Non-magnum choices for big bucks

robby denning

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I shoot a magnum for mule deer (7mm) but have run across some pretty good older mule deer hunters that shoot the nonmangums and they do very well.

One of the best I know shoots a 270 win and another killed a giant Sonora buck with a
7mm-08 and yet another kills them with 25.06.

I've always been tempted to step down to these nonmagnum calibers- less recoil, lighter guns due to shorter actions, etc.

What are you all's thoughts on this?
 

JG358

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Honestly, The thought of pulling out one of the magnums for a deer hunt never crossed my mind. I always grab my 6.5 Ackley Jordan or the 243 win.
 

Matt Cashell

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I killed my deer last year with a 7-08, and wouldn't hesitate to take another one with it. What a great overall caliber. There is plenty of juice with a 140 Barnes TTSX and 2880 fps.
 

sodak

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You don't need the belted and non-belted magnums. It is very tough to beat a .270 Win (the origional higher velocity long range round) or a .30-06. Its also tough to beat a 7mm Mag or a .300 WM.

I just like reloading the non-magnums better.
 
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robby denning

robby denning

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The reason I've stayed with the magnum all these years is for the occassional long shot (400+), but that's almost not a reason anymore as it's not about trajectory as it used to be before range finders.

However, there isn't always time to range either, so the magnum might give an advantage in those situation.
 

Mckinnon

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300 Savage. This throwback is a serious little cartridge that is an absolute joy to shoot, yet packs a punch. Placement, placement, placement.
 

Matt Cashell

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The reason I've stayed with the magnum all these years is for the occassional long shot (400+), but that's almost not a reason anymore as it's not about trajectory as it used to be before range finders.

However, there isn't always time to range either, so the magnum might give an advantage in those situation.

Robby, maybe your experience is different than mine, but usually when the shot is over 400, I have at least a few seconds to set up, range, and compensate for trajectory (either by dialing or using a compensating reticle). If the deer is moving fast enough that I don't have time at that range, I won't be taking the longer shot anyway.

Kind of touching on the other thread as well, but my 7-08 just doesn't erode the chamber much or foul the barrel either. I expect to get several thousand rounds through that barrel.
 

Travis Bertrand

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Hard to beat 6mm rem, .243 or a 25-06. They have killed more than a few deer. Ive seen deer taken 600 yards with a 25-06. Like rock said, placement placement placement.

All that being said I shoot 7mm as well Robby, the reason being I believe it is more versatile and I'm a cheap sob and don't want to shoot two weapons for different animals. I also only have to get used to only one weapon.
 
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robby denning

robby denning

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Bitterroot, you are right in most cases about longer shots but I've had big deer in the open broadside for just a few seconds and then they are gone. The biggest bucks usually don't stray far from cover in most units, so shots, even longer ones are sometimes very quick. I don't take moving shots at that range on the first shot if at all possible.

Dr, me cheap too.

JG358, my rifle loves the 160 Speer boat tails. Wasn't my first choice bullet, but after half dozen or more attempts, that's the one we married.

My trajectory (field tested many times):
100 yds, 3.25"
200 yds 5"
300 yds 0"
400 yds -11"
500 yds -24"
 

Matt Cashell

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Bitterroot, you are right in most cases about longer shots but I've had big deer in the open broadside for just a few seconds and then they are gone. The biggest bucks usually don't stray far from cover in most units, so shots, even longer ones are sometimes very quick. I don't take moving shots at that range on the first shot if at all possible.

I see what you are saying, Robby. I use a Vortex BDC reticle scope with my 7-08, and I think it would take me a few seconds to get a range and accurately on target with my setup. However, I haven't really had to rush with it yet.

I used this setup on the hunt in this video, and it worked well. I did miss once, but it did not have anything to do with the rifle. It was solely operator error.

http://www.rokslide.com/forums/showthread.php?589-MT-High-Country-Mule-Deer-VIDEO

I built a 7 mag this year, and think it will be my mulie rifle this year. I just want to make use of it. I would be just as confident with the 7-08.
 
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JG358

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JG358, my rifle loves the 160 Speer boat tails. Wasn't my first choice bullet, but after half dozen or more attempts, that's the one we married.

My trajectory (field tested many times):
100 yds, 3.25"
200 yds 5"
300 yds 0"
400 yds -11"
500 yds -24"

It wouldnt be hard to match or beat your trajectory with a non magnum cal. That being said, I tend to be on the cheapskate side of things and wouldnt buy/build another rifle to do the same job as a rifle I already have.
 
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robby denning

robby denning

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me too and that is why I always ask a lot of questions and move slow on stuff like this. Now someday when my wife gets rich, then I'll be swimming in guns- right baby?
 

tstowater

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I've used a 280 Remington on deer with good success. Not the beating of the 7 mag, but uses the same bullets. Mine loves 162 gr. Hornady BTSPs. I've got most of the rest of the caliber ranges covered, but usually end up using my 300WSM because I like how it shoots and I am confident with what it will do. Overkill on some animals, but does a nice job with 180 gr. Partitions.
 

belly-deep

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There are a few ways to look at it. One is that the powders and bullets of today in cartridges like the .270 Win, .280 Rem, and .308 Win. can pretty much match what 7mm Rem Mags did a few years ago.

A few examples:

This spring I tried a few loads in my .280 Rem. I was able to get 2,950fps with a 150gr bullet after a few different powders. One way to look at that is it shoots a bullet only 10grs lighter than the 7mm/160gr combo at about the same velocity. Pretty good!

I also tried Alliant's new powder, 2000-MR, in my .308 Win. Guys were raving about it on the internet in .308s, so I had to give it a try. I was able to (safely) get a 150gr Barnes TSX to 3,050fps. Again, one way to look at that is it is shooting a 150gr bullet only about 100fps slower than most 7mm Rem Mags.

The Berger/long range crowd likes to use the ultra-aerodynamic Bergers, etc in mild cartridges to get good results at long range. I can remember seeing a chart where the 7mm Rem Mag with a Berger actually surpasses the 30-378 at some point in energy, due to the Berger's high B.C. Now that comparison was done using standard flat base bullets in the 30-378, but it is still impressive. Heck, there is a video John Burns shot and posted on youtube of a girl knocking over an elk at 600 yards with a Berger in a .243 Win!

Of course, ALL guns get better with certain bullets. But if you're used to a "regular" 7mm bullet/load, you might be able to match that performance in a milder cartridge with newer powders and bullets.

I've heard of several guys getting over 3,150fps with a 120gr bullet in a 25-06 using Retumbo powder. That is a pretty good improvement over what was previously the top velocity for most powders in a .25-06 of 2,950fps. I bought some 120 Nosler Partitions to try in a .25-06 my grandfather gave me. I'm seriously thinking about working up a load and using it this fall. The S.D. and B.C. of those bullets are pretty good, and I think they would handle a buck out to around 400 yards easily. I might even try it on an elk too!
 
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flatlander51

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my father gave me his remington model 700 bdl in 270 and that is by far my favorite gun. and shoots flat to! the only thing is i dont hunt with it much because i dont want to beat it up. but def. a great caliper.
 
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david long

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flatlander51......that is the exact same gun I had.....it was a shooter......but it kicked like a mule :)
 
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