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Captain Bill Burt

Whitetail Hunting question

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My father recently gave me a Winchester Model 70 (pre 64) in 300 Win Mag. He also gave me a Remington Model 700 with the heavy fluted barrel in 22-250. Both have ginormous scopes on them. 

 

I’m thinking of going deer hunting for the first time (GA).  Opinions on which would be the better choice?

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Never hunted in GA.  It depends on the terrain your hunting in.  If it's open country with 2-300 yard shots, the 300 WM shoots flatter and hits harder.  Which gun do you shoot best.  When I was elk and moose hunting, I used a 7mm Rem Mag.  When I scaled back, I went to a 30-06, which is enough gun for pretty much anything in the US.  As with any hunting, it's shot placement that counts.  A good shot with the 22-250 is better than a bad shot with the 300 WM.  My scopes are a 2x7 Redfield on my gun, and a 3x9 on the wifes 06.  They spend most of their lives on 5 power.

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The .300 is too much gun.  Even though a lot of whitetails have fallen to the .22-250, IMO it borders on not enough.  If there is no other choice, go big, use the .300 Mag.

 

How cool to hunt with a gift from your dad...make it memorable.  I did not get that opportunity. 

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The .300 is too much gun unless you are shooting really long range on a bean field, clear cut or powerline.  I know a guy that hunts a .300 and it's too much gun for how far he hunts but that's what he wants to shoot so more power to him. 

 

Me?  I figure if I can't kill it with a .30-'06, then I ain't got any business shooting at it.  Besides, a '06 will reach farther than I want to drag a deer.  In close cover, I like the .30-30 or, if it's really tight quarters like a pine thicket, a '94 Trapper chambered in .45 Colt loaded with 300gr Corbon hunting loads.

 

The .22-250 is, as J-Bar pointed out, on the borderline.  Personally, I don't like any of the.22 centerfires for deer hunting.  Sure, they can do the job but the margin of error is really small so precise placement is needed.  I don't want a wounded deer getting away and suffering.  It ain't right and, as the hunter, I have an obligation to do everything in my power to make any kill I make as clean as possible.

 

If it comes down to one of them or nothing at all, the .300 gets the nod.  It's way more gun than you'll need but better too much gun than not enough.

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Shoot them both and see if you like one over the other.  The 300 is going to have significant recoil.  Some folks can take the recoil but some can't.  

 

Old story...  I worked with a big Sweed that had a Remington 743 in 30-06 he couldn't get sighted in.  He thought maybe the scope was bad or mounts loose or something.  He brought it out to the farm and I and my brother-in-law shot it and twinked the scope a little but it shot acceptable groups for a hunting rifle.  He set down to shoot it and failed to take the safety off. He yanked the trigger and flinched so bad I sware the gun raised a foot. Was he embarrassed.  

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CBB, You can probably buy some lighter loads for the 300, it's still a 30 caliber bullet, just look for some lighter weight bullets and it should be fine.

Same with the 22-250, find the heaviest bullets for it and it should get the job done. They are both good rifle rounds.

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Both are nice hunting guns, give them a try and see which will make you comfortable and perform better.

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22 cal bullets are generally too frangible for hunting deer size animals even with bullets over 70grs. The jackets just aren't thick enough to hold together at the speed that a 22-250 generates. The result is a wide but shallow wound channel.

The 300 Winchester is on the other end of the spectrum. With good handloads you can slow the bullets down enough to use it but you will burn a lot of powder in the process. 

Large powerful scopes will be a handicap in the Georgia woods.

Georgia is mostly woodland hunting with ranges very seldom exceeding 200 yds and more likely to be in the 30 to 50 yard range. This is one of the reasons a 30-30 shines in this environment, and without a scope or something in the 2.5 X range.

You will also find that your Cowboy rifles will work well in the woods. A 45LC or a 357 round is very effective in factory loads or equivalent. And you won't be punching holes in a farmhouse 1/4 mile away.

The more open that the landscape becomes, the more effective your two treasures will be.

 

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Ace is spot on about the .22 caliber bullets.  They will kill a deer if everything goes right, and make a painful wound if shot placement is slightly off, or if they hit a bone.

