Which caliber and why?

Discussion in 'Modern Firearms' started by RLWEBB, Dec 21, 2020.

  1. M1J

    M1J Fawn

    Dec 20, 2020
    West Ky
    Either one can outshoot me. I’d go 308 simply because I have been able to find ammo over the past months.
  2. coach&hunt

    coach&hunt 6 pointer

    Dec 17, 2013
    7mm is my favorite round period. 308 for me has given me mixed results I just have never been impressed with it on deer. I have several 308 in tactical platforms and one hunting rifle. I tried to really adopt 308 as my main cartridge but just didn't like it. Deer I shot all ran and gave limited blood trails on longer shots. That is my experience. I have shot deer with all kinds of rounds and 308 is by far my least favorite.
    Junglekat likes this.
  3. Riflelooney

    Riflelooney 6 pointer

    Aug 7, 2016
    C&H. Mind if I ask what bullet?
    Seeing as how a 308 is only slightly slower than the 3006 and just a touch more than the old 300 Savage; And both of these are legendary killers of whitetail, I couldn’t imagine a 308 with proper bullets giving mixed results. Be curious to know what bullet was used. I had mixed results and had experiences similar to what you described with the hornady SSTs both 150s and 180s in 3006 years ago. Wondering if maybe that’s the projectile you used?

    Back when I loaded for the 308 and hunted with one; I loaded the old 150 Round Nose Hornady, 165 Partition and the 165 NBT. All three loads really let the daylight into deer and killed them as quick as anything else I’ve ever used.

    I like big game bullets going 2600-2900 FPS. Seems to give the best performance in terms of reliable expansion and no “blood shot” meat that’s so common with the magnums.
    davers and 1wildcatfan like this.
  4. Teach Deer

    Teach Deer 8 pointer

    Aug 4, 2013
    A lot depends on type of hunting and hunting location (public vs private and length of shot)...

    Both cartridges have advantages and neither one is actually a bad choice...being on the less than tall side, I really like youth stocks (especially with heavy clothes) and see a Ruger Compact 308 as about ideal for deer, black bear, elk with 150 grain Accubonds or TTSX or Nosler Partition bullets...it also makes a great rifle for women and teens...

    That said, I love my Savage 110 in 7mmRM...it is by far the most accurate rifle I have ever shot...it consistently shoots sub-MOA with most factory loads (it shoots about 1.5 MOA with Remington Core Lokts--that is the worst I have shot so far)...hits on 12" plates out to 500 yards is not actually difficult with a good rangefinder...there are really good reasons that long range "hunters" often choose the 7mmRM as their platform... My preferred ammo is Federal's Premium 160 grain Nosler Partition (3/4" groups--not the most accurate--just really good performance on game)...this is an elk load-no question-and is overkill for deer (but very comforting when hunting public land when you do not want your deer moving after the shot--none have so far)...

    I do not find the 7mmRM unpleasant to shoot (often shooting it kneeling or prone)...the recoil just does not bother me...the muzzle blast however IS SIGNIFICANT (without a break-with a break would be unimaginably loud)...it is a VERY LOUD cartridge...
  5. coach&hunt

    coach&hunt 6 pointer

    Dec 17, 2013
    I used federal soft points 165 grain. Come in a blue box, I'm jo expert in bullet type and all that, all the deer died, I recovered them all, it just wasn't as good. I prolly shot 12 deer or so with the 308 I still have it. Just don't ever reach for it.
  6. davers

    davers 12 pointer

    Jul 14, 2014
    A lot of Hunters that use the .308 cartridge for hunting Big Game, make a common mistake of reloading the .308 with bullets that are simply too heavy, in weight or construction, to give good expansion and are better suited for use in the .30-06 & .300 Win. Mag. When I reload my .308 ammo, I use bullets (150 grains)that could be used in a .30-30 or .300 Savage cartridges, and keep the velocity 2,500 - 2,700 FPS which at this velocity level I receive the best accuracy.
  7. Teach Deer

    Teach Deer 8 pointer

    Aug 4, 2013
    For best results with any cartridge, tuning the bullet to the type of hunting is important...
    The 308 is not a super speedy round so standard 30 cal bullets (Remington Core Lokt) work well for most applications...
    If hunting an area where shots tend to be close (less than 100 yards) either a tougher bullet or a heavy for caliber (think 180 grains) will do well...
    If hunting an area where shots stretch out (greater than 250 yards) a ballistic tip bullet (Nosler BT, Hornady SST, etc) will give better performance...

