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12/15/2016 4:49 AM
 

Hey y'all,

Not really interested in starting a debate, but curious to your experiences. Yesterday I was talking to a friend, and the conversation turned from guns to hunting, and he was showing me his 300 BLK SBR that he uses for coyotes. I was asking him what he felt that caliber was capable of, regarding taking game here (east TN), and somehow we got onto other calibers for deer hunting. He started out saying that he thought the .243 was just about perfect for the white tails around here (which I generally agree with given their size and typical hunting distance), but then followed that up with saying that a 308 is inadequate for muleys out west; he said his ideal would be more along the lines of a 300WM. 

I'll be honest, this sort of shocked me, for a couple reasons. The first - I have friends up in Canada that use the .243 on elk pretty regularly, and swear by it. I've never hunted mule deer, but my basic understanding of mule deer is that they are in fact smaller than elk. I'm not sure if this is a case where mule deer are tougher than elk, or maybe the elk in Canada are small. Its been a while since I've looked, but I was under the impression the largest mule deer was smaller than or maybe the size as a small elk, if comparing two full grown males. The second reason - imagining a 308 being too little gun for taking a medium sized game animal is hard for me to grok, and requiring a 300 Win Mag seems extreme, unless perhaps we're talking really long distances. I can understand a 243 being marginal on mule deer and elk, but intuitively a 308 still seems more than capable out to maybe 500 yards or so, or at whatever point the velocity will no longer reliably expand the bullet you're using.

So, being that I have never in fact hunted out west, hunted mule deer, or hunted elk ... I'm woefully inadequate to come up with an opinion. If you've had experience hunting western muleys, especially if you've also had experience with elk, I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Best regards,

J

 
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12/15/2016 6:03 AM
 
A .308 is MORE than adequate for mulies. Unless you are just into playing sniper games. Remember, these animals are routinely taken by archers and muzzleloaders.

Honestly, where does BS like this start?
 
New Post
12/15/2016 6:41 AM
 
To start I know several guys that hunt everything including Elk with 300blk in 14.5 or 16" length including a couple of guides in Wyoming. The caveats being that they can shoot and limit themselves to 200yd shots, which is really the crux of the matter. What is your self imposed range limit and how well do you shoot? I knew a rancher in TX that used .22lr on deer and hogs all the time but he knew how to place his round (head shots) and he didn't take the shot unless he knew he could make it. The short answer is you don't need a 300WM to hunt Muleys and I personally used a 308, and have used one with success. I also know folks that have used .243 for muleys with good success. Being able to hit a specific spot is a far more important factor than caliber, and lighter calibers get practiced with a lot more. I was reading a biography of a PH hunter and he said basically, if given a choice I want the guy showing up with a 30/06 that is beat to hell from use, and who can hit on demand, rather than someone with a nice new, big bore, with all the bells and whistles that has only been sighted it in, more on this later

Now for the longer version, and in part to answer EL MAC, where does this come from, at least in my opinion. I have very strong opinions that your max range shouldn't exceed your point blank range. That comes from watching a lot of guys shoot both from a bench and from field positions, and also talking to a lot of school (both mil and leo) trained precision shooters, snipers if you will. Long range shooting thanks to technology is not the voodoo it once was, but there are still a tone of variables to factor in, with wind being the hardest for most people to factor right. That is largely still an art not a science. The question that I always ask them is, "At what range can you guarantee me a hit no matter the environmental conditions and your physical condition?" The idea being in the field during hunting you are at the mercy of those environmental and physical factors, do you go to the range to shoot if it is raining and 33 degrees, after spending the night in a sleeping bag, then climbing a bunch of elevation to get to where you are hunting, and then only shoot off you pack/improvised rest/bipod/etc...? I have never had one of those school trained (as reference for skill level ) tell me over 325 yds (point blank for the 300wm incidentally) that has significant real world trigger time. I have had a few say longer ranges and then come back to me and tell me that they were wrong and revise it down. What you can do on a nice day on a known distance range off a bench has very little bearing, from what I have seen, on what you can do in the field. That is not a dig on folks, it is just pointing out that a range bench doesn't really simulate the hunting experience well. Heck go to the range and shoot using field positions and you will be very surprised how they differ from your benched groups, and you might even find you have to re-sight your rifle in to account for different recoil impulses, but that is another topic. Taken another way do a search for the story about Carlos Hathcock helping someone sight in a rifle. I have seen time and again people tell me they are good to x range miss the first couple of shots, hit, and then say see I told you I was good to that range. Nope, you aren't. The point is an ethical first round hit. In a duty situation that may not the be the only acceptable outcome and all of those guys were fine pushing the range way out there in those cases, but for a guaranteed first round kill like on game, the answer was no.

