I have been trying to add to a small collection of rifles hunting, plinking, survial, etc. I have been for the past 3 years shooting the XS 7 in 308, Last year I won a 7mm-08 ruger NRA addition. The year before that I won an X7 in 30-06. My old reliable hunting rifle is a 30 year old 700 BDL in 270. I also have a 30-30 and a 45-70. So enough about what I have now to what I want not need. My oldest son who really isn't into hunting that much I would like to get him a gun so when he sees the light I can hand him his own. I am looking at two maybe three new calibers, 243, 25-06, and maybe the 257 Roberts. Concerns I have are ammo availability, yes I reload but for now only for the 308. Bullet selection for the calibers, and lastly longevity of the caliber. In other words which one will he not grow out of if he chooses to start hunting again. My youngest and I hunt all the time and he uses the 7mm-08 and I use the 308. Any suggestions, or rationale for any of the above new calibers would be great. I could hand him one I dont use, but like all gun junkies I want something I dont have.
Thank you in advance for your input
We have 2 - .243 win rifles as well as a 25-06. My girlfriend used to use the .243 for deer but I bought her the 25-06 to give her "more reach". The .243 is probably the cheapest ammo wise and is certainly enough for whitetail - but - I rate it out to around 150yds for use on deer. That's just me - with accurate placement I'm sure you can extent that. The 25-06 is more powerful and flat shooting which I "double" the range of the .243. The .243 is pretty mild recoil wise while the 25-06 is a little more kick - but less than a .270. I bought a Savage 11 Youth rifle in .243 for when my son can hunt deer in another 2 years. It's an excellent starter rifle or for those who are more recoil sensitive.
I was in a similar situation up until I picked up a 6.5 Creedmoor. I didn't have anything between the .22 centerfires and .30-06...
You would be hard pressed to go wrong with any of the three you mentioned. The .243 might be easier to find ammo for (just because it is based on the .308 case), but any bigger place that sells .243 ammo probably carries the other two as well. The Ma & Pa type shops might make thing more difficult - ammo wise. Anything the .243 can do, the .25's can do with a bit more oomph. Anything the .25's can do, the .243 will do just as well, provided you pick your shots.
My 6.5 CM has filled a niche, scratched an itch, and left me smiling. Factory ammo availability for it is a problem right now, but hopefully, that will change as soon as someone besides Hornady starts loading for it. In the meantime, reloading for it has taken up any slack there may have been. Of the three cartridges you mentioned, the 6.5 Creedmoor is in amongst them performance wise. I am giving up very little with it compared to a .25-06, for bullets of similar sectional densities. For paper-punching (sorry, no pun intended - - well maybe a little ), I have never worked with any cartridge and rifle combination quite this accurate. It has been a real jewel when it comes to tight groups.
If I was looking for another rifle in a different flavor from the current herd, and if I didn't already have the 6.5, I would probably take a .243 with no remorse. Then again, I have seen my B.I.L. make some pretty spectacular shots with his .25-06 - - same goes for a buddy with his .257... Then again, one of the guys I work with has made some pretty serious shots with his .243... Ain't it wonderful to try and make such a tough decision?
Not much help, am I?
Often it's not so much the cartridge as it is the shooter. According to your list, there are lots of cartridges you don't have (yet), but not a real "hole" in the collection. If you are going the "one from each caliber" route, and you have a 243 and a 7-08, and you feel you need to stay in a bolt gun, besides the 257Roberts and the 25-06, there is the new 250 Savage+P and the 257Roberts also comes in the +P loading. Going into the 26 caliber, my personal favorite is the 6.5x55 aka 6.5 Swede, but the 260Remington and 6.5rem mag are also good numbers. IF you are "Back East", I would stay with the short action cartridges as they have all the oomph anything East of the Mississippi requires, and they are a tad lighter and a tad shorter - I like short rifles. JMHO. A bolt gun in 35Remington would also be a consideration, or 358Win. They would be very close in performance, especially if handloaded to their potentials. The 284Win would be a neat short action cartridge with long action powder capacity. Doesn't take long before you find many of these are handloaded to reach their true potentials. Good luck in your quest.
WDRA, Billy Dixon Emeritus
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Personal preference is for the .243 but the reality is any one of the three are fine cartridges. I like the .243 because of ammo availability and cost of the ammo and of the three that is really the deciding factor. I won't take a shot in the Minnesota woods that is out of range for that caliber.
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Team 30-30, Team 1894, Team 60
all of the above and "I just like " the ole 7x57 mauser, another 2c
choose the caliber that makes you feel good.
Endeavor to Persevere
I like the 25-06 personally. I think of it as a .243 on steroids!
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I really enjoy my. 25-06 its a browning abolt and the cartridge really shines out of a 26" barrel. I call it my little laser beam. The other half loves it too.
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And it all started with I sure would like one of those 30-30 rifles. I do believe my wallet is doomed
I absolutley love .25's. After hunting most of my life with darn near every caliber, I've settled in to the .25's in my bolt guns (Levers are a different story).
My favorite is the 257Roberts, followed by the 25-06.