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Which cartridge to get???

WeedyJ

5 year old buck +
My stepson, who never had any outdoor experience growing up, has embraced the outdoors since I married his mom 9 years ago. He's 26 and I'm looking at getting him a rifle for Christmas. I know the 30-06 is so yesterday, but I still like the option of throwing out that heavy lead if I want too. I know nothing of the 6.5 Creedmoor other than it seems to be the trendy round, and he won't be shooting over 200 yards unless he hunts out west or on different property from mine. I thought about a .308, but for deer hunting, why? If he's only gonna have 1 rifle, I still favor the old 30-06. Opinions?
 

35-acre

5 year old buck +
I really like my 7mm.

Another thought is, you could just buy him a bunch of ammo for the rifle that he'll use to sight it in. The ammo itself will probably cost more than the rifle the way things are going right now. And not to hijack the thread with politics but with the election coming up I would guess ammo is going to be harder to find and more expensive. Well, so ill rifles.
 

Tree Spud

5 year old buck +
I know the 30-06 is so yesterday, but I still like the option of throwing out that heavy lead if I want too.

So yesterday but one of the best overall rifles to kill any size game in North America. My first rifle was a Browning 30-06 I bought 25 years ago, still have it. Ammo readily available and very accurate. The only issue is that it is a big load to learn to shoot for a 26 year new to hunting and shooting.

Don't pass on a .308 as a consideration. I have a Ruger Hawkeye M77. A smaller, lighter rifle than the 30-06 and does not have the same wallop a 30-06 has. When my nephew started hunting at age 18, I started him on this.

Two suggestions ... you want them to be comfortable with spending time on the range so they can practice and become comfortable shooting so size of caliber is important.

Second, buy a bolt action and teach them how to make the first shot count. If you get them a semi auto they can become lead slingers and never truly learn how to shoot.

I wouldn't assume this will be the only gun he owns, if he enjoys shooting, one gun is never enough :emoji_wink:
 

roymunson

5 year old buck +
Shotgun hunter here, but on my trip out west i used a 7 mag. Good gun. and it'll get the job done.

but the nostalgia of a 30-06 may be worthwhile.

Whitetails aren't the biggest animal in the world. I think you'll do fine with any of these if you teach him to make the first one count.
 

tynimiller

5 year old buck +
I LOVE our .257R for deer, BUT round accessibility is something I'd consider and probably never encourage someone to get an "oddball" or less "chosen" round. Which is why I almost always circle back to 30-06, .270 or .308 - all are more than enough, arguably the first two are too much depending on bullet selection, and are readily available even when ammo is slim pickings.

I am a bow hunter 90.9% of the time, and muzzleloader gets grabbed far more than anything else BUT if I were going to get a rifle I'd lean to the 30-06 myself due to the ability to go very light or very heavy...go from speed goats to moose if need to.
 

S.T.Fanatic

5 year old buck +
.270, 7mm-08, or .308 is what I would go with.
 

Barndog56

5 year old buck +
.270, .308, 30-06, can't go wrong with any of those.

I just bought a Savage 110 scout in .308 from Midway USA to be delivered on the 7th. Now I just need to find some ammo.
 

WeedyJ

5 year old buck +
Thanks for the input. I keep circling back to '06 because of round availability. And I agree on the bolt action/1 shot thoughts
 

ruskbucks

5 year old buck +
I also shoot a Browning a bolt 30 -06. I have no desire or need to get anything different.it it has never let me down. I just bought the wife a tikka 6.5. Sweet gun, little kick and should take any whitetail done easily. Kid shoots a 7mm 08 that has done him good. They both enjoy shooting them with the low recoil. One of those is what I would suggest.
 

Troubles Trees

5 year old buck +
Ammo availability is something to consider these days, and I agree to get him a bolt action. I would say giving someone their first gun depends on how well he does at the range now, or has he still not gone shooting yet? I also agree that one gun is never enough for someone that takes to hunting so he will pick another flavor down the road.

If for now it is only for deer, I would suggest the .243 or .270 but there is nothing wrong with the 30-06 and it will handle an Elk if he ever wanted to go that route. Ammo availability is good with those 3 cartridges.
 

j-bird

Moderator
When I got my deer rifle (IN was a VERY limited for a long time)....I considered a 30-06 and a 308....I settled on a 308....great over the counter options on ammo, and not a shoulder pounder. My 16 year old daughter uses my 308 and has claimed it as "hers"....I got a Howa 1500 gameking combo gun with a scope for right at $500.
 

yoderjac

5 year old buck +
My stepson, who never had any outdoor experience growing up, has embraced the outdoors since I married his mom 9 years ago. He's 26 and I'm looking at getting him a rifle for Christmas. I know the 30-06 is so yesterday, but I still like the option of throwing out that heavy lead if I want too. I know nothing of the 6.5 Creedmoor other than it seems to be the trendy round, and he won't be shooting over 200 yards unless he hunts out west or on different property from mine. I thought about a .308, but for deer hunting, why? If he's only gonna have 1 rifle, I still favor the old 30-06. Opinions?

I have an old Rem 760 game master in .30-06. It has been a good gun for the money, but I almost never need a quick second shot. For hunting whitetail in the eastern forest, it is all I'd ever need. We have few places where a shot is over 100 yards and almost zero opportunities over 300 yards in this habitat. Our deer are not large compared to the north.

