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Thread: New hunter . . . rifle planning

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    Default New hunter . . . rifle planning

    I am a new hunter and preparing for a Tier 1 caribou hunt this fall, but stuck on which chambering I should get in my first (only?) dedicated hunting rifle. I'll hunt bigger game like moose as my family grows. Is it practical to pick one for caribou up to moose, or should I focus on an efficient cartridge for caribou, then another rifle later for moose?

    If one, I am thinking a 300 win mag or wsm. If two, I think I will start with a 270 win or 7mm rem mag; or is a 300 mag better anyways for alaskan medium size game?

    I do like the idea of becoming very good with a rifle that can do just about anything, but then again, there are advantages taking an intermediate step . . .

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    Member skybust's Avatar
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    7 mmmag is good enough for moose or caribou even griz that's what shoot and has worked well for me for over thirty years
    Is it opening day of duck season yet
    Member of Alaska Waterfowl Association

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    How much shooting have you done, to date? Have you ever shot a 300 mag? The reason I ask is that some find a 300 mag a bit heavy on recoil. Are you going to be doing a LOT of hunting in the future? If the answer to any of these questions is negitive, I go with the lighter recoil weapon (to start). Remember that a 7mag or a 270 will kill a moose handily (with the correct bullets). If big bears are not in your plans, go with the smaller rifle. ANY rifle (you mentioned) is sufficient for "bear protection" if needed.
    All that said, if I were to be restricted to one rilfe for AK big game, it'd be a 300 Win Mag.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AKMtnRunner View Post
    I am a new hunter and preparing for a Tier 1 caribou hunt this fall, but stuck on which chambering I should get in my first (only?) dedicated hunting rifle. I'll hunt bigger game like moose as my family grows. Is it practical to pick one for caribou up to moose, or should I focus on an efficient cartridge for caribou, then another rifle later for moose?

    If one, I am thinking a 300 win mag or wsm. If two, I think I will start with a 270 win or 7mm rem mag; or is a 300 mag better anyways for alaskan medium size game?

    I do like the idea of becoming very good with a rifle that can do just about anything, but then again, there are advantages taking an intermediate step . . .
    You will get a lot of different opinions on this, so be prepared.... Picking the "right" rifle for a specific use is a lot like asking a big group of runners what the best shoe is for a particular type of running. Many different but mostly all good possibilities.

    In my opinion, any of those calibers you mentioned in your post are adequate for both caribou and moose. The .270 is on the lighter side for moose, but still used by many and can be very effective. 7mm rem mag is definitely a good rifle for caribou and moose (I've used it for both myself and had no issues). I like the 7mm partly due to the long range capabilities of it if the need arises. Another option to consider would be the 30.06. That is one of the most popular rifles around up here and used for pretty much everything from deer to caribou to moose to bear.

    Personally, when I went to pick a single rifle to hunt with, I went with something I felt was going to work for anything I would want to hunt or might run into and need it for while on the hunt such as a brown bear coming in to the meat/camp. You may only plan to hunt caribou, but you may need/want something to handle a brown bear if the situation arises. I went with a .338, but definitely could have been happy with something a bit smaller as well.

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    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    You'll get as many answers as you'd like. Starting with something like a .270, .308, .30-06, 7-08 is a very good idea. Moderate recoil and moderate ammo costs will encourage frequent practice. Practice yields good shooting and good shooting kills critters.

    Any of those rounds will cleanly take caribou and moose with the excellent bullets available today.

    When you get some shooting experience under your belt you could step up to the .300 WSM or .300WM and be set for and AK hunting...or just shoot what you got.

    The older I get the more I gravitate to milder shooting cartridges like the .308WIN and the .270WIN.
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

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    Lots of choices, can seem like a lot at first.
    Here is a chart that may help
    http://www.internetarmory.com/rifle_hunting.htm
    keep in mind the upper limits and lower limits are not exact. With proper ammo and bullet selection you can slide one direction or the other.
    Look locally and see which ammo is most available

    I have been 300wm for years and just a few years ago switched to 300wsm. Have owned a 7mag and loved that gun too. Cost/availability of ammo and your tolerance of recoil should be factored in to your decision.

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    Just about the only thing you would dislike about the 300 would be recoil. Ammo is readily available and only slightly more expensive than 06. The navy shoots it out to 1200 yards. It's just good all around in my opinion.


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    Member OKElkHunter's Avatar
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    Many choices and everyone has their preference. If I were to only have one rifle for everything, it'd be my 30/06. Everything on the face of the planet has been killed with a 30/06, including elephants. Ammo is available all over the world, reloading possibilities are endless and most importantly it is mild to moderate on recoil, depending on the load, which makes it comfortable to shoot.
    Whatever you decide, practice, practice, practice and practice shooting some more, from various shooting positions.
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    I'd recommend going with the 270 over the 300 mag. If you're new to shooting you don't want to start out with something that kicks really hard. You want to be comfortable shooting your rifle. It's easy to develop bad habits if you're shooting something that's giving you a beating every time.

    You can kill a moose just fine with a 270 too - I shot my moose with my brother's 270.
    I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night. -- Sarah Williams

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    I think the recoil on 300wm is going to make it hard to learn how to shoot a rifle well. 30-06 is pretty substantial for someone without a lot of experience.

    Once you look at 30-06, though, it's pretty hard to justify that over .308win unless you reload. The 06 has only 1-200 or so more FPS.

    It'd be nice if you could go shoot some of these to see what you're up against.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mike h View Post
    I think the recoil on 300wm is going to make it hard to learn how to shoot a rifle well. 30-06 is pretty substantial for someone without a lot of experience.

