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Discussion Starter #1
So, I've decided that I want a new Bolt action rifle (My first) and am looking for suggestions on a caliber that would benefit for hunting and self defense should the need arise. I've decided that I am looking into a Browning Xbolt which I've heard good things and it would make for something nice to hand to my boy when he's old enough. I don't exactly deer hunt but I've gone with my father in law a few times and it was enjoyable however I'd also like to take this rifle to the range as well so distance, ammo availability, efficiency, and stopping power are all factors. I'm not looking to shoot 1000 yards by any means but I'd certainly like to try my hand at distances as well.

A couple options that I am looking into are. 270WSM, 300Winmag and of course 30-06. I could easily just pick one and go on but I will admit I am green in rifles and henceforth I've come to pick the brains of a few folk here. Secondly Glass would perhaps be the next to pick on but that's for another thread.

Thanks gents.
 

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The calibers you mention are not really ideal for the type of shooting you are likely to do.
Think a good deal smaller. Even a little 5.56 is effective on deer size game out to 200-300 yards.
270 short mag and 300 mag are both thumpers in recoil and will not be at all pleasant to shoot and both are expensive. Even a 30-06 in a sporty type rifle can be a bit of a bear.

A 6.5 Creedmore would fill all your needs and is pretty mild in a light weight rifle. A 243 would do as well. Both have ample quantities of very accurate factory ammo available and don't cost a bunch to shoot.

A bolt action rifle makes very little sense for self defense. Pick up an AR in 5.56 and call it done. Not so sure about hunting regulations in your state, many will not permit 22 cal for deer. Check local regulations.

The Browning Xbolt is a superb gun, just go for something a lot smaller. You don't need a magnum caliber to kill anything in N. America except maybe a Grizzly bear. Shot placement is everything and one good hit with a 6.5 CM will take down anything in LA as opposed to 3 or 4 misses caused by the flinch you developed from that 300 WM.
 

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You need to get a rifle in .308 Winchester.

It will do anything you will likely want to do with it. Additionally, you can shoot cheap military 7.62X51 surplus ammo out of it. There are a lot of great calibers out there. But .308 is a great all around cartridge. The only center fire round that you can shoot any cheaper is going to be 5.56X45. And most states do not allow this round to be used for hunting deer sized game.
 

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For deer, in a bolt-action like you describe, I'd look very hard at the 7mm-08 chambering. Very effective, very efficient, reasonably pleasant to shoot, and readily available. For self-defense, in the home, I'd look at a 12 gauge pump shotgun. A high-powered rifle isn't ideal, especially if you have neighbors nearby.
L.
 

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Certainly not trying to start an argument, but I have read more than once about the "heavy" recoil of the .270WSM. I realize recoil means different things to different people and is felt differently by different people. I have a Model 70 Featherweight in .270WSM and it recoils no more than my Model 700 BDL in .30-06. To me, it feels less. The quality of the recoil pad may have something to do with that, also.

According to the rifle recoil table that can be found at chuckhawks.com, an 8 pound .270WSM shooting a 150 grain bullet at 3000 fps will have 18.9 ft. lbs. of recoil energy. That same 8 pound rifle in .30-06 shooting a 165 grain bullet at 2900 fps will have 20.1 ft. lbs of recoil energy. A 7.5 lb. .308 launching that same 165 grain bullet at 2700 fps will generate 18.1 ft. lbs. of recoil energy.

Having said all that, if you intend to use your new bolt action rifle mostly for target shooting and a small amount of hunting, the 7mm-08 or the .308 would make an excellent choice. Either of these are readily available nearly anywhere you might go.
 

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If you want to hunt anything larger than varmints, you do not want 5.56/.223 (not even legal for deer in some states) or .243.

The 30.06 will handle anything you want to hunt in North America. Ammo is readily available. The .270 is also a good round.

As someone has pointed out, a bolt action is not the optimum self defense weapon given what is available today. Picking up a 1911 would take care of the self defense aspect, and complement your bolt action nicely.

I don't know what the big deal is with a little recoil, but perhaps that is personal taste.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Alright, I will reiterate on the SD aspect. I'm not planning on using it as a primary option for SD but I would mainly like to have a good round that should I need it wouldn't be a bad choice for a target. I do have a few 1911's and a 223/5.56 is definitely in the cards down the road but certainly not on my immediate list. I thank you guys so far for the responses.
 

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I would bet that the .30-06 is the most easily found cartridge in America after the 5.56mm. Every Mom and Pop gas/grocery store has some in the shelf.
 

