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Discussion Starter #1
I’m looking for a new deer rifle and need suggestions on caliber and perhaps make and model.

Right now nearly all of my hunting (deer, bear, elk) is done with my .300 Ultra Mag Model 70 Winchester. It’s a great gun in an awesome cartridge but it can get messy with deer if you hit bone...

I’m looking for something a little tamer but not too tame. I’m leaning towards a .308 or 7mm-08. I also have a .300 Savage in Model 99 Savage and it is a great round as well but I’m looking for a little more thump.

I’ll be up front about this right now...I am not interested in a 30-06. Nothing against it at all but I’ve always wanted to be a little different and literally every other hunter in the woods has an 06. It’s a great round and has killed many a deer but I’m just not into it.

So what do you think? Thanks for any suggestions.
 

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7-08, 308, in one of the cheap Savage or Ruger bolt actions.
Not pretty guns but shoot well enough for deer hunting, actually will shoot better than most shooting positions presented in the field.
Or go with the darling of the decade the 6.5 Creedmore, maybe a bit light for 500lb bears though. But as always shot placement is everything. Use the 300 UM for elk and bear.
 

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One of these days I'm going to break down and buy a new rifle. Maybe not anytime soon, but I've been reading up in the meantime. I've also looked into the .308 and 7mm-08. Both are very capable catridges and will do what you need it to do. That said, after plenty of reading, research, and having shot all three calibers, the next rifle I buy will be a 6.5 Creedmoor. More than enough thump for medium-sized game, and flies very flat and accurate. Production ammo is getting more readily available as well.
 

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As an all around rifle, 308 is hard to beat. I feel confident with my 16.5 inch 308 out to 5-600 yards on deer. You have to have a rangefinder and either a reticle or dials to be effective as it is not exactly flat shooting. 260, 6.5 creed, or 7-80 would be better if long range is your deal. Also could go 25-06 or my choice, 257 weatherby. There are tons of options and all have their place.
Biggest questions are what range you plan to shoot and do you reload?
 

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.280 Remington I had one of these in an abolt medallion. It was a shooter!!! Needed $ so I sold it . Great whitetail round. I would get another one!
 

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One can never gro wrong with a good old fashion Remington pump action 30/06...this time tested duo is just about the perfect big game PA combo....
 

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My dad uses a Remington 700 SPS in 7mm-08. We tend to be heavier bullet weight guys so I load 162 grain Hornady Interlocks for him. It flat out hammers everything that he shoots with it. Of all the deer he's taken with it, only one has even taken a step afterward. We have never recovered a bullet regardless of the angle of the shot. I would not hesitate to shoot a bear or elk with that round. A .308 in that rifle would do the same. It's really a matter of personal preference. Both of those cartridges are popular, with cheap and easy to obtain ammo, something which will be more and more of a consideration as time goes on.
 

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Ever think about going down to a 25/06? great round for deer and ground hogs , throw in coyote , lots of talk on other sites about hunters using the round for elk
 

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Hard to beat your 300 Savage as it will do whatever the 308 will do. Need more thump and don't want a 30-06 try the 300 ultra mag. I know you have one. Want something different: in factory form try 260, 280, 35 whelen, 6.5 Rem mag, 264 mag or in reload form try a wildcat how about 338-06.
 

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IMO the 7-08 is a near perfect deer round for PA , BUT other than the 280, I've never been able to warm up to 7mms. Had a 7 mag, wasn't impressed and sold it, sold 2 different 7-08s (killed 2 deer, it did fine). I'm more of a 30 cal and up guy for most of my hunting, at least for now.
So.....since the 06 is off your list take a look at the 35 whelen and 358 Win. Ruger did a special run of 358 Win recently so they're around as well as the occasional savage 99 in that round.
CDNN has compact rugers in 338 RCM for $499, I'm liking that round as well, took at deer with it, dropped on the spot, no excessive damage. People will tell you don't buy an RCM (300 or 338). Lay in a supply of ammo or get into reloading....no problem. I'm obviously ok with having more gun than necessary for deer. Truth be told if you're pushing a 100-200 grain bullet in the neighborhood of 2500-2900 fps or so you're good for just about any deer at usual hunting distances. Just have to be confident in what your carrying and place the bullet.
 

