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I want to start by stating I am not a deer hunter, but I interested in starting next season. I am presently looking at different rifles to purchase now so I have plenty of time to get familiar with the weapon. Also want to get a year of range time under my belt.
My question is dealing with recoil. I have health problems that will limit me to a low recoil rifle. I have looked at several "low recoil" caliber rifles and also at .308 and 30-06 useing managed recoil ammo. Looking at some of the ballistics of the managed recoil ammo(.308, 30-06), the energy @ 200yds is less than some of the smaller caliber rounds like a .243, 25-06, .257 roberts etc.....
My question is , is it better to shoot a heavier round at a lower energy, or a lighter round at a higher enegry. Of course this is to be taken into consideration that shot placement is equal.

all advice is appreciated

thanks
 

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Welcome to the deer hunting fraternity!

Personally if I wanted to use low-recoil ammo for deer hunting, I would use a full power load in a smaller caliber that was still fully adequate for deer hunting. For example, a .260 or 7mm08 would feature light recoil comparable to the .30/06 managed recoil load, but would still have a full speed bullet with a flat trajectory. The managed recoil loads either use a lighter than normal bullet or a slower than normal velocity, or both. You would lose a certain percentage of maximum effective range.

In my opinion the lightest recoiling cartridge fully adequate for general big game hunting is the .260 Remington with the 125 gr. Nosler Partition bullet. If you got yourself a nice .260, (or a 7mm08 or 7x57), you could hunt anything up to the size of elk or moose at up to 300 yards or a bit more if you picked the right load and placed your shot correctly (which is always necessary regardless of cartridge) and you would not beat yourself up when you pull the trigger.

When you get into the .25/06, .270 or .280 class of cartridges, you begin to approach .308/.30/06 recoil and if your shoulder is sensitive I would advise something lighter. You could add a muzzle brake to any rifle to cut recoil, and they work well, but they are very hard on your ears and if you stick to a lighter cartridge you don't need a brake.

If you never plan to hunt anything larger than deer, then a .243 Win., 6mm Rem., .250 Sav., or .257 Roberts would be fine also. If you never plan to shoot much farther than 200 yards, then a .30/30 or .35 Rem. would be OK too. Stock design and rifle weight are important factors in how a rifle feels when it recoils. For example you might not enjoy the steel buttplate on a M94 .30/30, even if it is technically a "light recoiling" rifle.
 

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For low recoil on whitetails My vote is the 7mm-08. They have plenty of power for whitetails out to 200 yrds or so (maybe more) and are very easy on the shoulder.
 

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The 7/08 would not have lower recoil in my experience, having owned both rounds. Either one is a GREAT whitetail round and my suggestion would be to find some rifles and decide from there. The 25/06 is a L/A caliber and the 7/08 a S/A caliber. One could certainly feel better than the other in your hands. I liked the idea of a low recoil .308 round, but that's just me. Good Luck!
 

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The above are all good suggestions. I'll add in the 6.5x55SE as well.

Basically, the 6.5x55SE and the .260 Remington are twins.
The 7mm-08 and 7x57 are twins.

I own a .260 Remington, just got it this year (I've used .30-30, .35 Remington, .30-06, and .270 Winchester in the past primarily, and some muzzleloaders, have hunted whitetails for 30 years or so). So far, the .260 is my favorite of those. I'm 5 for 5 deer with it this year and it'll be my go-to rifle going forward.
 

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Another question may be the type of action you desire a semi auto may help manage recoil somewhat. The 7mm's are tried and proven 7X57 and 7mm08. The 30-30 as unglamorus as it is also fits the bill. The 257 Roberts would be my overall choice if you are really looking for a round that will drop deer with little recoil, and by the way I have cleanly taken elk with 120 nosler partitions out of a 257 roberts and I know of several guys who have killed elk with .243's. It is what it is and the lack of recoil allows a precise shot. I'm not saying the 257 is an elk rifle but just to illustrate that it will drop any deer walking, My personal opinion is anything larger than a deer deserves 7mm and above. By the way the 257 loaded with 75 - 87 grain bullets doubles as a heck of a critter getter rig as well which give tons of hands on practice which all results in dead deer when loaded with 100 - 120 grain pills.

