Bolt-action cal. recommendations?

Discussion in 'General Rifle' started by Joe Shmoe, Sep 12, 2010.

  1. I'm looking at buying a general-purpose bolt-action rifle sometime in the future.

    I want one chambered in something in between .223 and .308 that is readily available, not very expensive, and not very hard-recoiling (when it comes to recoil, I'm not a teenage girl, but I'm not exactly Elmer Keith, either).

    Any caliber recommendations?

  2. Browning

    Browning G&G Newbie

    7mm-08. plenty of punch for anything up to Elk size game but low recoil. good for around 300 yards. provided u do your part. Wally world sells ammo for them every day. :)
    .270 Win. is also a great caliber, very eficient round (accurate and good range). But is marginal for elk size game. One of the most popular rounds for the whitetail and mule deer hunter.
    I also love the .243 Win. very accurate round. good for varmints and deer size game. very popular round. cheaper ammo then the two listed above. also less recoil.

    Nothing in the caliber range u listed kicks real hard, so the main thing to look at is ballistics tables and ammo price/availablity. good luck!
  3. 338RUM

    338RUM G&G Evangelist


    How is a cartridge that is only .007 inches in diameter smaller and .525 inches longer "marginal" on Elk when compared to the 7mm-08? the 7-08 is running a 160 gr bullet at 2,600 FPS when a 270 is running a 160 gr bullet doing 2,750 FPS I don't see the logic...

    But anyway my suggestion would have to be a 270 Winchester or a 30-06
  4. Para Cassatt

    Para Cassatt G&G Evangelist Forum Contributor

    Since you asked" between the 223 and 308" and "general-purpose", I'd have to suggest the 243. Not many more readily available or as versatile in factory loadings.
  5. Well,

    my two favorite cartridges are the .243 Winchester and the 7mm/08.

    Either will serve you well, has really good accuracy, the .243 Winchester is kind to the shoulder when compared to the .308, plus they are easy to reload should that be your preferred route.
  6. BigElkCanoe

    BigElkCanoe G&G Addict Forum Contributor

    Okay I'll be the oddball, 257 Roberts is my go to gun, she's a sweet shootin rifle. (Then my 308)
  7. Remington 700 in .308 is as good as it gets. If you don't have the money for one a Savage is a good alternative.
  8. samuel

    samuel G&G Newbie

    I would get a .223rem for light work and a .308win for all else.
  9. bobvonb

    bobvonb G&G Evangelist

    between those, as in something in the middle, or pick between?

    30-06 is clearly not between and since many tout the 270 as being better than the 30-06 I can't see it qualifies either.

    243, 6mm Rem, 257 Roberts, 260, 6.5x55, 7-08, 7x57 are all between the two you mentioned. I'd suggest Googling Chuck Hawks and General Purpose rifle and deer rifle and you'll get a good run down on these and a few others.

    personally I'm working toward having a battery of 7x57, 257 Roberts and 6mm Rem. All based on the same case. However, the 7-08 seems to fit your requirement and is maybe the most popular of those I listed.
  10. Plumber

    Plumber G&G Addict

    I've always liked the 308. Not too much recoil, and plenty of punch.
    You havn't told us what you intend to use it for.
    The 243 Win. isn't bad, I just never cared for the smaller cal. for deer size animals.
  11. Palladin8

    Palladin8 G&G Evangelist

    If you're doing nothing more than target shooting then I would say .223. It's cheap and ammo is plentiful. .308 would be another good choice for available ammo and guns chambered in the caliber. Both are used by the military so you can shoot surplus ammo in them for cheap plinking.
  12. stinkybriches

    stinkybriches G&G Enthusiast

    .243 and 7mm08 are the first that come to mind.
    both these chamberings are common enough that finding ammo shouldnt be a problem.
    others that come to mind are the 6mm,260, and the 25-06.
    ammo may not be as easily found for these.
    on a side note, the .270 will do anything the 7mm08 will do,and with the exception of long range target shooting, it will do it better.
    if you depend on factory ammo, the .270 comes in a wider selection of bullets making it clearly more versital.
  13. Ten Man

    Ten Man G&G Evangelist

    I would recommend the .308. It is more versatile than the .223 or .243, and it is less expensive to shoot than the 7MM-08 ammo.

