Jump to content

Whats The Favored Caliber/Cartridge For Deer?


Tatsu Dave
 Share

Recommended Posts

I'll start it off, been hunting deer since 1964 and have narrowed my choices down to 260 and 7mm-08. My son however likes the 308, all short action and well suited for north woods hunting. I believe the 7mm-08 is one of the best deer rounds available and low recoil/performance is as good as you could want. Our typical hunting up here involves heavy thick woods with a mix of evergreens and hardwood. Deer tend to hang in dense cedar bogs for bedding and cover and shots are normally 25-100yds. What cartridge does everyone use?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Super User

We have oak timber interspersed with red cedar.  I hunt openings in crossings.  We have used 308, .30-06, .30-30, .25-06, 280, 270, 243 and 257 Roberts.  I prefer my 257 Roberts with a 100 grain hand load.  My son-in-law has settled on 270 and my grandson uses his 308 because he has the capability of shots to 650 yards (SWAT sniper).

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Super User

I've also been deer hunting since the 60's and this conversation comes up every year at deer camp. 

I also agree that the two choices you listed are ideal calibers. 

 

I personally use Tikka 308 with 150 gr rounds but in the heavily forested mountains that I hunt, rarely does a 100 yard shot present itself. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Super User

I hunt two parts of Minnesota each season: the heavy timber up north and the more broken country featuring a mix of timber, grassland, and agriculture in the central. I have been using a 7mm-08 for about 15 years with a Nikon Buckmaster scope. I prefer 140 grain ballistic tip rounds. I used to use a marlin 30-30 before I had this rifle and it worked up north in the timber but it sucked in more open country shooting long distance. A couple times I shot at deer about 350 yards away and the bullets hit the dirt in front of the deer so that is why I switched to the 7mm-08. Both my Grandfather and Uncle already had this caliber and they both recommended it. It has tack driving accuracy and minimal recoil. I have fallen deer out to almost 400 yards with it. The one downside is that the ammo can be hard to find and it’s very expensive.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 minutes ago, gimruis said:

I hunt two parts of Minnesota each season: the heavy timber up north and the more broken country featuring a mix of timber, grassland, and agriculture in the central. I have been using a 7mm-08 for about 15 years with a Nikon Buckmaster scope. I prefer 140 grain ballistic tip rounds. I used to use a marlin 30-30 before I had this rifle and it worked up north in the timber but it sucked in more open country shooting long distance. A couple times I shot at deer about 350 yards away and the bullets hit the dirt in front of the deer so that is why I switched to the 7mm-08. Both my Grandfather and Uncle already had this caliber and they both recommended it. It has tack driving accuracy and minimal recoil. I have fallen deer out to almost 400 yards with it. The one downside is that the ammo can be hard to find and it’s very expensive.

Handloading can open up cheaper ammo and whatever bullet you like. I like nosler accubonds myself, integrity of a parition and a plastic tip for no deforming in magazine and long range accuracy. Same POI and BC as BT but a little tougher on bone. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Super User

It’s shotgun only in my area when I used to deer hunt and I loved my 20ga 870 with hornady sst sabots. I gave up deer hunting bout 5 years ago but they legalized rifles in my area a few years ago and I’ve got kids begging me for jerky all the time so I’m gonna get back into this year. Plan on using my 45-70 and 325gr leverevalution or my AR10 in 308 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Super User
21 minutes ago, clayton86 said:

It’s shotgun only in my area when I used to deer hunt and I loved my 20ga 870 with hornady sst sabots. I gave up deer hunting bout 5 years ago but they legalized rifles in my area a few years ago and I’ve got kids begging me for jerky all the time so I’m gonna get back into this year. Plan on using my 45-70 and 325gr leverevalution or my AR10 in 308 

I looooooooove an ar-10.    So much that I have 2.    Built both of them

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Super User
3 hours ago, Tatsu Dave said:

Handloading can open up cheaper ammo and whatever bullet you like. I like nosler accubonds myself, integrity of a parition and a plastic tip for no deforming in magazine and long range accuracy. Same POI and BC as BT but a little tougher on bone. 

