One gun/caliber person question.
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Thread: One gun/caliber person question.

  1. #1
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    One gun/caliber person question.

    IF a person is a hunter and can only afford ONE rifle, what would be the best choice of caliber, keeping in mind the person lives in the lower 48? Thank you for the input!

    Okay, The person lives in Eastern Oregon and Montana. Person hunts deer, elk, protects his property, hand loads and also shoots factory ammo. The person hunts in the timber, hay fields, sage country. Recoil is not an issue. Hope this clears up some while considering your answer. Just remember, the fella only has one gun.
    Last edited by bakercity; 11-20-2016 at 11:14 AM. Reason: claification
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  2. #2
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    That's easy. 30-06

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  3. #3
    Gun Wizard
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    Here we go again!

    PS. I do agree on the 30-06 though I don't have one.

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  5. #4
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    I've always considered the 30-06 Springfield to be a great all-around cartridge. It is available in just about any action format (bolt, pump, lever, semi, or single-shot), factory ammo is available with bullets from 55-220 grains, it can be effective to 1000 yards, and ammo is widely available. There are other cartridges that equal it, but none are as versatile or as easy to find/purchase as the venerable ought-six.

    Second-place would have to go to the .308 Winchester...for the same reasons stated above (excepting bullet choices).
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  6. #5
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    I agree with .30-06 as well. The variety of bullet options makes it a very flexible cartridge...I've even heard of guys loading sized buckshot pellets for plinking and small game. If you aren't planning on hunting anything above CXP2 game, .30-30 is also a viable choice for the same reason, while being offered in generally handier rifles.
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  7. #6
    Gun Wizard
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    I'll agree with the previous posts. Having driven through at least 30 of them though, I will say that areas of the "lower 48" are vastly different.
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  8. #7
    Marlin Marksman
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    orSince whitetail would likely be the primary game animal I would pick or suggest the .270. As with the 30-06 so many options on factory ammo, you can tail your load to your specific hunting conditions.

    So many posters on Marlin Owners over the years have posted inheriting or acquiring a rifle as I like to state the "Guns of our Fathers" or for some their grandfathers. For the most part, their fathers had one deer rifle. Regardless of rifle style or caliber our relatives that have passed on. They made one rifle work for them.....and they knew how to use it. I do respect a hunter with just one hunting rifle showing its age and scars of previous hunts over the years.....he knows how to use it.

    Last edited by Dawei; 11-20-2016 at 08:43 PM.

  9. #8
    Marlin Marksman
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    Depends on what you plan to hunt!!!

    Big game 30-06
    Everything else .22 magnum

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  10. #9
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    bakercity - You did not say whether you would reload for this rifle or stay with factory ammunition. As has been stated the 30-06 has a wide range of bullet weights offered in factory ammunition. It can be used to hunt just about anything from mice to moose, keeping ranges within reason. However, if you intend to reload for it I think the 308 Winchester makes a good case for its self. By reloading you can buy bullet weights and styles not readily offered in factory ammunition, and it comes in a "short" action rifle, in all the styles offered in the 30-06. Either way, save your empty brass, it will be far more valuable in the future than it is now. If you have a 44-40 I assume you already reload. Or if not, you don't shoot it much, or have some deep pockets. Again I hope you are saving your brass. I have a 308 Winchester in both a single shot and a semi-automatic, and don't feel under gunned against anything in North America except the big bears at close range. Good luck with your choice.
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  11. #10
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    Hey Baker,

    Depends on the area one hunts, or anticipates hunting. Here in PA, the average venison at 75 yds. (lots of places around here, 75 yards would be a "long" shot) LOL

    If longer shots are "regularly" encountered, agree with Texas Shooter, the 30-06 is tough to beat. The 30-06 is a "proven" caliber, and will take venison (deer/elk/moose) and ursine critters with aplomb. Even with a small amount of practice, a competent rifleman/woman can place shots accurately at 200 yds. A bit more practice, and venison can/have been harvested in excess of 500 yds. (the .308 generates near the same ballistics, with less recoil and a rifle about 1/2 pound lighter)

    All of the calibers based on the '06 are good choices for venison. The .338/06 and the .35 Whelen are excellent ursine medicine.

    For strictly venison, the .243, 6.5 Swedish/Mauser and 7mm Mauser are good "low recoiling" choices.

    The only "draw back" is that with few exceptions (BLR, 760...) the .308/30-06 is usually a bolt action rifle. Not quite as "handy" in the "thick".

    If most/all hunting is done in the "thick", then either the 30-30, .32 Special (32-40), .35 Rem, 38-55 or 45/70 will fill the "bill". All of these rifle/calibers have taken lots of game, over the years.

    If hunting bear, moose and elk in the "thick" is on the annual itinerary, the 45/70 may well be the best choice.

    Here in PA, the 30-30 (notice the "hyphen") LOL still "harvests" the vast majority of venison.

    Okay Baker, have outlined the main "options" LOL

    Think it depends. If a hunter/huntress lives out in the "wide open", a good bolt rifle (maybe with a bi-pod?) would be "best".

    If the hunter/huntress lives and hunts in the "thick", the lever rifle offers a lot of advantages.

    If recoil is a problem (smaller shooter/injuries), the 30-30 is still a great caliber.

    If brown ursines are expected (or on the menu), the 45/70 (or .444) is good medicine.

    Another option for a "physically challenged" hunter (or a youth) would be an 1894 in .357 Mag. Low on recoil, light in weight, "handy" and just fine for close hunting.

    Of course, if a hunter is mainly concerned with tree rats and rabbits, the Marlin 39 is a GREAT RIFLE!

    Sorry, failed to list "one rifle/caliber" LOL!

    Think the hunter/huntress needs to decide which game is to be pursued, and the topographic features of the area to be hunted........before a logical choice can be made.

    How much recoil can the hunter "stand"? How much weight can the hunter "pack"?

    Ammo/component availability? "Selection"? (quality bullets/ammo for a variety of game)

    Later, Mark
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