    Using a BT bullet up close CAN result in early fragmentation and shallow penetration (poor results)...using a really tough bullet like a Winchester Fail Safe, GMX, A Frame, etc at long distance CAN result in no expansion (think FMJ) and a small hole completely penetrating (poor results)...
    In both cases above with a 308, the deer likely dies but the recovery can be difficult...
    Reverse the situations (BT at distance and A Frame up close) and deer drop amazingly...

    I tend to prefer the Nosler Partition in nearly every caliber because of its ability to perform well at any distance (due to its design)...soft front core for longer distance...tough rear core for up close...weight retention will be based on distance of impact and how much fragmentation you get from the front core)...
    davers likes this.
  8. 120+

    120+ 12 pointer

    You get a good .308 and you can load for groundhogs to elk.
    davers likes this.

    RLWEBB 12 pointer

    Nov 30, 2005
    Staffordsville, KY
    Thanks guys. Lots of good replies and lots of good points for both calibers. Considering buying a Savage LRH in one of those calibers. I’ve got a .308 barrel for my Encore and I’ve seen first hand what a 168 grain TTSX does for deer and elk. Just wanted others thoughts and opinions.
    CRFmxracer likes this.
  10. jblack1

    jblack1 12 pointer

    Dec 13, 2005
    Science Hill
    Either caliber will work for any game in the U.S.
    I actually am a fan of both but the 7 Mag has proven better for me even though the 308 has never failed me.

    I took my 12 year old son youth hunting yesterday, I asked which caliber he wanted to take,
    He said dad I don't want it to run off and I've watched you shoot deer with the 7 Mag and I want to take it.

    He shot a deer with the 7 Mag yesterday evening, I think now he'll want to make it his new hunting rifle.
    RLWEBB and CRFmxracer like this.
  11. Dangermouse

    Dangermouse 6 pointer

    Jan 20, 2004
    Hazard, Ky, USA.
    Some of folks are moving to bullets with lower ballistic coefficient than the old .30 cal bullets. But that only comes into play over 700 yds. I am not really into killing a lot deer but plugging one over 700 yds sounds great.
  12. ptbrauch

    ptbrauch 12 pointer

    Nov 10, 2004
    The OC
    I'd vote .308 because it's only $1 to pull the trigger instead of $2.
    captainshotgun likes this.
  13. Riflelooney

    Riflelooney 6 pointer

    Aug 7, 2016

    I’m not sure Id call a fail safe a tough bullet. I recovered one from a whitetail that I shot at 100 yards with a .375h&h. Believe it or not, the bullet is on my reloading bench.

    A NBT is a wonderful deer bullet....I’ve used them in 250 savage, 7-08, 7x57, 308, 30-06. No flies on the “hunting” line of BT at all...

    But for a no frills do it all bullet. A partition is hard to beat.
    RLWEBB likes this.
  14. littletom

    littletom 8 pointer

    Feb 24, 2008
    Knob Lick, Ky
    A elk is a great animal that can take lots lead. I shot in in 2008 with a 06 in the lungs first shot just stood there second walked about 20 yards third broke a leg. Saw one stand up and walk around from a 300 ultra mag this November. Killing a elk and a deer are very different. I would start with a 7 mag and go up from what i have seen with my own eyes for western hunting. Where i hunted sneaking alittle closer not always a option. The selway in idaho is one rough place.
    RLWEBB likes this.
  15. HCDH66

    HCDH66 6 pointer

    Apr 10, 2019
    Hardin County
    I vote 7mm-08.

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