Okay, since I know this will get a lot of people upset, do what you want to do. I am well aware that given the right set of circumstances (calm wind, nice day, comfortable prone, etc...) folks with the skill can push that range further out. If you are one of those folks drive on, but most folks aren't one of those folks. The temptation is also to push that range especially if you have one week or maybe even a weekend, or it is a once in a life time hunt, which is pretty typical for western hunting. I like to keep it simple, which means that before I hunt I know my PBR and limit myself to that. I even admit that I have pushed that range a time or two with good results, when I was shooting a whole bunch and was very confident in my abilities and the conditions were right. In general that ain't the case.

Another factor is bullet design and lethality. I have a friend that works at Hornady and was part of the design team for their new longer range hunting ammunition. The point he made was not that he/they endorsed it, but they knew folks were doing it so they wanted to make a bullet as lethal/accurate as possible so that the chances of a ethical kill were greater. To use the short version, they spent a lot of money to use a lot of technology to record and test bullet designs in flight, and what they found was that the typical plastic/poly tips deformed in flight and the longer the flight (range) the greater the deformation, which resulted in both accuracy issues and also performance issues. They came up with a solution that stopped that deformation and associated accuracy and lethality issues. However, as has already been pointed out in the OP velocities and such affect that lethality and terminal performance too.

So how does all this relate to the question, I am not a ballistics guy, but I have heard folks who live and breath this stuff argue that for hunting that the lethality envelope for 308 is about 300 yds, which is actually farther out than the PBR of 308 assuming a 200yd zero. On the other hand, something like the 300WM has longer PBR (gaining you about 100yds over the 308), bucks wind better, and also has more terminal performance at that range. So in theory yes the 300WM does give you something over the 308 if you are sticking to PBR in real world uses, which in a lot of open western environments can give you a chance for greater success, but it has to do with range and not the caliber if that makes sense. The question then becomes how well do you shoot your 300WM, and have you shot it enough to be very comfortable (say 8 or 9 out of 10 rounds cold in a kill zone) with hitting exactly where you want to hit? I can see some cases where being able to go out that extra 100yds may be an advantage, but that is only if you are capable of pushing that extra 100yds with that rifle to start with.

For a real world example, I have a friend and he and his wife both used a 300WM to hunt this year (same rifle). The rifle was built to the guys specs and is heavy with a very heavy NF on it, which he carried despite the weight penalty, but again he works hard to stay in shape. They both shot a minimum of between 6 and 12 rounds a week from field positions out to 600yds for a couple of months if not longer leading up to the hunt. That last month or so both were getting 1st round hits at all ranges shot. He did it because his hunting experience in his area was that they were likely to have to make longer shots if they were going to have meat in the freezer, which was the goal, food for the family. He chose a 300WM to account for the extra range needed, and then made sure they both had the skills to make 1st round hits on demand out to longer ranges than point blank from field positions under as varied a set of conditions as he could find, and he was also very particular about only taking shots under specific circumstances. To say that a lot of thought and study went into his selection is an understatement. My point is that for his given circumstances yes the 300WM made sense over the 308, but again it was a factor of range not caliber, and understanding the realities of field shooting he made sure both of them spent the time to get very familiar with the rifle how and where it shot, and then was willing to walk away from the shot if he didn't feel the circumstances were right, and had the experience to judge that.

So, no you don't need a 300WM for Muleys just physically, but under certain circumstance the 300WM might be a better choice, which is where I think that the myth in part comes from. However, the 300WM is still not the key factor the ability to shoot is, and in cases where the 300WM might be the better choice, the ability to shoot is even more critical as well as discipline to know when to shoot.

I have had to shoot one deer twice, and lost an Axis (turns out my scope lost zero). Both of those still bug me because I failed as the shooter in the first case, and didn't check my equipment in the second. In both cases, what happened was preventable, but I didn't prevent it, and failed at a ethical first shot kill.

