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nofishfisherman

.243 or 25.06

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I am looking at purchasing my first rifle, this last season was my first year of deer hunting and I just borrowed a friends rifle. Sadly I think he wants his rifle back for next season so I'll need to find something for myself.

This year I was shooting a Winchester Model 70 30.06. Great rifle but I think I'm looking at something smaller. I have issues with a bad shoulder that I'd like to avoid making worse in the future so recoil is some consideration for me. I was able to shoot the 30.06 just fine if I limited how much I shot but I figure if I am going to spend the money on a new rifle I should get something that my shoulder won't hate me for later.

I've been considering two main calibers at this point, the .243 and the 25.06. I haven't had a chance to shoot either caliber so can anyone give me some indication on recoil and effectiveness for deer hunting.

For a comparison sake in the past I've shot a .17 HMR, .22, and the 30.06.

Are there any other calibers I should be considering that would be lighter on the recoil but also effective in taking down a deer?

Also I've been seeing several decent looking Savage packages in the $299-$399 range. Anyone have any experience with one, I've heard good things but I'd be interested in hearing your experiences with any Savage rifle.

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Both will take down a deer but like previosly stated you may want to check out the .308, or even the 30-30 neither kick too bad and ammo will be easier to find.

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Bought a 243 just before my 14th birthday. "Good gun for a young man," they told me. I thought it would do the trick and in a few years I could upgrade to one of the big boys guns. Well, it has been so good that I just finished my 35th year with the same gun.

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It depends on what you want. If you want easy to find and cheaper bullets go with the .243. I own a 25-06 and love it, however, bullets are a bit more expensive and harder to find. I bought it just because I like having something a little bit different than anyone else. I will also throw the 7mm-08 in there for a caliber you might be interested in. It is enough for deer and does not kick much.

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A .308 with 150 grain loads is an easy round to take. 6 deer in the last 3 years have dropped within sight with my .308 and 150 grain SST's and TTSX's. more than enough for deer. (The Barnes TTSX rounds are a more robust round due to its monolithic bullet so it has an edge on even 180gr. lead bullets.) I would use this combo on elk if I had the money to go.

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Choosing a caliber is tough. I own both the .243 & '06 along with a .270 and a recently acquired 7mm-08 that I got on a lark. I really put in the time and effort to work up a load for the latter this summer and used it this season with amazing results. Recoil isn't an issue with me but lemme tell ya, that 7mm-08 is a darling. It's comparable to the .243, recoil wise but, the selection of bullet weights outpaces the .243. You can go from varmit to elk bullet weights with ease. However, finding ammo is alittle harder and somewhat more spendy. I reload so that isn't a drawback for me. The Fusion 140's will handle any deer anywhere. I bought the Wxby Vanguard carbine, 20 inch barrel but it is availiable in 22 inch as well and can be picked up at a reasonable price sans the scope, rings and mount. Do alittle research on the calibers and see what is going to fit your needs. You got all year ....take your time.

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I won a 25.06 a couple years ago and took my first deer with it this year. I really like it a lot. I have always hunted with a 30.06 and really like the none kick factor of the 25. You would be very happy with it.

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I have to echo the sentiments toward the .243, 25-06, and 308 as they have been described. I own two of those calibers and would love to get back into shooting them if the kids weren't using them. I'm stuck with my .300 unless I buy another rifle.

I guess I might go with the heavier .308 if you were hunting thick woods where errant twigs might be a factor. My Browning BLR in .308 is a real nice handling gun for that. I plan to try the Remington bolt in .243 next time I'm on whitetail only tags out west and if I hunt coyotes this year. In my experience whith off the shelf ammo the .308 rivals the .300 in damage to the meat. I would like something a little more subtle.

I considered the Savage rifles when buying the .243 for our youngest and think one would have been fine for her but the Remington Model 700 with the 3x9 Remington scope sweet talked me at $400.

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There are a few lighter kicking calibers to choose from. The 308 is probably the best all around choice due to the variety of ammunition and as stated above you can find it anywhere. 7mm-08 and the 243 are both necked down versions of the 308. So if you are shooting the same weight projectiles they will have the same recoil. I am not a fan of the 243 unless you are willing to wait for a perfect shot and limit the distances. It doesnt carry the energy that a heavier bullet will. But dont get me wrong, it will definitly do the job with proper shot placement. Another contender would be the 6mm. Again finding ammo may be difficult. Have you thought about a 270 with managed recoil rounds? If your shoulder issue is temporary that may be a good option since you can always switch to full power rounds as your shoulder gets better.

