Monday, 27 April 2009

The Caliber Of Advice


FolksI'm absolutely delighted that so many of you have started commenting regularly, and my blog wouldn't be an extension of my home if some radically different viewpoints weren't sharing table space. 

I've tried sifting through various discussion forums on the prickly subject of suitable hunting caliber's and to be honest with you, apart from getting the idea that one hunters 'perfect' is another's 'totally unsuitable' I'm really none the wiser.

As I know the sum total of 'knack all' about the subject and a few of you have fired more rounds than I've eaten hot dinners (and my love of a cooked lunch is legendary) I thought I  seek guidance from my readership. If you'd be so kind.

To quantify the colloquial measurement of knowledge 'knack all' I've only ever fired:
HS precision .300 win mag - one shot fired = one whitetail dead
Un known .270 three rounds fired at a target no record kept as the light was fading.
Un known 6.5x55 moderated one shot 2.5 inches to the left
Tikka .243 one round fired - BANG ON!!!Sako .22 three shots fired 1.5 inch group 

Results are, to my uneducated eye, promising and I'm feeling the need to take the plunge and buy a rifle of my own.

What I want to hunt and whereBoar - Scotland, England, Italy, France, USA and New ZealandDeer - Scotland - Roe and Red, England - fallow chinese water, muntjac , and Sika USA whitetail, Italy and New ZealandElk - Finland,USA and New ZealandMongolia - GIANT mountain sheep
Further criteriaGun shops in blighty seem to prefer to stock .243 and from what i understand (feel free to enlarge my world view) the UK's police forces prefer to issue FAC for .243

Mutjac are very small and Boars can be very big, most of my hunting will be a 100/200 yards except in Mongolia where it could be up to 600 yards. 

The Swedish 6.5x55 has it's fans and from what i understand a very wide range of bullet weights. But I've also been told that each barrel has it's preference, would that mean it wouldn't matter if the choice was there if the barrel only liked one bullet weight/design? I've read that the 6.5x55 needs longer barrel lengths to get the most from it? 

The Kiwi .338 Whisper has a lot going for it 300g bullets and super short and subsonic. Would amuntion be easy to come by?

James Marchington - Chief advisor on all thing firearms to this blog recommends .308 other people have said 'why do you want a cannon like that'. Also in France .308 and some other cartridges are considered military rounds and are not allowed for civilian use. Is this true anywhere else?

My budget and storage option mean that I'm really hoping for 'one rifle for everything' if any of you think that's possible

Also I'm very unlikely to be able to keep my own tracking dog in the foreseeable future so one shot - strait to the floor kills are VERY important to me.
Any thoughts?
SBW

45 comments:

Albert A Rasch said...

SBW,

308 a CANNON!!! HAHA, HAHAHA, HAHA! I would hate to put them behind my 30/06 or better yet M'bogo, my 458!

It is all about shot placement. I am loath to recommend something as small caliber as the 243. I think 6.5mm is the minimum considering the game you mentioned. 6.5 and up have a wide variety and weights of projectiles available.

If it came down to it, and I was forced to pick one, and only one cartridge, it would be the 300 Winchester Magnum, followed by the 30/06. Those two will take anything on the face of the Earth given proper bullet placement, and bullet construction. Obviously a 500 Nitro Express is arguably better for elephant than a 30/06, but Bell killed more than 1000 elephants with a 6.5 Mannlicher. It is all in knowing what you are doing.

I like to say, if you are picking your fights, rather than trying to finish a brawl, you can go with a manageable cartridge with broad uses.

Regards,
Albert
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles.
The Range Reviews: Tactical.
Proud Member of Outdoor Bloggers Summit.

The Suburban Bushwacker said...

Albert
Thanks for getting the ball rolling.
I remember you gave a mention to the 6.5 in your series on Hog Caliber's - but what of bullet weight?

I've been told their 'good for fox to moose' but will the same barrel take a liking to two different bullet weights?

as confused as ever
SBW

Anonymous said...

Whatever you're choosing, it seems better to me if you choose a caliber and load which gives you a flat trajectory.
Shooting the game you've mentioned at the distances you'll encouter (as written in your blog), that'll certainly help you getting the bullet where you want it when you're in a bit of a hurry.
I had great success shooting with 7mm Remington Magnum over longer distances. Maybe not the best choice for the smaller game, but pick your aim carefully and it worked perfectly for everything from roe deer up to moose.
/ Karl

The Suburban Bushwacker said...

