View Poll Results: What is the smallest caliber would you choose to hunt all big game in Alaska.

Voters
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  • 223

    4 1.98%
  • 243

    11 5.45%
  • 260

    13 6.44%
  • 308

    23 11.39%
  • 30-06

    90 44.55%
  • 30 Cal Mag.

    28 13.86%
  • 35 Whelen

    6 2.97%
  • 338 Mag

    22 10.89%
  • 375 Mag

    4 1.98%
  • 416 Mag or larger

    1 0.50%
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Thread: What is the smallest caliber...

  1. #1
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    Default What is the smallest caliber...

    What is the smallest caliber you would ever choose to hunt all of the Alaska game listed?

    Blacktail deer, caribou, sheep, goats, moose and grizzly.

    223 Remington/ 222 Rem, 22-250, etc.

    243 Winchester/ 6mm Rem/ 257 Roberts, etc.

    260/7mm-08/6.5 x55/7x57, etc

    308 Winchester/7.62x54R/7.5x55/7.65x53/30-40 K/303B, etc

    30-06 Spg/7mm Rem/300 WSM/300RSAUM, etc

    300 Win/300 WBY/300 H&H/ 300 RUM/300 Dakota, etc.

    338-06/35Whelen, etc.

    338 Win/340 WBY/338 RUM/330 Dak, etc.

    375 H&H/375 WBY/375 Rug, etc.

    416 Rem/416 Rigby, etc.
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



  2. #2
    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
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    Hmmmm, since you actually listed the cartridges, it is really not a caliber thing.
    Talk about a wide range of critters that are often found in totally different enviroments. Had you left the Brown Bears (griz in you in-land folks) off the list it would have dramatically shifted the minimum cartridge..

    So I went for the 30-06.
    Although, I have hunted all those critters with a 7x57mm Mauser with good results.

    The Brown I took with a 7x57mm required a long shot with an old 156 grain Norma copra-nickel jacket bullet. Right into his neck behind the skull while he was digging a hole. He never knew I was laying there 175 yards away. I would not wander around in the tall grass looking to spook a large bear up, with a 7x57 or a 30-06.
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  3. #3
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    as Float Pilot mentioned us "in-landers" would opt for heavier is better. So long as grizz run free I will keep the .33 calibers as my primary "go to" caliber. Sure many hunters vary in there choices but......in Alaska off the beaten trail sota speak the .30 cal. reigns supreme albeit a .30-30, .308's, .30-06 and the 300 mags of various sorts. Ammo is of great concern in bush alaska and how easily and available it is. For reloaders such as myself it is not an issue-the 9,3x62 Mauser is my next "in-hand" carry soon.

    I vote nonetheless the .33 caliber

    regards,

  4. #4
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    Take griz out of the mix and I would switch down to 260. With the toothy critters 30/06 min makes more sense to me. Not that I wouldn't take a shot at a griz with a 270-7mm if thats all I had on hand at the time. Since the smallest rifle I currently own is a 308 I probalby don't have to worry about that though

  5. #5

    Default Me Too

    While the 30-06 isn't my first choice ( I do have one) it's just about what I would consider an all around minimum for all Alaskan animals. With properly constructed bullets and weights I believe it to be adaquate for hunting the heavier constructed animals in Alaska.
    I do however believe that any rifle with a TKO(Taylor Knock Out) factor of 16 or greater used by a skilled hunter at reasonable ranges will work.
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  6. #6
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    Unhappy I voted for the .30-06, but.....it would be boring.

    The .30-06 can do (and has done) it all, but that sure sounds boring to me. For the past twenty years I have always carried my .375H&H in the fall when hunting moose and grizz. Similarly, spring black bear has always been a mission for my .30-06 (although this year I'm trying something new, and I'm taking a quarter bore...a .257 Weatherby). Blacktail season is usually a toss-up because of the possibliity of the big bears early in the season (e.g., I've carried a .257 Roberts up to the .375H&H).

    I'm glad we have choices...I've never cared for this "one gun for everything" stuff...it's way to...sensible, cost efficient, practical, logical, reasonable and grown-up...like I said earlier, it's boring.

  7. #7
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    I was going to say 30 caliber but you had the calibers broken up too so I had to put 308 winchester.


    To me the 308 can get anything done that the 30-06 can. I think the 30-06 can handle anything in this state.

    Except for brown bear hunting I would hunt it all with a 243.
    "You have given out too much reputation in the last 24 hours, try again later".

