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Thread: Predators and Bears with a .308 or .30-06?

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    Default Predators and Bears with a .308 or .30-06?

    So i've been pondering a new rifle for trekking around the mountains, but i'd also like a predator gun.

    I've recently been given a hand loading press so I bought a Lyman manual and i've been reading up a bit. Noting the bullet selection for .30 caliber (110 gr. to 220 or so???)

    I'm curious if it's realistic to hunt predators with a .308 or .30-06 loaded with small bullets or if pelt damage is going to be significant? My guess is with proper bullet selection and lighter loads perhaps it is viable? The .308 was my first choice but i've got a chance at a decent deal on a used Tikka in .30-06.

    I'm not too worried about the mountain performance. I don't plan to ever hunt goats and not too likely i'll be hunting sheep either. This would be an alpine bear/caribou gun, i've got a .375 for the brush/Kodiak.

    Thanks in advance for the comments!

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    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    I think you'll find most factory loads too much for predators called in close. Look at reduced loads using Trail Boss or similar powder since you've got a loader. I've got some for my .300WSM that shoot 150gr at 1600 fps MV- should be fine for fur bearers at that speed to typical calling distances without undue pelt damage. Most factory loads in those cartridges using light bullets go tremendously fast and will damage any fur bearer you might shoot substantially- even with FMJ ammunition.

    As far as everything else goes- bears, moose, sheep, goats, bou, etc. there are many appropriate factory loads and component bullets for all those creatures and many guys use them for everything up here with great success.

    With a careful selection of big game and reduced velocity loads you can certainly make a .308 or '06 a very good one gun show that gives up little to more purpose built rifles.

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    Quote Originally Posted by limon32 View Post
    So i've been pondering a new rifle for trekking around the mountains, but i'd also like a predator gun.

    I've recently been given a hand loading press so I bought a Lyman manual and i've been reading up a bit. Noting the bullet selection for .30 caliber (110 gr. to 220 or so???)

    I'm curious if it's realistic to hunt predators with a .308 or .30-06 loaded with small bullets or if pelt damage is going to be significant? My guess is with proper bullet selection and lighter loads perhaps it is viable? The .308 was my first choice but i've got a chance at a decent deal on a used Tikka in .30-06.

    I'm not too worried about the mountain performance. I don't plan to ever hunt goats and not too likely i'll be hunting sheep either. This would be an alpine bear/caribou gun, i've got a .375 for the brush/Kodiak.

    Thanks in advance for the comments!
    Limon,

    I've been toying with heavy 308 loads back in May. About the heaviest bullet that a 308 will stabilize is a 200 grainer due to the 1:12" twist. One test shoot observation that I made was that one shooter had better bullet stability (200 grain accubond) than me because his barrel was 22 inches and mine was 20 inches. This twist rate is a bit slower than a 30-06 with a rifling twist rate of 1:10". Some rifles (like the Thompson Center Venture) have the faster twist rate for the 308 but don't make any sense. I say this because the 30-06 and the 308 are built on the same 30-06 action size, so why even go for the 308 when you could go for the 30-06? Same for the Tikka......same action size. You get my drift? If going for a 308, I'd prefer an action that was purposely built to take advantage of a short action cartridge. My chronograph should be in the mail any day now to test the velocity of a 200 grain partition load.

    In the winter, I hunt predators with a 22 magnum shooting FMJ's and prefer it over my old 223 Ruger Bolt rifle. For an alpine gun that would be trim, light, and still handle a bear in camp, it's hard to look past the 358 Winchester. Lately I've been carrying around a 30 mm scoped 9.3x62 and kind of miss the lightweight and decent range of a 358 Winchester. The only one currently available is the Browning Lever Rifle. It weighs 6.5 lbs which is a very nice rifle to lug around. It'd be nice if it held 5 in the magazine but four isn't too bad especially considering that they'll most likely be 220-250 grain bullets. Loaded with a full power 225 grain nosler accubond and scoped with a lightweight 1-4 or 2-7 power scope and you have one potent little alpine rifle.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hodgeman View Post
    I think you'll find most factory loads too much for predators called in close. Look at reduced loads using Trail Boss or similar powder since you've got a loader. I've got some for my .300WSM that shoot 150gr at 1600 fps MV- should be fine for fur bearers at that speed to typical calling distances without undue pelt damage. Most factory loads in those cartridges using light bullets go tremendously fast and will damage any fur bearer you might shoot substantially- even with FMJ ammunition.

    As far as everything else goes- bears, moose, sheep, goats, bou, etc. there are many appropriate factory loads and component bullets for all those creatures and many guys use them for everything up here with great success.