My recommendation, shoot the hell out of your 308 from field positions under as many different conditions as you can, limit yourself to PBR, and drive on, that is what I try and do.

Co-Owner Hill People Gear "If anything goes wrong it will be a fight to the end, if your training is good enough, survival is there; if not nature claims its foreit." - Dougal Haston
 
New Post
12/15/2016 12:00 PM
 
First, +1 to what El Mac and Scot have said. By all means use a quality hunting bullet, too.

My sons (and DNL) and I have killed a number of elk and mule deer in Washington and Idaho, not as many as some here but more than most. We've used .270Win, .308, .300WM, and archery equipment, and I've seen elk killed with a 30-06. I've often heard the .270Win described as the classic mule deer cartridge because of the combination of flat trajectory and energy. If I were only hunting mule deer that would be my first choice. My sons quickly figured out that the 300WM gave them a lot more recoil for very little benefit down range. I sold my 300WM decades ago. FWIW we've simplified and now we just use .308 for rifle elk and deer (even pronghorn when we get the chance). My sons' first choice is archery.

To the point about ethical shots, my personal experience is that I passed on the biggest bull elk I've ever seen in the Selway-Bitteroot wilderness and the biggest mulie buck in the breaks of the Columbia River in Washington because I was not confident I could make a good first shot. The trophies I have of those moments are wonderful images in my brain, and the knowledge that I did not wound (and possibly lose) an animal that deserves respect from the hunter. If it had been combat bullets would have been flying; hunting no way!
 
New Post
12/15/2016 12:30 PM
 
Excellent points so far!!! As El Mac, Scot, and Buck W have already kind of alluded to the CONTEXT is the often missing detail in caliber/rifle/optic/bullet debates. In the right isolated context a 22lr or even claw hammer would work. It all comes with a cost measured in %’s. A sliding scale of +/-‘s…that you need to find a balance with.

Is it an out of state hunt that you have limited time to fill the tag? Or is this in your own back yard with a long season and little pressure? Are you hunting on public or private land? How pressured are the animals? Is this a rut hunt or mid season? How much $$$ have you invented in this hunt? If I’m just goofing on my own turf and the freezer is full then a short AR is fine (out to ~300yd IMO). If I have +$5000 riding on an out of state hunt that kind of changes my opinion.

How well do you shoot in the field? How recoil sensitive are you? Do you reload? If you are financially and ballistically hamstrung (been there done that!!!) then run what got, scout more, dryfire more, get in amazing shape and pray. If not, then figure out your limits/wants and build accordingly.

Are you a “process hunter” perfectly happy to hike with a rifle just for the romance of it. Or did you get up early with the sole purpose of filling your tag one way or another, odds be damned. Nothing wrong with either just understand that the ballistic needs analysis is way different between the two.

How willing are you to eat “tag-soup” (not fill your tag)? I think “tag-soup” tastes awful, gives me cramps, makes me itch, and leaves a bitter taste in my mouth for months no matter how I fix it… I have heard from several reliable sources both east and west that nationwide less than only 20% of big game tags issued get filled. Most hunters are perfectly happy with an 80% failure (you call it what you want) rate. I am not. Again it just depends on your purpose and wants.

I personally think there is a HUGE difference between “hunting rifles” and “killing rifles”. Long discussion short… “Hunting rifles” are comfortable, cute, and cuddly. “Killing rifles” are comforting, consistent, and often kinda heavy. The same goes for packs but that is a topic for another time.

Hunting rifle = ~MOA 243W, 260R, 308W, 3006. Sub 9lbs all out. Quality bullet. Solid rings/base. Descent trigger. Good medium power scope ($600-1000). Good to go! This would serve 90% of the hunters just fine. Similar to what Scot, El Mac, and BuckW have said.

I have two very close friends that combined have killed 100’s of deer and 1000’s of coyotes and like fast 6mm’s. They both run quality heavier bullets and they are both better shots than me. When the 6mm’s work, they work great. When they don’t…it’s a trainwreck. The 6mm’s leave little margin for error and little to no blood trail.

I have taken well over 100 animals with the 308W and it is solid to 400yd IF you can shoot. The external ballistics leave a lot to be desired in my opinion but it does kill well once it gets there. If no range finder then I would try to limit shots to 300yd. I would run a 175gr or heavier quality bullet if forced to use it again.