The 300 Winchester is more powerful than you need, but it will kill a deer with even a marginal shot and typically will drop it right there.  The concept of "too powerful"  implies that a deer can be "too  dead."

 Use the 300 Winchester.

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Thanks for all the useful information pards. What I don’t know about hunting could fill a library.

 

My dad had a first rate porting job done on the Winchester, so recoil is manageable. Both guns are pretty heavy with those scopes on them. I think I’m going to try the 300 with the lightest loads I can find. I’ll just have to be extra mindful of my backstop.  I doubt I’m a good enough shot to do it humanely with a 22-250. I’ll dial the scope back to a low magnification.

 

He also gave me a Browning A5 he bought back in the sixties, so I guess I need to try my hand at a little duck hunting too!

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Like some of the others...neither. IMHO you need something in between. I have taken 60 or 70 deer and probably 50 antelope with a 25-06......right in the middle of what you now have.

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I don't know that the 300 magnum is too much gun.  This is the largest deer I ever got.  Shot it broadside through the lungs with a 30-06 loaded with 165 bullet.  I found the bullet under the skin on the off side.  The bullet pasted between the ribs so never hit bone.  He only went about 50 yards.  I was shocked that the bullet didn't exit.  The distance was 85 steps.

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2 hours ago, Captain Bill Burt said:

Thanks for all the useful information pards. What I don’t know about hunting could fill a library.

 

My dad had a first rate porting job done on the Winchester, so recoil is manageable. Both guns are pretty heavy with those scopes on them. I think I’m going to try the 300 with the lightest loads I can find. I’ll just have to be extra mindful of my backstop.  I doubt I’m a good enough shot to do it humanely with a 22-250. I’ll dial the scope back to a low magnification.

 

He also gave me a Browning A5 he bought back in the sixties, so I guess I need to try my hand at a little duck hunting too!

 

Capt.:

 

Go and enjoy.  My first whitetail hunting trip was to a friend's leased land in Lumpkin, GA.  Paper company land; a mix of planted feed plots, timber, cotton, peanut fields, and areas of harvested trees.  I was shooting a borrowed BAR in 30-06.  Took my first deer at 200 yds, from a tree stand.  Thought my heart and lungs would burst.

Best part of the hunt was the solitary time in the stand before sun-up.  Watching the world come slowly alive, with the birds, the dew, and the ghosts along the tree line (every shadow is a deer!) is an experience unlike any other.

Others here have given some informed advice; I, like you, am a novice hunter.  Can't help on caliber, but I can heartily suggest that you get out there and drink in the experience.  

 

LL

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Your dad sure liked to reach out and touch them critters, didn't he?  Out of curiosity, what are the specs on the A5?  Based on the rifles, I'm going to guess 12 ga goose gun with a long barrel and extra full choke.  I think the 22-250 is better suited for varmint hunting. 

 

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There may be others but Remington offers Managed recoil rounds for guns like 300 mag.  Check them out.  GW

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Might want to check state law on caliber size for deer.  Some states do not allow even center fire .22 calibers for deer.

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Just in case you haven't done much reloading, be careful loading reduced loads in the .300.  Normally, folks load these magnum cartridges with slow-burning powders.  DO NOT REDUCE THE LOADS FOR SLOW-BURNING POWDERS like IMR4831, H4831, etc. BELOW THOSE SHOWN IN LOADING MANUALS.  Lighter bullets (150-165gr), with reduced velocity loads should use faster-burning powders like IMR4064 or IMR4320 (if these are still being manufactured.)  These bullet weights at around 2800 ft/sec should be more than adequate for white tails at closer ranges.  STAY ABOVE THE MINIMUM LOADS FOR ANY POWDER SHOWN IN THE MANUALS!  Good hunting!

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4 hours ago, Big Sage, SASS #49891 Life said:

Like some of the others...neither. IMHO you need something in between. I have taken 60 or 70 deer and probably 50 antelope with a 25-06......right in the middle of what you now have.

Ideally I would go buy a 270, but right now the Mrs. would be upset if I bought anything other than cowboy guns or reloading equipment for her new .32s.

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Got a buddy that thinks that nothing smaller than a 300 win mag can be used to take whitetail. That's about all he uses. He's not a very good shot nor hunter. He spends as much time as he can out hunting and couldn't sneak up on a dead pig without scaring it off.