Karl
Thanks for your comment
where would you recommend I look to learn more about the 7mm?
SBW

The Suburban Bushwacker said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Suburban Bushwacker said...

Albert

what I failed to explain was that the chap who viewed the .308 as a cannon only hunts small and very small species of deer - a .243 man.
SBW

Edit - due to even poorer grammar than usual

NorCal Cazadora said...

I considered a .243 for a while because I hated the kick of my boyfriend's .270, but then I realized I only notice the kick at the target range. So I got my .270, and with that I can get hogs, deer and even elk. Since I'm not out to complete any particular list of kills, I think it'll be fine for me. And if I ever have enough money to galavant around the continent looking for moose, I'll probably have enough money for another rifle.

Anonymous said...

Well, I honestly can't give you much tips on reading on the 7mm Rem Mag, but here's something small I found on the net:
http://hunting.about.com/od/guns/l/aasttopriflecar.htm
The description fits pretty well with my experience, and is also the reason I chose it.
My hunting grounds have big clear-cuts, which you often have to shoot clear across. This means standard shooting distances of 100-300 meters. I started out with a 6.5x55, but didn't find it adequate at those distances (contradictory to what many others feel. Then I had the chance to try out a friends .300 Wetherby Magnum to get a feel for the flatter trajectory. I really liked the trajetory, but found the .300 Wby Mag to have much too much of a kick. Plus the ammo was really expensive. Enters the 7mm Rem Mag. Nice flat trajetory, but not too bad kick.
Suited my hunting grounds, suited my choice of game and what's more, I was really lucky and found a good deal on a rifle too.
/ Karl

Rick Kratzke said...

As far as calibers go and my knowledge which is somewhat limited at the time being I shoot a 30-30 which has been a mainstay caliber for deer hunting.
Eventually I would like to add another rifle to my cabinet and I have had a few people recommend a .243, .270, 30-06 or a .308. All I am tld will do the job.

The Suburban Bushwacker said...

Nor Cal

You know you're so right the .300 i shot bambi with must have had a kick like a mule. but i don't remember it at all. The .270 at the range seemed a beast.

SBW

The Suburban Bushwacker said...

Karl
Hmmm food for thought
SBW

The Suburban Bushwacker said...

Rick
"All I am tld will do the job'

You may well have hit the nail on the head. The one thing I did read on a forum that made sense was the three P's
Projectile
Placement
and
Placement

SBW

Albert A Rasch said...

SBW,

I am actually very partial to the 6.5X55. I own a Swedish M96 that I have been in the process of sporterizing for 20 years. I wish I had bought 3 or four of them back when they were $69.00.

Anyway, the Swedes were pretty long throated on account of the 160gr round nose they were originally loaded with. The twist and heavy bullet, plus the fantastic sectional density and Ballistic Coefficient created a very accurate and deep penetrating projectile.

Projectiles weigh between 80gr to 160gr. It is unlikely that an 80gr will be as accurate in a firearm as the 160gr or vice-versa. Each firearm will have a preference for a particular range of weight.

6.5X55 made its fame with the 160gr round nose.

If I was going to look into a modern 6.5X55, I would want to know how it performed with the heavy 15os and 160s. I know that solids are made in that caliber, and they are convenient when you need them.

Having said that, there are plenty of high quality 140gr bullets, Trophy Bonded Bear Claws comes to mind.

The key is shooting, and shooting often. I know that is easier said than done but it is the key to using any firearm effectively.

Bets Regards,
Albert

chad love said...