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Wow, some really good feedback here. So, the .243 and the 7mm-08 will have the same recoil as the 308 assuming the same weight projectile is being shot?

I'll have to keep the 308 in mind as well, I like the idea of something that can give me a little broader range of shot possibilities instead of having to wait for the perfect shot. I'll be switching hunting spots for next season but we have been in fairly heavy woods and the stray twig can certainly be an issue although range isn't since we were not presented with a shot over 40 yards. I also like the availability of ammo.

The shoulder issue probably won't ever be totally better. Its a rotator cuff and tendinitis deal that I've been dealing with for several years now, the docs seem to think it doesn't need surgery though. Its generally fine day to day and I workout to keep it strong but if I do the wrong thing or subject it too much punishment then I'm a hurtin' unit. It can handle the 30-06 for the actual hunt since its a minimal amount of shooting, its the range time that hurts.

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If you reload then I would suggest the 25-06. If you don't I would suggest the 243. Both rounds are good but if your looking to go out west and want a longer shot I would switch to the 25-06 in a heart beat. Main reason when my girlfriend wanted to get into hunting I purchased a 25-06 instead of a 243. Great gun, flat shooting and you can load up to a 120 grain bullet.

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The 7mm-08 and .308 are great well performing rounds with lighter recoil. If recoil is the main concern opt for a rifle that's a little heavier and fits you well. Both of these will have as much impact on recoil as the caliber itself. There's a lot more choices in the 7mm-08 that there used to be as it really has become a very popular round. It's velocities are comparable to a .270 with it running about 100 fps slower. The .308 has even more offering in rifles and ammo and is a very efficient round.

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I think the 243 would work fine and shells are easy to find. I would also consider the .308 or .260. Both are pretty easy on the recoil and will effectively harvest deer.

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IMO, I think it is a bad decision to buy a gun based in large part on the potential recoil of the caliber. A person really should choose a gun based on its intended useage and work from there. There are many ways to reduce felt recoil, just as there are different guns of the same caliber that may exhibit differing levels of felt recoil. Muzzle brakes (such as the BOSS system Browning has on certain A-bolts), limbsaver recoil pads, heavier guns, etc. will all reduce recoil without sacrificing the performance of a larger caliber.

For the purpose of deer hunting, either caliber that you mentioned will probably suffice. Personally, I would not want to go any lower than a .243 for northern whitetails. But I would rather be a bit overgunned than undergunned personally.

If you ever think you will ever consider hunting larger big species (bear, elk, moose, etc.) I would certainly recommend going with a larger caliber than the .243.

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I don't ever foresee hunting anything bigger than whitetail so I just don't see the need to go with too large. I'm also not talking about going with a .223 or anything too small either. I'm trying to find the right balance of "put a deer on the ground" power and reduced recoil.

It sounds like the .243, 25-06, 7mm-08 and 308 are all good options for what I'm looking for. I'll keep my eyes open and see what deals pop up and see what calibers are available at that point.

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In reality, you aren't really going to find the same bullet weights in a .243 as a .308. The heaviest I have ever seen for a .243 is 105 grains. The .308 is going to have the same size bullets available for it as your 30-06. I personally would also go with the 7mm-08. Ballistically it it superior to the .308 and still can get a heavy enough bullet to create the energy for the knockdown power without the recoil.

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I have an issue with recoil aswell. Im kind of a wuss. Although I hunt with a 270. When I first got it I couldnt shoot more than 5 rounds and I was done. I put on a slip on Limbsaver recoil pad and now I can shoot a whole box without issue. My rifle is a Savage, bolt action with the accutrigger. I love it.

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If you really will NOT shoot over 40 yards with it a 30/30 is as good as anything, but......it is really nice to have the capability for some power/accuracy at longer ranges. I have a .308 and a 6MM, both do a great job when the shot is placed well and the range isn't too far. I prefer the .308 for power . I know a guy who can shoot well, and he uses a .243......2years ago, he shot a buck that ran far and left very little blood trail. It was found the next day, after lots of trailing/ searching. Last year he shot a buck twice, that ran far and left very little blood trail. It was found the next day after lots of trailing/searching. (notice a trend?) This year he shot a BIG BUCK 5 times before it expired...it went across an open field, thus 5 shots/and 5 hits. 2 shots in the chest, 1 in the neck that put it down, 2 more in the chest to finish it at close range. That buck was MAD, tried to get at him when he got close,but the neck shot took out 3 legs, so it couldn't. NOW my friend is thinking he needs a bigger gun to improve "put down power". I agree with him....don't go undergunned for those rare long shots, or bigger deer. .308, 7mm/.308 class are what I would look for.

