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Thread: Is there one rifle for all big game?

  1. #1
    Member mossyhorn's Avatar
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    Default Is there one rifle for all big game?

    So I have never rifle hunted, I've always been an archer. I've shot my dad's Ruger 7mm many times but that's the extent of my rifle shooting. My knowledge is very minimal also on what loads are necessary for what game. I know that on larger game heavier may be ncessary.

    I'm moving to Alaska this spring/early summer and I want to do move to doing more rifle hunting instead of archery. I plan on hunting black bear, caribou, moose, grizzlies, sheep, and maybe goats (once I become a resident of course). Is there one rifle that I can purchase and become proficient with that I can use on sheep and moose/grizzlies?

    I know with sheep you're looking at longer shots and steep angles so a flat shooting rifle is important but with larger quarry a heavier rifle is more important.

    What are my options? Or do I really need two different firearms? Is there anything else I need to consider?

    Thank you

  2. #2
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    For Big Game in Alaska, you can be confident when you hunt with a 30-06.
    If you can't Kill it with a 30-06, you should Hide.

    "Dam it all", The Beaver told me.....

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    You just opened a can-o-worms my friend! I'm sure you're expecting this, but the answers to your question are likely to be as numerous as the number of responses themselves. Like stranger, there will be those who tell you an 06 will handle everything. And they're right. Folks have been knocking down critters in AK with an 06 for many, many years. If you go with it, I would advise heavy for caliber bullets for the heavier animals.

    Others will tell you you need more punch for brownies and such, like a 338 WM. Still others consider the 338 light for browns.

    What is all boils down to is your ability to place the bullet where it needs to be. Hitting true with a 270 is better than a miss with a 375 H&H. I would advise you to try as many calibers as you can before you buy. Select the most powerful one you can shoot with confidence. When you get to AK, look me up. I'll take you to the range and let you try a .300 win mag, 338 win mag and a 450 Marlin.

    My personal opinion: Having just one rifle isn't as much fun as having 5, or 10, or.......

    The other 299,300,000 people can have it.

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    Member sayak's Avatar
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    Default Aw, come on!

    Everybody knows the answer to that: the '06. Various bullets, various grains, she does it all.

  5. #5
    Member mossyhorn's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies so far. I knew I wouldn't get a definitive answer, but wanted to hear from those in the know what they use and what works for them. From there I can take a few different rifles and narrow my decision.

    AKsoldier, thank you for your offer, I would like to take you up on that.

    Thanks

  6. #6
    Member Diesel Nut's Avatar
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    I honestly believe the .338 Win Mag was designed to be a one-gun Alaska hunting battery. When you consider the availability of excellent bullets ranging from 185gr to 300gr, they've covered every niche of hunting you've identified, and you needn't worry about being grossly undergunned or overgunned for the chosen quarry. Are there better cartridges for the specific animals? Of course (excepting maybe moose): The .375 is probably a better choice for brownies, a 270 Wby a better goat, caribou and sheep rifle, and the grand ole' 30-06 a near-perfect black bear round. Asking one cartridge to do all of these things and not destroy too much meat on the smaller game, while still being strong enough to stop a hurt brown bear on the run is a tough request, and any time you start limiting your options through preference or necessity you have to compromise somewhere. The cartridge that asks you to compromise the least is the .338 Win Mag.

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    As others have mentioned, there is no consensus answer on this one, but in short, yes - there are guns that will fit the bill. I have both a 30-06 and a 338 among others, but if I were to have only one rifle for Alaska, I think I would make it the 300wm.

  8. #8
    Member broncoformudv's Avatar
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    The good ole 30-06 does it all and then some.

    Or you can go bigger and get a 375 H&H it just weighs a tad more.
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    Although, it isn't commonly known,,,,

    the 7mm Mag. is the bestest, for all round hunting here in the Greatland, but only if you use at least a 160 grain Nosler Partition.

    30-06s, will work OK, if you cawn't have a 7mm Mag., but they're obsolete, and Old Fashioned. There's only one good bullet weight, and that's a 180 grain. There is the added burden of owning at least one 1911 45 ACP to fit the image.

    300 Mags. kick too much for the performance you get, so yer better off with a 30-06, and that's jist not practical.

    338 Mags. would be OK, if people didn't try to load them into 300 Mags by using the lighter bullets.

    45-70s are limited in velocity, so you'd have to run like crazy TOWARDS your target while you shoot, to get it to shoot as flat as, even a 30-06.

    375 H&Hs are needlessly powerful, and are mostly for wannabe Beeg Game Guides, and their groupies.

    That said, you could get by real well, with a 280 Rem. or 7x57 Mauser, or even, a 7mm-08. The main thing is, it needs to be a 7mm Caliber cartridge.

    I hope that helps.
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    Default Its a matter of choice

    Others have already posted great answers: 30-06. 7mm mag, 300wm, 338, ect. All will do what you are asking, the caliber is up to you. I choose the 300wm as my all round gun, but have others because I like options and variance.

