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Thread: Hunting Calibers for the Women

  1. #1
    Member TWB's Avatar
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    Default Hunting Calibers for the Women

    So last year was exceptional with my girlfriend, she's a natural in the woods and a great partner and I am wanting to get her behind the scope and on some animals but I don't wanna buy something that she won't be able to handle. She 5'10 (i can't post her weight, she'd kill me) and fairly skinny, less than 150lbs. Considerations with recoil I don't think she could handle anything over a .300.

    I am looking closely into a Browning BAR in .270 or 7mm (for her, really!!) and was hoping you guys with wives who hunt would chime in, or the huntresses out there could give me your experiences with different calibers. She'd be hittin targets, caribou and deer hunts with me, blackies confidence pending.

    She's a fairly tough chick but I don't wanna scare her out form behind a rifle if it's gonna knock the snot out of her.
    We do not go to the green woods and crystal waters to rough it, we go to smooth it. We get it rough enough at home; in towns and cities; in shops, offices, stores, banks anywhere that we may be placed

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    Default One option

    When I started hunting, my Dad bought me a .308 with 110 grain bullets. Little to no recoil and as I grew I went up to 150 and 180 grain bullets.

    Other great choices are .243, .270, and the .280 for the animals you want to chase. I personally don't have any experience with the 7mm.

    Good luck.

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    You can kill anything in alaska with a 7-08 on up, just use good bullets.

    The key to handling recoil is a rifle that fits the shooter, and a scope with decent eye relief. My wife claimed my .308 ultralight and I cut 1 1/2" off the stock to fit her (she's 5'-3") Even though it bucks more than many 06's (due to light weight) she shoots it just fine.

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    My 12 yo handles the 7mm08 with no problem. Recoil is minimal and it is perfectly adequate for what she'd be hunting.
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    From what I have seen the most important thing is finding a gun that fits her. length, weight etc. If it doesn't fit then she won't hold it properly and she won't like it. That being said I don't think I would start with any thing bigger then a .30-06.

    I am assuming that she does not have a lot of experience with the big guns. Make sure the first few times you remind her about proper postuer and what not. When I first taught my wife to shoot larger calibers the second time we went out I assumed she had remember what I had stressed the first time. well she fired one shot through my 7mm mag and made a rather sour face. She didn't tuck the gun tight into her sholder.

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    Nope no long rifle experience. Maybe .22's with her dad as a kid. Her father was well known here in Alaska and a very experienced outdoorsman and involved with the community from a hunting and ethical standpoint, but unfortunately passed away 4 years ago but she's still kept a liking to the outdoors. She felt born again after gettin the Ranger and we spend a lot of time in the woods.
    We do not go to the green woods and crystal waters to rough it, we go to smooth it. We get it rough enough at home; in towns and cities; in shops, offices, stores, banks anywhere that we may be placed

  7. #7

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    My dad bought me a Remington Model 7 in .308 when I was 13. I've killed multiple moose and caribou with it. Even a grizz. It now belongs to my wife. I has a recoil pad put on it (grind to fit) to make it even more enjoyable for her to shoot. I also had the stock cut down a little more to better fit her & make room for the extra length the recoil pad puts on it.

    A 7mm-08 would also be a good way to go. I just happend to already have a youth/women size rifle in .308 so thats what she has. She had never shot a rifle prior to dating me that was 2 years ago. Now she loves shooting "her" gun. Even got her big game animal this year with it. Plus an excuse for buying a new rifle never hurts.

    Like big dog said, anything less than an 30-06 with decent ballistics and energy will work. I think rifle fit is more important than which exact caliber to get. If it doesn't fit her well she won't like shooting it and thus will not become as proficient with it as she could be.

    Here is a pic of her gun(I'm gonna miss it )


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    I have two daughters and I got them a 7mm-08. My younger daughter has taken caribou with it and it should be good for anything else except the big bears. Recoil is moderate and with fgood bullets, as Paul stated, its a very good round. My second choice was a .308 but I couldn't pass on the 7mm-08.

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    Default Rifle for Wife

    My wife is also 5'10", athletic, and long-limbed. She didn't like my .300wm, the .308, the 12gauge, or 44mag.
    I bought her: Rem 700 CDL in 270 (she loves it - had to get XCR stock), Ruger 10/22, 20gauge, and 357mag (ported).

    Now she's set, with guns that she's comfortable with, and can go on most hunts with me. I do my own 270 loads for her.

  10. #10

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    Another vote for 7-08....

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    I started the wife out with a Remington .308 pump. After the hunt in which this bear was taken, I wanted to get her a better rifle. I bought her a Remington 270WSM Alaskan TI and had it Mag-Na-Ported and replaced the factory trigger. She took a while getting used to it. However once she killed her first black bear with it she had a new rifle, you seem to bond to a rifle once you have killed with it. The Mag-Na-Porting made a huge difference in muzzle jump. She has no problem with recoil, just took her a while to adjust to the action, since she was used to the pump with a magazine.

    Her with the Remington Alaskan TI


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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    If going with a BAR the 30/06 would be a great round with about the same recoil,maybe less than some of the smaller rounds mentioned in a bolt gun.

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    Thanks for all the responses, I'm heading to SW to hold a few
    We do not go to the green woods and crystal waters to rough it, we go to smooth it. We get it rough enough at home; in towns and cities; in shops, offices, stores, banks anywhere that we may be placed

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    Some good info on this thread...

    I would not get too caught up on what gun, what cartridge, and what an individual can handle as far as recoil or shoot well. Women are no different than men on this note!!!

    First - Adding to the comments such as make sure it fits... very likely the most important feature of any firearm she'll find suitable.