 

Between the two. I say that the .22-250 is borderline too small. It can be done but only with great shot placement. I'd go with the .300 win mag if I had to choose only those two. It'd be best with marginal shots.

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The 300 is for when you get to go Elephant Hunting, and the 22-250 is for gophers at 500/800 yards.

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I just checked the Hodgdon reloading website. Seems with a 30-06, xx grains of Varget will push a 165gr bullet at about 2750fps. In a 300 Win Mag, using the same bullet with xx+7 grains of Varget will get you about the same velocity. So, if an '06 is good, then so is the 300 WM, loaded properly.

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Of the two personally I'd use the  22 250. It will harvest any deer if you place your shot right.

 

  There is no deer that needs a .300.   Promoting a gun because you can still kill with a marginal shot is just horrible ethics.  If you can't be sure of a clean harvest you shouldn't pull the trigger. 

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Seems to be two schools of thought going on here.

1. Get a cannon so even if your shot placement is marginal the shrapnel will take the animal down.

2. Use your smaller caliber firearm (which in Colorado would NOT be legal - requires 6mm or larger here) and if legal shoot at a range that you can handle (probably really close).

CBB we have not met (hope to some day) but I have read many of your posts and responses and it appears to me that you do the right thing so let me ask you...

Have you shot either of these firearms? Can you place three in the 10 ring consecutively with them? At what range? Off hand or did you need a rest? Is the 22-250 legal for your state? Can you pack that gun all day (or days) or are you shooting from a stand? Can you accurately determine distance to target by eye, use a rangefinder or have previously measured objects to help?

Once you know your gun and yourself then you will know what you should use.

 

Regards

 

:FlagAm: :FlagAm: :FlagAm:

 

Gateway Kid

 

PS smaller rifles work just fine - my BIL shot many deer, elk, prairie dogs, coyotes, etc with a .243 because that was the only rifle he owned.... BUT he shot at ranges he knew it was effective for his chosen quarry and that he could hit a Skoal tin sized target at consistently.

Just my opinion and worth what you paid

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4 hours ago, evil dogooder said:

Of the two personally I'd use the  22 250. It will harvest any deer if you place your shot right.

 

  There is no deer that needs a .300.   Promoting a gun because you can still kill with a marginal shot is just horrible ethics.  If you can't be sure of a clean harvest you shouldn't pull the trigger. 

I have to disagree with the 22-250 for deer. Shot placement is critical. That .22 is capable of accuracy

but not all hunters are. Not saying Bill isn't,  but the deer is going to pay for any shortcomings in shot placement. 

And anybody is capable of a bungled shot. 

Since another caliber is in the picture I would recommend that. 

But I really don't have anything to say about the issue nor the choice. 

 

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Hunting in Georgia woods for deer is common.  I think we all know which caliber will have the least deflection off a twig.

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We've had very good success using the Federal Fusion loads for our 7mm-08 and also 30-06. They make a 165G Fusion Soft Point that would be an excellent deer load. 

 

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5 hours ago, evil dogooder said:

Of the two personally I'd use the  22 250. It will harvest any deer if you place your shot right.

 

  There is no deer that needs a .300.   Promoting a gun because you can still kill with a marginal shot is just horrible ethics.  If you can't be sure of a clean harvest you shouldn't pull the trigger. 

Nobody is promoting the taking of a marginal shot.  You may want to work on that whole reading comprehension thing. 

 

I'm also not promoting the use of a marginal round (so marginal that it's illegal to use for deer hunting in some states) for deer hunting either.  I don't think a .22 center fire is a reliable choice for deer hunting.  I didn't think that in the '80's when I sat a deer stand with a borrowed .22-250  across my knees and passed on several shots because of what I was using that day and I haven't changed my mind since.

 

Since the initial post is laid out as an 'either/or' sort of situation, and one of the options is, for me at least, automatically discounted, the only choice left is the .300.  Is it way more gun than needed?  Yeah, and that is one point of agreement on the whole thread.  Like I said, if the choices are between too much gun or not enough gun, I'll go with too much gun.

