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I moved to Arizona 10 years ago from Washington State. I hunted quite a bit up there with
.26-.30 calibers. I have not hunted since moving to Arizona. I have started to get the itch lately to get out and try it again before I get too old and bunged up.. Mostly for the small whitetails, javalina and coyotes. Now for my problem. I have acquired cervical stenosis which makes me very leery of any caliber with stout recoil. That pretty much puts me into the category of the .22-24 caliber center fire rifles. I have been looking at the Ruger American rifles in .223 or .22-250. The rate of twist is 1:8 and 1:12. Ruger informed me that both would stabilize the heavier .224 bullets. I have never hunted with anything that small other that .22lr that I used for grouse. In my hunting career I have never lost an animal or had to shoot one twice. This isn't bragging by any means. I always took my time and waited for the perfect shot. I have passed up many shots over the years because I just wasn't sure enough of making a perfect hit. I have no problems with that. It all started when I was a youngster and a neighbor brought over an animal that had it's guts blown all over. My father made me clean it for him. That experience has never left me. Anyway, I realize these calibers are not what most would consider ideal but they are legal here so they are an option I must consider. I am wondering if anyone has had any experience with them they would like to share with me. More and more people are hunting with AR's today and the bullet manufacturers seem to have been keeping pace with this. I do believe the 223 ammo would be much cheaper and give me more range time but the .22-250 has the advantage of a bit more range. My neck isn't in the best condition and I need a rifle with near zero recoil.
 

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I find a 22-250 with a 1-12" twist pretty useful and certainly capable of taking deer and antelope on well placed shots with 60 Nosler Partitions. I have an T/C Encore heavy 1-12" barrel. The one deer shot with it went zero feet. That heavy barrel Encore or a Savage varmint gun in .22-250 doesn't kick at all.

A bolt action .223 would be nice too. It's on my short list for the next rifle. It kind of comes down to, do you want to shoot more (get the .223) or hunt more (go with the .22-250)?
 
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If bullet cost is no problem, I'd say a Ruger 77 compact 7-08 would be nice. A Model Seven 243 predator 22" barrel, Rem 700 mountain also.

All of the calibers mentioned do the job.
 

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Welcome to the shooters forum, glad you joined.
Since you pick the shots and had great success in the past, either of those .22 rifles with a good bullet will work. My personal preference for deer sized game starts at .243/6mm, both aren't bad in the recoil department.
 

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Also, in addition to .243/6mm, the .257 Roberts is a low recoil load. Ruger still chambers it in their Model 77 Hawkeye rifles.
 

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You said whitetail.

You need to see if there are any caliber restrictions for deer there. IMO the AR/black rifles are not ALL THAT light weight. I am fond of the model 7, there are others. A "GOOD" LIGHT WT synthetic stocked bolt action with a good aftermarket recoil pad would get my vote. With 3 herniated neck discs, I can relate. caliber wise I'd look at a 243 & quality 87 gr bullet, 6- 6.5mm, 260. If < 24 calibers are legal for deer, or you removed deer from the list, I'd likely go with 223 first for low cost/ little powder to reload/ availability of ammo & wide selection/availability of rifles. 222 or 22-250 would work too.
 

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You need a HEAVY rifle in a Lite caliber!

I moved to Arizona 10 years ago from Washington State. I hunted quite a bit up there with
.26-.30 calibers. I have not hunted since moving to Arizona. I have started to get the itch lately to get out and try it again before I get too old and bunged up.. Mostly for the small whitetails, javalina and coyotes. Now for my problem. I have acquired cervical stenosis which makes me very leery of any caliber with stout recoil. That pretty much puts me into the category of the .22-24 caliber center fire rifles. I have been looking at the Ruger American rifles in .223 or .22-250. The rate of twist is 1:8 and 1:12. Ruger informed me that both would stabilize the heavier .224 bullets. I have never hunted with anything that small other that .22lr that I used for grouse. In my hunting career I have never lost an animal or had to shoot one twice. This isn't bragging by any means. I always took my time and waited for the perfect shot. I have passed up many shots over the years because I just wasn't sure enough of making a perfect hit. I have no problems with that. It all started when I was a youngster and a neighbor brought over an animal that had it's guts blown all over. My father made me clean it for him. That experience has never left me. Anyway, I realize these calibers are not what most would consider ideal but they are legal here so they are an option I must consider. I am wondering if anyone has had any experience with them they would like to share with me. More and more people are hunting with AR's today and the bullet manufacturers seem to have been keeping pace with this. I do believe the 223 ammo would be much cheaper and give me more range time but the .22-250 has the advantage of a bit more range. My neck isn't in the best condition and I need a rifle with near zero recoil.

