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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys, I've been trying to really do my homework here before I decide on a rifle. My homework led me to this site.

First of all, I live in New Jersey, the worst state in the union with gun control laws. Since I can't hunt with a rifle in New Jersey, I had never really given much consideration to purchasing a rifle.

Well, I'm 29 years old and I fly for an airline. This has given me opportunities I didn't have before, such as possible hunting excursions across the midwest. I've decided to team up with a friend of mine who is more than twice my age who hunts mostly with a rifle in PA. We are going to hunt PA and NY this upcoming season for Whitetails. He isn't as mobile as he used to, so his hunting technique is more of lying in wait and sniping from a distance and using an ATV to retrieve. He shoots a 30.06.

I asked for his advice on a rifle to get, and he was pretty much torn between a .308 and a 30.06. He says that a 30.06 is kind of overkill for whitetails, BUT, if later down the road I decided to do a hunt in say, Colorado or Wyoming for bigger game/longer distance shots, I would be wishing I had a 30.06 instead.

So I am kind of torn on which caliber would be the best option. The .308 sounds great for deer, but I'm a go all out or go home kind of guy. I duck hunt like a religious freak and shoot nothing but a Benelli M1. I don't usually skimp on my gear.

So while I plan to intially hunt whitetails in the northeast, there's no telling how much fever I'll get to head out west for some bigger game.

Also, I'm not exaclty sure what distances I will be shooting from, as I have never hunted with a rifle before. My deer hunting experience is limited to archery and shotgun. I am intrigued at the idea of laying in wait up on a ridge and sniping off a big buck from hundreds of yards away. But I have no idea what realistic distances I will be shooting.

Keeping this in mind, what caliber would you recommend? I want a gun that can knock the living crap out of a deer from 300 yards easily. Not that I am aiming for that distance, but if it can drop him stone dead at 300 yards, than 100 yards he would be on the grill with ease.

Right now, I am looking at the Winchester Model 70 Shadow, the Remmington 700 and the FN Herstal 308 WIN. I intend to outfit with a serious Nikon scope.

Since I am new to rifle hunting, I am also taking this offseason summer to practice and learn as much as I can. I already have my hands on a US Army Sniper training guide, as the information seems invaluable for scoped rifle hunting.

Thanks
 

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Welcome the the forum, the rules are simple, be nice and join in!

It appears that you already know this, so don't take it the wrong way, but before you decide to take a shot at X yards, be sure you can make it, there are a number of people out there that try to shoot well beyond their abilities, wounding animals, so we like to try to prevent that as much as possible,

As far as your choice of caliber, the .308 win. is an excellent round, if you can do your part it will shoot and kill deer at very long ranges, I personally am not a fan of the .30-06, and I will tell you my reasons, the velocity difference for me at least is too small to be of any value (my reloading manuals put it at less than 100 fps advantage over the .308 Win), especially for a long action, that being said it is still extremely effective. If you want a short action, I'd say .308 hands down, if your looking for something in a long action, I would suggest a 7mm Rem Mag. (same velocity as a .30-06 but with a higher ballistic coefficient, aka flatter shooting) or a 300 Win Mag, if you think you might like to get into hunting bigger game down the road, then you could get a .25-06 or .270 for deer then when you want to go after larger game and you want more power you could always move up to a .338.

My other Bias is to Remington, specifically the 700's, but to be honest you can't go wrong with most rifles out there, just don't but the bottom end rifle from a manufacturer, I can't comment on the FN though because I have not herd anything about that rifle, but I would recommend a bolt action, also have a look at CZ they build very nice very well built rifles as well.

One last note, reading books will help, but what it really comes down to is range time, i try to spend at least an hour and a half at the range every week, just shooting for groups.

So hopefully i didn't ramble too much, and most of that is coherent, and remember when you do get your rifle, be sure to post pictures, we like pictures!
 

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The .30-06 will do everything a .308 will do and better, especially with heavier bullets. It will take any animal in N. America and has been doing so for many, many years. There's not many places you can go where you couldn't find ammo for the '06.