    With a careful selection of big game and reduced velocity loads you can certainly make a .308 or '06 a very good one gun show that gives up little to more purpose built rifles.
    Hodgeman, thanks for the reply, not being an experienced hand loader I was curious about reduced loads. From your reply it seems you think it would be viable to slow down a 125gr bullet and still be accurate out to 100 yards? I'm definately NOT looking to shoot much past that because most places I hunt I can't see more than that anyway (for predators).

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    mainer, I appreciate your reply as well. I'm really looking to carry a single gun and two sets of bullets, one set capable of killing a bear at a distance (not for bear protection necessarily) and another set for shooting at predators should one present itself.

    I'm really more worried about the lighter side and heavily damaging pelts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by limon32 View Post
    From your reply it seems you think it would be viable to slow down a 125gr bullet and still be accurate out to 100 yards?
    IMR has published data (just check their website for the PDF) for launching a 150gr Nosler BT at 1176fps with 10gr of Trail Boss as a starting load and a max load of 14gr. yields 1417fps with the same bullet in the .308Win. They list loads for several popular cartridges and even give a formula for calculating starting and max. loads for any cartridge. Trail Boss is really bulky (shaped like a donut) and really fills up the case. Originally developed for black powder type loads in old, big cased revolver cartridges (ie .45 Colt) it also works well for reduced rifle loads without resorting to overpowder wads and such.

    I wanted some light loads for a .300WSM to let my wife and kids shoot as well as shooting coyote and foxes while predator calling. Accuracy in my rifle at 100yds is actually pretty good and recoil is non-existant. Its pretty pricey (I paid $22 for 9oz.) but certainly cheaper than another rifle...

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    You can buy plastic sabots to load 55 grain .224 bullet to 4500 fps out of '06. Lighter bullets are even faster. I don't think you'd have to worry about overpenetration with a Berger 30 grain hollow point at 5000 fps.
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    Quote Originally Posted by nitroman View Post
    i don't think you'd have to worry about overpenetration with a berger 30 grain hollow point at 5000 fps.
    amen on that!!!!
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    Here ya go: http://www.sabotreloadingpro.com/

    I found several companies who sell the sabots and have reloading info. Just google it.
    Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocre minds. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence. Albert Einstein

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    Quote Originally Posted by limon32 View Post


    So i've been pondering a new rifle for trekking around the mountains, but i'd also like a predator gun.
    For me I see your use of the word "Trekking" as the ruling factor in choosing a short action. The primary requirements I looked for was durability, can I drag it through the mud, grass, cow parsnip, drop it in creeks, lakes, etc. and still have the rifle easy to clean. I think you will be very content with a good bolt action .308 Winchester.

    I hike a lot, and I just enjoy having a long gun "in" my hand, and feel that something is missing if I only have a handgun. My choice for "ME" was/is the Winchester M-70 "Classic" Stainless Steel Featherweight (CRF) in .243 Winchester cartridge. I carry the rifle with No scope and No sights, only a scope bases. This allows for easy, balanced one hand carry, and the use of the rifle as a walking stick and balancing pole, also I don't need sights to hit a DLP bear or moose.

    I have (5) five different scopes mounted in QR rings that are sighted-in for said rifle. The "scope of the day" is slid inside my spare socks, and travels inside the daypack or fanny pack. If a predator sees my first, it would not matter if the scope was mounted, as said predator is in double overdrive haulin'arse. If I see the predator first, then there is lots of time (about 15 seconds) to mount the QR scope.

    Well, that is my story and I am sticking to it. I wish you "Good Trekking".

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    Quote Originally Posted by AGL4now View Post
    For me I see your use of the word "Trekking" as the ruling factor in choosing a short action. The primary requirements I looked for was durability, can I drag it through the mud, grass, cow parsnip, drop it in creeks, lakes, etc. and still have the rifle easy to clean. I think you will be very content with a good bolt action .308 Winchester.

    I hike a lot, and I just enjoy having a long gun "in" my hand, and feel that something is missing if I only have a handgun. My choice for "ME" was/is the Winchester M-70 "Classic" Stainless Steel Featherweight (CRF) in .243 Winchester cartridge. I carry the rifle with No scope and No sights, only a scope bases. This allows for easy, balanced one hand carry, and the use of the rifle as a walking stick and balancing pole, also I don't need sights to hit a DLP bear or moose.

    I have (5) five different scopes mounted in QR rings that are sighted-in for said rifle. The "scope of the day" is slid inside my spare socks, and travels inside the daypack or fanny pack. If a predator sees my first, it would not matter if the scope was mounted, as said predator is in double overdrive haulin'arse. If I see the predator first, then there is lots of time (about 15 seconds) to mount the QR scope.