    I also thought there was some merit to mention of .30-06 cartridges (as in that ballpark) or a bit less powerful - but versatile. General shooting folks as well as now having over 100 years of military historical trends with small arms reveal pretty solid evidence that the majority of people --- men, women, kids, even when considering stature... can field this kind of firepower effectively.

    Does this put 'magnum' performance out of the picture? No way! Just that so many of the .30-06 or .308WIN and parent case offspring are just about the perfect levels considered for this kind of discussion... we can all relate just like comparing 12 & 20 ga. shotgun loadings.

    I'll offer this advice -

    Purpose is #1... toy or tool, large game-medium-game-somethin' in between game, close range or longer reach, standing around or hiking hard, fair weather or nasty conditions?

    Lighter-weight, (maybe 'featherweight') & Handy is #2 - (FIT) I'll say when looking for a hunting rifle based on a particular purpose... wouldn't it seem suitable to find this in a light, handy setup if it matched the performance of something that may be a performer for my needs yet heavy and clunky? Lightweight is something to consider for certain.

    Design is #3 - Is the firearm well thought out in terms of ergonomics? Is it an uncomplicated set-up with proven dependability? Is it going to hold up in the conditions and be reasonably straightforward to maintain?

    Price and availability #4... that pretty much sums it up for itself. This may dictate the purchase, but think of longer term stuff like what you are gonna feed it.

    Accessories at #5... We all know you may need fries to go with the burger or shoes with the dress.

    Next firearm closing in faster than you might think at #6... You likely have a few --- so it's probable she'll like that to.

  15. #15

    Default 30.06

    At 5'5", small frame and 115 lbs (really!) I shoot a Remington 30.06, 180gr factory bullets. Synthetic stock that Mr. mbd had to cut down to fit me. Leupold 3x9 scope. No porting or muzzle brake.

    That gun has been from the North Slope to Port Heiden to Kodiak to Prince William Sound and taken everything except a brown bear. It will group within 3" at 300 yards. The limiting factor beyond that is not the gun, it's me. I won't shoot farther than that. Mr. mbd has taken shots over 400 yards with that rifle and it was dead on.

    I would take a brownie with it only if the bear didn't know I was there until after it was dead

    Mr. mbd shoots a ported .338 and I've shot his rifle. I can handle it offhand but not prone and wouldn't want to take a very long shot with it. I know it will take a bear down and that's all I'd ever use it for.

    For my personal bear gun if in the backcountry alone, I carry a 12-gauge 870, 22" barrel loaded with 1 oz sabot slugs. Do you know how big of a hole those leave in a birch log?!??!?!? Hopefully I will never shoot anything other than a birch log, but I practice with it regularly.

    Handgun for the 2-legged critters is a Lady Smith small frame .38. Love it.

    Anything that she shoots should be fun and fit -- start with smaller calibers to get her used to it first. There's nothing as much fun as a scoped 10/22 and a brick of .22 LR.

  16. #16
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    The guys at Great Northern Guns off Tudor are pretty good about letting folks fondle the rifles.

    Fit is a major deal with women folks. My wife and youngest daughter are fairly thin and built like swimmers.

    The oldest and second oldest daughters have more upper counter balance weight, (if you get my drift) It makes a HUGE difference on how they shoulder a rifle. Thus they needed to find one that fit them since I made all sorts of wrong choices.

    As for non recoiling cartridges.

    Classics:
    243 Win
    257 Roberts
    6.5 x55mm Swede
    7x57mm Mauser
    308 Win

    Newer Stuff
    260 rem
    7mm-08

    My oldest daughter the Combat Engineer is not recoil shy. She uses a 30-06. But has taken game with a 375HH.


    The youngest daughter who is a super athlete complains about the recoil of a 6.5 Swede. In fact she complains about anything over a 223.

    Heck fire, the oldest son (200 ponds thinks a 8mm mauser kicks hard while the youngest son, 160 shoots a 3.5 inch mag 12 gauge all day long.

    It all depends on the person.
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    Default model 7

    I dont have a wife but when my coousin in NM decided at age 44 that she wanted to go hunting with her hubby I was ecstatic,one more great family member in elk camp. Anyways she called me and told me that after gooing to the range with her husband she wasnt to sure about it anymore,seems the only rifle he had was his m70 in 7mm mag which had to much recoil for one and didnt even come close to fitting her, he's 6'2" shes 5'3".So she wanted me to set her up with a rifle that she could handle and didnt have much recoil, but would still handle deer and elk class game. I sent her my model 7 in 260 and she sent it ack saying that still wasnt comfortable for her, so i measured my similarly built cousin and cut the stock down ground a good recoil pad on it and I know it sounds silly put a muzzle break on it.Now her husband is the only one who complains because he cant keep enough ammo around, she likes it so much. If she is even somewhat recoil shy seriously consider a brake, it will make any caliber more plaesant to shoot as long as you use hearing protection.And if you dont like the brake for hunting have a thread protector made you can install whille in the field.

  18. #18
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    TWB, I have a 7mm-08, .308 and .243. The Rabbit Creek range opens again in Jan is you want her to try any of them, see if they fit and the recoil relative to one another. I also have a few other calibers if you want to go a little bigger, (7mm mag, 8mm mag..)

  19. #19

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    270 WSM with a Limbsaver recoil pad. The ballistics are close to a 7mm RM and if you handload you can find a load she likes. Maybe she could handle and max or maybe you could back it off.

    A lot of good suggestions so far.

  20. #20
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    Default How about...

    the vintage 7.7mm x 56r in the "classic" 303 British!
    Aw, the 308 Winchester will do too. A good variety of ammo and manufacturers available.

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