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Thread: Entry Level PA Hunting Rifle/Caliber Opinions.

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by howl View Post
    Economical means .308.
    Really, this is the best option.

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by howl View Post
    Economical means .308.
    I would probably vote .308 due to the variety of bullets/loaded ammo *available*, but the ammo cost isn't a major difference versus something like .270 if fmj and Russian ammo aren't part of the mix.

    On the *available* part, .308 really still isn't common in my area. The 2 biggies are .30-06 and .270 with 3rd and 4th being .30-30 and, oddly enough considering the parent case, .243. Used to see that selection in country stores fairly often till most became Indian owned, but they just stopped carrying ammo instead of stocking .303 and 7.62x51.

  3. #23
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    The .308 is never a bad choice, economics aside. There is a huge range of hunting and target projectiles available, more load data than you will ever use, a ton of compatible powder, and a long list of rifle available in the chambering.

    The .308 is an inherently accurate cartridge that is suitable for all North American game, with the possible exception of the biggest bears.

    I will say that using a long range precision rifle for hunting or a hunting rifle for long range precision is going to require compromise. I personally would favor an accurate hunting rifle like the Tikka with a quality 2.5x10-ish scope as your initial gun.

    If you decide you need a purpose built precision gun, you can recoup most of the cost if the Tikka. I also think an accurate hunting rifle would help you sort out what you want in a target gun before you start dropping big coin.

    Just my 2 cents...

    Andy

  4. #24
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    There was a reason Cooper and his SMEs went with .308 for the Scout Rifle. You can get ammo almost everywhere on the planet and hunt any non-pachyderm.

    If you plan on attending a designated marksman school will you use the department’s rifle or bring your own? If I weren’t such a gun whore I’d plan on a complementary set of rifles and optics for work and hunting.

  5. #25
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    OP,

    Pardon the necro-post, but I haven’t seen that you’ve made a decision. I have seen a lot of guys show up to LE sniper schools with hunting style rifles and I wouldn’t advise it. The major limiting factor at school is almost always related to inexpensive or improperly installed equipment.

    The best sniper rifles aren’t generally a pleasure to carry around the deer or bear woods. Even if you get a lightweight rifle your bases, mounts, and optic should be heavy duty, and, well,... heavy.

    I’ve been out of the game since the Tikka’s became popular, but I wouldn’t recommend anything with a light hunting barrel in an application where you will be training all day (barrel being heated to different extents). You could possibly be chasing a zero throughout the day/week, and this is the last thing you want.

    Should you buy a hunting rig with a lightweight barrel minimally affected by heat I think you will be glad to have .308. If your agency sends you to school and you use this rifle you will probably appreciate the free match ammo. This is a big deal. Also, if you end up a LE sniper with extra agency ammo you can use it to occasionally train with your hunting rifle. It can be easily justified because duty rifles go in for maintenance periodically and you should have another backup that’s zero’d and ready to get a temporary qualification with .




    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  6. #26
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    I’m going against the current here and suggest that you spend a huge chunk of your budget on the absolute best scope you can afford. the scope is where the rubber hits the road and is one of the two most important considerations in a hunting rifle. The trigger being the second important item ... in no particular order.

    Then buy any New or used 308, 270 or 30-06 (or similar) with the leftover $. With few exceptions, even most used rifles should produce acceptable accuracy with a good scope and trigger.

    Nothing in the lower 48 would stand a chance against that combo.

  7. #27
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    A 308 will kill anything in NA at the proper distance (not counting brown bears as I would certainly like to have a bit more power for those). With bigger rounds you get a bigger kick and typically worse accuracy unless you are quite disciplined. Unless you want to hunt long range a 308 or 6.5 CM are fantastic options, still being quite deadly at what I would consider long range, just not real long range.

  8. #28
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    The .308 is certainly capable of filling the role of what the OP was seeking, though I suspect he is no longer reading this thread. It is also absolutely capable of taking large bears, including coastal browns, and Grizzly. I find it amusing that people will advocate hunting animals larger than a deer with a handgun, but then state that a .308 is not up to the task.