SBW, as you know I'm a huge fan of the 6.5x55. Everyone has their favorite, and it's mine for everything from coyotes to antelope to deer to hogs.
However, one thing you should probably take into consideration on the 6.5x55 is factory offerings.
While it's true there is a wide range of great 6.5 bullets out there, the overwhelming majority of 6.5 factory loads are (at least in the states) are A. a tad mild in deference to all those beautiful old M96 swedes out there, and B. loaded with a 140-grain bullet.
Matter of fact, I can't think of a single American factory load offering anything other than a 139 or 140 grain bullet.
I'm sure, however, there are a lot more choices in Europe, and I've shot some of the Norma, Wolf Gold and Prizzi stuff with varying degrees of accuracy.
Over here, the 6.5x55 is a cult cartridge and is really more of a handloader's round. Just something to keep in mind.
As to the alleged finicky nature of the 6.5x55, it's one of those long-for-caliber bullets (at least in the traditional 160-grain form) so some claim that throat length and twist rate do play a part
As for my non-technical opinion, I can say that the vast majority of what I shoot is in the 120-140grain range and I've never had issues with accuracy. I've got 6.5s from CZ, Tikka, Winchester (plus a couple M96s) and they're just like any other rifle. What works lights-out for one may not be quite as accurate in another.
I can say, however, that I've never had any of my 6.5s exhibit less than acceptable accuracy with anything. I've yet to see any two-inch groups even shooting cheap stuff, and most of them will plunk virtually everything into considerably less with no effort or though on my part at all.
And I certainly wouldn't worry about the 6.5 having barrel length/performance issues unless your barrel is carbine length...plus it's a pussycat to shoot.

Having said that, I'd base my decision on what's available, affordable and adequately covers all your bases.
I know affordability isn't very glamorous, but I see guys buy rifles all the time based on hype, whims, fads and what they read without taking into consideration whether they can afford to shoot it more than once a year.

The 308 is a fine round, as is the .270. I had a 7mm Remington mag for a while and sold it because I never warmed to it but it is extremely popular over here and if I were going to go with a belted magnum I'd choose either the 7 or the venerable 300 win mag.

If it were me I'd start with 6.5mm, 7mm or .30 caliber, and then start winnowing down your choices within those bullet sizes based on all your requirements. For sheer numbers of bullet choices it's hard to beat the 7mm or the .30.

I would not, however, really recommend the .243 as an all-around. It's a fantastic varmint and antelope round, and a ton of guys kill deer with it but I personally wouldn't shoot an elk with one. JMHO.

Albert A Rasch said...

One more thing,

The way to judge recoil is on your feet.

Most of the time you are at the bench, soaking up every bit of recoil while seated.

Take that rifle, make sure it is unloaded!!! Put a snap cap in it, stick a small target on the wall, and stand there and dry fire five rounds standing, five rounds, sitting, five rounds kneeling, every day for a week. Then the next week 10 each, and do that every day. After about a month or two, when you are rock solid on the target, put an animal from a magazine on the wall and keep on practicing.

Now this is tough if you have a powerful scope on the rifle because of the parallax involved. I favor low power scopes and I usually crank them as low as they go.

I think you will be surprised next time you are at the range.

Regards,
Albert
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles.
The Range Reviews: Tactical.
Proud Member of Outdoor Bloggers Summit.

Hubert Hubert said...

I know sod all about these new-fangled gunpowder bullet thingies, but as far as I know it's tougher, for newbies, to make big projectiles hit because of the steeper ballistic arc and the challenge of range-finding. Smaller ones seem to hit more often due to their flatter trajectory. I tend, these days, to think an accurate hit is better than a powerful miss.

Good luck with it!

HH

tom said...

.375 H&H and .338 WinMag are my favorite "all arounders" outside of Africa, where I'd just carry a .458WinMag. You can load it up and down for anything.

Friend of mine took 6 rifles and two shotguns plus sidearms on his first African hunt. Every trip back after he just took 2 matched .458 WinMags and a range of ammo loaded up and down depending on ele or antelope targeting.

That said, I wouldn't be uncomfortable hunting anything on the planet with any of my .375s or .338s. .300 mags are OK too but my favorite .300 mag is .308 Norma Magnum not Winchester or H&H (not that that precludes me from owning one or more of each...).

Current US Battery that gets the most exercise is .308 Norma, 6.5 Grendel, .300 H&H, .375H&H, and .338WinMag.

African Battery is .458 Lott and .375H&H.

It's all going to depend on what you intend to hunt the most, whether or not you're going to get into reloading, how much money you can afford on ammo if you don't reload. What's legal where you are going is important as is commercial availability where you intend to be going. .375 Ruger might be a marginally better case design than H&H, but you can walk into any gun shop in Africa and buy H&H and the ballistic goal of the Ruger was to copy the H&H in a shorter cartridge.

