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Western Hunter Advice Needed

1468 Views 16 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  M700
Ok, just moved to Washinton State from MO. This is not mid-range rifle territory. I love the short barrel carbines like my sweet little 30/30. It is the sweetest shooting gun I have ever pulled the trigger on and will do an honest 1/2 inch or better at 100 yards with LE ammo. I figure 250 yards is about the extent of my useful range with this rig. It will be promoted to black bear duty. But, the guys I have been talking to tell me that 300 yards is very common here and 400 yards is not unusual on both mulies and elk.

Since i am a life long levergunner bolt guns wont do. Neither will an AR. And please dont get me started on those BLRs. So which will it be, the 308mx or the 338mx? I am leaning strongly toward the 338mx since elk are abundant and I may even draw a Moose Tag one day.

Any thoughts for this new hunter in the west?

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Without question the 338 is the way to go IMVHO.
338 and lots of practice. 308 as a second choice in the Marlins. I have other levers that shoot flatter if that is an option. I choose the rifle after I plan on where I'm hunting. DP
Welcome to Washington! Where did you land? Have plenty of that up-close hunting available in some places, so don't throw away the close range rigs. Bow hunting is real popular here, as is muzzle loading, so you know it's not all 250+ yard shooting... I've taken several deer well within 70 yards, as close as 30 yards, and I hunt the "dry side" where ranges are normally longer.

Good binoculars are helpful. A rangefinder can be useful. Get some good maps, there's a surprising amount of private property mingled in with the Forest Service & BLM lands. Nice to know where it is. Rain gear is a good idea.

Start putting in for the special-draw hunts soon. This year. Although you can buy over-the-counter elk, deer & bear tags, if you want to hunt one of the rut hunts, or draw a once-in-a-lifetime bighorn sheep, mountain goat or moose tag, you'll need quite a few years to build up the points. If you've got kids, get them started in the draw process soon as well. Build points so they can draw those tough hunts while they're young enough to handle the mountains.

Lots of good rifle ranges scattered around the state, great places to practice, and to meet some of the local riflemen as well.

Another Marlin Owner in Washington. Cool.

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I purchased my 338 to do western hunts like you're describing. Given the capabilities of the 338 I was so impressed with the recoil and accuracy that if I could only have a 308 or 338 the decision would be easy for me.... 338. For most everything else here in the hills of Tenn... my sweet 30-30 is just perfect. Just one vote but I'd go big.
pb Welcome to the Evergreen state! Guy pretty much summed it up for hunting here. as you know we have all kinds of different terrain, the west side has pretty thick foliage where the east side is pretty open with lots of sage brush. I mainly hunt the open sage for deer and some shots can be long ones but not all, I you are going to hunt Elk the 338 would probably be the best bet but for every thing elsa the 308 will be just fine, most areas on the east side are 3 point or better and does are by permit. we have Rocky mountain and Roosevelt Elk, Black tail, White tail and some big Mule deer and all kinds of other game to hunt. welcome from the dry side. Dennis

Don't forget the shotgun:

I think the .338 would be my choice between the two:

High country wilderness - for the High Buck Hunt in September:

Columbia River vastness:

Clear cuts and thick timber:

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Guy, I'd say you're living the dream...... Nice pics!
Thanks, I haven't done as much Marlin/lever-gun hunting here as I'd like. The .22 Marlin 39A gets used some in the spring for rock chucks if I'm hunting an area where I don't need a longer-range, flat-shooting varmint rifle. A mulie fell to my .45/70 a few years back, and the .30-30 gets carried a bit, but I have to admit I do most of my hunting here with a single-shot Ruger or a bolt-action Remington.

I do love living here, and the fishing isn't bad either:

pb has a whole new place to explore, and I think he's going to enjoy.
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.338MX or MXLR would be my choice. Welcome and good luck.
Thanks for the welcome and advice. M700 im am in Walla Walla and plan to start scouting the Blue Mountains this weekend. Maybe i should wait for the snow to melt but i am excited.

Ok 338 MX it is! Guess that is what I was hoping everyone would say anyway.

I see some talk about "barrel droop" i guess that means bent barrels or barrels that are not straight?
The barrels point down in relation to the receiver, makes mounting a scope and getting it to zero a real pain. If you only used barrel mounted sights, no issue, even a receiver mounted peep could be used with a shorter front sight. DP
Wow, there is no excuse for that. Is Remington addressing the issue? Man talk about a way to ruin one of the best leverguns ever made.
Good choice. Do your research here reading about barrel droop issue. I've never read an official Marlin Release describing how receiver manufacturer's QC, Marlin Inspection/Receiving, and Post assembly QC could have missed an issue this huge. But as someone looking from afar the receiver bore and thread for the barrel was misaligned by several degrees down. (An astonishing error in this day and age of just about everyone with ISO certified QC processes!) As someone in the manufacturing business, for the life of me I just can't imagine how it got past at least 3 inspections; receiver subcontractor's QC then Marlin assembly, then Marlin Final Inspection QC. Read here so you know how to inspect your to avoid the issue. Bottomline you must touch the rifle and know what to look for before you purchase any MX until the faulty guns are flushed from the pipeline.

One day I hope to take pictures like those above while carrying my 338 looking for elk. You'll love the rifle, just make sure you get a good one.
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i am jealous that you are out there... i want a hunting season home there so i can fly out for a few months at a time, hunt, then come home when i get homesick... boy that would be nice... wonder if i could convince the bank i need that? ;D

looks like a good camera may be a necessity. i have a cousin that lived there for a short while. and some of the pics he sent me were breathtaking to say the least!

those are some BREATHTAKING pictures you posted there!! i want to be there!! (clicking heels) theres no place like washington, theres no place like washington, theres no place like washington... dang it... not working... :(

pb - that Walla Walla area can be real nice. The Blues are known to hold some HUGE bull elk... Most of us just get to hunt for spikes, but start putting in for those branch antler bull tags - you'll get drawn eventually.

You're real close to the famous Hells Canyon region too. Well worth exploring. And the Grande Ronde river has some awesome fishing...

I think you landed in a real good place for an outdoorsman. Welcome to the Pacific Northwest!

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