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Thread: Basic rifle questions

  1. #1
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    Default Basic rifle questions

    I don't know much about guns, only shot a couple in my life, all .22's or 12-guages. I'm looking for a hunting rifle and have read here about the best calibers, etc. A family member recommended a .300 WSM. What I'm wondering is - If I buy a rifle chambered for that, how many choices do I have for ammunition? Do I have to get only .300 WSM, or can I shoot all the other bullets that have the same .308-in cross section, like 30-06, .308, .30? If not, are there any other cartridges I could use at all?

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    Yes you have to use 300 WSM, no you can not shoot other cartridges in that rifle. No there are none that will shoot different cartridges. There are adapters that will permit shooting one cartridge in a different chamber but as a new shooter you really don't want to get into chamber adapters. If I might stick my nose in to your business for a moment you might search out folks to let you shoot their guns in different chamberings and see what you might like.

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    Thanks, I guess it was simple after all! And I'm always glad to take advice from people with more experience than myself.

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    I would "Strongly" suggest you avoid the "Wizz'Bang" cartridges. 20 years from now it may be very hard to find ammo for todays wonder cartridge. NOT that they are not wonderful, but for all around hunting I would suggest the good old 30'06. Rather than spend $899.00 to $1,299.00 on a new wizz'bang rifle, and buying "ONE": box of ammo. Buy a good used rifle for $349.00 to $499.00 and buy 300 rounds of generic ammo with the same over'all total money. As "Stranger in a strange land" say's, "If you can't kill it with a 30'06 then you need to Hide.

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    As AGL4now stated the 30-06 is extremely versatile- even with store bought ammo you have a huge choice and is very accessible anywhere you go. It is also a caliber that will be well suited to hunting anything in North America, so if you decide to go somewhere else you can take it. Some will say you need to have a bigger rifle here, and most will say you need as many as you can get (;p), but if you can only have one- it is a fine choice. Just like any hobby, you can spend a lot- but you don't have to. Just my .02.

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    Well I would suggest for a first hunting rifle ether a 30-06 or a 308 Winchester as the best starting ground. Like going to school it’s usually best to start with the basics and the basics are quite adequate for most uses, best if you learn to add and subtract before taking algebra.

    300WSM is the same bullet diameter as these (.308”) and most 30 calibers so the bullet itself is the same but the cartridge cases are very different so the ammunition you will buy is not interchangeable between 30 caliber chamberings. There are some exceptions to the “not interchangeable” rule but that gets complicated so don’t worry about it now.

    With proper bullet choices for the game hunted and shooting enough to be able to place the shot where it should be a grand ole 30-06 or a 308 is all you need to hunt anything in Alaska. Then as you learn you expand your horizons into other chambering more tailored to hunting this or that. If you go Magnum like 300WSM or 300WM you will not be well rounded unless you reload. You will be over powered for a lot of game and damage a lot of meat unless you can make your own ammo with less velocity . . .it’s like driving a sports car year round, fine in summer but a bit of a pain on slick winter roads.
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    As the others have stated. A 30/06 is a great cartridge to start with and one that will suit you well. It has been around quite a while and will be around when others are gone. It is usually in the gun polls, in the top five, depending on the source. You can't go wrong with it.

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    Lots of good info prior to me. If I may add, the 30-06 has ammo available in 150, 165, 168, 175, 180, 200, 210, 220gr bullet loads. This makes it very user friendly for the light skin game as well as the big stuff.

    If you need more horse power the .338WM is a great choice in the big state. Both cartridges are old school and they will be around forever.

  9. #9

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    Here's another vote for the 30-06. It has been with us for over 100 years and still leads the pack in several departments. Last year more people bought rifles chambered in 30-06 than any other chambering. More ammo made for the 30-06 left the factories than any other hunting rifle(the 223 or 5.56 lead all sales but would not be considered an all around hunting cartridge by any stretch of the imagination). More reloading dies were sold in 30-06 than any other.

    As AGL4now stated it's anybodies guess how long the 300WSM will be around or for how long ammo will be made. New cartridges are coming along every year and many fall to the way side but the 30-06 is here to stay.