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I agree with IntheNorthWoods choose caliber over recoil there are other ways to accommodate that issue. I have a Ruger 7mm Mag and just bought a Winchester Model 70 25-06 this past spring and have shot a 270 and 243. I also own a 30-30 and a 44 mag rifle.

I bought the 25-06 because of its ballistics and energy. I know ballistics aren't everything but if you use ShootingTimes web page you'll can compare many rounds of ammo, and you'll see that a 243 for a 100 grain load is about 2960 velocity at the muzzle and apprx 1950 energy at 100 yds as to compare the loads I shoot for my 25-06 a 115 grain is 3060 and 2038. They are not a whole lot different at close yardage. I chose the 25-06 because I too like a little something different, but I also shoot Winchester loads through it at at 500 yds it implies only a 20 inch drop as to the 243 its probably going to be in the 40's and the energy becomes quite a bit more of a spread the farther out you go for each 100 yds comparatively. I'm not saying I'd get the the chance to shoot that far but its nice to think I can! By the way 25-06 ammo is not hard to find, but your not going to have as many options as a 243.

One other thing to consider is use of a scope or not on the rifle your using. Some rifles are more accommodating for that then others like my Winchester 94 30-30 smile

My two cents. I really think any of the rifles your comparing you'll be happy with. I don't own the Savage but I have heard nothing but good about them for the price. And I too would choose a heavier caliber if your debating; 25-06 or larger for me.

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The 243,308,7mm-08,25-06 are all great rounds, If recoil is an issue all of these calibers are proper deer sized game loads and are great coices for deer hunting use what you feel comfortable with and what you can acuratly place your shots with. IMO I don't belive that you need a magnum caliber for taking whitetail or is it a usually good idea to start out using, as you can develop a flinch using high recoil rifles and decrease your acuracy and confidence in your fire arm. I own two savage rifles and both are great very well put together and accurate. Some other calibers that also come to mind though some not be chambered in a savage is 6.5x55 swedish, 35 remington, 300 savage and 257 roberts, these cartriges are a little hard to find ammo for but alot of deer have been shot with these calibers. Good luck and find the rifle that fits you.

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I love my .243.

Dad gave it to me when I was 14 years old. He bought it in 1968.

I shoot it to this day. Killer gun. Cheap ammo. Readily available ammo.

Kills deer very effectively over and over.

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NOfisher, Youve asked for it and you got it. All have opinions including myself.

Just my 2 cents but I've owned a few of the exotics over the years (the not so familar calibers) and they work no doubt. I'll never forget buying my first 270. It was a must to be a deer hunter in Washington state at the time. Range- you bet, power- yeah it had it. Did it kill deer any deader than the 06 I was using previoulsy NO.

I now have 1 rifle that I deer hunt with and its the caliber you hunted with this year the good ole 06. I Know it will kill deer out to 300 yards no problem if "I" make that shot count.

I know guys that feel the same way about their 308's. Though IMO not the best long distance round out there, you will have a WIDE variety of rounds to choose from if you ever decide to try any long range shooting in the future.

So If I were personally having to pick a gun that I could hunt deer with for HONEST reasons (recoil and flexibility) chose the 308. OR look into the recoil limting options or a heavier (HEAVY) gun.

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I've NEVER had a problem killing deer (or antelope) with my .243. Love it! Like stated above, cheap, available ammo. I have it in a Browning A-Bolt.

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Cant argue with that DonBo. And the 243 isn't an exotic IMO. Availability of shells is great and cheap to shoot (comparatively).It funny how we all have opinions.

Ive thought hard on this subject for many years and decided the 06 was THE gun. Now I want to yote hunt and its to big frown. So Ive been thinking about the 243 as a multi purpose for small to med size game. Anyone who hunts with me who doesn't have a rifle could use it or the wife could should she ever take up deer hunting.

But I would prefer they not use it for Bear. I guess it all depends on what you think your going to use it for down the road.

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