    Well, that is my story and I am sticking to it. I wish you "Good Trekking".
    Hey AGL, your pick is sure a beauty and I was curious if you ever felt you would rather have the composite stock instead of the wood to beat around with?
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    The only .30 cal bullets I load in my 30-06 are 180 gr so I cant speak towards the light weight projectiles. I have loaded the sabot rounds with 55 grain .22 cal bullets and had very good success with them. My particular load will average about 4,100 fps if I remember correctly.

    The biggest problem I have with the kind of set up you want to run, and I think AGL4now eluded to it in his post, is that with such a big disparity between projectile weight, you will inevitably end up with a significant POI change from load to load. His use of multiple optics for different loads, while not practical for everyone, is exactly what I did with my 30-06. The difference in POI between my 55 gr sabot load and my standard 180 gr load is about 18 inches at 100 yards. Carrying around two scopes is a pain for sure, but it’s far more practical than carrying two rifles…

    So… here is what you could do! Mount your 4x12 power scope on the receiver using tip-over mounts, then mount a 2x4 power “scout scope” on the barrel also with tip-over mounts, and then maybe hang a couple of different lasers off of it or screw some sort of Holographic sight to the side of the stock! Probably gonna need some sort of night vision device and a flash light also… can prolly piggy-back them onto your other scopes! Then you will have the do-everything ultimate “practical tactical” bush rifle!

    all kidding aside, if you need or want load data for the 30-06 sabots send me a pm
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smokey View Post
    Hey AGL, your pick is sure a beauty and I was curious if you ever felt you would rather have the composite stock instead of the wood to beat around with?
    It came from the factory with a Composite black stock. A follow up note is that on these type of rifles I shorten the LOP to 12 7/8" Yes that is short for summer with shirt and light jacket. But if I have a 14" LOP then I can't mount the firearm in the winter with down parkas and snowsuits. Also if I had it to do over I would most likely choose the 7mm/08.

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    It's too bad they don't still make that rifle. I have no clue why they don't offer a current stainless FW with a synthetic stock. While it's a Remington, my daughters compact 7-08 is my favorite rifle to walk the woods with. Dont' tell her , but it spends a ton of time out with me.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alangaq View Post
    So… here is what you could do! Mount your 4x12 power scope on the receiver using tip-over mounts, then mount a 2x4 power “scout scope” on the barrel also with tip-over mounts, and then maybe hang a couple of different lasers off of it or screw some sort of Holographic sight to the side of the stock! Probably gonna need some sort of night vision device and a flash light also… can prolly piggy-back them onto your other scopes! Then you will have the do-everything ultimate “practical tactical” bush rifle!
    And I thought I was the only person thinking along those lines...

    I really appreciate all the input! My curiousity has been peaked with the 7mm-08 and even the.270, just too many choices.

    AGL i'm the same way about my guns (that I hunt with anyhow), they are tools that get used, beat up, etc. Thats why I don't buy expensive guns! That new Winchest model 70 Featherweight Compact is a good looking gun in .308 or 7mm-08 I thought. Just have to buy a plastic stock for it.

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    Another option- barnes makes a 168 gr solid which will not expand.... You may have 2 holes in the fur, but will be .308 in diameter on exit. On the plus side, will also give you a similar poa with big game loads

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    Quote Originally Posted by Akheloce View Post
    Another option- barnes makes a 168 gr solid which will not expand.... You may have 2 holes in the fur, but will be .308 in diameter on exit. On the plus side, will also give you a similar poa with big game loads
    I had thought about that too, even just shooting a FMJ bullet but I have NO experience with that and I was a bit afraid of loosing an animal if shot placement was not spot on?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Akheloce View Post
    Another option- barnes makes a 168 gr solid which will not expand.... You may have 2 holes in the fur, but will be .308 in diameter on exit. On the plus side, will also give you a similar poa with big game loads
    At high velocity you will still tear the hide up pretty good, expansion or not. The bullet will be .308 diameter on exit but the exit hole will be much larger.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hodgeman View Post
    At high velocity you will still tear the hide up pretty good, expansion or not. The bullet will be .308 diameter on exit but the exit hole will be much larger.
    Thats something i've been curious about with the "classic" varmant calibers, WHY do they do less pelt damage with a little bullet if they are still moving at high speed?

    Good example is the sabot idea that was proposed, wouldn't a 55gr bullet @ 4,000fps have the potential to do a lot of damage to the hide?

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    The taxidermists can fix holes, that is what they get paid to to.

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