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Thread: Lightest rounds used for big game

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    Member tyrex13's Avatar
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    Default Lightest rounds used for big game

    What are your personal experiences using the likes of .223, .243 or similar on caribou and moose? Mathematically, a properly constructed bullet in .223 should be adequate for deer and caribou. I know a guy that starts his kids off with .243 for moose. Reason for asking is I'm starting to think about graduating my 8 year old son from his .22 into a high powered rifle and thinking about getting him started with hunting.

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    This one could get interesting! There is a lot of difference on caliber choice, depending on hunters level of shooting. While the 243 Winchester is a good caliber for caribou, it might be a little 'under gunned' for moose. I am not saying that the 243 Winchester can not take moose, one just has to place the shot well. Depending on the size of the young person, a 7mm-08 or 308 Winchester might be a better choice. With both of these loads, one can more easily taylor the loads to the person and the game being hunted. While caliber choice is important, making sure that the rifle fits the person is just as important.
    It sounds like you are on the right track though! Good luck!

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    Started my son off with a cutdown to size 30-06 when he was 8yo. Reloaded some 170gr flat tips to 30-30 power levels and he was good to go on black bear and caribou out to 150 yds. Recoil was about 223 level with the brake on the 18 in barrel. After that just change bullets and add powder.
    Gotta get em started young! You two have fun.

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    If the bullet penetrates the heart/lungs, that moose will die. My choice in a light caliber would be with a Barnes tsx or ttsx since they penetrate so well for their weight and get in close to keep the velocity high and placement easy.

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    I should add that I don't reload, and don't plan to start, so I'm limited to factory available ammo. Thanks for the responses so far.

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    Remington has made "managed recoil" rounds for some time now. In some loads they claim 1/2 of the standard recoil. I am not sure if they make it in 7MM/08 but that would be a great starter round. Even a .308 in not that bad and once he gets bigger, you can move to loads easily good for moose.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AK Bearcat View Post
    This one could get interesting! There is a lot of difference on caliber choice, depending on hunters level of shooting. While the 243 Winchester is a good caliber for caribou, it might be a little 'under gunned' for moose. I am not saying that the 243 Winchester can not take moose, one just has to place the shot well. Depending on the size of the young person, a 7mm-08 or 308 Winchester might be a better choice. With both of these loads, one can more easily taylor the loads to the person and the game being hunted. While caliber choice is important, making sure that the rifle fits the person is just as important.
    It sounds like you are on the right track though! Good luck!
    you have to " place the shot well" with any rifle/caliber. thus, a 243 can easily take down a moose

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    Even with a well placed shot I wonder what a mooses rib bone could do to a 65 grain 223 bullet. I know alot of people in southeast hunt blacktails with 223 and have great success. I would think something like a 7mm-08 with 150 grains and reduced factory loads would produce similar recoil to a 243 but give a little insurance on the other end. There is no replacement for a good shot but I like heavier bullets. That said I really want to get a 223 because ammo is cheap and they look like a good platform to get little ones shooting centerfires.

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    I would say a nice 270, or even 270WSM and put a muzzlebreak on it. I shoot a 300wsm with a muzzlebreak and it honestly doesn't kick more than a 20gauge. You can get small frame models in those calibers as well.

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    A Barnes factory .223 in TSX does a fine job on deer and caribou. All my kids went to a 7-08 and keep using it into their adult years.
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    when I had hand surgery, I used a 257 (as back up) on a moose hunt.

    person whom should have had shot declined.... S0...

    I took a spike/fork (one point on left/fork on right) at 80 yrds..

    moose walked forward, turned around walked back and I hit him again..

    He fell in the same spot he was standing when we first seen him...

    was a nice 1 1/2 year old bull, great meat...

    Shot placement, both lungs broadside.. x2 (onct each side)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Daveinthebush View Post
    Remington has made "managed recoil" rounds for some time now. In some loads they claim 1/2 of the standard recoil. I am not sure if they make it in 7MM/08 but that would be a great starter round..
    They do make the reduced recoil rounds in 7mm-08. That's the round I've started my nephews out with at the range, then simply changed to the standard power rounds in the field. That will be my same approach with my son next year as he turns 10.

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    I'd use a 223 on just about anything. Complete pass thru with tsx on caribou. 243 dumps moose just fine.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BRWNBR View Post
    I'd use a 223 on just about anything. Complete pass thru with tsx on caribou. 243 dumps moose just fine.
    That's what I'm thinking. Thank for your input Jake. You prefer the .223 TSX to the Nosler Partition?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian M View Post
    They do make the reduced recoil rounds in 7mm-08. That's the round I've started my nephews out with at the range, then simply changed to the standard power rounds in the field. That will be my same approach with my son next year as he turns 10.
    ^^^ This.

    The 7-08 kills well and doesn't recoil that significantly. Reduced recoil for practice, full power for hunting.
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    what about the 6.5 creedmoor ? its a newer round that has pretty amazing ballistics! its the rifle that I'm going to get my kids started with.

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    I don't recommend any .22 cal for big game. Sure it can work but with inexperienced hunters there is a higher chance of marginal hits. Ive seen a few deer and antelope killed with a .223 and .22-250 and was never impressed except for a head shot (which I would never recommend) but I have also seen one not penetrated. Blood trails are usually sparse with a small hole. Going with a .243 or bigger makes a noticeable difference. Kids grow fast and getting a decent caliber will last longer. I can't believe how fast my son turned 15 and now prefers my .35 whelen to knock over animal!

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    I started my son on a .243-caribou. Super choice for a 12 years old. He has taken some nice bou over the years and has stepped up to .308 which is a killing machine. The .243 is now in the hands of my adult daughter and is perfect for her frame. I agree that a .243 can bring a moose down but not a good idea. I have seen .270 with 130 grain hit a thick moose in the ribs, not penetrate, and follow the rib up into the spine and that was with a 130 grain. Shot placement is critical but the reality is if you hit a rib with a 100 grain lead your perfect shot may just injure that bull and he goes off to die.

    Because moose have thick bodies I firmly believe you need 165 grain and above to make that kill. Shot placement is nice but a small grain load may not do the job and I hate to see an animal survive the shot and die from not being recovered.
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    Just a note for those looking for reduced recoil loads....I have not been able to find Remington Managed Recoil in stock and the online distributors list it as discontinued (they are still on the Remington web site, tho). Hornady Custom Lite is the only rifle loads I've found marketing a reduced recoil lineup.

    I've been reloading for my son's 308 and have some real nice shooting loads using 110 grain TTSX over a 75% of max load of H4895. Looking for more reduction, I also put a brake on it. It is a real nice shooter now. I probably should have just went with a 243.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AK SWAMPER View Post
    what about the 6.5 creedmoor ? its a newer round that has pretty amazing ballistics! its the rifle that I'm going to get my kids started with.
    That would also work- when you're talking cartridges for kids- the .260REM,the 6.5 and the 7-08 all hit pretty the same on the front and back end. Great choices for kids and better than the .243 IMHO without appreciably more recoil.

    More "youth sized" rifles are found in the 7-08, but the 6.5 will catch up pretty fast.
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

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