For the most part these rounds will be well served in bolt action rifles.

good luck
GF
 

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Before you make a choice you may want to check for availability of ammo for each cartridge in your area. I know from experience that in my area, some cartridges arent very popular and many shops dont carry a large selection of them. Im a fan of the 257 roberts and hunt with a guy who swears by his but in my area ammo is scarce if you dont hand load. His gun is a modified Remington model 7 (im not sure what caliber the gun actually started its life as).
 

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Take look at the Marlin XL7 bolt action in 243 Win. It's very capable of taking deer out past 200 yds. and you could practice with it during the summer on varmints. Recoil would hardly be noticable and the Marlins price and performance are RIGHT ON !!!!!!! HD1
 

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I would highly recommend a 243 Winchester with Federal Premium factory ammo loaded with Sierra's 85 gr. B.T. H.P. Game King bullet. My reason for choosing this combo has to do with just over 300 deer killed with no losses...

When I lived in Mississippi, I was one who got to go out with various Game Officials and harvest deer both in and out of season. Alot of it was areas that were over populated with deer and herds needed thinning for safety and health reasons as well as crop depredation...


Now, I shoot nothing but wildcat cartridges but, if I were ever to shoot "factory", it would definantly be a 243 Winchester with nothing else being considered for a second choice, except maybe another 243....

A
 

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.257 Roberts will do great, deer, hogs, any sort of varmits....

The 6mms are fine (6mm Rem, .243 Win), just use good 100gr. bullets.

I don't think that the small bores are a handicap at all. Do check on ammo availability in your area.

Good luck and good hunting.
 

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I would tend to agree with wildhobbybobby, in going with a smaller caliber at a full load rather than managed recoil (That is, unless you can see yourself, or family/friend needing a full power .308 in the future). I've never tried the .260, but looking at the recoil charts, seems it should be quite a comfortable low recoil round. I would personally go with the heaviest recoiling rifle you think you can handle without being scared of the kick. I think I would take the .243, not having had any experience with the .260. They should both start off with about the same energy (with a 95 grain bullet in the .243, and about a 115 grain in the .260), but seems the .243 should carry the energy out a bit better, while being flatter shooting as well.
 

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Hands down best deer Cartridge for the recoil sensitive shooter is the 260 remington. Nothing else is even close except it's cousin the 6.5x55. Shooting 120-130 grain bullets you will kill any deer that has ever walked planet earth, out to 400 yds and never even notice the recoil. Both of those cartridges are well known for long range accuracy and ballistics.

I've been killing deer with a 260 since Remington came out with it. 11 deer so far at ranges from 20 yds to over 200 and only 1 required a second shot. I've also killed 2 deer with my 6.5x55 and they also died with a single shot. If you can't find a rifle in 260 that you like, look at the Tikka T3 in 6.5x55. They are extremely accurate and very well made guns. My favorite gun is my Remington Model 7 in 260 rem and it will go to the grave with me if possible.
 

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I have to agree with dmsbandit. I picked up a Sako in .260 this fall and honestly dont notice the recoil when shooting it. Im not particularly recoil sensitive to begin with but I gotta believe a beginner/recoil sensitive shooter would have no problem handling it.

That said 7mm08 ammo will be easier to find and most likely cheaper when you do from what I've seen. The recoil level isnt too much more than the .260 either.
 