My current one-gun-for-everything-biggame rifle is a 300WM running 215 Bergers at ~2800fps. I have been VERY, VERY, VERY, impressed with the chambering and bullet!!! I have taken animals with it that I would not have attempted with anything having less ballistic horsepower. I do practice almost daily leading up to and including the biggame season from field positions under time pressure. Usually out to 800yds for 3-5rds daily. I have one bolt gun and practice a lot. It weights ~13lbs (would prefer it weighed ~11lb) and is anything but comfortable humping it through the desert and mountains. However, it is VERY comforting when you have hunted for several days sun up to sun down and have one shot at a meat buck at +500yds from sitting in lousy conditions across a nasty canyon.

We have gone 8 for 8 on public land Coues and Mule deer hunts in the last few years in several different locations. Closet shot was less than 50yd. Farthest was over 570yd. One mule deer was ~320yd with a 16” AR running 62TTSX. All witnessed and shots called. So don’t think I haven’t tried lesser calibers. None of them were textbook cool shots either. I don’t think I could have taken 3 of the last 8 with anything less than a 300mag. The big 300’s hit hard and kill well if you can shoot them. They leave one hell of a blood trail and aren’t that hard on meat if you stay off the shoulders.

Others may be more fortunate to hunt less pressured areas with higher game densities with longer season. I am often not so lucky. There is enough frustration, luck, and gambling involved in biggame hunting that I prefer to hedge my bets any chance I get.


Talk is cheap...lets compare fur checks.
 
New Post
12/15/2016 1:38 PM
 
strow wrote:. None of them were textbook cool shots either. I don’t think I could have taken 3 of the last 8 with anything less than a 300mag. The big 300’s hit hard and kill well if you can shoot them.

There is no game animal in the western hemisphere that "requires" a 300 win mag.  A fast seven, and arguably, with today's bullets, a fast 6.5, is the cat's meow and more cartridge is not only NOT an advantage but is demonstrably a hindrance because it can't be shot (and practiced with) as well.

A fast 30 cal would make a good elk "sniper" rifle loaded with 210gr Bergers.  It would need to be a 14-15# rifle to be shot well from prone, and would then be so heavy as to preclude an offhand shot.  For hunting, I don't see what it would offer that a Sendero-weight fast seven doesn't stoked with 168 or maybe 180gr VLD's

 
New Post
12/15/2016 2:21 PM
 
Take-a-knee wrote:

There is no game animal in the western hemisphere that "requires" a 300 win mag.  

TAK...that may or may not be so....but the way you write this, it comes off like you are making strow sound like he doesn't have a clue what he's doing out there shooting a 300WM at critters.  I can assure you that you couldn't be any further off target if you think he doesn't know what the Hell he's doing out there, or if your intent was to incite trouble.  Strow is an extremely capable and experienced outdoorsman and shoots animals as part of his job.  


Hill People Gear Coureurs des Bois (Brand Ambassador). Victoria faveat paratam. De Oppresso Liber.
 
New Post
12/15/2016 2:41 PM
 
There is no game animal in lower 48 that couldn't or hasn't been taken with a 25-35, 257 Roberts, or 30-30. If it's your tag you are entitled to use what you like.

I have taken a dozen or more animals with the 215 Berger Hybrid and it has kept the freezer full. I doubt it gives up anything to the 7mm 168 or 180 Bergers. The 195 Berger has a higher G7 but does not kill as well as the 300WM/215 combo from those that have taken a mess of elk with it. If 7mm are your thing then I would look at the 195 Berger.

As stated above my 300WM tips in at ~13lbs, and I would prefer it were closer to 11lb. It wears a TBAC muzzle break and I find it pleasant enough to shoot. My wife doesn't seem to have a problem shooting it either. Recoil tolerance is a very personal thing and everyone has there limits. YMMV.

I have only taken 1 shot with it offhand (mule deer walking at ~50yds). If memory serves me right it has been the only animal that ran and didn't just drop or roll down the hill. Quite a 30yd blood trail. Just behind the crease and off the shoulders.

As with most thing... "Pick your problems."


Talk is cheap...lets compare fur checks.
 
New Post
12/15/2016 3:50 PM
 
alpendrms wrote:

TAK...that may or may not be so....but the way you write this, it comes off like you are making strow sound like he doesn't have a clue........ or if your intent was to incite trouble.

 Dude!  Really?

