View Full Version : Caliber for Mule deer

02-26-2011, 09:43 AM
What would be the better choice to carry on a mule deer hunt in Wyoming, I have a howa 25.06 and a 270 savage. I love them both but really like the howa although I think the 270 will pack more punch it is heavier to lug around. My question is would a 25-06 be enough rifle on a big mule deer buck?

Blue Skies Hunting Advent
02-26-2011, 10:04 AM
I would think it would be fine with a good bullet and accurate shot placement.
Good luck to you.

02-26-2011, 04:47 PM
I have always liked the 270 for out west. I have had great sucess with it on western hunts for blacktail in California to Antelope in Wyoming.

I handload my 270 with a 150 grain Speer Grand Slam over 54.5 grains of IMR 4831 and seated .015" from the lands. I get 1 inch groups out to 300 yards using this load, which to me makes for a great western hunting round.

02-26-2011, 11:01 PM
I have killed lots of deer with a 2506, even a couple over 400 yds. one at 500. I've shot some big deer also and it worked just fine. Nothing wrong with the 270 either. If you look at the energy of both rounds, there isn't much difference. But I guess if I wanted to shoot him to drop him in his tracks I think the 270 would be a little better to hit shoulder bone with. I have 2 guns I use for deer, a 2506 and a .264 win mag. I can't tell the difference in which one kills faster. I'm sure if I was elk hunting I know I would take the 264.

02-28-2011, 09:20 AM
The 25-06 would be fine but I would still take the 270.

03-01-2011, 01:01 PM
My neighbor used a 257 weatherby for whitetail with the 110gr accubond bullets. He has taken both shoulders at 100yds on several big bodied deer with it, and the bullet held together and exited each time. I would not be afraid to use this bullet from a 25-06 on muleys. The 270 is a good choice also, I've used the 150gr partition and 130gr accubond in it. I use a 270WSM with 140gr accubonds for most of my deer hunting and been very happy with the results. Take whichever you are more comfortable shooting and you will be fine.

03-02-2011, 12:44 AM
+1 on that. He said what I should've said. Take whatever you have the most confidence in.

03-03-2011, 06:26 PM
I would shoot the 2506 before taking the 270 for Mule deer. The BC is better for the 2506 and energy is almost the same at 500yds. The 2506 should have less felt recoil. My choice is the 243 WSSM out to 500yds after that I would use the 7mm with the 168 Bergers. The only time I will go big caliber is for the big bear if I ever get to hunt them. Dick Scorzafava, author of Radical Bear Hunter worked up a bear gun for Savage, it has all the bells and whistles and comes in 300 and 325. In this case I would go with the 325. Deer are not going to attack you and the little 243 WSSM is 10 for 10.
Smaller is better

03-03-2011, 06:52 PM
I watched my cousin drop a cow elk at 315 yards with a 120 grain sierra gameking out of a 25-06. I think the 25-06 is a great deer rifle.

03-03-2011, 10:45 PM
[QUOTE=xtreme;1225]I would shoot the 2506 before taking the 270 for Mule deer. The BC is better for the 2506 and energy is almost the same at 500yds.

What bullet are you using in the 25-06 with a higher BC than the 270? I wasn't aware of any hunting bullets with a BC better than .466 or whatever berger's 115 VLD is. Nosler 115 ballistic tip is a shade lower I think. I always liked the 25 but wished they offered a higher BC bullet like they do in 6mm or 6.5, maybe there is one I haven't heard about.

I am with you on liking the 6mm calibers, I shoot 100gr sierra gamekings from my 6mm Rem at 3150fps and have been real happy with them for coyotes. I'll probably take it on my next antelope hunt too, and my girlfriend will shoot it for deer. I've had real quick kills with the 6mm berger VLD bullets also, I got to test the new 87gr one for them. Neighbors took 3 deer with my rifle and handload and none went over 20ft. Internal damage was impressive and there was almost no external bleeding to contaminate a field with scent. I don't like the VLD's for coyotes, the delayed expansion doesn't do enough damage for me before passing through. Standard bullets open quicker on impact for the narrower chest cavity of yotes.