  8. #8
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    I was gonna vote for the 22 centerfire just for fun when I saw no one had yet!

    But Ill stay serious and vote what I think is best. The griz factor made me round my choice up to 30 cal mag

  9. #9
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    Well, since the question was geared towards “hunting” and not specifically about defense or “all purpose” caliber I chose the 260. I am confident that any game animal on the planet can be taken with the 6.5mm bullets of 140 grains or more provided the distance to target is reasonable and the shot placement is perfect and of course premium bullets are used. I personally believe that once you start getting lighter than about 140 grains, you may lack the penetration for larger animals. All that said, do I march out into the alders with my wife’s 260 covered in salmon goo and looking to poke a bear in the ass???? Ahh………. That would be a big NO! But if I was inside 150 yards with a good rest and had a good shot at a big brown bear or moose I wouldn’t hesitate to use the 260.
    “You’ve gotten soft. You’re like one of those police dogs who’s released in to the wild and gets eaten by a deer or something.” Bill McNeal of News Radio

  10. #10

    Default Hey, you forgot..........

    Murphy, how could you leave the .270 Win. off of the list? When I came to Alaska in 1965 so many of the old timers I knew considered themselves well armed if they had a .270 Win. and 150 gr. Noslers. The other top choice was the 30-06 and 180 gr. Noslers. The rifle of choice was the Mod. 70. I voted for the 30-06. Truth be told I think I could easily finish my hunting career with a .308 Win. and a good 165 gr. bullet. The only stretch for me on this would be a brown bear in the alders. Where is your book?

  11. #11
    Member Big Al's Avatar
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    For me, hands down the choice is the 6.5/.260. I don't have any hesitation about the dia. choice.

    I just wondered why you left out the .22 Lr?
    "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tryants." (Thomas Jefferson

  12. #12
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    let me add another, without the lead predator in existance then perhaps something I have never owned is a 280AI--loved the .270 for many yrs, wonder how this would compare? That .270 caliber was a one shot shooter on moose-bang flop!

  13. #13
    Member Nukalpiaq's Avatar
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    I selected the 30-06 as my choice for a general purpose all around hunting cartridge. Used to carry one back in the 80s on moose and caribou hunts. The 180 grain bullets would always do the job for me.
    Just bought another 30-06 this winter, an MRC 1999 with 24" fluted barred bedded into a HS Precision Stock. Planning on switching it over to a McMillan Fiberglass stock sometime in the near future. Looking forward to hunting with the 06 again.

  14. #14

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    I can't wait to here Murphy's final word on this thread. However I gotta feeling that Murphy wouldn't drive 20 penny ring shanks with a tack hammer! I voted for the 338 mag.

  15. #15

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    I opted for the 30-06. It is a proven round. Not everyones first choice for hunting bear, but it can definitely be done. I was leaning toward the 338-06 as a close second.

  16. #16

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    I'm not voting in the poll, but my choice would be a 7mm Rem Mag as the *bare minimum*. It's a slightly smaller diameter than the .06 but it is a little more powerful, flatter shooting and (like the .06) it has quite a range of bullets that can be used in it.

    The ideal *all around* AK cal I think would be a 300 mag although not quite ideal for the big bears, I think it would get the job done.

  17. #17
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    I went with 243/6mm/257. I hunted with one for years while living in Sitka and coming up on a bear never worried me.

  18. #18
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    The question was; What is the smallest caliber you would choose to hunt all the game listed? Including Grizzly. Choose, used here to indicate a deliberate thought and action. Not; " Well I've got this old 6.5 mm laying around and can't afford a new rifle."

    A hundred and one have voted and I think 54 went for the 30-06, including my vote.

    I believe anyone who can carry a rifle can shoot a thirty '06. Well, more specifically can take the recoil from a 30-06. My belief is that if you cannot take the thump of the 30-06, you should not hunt anything that needs that level of power. That doesn't mean you should pick up a 243 and head for grizzly camp, because that is the largest caliber for your shoulders' comfort. We did have a vote or two for the 223 and 243.

