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jtcougars8

hunting guns

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If you want 5 opinions on good hunting guns, all you need to do is ask any 3 gun guys!

A lot depends on where you're planning to hunt, what the biggest animal you plan on taking and what the biggest, baddest predator you have in your area. In the Big Thicket country of Texas, anything much bigger than a 30-30 is probably a waste as you will most likely never see a 100 yard shot, most will be around 50 yards. Just too many trees. Out in the open, you may be able to take 300 yard shots and that is 30-06/7mm Rem Mag/.308 country. I personally don't approve of "long range" hunting (beyond about 400 yards). If the bullet time of flight to the target takes more than about 1/4 second, the animal has time to move enough so that a lung shot becomes a gut shot and the animal takes 3 days to die of infection. I find that unacceptable. The quarter second puts the animal within 350 yards or so for most calibers.

The problem is a solid deer rifle is probably not a good squirrel gun (although some of the .30-06 rounds can be loaded out as high speed light weight rounds). A .22 is about the best their is for small game but above coyote size it isn't enough gun and is illegal in many states for deer sized game.

I recommend you find out what the deer hunters in your area use and investigate that. If you are in big bear country, you'll need a side arm capable of discouraging the bear (you'll have put your rifle down to check on the game you shot - I NEVER want to argue with a bear over a kill but especially not with empty hands) or big cat but I always suggest a sidearm in the tall and uncut. You have it with you when you don't have anything else.

In Kentucky, depending on what part, I'd think a .308,.30-06 or .30-30 would work well for deer and hogs. IIRC KY is black bear country, not brown, so these rifles would do for the apex predator. I am NOT a fan of 5.56 for hunting as I think the cartridge is too light for larger game animals. It will do the job but I just don't think it is enough gun to consistently make clean kills. For your area, I'd probably say a .357 Mag revolver (I prefer revolvers for field guns) and a .30-06 or 7mm Rem Mag (.308 if that is your choice). That is a solid match for deer, bear, hogs and wolf/coyote in your neck of the woods. Then get a .22LR for small game.

Just my not so humble opinion.

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45 caliber muzzleloader...LOL.

 

I am probably the only one who will advocate the muzzleloaders, so I am championing them. I have taken deer and small game with the 45 cal and it is usually the smallest LEGAL caliber for muzzleloaders in the states I know of. Some allow 44 caliber as well.

 

I'll let the centerfire advocates have the forum now. As Capt Bart says, "what are your planned quarry and type of terrain?"

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As the others said, it depends what you are hunting. I'm going to assume deer and black bear plus varmints in Kentucky.

 

The worst thing a first time hunter can do is get a gun with to much recoil. The 308, 30-06, and 7 mag are all great cartridges, but all have a significant amout of recoil. The 308 will have considerably less than the other two but more than the rounds listed below. If I had to choose 1 rifle to hunt anything in the US I'd choose the 7 mag but I don't consider it a beginners rifle due to the recoil.

 

For a first time hunter in Kentucky I'd look at the 243, 25-06, 6.5 Creedmoor, 260 Rem, 270 win, or 7mm-08. Any of these will handle deer or black bear with a well placed shot and all have fairly light recoil. The 243 and 6.5 Creedmoor would have the least recoil while still being plenty capable out to 300yds. The 25-06, 260, 270, or 7mm-08 will all have a bit more recoil due to either more powder or more bullet weight. Any of these though with a premium bullet like the Nosler accubond or partition will take any game you are likely to see in Kentucky. If I was setting up a gun for a first time hunter today I'd probably get a 6.5 Creedmoor in around a 7lb bolt action rifle and put a Leupold 3-9x Vari X II scope on it. I'd shoot a premium 130gr bullet through it for game and be well prepared for anything smaller than elk. The 6.5 Creedmoor was designed to have the recoil of a 243 while pushing a heavier bullet. The long 6.5mm bullets penetrate very well and are very aerodynaminc which helps reduce bullet drop and wind drift.

 

The other gun you should have is a good 22lr to practice your rifle shooting with and hunt small game with. It's lack of recoil and cheap ammo will make you a better shot and let you practice more.

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I think that the final decision is determined when one goes to the gun safe, opens it and sees what is in there. Telling you what my favorite hunting rifle is kind of useless.

 

My favorites are a Winchester 300 H&H Magnum and a Mannlicher Schoenauer Model 1952 in .270 Winchester. Both are very accurate at both close and long range. If one misses, it is operator error. The 270 is ‘holy cow’ sensitive because it has a double trigger… the second trigger being a hair trigger.

