In search of a BEST choice:


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OK, I know you need to pick what works best and also that each individual is different so there is no "BEST" rifle.

I'm in search of a BEST all-around hunting rifle or maybe best two based on my requirements. I've been haunting Cabella's and Sportsmen's as well as talking to some individuals and getting all kinds of conflicting stories. I decided to throw my question(s) here and see what response I get.

I'm looking for a new hunting rifle. It should be good out to 600-700 yards (better than I can shoot it probably but I'm trying to improve) and be heavy enough for an elk. Low end of the game range would be antelope or whitetail deer. Now I know that may be too wide a range and if all else fails, so maybe I need two guns. One for medium to big game (mule deer to elk) and one lighter (antelope to mule deer). I'm a fair shot but no deadly sniper type. Have used .30-30 for deer back east in hollow and brush country.

I originally thought a Savage .308, then a sales guy talked me into a Tikka .270. Then an avid hunter and independent gun store owner (without trying to sell me anything) told me that elk out west can be long shots and the drop on a .270 at 600+ yds. is going to be tough. Since then I have read up on the .270, .300 WSM, .308, .30-06 and 7mm. I'm leaning towards Savage, Tikka or Weatherby.

Look I'm fully open to tons of suggestions which I can weed through and sort out on my own but would like it all in one spot instead of having to get 12 one-on-ones from various sales guys and others.

Any help would be appreciated.

I am biased about this,but have a look at the 280 Remington,or the improved version of the same. In my opinion 7mm bullets have better BC and SD than 30's or 270 calibers,have a great selection of bullets weights and arent terrible on the shoulder when you touch it off. But then like I said, I am biased.
You know I have not really looked at the ballistics for the 300 WSM. I will have to check it out. I just know that the 308 has been around a long time and the availability in different grains from a quite a few manufactures means there is a wide variety of loads to fit a lot of different applications. It just seems like a good choice if someone wanted one gun to cover a lot of different game.
.308 is certainly on the short list. The .30-06 is solid as well. The .300 WSM seems to have better ballistics (shoots flatter, further) but I noticed a few comments about inordinate barrel wear.
For a great all around hunting rifle, you can't beat the 30.06. It has been around since WW1 and is still one of the most popular and common calibers on the market. There are rifles that will shoot farther, flatter, faster, but very few will kill any better. There are rounds available from 110 grains up to 220 grains so you can take any animal on North America, except maybe the big Brown Bears, without any problem. Also if you drive off and forget your ammo at home, every momand pop store in hunting country has a box of 30.06 on the shelf year round. And by the way, please don't shoot at an elk at 600 yards
with any rifle, they are one of the toughest animals on the planet and do not go down easy. Just my $.02.

Semper Fi

Everyone needs at least 1 - 30'06. For a first rifle get something common.
My recommendations would be (in decending recoil) a 30-06, .270Win, 308 or a .243. The '06 will get it done up to brown bears, but would be the minimum for that job. The .243 would be a stretch for anything bigger than deer unless you are an excellent marksman with well constructed bullets.

Stick with the standard rifles, Remington 700, Savage 110, weatherby vanguard, Ruger M77. You can blow your money on a Sako, Kimber, or Tikka in some exotic/expensive caliber later.:no:

If money is really tight look at the Savage-Stevens line or the Remington 710. Possibly even a mil-surp. Mosin Nagants can still be had for less than $100 and are in the same league as the 30-06, but hard to scope.
Used bolt guns will be just about as good as a new one.
A few words on barrel wear

Short Magnums have a barrel life expectancy of 5,000 rounds before serious throat erosion occurs.

300 Win mag have a 3,000-5,000 round life expectancy

.308 Win has about a 10,000 round life expectancy.

30-06 has about a 9,000 round life expectancy.

You will probably never come close to any of these. Your shoulder will fall off first!
LOL - TY for the advice Festus.

BTW, my first and second rifles were .22's (Winchester and Remington), 3rd was a .30-30 (Marlin), 4th a .17 HMR (Savage). I'm skipping the shotguns.

So, maybe the thought is to stick with the Savage .308 I originally was planning on?

I know the Savage is popular and the AccuTrigger is spurring competition among the top long gun manufacturers so it seems safe enough.

So, at this point I'm leaning towards that and then getting either a .270 or maybe talking myself into the old faithful .30-06 for a backup gun and lighter game?

That sound right?
For the money

a good .308 win will do everything you need it to do. With today's modern bullets and premium loads, you could use it for every big game animal on north america.
Given your guide lines my choice would be a .308 for a couple of reasons. One is the wide range of factory loads available making it good for several game animals. Another reason is the well known flat trajectory over a longer distance. These combine to make an excellent medium to large game rifle.
+1 on the 30-06. The .308 would be a close 2nd though.

It's a great time to be in the market for a bolt action. So many companies have awesome rifles out right now. I really like the Savage 116 with the Accutrigger and Accustock. I'm not sure the Accustock does much, but it's not an extra cost. Sako has an inexpensive rifle, the A-7, with a 5-shot 1moa guarantee. Thompson has the Icon and the Venture (both with 1moa guarantees) , Browning has the X bolts and A bolts. Then there's Kimber and Ed Brown, etc...

Just shopping for a hunting rifle would be 1/2 the fun.
a model 70 winchester in .308 is hard to beat, the new one's are better than they used to be if you must have a new gun, even better but harder to find is a pre '64!!!:biggrin:
308 Tikka, can do anything and they are a great gun for the money. Short and sweet. O I am bias cause I have a 308 Sako Finnlight in 308. Have taken a Bull Elk at 350yds with it so it can be a big hitter. My guide said he was glad to see a hunter who knew his gun and could shoot. He has had to track more game shot with 270s and 300 Win Mags. His words not mine. Poor shooting was more to blame than the gun but better to know 1 gun and shoot it well and I think the 308 can do it all.

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