As far as rifles go, you might also consider Tikka, CZ, Ruger and Weatherby. All make fine rifles, every bit as good as Remington and Winchester IMO.
 

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I have both .30-06s and a .308. Both are great. I would choose .30-06 between the two. More versatile. I would look hard at a Winchester Model 70 classic (not Shadow). Rem, Ruger, Browning, Weatherby, CZ are good as well. There is just something special about M70s. The new ones they are producing are fine weapons I think.
 

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Airdale,

Welcome to ShootersForum. I think you'll find we're a very friendly and helpful bunch of guys, and I can promise you'll get quite a few replies to this thread.

When comparing a 308 to a 30-'06, it's like comparing a good 6-cylinder engine to an 8-cylinder; for the vast majority of what you do, you won't notice the difference, but when you really need that extra power, the '06 will have a little more in reserve than the 308. Anybody who says they are not a fan of the '06, because it is only 100fps faster (in lighter bullets) than a 308, and then goes on to recommend a 25-'06 or 270, just doesn't give enough credit, where credit is due. The venerable 30-'06 is scoffed at by some, primarily because it has been killing dang near everything it is shot at, for over 100 years. It's "boring", how good the '06 is, and it's only gotten better, as the years have gone on. If you are thinking you will only own 1 big-game rifle, and you might hunt anything from javelina in Texas, to elk or moose up in Canada, and mostly whitetails in the East or Midwest, there is no single cartridge more capable, more versatile, or more appropriate than the '06. (That's a "period" at the end of that sentence!)

If you will own 3 or 4 specialized rifles, then there are better options that leave the '06 off even a short list, but if you're only buying 1 gun, it's the cartridge to get.

As far as which action to choose, any of the bolt-guns you mentioned are fine, as well those others will bring up. Personally, after 25+ years of hunting, I have gravitated toward single-shot weapons. If I didn't own a single rifle of any kind, I would undoubtedly buy a T/C Encore and fit it with several barrels, topped with quality scopes. I still love bolt-action rifles, but the economy, versatility and convenience of an Encore is very difficult to beat.
 

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Nawth East Moderatah
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Welcome aboard!

Ah yes, the Jersey scurge.....I'm livin' it too.

Of the two you have mentioned, I'm a fan of the .308...been shooting it as my go-to caliber for about 15 years. Love it in the M1a!
I like the short action of the .308 in a bolt rifle, it's got near-as-much FPS and knockdown power as the old'06, and without starting a flame war, :rolleyes: It's been my experience that the .308 has been more accurate.

Here are a few threads to help with your quest:
http://shootersforum.com/showthread.htm?t=60263&highlight=308%2C30-06
http://shootersforum.com/showthread.htm?t=6936&highlight=308,30-06
http://shootersforum.com/showthread.htm?t=62519&highlight=308,30-06

And the best feature here:
SEARCH FEATURE

alot of guys here speak of the .338 range of rifles. I have no experience with them, but I'm willing to bet my last Jersey tomato the folks here will help all they can.

I own almost the same setup you are speaking of:
A Remmie BDL lefty handed .308 in a Fagen laminate stock.
A Nikon Buckmasters 3-9x by 50mm
Jewell trigger.




Honestly, this rifle could do everything I need to do, and I could lose the rest.

good luck in your choice!
 

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All suitable gartridges from 260 Rem up to .338 Win Mag are capable. The biggest fly will always be the shooter and his abilities. Whatever cartridge and rifle you decide on, top it with the best glass that you can afford and practice, practice and practice some more. That practice just doesn't include best testing shooting for groups, shoot some off hand and other field postions. Shoot out the the max ranges available, learn to estimate ranges or get a range finder and shoot some unknown distance courses. Also study the habits and shot placement points from various angles. One last point I'll recommend that if you plan on hunting across the country get a rifle in common caliber that can be bought in country stores. Good luck on your purchase and hunting.

CD

ETA: For one rifle it would be a coin toss between a 1903 Springfield in 30-06 or a FN FAL in .308. I would take either of those two and never feel undergunned.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks a ton for the great replies fellas!

