Hunting Rifle Purgatory

ekimmob

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Mar 25, 2017
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Denver, CO
Alright, I've done my work at home and convinced my wife that buying a new hunting rifle and scope is a great idea...she bit and I've got the green light to get what I want! Problem is, I'm not a huge "gun guy," as every firearm I have is a hand-me-down from my dad. I know, what a terrible problem to have...

I've been big game hunting most of my adult life and have really gotten in to western big game hunting since I moved to Colorado back in 2013. I've had amazing success with my Weatherby .270 and that rifle has put a lot of animals down, but I'm looking to up my game with respect to distance shooting. Now, let me be clear, I'm not interested in distance shooting just because, I considered myself to be extremely ethical when it comes to taking game and ensure a clean kill is top priority. That said, I want to be able to take an animal at 400-500 yards if the terrain forces the situation. I prefer to hunt open sage country for antelope, and more specifically mule deer, and taking longer shots is starting to creep in to my head as I get older and less sneaky. I'm comfortable shooting up to around 350 yards with my .270, but would like to get comfortable shooting a little further.

With all the said, I'm in the market for a new gun and am looking for recommendations on caliber, and whether or not now is the right time to buy a new gun to begin with. With respect to caliber, I already own the aforementioned .270, but I also have a .243 Winchester and .264 Winchester magnum. It's a good array of firearms, but I'm looking for that next step up caliber to effectively hunting mule deer, elk, caribou and larger animals, with more knock down power, in a flat shooting caliber, at long ranges. With recent research I've keyed in on the 6.5 Creedmoor and also the 28 Nosler, but I'd like your thoughts and recommendations.

Also, I'm having a really hard time telling myself that now is the best time to buy a new rifle given the ammo shortage and that I can't waste round after round practicing with my new firearm.

With respect to optics, again I don't consider myself a "gun guy," so your thoughts on easy to use scopes that help you adjust for distance are appreciated. I like the simplicity of the Leupold CDS system, but convince me there's something better our there and I'd love to take a look.

Anyway, I'm curious to see what you all think/recommend and feel free to send me any information/articles/etc. that you think I should check out to inform my decisions.

Happy hunting!

Mike
 

ekimmob

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264 Winchester > 6.5 Creedmoor
Ok, good to know, I just worry about availability of ammo for this gun. I could just get a new scope for this one and see what happens, do you think this a good caliber for larger game like elk and caribou?
 

ekimmob

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I’d buy a better scope for the .270.
I could do that too, though I’ve taken a few elk with the .270 and i feel like it lacks the knock down power
I'm thinking more and more about getting a 6.5CM and doing a "one rifle" season with it next year to see everyone's heads explode on here.

6.5CM has tons of commercial loads if you don't reload.
I don’t reload, so this is helpful, thanks!
 

Doublegunner

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Nov 1, 2018
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I love the creedmoor notwithstanding the derision it can face on this forum. That being said its really a step down in power relative to most of your current cartridges. My two rifles in that cartridge have proven to be very accurate with mild recoil and effective on deer. I haven't used it on elk. If longer range elk is on the menu I would look hard at a 300 win mag. Notwithstanding the current ammo shortage its generally easy to find with many different load options and its a good performer. I also really like the 7mm rem mag. There are several newer cartridges out there that are very good performers but only time will tell if they will stick around. YMMV.
 

Doublegunner

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I'm thinking more and more about getting a 6.5CM and doing a "one rifle" season with it next year to see everyone's heads explode on here.

6.5CM has tons of commercial loads if you don't reload.
I have thought the same. Some people just get apoplectic when you bring that cartridge up. Its kinda funny. Love it.
 

JLS

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I could do that too, though I’ve taken a few elk with the .270 and i feel like it lacks the knock down power...
There isn’t a darned bit of difference n killing effectiveness at 500 yards between a .270, a 6.5 CM, a .264 WM and a 28 Nosler. Some shoot flatter. Some don’t. Knock down power is a fallacy. Wound channels kill.
 

Fullquiver

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If what you're looking for is more authoritative kills on larger game at longer ranges, try 300WM or better yet the 338WM.. The 6.5 CM would be a step down in energy from the .270 or the .264

There is no replacement for displacement.. YMMV
 

Dougfirtree

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It does seem like you already own two rifles that would be excellent for what you describe (the .270 and the .264WM). By all means, get a new rifle if you want, but I have to say JLS's advice to get a new scope makes some sense (or possibly have some accuracy work done on one of the existing rifles/get a new bipod, etc). If you want a new rifle, sounds like some sort of 7mm mag, or a .300wm might be what you're looking for.
 
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ElkFever2

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Definitely not the CM for the criteria you gave. Keep in mind the energy you should have to kill an elk at 500 yards, and no matter what you load the CM up with you’re getting sketchy at that distance.
 

TN2shot07

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Not sure a 6.5 really offers any advantage over your 270. I wouldn’t hesitate to upgrade your glass on it and see if you can get some 150 accubonds or partitions to shoot. If down range knock down power is what you’re after I’d go 30-06, 7mm mag, 300 wm, or 300 wsm.
 

F250

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Sounds like you have lots of confidence in the .270 that you have now. I agree with the other guys above, shop around for a better scope and practice out to 500 yards. That .270 will kill any elk in North America out to 500 yards if you do your part with a good bullet. However, if you "need" a new rifle/caliber, I would suggest a .300 Win Mag for the caliber. Easy to find ammo in normal times. For a rifle... lots of good ones around. Maybe hit a few gun shops and handle some.
 

Revenuer Man

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I'm always looking at different types of rifles and calibers for big game hunting, even though the rifles I have now will kill anything in the lower 48 easily. Same with pistols, I'm always looking for a different defensive handgun, even though I own several. What I really need to do with all of them is just practice more. I mean a lot. To the point of breaking parts in pistols and shooting out barrels in rifles. A friend of mine this fall in Maine shot a bull moose with a 3006, using a Nosler 180 gr partition bullet at 500 yards. He did it with a 3x9 Leupold scope. He shoots a lot. So my advice is to find a good long range shooting school, get yourself a new rifle if that's what you want and shoot a lot!
 

Buffs35

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A 6.5 would be redundant since you already have a .243, imo. Since you have the .243 and .270 wby, I would go up to a magnum.

I love my .300 wby, and use it when i know shots might be between 300 and 450. Ammo may be expensive, but a box usually lasts me a couple seasons once the scope is dialed.
 
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