooting and has incredible killing power. There's no denying that. I just think the vast majority of people who own one (that I know) would be served just as well or better by a 7mm or .270.



15 Sep 2016
@ 01:33 am (GMT)

Paul Leverman

Re: One hunting rifle!
It was the 303. Then it was the 6.5x55. Then it was the 30-06. Then it was the 338. I'll let you know how it goes this year with the 45-70.
But in re-reading the original question, it seems the 45 is out of the running - not a bolt action. And I can drop the 6.5 as well, same reason. Out of what's left, I would have to say it would be the 338WinMag, but the -06 is still neck and neck. I got better groups with the 338. It's a heavier rifle in a Ruger, which I prefer. It does have a synthetic stock that I don't really care for, but the accuracy says it doesn't matter what I like. They both eat just about any powder and bullets, and they both kill animals dead. Either one I guess.
15 Sep 2016
@ 12:58 pm (GMT)

Warwick Marflitt

Re: One hunting rifle!
35 Whelen AI


15 Sep 2016
@ 06:44 pm (GMT)

Paul Leverman

Re: One hunting rifle!
Nice gun porn, Warwick. That looks slick.
15 Sep 2016
@ 07:48 pm (GMT)

Warwick Marflitt

Re: One hunting rifle!
Thanks Paul. I still have to finish load development for it but it's a great calibre.
16 Sep 2016
@ 12:15 pm (GMT)

Aussie hunter

Re: One hunting rifle!
Cool,
A few calibres there I had not considered. the .338? well it will cover all bases i guess. Any overseas hunting is really only a dream for me but I would like to have a small collection of decent rifles rather than a heap of crap ones. Im getting there but Id like to have that favourite one in the safe that is my go to and know it is accurate and be confident that I shoot it well and find a pet load that suits.
Dangerous game is appealing to me but thats in another class and I have the .458 for that but in reality buffalo may be the best i get. I dont think Id feel justified in spending 20 grand or more on one trip unless my situation changes it seems extravagant
One rifle? Its sounding like the .270 is still well regarded and o f course the .30 ought six as the Americans refer to it
I like my rifles and i enjoy tinkering and improving and occasionally trading out to something else but i guess Im preaching to the converted.
20 Sep 2016
@ 09:12 am (GMT)

Shane Llewell

Re: One hunting rifle!
THERE IS ONLY ONE CALIBER THAT I CARRY, AND I HAVE CARRIED .303, 6.5/55, .308, 45-70, .223, AND THAT IS THE MOST USED CALIBER FOR ALL BIG GAME, THE AMAZING 375 H&H MAG, LOADED WITH A SPEER 235GN PROJECTILE IT IS AS FLAT A SHOOTING RIFLE AS A 308, BUT WITH A LOT MORE STOPPING POWER, RECOIL WITH THIS SIZE PROJECTILE IS VERY MANAGABLE, BUT LOADED WITH THE 300GN HORNADAY YOU CAN STOP ANYTHING ON THE PLANET.... I LOVE IT ( BUT NOT EVERYONE DOES) BUT HAVING HUNTED IN OZ ( WA TO BE EXACT) PROBERLY GETTING ANY CALIBER IS A BLOODY NIGHTMARE.......GOOD LUCK
20 Sep 2016
@ 08:34 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: One hunting rifle!
For me, possibly the .30-06. I love my .308 hack but if I had to sell off everything including the long reaching magnums but still wanted to be able to shoot relatively long while having plenty of power for all situations, then the .30-06 would win out. I have built a few good .30-06 rifles now and while they do suffer more wind drift than the likes of the 7mm Rem Mag etc, they never fail to please.

Its always hard to say though. If we went Mad Max, then the .223 might be the better choice for ammo weight and stock piling, making every shot count. Jeff Cooper preferred a short barreled .308 - short and handy, ammo fairly cheap and I'll bet he stock piled a good amount of ammo. He was a fan of a bolt action as it forced the user to slow down and make shots count (his concern being a complete break down of ammo supply). I do like a short barreled .308- its my general go to, hence why I call it a hack. Jeff was preparing for WW3. The scout rifle was the result and we are still seeing a lot of these rifles with FAL type magazines.

I have a Lyman 310 hand tool for my .308. Its easy to make ammo on the go and I can use a range of powders if need be. I could also get by without scales, pouring 2208, 2209, 2213 or 2217 by eye if I had to. Loads would most likely be accurate, thats just how the .308 is.

So I guess the question surrounding one rifle, is how we intend to use it. Is it for survival?

I would think a good number of people would rate the .22LR as their one rifle for the sake of ammo stock piling costs and weight. This is what you might find in the cock pit of a jet fighter- well at least in days gone by. Bloody annoying having to get up close for head shots all the time though. Worse if you have to do battle with a boar at 1 yard because you thought you would creep up to that possum in the dark with the spotlight off, only to flick the light on and find you are face to face with a big tusker. Been there.

The main advantage of the .30-06 is a bit more reach and increased power with heavy pills for large game. If we take the survival element away, the .30-06 has great merit.

Steph took one look and this thread and then murmured "easy, .30-06" before carrying on with whatever she was doing. Women are so dismissive.
21 Sep 2016
@ 12:29 am (GMT)

Aussie Hunter

Re: One hunting rifle!
Thanks, Im not surprised you suggest the .30-06, I was once told by a Northern territory gun shop that the .30-06 was favoured over .308 in the territory,
It seems the Americans quite like it but it also was there military cartridge at one time I believe but I hear a lot of reference on the net or Tv about the Ought Six!
For one hunting rifle or carry rifle may be it is the one as I pointed out I have a HB .223 for spotlighting, varminting and ideally I would like a .308 pump for the scrub and pig shooting etc.
There will always be some debate about the best aussie all rounder but its a good way to start a discussion.
I have a few mates who are accomplished shooters that carry a .22-250 in the bush as their one main go to rifle or tool to shoot pests.
21 Sep 2016
@ 04:34 am (GMT)

Martin Taylor

Re: One hunting rifle!
30-06
30-06
30-06

And if l had to think about it a bit more a 30-06!

Steph nailed it


21 Sep 2016
@ 08:44 am (GMT)

Aussie Hunter

Re: One hunting rifle!
Well , it seems like the general consensus is that .30-06 might be an ideal hunting calibre.

No mention of AR2206H from Nathan so a subject for another thread
 

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