    This is especially true when they then recommend a 30-06. When pressed on the subject, better than 90% will admit that:

    they are not big game hunters (or hunters at all)

    They are not handloaders

    have never killed an elk or bear

    and generally have no experience in the subject matter that they are giving advice on.


    For reference I have killed more than a few elk with a handgun, and if you both know the animal's anatomy, and can shoot precisely, they will fold up just fine.

    Back to the subject of 30-06 and .308;

    It has been my experience that the very vast majority of the people I talk to who shoot factory ammo really have no idea how little difference there is between the two when using factory fodder. The reason is simple. The 30-06 has been around more than a century and there are a lot of older guns out there that manufacturers have concerns about the guns coming apart with higher pressure loads, versus newer manufactured arms such as a Bergara or a Tikka T3. 1903 Springfields are a perfect example of an older rifle/action that has been around for more than a century and has seen who knows what done to it in the interim.

    When you look at the maximum SAAMI specs for both cartridges there is only 2K more PSI in favor of the .308 (60K vs 62K) but the fact is that the major manufacturers rarely come anywhere close.

    As someone who shoots both, I can attest that the difference is slight, and at times I have had .308 factory loads chronograph at higher speeds.

    A common east coast Walmart load is the Remington Core-lokt.

    The 30-06 180 grain has a factory advertised velocity of 2700 FPS

    The .308 180 grain has a factory advertised velocity of 2620 FPS.

    A whopping 80 FPS.

    Using percentages, that means the .308 load is performing at 97.04% of the 30-06 load.

    So when someone states that the 30-06 is plenty for bears, but the .308 isn't, you will be better informed..

    I don't think there are any animals that can feel a 3% difference in velocity..


    As a handloader, this is where both cartridges come into their own, and the 30-06 can really shine, provided you have a rifle properly set up to take long, heavy for caliber projectiles. Of course the same can be said for the .308. That said, in a modern action, an experienced handloader can really make the 30-06 perform with ammo that is simply not available by the major manufacturers for reasons stated above.

    Back to the original topic,

    A .308 with a medium profile such as those found on the T3 Varmint/CTR, would be about ideal for what the OP wanted. A 20" barrel in a practical stock, and topped with a 2.5-10 Nightforce, or 3.5-15 SWFA would be pretty hard to beat, and easily serve both roles.

    In the early 2000s I picked up what was then known as a Tikka Varmint in .308. They eventually became known as the "Tactical" models and they tacked on another $300 to the price. I used it in sniper schools, competition, as well as hunting. It proved to be an amazing rifle. Back then literally EVERYONE was shooting a Remington 700 with some sort of Leupold glass. I had a bunch of guys make condescending comments about my setup at LE schools. That is until I started shooting. It did not take long until people wanted to know about the rifle nobody had heard of.

    For the PA woods, and to fill a role of hoping to become an LE sniper, plus practicing the craft, I would do the following:

    20" T3 CTR .308
    2.5-10 Nightforce MIL/MIL or 3.5-15 SWFA MIL/MIL
    Harris swivel Bipod
    2 point sling.





    Here is a pic from the early 2000's. Shooting squirrels on a spring bear hunt, when the bears decided not to cooperate:



    and Muley at 698 yards:

    THE CHAIR IS AGAINST THE WALL.

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lost River View Post
    The .308 is certainly capable of filling the role of what the OP was seeking, though I suspect he is no longer reading this thread. It is also absolutely capable of taking large bears, including coastal browns, and Grizzly. I find it amusing that people will advocate hunting animals larger than a deer with a handgun, but then state that a .308 is not up to the task.

    This is especially true when they then recommend a 30-06. When pressed on the subject, better than 90% will admit that:

    they are not big game hunters (or hunters at all)

    They are not handloaders

    have never killed an elk or bear

    and generally have no experience in the subject matter that they are giving advice on.