    Target, Varmint, or Hunting for good sized critters - all covered with the .308, especially if you reload.
  14. huffmanite

    huffmanite G&G Evangelist

    joe shmoe,

    I'm kinda like you on range of cartridges I prefer to shoot on a regular basis at range I'm a member. 257R, 6.5X55, 7X57, 7mm-08 are my preferred calibers. Have only one 308 rifle that I don't shoot that much and its not because of recoil. You can include the 25-06 as a possible choice with its normal recoil being in range of 11 to 12.5 Lbs which is in the lbs recoil range of the 7X57, 7mm-o8 or 308. Recoil of a 30-06 runs around 18-20 lbs.

    Have 3 257Rs, love the cartridge, but being a kinda hard to find ammo in stores, around here anyway, not good round to choose unless you reload and hard to find a new rifle in that caliber too. Easier to find the 6.5x55 or 7x57 ammo, but difficult to find a new rifle chambered in them. That leaves the 7mm-08, 308 and my suggested 25-06. Easy to find a rifle to buy in these calibers and easy to find its ammo in stores. Ammo is reasonably priced too.
  15. toolman

    toolman Resident Sasquatch Forum Contributor

    My all-around "go-to" gun is my Mod. 70 Win. in .270 Win. I've taken everything from rabbits to 300lb. pigs with it. Our whitetails which can go well over 200 lbs. drop like a rock using 130 gr. core-lokt or Nosler BT handloads.
  16. I think your going to get a better answer if we know what your looking to do with the gun. You looking to hunt? ok what do you want to hunt? You just shooting targets? ok what range you looking at? just more pieces to the puzzle :D

    That said I really like my .270 doesnt kick to bad but is a very accurate gun for under 400 bucks. I have a weatherby vanguard in .270 with a Nikon Prostaff 3-9x50mm scope for every thing rings and all was under 700 bucks. Gun cost me $390 scope was $199 and the other stuff I dont remember exact prices but I also picked up Rings, rails, sling and a tall bipod for it and when I was said and done it wasnt quite 700 bucks. Did I mention it holds 1 inch groups at 100 yards, it can problulby do better but I havnt had enuph practice lately lol.

    PS: Im using my .270win for moose this year, know plenty of people who kill moose every year with a .270win
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2010
  17. .270.

    And though some may or will disagree, in my honest opinion, the .270 is one of, if not, the best all around rifle caliber.
  18. DudeInMT

    DudeInMT G&G Regular

    IMO the top 3 all around rifles for North American hunting are

    I'd pick one that starts with a 3 personally, because both of them are great for any big game animal you'd want to kill, and both have tons of ammunition to choose from.

    So if your all-purpose includes big game hunting I'd look at a .308 or .30-06, then you can shoot anything you can get a tag for, and not worry about not having "enough gun". If it does not include hunting, then there are tons of other fine suggestions in this thread.
  19. jbrown

    jbrown G&G Newbie

    when i hear general purpose or all purpose bolt action my mind instantly goes to the .30-06.

    the cartridges for this caliber ban be loaded with anything from a 240 grain bullet down to a 110 grain one. i've even seen specialty loads that have a 55 grain bullet.

    plus this caliber has been used for hunting for over 100 years now and is very common so you are likely to find a box of ammo at little mom and pop stores out in the middle of nowhere.

    yeah there is a bit of recoil, but with modern recoil pads and the variety of other solutions to soften the blow the recoil of this caliber is not really bad at all. if you are an adult and don't have medical issues with your shoulder you should be fine.