While I typically use much heavier rounds, i.e.: 308 Win, 300 Win Mag, 7mm in various flavors, etc. I've taken a good number of deer with a 223 Rem., some dressed out over 200 lbs. When the 223 is selected, I use 77gr SMK bullets and always shoot the deer in the neck area just below the head. Coyotes, not always so lucky! :D My bolt 223 rifle has a 1:9" twist with 5R rifling but, stabilizes the 77gr bullets past 800 yards even on cold days. Not all 1:9" twists will do that! I have two others that WILL NOT. ALL my 1:8" twist 223s stabilize them fine. I know, the 77gr SMK and for that matter ALL SMK bullets are not recommended for hunting. But, that makes no difference to a deer that just took one through the neck... DRT is "Dead Right There" regardless of what kills them! Just remember that you have to limit your range to a distance that you "KNOW" you can hit the CENTER of the neck EVERY time, taking full count of the wind and other variables. That WILL mean very limited ranges on heavily gusting days, when the varying wind is unpredictable. You'll have a lot of those in your neck of the wood! I keep my 223 shots inside 220 yards on good days. On gusty days, usually less than 100 yard.

As far as the 22-250, the only one I've ever seen stabilize heavy (69gr or more!) bullets was my buddy's and he had his barreled with a 26" heavy Hart barrel with a 1:9" twist. It handles 80gr SMK bullets out to 1000 yards and LOVES them! 1/4 MOA at 100 yards and 5" 5 round groups at 1000 on a good day! At 1000 yards, if there is a breath of varying wind, he's all over the place! Most 1:12" twist 22-250s that I've had experience with max out at 62gr bullets. Of course, you'll play **** trying to find any decent factory ammo over 55gr anyway. This is just my experience. Your mileage may vary!

I'd probably be looking for a relatively heavy barrel 243 Win., 260 Rem or 6.5 Creedmore in a bolt gun or a heavy Match grade barreled AR platform. Heavy barrels help increase system weight which in turn helps take the "SHOCK" out of the recoil. Of course, the recoil is the same amount of energy, it is just dispersed over a longer period of time in a heavier rifle. Just my humble opinion. ;)
 

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You are correct in that a .22 centerfire cartridge is legal to hunt game in Arizona. A 60 - 70 gr correctly constructed bullet is more than capable to taking down up to Coues sized animals here in the state with proper bullet placement.

I agree that AR type firearms can be a lot heavier than a compact bolt action rifle. Even a standard short action bolt gun with a moderate scope will weigh less.

If recoil is a considered problem, consider a soft recoil pad and a properly fitted stock with good cheek weld. Then, perhaps a larger caliber such as a .243 Win or 6mm Rem. might be considered. As suggested above, even a .257 Robt's is a good compromise with the aforementioned pad and fitted stock.

Good luck in your search - by all means, get out there and do some hunting.
 

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Talk about bad spinal columns, I was diagnosed with 7 ruptured disc in my spinal column years ago and still shoot 12ga with slugs and a 35 Whelen, 300Wby, 30-06 and I have a custom 257 Roberts. If I were scared of the effects of recoil I would only shoot the 257 Roberts which is sweet and will get the job done one Deer and varmints.
The 300Wby causes my vision to blur when I shoot it and it's for sale.
Another option for you is to install a muzzle break on an existing rifle along with a Limb Saver recoil pad will do wonders to reduce felt recoil.
 

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"you need a heavy rifle"

For an older person with neck issues and Az not being flat as a pancake, with possible high altitudes, heat, and steep climbs a heavy gun simply may not be possible/practical. YES I agree a heavy bbl/gun offers reduced recoil & helps to steady a shot, IF YOU ARE ABLE TO CARRY IT AROUND. If you can deal with the wt & can live with a single shot, a varmint bbl'd H&R or NEF will cost little, hopefully you will get a good one, sink app 100$ into it for re-crowning/ bbl polishing/ trigger job/ and a recoil pad & you could have an excellent shooter for app 1/2 the price of a mdl 7. Put the savings towards some good glass. Good luck.
 

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Welcome Toad.

nice to see you post.


I think you all ready have the best answer... Ruger American in 223.

with proper shot placement this will do all you want. Without the back problem I'd have recommended the 260 rem.

All the things you said, recoil, cost, accuracy are perfect fit with the Ruger 223.

Unfortunately, we only get older, and health never gets better like our youth. Best we can hope for is that ageing takes its toll slowly. I see my capabilities diminish monthly..can't turn the clock back.