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Welcome

Many of the other members have given you sound advice. A .260 is a great round for a beginning hunter. Don't fuss over balistics tables and about foot pounds of energy at 400 yards etc between rounds. Like you mentioned it is shot placement that counts. The reality is most game is taken at less than 200 yards and the majority at less than 100. Do you have an experienced mentor to learn from? The rifle you carry is just a portion of the hunting experience. There is still learning animal behavior, woods skills and how to hunt. The shooting is just one part of the whole experience.
I love to shoot but do not care for excessive recoil. My personal light rifle is a Remington 700 in 308 with a 20 in barrel. I load 165 grain Sierra spitzers to 2500 fps. It is comfortable to shoot and will flatten any deer, pig or the average black bear with out a problem.
I did not catch if you were planning on hand loading in the future. If you were to do so my choice would be a .308 (The 308 family of cartridges are all milder on recoil than cartridges based on 30 06 cases). Even if you did not reload you could still learn with reduced recoil rounds and step up to a 150 grain load later on.
When I got my aunt started deer hunting, she purchased a ladies and youth Remington Model 7. I loaded some Sierra 125 grain spitzers at a liesurly 2550 fps(they are about the same energy as a 257 roberts which is a great deer round). She shot the load with out any trouble and the deer she has taken with it do not know the difference between the reduced load and a full power 165 grain load. Her success is atributed to practice time on the range and having a good mentor(me:)) to teach her how to hunt. Another reason she chose the 308 was she wants to go on a elk hunt in the future (She will be shooting a 308 with a 165 grain Sierra Spitzer for that hunt). Currently she has also worked up to shooting full poewr 150 grain 308 loads with no problems (She still shoots the 125 grain loads for her normal deer hunting). Another thing I recommend to all beginning shooters is to get a .22 and shoot that as much as possible. It is not expensive and gives you more trigger time and opens up the world of small game hunting at the same time. It will help you to become a better shooter.
I would try a couple of different rifle and caliber combinations if possible. In the end pick out what you are comfortable with. Buy amunition by the case if you are able. It will give you a consistant load to shoot. The same loadings from a manufacturer can change a little from lot to lot.
The vast amount of rounds out there is mind boggling. Just find what works for you and go for it.
Good luck in your hunting endevors. Don't be afraid to ask questions. There are many experienced members on this forum who give sound advice. Also try to find some experienced locally to hunt with.

Hntr
 

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I would tend to agree with wildhobbybobby, in going with a They should both start off with about the same energy (with a 95 grain bullet in the .243, and about a 115 grain in the .260), but seems the .243 should carry the energy out a bit better, while being flatter shooting as well.

For whitetails, many use 120gr in .260 and some (like me) use 140gr (there are some really good high-BC bullets in the 140gr range) comparison of 95gr .243 and 120gr .260 Nosler Ballistic Tip :) One thing is for sure, the .243 Winchester and the 7mm-08 factory ammo are easier to find* than the .260 Remington or the 6.5x55SE, unless you order over the 'net, then things are almost equally easy to find :) You will almost always be able to find something in .243 at a local store. You will most likely be able to find 7mm-08 somewhere in town, even in small towns. 6.5x55SE may be iffy but probable. The .260 ammo, I wouldn't count on finding in a small town. But, I order ammo over the 'net and haven't had much problem other than the general availability issue of just about everything.

*I can find all fo those at my local Gander Mountain. When I was in Shreverport, LA over the holidays, I went by the Bass Pro Shop there and they had .243, 7mm-08, and 6.5x55SE but no .260.
 

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My preferences for your hunting condition would be the .243 Win.
Thousands of deer are killed each year down here in Texas with the .243,
and I have no qualms about taking mine out of the safe to hunt with anytime. Just as important, ammo is relatively cheap. The old blue box Federal 80 and 100 grain are about as inexpensive as you can get and are extremely accurate.
You will enjoy deer hunting. Again down here, school attentance is way down on opening week-end of season cause everyone takes their kids with them.

Good Luck
 

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when you are choosing a cartridge where, and what type of hunting you want to do plays a big part. If the area your hunting is fields and other open areas, a .243 would fit the bill, but if your hunting area is dense woods you dont want an exteremly flat shooting bullet, somthing like the 30-30 would suit you best. If it were me Id go with the .308 a good medium, and fit it with a good recoil pad and find a load that works for you. there are plenty of standard velocity loads for the .308 that are light kicking.
 
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