I am prior Coast Guard (I know, flame away! LOL!), but I shot sharpshooter in every weapon class. My favorite was the M16. God, if only I could own an M16! What an awesome awesome rifle to shoot.

From 100 yards, I was shooting a 5 shot 1" grouping with iron sights. We had a bit of a competition between myself and the instructor. I grew up around guns and my father always taught me proper trigger techniques I guess.

I by no means intend to go out in the wild and start slinging rounds at targets I may not kill. I am pretty ethical (or try to be) in all of the hunting I do. I could probably kill a deer at 50 yards with my compound, but I know I can kill him at 30 yards. I could probably drop a duck at 60 yards with steel shot and my Benelli M1, but I won't fire outside 40. So obviously, I will spend this summer practicing like crazy to learn my effective range with the rifle.

Since I've never hunted with a rifle, I really don't know the typical distances. My friend says anywhere between 100-250 yards, but my father shot an elk from 400 yards with an '06 when he was a kid. I plan to use more tactic than just sit and wait. I'd prefer to use a slow stalk, pattern the game, figure out where they're heading and when, and then lie in wait from a distance safe enough to keep my position hidden, but well within my capability to kill.

According to the local sporting good store, I can grab a Winchester model 70 '06 synthetic for $659. Not sure if that's a good price. I will probably be a one-rifle guy for awhile. I plan to outfit the gun with good optics and a bipod. I actually hate hunting from tree stands. 5 of the 7 deer I've killed have been from ground stalks.

When you guys mention shorter action and longer action, I assume you're referring to the length of travel (or size) of the bolt action. Why is this important?

And since you guys like pictures, here's a couple of my favorites from last year. Dropped my Benelli M1 in the river (long story) after shooting a drake mallard in the morning. Came back the next day, recovered the gun, cleaned it on spot, and limited on Mallards in 2 hours. Quite the story for Benelli. I'd sleep with my M1 if my wife allowed.



This guy (my biggest buck to date) was taken in Maryland last year. My buddy owns a farm down there and I spent 5 days hunting there during their shotgun season. Saw this guy in a meadow early in the morning making haste back into the woods while I was skirting the edge of the field to get to a stand. Decided what the ****, I'm going after him. Stalked him for most of the day. He got quite the surprise when he went to bed down and saw me 50 yards away. Needless to say, the Benelli slug barrel had the final say. Stalking is hard as **** and I'm not always successful at it. But if you keep a low profile (constantly on your knees or belly) and move slow, the deer actually seem curious, and will let you close enough for a shot.



I also do wildlife photography (amatuer of course), and I actually learned my stalking techniques with a camera. This herd of completely wild deer in New Jersey let me stay with them for what seemed like an hour. I had a Ghillie suit on and stayed low to the ground, occassionally bleating like a young fawn. Camera was concealed in a homemade Ghillie cover. I spotted the herd at 150 yards, and made my approach downwind. When I got within 40 yards, I apparently peaked the curiosity of a young doe. So much so, that she came walking towards me. At one point, she was less than 10 feet away, nose to the ground trying to identify me. My heart was pounding with just the camera. Tricky part was, I had a 400mm lens on and she got toooo close. I had to switch to a shorter 35mm lens without losing her. She stayed as I changed the lens beneath the cover of the ghillie. Bucks won't let me get nearly as close, but she was a dumb female. LOL!




This one was in a park! :D



You can check out more at www.davidwelsh.smugmug.com
 

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Right now I own a .30-06, a .308, a .30-30, a 7mm Rem Mag, and a .375 H&H. Given that, if my choices were down to a .308 or a .30-06, I'd take the .30-06. Granted, the -06 is only 100 feet per second faster than the .308 ... but I want that 100fps. Again, given my druthers, it'd be a M70 Winchester. Typically, only Americans look to buy a scope that costs less than the rifle. If I had the wherewithal to get any scope out there I'd opt for a Swarovski or Kahles. When it's all said and done, they are the best. You normally buy the best ... the Benelli shows me that. Not a bad route to take ... only the best.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Remington Model 700 SPS and SPS tactical. The SPS tactical says it has a 20" "heavy" barrel.

What's the difference between these two?