A friend just took a mutual friend in Limpopo a sizable amount of ammo, brass, and bullets for his latest acquisitions.


Excerpted recent email:
I would be happy to carry over some items but J has certainly waited for the 11th hour. ...Also, we are packed to the limit, but I do have some items I can leave for another time if your things are required by J. Please let me know what it is that he wants me to take over. I have given all of my people ammo and I am loaded as well (no pun intended) so if it is ammo, there is no need. If all of the ammo gets through, J will be well-fixed, even the new .416 RemMag from Winchester with Nosler solids.Too many variables for there to be an ideal solution, it's just that some get closer than others.

The old bit about ivory trade hunters shooting elephants with sub-par rifles is true but they had shot many an ele to get to that point of ability. They also maimed a lot of them before finally putting them down. Ele's were livestock and it was the ivory trade and they more or less were treated like cattle. Much of that era's hunting was not at all what one might consider "sporting" hunting, be closer to what's considered irresponsible poaching today.

Friend is a game officer in Natal. There was a problem Ele to be dispatched. Friend is lower ranking so his boss took two cracks at it at close range with a .375 H&H to no noticeable effect with what seemed to be good shot placement on the brain. Friend fired one A-Square .458 Lott ele load and the ele tumbled to the ground and barely twitched. Under the right circumstances people have dispatched eles with 7.62x39 which is really not much different ballistically than .30-30, but it wouldn't be close to my first choice.

tom said...

One thing I forgot to add.

If you shoot to heavy of a magnum for your ability, you likely won't practice much and will develop a flinch. Better proper shot placement with a lesser cartridge most every time. But if you have to stop a charge, all bets are off on that one. There are outfitters that will let you try to bow and spear hunt African dangerous game but as they hunt alongside you, they'll likely be carrying a .416 or better.

I saw the perfect all-arounders today in my rounds, actually. Matched Merkel 160-2 Safari Grade Sidelock Doubles in .375H&H and .500NE. Scope mounts and everything to go with the express sights. :-)

For $26,000US they could be yours and you'd never be lacking in a usable rifle other than varminting.

Bill said...

I tend to agree with Albert that the .30-06 is about as good an all around caliber as you could hope for. However, after using a .30-06 in my youth, I switched three years ago to a .270 (Remington Model 700). I have been very, very pleased. It has the power to take down hogs, mule deer, and I suppose most anything else I might want to shoot. Proper shot placement is the key with this gun. What I like best about it is the flat trajectory. I can sight it in three inches high at 100 yards and be point blank at 280 yards, with lots of terminal energy still left in the 130 grain. A 150 grain is also available, but I've never used it. The .243 is a nice little gun for smaller stuff (coyotes, deer) but wouldn't be my choice for anything of size or with toughness.

The Suburban Bushwacker said...

Albert

What exactly is 'sporterizing' and why does it take 20 years?

Am I to understand that 140gr bonded are for deer and 160gr solid are for boars?

Still confused
SBW

The Suburban Bushwacker said...

Chad

why do you have three rifles in the same size?

What do you consider 'carbine' length? and what are the restrictions shortness of barrel causes?

I ask as one of the places I'm intending to hunt both deer and boar is a hillside that is never flatter than 45 degrees and sometimes even steeper, so a short barreled rifle will be the order of the day.

Thanks for your help
SBW

The Suburban Bushwacker said...

Albert
Its funny you should mention that as the first shot i ever took with a powder burning rifle was a standing shot (braced slightly against a post) and i don't remember the recoil at all.

I'm going to a gun club open day next month so hopefully I'll find out a bit more then

SBW

The Suburban Bushwacker said...

Hubert

Instinctively I'd go for flatness of trajectory, it just seems to make more sense to me. when we were kids .177 was the order of the day for air rifles. Although if i were in the market for a brand new air rifle i might well go for .20.
SBW

The Suburban Bushwacker said...

Tom
Fascinating response keep 'em coming.
I like the utility of 'you'd never be lacking in a usable rifle other than varminting' But $26k !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I was thinking of well a twenty sixth of that!!
SBW

The Suburban Bushwacker said...

Bill
Yes I've been drawn to the .270 for its trajectory and range. Andy has also championed the Remington Model 700.
I'm starting to think I need to do a little more work on the criteria for the choice.
Thanks for commenting
SBW

Chad Love said...

