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Rifle battery for New Zealand

06 Jun 2022
@ 12:27 pm (GMT)

Warwick Petersen

Hello everyone,

I have been trying to refine my centre fire collection and I'm close.

I hunt mainly in the North island NZ, a combination of bush, river flats, slips and tops
Most shots range from 5m to 400m and I've not pushed past that.
Quarry is fallow, red, sika, rusa, samber deer and heaps of goats and a few pigs.

I intend to spend more time exploring longer range shooting in the south island chasing thar, wapiti ( Elk) and big red stags and need more power and punish for samber and rusa deer at range.

To date I run a 243 for the goats and sometimes fallow.

A 30 30 (170 PARTITIONS ) and BLR 7mm08 shooting (150 HOTCORS) for hunting over the dog in dense nz bush.

A 270 general purpose all weather set up, t3x strata shooting 130 grain fusions and 150 ssts for bush to tops country out to 400m.

I'm looking for a step up in power and range out to 500m and something to compliment the battery im running. It would primarily be a mountain rifle and used on samber deer and
Rusa at range.

So far I have looked at a 7mm Rem mag but to be fair there does seem to be alot gained over the 270 with a 145 elx or 150 sst in terms of real world performance?

Also been looking at the 300 win mag and 300 wsm or a 30 06.
Im reasonably big guy, moderately fit.

I would be greatful for your input to help me make a decision or relook at what I have in a different light.

Thank you in advance. Im grateful to learn so much wisdom.


07 Jun 2022
@ 09:32 am (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: Rifle battery for New Zealand
Hi Warwick, this can open up a can of worms to some degree. There are practical aspects to be addressed, but there is also individual curiosity. I will try to address the practical and leave the curiosity / need to experiment up to you.

The range you want to shoot to is about the norm for an NZ tops shot. Roughly 600 yards is typical (546 goose steps). It is good to have a muzzle velocity over 2450fps for this.

The body weights you want to hunt are best tackled with a bullet weight of 200gr or heavier. 220 to 225gr would be a good weight to aim for.

Three options, each of which has strong and weak points...

.30-06 (or more specifically .30-06 AI). The purpose of this rifle would be to keep your battery to a minimum as you have outlined. To achieve maximum power, the barrel should be no shorter than 24". The magazine box should be long (so shop very carefully / avoid modern junk). The rifle could be loaded light or heavy (bullet weights) for a variety of applications as well as up and downloaded and or suppressed for the dog. The idea would be to build the rifle fairly light, but with a stock of sufficient girth so that it settles well when shot prone. The .30-06 or AI would produce adequate power, great versatility (use for everything). Ideally you would run the 220gr ELD-X for the larger animals at extended ranges. 24" is important due to the slow burn powder used with the heaviest pills versus your goals. If you want to use this rifle for bush work yet obtain max power, then you will have to get used to this length (28" with muffler). You can try at 22" but don't expect (or chase) full speeds.

300 Win Mag. This would give you the reach you are wanting, plus relatively good performance with the 220gr ELD-X. Build the rifle to a medium weight (As per Rod & rifle magazine style rifles of the 1980s) and again make sure it has a very long magazine box. The .300 PRC is another option - if you can find a non-welter weight rifle that can actually be used, not just carried like a ladies purse. The Win Mag is a little more hungry than the 06 and also needs to be in a rifle with at least some heft, so this will cut down versatility ever so slightly. But - if you are wanting a magnum, look to these two cartridges as opposed to other fast numbers like the .270 / 7mm Rem Mag etc. Also, avoid the think (NZ) that a 180gr projectile is heavy and is "just for elephants mate." The 180gr bullet weight is just a run of the mill middle weight, don't get caught up in any myth making.

In time, you can learn to adapt the .300 for all of your LR shots (fallow , Sika) so that you are well practiced with it, even if it seems over the top for these lighter animals. Having said this, its not a true allrounder, you will want to run one of your smaller rigs for hacking about.

.338 Win Mag. No longer flavor of the month. When most people think of the .338 these days, they can recall some twat blowing on about his a .338 Lapua, laid out on his fold out gun bag with the contents of its one million pockets spilled out, littering the range with electrical devices. The poor old .338 Win Mag is just too boring these days. If you can find one of these rifles, it will suit your needs regarding the larger animals. You probably won't use the rifle quite so much as others so it may be considered less versatile, but it would work well within its role. Again, shop for a medium weight rifle, nothing too light. The mag box does not have to be extremely long but still needs to be longer than the modern junk we are seeing. There are a few guys in a similar situation to yourself here in NZ, who have gone to the even less popular .338-06. The .338-06 is a good cartridge but the tendency is to push pressures in an attempt to achieve high velocities with the heavier 225 - 250gr pills. One does not feel the same need to chase every ounce of speed with the Win Mag. In any case, there are a small group of guys in NZ going back to this older stuff and achieving very good results and so this last is to acknowledge them.

I have put a good deal of info in the KB but for long range, I would suggest that you look to the book series. Keep in mind that this is just a brief and very rough forum post and should therefore be treated accordingly.
08 Jun 2022
@ 05:43 am (GMT)

Warwick Petersen

Re: Rifle battery for New Zealand
Hi Nathan

You are truly a generous soul. Thanks mate.

I really appreciate the time and depth of your reply and will get your books.
I gave one already and its got a wealth of knowledge and experience.
You have given me the direction I need. Its between a 30 06 and 300WM now.
Im going to try and get behind a 300 soon.

Best, Warwick

08 Jun 2022
@ 09:49 am (GMT)

Daniel Schindler

Re: Rifle battery for New Zealand

Offered humbly, here is my .02.

Mightily, over and over again, I've struggled with choosing between keeping my 24" '06 or trading it on a 300 Win. Based on the advice from someone we both respect and appreciate here...VERY long story short...I'm staying with my '06 and 200 gr Partitions.

Yes, the 300 offers us more in different areas / advantages...but the two cartridge performances are so close...the trade offs are just not worth it to ME. YMMV?

Lots of very good advice available on this forum. Hope I've helped some. Good luck with your decision.

10 Jun 2022
@ 01:04 pm (GMT)

Lane Salvato

Re: Rifle battery for New Zealand
I use a 338 WM for larger animals in North America and I love it. But I also use a 30-06 and I love it too. I followed Nathan's build advice on the 338 and it's worked out well. I use 250 grain Swift A-Frames that are factory but I also have a slow heavy load with the 285 grain ELD-M that's a lot of fun for pushing long. Mainly at the range but it's good on animals too.


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