What are your thoughts on this rifle? Apparently this is the platform most used by military and police snipers. I figure if its good enough for the military, must be good enough to hunt with no?
 

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Airdale,

You know how to hunt, I've never hunted game in my ghille suit, just used it on the job. Excellent photos. If you want continue using your techinques then may I suggest just a pistol lever action or 30-30/35 Rem. Most rifles shots are under 150 yards. If you do want to extend that range for long shots than again any suitable cartridge is capable to 300 yds if you do your job. Most people do not practice enough to be confident at long range. I love long range shooting and shoot a iron sighted M4 Carbine out to 500yds and a iron sighted M14 to 1000yds. Besides knowing range estimation you also have to know how to calulate for wind. Knowing hold over and applying fundamentals is the easiest part. The other two are the tough ones (range/wind).

On the action length question is reference to the length of the bolt. .308 based cartridges and WSM/RSM use a short action and 30-06 based cases/7mm Rem Mag/300 Win Mag use a standard action, (some times refered to a long action now days) which is longer than the short action. There is a longer Magnum length action also for the bigger cases. Some people short stroke a bolt action by not fully extracting a fired round before pushing forward again. If your familiar with a pump shotgun, have you ever seen someone short stroke a forearm? This I believe is more of a lack of training issue.

CD
 

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Remington Model 700 SPS and SPS tactical. The SPS tactical says it has a 20" "heavy" barrel.

What's the difference between these two?

What are your thoughts on this rifle? Apparently this is the platform most used by military and police snipers. I figure if its good enough for the military, must be good enough to hunt with no?
The actions are the same. The SPS will have a black syntheic sporter stock where the Tactical is going to have a heavier bbl, better trigger and different stock. The Tactical is generally used in a prone supported/bipod/blind (possible a faster twist rate for heavier bullets at longer range) The SPS would be more for a general purpose rifle/tree stand/blind/ and stalking do to its lighter weight. The Marines uses the M40 short action in 7.62/.308 where the Army uses the M24 in a standard/long action in 7.62/.308 but can be rebarreled if needed for .300 Win Mag. These guns are getting heavier and not good for stalking but static positions. My wife just bought my youngest son a Rem 700 ADL (blind magazine ie no floor plate) in .30-06 at Wally World last month. He likes it but hasn't shot it yet.

CD
 

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Airedale,

On average, whitetails are taken at woods ranges of ~100 yards, or less. I conducted a very informal census of our own members, late last year, and out of 60+ respondents, the average shot with a gun was 95 yards and mean average, was right at 90 yards. You've got the hunting skills, no doubt. With a little practice and a decent rifle, you'll have all the range you need to get the job done. Pick up an '06, hit the range 10 or 15 times, shooting from the bench AND field positions, then go get your deer.

Oh, and no more sand-baggin'! ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Thanks again for the responses. Stalking is fun, but dangerous at the same time.

Two years ago I was on the trail of a buck. Not a huge deer, but at least a 6 or an 8. I was stalking in my Ghillie carrying my Benelli with slug barrel. I always bring binoculars and stay low. Every 20-30 yards I pause and scan the area. I saw the buck hop a small ridge, almost as if spooked. He was about 100 yards out. I paused to look around, curious as to why he got so spooked. I had been trailing his tail for at least a mile. My foot rustled some leaves when I sat up a little higher, it was then I noticed in the tree above me, that some dude had his shotgun pointed right at me. A quick shout and he lowered his weapon and said "Dude you are out of your f'ing mind!". I had orange on, but beneath the suit. He had no idea I was even there until I made noise. It scared me, but not enough to deter the adrenaline rush I get from stalking. I just got such tunnel vision tracking the deer that I didn't pay attention to my surroundings.

Just last year I was on a stalk and as part of my routine now, I scan trees for hunters too. Usually easy to spot in the orange. I heard some crunching in the woods and knew right away it was a human. I laid low, the guy walked right past me within 10 yards! "Driving" deer.

Tricky business, but stalking is a skill and one of the important elements is blending in (hence the Ghillie) and staying low. I have NEVER fired a weapon at a target I couldn't identify and without a safe zone behind the target. But people in the woods are just plain crazy. Shooting at moving bushes and all.