I really don’t go through enough ammo to make it worth reloading myself. Most of the time I use 2 rounds per season. One at the range to make sure I’m still on target and another one to harvest a deer during the season.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Super User
1 hour ago, Teal said:

I looooooooove an ar-10.    So much that I have 2.    Built both of them

Ditto, well in process of building my second one. I’ve got everything to build the upper and have the lower and old parts from other builds but it’s all stock stuff and I want this one more of a precision build I went with a longer(22”) match barrel for it. The one I already built was just a aero upper and lower with all the parts in boxes I used everything but the trigger which I went cnc drop in. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My primary is a 20+ year old Win Model 70 Black shadow in 7mm Rem Mag shooting 154gr Hornady Interlock handloads. She's not pretty by any means. Looks like she's been carried in the woods for 20years and shot off a few rock piles, because she has. 

She's a gem though. Wears a Leupold VX3.

The trigger has been polished to 3lbs crisp, lugs lapped, barrel lapped, re-crowned, bedded and free floated. 

 

Backup is a Ruger compact SS/laminated stock 7mm-08. Accurized just the same.

IMO, much too pretty a rifle to take out hunting.

But that one has killed a few deer and a bear so far using 140gr Nosler BT handloads. 

IMO it's close to the ideal bullet for the slower speed of the compacts short barrel.

 

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Double__Digits said:

My primary is a 20+ year old Win Model 70 Black shadow in 7mm Rem Mag shooting 154gr Hornady Interlock handloads. She's not pretty by any means. Looks like she's been carried in the woods for 20years and shot off a few rock piles, because she has. 

She's a gem though. Wears a Leupold VX3.

The trigger has been polished to 3lbs crisp, lugs lapped, barrel lapped, re-crowned, bedded and free floated. 

 

Backup is a Ruger compact SS/laminated stock 7mm-08. Accurized just the same.

IMO, much too pretty a rifle to take out hunting.

But that one has killed a few deer and a bear so far using 140gr Nosler BT handloads. 

IMO it's close to the ideal bullet for the slower speed of the compacts short barrel.

 

 

I also have a pretty and carry it everywhere woods gun. Both are very accurate, short, and fast handling for thick woods and cutovers w/regrowth. I use the same make and power scopes on each one as well, if I had to only use one however it would be the more "used" one that I've taken for so many long walks in the woods and climbs up quite a few trees :)

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm surprised by all the love for the 7mm/08.  I agree, that or the 6.5/08 aka .260 Rem are in my mind the perfect whitetail rounds.  I take a .25/06 or a .270 Rem. with me when I go in the woods these days.  I traded my T/C Encore in 7 mm/08 years ago (I still see it at deer camp) with the plan to buy a Remington 700 Mountain Rifle in the same caliber and over time donsome 'souping up' to the rifle.  Still haven't gotten to it.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, Tatsu Dave said:

I also have a pretty and carry it everywhere woods gun. Both are very accurate, short, and fast handling for thick woods and cutovers w/regrowth. I use the same make and power scopes on each one as well, if I had to only use one however it would be the more "used" one that I've taken for so many long walks in the woods and climbs up quite a few trees :)

I know what you mean!

The old adage " beware of the man with one rifle" applies here. 

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow really not your usual choices, have a friend that loves the swede as well. Have these cartridges caused you to reload or do you use factory ammo? Like when someone don't hunt with the same old same old :) Good Hunting!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Super User

My thoughts on this one is, it depends on the individual and the conditions you hunt in and how much you shoot.  Plus the willingness to let a deer walk by if a good, clean shot can't be made.