    For reference I have killed more than a few elk with a handgun, and if you both know the animal's anatomy, and can shoot precisely, they will fold up just fine.

    Back to the subject of 30-06 and .308;

    It has been my experience that the very vast majority of the people I talk to who shoot factory ammo really have no idea how little difference there is between the two when using factory fodder. The reason is simple. The 30-06 has been around more than a century and there are a lot of older guns out there that manufacturers have concerns about the guns coming apart with higher pressure loads, versus newer manufactured arms such as a Bergara or a Tikka T3. 1903 Springfields are a perfect example of an older rifle/action that has been around for more than a century and has seen who knows what done to it in the interim.

    When you look at the maximum SAAMI specs for both cartridges there is only 2K more PSI in favor of the .308 (60K vs 62K) but the fact is that the major manufacturers rarely come anywhere close.

    As someone who shoots both, I can attest that the difference is slight, and at times I have had .308 factory loads chronograph at higher speeds.

    A common east coast Walmart load is the Remington Core-lokt.

    The 30-06 180 grain has a factory advertised velocity of 2700 FPS

    The .308 180 grain has a factory advertised velocity of 2620 FPS.

    A whopping 80 FPS.

    Using percentages, that means the .308 load is performing at 97.04% of the 30-06 load.

    So when someone states that the 30-06 is plenty for bears, but the .308 isn't, you will be better informed..

    I don't think there are any animals that can feel a 3% difference in velocity..


    As a handloader, this is where both cartridges come into their own, and the 30-06 can really shine, provided you have a rifle properly set up to take long, heavy for caliber projectiles. Of course the same can be said for the .308. That said, in a modern action, an experienced handloader can really make the 30-06 perform with ammo that is simply not available by the major manufacturers for reasons stated above.

    Back to the original topic,

    A .308 with a medium profile such as those found on the T3 Varmint/CTR, would be about ideal for what the OP wanted. A 20" barrel in a practical stock, and topped with a 2.5-10 Nightforce, or 3.5-15 SWFA would be pretty hard to beat, and easily serve both roles.

    In the early 2000s I picked up what was then known as a Tikka Varmint in .308. They eventually became known as the "Tactical" models and they tacked on another $300 to the price. I used it in sniper schools, competition, as well as hunting. It proved to be an amazing rifle. Back then literally EVERYONE was shooting a Remington 700 with some sort of Leupold glass. I had a bunch of guys make condescending comments about my setup at LE schools. That is until I started shooting. It did not take long until people wanted to know about the rifle nobody had heard of.

    For the PA woods, and to fill a role of hoping to become an LE sniper, plus practicing the craft, I would do the following:

    20" T3 CTR .308
    2.5-10 Nightforce MIL/MIL or 3.5-15 SWFA MIL/MIL
    Harris swivel Bipod
    2 point sling.





    Here is a pic from the early 2000's. Shooting squirrels on a spring bear hunt, when the bears decided not to cooperate:



    and Muley at 698 yards:

    Excellent post, I agree with all that is said here. I have shot deer in pa with 30-30, 308, 270, and 3006. I feel the 308 is the best of the 4 ( even though I only hept the 270). The shorter action of the case is another plus for fast follow up shots when needed.

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by MAUSER202 View Post
    Excellent post, I agree with all that is said here. I have shot deer in pa with 30-30, 308, 270, and 3006. I feel the 308 is the best of the 4 ( even though I only hept the 270). The shorter action of the case is another plus for fast follow up shots when needed.
    It's hard to compare 3 calibers that are basically identical for deer hunting and declare one is the best.

    For a rifle that will be used for deer only, anything above a 6.5 (.260 Rem, 6.5x55, 6.5 Creedmoor) is unnecessarily powerful. Any of the three will cleanly kill deer at common hunting ranges and recoil less than the bigger rounds.

    If you are shooting farther or hunting significantly larger game, then you really should step up to a 300 magnum.

    The 6.5 Creedmoor is readily available in "tactical" rifles.

    Andy

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