SBW, I have multiple rifles in several calibers because I'm a sick, sick man...

As for my definition of "carbine-length" I'd say anything under 20 inches is getting pretty short, but "short" is certainly a relative term. I've got an M38 Swede that is ostensibly a "carbine" but it's got a 23-inch barrel...

There's a correlation between barrel length and velocity and roughly speaking longer barrels "should" equate to higher velocities but that is one of those topics that sparks great debate among gun nuts.

Me, I've never really worried about it much and really, I wouldn't worry about barrel length too much, either as virtually everything you're going to find will have at least the standard 22-inch barrel, which is perfectly acceptable.

Mo said...

If I could only have one it would probably be the 30-06. The ammo is ubiquitous and comparatively inexpensive. If you reload you can greatly expand the versatility - from 220 grain Moose thumpers to '0' buckshot loaded over a smidge of a fast burning pistol powder that shoot surprisingly well out to 50 yards to quietly take Grouse without exploding the tasty beast.

Chad Love said...

One more thing I forgot to add, and again this is just my opinion, but for thin-skinned deer-sized game I don't really see the need for the ultra-premium bullets in the 6.5.
I know a lot of guys disparage them, but the el cheapo 140-grain Remington Core-lokts and the equally cheap Sierra Gamekings kill deer very well and don't cost upwards of a buck a bullet like say, a Swift Scirocco.
Having said that, if I were shooting an elk I'd certainly choose a good bonded bullet or maybe a TSX.
And just to prove I'm a blathering hypocrite, I'm going to work up a load and try out the fairly expensive TSX this fall on deer.

Dennis A Carroll said...

With the list of game and the list of calibers you gave, I would go with the 6.5 x55. If I were hunting those animals (in the US) I would take a .270, but I'm not sure how easy it is to obtain .270 Winchester ammunition in other countries.
The .243 and .308 would be good for all but the mountain sheep where you WILL WANT flatter shooting. Most magnums don't provide much flatter shooting than a .270.
If you are taking the rifle to many countries, research what ammunition is available in all countries. Sometimes logistics is better than any certain caliber, assuming you practice and gain confidence in your ability.

Albert A Rasch said...

SBW,

Sporterizing is the process of destroying a perfectly good military arm, in the mistaken belief that you can make it a beautiful sporting arm.

Seriously, there are those that can do an excellent and very beautiful job of it. I, unfortunately, am not one of those. Hence my wish that I would have bought two or three extra M96s.

Oh and why does it take 20 years? Because I have had the sporter stock for it in the closet for that long. I did have the barrel cut off and crowned almost thirty years ago...

Maybe I should get around to looking at that project again.

Regards,
Albert
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles.
The Range Reviews: Tactical.
Proud Member of Outdoor Bloggers Summit.

mdmnm said...

SBW-
Personally, I'd suggest you avoid any magnums. While recoil is mostly felt on the bench, it still affects your shooting, subconsciously if nothing else. Take note that folks in various competitions use the mildest caliber that will provide them with adequate trajectory and wind-bucking capability.
Also, in my opinion the .243, while a fantastic deer cartridge and fine for hogs, as well as being fun to shoot, is not a good choice for elk. Some states in the US require .25 caliber or larger for elk and you would be limiting yourself quite a bit.
The 308 Winchester is a great all around cartridge that will take elk, deer, and smaller game handily and has a wide range of loaded ammunition available. Great choice. Because of the military connection, a very similar round that you might look at (but might not be very available in the UK, maybe Mr. Marchington can advise) is the 7mm-08 Remington. That is a .308 necked down to 7mm. While not as common as the .308, you can find a good range of bullet weights in loaded cartridges over here and it will do about anything a .308, a 270 or a 7mmRemmag will do, especially within 300 yards. Until you get a bunch of experience, you probably shouldn't shoot beyond 300 yards anyway.
Also, I have no experience with the 6.5x55 but it ought to be fine with 160s and probably even premium 140 gr. bullets like the Trophy Bonded.

Pablo said...

Holy Camel!!! 31 comments! I can't possibly read through all these! Just let me know the final decision will you?
Thanks.
Pablo.

The Envirocapitalist said...

Remington 700 BDL 30-06. If I could only have one rifle to hunt medium sized game it would be the 30-06. But I am an American and unfamiliar with rounds shot in Europe.

tom said...