 
New Post
12/15/2016 4:03 PM
 

Yep....really.  Get down to Walmart at your earliest possible convenience and buy a big economy-sized bottle of tact.  And....I ain't the only one on this forum that thinks so.

 


Hill People Gear Coureurs des Bois (Brand Ambassador). Victoria faveat paratam. De Oppresso Liber.
 
New Post
12/15/2016 4:28 PM
 
strow wrote:
There is no game animal in lower 48 that couldn't or hasn't been taken with a 25-35, 257 Roberts, or 30-30.

 Without resorting to the inevitable "reductio ad absurdum" argument and going directly to a 22 short, let's look at some data:

2792 Norwegian moose shot with an avg of 1.5 shots traveled 43 meters (avg) before expiring. 6.5x55

1324 moose shot 1.5 times (avg) traveled 41m. 308win

2892 moose shot 1.6 times traveled 47m. 30/06

211 moose shot 1.3 times traveled 31m.  375 H&H

83 moose shot 1.2 times traveled 16m.  300win mag.   This is the smallest number of animals shot with any caliber, and obviously the least reliable data point.  Notice the difference between the 375 H&H (the African standard) and the 300 mag.

 

This data was from an article in Rifle Magazine about 15yr ago.  Cartridges are more alike than different, and myths die hard.  "Don't apply a tourniquet, he'll loose his leg".
"

 
New Post
12/15/2016 4:33 PM
 
alpendrms wrote:

Yep....really.  Get down to Walmart at your earliest possible convenience and buy a big economy-sized bottle of tact.  And....I ain't the only one on this forum that thinks so.

 

 You're probably right and that's also probably why I retired an E-7.  I'm still living in numerous SGM's head rent-free and I guess now I can add you to the list.

 
New Post
12/15/2016 4:41 PM
 
Take-a-knee wrote:
alpendrms wrote:

Yep....really.  Get down to Walmart at your earliest possible convenience and buy a big economy-sized bottle of tact.  And....I ain't the only one on this forum that thinks so.

 

 You're probably right and that's also probably why I retired an E-7.  I'm still living in numerous SGM's head rent-free and I guess now I can add you to the list.

Look,,,there is no question in my mind you have a great deal of valuable knowledge.....and that's valuable to a forum like this.  I think the thing that has distinguished this forum from others out there is that it's always been about intelligent discussion and knowledge-sharing on this one and way less about "who can top this".  Heck...I've done lots of things out there in this world and so have you....but that doesn't mean we can't learn other things from guys that haven't followed the same path.  Always the student and never the master.  Once folks start getting abrasive....it degrades the whole process.  Sometimes, some folks do that....and there have been a few....and that kind of crap can ruin everything good about this forum.  It's all good TAK....just be frosty.


Hill People Gear Coureurs des Bois (Brand Ambassador). Victoria faveat paratam. De Oppresso Liber.
 
New Post
12/15/2016 4:46 PM
 
alpendrms wrote:  Always the student and never the master. ........It's all good TAK....just be frosty.

 

Agreed
 
New Post
12/15/2016 4:56 PM
 
Take-a-knee wrote:
alpendrms wrote:  Always the student and never the master. ........It's all good TAK....just be frosty.

 

Agreed

Same sheet.....no worries.


Hill People Gear Coureurs des Bois (Brand Ambassador). Victoria faveat paratam. De Oppresso Liber.
 
New Post
12/15/2016 7:02 PM
 
Hey y'all,

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this, and I'm glad to know I wasn't totally off base. But it is also interesting to hear from Strow and Scot about when/why a 300WM would be used, or even the better choice.

Scot - I've been familiar with MPBR but have never used it for hunting for two reasons. The first is my hunting distances have always been well within MPBR. I'l try to describe the second, and perhaps you can point out how I'm misunderstanding it. MPBR is based on the size of the vital zone - so say 10". So your zero is set so that your max deviation is at the greatest +5" above POA and your MPBR is the distance at which the bullet falls below POA by 5". So, if I were to use a supersonic 300 blackout, my MPBR would be a little under 275 yards, with its zenith being at about 125 yards. My issue with using it has been ... MPBR seems based off the idea that you, in the field, shoot MOA. What if you don't shoot 1MOA? If the vital zone is 10", and my shooting in the field is, say, 2 MOA - or maybe even 3 MOA because I'm tired and out of breath and excited, how does that translate to a reduction in my MPBR? Would I then have to shrink my projected vital zone by whatever MOA I shoot? So, if I shoot 4MOA under field conditions, would 200 yards be my "revised" MPBR because it is the max ethical shot on a deer, even though my chosen load has a mechanical MPBR of 275 yards? (Just for reference, the MPBR is an actual one I worked up for a 300 blackout load I'm considering hunting with.) I'm not sure I'm being clear.