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Here in North Carolina you usually hunt in heavy brush or across small open fields. I prefer lever action rifles in 45-70 or my new favorite in semi auto the Beowulf 50 for large game (hogs, deer and bear). for smaller game I'll use my Marlin 39A lever action 22lr or Mossburg 500 .410.

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I am only partial to .308 due to the availability of the cartridge in a post "whatever world"

5.56 same sentiments although I think the 308 has more flexibility due to choices in bullet weight offerings and reloading.

other wise smoke if you got em'

 

It is no secret that I love the 22 long rifle cartridge, too many videos on youtube prove what I already know long range practice give a one a sense of confidence with long distance shooting of big bore cartridges and cost less shooting small stick on spots on a index card @ 50 yards and once your confident 100.

 

I am not against any cartridge I have shot most all of them it is a matter of matching game to cartridge and cost I shoot 458 win mag 500 grain solids

so what I am not going to go deer hunting here with it sometimes too much testosterone and not enough precision.

too many choices are not for most people they cannot afford to become proficient enough as it takes many rounds to know bullet drop or wind drift blah blah blah off the top of your head.

 

Most people today cannot shoot with iron sights compare an 03A3 front sight or a Mauser 98 to a present day production rifle IF IT HAS IRON SIGHTS AT ALL.

with the black rifles peep sights in different configurations if you have more than one you need to practice with all of them to get the mind memory

of how your cheek and hands hug the rifle and the butt seats to the shoulder of each type as they have different kant length of pull sight hight trigger pull,

weight, balance, recoil attributes I could go on but you get my drift.

 

In conclusion I am more concerned with one man with one rifle that knows how to use it than a horde of wannabes with personal batteries of gear.

there are more of them than you know that are like Tom Frye or Adolf Topperwein 14,540 2 1/2 in square blocks without a miss his wife pinky shot 100 clays in a row over 200 times.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exhibition_shooting#Tom_Frye

 

 

Believe it or not a 1 inch group is mediocre to poor at 100 yards a person must shoot better than that to compete at a state match much less a national.

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45 caliber muzzleloader...LOL.

 

I am probably the only one who will advocate the muzzleloaders, so I am championing them. I have taken deer and small game with the 45 cal and it is usually the smallest LEGAL caliber for muzzleloaders in the states I know of. Some allow 44 caliber as well.

 

I'll let the centerfire advocates have the forum now. As Capt Bart says, "what are your planned quarry and type of terrain?"

 

Cap and ball or flintlock? Center line or old style? I've been looking, again researching .36 caliber vs 45, 50 or 56. I'm thinking .50 but I'm just not sure yet.

Edited by Capt Bart

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An issue for a survival gun is the ability to reload. I like straight sided rounds (45-70, 50-90, .45 Colt, etc.) for ease of reload. I also like lever guns and love my Marlin Guide Gun in .45-70. The question was hunting gun and for larger animals I don't like anything smaller than a .270/7mm. That is my bias, I understand the 6.8 mm is a good round but it is unusual in my neck of the woods and I've never dealt with that caliber.

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Cap and ball or flintlock? Center line or old style? I've been looking, again researching .36 caliber vs 45, 50 or 56. I'm thinking .50 but I'm just not sure yet.

 

For me it would NOT be an inline, but that is personal. I can't knock the inline's performance, I just prefer the traditional styles. As for just hunting, the percussion cap would be the better, as it is less tempermental to weather changes. To me, the 45 cal offers the best way to take deer sized game and yet I can still take small game with it (head shots on small game are extremely important). I have several 50 cal muzzleloaders of the Hawken style.

My next purchase (hopefully in Dec) will be a 45 cal flintlock kentucky rifle. I figure the 45 will take blackbear easy enough, as most of the historical longrifles were 40 cal or 45 cal as the larger ones. The smoothbores were usually larger, between 69-78 caliber. The 32 cal is a dandy rifle for small game and a blast to shoot. The 36 is more popular tho and usually easier to find pre cast balls for.

The flintlock ignition is my preferred choice for a long term event, where society and our infrastructure goes down. I have a few thousand percussion caps, but if these run out, then I'll have to figure out how to make them (which I am looking into as they were making them in the early to mid 1800's). I also like the 45 cal because I can drop my powder charge down for small game and thus conserve powder, and the lead round balls are what I found the best to utilize in my slingshot, I also have the 45 cal kentucky pistol. So for me, the 45 cal is the most versatile for my plans and other tools.