    I was in the Bass Pro Shop store in Altoona Iowa last night and they had a very limited offering in 300WSM ammo but they had so many different offerings in 30-06 ammo that it was obvious who the king of cartridges is. The 300WSM stuff was all $10-$20 more per box than the 30-06 ammo too.

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    I would go with the 30-06 as well and I own 270WSM, 300WSM and 325WSM. The 06 is one of the most versatile calibers ever made. You will get more rifle for you money.
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    I'll echo what others have said about the 30.06. It was good enough for dad and his dad too. And I have both of their rifles. You can almost travel anywhere and find ammo for it, where the less common calibers you could be out of luck should you leave town without any ammo.

    Another thing about magnums, particularly the larger calibers is you used to always see them for sale in the classified (papers) with the same description "only fired once". It's my guess that someone bought the rifle because of a friend recommended one, or it just sounded 'better' with magnum in the caliber, but no practical knowledge of what they were getting. First trip to the range and the novice shooter found it to be too much gun. Tis better to try before you buy whenever you can, because all gun sales are final lol.

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    Another vote for the 30/06. marshall hit all the different factory loadings available and if you get into reloading you can even load bullets as light as 100gr for varmits and plinking. I believe the tried and true 30/06 has killed everything on the face of this planet. many years ago, when I first started reloading, I read a book about some guy, a famous safari hunter, that hunted elephants with the 30/06. I believe he loaded 250 grain solids and shot for the ear canal. Probably one of the most common and versitile cartriges ever developed.
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    .308 would not be a bad choice either ......

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    If I was only going to have one rifle in Alaska, and had to stop reloading; I would pick either 30-06 or .308Winchester.

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    Haha, well I guess I'll be rethinking that advice I got from the relative. What I'm looking for is a trusty, medium-big game rifle that's sturdy enough to last a long time and doesn't need hard-to-find or expensive ammo. So I'll be looking into the 30-06's and .308's that are on the shelves and the classifieds. And from the sound of it, the prices on those are much better for my humble income!

    Another question - I have heard that a wood stock may mess up the aim due to the cold and the wet that Alaskan hunters may experience every so often. Are there benefits to wood over composite, other than aesthetics?

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    If you want an "entry level" rifle that will last a lifetime, here is a great new option with a synthetic stock:

    http://www.ruger.com/products/americanRifle/models.html

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by ManOrMoose View Post

    Another question - I have heard that a wood stock may mess up the aim due to the cold and the wet that Alaskan hunters may experience every so often. Are there benefits to wood over composite, other than aesthetics?
    NO.....Classic aesthetics is the only value to a beautiful wood stock. Laminated wood or composite stock is the Alaska way to go.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ManOrMoose View Post
    Haha, well I guess I'll be rethinking that advice I got from the relative. What I'm looking for is a trusty, medium-big game rifle that's sturdy enough to last a long time and doesn't need hard-to-find or expensive ammo. So I'll be looking into the 30-06's and .308's that are on the shelves and the classifieds. And from the sound of it, the prices on those are much better for my humble income!

    Another question - I have heard that a wood stock may mess up the aim due to the cold and the wet that Alaskan hunters may experience every so often. Are there benefits to wood over composite, other than aesthetics?
    My rifle take a beating, and always end up wet. People have used blued, wood stocked guns here for years and still do. They just require more care. I prefer stainless and composite for durability and it just breaks my heart to stuff up a nice wood stock.

    A average hunt for me starts with a 300 miles or so truck ride, then 50 or so more in a boat, plane, raft, or 4 wheeler, every mile doing its best to rub the new off my rifle.

    I would look for a control round feed 30-06,, IMHO, the 308 is just less gun than I like to carry in bear country. just my 2 cents.
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    Quote Originally Posted by stid2677 View Post

    I would look for a control round feed 30-06,, IMHO, the 308 is just less gun than I like to carry in bear country. just my 2 cents.
    Valuable advise from a very experienced hunter. Suggest you give it a lot of weight.

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