I started with a Marlin 336 back in the early 60's.  After four years of having to go find a deer after a good shot in the vital area, I wanted something with more hydro shock and I started hunting more open areas.  That ended being a Remington 6mm and loved it, but it's limited to 200 - 300 yards for what I consider an effective distance.    To solve that problem I also bought a 7mm Magnum.  Those were my main rifles until about eight years ago, when I built my grand daughter her 260 and after shooting it, I had to have one for myself, so I built me one.  I also reload so I can tailor a load for most anything I want to shoot.  I am experimenting now with a 6.5 Creedmoore.

I think about anything in a 6.5mm would make a great deer rifle if there is a good selection of bullets available for it.  Reloading, I can go up to 160 grain round nose bullet that will out perform any 308 or 30-06 in a similar bullet size.

Now comes the shooting experience. 

 A lot of deer hunters can buy one box of bullets that will last them several years.  Then they buy the shoulder held cannons like the 270 and 30-06 or even larger.  Rifles with so much recoil and don't shoot enough to learn to manage that recoil so they jerk the trigger, and no telling where that bullets going to hit. 

Then you have those that are scared of a little recoil and buy the small calibers like the 223 or even the 243/6mm (which I thing is a great caliber in the right hands and right conditions) and they take shots they should have never tried in thicker areas

The 270 fans are going to jump me for saying its not a good choice for most.  I have been shooting for over 50 years and have just about everything from a 460 Weatherby to a 22, never shot a 17, and a Winchester Lite in a 270 is about the hardest kicking rifle I have ever shot.  It was actually a very accurate rifle but the guy that owned it couldn't zero the scope and hitting all over the place from jerking the trigger.   I own a 270 that is extremely accurate but have never hunted with it an rarely shoot it.

 

A good 6.5mm caliber with wide range of bullets is hard to beat.  It has minimal recoil, inheritably  accurate, has plenty of hydro shock and an effective range that will be more than most deer hunters ever shoot.

At the top of my list is the 260, then it would be the 6.5 Creedmoore that's gaining huge popularity. From there its just picking one that has a good bullet selection, unless you reload and can brew your own load..

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm a lefty, so my options were limited when I was shopping for a rifle 20 years ago. Funds were tight, so I wanted one gun that could do it all...opted for Browning A-bolt in 30-06. It has served me well for many years.

 

A few years later I won two fantasy football leagues, and had $700 burning a hole in my pocket....found a beatuiful left handed Winchester model 70, stainless with wood stock on gun-broker.  It was chambered 7MM Rem Mag...couldn't pass it up.

 

I hunt the Sandhills of Nebraska...very open, long shots. The -06 does well. First deer with the 7MAG is below.

 

Some pics to show the landscape...

 

large.20171111_083859_(1).jpg.98443e7ba37426e851870a9fc1cdbfb0.jpg

 

large.G0080524.JPG.bbed899448d04fbffb417cd367af9169.JPG

 

large.Sandhills.jpg.6290617ea212b5f5d496efd272c4bdf4.jpg

 

large.119692002_Deer2016-27.jpg.3c4a1abd3021dfeafb58fc2018ddc12f.jpg

 

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

All type of views on this as it should be, no two minds think exactly alike. For recoil if its a consideration, think about a brake on the gun for load work, sighting in, and general shooting to stay sharp or for varmints in the summer or the like. Wear hearing protection and don't use a brake that vents down, $200. up will buy one and threads for installation. Lot of new guns come threaded or even with a brake already., you will be amazed at the recoil reduction. Screw it off and they sell a $10. cap to protect the threads when hunting. I will say with complete honesty that I have never felt the recoil of a gun when shooting at game, adrenaline or single pointed concentration, call it what you like I've never felt recoil even in a weatherby. A good quality recoil pad can also do wonders over the sometimes thin skimpy factory models. 