My element of stalking has changed drastically with experience. A huge part of the stalk now is actually remaining undetected to people, because they'll shoot you. Which is why I mostly stopped hunting deer in New Jersey.

I plan to take more the back country and do a little less "travelling" and little more lying in wait. I'm really liking what I'm reading on the Remington 700 SPS, and I'm actually leaning towards .308 rather than .30-06.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I just wanted to note too, thatI have spent many many more days creeping around the woods just looking for deer than actually stalking them. The hardest part is actually finding the **** deer! My Dad says I'm nuts, but I see just as many, if not more deer on the stalk than he does in the stand. Although he fears for my safety from other hunters and really the only thing I can do is stalk the hunters just as much as the deer. That way I can keep a safe distance and not be in their line of sight or fire.

Which is heavily why I am considering rifle hunting and less stalking. For my own safety reasons. I can lie in a Ghillie and nobody would see me, but moving around increases the odds of some idiot wannabe hunter firing a shot at a moving bush.
 

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Nawth East Moderatah
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I am prior Coast Guard (I know, flame away! LOL!), but I shot sharpshooter in every weapon class. My favorite was the M16. God, if only I could own an M16! What an awesome awesome rifle to shoot.
You can.

In NJ, you can own the AR15, the semi auto brother of the M16.
It must be a fixed stock, no Bayo lug, and 10 round mags.

Hope this helps;

chris~
 

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Airdale..........To anwer your question on what caliber to purchase, so you can go hunt your deer in the woods, I will say between the two you mentioned, the .308 hands down. Now you may ask the question why? One and most important to the hunter, who has never experience a lot of shooting of centerfire rifles at the bench, is because it gives to the shooter less recoil than the 30-06. You will shoot it better right off the bat so to speak. In other words, you will be more accurate shooting down range.

Now once you learn to handle the .308 and practice making those 200 & 300 yard shots with ease, you can then move up the ladder to the .300 Win mag or .338 Win mag for those bigger game animals such as elk, bear or African plains animals down the road.

If you intend to just own ONE GUN, then go with the 30-06 caliber in a model 70 Winchester sporter or select grade. This will get you all the "bells and whistles" that a model 70 Winchester has been known to have for decades. The 3 positon safety! Big Claw Extractor! Control round feed magazine!!! It just doesn't get any better than a model 70 Winchester.
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Nice pics.

Keep in mind re: the ghillie suit, if the regulations require hunter orange, it means visible. I don't think I would hunt on public land without it. Orange suit? If deer are color-blind it might work and you'll surely not be mistaken for one :)

Caliber dilemma..... I gotta tell you, as a .30-06 owner, I've never shot anything that wouldn't have died anyway had I used a .308. So get what you want. Actually the majority of my hunting is smaller calibers anyway, .257 Roberts, .250 Savage, my wife's 6mm Rem, the lever-action .35 Rem, and so on. Rebarreled a gun to .270 and that's going to go out too. No such thing as too many rifles!

So.... long story short, they ALL work with good bullets. I really defy anyone to say with a straight face that the 100 or so fps difference between the .308 and .30-06 will amount to anything, ever. For hunting anyway. Use good bullets... did I mention that? It wouldn't bother me to go elk hunting with my .30-06 and loads with 165gr. Partitions, but it wouldn't bother me to use a .308 with that load, either.

Besides you'll get the urge for another rifle soon enough... then you can convince yourself to get a .338 Win Mag for that hunt out west. Heck take 'em both ;)

Good luck, be safe, and thanks again for the pictures.
 

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Many cartridges will do what you are asking. My .243 will knock the crap out of deer at 300 yds. Go with what you like. If you want bigger than deer, go with the '06 for versatility
 

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Just to clarify, I wasn't trying to say the .30-06 was a substandard cartridge, just that, I like the .308, but if i wanted something that was more substantial, then i personally would move beyond the .30-06, like a Win Mag, or a RUM. But just to be clear, the .30-06, is an excellent cartridge, and it's probably taken more game than anything else on the planet.
 
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