First Hunting Rifle

marvelsferb7

New member
Hey y'all, I'm looking at picking up a hunting rifle relatively soon. Im not sure what ranges I'll be hunting from but given that I'm a fairly inexperienced shooter hunting deer in Colorado I cant imagine theyll be too far.

My question is on caliber choice. Id like to do 6.5 Grendel, as it seems to be a good round with a cheap CPR (around the same as .308 for low quality rounds) and the ballistics seem to be better than .308. Is it really worth it or is .308 a more economical choice?

Also if I do go for 6.5 Grendel, is there much benefit to going bolt action over semi auto/AR platform? Id love to have a bolt action but idk if it actually makes sense...
 

pbg

New member
If it was me I would look at a 30-06 you can find ammo any place in a wide range of bullet weights from 125 to 220 grain so one rifle that you can kill everything in Colorado with if not North America
 

Matt D

Member
30-06 is likely the most popular in the US. 270 close behind it. Unless grizzly bear are on your list I am partial to the 25-06 as an all around rifle but just about anything from that up and you will be fine.
 

Dakotazeb

Active member
Not sure why you would consider the 6.5 Grendel when there are many good cartridges out there. For deer hunting in Colorado at moderate ranges the .308 would be hard to beat. You also can't go wrong with a .270 or 30-06. You will have an excellent choice of ammo with any of these three.
 
I've shot deer, elk, caribou, sheep, goat, and moose with my 270. Might be a little lite for moose, but they seem to go down. Not the best in brush, but does really well in the open. I used mine to shoot muleys and elk in western CO, probably would be my first choice for the plains also.
 

Dakotazeb

Active member
I've owned a .270 Winchester rifle since 1974 and shot many species of game with it from Jackrabbits to Elk. When I use to reload I had a load using a Hornady 130 gr. Interlock bullet that was terrific and I loaded 150 gr. Nosler Partitions for Elk. There are now a lot more choices in factory rounds and better bullets than there was 40 years ago. Since I've quit reloading I've settled on the Winchester 140 gr. AccuBond and they have performed great on both Deer and Elk.

I like many others chose the .270 Winchester based on Jack O'Connor's love for the cartridge. Here's an interesting article about the .270 Winchester and Jack O'Connor.
https://gundigest.com/gear-ammo/reloading/greatest-cartridges-oconnors-baby-270-winchester
 
The grendel is a great choice... Lightweight low recoil... ballistics that are far better than you would expect. Just make you have your box of shells when you leave for your trip. You wont find them at walmart.
 

UplandHntr

Active member
Ive shot a Ruger .270 bolt for 20+ years on primarily whitetail and black bear. For an only and first gun, I cant see why you would choose a 6.5 Grendel unless you're just the type of guy that wants to be different.
As to your query about bolt vs semi auto - reliability, Jams, cold weather function, gun not liking some ammo, could be safety, etc. Again, first hunting rifle, get a bolt. I think 4-5 shots is enough.
 
Agree 100% with uplandHntr. My old bolt action has fallen down many a mountain and just keeps on working. Also finding shells is a breeze, most gas stations have them.
 
Glad to see you getting into big game ,I miss Colorado. I actually am in the rifle business and here my two cents. The 6.5 Grendel is a great little round, that being said I find it a little under whelming.
I lived in Colorado and I shot everything up to elk with an 30.06 back in the day. My only hangup on it is that if you are recoil sensitive it could cause flinching. The .308 is another timeless round and easy to find like 30.06. These days about 82% of all centerfire hunting bolt actions rifle are in 6.5 Creedmoor with about 11% in .308 and then it goes to .300 WM.

Stay away from semi-auto unless you are not into accuracy. I know, I know some can be accurate but most hunters go with a bolt rifle. Also lighter the gun the heavier the recoil so take that in consideration as well. I would plan on spending about the same amount for an optic as you do on your rifle. Seen way too many guy's buy a great gun a then put a $200.00 optic on it.

I now hunt all non dangerous game with a 6.5 Creedmoor using 147gr bullet. The 6.5 has the best Ballistic Coefficient out there and ammo now is relatively easy to find (even at Wally World). It has a minimal recoil which will help you get back on target quicker should you need a second shot.

My second choice would he the 30.06 as the range of bullet weighs are great and easy to find. Plus gun dealer's are happy to sell one as everyone wants a Creedmoor. So you could maybe get a deal on one now in the off season.

Feel free to PM me should you have any addition questions. I am happy to help any UPH'er!
 

Labs

Member
Hey y'all, I'm looking at picking up a hunting rifle relatively soon. Im not sure what ranges I'll be hunting from but given that I'm a fairly inexperienced shooter hunting deer in Colorado I cant imagine theyll be too far.

My question is on caliber choice. Id like to do 6.5 Grendel, as it seems to be a good round with a cheap CPR (around the same as .308 for low quality rounds) and the ballistics seem to be better than .308. Is it really worth it or is .308 a more economical choice?

Also if I do go for 6.5 Grendel, is there much benefit to going bolt action over semi auto/AR platform? Id love to have a bolt action but idk if it actually makes sense...
Ahhh, as a retired LE sniper and afficionado of rifles in general (I share Matthew Quigley's opinion of handguns), second only to my 50+ year love affair with shotguns (my mom used to say I was born with a 12 gauge pump in my hand, which must have been an incredibly painful birth), this is a subject near & dear to my heart.