Stow - The different questions/considerations you mention really made me rethink this entire question. Hunting locally and hunting in some far off and exotic place (like Colorado, ahaha) would definitely change how I would approach my rifle selection. I'd be more than happy to try out .223 or 300 BLK on deer locally (yes, it is legal, and yes, I would choose appropriate bullets and appropriate distances), but if I were dropping $5000 on a hunt out west ... Out comes the trusty 308 bolt. Your questions have really made me think.

TAK - That has been what I've worked off of for a while. Getting outside of 308/270/30-06 just means more recoil, more expensive ammo (and less practice), and the animal is still just as dead (but with more meat damage). Which was why the idea of needing a 300WM for muleys was kind of shocking and I figured I'd ask some people who've actually shot some.

And El Mac - part of the BS probably comes from us down here in the South, where our deer are tiny, and we hear/dream of those mythical monster 400lb deer that live out west, and people think SURELY you wouldn't use the same set up (platform? should we call them hunting platforms?) to hunt little 100-150lb white tail at sub-200 yards as you would 400lb behemoths in the vast stretches of untamed prairie! (I'm only being slightly facetious here. I've had the good fortune to live on three continents; most of my classmates in high school had never seen mountains or snow. It is amazing how the West gets mythologized.)

- J
 
New Post
12/15/2016 7:32 PM
 

In a similar vein, Ross Seyfried wrote about uber-magnums and elk for a couple of decades.  He often wrote of how he ridiculed his Dad for liking the lowly 308.  He's since recanted, saying most of what he wrote concerning the big cartridges was wrong.

I think most of us are best served by a compact 308 under 7#.  With 150gr bullets, the 308 gives up nothing to the venerable 30/06. A 150gr bullet @2800fps with a 50/200 zero is about eight inches low at 300yd.  Being able to tell the difference between 200 and 300 yd is a LOT easier than between 300 and 400yd.  Like Scot said, few of us have any business launching rounds from field positions past 300yd.  At 200yd a 10mph wind can be ignored and at 300 it is almost the same drift as the drop (seven in)

Having said that, I believe the 6.5 Creedmoor will become the "308" of the future.  It gives up nothing to the 308 as a deer rifle, recoils less and has better ballistics.  The only thing it won't do that a 308 will is shoot heavy bullets if that is a requirement.  The 308 serves us better in the here and now for logistical reasons if nothing else.

 Hornaday understands cartridges better than any other manufacturer, IMO.  They gave us the Creed, and they are making 6.5 SAUM brass for select markets.  If that cartridge is standardized, it will become THE longe-range hunting cartridge of the future.

 
New Post
12/15/2016 7:51 PM
 

TAK....now you have me really scratching my head.  I have been more akin to 175gr match bullets in my .308....zeroed at 50/200, and thinking that a heavier bullet is going to arrive with more "ass behind it" to put things down more distinctively...in that I am less likely to need a second round if I put the first where it was supposed to go.  The rule where I grew up was that if you did not kill the deer (or any other critter) with one shot, your shirt tails would be cut off and you walked back to the cabin.  During my youth, dad & grandad taught me to shoot with a .22 bolt action Marlin...the target was a tree stump and a 16 penny nail tapped into it.  Keep shooting until the nail is driven into the stump from a distance of somewhere around 50 yards.  So...I always thought that a heavier bullet (ballistics not withstanding) would be better at the 300 yard and further range...in order to have a better chance of an ethical kill...which I do think is important.  I've always subscribed to only killing what I was willing to eat, with the obvious exception of humans....some of them just need killing to rid the world of evil.  My ol' Grandad only ever put 220gr Winchester Silvertips through his pre-'54 Model 70 30-06...good PA round for busting through brush.  Same-same for my 30/30...170gr every time to get the kill out to around 200 yards.  So, why do you feel 150gr is the way to go?  I am not a ballistics guy, but know that I want the round to arrive with "some ass" behind it, as it were.  Flatter shooting?  More predictable?  All with the assumption that one can, in fact, shoot well enough.  Thoughts?