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It will do anything you will likely want to do with it. Additionally, you can shoot cheap military 7.62X51 surplus ammo out of it. There are a lot of great calibers out there. But .308 is a great all around cartridge. The only center fire round that you can shoot any cheaper is going to be 5.56X45. And most states do not allow this round to be used for hunting deer sized game.
I agree.
I spent a lot of time a few years ago on this same decision. Bolt action rifle in a cartridge that is accurate, versatile for most north American medium/large game, reliable ammo availability and choices.
I ended up with a Winchester M70 in .308.
 

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Everybody says "Buy once and don't cry" and then recommends a 308 as a starter gun.
I've been down that route myself and still own and shoot 2 308s.

The 6.5 Creedmore will do everything a 308 will out to 900 yards and then the 308 falls on its face and the Creedmore keeps on trucking out to 1200 or so. These are the points at which both rounds transition to sub sonic. I am not in favor of a 243 cause I shoot, a lot, and don't wish to replace my bbl every 6 months.

For the guy who is going to shoot a few boxes a year, I would go with the 243. I happen to be recoil sensitive and much prefer smaller calibers and lighter bullets. I also like flat trajectories and precision ammo. It makes the whole shooting game a lot more pleasurable to me. I have a few bags of surplus 308 floating around. I only use the stuff to foul a barrel after cleaning. You can't reliably hit anything with that crap, it is made for machine guns.

I have neither the time nor the inclination to hand load, Hornady 123g Amax goes into 0.3" 5 shot groups all day long and the 140 Amax is not far behind. The stuff is available at slightly <308 prices and well under FGMM prices. A cheap muzzle brake on the Creedmore puts recoil in the 55g 223 range. That means 100 rounds of ammo in a 1/2 day with plenty of money left over for a beer or two on the way back from the range.
 

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Lots of caliber choices have 1 quality or another that top the .308.
But the OP stated his needs.

"I don't exactly deer hunt but I've gone with my father in law a few times and it was enjoyable however I'd also like to take this rifle to the range as well so distance, ammo availability, efficiency, and stopping power are all factors. I'm not looking to shoot 1000 yards by any means but I'd certainly like to try my hand at distances as well."

The .308 fits these. That's why I chose it. Ammo availability and variety of choices was a big factor to me. Just about any where that sells ammo will have .308.
 

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I would bet that the .30-06 is the most easily found cartridge in America after the 5.56mm. Every Mom and Pop gas/grocery store has some in the shelf.
Yep. And I would bet the .308 is right there with it. The only reason I went with the .308 over the 06 is I wanted the short action.
 

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Will 270wsm even be a round a few decade's from now?
30.06 and .308 certainly will! .243 also popular will be around as well. It is a necked down .308 can still kill deer if desired, shoots flat and is a soft shooter!

.270 Win and .25.06 are both necked down 30.06 cases and are quite cabable, flat shooters that have staying power/ popularity. Maybe not so many .25.06s out there of the two.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
There is another option as well... .270Win was also an option. Long story short I am open to suggestions, I plan on having a bolt action or two and some kind of lever action but I am aprehensive on new offerings and their quality versus some of the old school lever actions.
 

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There is another option as well... .270Win was also an option. Long story short I am open to suggestions, I plan on having a bolt action or two and some kind of lever action but I am aprehensive on new offerings and their quality versus some of the old school lever actions.
As you see there are several good options. 30-06, .308 Win, .270 Win, .280 Rem. .243 Win and a couple others all fit your requirements. A few others are also great choice but maybe not as widely available or as many bullet choices.
Have fun figuring it out. :)
 

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Do you want a HUNTING rifle?
Or a LR , 1000 yd TARGET rifle? Two very different animals.

For deer any of the short action rds will work fine from .243 win up to .308 win, with the .260 and 7mm-08 about perfect. Doesn't take a lot to kill a deer. PROPER PLACEMENT is the key.
 

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So let me get this straight.

Everybody says "Buy once and don't cry" and then recommends a 308 as a starter gun.
I've been down that route myself and still own and shoot 2 308s.

The 6.5 Creedmore will do everything a 308 will out to 900 yards and then the 308 falls on its face and the Creedmore keeps on trucking out to 1200 or so. These are the points at which both rounds transition to sub sonic. I am not in favor of a 243 cause I shoot, a lot, and don't wish to replace my bbl every 6 months.

For the guy who is going to shoot a few boxes a year, I would go with the 243. I happen to be recoil sensitive and much prefer smaller calibers and lighter bullets. I also like flat trajectories and precision ammo. It makes the whole shooting game a lot more pleasurable to me. I have a few bags of surplus 308 floating around. I only use the stuff to foul a barrel after cleaning. You can't reliably hit anything with that crap, it is made for machine guns.