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Since you have a heavy hitting rifle I too would go with something smaller. 7mm-08,just recently bought one for my wife and it's really good. I also really like the .260 and 6.5 creedmoor. Even a .243 isn't bad. I'm a handloader and like "odd" calibers myself so I wouldn't hesitate to go withnsomething like a 6.5x284 , .257 roberts or 6.5x55.

Basically anything between 6mm-7mm that's not a magnum.
 

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Stick to the 308 Win., ammo everywhere and will handle everything in North America close up and far. I have a Model 70 Featherweight and this thing just flat shoots factory loads. Light weight, low recoil, and balanced, which is a huge advantage hunting and hiking big timber.

I declined the 30-06 as well - there is no reason for a long action bolt to cycle that shell casing especially when a short action 308 chambering will match the '06 performance. Just my two cents.
 

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Do you have a price range? The Sako Finnlight packages you find from time to time are real shooters. I still think about a BLR in 308 from time to time again, but would love a Model 99 in 308 too (as long as it was in good condition). I am an old school lever guy from PA - except no Redfield scope which was always my boyhood dream - but have switched to Sako bolt now.

Lots out there, 308 is a great cartridge and can be loaded down for lighter recoil if you want.

x-bolt midas looks like a sweet piece too, no experience with it though. Browning appears to have some rebates too out there.
 

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25-06. Savage Axis II Hardwoods $350-$400 depending on where you get it. Easy on the shoulder comes with the accutrigger and is very accurate shooting Federal Blue Box 117gr. I've hunted deer with a .222 my whole life. This year I won this gun at a gun bash and said what the heck I'll try something different. Threw a Leupy Vx2 on it and shot 2 deer with it both broadside in the ribs and they crumbled like they were struck by lightning. I'm hooked on the 25-06. I've shot deer with other various calibers besides the .222 in my days and I've never had deer not take off on a death run when hit broadside in the ribs. Not with this 25-06 it was like they were neck shot and pole axed. Straight down.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Thanks for the responses. I know the possibilities are endless and it won’t be an easy decision.

My dad has a “modest” gun collection. (100 guns) He has everything from a .225 to 6.5 Creedmoor to 25-06 to .338 Win to .444 Marlin and has killed deer with all of them. I know there is no right or wrong caliber for deer hunting provided the deer presents the perfect shot.

I’m someone who like to be prepared for every situation in hunting. I want to be able to make that 300 yard shot if need be. I want to be able to drive a bullet into the vitals from a bad angle. Certain calibers require perfect situations to make ethical shots and that is why I tend to shy away from the smaller ones. Nothing against them, I just want to be prepared...

Now I can get power level ammo for the Ultra Mag that will give me 06 or 300 Win performance but I just kinda want something different.

Sadly my grandfather passed away this last January and he passed his .308 and 250 Savage, both in Model 99. Problem is that they hold sentimental value for me and they are in pretty good shape for me to take hunting. I do like the 250 Savage but it is on the lower end of what I’m really looking for.

My sister shot a cow elk with a 7mm-08 but it is marginal, especially at longer distances.

I’m just a guy that doesn’t like to go with the crowd. No offense to the calibers and those that use them but I’m just not interested in 30-06, 30-30, .243, .270, etc. Now I know that the .308 is fairly common in the deer woods as well but it doesn’t seem nearly as common as those calibers.

And I’ll be honest, I’m a big Weatherby fan but the price of their premium ammo kind of kills the deal. I would love a .257 or .270 Weatherby and even a 30-378 but it’s just a pipe dream for now...

Thanks again for the suggestions and advice!
 
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