Of course, your questions are kind of like asking if blondes, brunettes, or redheads make the best girlfriends/wives. The answer is, "there is no right answer".

Before you buy, you have to ask yourself and honestly answer some basic questions:

What is the primary intended purpose of of your rifle-to-be? (plinking, small game, varmints/predators, medium game (deer, antelope, black bear) or heavy game (elk, moose, big bear).

What is the terrain/distances you anticipate using it in (heavy cover with shots under 100 yards, open country where shots over 200 yards are routine)? For simplicity sake in a big game rifle, I break this into most shots less than or greater than 200 yards.

What are your preferred calibers (see above)? Do you hand load, or will you use factory ammo. Are cost/availability important factors?

Optics (see all of the above). Get the best glass you can afford, if the choice is putting more money into the rifle or optics, IMO optics wins hands down. A relatively inexpensive but accurate platform like a Savage 110 with excellent glass will out-perform a custom rifle with cheap glass all day/every day.

What kind of action do you want? I'm not going to dive into the AR vs bolt debate. I own both types, and each has their purposes. As an old school rifleman & sniper, I much prefer the bolt actions in my safes (calibers range from 17HMR to 338 Winchester Magnum) for a number of reasons, but if the AR platform hits your switch and you can get the accuracy you want out of the platform you can afford, go for it.

Once you ask yourself and answer these questions, you can fine down your options...
 
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cheesy

Active member
Inexperienced shooter hunting deer in Colorado are the parameters we've been given.

To me that means he needs a .270 Winchester or .30-06. Ammo is available everywhere. Plenty of energy. Can also serve double duty on elk if that is added to the mix.

Theres fourteen hundred other cartridges that would work, .243, 6mm Remington, .250 Savage, .257 Roberts, 260 Remington, 6.5x55, 6.5 Creedmore, 7x57 Mauser, .280 AI, .300 Savage, etc, etc, etc. and no deer is going to know the difference if the properly constructed bullet gets put in the lungs/heart. Ammo availability gets to be limited in some of these, or if you're not a handloader almost non-existent. Some might be light for elk, but they'd all work in a pinch.

Winchester Model 70 Featherweight, Ruger Hawkeye, Remington 700 Classic, Kimber 84m (but I'm partial to wood/blue and can't stand all these cheap plastic entry level guns being sold everywhere right now)
 

Labs

Member
Inexperienced shooter hunting deer in Colorado are the parameters we've been given.

To me that means he needs a .270 Winchester or .30-06. Ammo is available everywhere. Plenty of energy. Can also serve double duty on elk if that is added to the mix.

Theres fourteen hundred other cartridges that would work, .243, 6mm Remington, .250 Savage, .257 Roberts, 260 Remington, 6.5x55, 6.5 Creedmore, 7x57 Mauser, .280 AI, .300 Savage, etc, etc, etc. and no deer is going to know the difference if the properly constructed bullet gets put in the lungs/heart. Ammo availability gets to be limited in some of these, or if you're not a handloader almost non-existent. Some might be light for elk, but they'd all work in a pinch.

Winchester Model 70 Featherweight, Ruger Hawkeye, Remington 700 Classic, Kimber 84m (but I'm partial to wood/blue and can't stand all these cheap plastic entry level guns being sold everywhere right now)
Cheesy is good, Cheesy is wise. I am a huge 270 fan, have used it on everything from p-dogs (messy) to a cow moose that weighed 700 lbs dressed. I've killed medium/large game with everything from the 22-250 to the 45-70 on up to 12 gauge slugs, and I've killed more game with a 270 than all the other calibers combined at ranges from 25 yards to 450+. The vast, vast majority were one shot kills (I shot the moose twice through the heart at 424 yds by rangefinder, but the second shot really wasn't needed).

Ammunition is available everywhere, and you can buy it cheap on sale at Walmart or spend upwards of $5.00 a round for premium stuff, whatever hits your switch. I like blue box Federal 130 grain, it's inexpensive and very accurate. If you decide to try handloading, the 270 is an easy, forgiving round to load. My favorite handload is the 140 grain Nosler Accubond and 58.0 grains of H4831 Short Cut. This load develops 2900FPS, is sub-MOA accurate, and bucks the wind we get out here in western ND.

If you go with a 270 that pretty much means a bolt action, but there are lots of good ones. I'm partial to the Remington 700 myself (I like the older ones made from the mid 80s -mid 90s). My ex-work rifle is a LH 700 Light Police Rifle in 7.62. It's the most consistently accurate rifle I've ever shot, and I wouldn't sell it for it's weight in gold. The aforementioned Savage 110 platform is fairly inexpensive and I never shot a Savage bolt that wasn't accurate. I've had any number of Savage 10s/110s over the years, and I don't think I had one that would'nt shoot MOA or better with a load it liked. I went through Sniper School with a stock Savage Model 10 Police in 5.56 and ended up second in a class of 18 of the best rifle shots I've ever seen in one place. Most were shooting much more expensive platforms, and the short action Model 10 didn't take a back seat. I recently picked up a LH Savage Storm in 243 for a windy day coyote rifle. Out of the box I adjusted the trigger down to 2.5 lbs, mounted a Vortex Diamondback 4-16 Tactical Scope, sighted in with my favorite coyote handload (70 grain Nosler Ballistic Tip at 3200FPS), and the first group for record was a tasty .24" center-to-center.

Good luck in your quest, make sure to post a pic when you bump of something big & horny this fall...
 
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