Graybeard Outdoors banner

1 - 20 of 65 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hello all, I need some help deciding on a Handi Rifle caliber for hunting small southern coastal Whitetails. First I should give you a little background info. I haven't hunted for 17 years and and am now just getting back into it. When I did hunt I used a 12-gauge with buck shot so I have no experience with high powered rifles other than shooting some friends rifles at targets. I do know how to shoot rifles having owned several rim fires for use on squirrels. The areas I will be hunting are coastal swamps, thick overgrown pine forests with cut downs and pine bays sprinkled here and there. Shots in this area range from point blank to about 300 yards and alot of the time they are on running deer that you end up jumping going or coming from your stand. The deer in this area range from 100 to 200 pounds but average around 125 pounds. I need a caliber that will kill them right now with a good shot as apposed to just kill them but I have to track them for a hundred yards. Tracking in this area is very difficult due to the very, very thick vegetation around here. Trust me Ive been through that to many times especially using a shotgun. Also I'm looking for something with mild recoil (tired of getting beat up by my gun 12 gauges kick like a mule), in a easy to find caliber that I can find relatively cheap practice ammo for (I need the practice) that is very accurate in a handi. Ive been reading ballistic charts and web pages for 2 weeks now and am no closer to making a decision than when I started. Any advice will be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Sean
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
16,821 Posts
I would choose one of the rimmed cartridges because they are less problematic. The .45-70 & the .30-30 are the best Handi calibers IMO.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
83 Posts
If your willing to keep your shots within it's range a 30/30 would meet your needs. It just isn't going to be a 300 yard deer rifle. In keeping with your desire for readily available practice ammo (military surplus) the .308 would be a good choice and offer more range than the 30/30 although it will have appreciably more recoil. There are managed recoil loadings available though I'm not familiar with thier cost. I handload most of my hunting loads and would choose a 30/06 for myself. Hodgdon 4895 powder is great for loading reduced loads. Ex. 42 Gr H4895, 150 gr. bullet would be a 2400 fps round which duplicates the 30/30 with this bullet. Using Hodgdon's 60% rule for H4895 you could load down to 60% of thier annual manual maximum for practice and all the way up to maximum for long range hunting. The 30/06 is quite versitile.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,604 Posts
30-06 will do what you need it to do. I haven't owned a handi in 30-06 though. The 30-30 Won't make it past 200yards neither will the 45-70. The 308 would be a good choice also. Are you going to be hunting in thick brush any? If you are you might want to look into a heavy bullet. Like a 165-180 grain 30-06 or 308 bullet.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,359 Posts
Go get yourself a 30-30.
The 30-30 Handi's are one of the company's best rifles.
I have one and I absolutely love it (most of us on here with 30-30's love them). It is accurate, dependable and has next to no recoil.
I use factory Remington Core Lokt ammo. in 150 gr. Nothing fancy but puts deer down all day long.
Most people on here will agree with me on this, you can't really go wrong with the 30-30 for your intended use.

Spanky
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Ive seriously considered the .308 due to its reputation for being accurate and the also for the availability of relatively cheap practice ammo but the recoil figures I read on Chuck Hawkes Recoil Table kind of turned me off a little. Guess I could always go with the Survivor version for its heavier barrel compared with the Handi version then put a laminate stock set and a Limb Saver recoil pad on it with a mercury recoil reducer in the stock. I also was looking at the .243 but reviews of its killing power have been spotty some claiming its a death ray others claiming its a bad wounding round, but I have found cheap practice ammo for it at Cabelas http://www.cabelas.com/cabelas/en/templates/product/standard-item.jsp?_DARGS=/cabelas/en/common/catalog/item-link.jsp_A&_DAV=MainCatcat20712-cat20839&id=0024242215337a&navCount=1&podId=0024242&parentId=cat20839&masterpathid=&navAction=push&catalogCode=IH&rid=&parentType=index&indexId=cat20839&hasJS=true. I am also looking at the 7mm-08 which seems to be just what im looking for but practicing would be very expensive for me due to the fact I dont reload, yet ;D. What do you guys think?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
30-06man. Yes I will be hunting some of the nastiest brush you have ever seen. Some times you have to get on your hands and knees and crawl up to 50 yards to get through some parts but after you get through you might find yourself in a pine bay that is totally void of under brush with nothing but large pine trees spaced pretty far apart where you can see from ground level 50 to 300 yards or so.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
16,821 Posts
If you're still considering a rimless cartridge the .308 would be my choice. The .243 is among the most oft complained about barrels.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,604 Posts
If you get a 30-30 you will have to be a good shot at 200 yards. I would go with something like a 30-06 or a .308 and recoil isn't that bad. You can get the sims and it helps a lot. If it still isn't enough you can fill the stock with lead shot or get a recoil reducer. The7mm-08 is basically a .308 and it will offer about the same. Where you hunt soulds a lot like where i hunt down in kershaw s.c. I would look into the 30-06 more because you can get a heavy bullet for brush and you can also get a lighter bullet but a midrange bullet will do what you need it to do. Now remington is making a mangaged recoil bullet and you can get it in a 30-06 and i think in a .308.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Swampman. I whole heatedly agree with you that the 30-30 would do me just fine. Factory ammo is fairly cheap, light recoil according to Chuck Hawkes recoil table is fairly accurate and reliably ejects from a Handi, from what Ive read. The only problem is its range I know most of my shots will be point blank to 75 yards but there is always a chance of getting a 175 to 300 yard shot where I live. If I reloaded I would probably go with a 30-30 and load it with pointed bullets with a high BC and use max loads so I could stretch it out to about 225 yards. But unfortunately I don't reload :-[. Call me a Boy Scout but I always like to be prepared ;D.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
30-06man. Where practically neighbors, I live in Jacksonville N.C. :). So your right the terrain we hunt is almost exactly the same so you know what I'm facing up here. If you go with a pure brush gun its easier to get through the the thick stuff and you don't have to worry about bullet deflection so much but you are giving up the occasional long range shot. If you go with a pure long range rifle with light flat shooting bullets you can take those 200+ yard shots but its a pain in the butt to get through the thick stuff and you take a big chance of bullet deflection in the thick stuff. Your damned if you do damned if you dont :(.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,076 Posts
I 2nd what 30-06man said,and also add the 7mm-08 and 280 to the list.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,258 Posts
I feel the 30-06 would be a perfect rifle for you. Someone mentioned shooting mill surplus ammo out of the 308. NEF says to never shoot mill surplus ammo out of your rifle. Dale
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,604 Posts
ohh ok. yeah the reason i chose the 30-06 because it will work anywhere i can take it to hunt the lower part with 400 yards and i can go hunt in brush.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,878 Posts
With these requirements...