 

Now for cartridge choice, any cartridge that shoots 50gr or less powder charge has not been a shoulder bruiser unless in a very light gun. That's simply been my experience after years of shooting and hunting. I use a 7mm-08 and 260 in very light short 20" bbl. guns, they are very pleasant to shoot and easy to maneuver in thick regrowth and climbing trees. Do I have a favorite between them? yes I like the 7mm a little better for the simple fact I've had the most drop in their tracks kills. I use the same nosler accubonds in both guns at about the same velocity and I always shoot my deer in the scapula if broadside is presented at all. I always try to break a shoulder even on a quartering shot, up here they can be very hard to find in the thick cover and wet boggy ground. My son uses and loves a 308 with 165gr partitions, last four deer were dead right there. 

 

I reload so bullet make or weight isn't a concern at all, I'm an off the deep end accuracy nut so I build my own rifles and shoot a lot in late winter early spring before bass fishing starts taking up my time exclusively for the summer to end of Sept. There's a lot of choices out there from 24 - 35 caliber and everyone has their favorite, I guess for me its the 7mm-08 with 140gr nosler accubonds its a hard set-up not to like :) but 260 or 308 also please me. Thank You to all the members who took the time to respond and share their opinions and preferred cartridge's.

 

Oh and Daubs.........AWESOME muley and some beautiful long range hunting terriority!      Dave

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 9/30/2020 at 5:11 PM, Tatsu Dave said:

Wow really not your usual choices, have a friend that loves the swede as well. Have these cartridges caused you to reload or do you use factory ammo? Like when someone don't hunt with the same old same old :) Good Hunting!

Sorry, just got the notification for this. 

The .303 ammo is cheap at a local store, about $15 rounds for a box of $20. So not cheap, but not outrageous. 

 

The 6.5 swede is pretty hard to come by, and is expensive online, so I have taken to loading my own. I lucked out here as well, a friend who is huge into reloading, was letting go of his older equipment, so I got em in exchange for some drain field work. 

 

I find either cartridge works well for my needs, but, I'm making short shots, normally 50-60 yards. Ocassionally up to 80 yds, and 100 is pushing it. 

I like the 6.5 swede as it shoots very flat, and doesn't over penetrate. 

I also used to use a Japanese arisaka, that was awhile ago. Can't remember the round size, but believe it was 7.7 x 57? 

 

Either way, I'm a fan of the old rifles, and I try to use a different one each year. The 6.5 swede is definitely my favorite, followed by 30-40 Krag

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Super User

I'm a south paw also, but only own one left hand bolt gun. I've shot right hand rifles so much, the left hand doesn't feel comfortable and I'm slow to get that second round in the chamber just in case it might be needed. Plus, neither of my kids, nor none of the grandchildren are left handed, so when I do leave the world, they would be more usable to them as right handed, if government still allows people to own a firearm.

 

Dave, funny thing about the adrenaline.  My brother bought a M700, 300WM back in the early 70's.  Shot it one time and handed it to me and asked me to zero the scope for him.  He was about to cry it kicked him so hard.  The next morning he killed a nice buck with it, and the first words out of his mouth was "I never felt it kick".

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Way2slow said:

Dave, funny thing about the adrenaline.  My brother bought a M700, 300WM back in the early 70's.  Shot it one time and handed it to me and asked me to zero the scope for him.  He was about to cry it kicked him so hard.  The next morning he killed a nice buck with it, and the first words out of his mouth was "I never felt it kick".

Yeah Keith it is an odd thing.......I've shot some pretty heavy kickers in my time and they are one thing at the bench and another altogether when your looking at a game animal and focused as well as charging up with adrenaline. I've watched guys cycle three 3 1/2" magnums thru a 12 gauge at waterfowl and never even feel the massive recoil.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Unfortunately, your content contains terms that we do not allow. Please edit your content to remove the highlighted words below.
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.


  • fishing forum

    fishing forum

    fishing tackle

    fishing

    fishing reels

    fishing

    fishing

    bass fish

    fish for bass



×
×
  • Create New...