However, I'm closing in on retirement. I figured if I want to buy a rifle, now is the time to do it. I have a TC Pro Encore muzzleloader and I was very happy with it. I decided that rather than getting a new rifle, I'd just buy another barrel for it. Who know what retirement will bring. For now, I just hunt deer and turkey locally in VA, but who knows about the future. I may want to try larger game like elk or moose or longer range hunting like antelope. I took a hard look at calibers. I ended up with .300 Win Mag. Can shoot a 180 grain bullet and get slightly better ballistics than i get with a 150 grain bullet in my .30-06.

The Pro-hunter is pretty light. I ended up getting a Howitzer muzzle brake for it. I liked the combination so much that I bought another frame for it so I don't have to swap between the .300 Win Mag and Muzzleloader barrels. I think this is a great overall caliber. It can handle larger game and/or longer distance hunting. With the muzzle brake, it has almost no kick.

Here is a thread with lots of details: https://habitat-talk.com/index.php?threads/tc-encore-pro-hunter-300-win-mag-thoughts.11663/

For specific hunting situations and game, there are other calibers that are a better fit, but this combo in .300 WIn Mag is hard to beat for overall flexibility.

Thanks,

Jack
 

chickenlittle

5 year old buck +
6.5 Creedmoor would be a good choice. Has become pretty popular so ammo choice is pretty good. I bought my 6.5 Swede when the 6.5C had been out for a little while and not that available yet. I love my Swede out to 200yards, my max where I hunt. Fun and easy to shoot. If I bought again, I'd get the Creedmoor instead.

Anything mentioned works. If he would like a lever gun, .30-30 is a nice choice too. Unless he's experienced shooting higher kicking rounds, I'd stay with .243, .25-06, 7-08, 6.5, .30-30 for deer.
 

Bill

Administrator
First rifle was a Remington 760 pump 30-06. I love the gun! My go to is a browning x-bolt 7mm rem mag with a muzzle break. It kills elk!

my favorite to shoot and not have any kick is a 6.5 creedmore. No kick, great ballistics, perfect. I wouldn’t hunt elk with it. But no problem hunting white tails..
 

Skeeter

A good 3 year old buck
For a fairly new shooter I would try to keep the recoil at a lower level than an 06 or .270 win. Recoil creates bad habits. When inexperienced hunters ask me what they should get for a first deer hunting rifle I usually recommend the .308. It's plenty for any deer out to 300 yards and I can find ammo almost anywhere. When I take kids hunting we grab the .300 blk and limit shots to 150 yds. With minimal recoil and good hearing protection the kids shoot it very well and are less likely to flinch.
 

Natty Bumppo

5 year old buck +
First rifle was a Remington 760 pump 30-06. I love the gun!

Agree. I use its younger brother, the 7600, in the Vermont deer woods. Very Larry Benoit!

If I was going to buy a new rifle, I think I would jump on the 6.5 Creedmore bandwagon.
 

bigbendmarine

5 year old buck +
Have quite a few rifles from .308 down to .243, and as a tank crewman in the USMC shot all the way up to 120mm... and my take away shooting lots of different calibers is when it comes to whitetail I prefer the lightest caliber I have, the .243. Both the 6.5 and .243 have great ballistic profiles and low recoil. At least as relates to the ones I own the 6.5 is a long barrel AR version and is heavy and cumbersome to carry in the field. My .243, a Browning BAR, is light, easy to carry, recoil is downright minimal, and everything I've shot with it has died, including a decent 10 point buck and a dozen or so hogs.

The .243 also can make a perfect hand-me-down caliber to any offspring he may have someday, and even so at a young age.

If you're throwing moose, elk, bear, etc, into the equation, likely would make a different suggestion, but with whitetail as long as discipline is taken with ideal shot selection, good vital shots = dead deer, and super low recoil, as others have shared, doesn't lead as much to bad habits (such as flinching with trigger pull) or desires to minimize range time.
 

bigbendmarine

5 year old buck +
Might should add that if find a nice, lighter 6.5 I might change my shared preference over the 6.5. Again, I just happened to get a heavy long barreled AR version to maximize accuracy and round velocity, and it being a bit more cumbersome don't pick it up as much. Sure there are LOTS of lighter 6.5's out there to pick from. Will say this for the 6.5, mine shoots like a laser beam.
 

bjseiler

5 year old buck +
I have a 30-06 that was my dad's. Hold it in the kill zone anywhere out to 250 and the deer will die. It is a wallop on the shoulder for kids. Bought a 6.5 Grendal (technically a pistol with a 12" barrel) which I used last year. It kicks about as much as a .410 and my 12 year old daughter has no problems shooting it. Oddball round though. Apocalypse happens and you certainly aren't finding that round at the corner gas station.
 

Apple Junkie

5 year old buck +
One man's opinion, I love a .270 because it shoots quite flat out to 200 yards and is more that enough to drop a deer or black bear in it's tracks. The .308 is probably just as good. The 30-06 is a bit bigger than what you need for most "eastern" hunting in my opinion, but certainly a good rife. The man pulling the trigger is really the biggest difference maker, no matter which gun you settle on.
 
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