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Thread: Entry Level PA Hunting Rifle/Caliber Opinions.

  1. #1
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    Entry Level PA Hunting Rifle/Caliber Opinions.

    I am looking to get into hunting next year and wanted some advice. I'm looking for a good "starter" bolt action and caliber. Now before I go any further, the gun will serve dual purposes. Obviously, the first would be hunting. I live in PA and would start with deer but would like to have a caliber that can handle any kind of hunting PA has to offer. Second purpose would be a long range target gun. The agency that I work for may be sending someone to sniper school early next year and I'd like to be able to get some practice in on my own time. I would like to get some opinions as to what gun/caliber fits my needs and see if it's in line with what I'm thinking. I'd also like to stay with something that's on the economical side of things if possible so please take that into consideration.

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    Anything Pa has to offer? If you want very common there's 308. Slightly less common but capable of taking game in North America ...30-06. Otherwise 270 (necked down 30-06), 243 (necked down 308), 6.5 Creedmoor, 6.5 Grendel and a host of other calibers that will work in Pa for deer.

    However if you want to stick to Police/Military application and economical ...308 is your best bet followed by 30-06 for it's availability
    Last edited by Arik; 01-10-19 at 22:13.

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    Go .308

    I really have to say the .308 would appear to be your best option.

    The advantages are many the disadvantages few if any. There is nothing that walks this planet that a .308 cannot kill cleanly with a proper bullet selection and proper placement. I have personally taken Moose, Caribou, Black Bears, many whitetails, Mule Deer, coyote & Lord knows what else. My .308 Sako, barreled by Hart:

    Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it. Mark Twain
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    Itís hard to beat a Tikka T3x. For your application Iíd probably go .308 but with bullet technology these days a .223 is plenty to take down a deer and cheaper to shoot with. Deer hunting with a .223 can bring out a lot of heated opinions but the newer, heavier bullets that are out now can cause some serious damage and within distances youíd be hunting will certainly put down deer like any other well placed round.

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    Quote Originally Posted by skywalkrNCSU View Post
    Itís hard to beat a Tikka T3x. For your application Iíd probably go .308 but with bullet technology these days a .223 is plenty to take down a deer and cheaper to shoot with. Deer hunting with a .223 can bring out a lot of heated opinions but the newer, heavier bullets that are out now can cause some serious damage and within distances youíd be hunting will certainly put down deer like any other well placed round.
    I don't think Pa allows 223 for hunting.

    I could be wrong though. I'm in Pa but I'm not much of a hunter and my only hunting rifle is in 30-06 but I could swear that Pa didn't allow the use of 223 for hunting
    Last edited by Arik; 01-11-19 at 09:41.

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    I was going to vote 6.5mm, but PA elk season possibility makes that a no go. Minimum .27 caliber.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jsbhike View Post
    I was going to vote 6.5mm, but PA elk season possibility makes that a no go. Minimum .27 caliber.
    PA only issues a little over 100 elk tags a year by lottery. Youíre better off basing your choice on hunting whitetail. OP what part of the state are you in? If youíre in the southeast, youíll probably be better suited with a slug gun.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Inkslinger View Post
    PA only issues a little over 100 elk tags a year by lottery. You’re better off basing your choice on hunting whitetail. OP what part of the state are you in? If you’re in the southeast, you’ll probably be better suited with a slug gun.
    He mentioned the handle any PA hunting so I went with that. Similar situation here in KY plus a .270 or larger Ruger American would be a small added cost to the overall hunt costs for most people not living in or near the bear/elk zones.

    Not to derail, but did I just miss it, or is there no modern gun caliber restriction for deer and bear?
    That surprised me especially with the bow/cross bow draw weight minimums. We have cartridge minimums for bear and elk, but any draw weight is fine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arik View Post
    I don't think Pa allows 223 for hunting.

    I could be wrong though. I'm in Pa but I'm not much of a hunter and my only hunting rifle is in 30-06 but I could swear that Pa didn't allow the use of 223 for hunting
    Could certainly be, I donít hunt in PA so Iím not familiar with their regulations. I briefly looked over them before posting and didnít see any restrictions for deer but I would do more research before going that route for sure.

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    Entry Level PA Hunting Rifle/Caliber Opinions.

    Aside from elk, I believe the minimum caliber for big game is .243
    Last edited by Inkslinger; 01-11-19 at 11:41.

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