All and sundry,

I don't have a Swede at the moment and have a bit of a pile of new 6.5 Rem brass and a decent pile of once fired Norma that's been tumbled and cleaned if you have anything of interest to trade.

Hadn't thought about it in a while, but it isn't doing any good in a shoebox in ziploc bags. Something I had forgotten about when I stumbled over the box the other day.

tom said...

MDMNM

Dunno about your magnum issues. I only use .30-30, .223 Ackley, and 7.62x39 as PISTOL cartridges, although I've got some old rifles that shoot them. Of course I'm the .458 Lott and .375 H&H Magnum Pistol guy as well. I'm not a recoil whore but it has never bothered me ONE bit. Suit yourself but the more ME the better and I've become QUITE KEEN on .375 TSX 300 grainer flat bases for pistol purposes vs feral hogs. 72 grains of 4064 seems to print the best but don't sue me if you do it wrong and blow your hand up.

If I had to pick only one rifle to have, considering politics, I'd pick either .223 or .308 (or their mil NATO specs) for continued availability if the "SHTF". If we ever end up in mad max days, the ammo would be common and if I needed more ammo I just need to know how and when to shoot properly, aye?

Been a survivalist since I remember and it won't change. Grendel is a really nice round though. Stomps the .308 past 300 yards but unlikely to be carried by the person you had to stomp when you go through their gear. Pardon my thinking as nephew of AFSOC and grown up, as much as I did, next door to a UDT/SEAL family.

Happy Shooting and keep them all in the TEN RING!

Tom

hodgeman said...

Well I'll throw my .02 cents (or pence if you prefer) in. You list a pretty large range of game sizes and I'd not choose a single rifle for the entire list but if forced to several excellent cartridges are already mentioned. .30-06/270/.308 and 6.5x55 will all perform somewhat similarly in the field so it may boil down to logisitcs of what you can buy readily in the UK. All of these are pretty common hunting cartridges on a worldwide basis so they should be easy to obtain while you're abroad as well.

I'll suggest a book to you- Craig Boddington's "North American Hunting Rifles" while not specifically about European hunting his discussion of cartridges is exhaustive (although maybe a bit dated) and invaluble. He also discusses rifle selection and field use of various types of rifles. It would be well worth finding and reading a copy if you're so inclined.

Albert A Rasch said...

SBW,

Let's back it up again, and go at it from a different perspective.

Maybe we should look at what rifles you have in mind. Then we can go back to the cartridge choice.

Maybe time for a new post...

It's a great series so far!

Albert

mdmnm said...

Tom @29April 00:53-

Based on my experience, no one shoots better with a rifle that kicks harder. Some people are insensitive to recoil and can shoot just as well, but never better, with a magnum. That same magnum will be more costly to feed and will not kill anything any more dead at any range under 350 yards, nor is an inch or two flatter trajectory that significant.

Since SBW has little experience with shooting and is looking for one rifle for a variety of game, a non-ultra-light rifle of at least .25 bore diameter in a common, standard velocity cartridge is the way to go, in my opinion. Much as I love my '06, a .308 or 7mm08 or 6.5x55 will likely suit just as well and kill everything just as dead. A magnum will just cost him more money and might beat him up when he practices or sights it in.

Hubert Hubert said...

There's certainly a very high calibre of advice here! Very interesting comments.

HH

tom said...

@mdmnm

Hence me earlier stating:
If you shoot to heavy of a magnum for your ability, you likely won't practice much and will develop a flinch. Better proper shot placement with a lesser cartridge most every time. But if you have to stop a charge, all bets are off on that one.I'm a wildcatter and reloader and realize those are not bushwacker's hobbies (YET :-)

When Mark and I were shooting feral pigs the other week up by Omaha, TX there was a significant difference observed between my usage of 300 grain .300H&H A-Frames and Barnes TSX of the same weight, Mark's stepdad's .30-30, and Mark shooting one of my .338Winnies on the feral beasties.

The ones Mark and I shot fell down and didn't move but twitch a bit and snuffle briefly. .30-30 hits in the boiler-room, same as the others, some of the porcines managed to wander off a bit before they fell down and snuffled in the dirt.