The areas I will be hunting are coastal swamps, thick overgrown pine forests with cut downs and pine bays sprinkled here and there. Shots in this area range from point blank to about 300 yards and alot of the time they are on running deer that you end up jumping going or coming from your stand.
Yes I will be hunting some of the nastiest brush you have ever seen. Some times you have to get on your hands and knees and crawl up to 50 yards to get through some parts but after you get through you might find yourself in a pine bay that is totally void of under brush with nothing but large pine trees spaced pretty far apart where you can see from ground level 50 to 300 yards or so.
To be honest...you need at a minimum a medium bore caliber with a well constructed bullet...The problem is...your not going to get this...in a easy to find caliber that I can find relatively cheap practice ammo for (I need the practice) that is very accurate in a handi.

You want something that will put an animal down on the spot...buck nasty brush..and be flat enough & accurate enough for a 300 yard shot in the open...and still find cheap ammo to practice with...I only know of 1 that is like that right now...because of the ammo prices...and that's not guaranteeing it will stay that way...that would be a 30-06...Right now you can get Federal ammo at most Walmart's & Cabela's for under $10.00 a box

If you took up reloading...then there are a few calibers that would work well...I also saw a real nice Handi combo yesterday that I am real tempted to go and put in law-a-way buy it...it's a 22" 444 Marlin/ 24" fluted 270 Ultra with camo stocks...This would give you the best of both worlds...and would be almost a perfect combo for me...if it was a 45-70...then it would be IMHO...With my Nosler Partition loads both would be perfect for just about any situation...and both can be loaded cheaply to practice with...so too could the 444/270 combo if you got right down to it...I guess I'll buy it..My wife thinks I should any way...

Mac
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
949 Posts
If you are new to center fire rifles, 300 yards is a really long shot at a whitetail with the expectations that it will drop right there.
Remember at that distance you are hunting with a round that maybe inferior to a 30-30 at 50 yards. In addition shot placement is much more difficult. I would recommend that you restrict your shooting to 200 yards or less until you have several years practice at longer ranges.
Until then a 30-30 will be fine. When you get where your long range skills rate something more powerful you can get a .270 or .30-06 barrel.
Until then the low cost of 30-30 ammo and it's light recoil will be an advantage.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,604 Posts
With proper practice and a few days at the range will be enough to get you out hunting. I have seen total strangers to gun spend a whole day at the range starting at 50 yards and getting out to 300 yards accurately. It is very hard to shoot a 30-30 at 200. It is harder than a 30-06 at 350 in my opinion. With proper trigger pull and weight and training you can be good at the ranges you are needing to shoot at. I do believe if the recoil is the problem he can try the lead in the stock, the sims, and the managed recoil ammo. The 25-06 may be good also. I don't think starting with a 30-30 for what you need is going to perform. If I am not wrong the season in NC is short and I believe it has started which probably means you won't be out now. I do think since you won't be hunting much that you can go ahead and practice and get more acquainted with you gun. If you need something more accurate than a handi because they do require some work look into something along the lines of a remington, or savage and get good mid range optics. You will need them for where you will be hunting. I would look into the prostaff from nikon for about $130. Sure if you do get a 30-30 you will have limited yourself to 150 yards with practice. And you mentioned the deer are moving you are going to have to get them to stop by yelling or somehow getting their attention. Remember you are talking single shot.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
16,821 Posts
Perhaps if your sure of 300 yard shots a bolt action .30-06 might be better. Savage makes a nice cheap bolt action rifle.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,604 Posts
Yes they do, mount mid range optics like the prostaff on it and you will be happy. If you can find a Remington Model 700 ADL it will be very good to you. I have one and it has got to be the most accurate 30-06 I ever had.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
Ireload2, I agree with you that I need to keep my shots in the 200 yard range till I have some time behind the trigger. I have access to a nice 200 yard rifle range where I can shoot from a bench, prone, sitting and offhand. If I go with say a .308 I feel I have enough self control not to take a shot on an animal if I don't feel I can make an ethical shot. From the replies so far it seems like a 30-06 would be the way to go but I don't think I would like the recoil to much during target practice. I think I'm going to take 30-06man, MS Mule and Swampman's advice and go with a .308 it seems to fit my criteria the best. Thanks for the advice everyone I really appreciate it. Sean
 
1 - 20 of 65 Posts
Top