 


Hill People Gear Coureurs des Bois (Brand Ambassador). Victoria faveat paratam. De Oppresso Liber.
 
New Post
12/15/2016 8:46 PM
 

Remember, we're talking "practical rifle" here, from field positions.  We've already imposed an arbitrary limit on ourselves of 300yd.  No need to go to a heavy bullet, especially on any deer, muley or otherwise.  Most hunting bullets will still expand from a 308 at 600, 500 even with a short barrel.  The mil M118LR 175gr SMK is designed to work out to 800yd, not our parameter here.

 A lot of what our fathers did is because they read that TR, or some gun writer said so, and part of why they said so is bullets worked much less reliably than today's.  Similar to the 9mm/45 debate.  A LOT of FT/R shooters (req to use 308 or 223) use the 308 loaded with 155gr Scenars because you can push them so fast.  The Scenars are reputed to be fine game bullets but I've no experience with them.

 
New Post
12/15/2016 9:40 PM
 
I live (and hunt) where there are elk. For the last 8 years the only center fire rifle I've owned has been a good .308 bolt gun, but I repeatedly do the "do I need a .300 Win Mag" thought experiment. The answer I keep coming up with is that I don't have the resources to commit to realizing the advantages of a .300 Win Mag.

I don't have the resume the some of the folks on here do, but I've had enough training to be acutely aware of my limitations as a rifleman. I'm comfortable out to 250 with my .308. I can tell if something is closer or farther away than that generally without lasing, and unless I'm shooting in a hurricane I don't have to worry all that much about the wind.

Past 250, ranging errors start stacking up bad, even with a flat shooting .300. Right now if I really screwed up and thought an elk is at 100 yards, and it's actually at 250, it really doesn't matter. So I can make an over 100% ranging error and still be in my circle. Once you get out to 500 yards or so, a 10% error can result in a bad day.

Doping the wind starts to matter too. Alot. My house sits on one side of a narrow river valley. I can look across the valley, to the same elevation on the other side. It's about 600 yards away and there are sometimes elk there. Just for grits and shiggles, I've tried to dope the wind for that shot in my head and there are certain conditions where by watching the vegetation I really think the wind is blowing in three different directions between me and the elk. I have no idea how to dope for that.

My rifle is a solid 1.5 MOA rifle. If I were going to shoot past 300, I would want better accuracy than that. More accuracy means more money, and more time developing and tuning hand loads. Right now I can buy any FedRemChester hunting load at Wal Mart and be in my accuracy circle out at 250. That isn't going to happen out at 500 and 600.

I could learn to do that, I'm a smart enough guy, and if I were willing to devote the time to it, I could do pretty well at longer ranges. That's what Strow, and Scot's friends have in common: they did the work to get good at shooting a big magnum rifle at extended ranges. That is not a trivial under taking and it's an input of time that I simply don't have. Between full time work, trying to turn our place into a functioning homestead, and being a dad, I can't spend hours every week shooting and tuning hand loads.

It would also be a pretty expensive undertaking. I've got just shy of 2000 rounds through my .308 and the accuracy is still as good as when it was brand new. There's a pretty good chance I would have rebarreled a .300 Win Mag by now, and might be coming up on a second. There is no cheap Hirtenberger .300 Win Mag. Most .308 handloads take 40 to 50 grains of powder. I forget what the average for .300 Win Mag was when I looked into it, but it was substantially more.

When I go shoot my .308, I either run out of ammo or time before I run out of desire to pull the trigger. I'm a big guy and not terribly recoil shy, but there are only so many magnum recoil rounds I can take before my shooting suffers. Also, while I'm only 44, I'm kinda "high mileage" when it comes to neck and shoulder injuries, so I'm concerned about that too.

Every time I do the analysis on this, I come to the conclusion that my .308 fits my Toyota Camry needs, and buying a .300 Win Mag would be alot like driving a Corvette as a commuter car.
 
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Edward Curtis Canyon De Chelly
When humans first set foot in a new continent, they came in small groups under their own power, bringing only the gear they needed. Most simply called themselves The People. Over time, those who chose the rougher freer life of the up country came to think of themselves as the Hill People.
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