 

Then again, maybe you and Gateway are just Natty Bumpo reincarnated and have never missed center punching a target- even in the field- so using rounds considered inadequate for us mere mortals would be OK for you.

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6 hours ago, evil dogooder said:

Of the two personally I'd use the  22 250. It will harvest any deer if you place your shot right.

 

  There is no deer that needs a .300.   Promoting a gun because you can still kill with a marginal shot is just horrible ethics.  If you can't be sure of a clean harvest you shouldn't pull the trigger. 

I submit that a .22 Short will harvest any deer if you place your shot right.

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On 10/27/2017 at 6:38 PM, Wyatt Earp SASS#1628L said:

I just checked the Hodgdon reloading website. Seems with a 30-06, xx grains of Varget will push a 165gr bullet at about 2750fps. In a 300 Win Mag, using the same bullet with xx+7 grains of Varget will get you about the same velocity. So, if an '06 is good, then so is the 300 WM, loaded properly.

 

This is what I'll probably do, get a light load, make sure I know where it's hitting and go with it.

 

7 hours ago, Gateway Kid SASS# 70038 Life said:

Seems to be two schools of thought going on here.

1. Get a cannon so even if your shot placement is marginal the shrapnel will take the animal down.

2. Use your smaller caliber firearm (which in Colorado would NOT be legal - requires 6mm or larger here) and if legal shoot at a range that you can handle (probably really close).

CBB we have not met (hope to some day) but I have read many of your posts and responses and it appears to me that you do the right thing so let me ask you...

Have you shot either of these firearms? Can you place three in the 10 ring consecutively with them? At what range? Off hand or did you need a rest? Is the 22-250 legal for your state? Can you pack that gun all day (or days) or are you shooting from a stand? Can you accurately determine distance to target by eye, use a rangefinder or have previously measured objects to help?

Once you know your gun and yourself then you will know what you should use.

 

Regards

 

:FlagAm: :FlagAm: :FlagAm:

 

Gateway Kid

 

PS smaller rifles work just fine - my BIL shot many deer, elk, prairie dogs, coyotes, etc with a .243 because that was the only rifle he owned.... BUT he shot at ranges he knew it was effective for his chosen quarry and that he could hit a Skoal tin sized target at consistently.

Just my opinion and worth what you paid

  I'm sure at some point our trails will cross!  I shot both of these for the first time last Thursday.  The range I use only has a 100 yard bay, so I used that. 

 

The 300 Win Mag was fine in terms of windage, but hit about 3 inches high at 100 yards.  I assume my dad zeroed it for 200-250.  I shot Winchester Supreme 180 Grain Ballistic Silvertips.

 

The 22-250 was about 1 inch high but fine in terms of windage.  Again I assume a 200 or so zero.  I shot Hornady Varmint Express 40 grain VMax with a muzzle velocity of 4150 fps.

 

I shot four sets of three for each gun.  The triggers on both guns are very, very nice.  Hardly any takeup and a nice clean break with no overtravel.  Very easy to shoot.  The Winchester is a handful even with the muzzle break.  By the final set I had a group for each gun where all three shots were touching.  That was off a sandbag, at a range, in broad daylight with no time pressure, 100 yards.  In a tree stand, at dawn with a deer in my sights I doubt I could do nearly as well, at least not at first.  No way I could do that off hand, those things are heavy with those big scopes on them.  I'm pretty good at calculating distance, and dad gave me a rangefinder, so that part should be ok.

 

I will probably start out with the Win Mag and once I'm confident that 'buck fever' isn't an issue I may transition to the 22-250 depending on the terrain.

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On 10/27/2017 at 11:46 AM, Birdgun Quail, SASS #63663 said:

Might want to check state law on caliber size for deer.  Some states do not allow even center fire .22 calibers for deer.

Hi Birdgun, I checked and couldn’t find a caliber restriction for GA. If you know of one please let me know!

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I took a lot of deer with 45-70.  Makes a hole on both sides you can eat right up to.  My main "meat gun" is a Marlin 1895 in 45-70.  I have also used trapdoor Springfield in 45-70 and one in 50-70 with black powder loads and cast bullets.  I've also use a very early Winchester High Wall in 45-70 with black powder loads and cast lead bullets.  

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