Of course, if you're hunting for meat and like to eat lungs and heart, magnums aren't the way to go. One of my African guides whinged a bit when I shot a duiker in the boiler room with a .300 grain .375 because it happened to be the rifle I had in my hands when I saw him because he wanted to have the heart and lungs for supper...

Books to Read I'd suggest are:

The Perfect Shot on North American Game
and
The Perfect Shot on African Game

One of the above (NA Book) is by Boddington.

If one is to use an all-arounder, those will help IMMENSELY on choosing shot placement. Between the two books they basically cover all UK/European game as well. Should be on every hunter's book shelf.

My vote if I had to pick a Bushwacker rifle would be a CZ550 American Safari in a caliber he's comfortable with that will do the job. They are criticized for being a bit heavy for caliber compared to some but Isaac Newton rules. Heavy doesn't matter that much in the field and it soaks up recoil. I'd also suggest NOT EVER PORTING A HUNTING RIFLE as the muzzle blast is as likely to put somebody's shooting off as recoil is.

One other flinch avoidance blast related thing, even though they aren't cheap, is to wear these when you hunt so you don't end up near deaf as a post in middle aged like I am. As valuable as a good optic in my non-humble opinions.

tom said...

Correction. .375H&H A-Frames. Winnies of .338 measure were 250 grain Core-Lokt. Pardon my brain fart. Typing posts and talking to people on speakerphone is a poor combination.

Anyway, my rifle suggestion is This in any calibers but .243 or .22-250 or the Magnum version if you decide to pick a magnum. They're relatively cheap for the quality you get, well made, and shoot 1-1.5MOA out of the box, which can be tuned up a bit with some attention to the forestock. Get the laminate AMERICAN STYLE stock version. They hold up better and have better ergos. I like the single set trigger, though some don't. Other than that, it's basically just another nice sporter Mauser turnbolt type rifle that happens to be at a very nice price point for what it is. BRNO has been turning out nice Mausers for a long time and are quite good at it.

Remington doesn't make 721s anymore, I like those better and have some but you won't buy them at that price point. The CZs are easy to maintain and clean and I haven't managed to break one yet...My vote from the backwoods of Central Texas as for what you get for what you pay. It's not a Ruger No. 1 or a Merkel, but it's a perfectly serviceable hunting rifle and shoots as well as they do with a bit of fiddling with set up for much less money.

Chad Love said...

Ditto to everything Tom said about the CZ 550 American.
In 6.5x55 with the factory rings (heavy, ugly but pretty damn stout)a 6x42 Leupold FXIII, sling and fully loaded it's around nine pounds, which I can live with, and it kicks about as hard as a legless man.
For some reason almost every CZ I've seen has the forend touching the barrel on one side or the other but it's nothing to float the barrel and my groups shrank considerably after I did.

Highly recommend the CZ. And if you're lucky you can find one with knockout wood. I've seen some absolute stunners.

tom said...

This is MINE MINE MINE after rather a number of African and Texas hog hunting adventures. I like it with express sights around here for piggies because you are much more likely to get a surprise shot at three to five runners at 15 yards than need to take a shot at 175 where and how I hunt but I have rings and a 6x38 for it too.

Couple dings in the wood, a few scratches, but the laminate looks nice and has held up well. being as the only large things available to hunt around here in this season in Texas are piggies...that's how she is currently living, sans eyeball on top. Shoots about 1.15MOA from a mechanical rest which is better than I ever manage in the field anyway. .375H&H and comfy to shoot all day long or until your ammo money runs out :-)

tom said...

Muzzle brakes and Ported pistols story of the day from a person who was lackadaisical about hearing protection for many years of shooting such things.

I was out with Camilla Barker Jowls for daily exercise and to make the one mile hike to my mailbox to see if anybody sent me anything besides bills in the mail.

My friend Bev was out riding her whores (I'd say horse but it bit me once and I hold grudges so I'm insulting it on the internet) and yelled "Hey Tom", and after about her fifth attempt of shouting at me from about 75-80 yards distance, I figured out what direction she was shouting at me from, saw her, and shouted "Hello" back. I heard the shout at me fine, but figuring the direction took some scanning around and a little woman on horseback isn't a big visual target when she's in the trees.

Good thing I'm adept at tracking and have good eyeballs, aye? Walker Game muffs rock for people like me.

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