Sorry I kinda got off subject. I'm curious about the high BC 25 cal bullets though

03-03-2011, 11:34 PM
I carry a .270 but I load it up with 110gr barnes ttx. I run them pretty hot out of my gun and I've never had a problem. Great for the high country but I change to a 130gr round if I know I'm going to an area with heavy brush.

03-04-2011, 12:03 AM
I guess I'm just old school! I use a 30.06 or a 300 win mag and either use a 150 grain for deer or a 180 grain for elk. To date neither has taken more than one shot for a kill. So it goes without saying, use what you shoot well with. Virtually any modern firearm will do well if you are familiar with it and take the time to become proficient!

03-04-2011, 09:13 PM
I used the Windchester Ballistic Calculator and Windchester Supreme Silvertip 115 gr with a BC of .446 for the 06. The same bullet 130 gr with a BC of .433 for the 270. Researching again shows the 06 to be the flatter shooter. I hope this is correct.

03-06-2011, 07:38 AM
I used the higher BC 140gr accubond when I ran the comparison, that was the difference. The 25-06 is still flatter out quite a ways because it has a higher muzzle velocity and the BC isn't that much lower. Eventually the higher BC bullet will overtake it, but it has to be quite a ways out there before that happens. The trajectorys are very close, the 25 is a little flatter to 500yds and the 270 drifts in the wind a little less, but they are really close.

03-06-2011, 11:49 PM
Thanks for all the input everyone.I think Im going to go with the 25.06 with a 110 gr. accu-bond. I appreciate all the advice.

03-10-2011, 11:26 PM
I like the 270 better, but would hunt with the one that I shot the best.

03-11-2011, 08:57 PM
Both are great choices. I can legally in my state hunt with a .223 and do from time to time on deer. I use 50gr hollow points. Being they put a hole through 3/8 steel plates on my range, I am not afraid of a bone in the path of those rounds. With the smaller bullets, the wind can be a factor, so keep em in close. I dont hunt less than 100 yrds out, but thats the bow hunter in me wanting them close.
Your 25-06 is more than sufficiant for your mule deer. Just keep your shot placement clean and on the money.

481 This guy got hit at 48 yrds with a 55 grain Hornady Vmax. The rifle in the picture is a weatherby SUBMOA 223 rem. He took two steps and sat right down. Shot placement is key when shooting smaller caliber rounds. If your not certain, practice till you can before you go out in the field.

03-15-2011, 08:02 PM
Thats a great buck Wolf!! Once again thanks for all the advice and input everyone.

03-17-2011, 09:50 AM
Although I prefer larger calibers for Mule deer sized game I have taken one with my 220 Swift and it was a 1 shot drop. If you can put the round where you want it you should have no problems with the 25'06. My 220 is a tack driver, had I not been confident about shot placement I would never have taken it out but just because you have a larger caliber doesn't mean you can afford to make a bad shot. If your 25'06 performs better for you than your 270 it would be a mistake to take the 270 based on ballistics alone.

03-20-2011, 03:31 PM
Both will make dead deer. Take whatever one you are most comfortable with. Also, consider the terrain you will be hunting. Will you be taking long shots or fairly close? Perhaps one rifle performs better for you up close vs. at longer distances. Your accuracy should be your main consideration between the two and how it will apply in your specific hunting conditions. Might want to consider your scope set-ups as well. You wont need a 6-20 power in the lodgepoles, or a 1-4 power at 400 yards...

6mm Remington
04-10-2011, 04:57 PM
Either the 25-06 or 270 would work perfectly for mule deer. I would use something like the 120 gr. Nosler Partition or 110 gr. Nosler Accubond in the 25-06 and the 130 gr. Partition or Nosler Accubond in the 270. The one you shoot the best is the one I would take as both are great long range deer calibers. Good luck and you cannot go wrong with either one!

04-11-2011, 11:10 PM
The previous poster's name brings up a good caliber also. The first deer I took was with a 6mm Rem. with 100-grain hollow points. Same as a .243, but less economical to shoot.

