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  • need a new gun

    I went out caribou hunting for the first time this past week and have decided I have to much gun for the "smaller" big game. I took my trusty ruger m77 .338 (my only hunting rifle). made a good shot but the bullet hit a rib bone going in and the shoulder on the exit. lost a lot more meat than I find acceptable. I am thinking of either a .243 or .270. I need to be able to reach out there to the 250yd range if need be but most shots should be much closer. I have a ar 5.56 that I am confident would do the job out to 150yrds but not sure beyond that. any advise would be much appreciated

    thanks
    matt

  • #2
    A .270 or 7mm-08 is a good medium cartridge option. I have a .270wsm that works great for me.
    Responsible Conservation > Political Allocation

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    • #3
      Wait, I need a new gun, isnt that a Huey Lewis song?
      Seriously though, a .270 would give you a flatter trajectory and a smaller grain bullet. Its a pretty common round so ammo is not exotic. I agree with your description of meat loss, a .338 can be a bulldozer.

      My go-to boo rifle is a .303 British only because I have learned to love lobbing rounds at targets. Ok, that and I have had it for 50years and still have a pile of decent casings to reload. A hunting partner had a 25-06. He would push an 80 gr bullet and it did its job on boos and sheep.

      I like going light when I can but I also like a margin of power on a long shot and I think a 25-06 might come up short.

      Good Luck!
      All paradise rests in the shadow of swords." ~K. Yates

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      • #4
        6.5x55 or 7x57
        ...he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods & errors. ~Thomas Jefferson
        I would rather have a mind opened by wonder than one closed by belief. ~Gerry Spence
        The last thing Alaska needs is another bigot. ~member Catch It

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        • #5
          I own both the 270 and 243 and I would use the 270 if picking between these two. A 7mm08 or a 280 would also be a good choice. The 243 is accurate enough to hit vitals at this distance but a little lite in the killing power at this range. If I went with the 243 I would use a good bullet in the 100 grain range.

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          • #6
            .308 with a 150 grain nosler partition, accurate and easy to find ammo for... great medium size rifle with less recoil kids or wife could shoot it too if thats an option....

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            • #7
              We have used 338 WM's for many years and as long as we picked out shots, meat lose was not that great. However back to the question at hand, there are several good calibers out there for hunting caribou. They all have their limitations though. The 243 is a good choice and we have used one with 85/95 grain bullets, but kept out shot less then 250 yards. We have also used a 270 with 130 grain bullets and it was also a good performer. The one that I like to use is my BAR10 in 308 Winchester. It is set up for long range shooting and has not let me down. The longest shot I have made was 490 yards, check with a laser and shooting off a bipod. As with all hunting, shot placement is important and all of these caliber could result in a lot of lost meat. There have been many good suggestions so far, and one thing to keep in mind is 'can I get ammo for that caliber most any place'? Without ammo the best caliber is useless!

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              • #8
                Switch bullets to something harder, or a mono type i.e. Barnes, E-Tip, etc. Generally big "slower" bullets cause less meat damage than fast light bullets. Better yet, don't shoot them in the shoulder.

                A 243 is a nice choice for deer size game, but I'd opt for something with a bit bigger bullet for caribou. I've killed a lot of game (to include a pile of deer/antelope and a couple elk) with a 243 and know what it can do. It's hell on deer size game, bigger than that, I'd want a bigger gun. Matter of fact just saw my nephew smoke a nice deer with his 243 a few days back. Bang, flop.... as per the norm with them.

                I've taken a lot of game with a 270, and 280. To include deer, caribou and elk sized critters. More than adequate for Caribou, IMO.

                Lately I've become quite partial to a 308. There are lots and lots of options out there, and most of them will work just fine. My advice is to find a rifle that feels good to you and learn how to shoot it well. What size bullet that comes out the end doesn't really matter in the end.

                No such thing as too much gun. Dead is dead no mater what you shoot it with. Also no such thing as too many rifles.

                I shot a 30lb duiker with a 375H&H... didn't think it was too much gun, btw. Made a nice little hole going in and out...

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                • #9
                  I'd go with the .308 as well, if you really have to have a new gun. Otherwise, the little 168gr Barns TTSX worked great on my Caribou last year. 100 yards and found it under the skin on the far side. Only damage was where it busted the shoulder blade.

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                  • #10
                    This sounds more like bullet than caliber. I use a 338 for everything and have found it with 250 grain partitions or grand slams to be an excellent meat saver but also kills stuff quick. Even on deer either bullet works great.

                    I've also used the fabled 270 and it made jelly out of the three animals I shot with it using cor lokts, switched to triple shocks on a moose, and they zipped through and did little damage and required 3 good hits to bring it down and a lengthy wait to expire.

                    If you want a new rifle, get a new rifle, but the caliber was not at fault for the caribou.

                    And if getting a new rifle, i'd skip the zippy 270 on down to the 243. Big speed and big energy but so easy to have big splatters. I'm a big bullet at sane speeds kind of guy. I want a hole in em, and I'll do the rest on the track.

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                    • #11
                      Can't believe no one has said a 30-06. That's the only gun I have hunted with and own. You can get a 55 Grain Excellerator on up to 220 g
                      PEOPLE SAY I HAVE A.D.D I DON'T UNDERSTA.....OH LOOK A MOOSE !!!

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                      • #12
                        I am selling a Weatherby in .270 Win with a Leupold scope. PM me if you're interested. I also agree with the posts about bullet selection. I shot a bull moose at very close range with my .375 H&H right in the chest, bullet exited behind the shoulder. Barnes X bullet. I didn't throw away more than 1 handful of meat.
                        Hunt Ethically. Respect the Environment.

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                        • #13
                          No need to not use the 338 WM. I think you could avoid the meat damage issue with a different bullet or slowing the bullet down, and shot placement too. There's a lot to be said, like others have here, about a bigger bullet with moderate speed. It's probably why the 30-06 hardly ever, ever fails to do a good job; it has a good selection of bullets with moderate speed.

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                          • #14
                            I vote for the 30.06 as well. It's a do everything good caliber.

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                            • #15
                              6.5x55 or 30-06

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