    Asking one round to be "prefect" for game as varied as that available in Alaska is asking a lot. There are several that are acceptable for the job. If I was going to hunt big, dangerous game more than smaller game, I would choose a larger caliber. The opposite is true as well, smaller caliber for smaller game. The 30 calibers have a wide range of bullet weights that will allow you to increase or decrease your bullets capability based on your quarry. Thus, providing an acceptable medium, for me anyhow.

    Smitty mentioned the 300wm kicks too much, that is subjective to your own definition of and tolerance for kick. I shot a 30-06, 7mm mag, 338 and my 300wm all at the range one day to see what difference I noticed in kick. For me, there was no noticable difference. That's just me. All but the 7mm mag were Ruger model 77's, the 7mm was Remenington Model 700. The guy who owned the 30-06 stated the same lack of noticed difference, and stated he bought the 30-06 instead of a larger rifle because of the expected increase in kick.

    As AKSoldier implied, the best thing to do is test fire a few to see what you like, make your choice and the just do a lot of quality shooting to master your weapon of choice. He and I will be back in AK in a couple months, when we get back, we can all go to the range and you can test any of my rifles you want.

    Ralph

  11. #11
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    I have a 7mag and I like it. One shot kills on grizzly, moose, sheep, and caribou with factory cor bonds 150 or 175 gr-it is my "go to rifle"

    that said... I like my 22.250 for caribou and wolves etc., my 45-70 as my bushwhacking close quarter moose and bear gun. The 7 mag is still the old reliable meat getter though.

  12. #12

    Default Make it interesting...

    especially for the brownie hunting and get yourself a good old lever action 3030!

  13. #13

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    I have been in Alaska sence I was a teenager,going on 50 years. I have lived on the trapline, guided,and flew as a bushpilot. The 30-06 has been my main gun for years. Some people think the 30-06 is too old to be effective, that sounds like a person with very little experience to me. The 375 is one of the best cal. for anything in Alaska,I have shot Caribou with very little meat damage, and stoped Grizzly's in there tracks. I was a guide and trapper, not a wantabe.

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    Talking my 2 cents

    since i use a 416 rem mag for brownies and a 340 weatherby for everything else-the ONLY logical conclusion is to compromise on a 375-----lol

  15. #15
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    I guess you'd have to ask yourself if you wanted to play 18 holes of golf with just a 5 Iron?

    You could pick any number of cartridges for an "all around rifle" but you're handicapping yourself. AK game runs from wolf to bison in body weight and from goats and griz to moose and bou in toughness- one rifle for all that stuff? It's been done with several (30-06, 375, .338 to name three) but you'll be overgunned or undergunned a lot of the time.

    You'll also have to ask yourself if you'll be guided or hunting with other companions who may have a more appropriate rifle. You'll also have to determine are you after meat where the first animal you run across is OK and you're really not after griz or are you looking to shell out serious cash for a trophy hunt and tangle with the biggest brownie on purpose?

    A lot of guys use one rifle for hunting AK but their goals are usually somewhat more limited. A .300 or .30-06 would get you started nicely and you could always evaluate from there.

  16. #16
    Member algonquin's Avatar
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    Default my vote is the 338WM

    I like the 338 WM as a all around gun but for a first gun maybe not. The recoil could effect your shooting for years by developing a flinch in you. As above try as many cal.'s as you can and pick something that you shoot well. Don't go for the lightest thing you can find or anything smaller than a 06'. I've seen a 06' work every bit as good as my 375 on a Black Bear. Good luck , don't worry you'll end up like the rest of us with a safe full of guns you just have to have, and a good reason for each!

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    in the .30 cal you can get a very wide range of ammo, any of them.[30-03/300win/300 weatherby and more] The 7mm is a very nice cal it is just more limited to ammo.I know it .30 cal I get 110 pinkers to 330gr round nose at any gun show.
    The 340 is also a real nice round.But you cant get the range of ammo like a .30 cal.I am talking killing yotes out to 400 yards.Than just swapout shells and soot elk to 400 yards.than jump to a dif ammo ant shoot bears at 50 yards.
    My number one gun is the 300 win.Same at the 06 just gives me little more distance.My wife states I have to many gunes :}

    It is the ammo that makes the caliber so good.Just cant beat the .30 cal.

    Charles

  18. #18
    Member AKDoug's Avatar
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    A lot of guys use one rifle for hunting AK but their goals are usually somewhat more limited.
    Not me.. I want to shoot everything in the regs with a 30-06.... I really have no reason to buy a bigger rifle.
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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    The ought 6 with good bullets

  20. #20
    Member Smokey's Avatar
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    Default 308?

    I am a bit suprised that the 308 seldom comes up ? There is an abundance of ammo, extremely accurate, would work in short action guns, and do a number on everything except the biggest bears... And, many of the AK folk were/are military and should have been exposed to that round a lot?
    My favorite is a 280 Rem, can load to almost 7MMag specs, no belted case, and pleasant to shoot. I have a Older Ruger 77R, glass bedded and trigger job, a real tack driver. However, ammo is hard to find and not a big mean bear stopper....
    I think my choice for 1 AK gun would be 300WM or 3006 in that order....

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