6mm Remington
04-12-2011, 05:48 PM
MTWillie you hit the nail on the head. I do love the 6mm Remington and have taken many deer and antelope with it! I shoot a Ruger 1B single-shot in 6mm Remington and I love it! I've also killed one spike bull with it. I shoot 100 gr. Nosler Partitions in it. My son also shoots a 6mm Remington and we load 90 gr. Nosler E-Tips for it. He has taken a couple of antelope, a nice mule deer buck, and this year a big old cow elk with it with one shot each! He hit his cow right behind her right shoulder in the lungs and the bullet exited the left side shoulder. She went maybe 25 yards and tipped over. I took a friend of my son's who has Cystic Fibrosis this year on his first ever hunt of any kind. No-one in his family hunts and he has always wanted to. I was pretty tickled to see him get a nice cow elk too. He used my wife's 25-06 and 120 gr. Nosler Partition to make a one shot kill on his cow also. She ran about 40 yards and dropped. I hope to get him out again this year. He's a great kid and even though I never shot a single thing last year, I would say it was my best year EVER! My son shot his cow on a Thursday evening and the next night Andy shot his cow.

04-12-2011, 10:32 PM
I have a Remington Model 660. I wish the barrel was longer, but it's still a nice gun. Loudest thing I have ever shot too. Great beginner gun. I moved up to a 7 RUM for my current rifle with 150gr Accubonds.

Here's the 660:


04-12-2011, 11:06 PM
.270 is an excellent deer-elk gun caliber.

Big Sky
04-13-2011, 10:21 AM
One shot with a 25-06. Not bad for her first deer!

6mm Remington
04-13-2011, 01:30 PM
MTWillie my first rifle was a Remington Model 600 the Montana Territorial model made in 1964. It has an even shorter barrel at 18.5 inches! It is loud too but oh my what a shooter! It's taken a LOT of antelope and deer over the years and is now my son's rifle. My dad gave it to me brand new in 1972.

Big Sky that is a great buck too!

04-16-2011, 02:59 PM
I truly think that it lies in the hands of the shooter. Whichever gun you are most confident with, should always be your first pick. Spend time with it, find what reloads are best, and just keep shooting. Learn your limits as a team, and when the gun is in your hand, know your limits. A well placed shot will kill anything, and in the hands of a confident shooter that well placed shot is easier to achieve! As far as caliber, I like the 2506.

04-18-2011, 07:59 PM
I truly think that it lies in the hands of the shooter. Whichever gun you are most confident with, should always be your first pick. Spend time with it, find what reloads are best, and just keep shooting. Learn your limits as a team, and when the gun is in your hand, know your limits. A well placed shot will kill anything, and in the hands of a confident shooter that well placed shot is easier to achieve! As far as caliber, I like the 2506.

I'll second that one on all counts. Well said!

Colorado Cowboy
06-08-2011, 09:38 PM
I have shot over 50 mule deer and about 25 antelope with my Ruger M77 (tang safety) in 25-06. As with any rifle you shoot, shot placement and confidence in your equipment are #1. I use Sierra 117 BT for Deer and Sierra 100 for goats. I have also shot a few hogs with it too. Great rifle and very good results, at least for me. My last deer/antelope rifle...period!

06-09-2011, 11:08 AM
I used to shoot a .243 win. In a 700 rem. Now I built a 7mm rem mag in the same action, I have killed 4 antelope with it and a deer. A little overkill for antelope but it's loaded down. I chose this caliber because it can handle pretty much all big game I am interested in. Elk, deer, antelope. Sheep, and goat. And excellent qualities for long range hunting.

25-06 is probably the best round in my opinion if you took elk out of the picture not that it wouldn't do the job just maybe not as well.

Scott S
06-09-2011, 02:35 PM
I killed my first mule deer in 2009 with a .338 Win Mag, at 255 yds, while hunting in the WY wilderness. Saw a grizz with her two cubs while hunting and that was one reason I had the .338 WM on the hunt. :)

I have since sold the .338 WM and have decided that my .280 Rem is just perfect for deer, hogs, and antelope! I am shooting .5" or better groups with 140gr Accubonds and have just started working up loads with the 140 partition. If it shoots those as well as the Accubonds then the .280 will be my go to rifle for the foreseeable future on deer and antelope.