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Dem smoke poles be alright in a pinch

 

I think as long as you have a couple types of molds like a conical and a ball even make some compressed sabots out of paper meche with some school paste for certain sub caliber bullets

 

45 would take a .410 shot cup and a base wad and you could send 7/8ths ounce of shot down range and make a pattern have to experiment until your load was right a lot of versatility ball, Minnie ball, and shot triple threat and you could even stack buck shot 5 at once as per 3 inch 410 loads.

i bet BPI would send you a few of each for a small price to test just a thought.

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Reg,

Making your own percussion caps always scared me. I'm terrified of fulminate of mercury. Toxic, unstable, hard to work with, what's not to love? I have a bunch for my cap and ball revolvers but yeah, I'd like both a flintlock and a cap lock. The Flintlock just seems a better long term solution. Neither are the 'perfect' defense weapon but either are excellent survival guns for the long term.

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Capt, I agree. I would rather NOT make my own caps. It's just something I'd like to have the knowledge of. I have a cousin who is a physicist and chemist, so I would ask him to apply his skill sets and knowledge to that task....lol.

 

I also would rather not use my flintlock or percussion tools for defense purposes, but I figure if I use them for my hunting I can conserve my centerfire and even rimfire for defense without depleting my stocks putting extra meat on the table. For me, the biggest game I need to worry much about is deer and the largest predator is a coyote, altho there have been scattered sightings of mountain lions/catamounts/cougars or whatever they are called here in the Midwest...lol. There is also a small spattering of run ins with bobcats, but they are scarce.

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I got to thinking { I know some of you are cringing}

 

What about a pistol caliber lever gun of course your limited in range but lots of fun plenty of shots and not going to be looked upon as a black gun

it is compact has iron sight and option of scoping.

can shoot 38 or 357 or 44spl or 44 mag I looked up 45 LC and the velocity was lower by about 350 fps than 44 mag out of a rifle

and later get a revolver to match either double or single action or both :P

 

other wise a single shot rossi or NEF have some great choices I like the W rifle from rossi you can buy I think up to 18 different barrels / calibers including

shotgun gauges and they all fit on one frame.

.308 can be loaded down to 30-30 if your a hand loader and want to lessen the kick for your child once sighted in for it it shoots like any other.

and they have pistol calibers love it.

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JCMS, I have the Marlin lever in 45 Colt and the Vaquero to match. I love them and as you said, they don't draw much attention. The black rifles don't draw any negative views in my home area but in other locales I have been.....

 

I want to add a 45/70 to my collection next year. I don't think I'd ever need it to hunt in my area but I still want it, just don't need it.

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I got to thinking { I know some of you are cringing}

 

What about a pistol caliber lever gun of course your limited in range but lots of fun plenty of shots and not going to be looked upon as a black gun

it is compact has iron sight and option of scoping.

can shoot 38 or 357 or 44spl or 44 mag I looked up 45 LC and the velocity was lower by about 350 fps than 44 mag out of a rifle

and later get a revolver to match either double or single action or both :P

 

other wise a single shot rossi or NEF have some great choices I like the W rifle from rossi you can buy I think up to 18 different barrels / calibers including

shotgun gauges and they all fit on one frame.

.308 can be loaded down to 30-30 if your a hand loader and want to lessen the kick for your child once sighted in for it it shoots like any other.

and they have pistol calibers love it.

 

As a kid, my FAVORITE Deer hunting rifle was a 30/30. But being that its not, IMO, a popular round, it may be hard to find, sooner than later. NOw grown Ive moved on to .308.. but i had no idea about... what you said. thats kinda neat

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JCMS, I have the Marlin lever in 45 Colt and the Vaquero to match. I love them and as you said, they don't draw much attention. The black rifles don't draw any negative views in my home area but in other locales I have been.....

 

I want to add a 45/70 to my collection next year. I don't think I'd ever need it to hunt in my area but I still want it, just don't need it.

 

Reg,

look seriously at the Marlin Guide gun when you start looking at the 45-70. The new one this year has a bigger mag and some other improvements I wish I had on my older one. The upside is you can shoot the 45-70 Marlin as well as the 45-70 govt round and it is a substantially stompier round! Add some Hornady Leverevolution ammo to the mix and you have an excellent big game round that would even impress Ursus maritimus.

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JCMS, I have the Marlin lever in 45 Colt and the Vaquero to match. I love them and as you said, they don't draw much attention. The black rifles don't draw any negative views in my home area but in other locales I have been.....

 

I want to add a 45/70 to my collection next year. I don't think I'd ever need it to hunt in my area but I still want it, just don't need it.

 

Yeppers love the Vaquero and marlin 1895

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