Again welcome aboard. That isn't an old age forgot/repeat welcome; note I said " again". LOL
 

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Good Morning, Toad45,

I'm a certified orthopedic nightmare. I've got a road map of surgical scars all over me. I've an appt with my back surgeon next Wednesday. It might be time for another scalpel date. Believe me, I have deep empathy for you, especially for your desire to hunt.

Before I left on a recent elk hunt, I asked my orthopedic surgeon whether I could shoot a high power rifle. He green lighted me. Before I left on my hunt, my surgeon injected me with cortisone in three problematic joints. Last September I hunted trophy bull elk. In the area I hunted, shooter elk were above 360. 400+ bull come out of that area every year. I bought a Lead Sled to sight in my 7MM Rem Mag with 160 Partitions. I did not feel the shot that killed my huge bull. The point is you can use suitable cartridges if you approach your objective with careful deliberation.

First, ask your physician whether you can hunt. If that's green lighted, ask him whether you can shoot a .243 Win, preferably a more powerful cartridge. With orthopedic injuries, it's even more important to drop animals as quickly as possible.

As a hunter with an orthopedic condition, you're confronted with two controlling factors: whether you can hunt & ethical killing of animals you intend to hunt. Believe me, I was worried that all of my elk bonus points might have been for naught. I was relieved when I was green lighted. Ask your physician; he might green light you.

My last right (recoil) shoulder surgery was nine months prior to my hunt. It was an open surgery, which was serious rotator cuff repair. My Lead Sled facilitated gaining confidence firing my rifle. The cortisone in my right shoulder probably eliminated pain of recoil, because I never felt a thing when I shot my elk. This strategy might work for you.

I know that center fire .22 caliber cartridges can kill big game if you're 100% certain of a heart and/or double lung shot. However, if you can fire a .243 Win, or better yet a .270 Win class of cartridges, you'd be in a better position to humanely kill your game.

Whether you hunt will be your decision. From my experience, it is possible to fair chase hunt on public land with serious orthopedic injuries as long as it's approached with due circumspection.

I have reservations about writing this because I do have empathy for you, yet I'd hate to see your hunting and wounding an animal that you might not be able to recover. Were that to happen, you'll add despair to orthopedic injury. If you're unable to hunt with a cartridge that can humanely and reliably kill game you're hunting, you might want to reconsider. I know that I am committed to hunting as often as I can because there will come a day for me when I'll know that there will be no more big game hunts.

BTW, I have bought a Sako .270 Win. I will keep my Sako 7MM Rem Mag just in case I draw another trophy elk tag. I plan on hunting with my Sako .270, and that includes all big game including elk and moose. But were I to become super lucky and draw another tag in an authentic trophy elk area, I'll probably get my lead sled out and another cortisone shot.

One more BTW, were I able to find a suitable carbine in .308 Win, I'd be all over it, especially if it were branded by Sako.

Look in to a Lead Sled. If you buy one, buy a recoil pad and place it in the stock cradle so that the butt of your rifle rests against it. Big game rifles generate recoil energy. That energy is usually absorbed by our shoulders. There is no transfer of energy in a Lead Sled, which is why some shooters have had stocks cracked. To my way of looking at it, a 30 dollar recoil pad was a cheap insurance policy. I probably could have gone with resilient foam rubber.

My absolute sincere best of luck to you,

SS
 

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I too would recommend a 308 carbine

with 110gr HP or something in that range I don't pickup on recoil but the "li'l guy" is a tad noisy.
 

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For an older person with neck issues and Az not being flat as a pancake, with possible high altitudes, heat, and steep climbs a heavy gun simply may not be possible/practical. YES I agree a heavy bbl/gun offers reduced recoil & helps to steady a shot, IF YOU ARE ABLE TO CARRY IT AROUND. If you can deal with the wt & can live with a single shot, a varmint bbl'd H&R or NEF will cost little, hopefully you will get a good one, sink app 100$ into it for re-crowning/ bbl polishing/ trigger job/ and a recoil pad & you could have an excellent shooter for app 1/2 the price of a mdl 7. Put the savings towards some good glass. Good luck.
Boy is this excellent advice, and from my experience, right on target. I carried a 10 pound 7MM Rem Mag up and down I have no clue of how many Rocky Mountain ridges last September. I had planned on hunting with my Featherweight .308 Win. My guide told me I'd be hunting with my 10 pound 7MM Rem Mag. After our 2nd morning hunting, which left me long ago past the ninth degree of exhaustion, my guide saw that I was dog tired. He offered to carry my rifle for we as we walked out. I told him that I was good, which was a lie. He grabbed it and carried it for me. I didn't object.
 