    Once you look at 30-06, though, it's pretty hard to justify that over .308win unless you reload. The 06 has only 1-200 or so more FPS.
    That's a very good point. Modern .308 ammo is virtually identical to .30-06 loadings. No critter in the world can tell the difference between 2700 and 2600 fps. Basically comes down to rifle preference between the two. .300s do kick hard and take a lot more effort to shoot well.

    One other point I'd make- visit the store and see what you can buy ammo for. I love my .308 and '06 but buying ammo the last couple of years has been a pretty hit or miss proposition (assuming the OP doesn't reload here)- .270 and 7-08 are much more available and my .300WSM seems always on the shelf.

    It sucks that has to figure into the equation...but that's modern living for ya.
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

  12. #12

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    Thanks for all of the responses. I have shot some 308's and 30-06's, which were fairly comfortable and I've shot big bore revolvers for fun for a few years too. Whatever I choose, I will practice it a lot. I also hand load, if that makes a difference. Perhaps a 300 mag can be downloaded for easier shooting in the beginning and for midsize game? I'm can't decide between the easier shooting of a 270/7mm and the versatility of a 30 caliber :/

    Thanks again!

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    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKMtnRunner View Post
    . I also hand load, if that makes a difference. Perhaps a 300 mag can be downloaded for easier shooting in the beginning and for midsize game? !
    If you hand load you can easily load the .300WSM or .300WM to .308/.30-06 levels. Just don't go below listed starting loads and you should be drama free.

    A .300 loaded with 150gr bullets to about 2800fps is very comfortable to shoot and kills pretty well. You also have the option of going with full power loads for the most versatility.

    If you don't mind hand loading and tolerate the recoil- the .300 is THE do all Alaska hunting rifle IMHO.
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

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    Quote Originally Posted by hodgeman View Post
    If you hand load you can easily load the .300WSM or .300WM to .308/.30-06 levels. Just don't go below listed starting loads and you should be drama free.

    A .300 loaded with 150gr bullets to about 2800fps is very comfortable to shoot and kills pretty well. You also have the option of going with full power loads for the most versatility.

    If you don't mind hand loading and tolerate the recoil- the .300 is THE do all Alaska hunting rifle IMHO.
    http://www.hodgdon.com/PDF/H4895%20R...le%20Loads.pdf
    http://www.hodgdonreloading.com/data/rifle

    For reduced loads that won't beat you up- H4895 youth loads are a good place to start.

    For a little hotter hunting load- Hodgdon lists in the .300WM shooting the 150gr Sierra or TSX with 57gr of H4895 for 2991fps.... that is almost exactly what you'll get with factory .30-06 150gr ammo and a lot of .308 ammo.

    Provided your rifle shoots it reasonably well (it probably will)... that would make an excellent load for caribou.
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

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    Member oakman's Avatar
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    I used to shoot a .300 win mag, but switched to a .300 WSM a few years ago. Both great guns. Not very difficult to shoot or handle in the field. Shooting for a few hours at the range can get old in a hurry though. So I got a lead sled, makes range time much more enjoyable.

    I say for caribou and moose, you'd probably be fine with a .30-06 as well. Ammo availability has been really bad lately, but is bound to get better as soon as we get some democrats out of office. That being said, some ammo is easier to come by than others. I would say .30-06 is one of the easier to find....

    Good luck!

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    Quote Originally Posted by AKMtnRunner View Post
    I do like the idea of becoming very good with a rifle that can do just about anything, but then again, there are advantages taking an intermediate step . . .
    To elaborate a little on what you said here understand this.... If you haven't shot much and go with a heavy recoil caliber, there is a distinct possibility to develop, what they call, a "flinch." A flinch is what happens when you anticipate getting hammered by recoil, and instead of concentrating on squeezing the trigger, you jerk it and pull your shot off target. When this happens to young shooters without the guidance of someone that knows what they are seeing, it can be very hard to overcome and become a good shot.

    As a new shooter, if you pick a rifle with less recoil the chances are better that you will become more efficient with it that much sooner than if you pick one that beats you up a bit. If you had been shooting for awhile and know what to expect from the the bigger bore rifles then I would say go for whatever you think you would need. But if you want something "fairly" comfortable to shoot and be proficient with soon then you might want to stay away from the magnums to start with. That being said though, seeing that you hand load, reduced loads from the 300wm to start out with may be just the ticket. After you become good with them, then you will be set to develop a round even for the big bears should you desire.

    If it were me I'd have no problem going after moose with a 270, 308, or 06. Whatever you decide, do try your best not to develop a flinch as this can happen even with the smaller calibers....

    Good Luck...!!!
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    Since we're talking new rifle, I assume you're talking new scope too.

    Here's the best advice I can give. Buy a good scope that comes with good eye relief. If you skimp on the scope there's a good chance you'll give yourself "kaibab eye" when it comes back and cracks you in the brow. It's very hard to learn good shooting after that.

    That's put out there without judgment since I've got not one, but two crescent shaped scars in my right eyebrow. You flinch for a long time after that.
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

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    I have a 300 wsm and its a killing machine.and versatile with handloads. But it does have a kick. 308 or.3006 would.be the best all around.gun.and.much better than.a.270 or 7mm in.my opinion due.to.better bullet selection.
    “I come home with an honestly earned feeling that something good has taken place. It makes no difference whether I got anything, it has to do with how the day was spent. “ Fred Bear

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    Quote Originally Posted by hodgeman View Post
    The older I get the more I gravitate to milder shooting cartridges like the .308WIN and the .270WIN.
    Check, and check.

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    6.5x55, 7x57, 30-06, 338-06.....Lots of fine cartridges to choose from for caribou and moose, and larger critters too. No need for anything with "mag" in the name.
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