I have neither the time nor the inclination to hand load, Hornady 123g Amax goes into 0.3" 5 shot groups all day long and the 140 Amax is not far behind. The stuff is available at slightly <308 prices and well under FGMM prices. A cheap muzzle brake on the Creedmore puts recoil in the 55g 223 range. That means 100 rounds of ammo in a 1/2 day with plenty of money left over for a beer or two on the way back from the range.
You shoot a lot, to the point where if you had a .243 Winchester you would be replacing your barrel every six months. You want "precision ammo" yet you do not reload. Additionally you are "recoil sensitive" yet you still claim to shoot a lot. I do not buy this for a minute.
 

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Go to Walmart or any other chain store that sells ammo. Look at .270 Win, .30-06, .243 Win, and .308. See not only the availability, but also look at the price for basic ammo like Federal Power-Shok, Winchester, and Remington Core-lockt.

Then look at the same ammo in .25-06, 7mm-08, and many other great cartridges. You will see the first batch going for $18-22 a box of 20. The later group for the same kind of ammo runs $28-32 a box. I know, it's crazy that a .25-06 is just a necked down .30-06, (as is the .270 and a few others). The 7mm-08 is a necked down .308. Yet, they cost more for the same type loadings.

It's pretty much a matter of sales volume and how long the first cartridges have been around. There are just massively more sales of .30-06 Springfield, .270 Win, .308 Win, and .243 Win made each year versus the others. The other rounds are excellent and no reflection on them. It's just that the volume of sales keeps the classics less expensive and more likely to be found anywhere that sells ammo.

During the last ammo panic I noticed that those first classic (not that some of the others aren't now) cartridges were the last to leave the shelves and some of the first to return.

I personally find a nice, bolt action .270 Win to be an excellent all around rifle unless you are going to focus heavily on moose, large elk, and grizzlies. Does't sound like you mean to do that though. A .270 shoots flat enough, hits hard enough, and is still comfortable enough in a well set up bolt gun, that you can shoot it for pleasure and to get game. You can still use a 130 grain bullet for varmints if you wish and it will handle the wind better than a .223 or similar. Might be a little overkill for ground squirrels though. ;)

There is also no reason you can't shoot the first four over distance. Any of them will let you do target work at 500 yards. You may not be shooting like a precision specific rifle, but then you need a precision rifle and experience to shoot "precision" rifle regardless of caliber. You can however, learn to shoot and hit quite well on reasonable targets with a good bolt gun and any of the first cartridges I mentioned.

Remember, sniper rifles in major world conflicts were simply service rifles that showed a bit better accuracy and were scoped. Men were hitting other men in conflict out to 500 yards or a little better with these rifles in .303 Brit, 8 (7.92)X57mm Mauser, .30-06 Springfield, and 7.62X54R. The .308 Win/7.62 NATO has been a standard sniper rifle for a long time and the military still has plenty of the M24 and M40 sniper rifles in .308. Even with the new darlings of .300 Win Mag and .338 Lapua, the .308s still see plenty of action.

I've seen plenty of folks jump on a .300 Win Mag for their first rifle. They take it once or twice and decide it's not for them. Too much recoil, muzzle blast, and too expensive to shoot. They develop a flinch and can't group at 100 yards, let alone beyond. Granted, some folks can jump on one and take right to it, but for too many it's just too much for the first rifle. Even a .30-06 is too much for some people.

I'd say go with a .270 Win or a .243 Win (and I can't even stand .243 for my own reasons.) Go with a decent scope. Then use the rest of your money and get the best bang for your buck by learning and practicing with the basic spend around $18-20 for .270 Win instead of $31-50 for the magnums. You will get more practice, less blast and flinch, and be quite capable in the field.

As others have said, a bolt gun isn't really a good defense gun. If you have to reach out that far then it really isn't defense under pretty much most jurisdictions. For close range, it pretty much sucks.

If you want to use a sporting type rifle for defense, then a Marlin 336 or Winchester 94 (those you need to find used) in .30-30 Win or one of the win 92 clones or a Marlin 1984 in .357 Mag, .44 Mag, or .45 Colt will serve you well with quick handling, more rounds on tap, usually 6 in the tube on a standard .30-30 and 8-10 in the revolver cartridge lever guns. You can also top off the tube mag round at a time as you go like you would a pump or semi-auto shotgun.

Lastly, you might consider a Browning BLR in .223, .22-250, .243, or .308. It's kind of a bolt gun that operates with a lever. Slim, fast handling, and uses a detachable, albeit small round count, magazine. One of the guns I really wish I had back was a BLR 81 in .223. Great shooting little gun and sweet handling.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Alright, I'm going to go with two guns but my first will be the .270Win and then when I reacquire funds, maybe a 308. You can never have too many guns right? I still need to decide on a lever later on down the road. I love to shoot but it gets more fun for me when I have a friend or two who also shares with the fun. Where might I inquire about different scopes, and their powers with range? I'm definitely not ready to buy glass but I'd like to look into it for some time before I commit. Gentlemen I appreciate the help very much.
 
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