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Toad45,

You might want to check in to a Browning BAR in .308 Win: BAR ShortTrac, Oil Finish, Semi Automatic Hunting Rifle, Browning Firearms Product

The BAR is a super accurate rifle, and being a gas operated semiauto, recoil will be mitigated. Maybe I ought to look in to one instead of a carbine. Now that's a thought I should've considered before I bought my Sako .270 Win.

You'll never be undergunned with a .308 Win.
 

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I, too, can understand diminished capacity. You may find out you are not as sensitive as you think. I have a lot of spinal damage from old injuries, from my tail bone to my neck. Among other neurological problems, I had lost a couple of inches in height until they stretched me back out and pieced me back together with a lot of titanium. The pain never goes away so I am sensitive to anything that compounds the problem. I started out with a 243 WSSM. My limit now is full power 35 Whelen/7mm Mag loads. I do not need that kind of power where I hunt, but it sure is fun to have it.

What I am trying to say is do not cut yourself short. Start with the doctor and go from there. If the 223 is all you can handle, well, there is still a lot of good shooting do be done with what you have. But you will probably be pleasantly surprised as to how far you can go.

I can only dream of an elk hunt or a moose hunt, which is why I have the Whelen and the 7mm Mag. I work out hard and can handle the physical demands, but the pain becomes overwhelming. A couple of afternoon deer or hog hunts is a week is about my limit.
 

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I hunt with my 14.5" AR in 5.56 and harvested several NC deer with the BH Mk262 77gr OTM but have now switched to Winchesters 64gr PSP. Just built another upper with 20" and standard Govt profile bbl. You can build a lightweight AR15 if you choose your components wisely down to 5 lbs. Don't forget for just a very small increase in recoil there are other cartridges for the AR. Main stream is the 6.8 SPCII, 6.5 Grendel, .300 Blackout, 7.62x39 and many wildcats (or limited factory) such as the 6x45, 25-223, 25 45 Sharps, .277 Wolvernine all on the 5.56 case. Then you have all the wildcats on the 6.8 SPC or 6.5x47 Laupa cases. The 223x47 will give the performance of the 22-250 out of a 20" AR.


CD
 

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While far from my first choice, high velocity .22 centerfires (.222, .223, .22-250 etc) when coupled with a tough bullet intended for use on deer and similar game are very capable medium game rounds. They do need an added degree of restraint that many find hard to accept. It sounds like you already exercise it and are willing to work within the limits of your self and your choice of cartridge.
I have used my .223 with great effect on most game animals living in my home province, the only exception is moose. I think you would be ably served with it or the .22-250 loaded with either a nosler partition or barnes TSX or any of the other bullets intended for deer. My rifle favors the winchester 64 grain power point and so does my wallet, its a good balance of price and performance.
My favorite low recoil big game rounds are the 6.5x55 and .30-30. The .30-30 is often overlooked in particular by western hunters but your situation sounds like it may be the ticket. Its comes in light hand rifles and is one of the cheapest centerfires to shoot. I would add a 7.62x39 to the list of contenders as well I have one in a Baikal single shot and enjoy it, it is being chambered in more and more compact bolt actions and may be just what the doctor ordered. Is it a 300+ yard deer gun, not really but then again with the exception of the 6.5, none of the ones I listed are. The .22 centerfires, .30-30, 7.62x39 all shine when you keep shots close, 250 or preferably less than 200.
 

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There's more to it than the wt of the gun & recoil.

Will you be able to lift and drag the kill out of there? That's the reason I had to quit hunting game larger than turkey. OR find someone willing and able to do it for you.
 

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Welcome to Shooters Forum, Toad. :)

It's not clear if you need a gun that is light in weight, one that delivers little recoil, or both. If you can carry a gun that is 8-10lbs in weight, there are many options in calibers from .243" on up that can be built to lower felt recoil. My 13 year-old daughter shot her first deer this year with a 243 Winchester, shooting 85gr Partition bullets at a modest velocity. (If you handload, the world is your oyster in tailoring recoil to your particular tolerance level.)

If you need a gun that is light AND mild in recoil, one of the centerfire 22's is probably the way to go. Make sure to get one with a fast enough twist to handle the heavier bullets that are intended for smaller big game species. With that being said, the critters you listed aren't all that big or difficult to kill...as noted, the harder work will be in getting them back out of the bush.

Good luck and let us know what you decide. :)
 
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