    I tried to set these up not so much as bore size (caliber) but by cartridge designation to include a class of cartridges that would apprximate the same range of killing power. (If that is a valid term) The 30-06, for example, would include such other calibers on the case as the 280, 270 (arguably) and foreign entrants such as the 7x64, etc. I also include neck and neck in the category the 7mm Rem mag. I believe their performance in the field is equal. I do not put the 270 with the '06 but more with the 7x57 but all this was meant to be left to the discretion of the individual, not to conjur up arguments about where each cartridge lies. I also would include the 260, 7-08 the 6.5x55 and the 7x57 in the same kettle of fish. Some may not and I won't argue with that. I think the 270 is with these as well because of the bullets available for it 130-150 grains, even though the energy level is higher. The difference is it extends the range of the others, but doesn't make it a bigger getter than the others, just a reacher outer.

    Bore size along does not determine effectiveness in the field, neither does case capacity. For those who do not know or cannot accept the concept, kinetic energy level does not equate to killing power either. Along these same lines, neither the bullet weight nor construction alone determine the effectiveness in the field. Those who have the varried experience with different calibers and species of game know that it is this well coordinated combination of factors that will bring 'em down. Bore diameter, bullet weight, bullet construction and energy level. We cannot seperate the combination unless we restructure each again. By that I mean we cannot take a combination of the four elements and say well we had this bore diameter and it works so any thing of that bore size will work or to say we had this energy level so that is the minimum energy level we need for this game.

    The 243 carries very high energy levels but even with well made bullets constructed for it's velocity and the intended target, it is still not a good choice for some animals because of it's light, small diameter bullets.

    From bore size and bullet weight we derive the term sectional density (SD). Therefore I use SD as a leg to the triad rather than a foursome, to indicate effectiveness, the other two energy and bullet construction. The SD number makes sense to me and is seen as an important value when we study the great old 6.5x55 Swede and all the animals taken with its high SD 140-160 grain bullets. It also has rather low velocity so bullet construction is not such a critical factor. It's energy level is lower yet it is more effective in the field because the bullets made for it stay together at the modest energy level and most will agree, penetration is the strong suit of the 6.5x55 Swede.

    This brings me to an important point. Bullet construction and energy level. These two elements must be very closely matched. The 300 RUM with its smoking velocity and very high energy level will be less effective that the 30-06 if the bullet is destroyed on impact and fails to penetrate through the vitals of the game animal. By this same concept, the bullets that work so well in the 6.5x55 Swede would not be very effective when used in the almost defunct 264 Win mag at 400 to 600 fps faster. Bullet construction is important. There are so many premium and super premium bullets out there for these higher energy levels. They are not always correctly matched in factory ammunition. The great Nosler partition when used in the '06 at 180 grains will make one of the greatest combination for bringing home the venison ever to be assembled. That same bullet may not be the best choice when velocity exceeds 3000 fps. The very strongly constructed Barnes X, TSX, TTSX and MRX are a better choice when velocities hit the highest mark. They of course do work well at lower velocities, particularly the newer Tipped TSX that tend to expand more reliably at standard velocities.

    So not to forget Taylor and all his work on this subject I will further simplify this a little. Momentum, recognized as a contributer to this scheme is a function of weight and velocity. (Pounds * Feet/second) It is from these two factors we derive energy, also. We could easily come up with a formula that included momentum, sectional density and bullet construction. This would require that construction be matched to velocity (energy level). If we allow that to be a constant, it is momentum and sectional density that makes deep holes. I believe we would choose more effective caliber better suited for the task if we just stuck to this momentum and SD concept.

    Selecting the right rifle to take afield is an important part of being a hunter. The correct caliber is part of that. We learn as we go, we learn from others. Certain task should not be undertaken until we have become a true hunter. Some never make it. There are many individuals with whom I would never hunt. I would never allow them in my camp. Some never make the grade and this more from attitude than ability. It is not a failing to not know, but it is to not care.

    Also whether you can afford a $15,000 bear guide or not should not come into the picture. If you cannot find, stalk, shoot and kill your quarry, be it grizzly or grouse, you should not be in the woods. It is funny, and inconsistant thinking, that those who say we want no such ordinance to force us to use anadequate caliber for hunting but will take solace in the law that will put a qualified bear guide at your side. Don't worry about using a big gun just put the little bullet in the right spot and the certified, state licensed, mandatory bear guide will sort things out for you. I'm just guessing here but for the price of an Alaskan bear guide, I think I could afford a very nice hand made rifle of the appropriate caliber and a bunch of very good training and conditioning that would enable me to be one dandy of a bear hunter.
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



  19. #19
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    Too many variables left to make any of the cartridges less than "minimum". 'Tis different from "preferred".

  20. #20
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