Choosing A Rifle for Women and Young Hunters
by Cindy Wamsley
Talk to any rifle hunter and you’ll discover that everyone has a favorite rifle chambered in their favorite caliber. Several factors may make it special such as tradition, manufacturer, style, looks, performance, dependability, function, features, caliber, recoil, weight and quality to name a few. More important than personal preference, consider the following. Does the rifle fit you? Is the length of pull correct? Does the scope have proper eye relief? Is the cartridge suitable for the game your hunting and above all can you shoot it?
Probably the number one consideration for women and younger hunters when choosing a hunting caliber is recoil. Being scared of the gun will prevent you from practicing. Without practicing you won’t be able to learn where the gun shoots or how to handle it, which will make placing that all important shot on that trophy big game animal very difficult. If the gun is fun to shoot and you’re not afraid of it, you’ll shoot more and shooting more will mean you’re going to have more confidence in your ability.
Furthermore, consider the weight of the rifle. Not every hunting situation will allow for a dead rest and all day to make the shot. If you are unable to steady the gun to make an off hand shot, consider a different weight. Also, packing the rifle up and down the mountains is going to cause some fatigue, consequently the lighter the better.
Two important factors hunters look for are accuracy and terminal velocity. We hear it all the time that bigger is better but that doesn’t always have to be the case. Accuracy makes precise shot placement possible. Terminal velocity equals higher energy impact at the target or the terminal performance of the bullet.
Consider the .243 Winchester as an excellent choice for a deer rifle caliber. Young hunters and women alike will be pleasantly surprised by the moderate recoil. Shooting 95-105 grain hunting bullets, a .243 will bring down a buck with gusto. It has impressive ballistics with factory loaded hunting ammunition and is readily available.
The .270 Winchester has been coined The Rifleman’s Rifle and for good reason. The amount of recoil is roughly 75% of the recoil of a .30 06. It bolsters a flat trajectory and is extremely accurate which makes it an excellent choice for deer or elk. Consider a 150 grain bullet for elk and a 130 grain for deer.
No doubt the choices for a hunting rifle and caliber are many but I don’t think you can go wrong when choosing either the .243 Winchester or the .270 Winchester. Especially, for women or younger hunters these are two calibers that are not only fun to shoot but are more than adequate for deer and elk. Get out in the field and practice, practice, practice. By doing some homework and researching ballistics you can fine tune your ammunition and overall performance. In doing so you’ll discover what works best for you. Remember, don't let someone else's favorite rifle be the deciding factor for you, especially if it is a howitzer!