Rethinking Deer Gun

Ike

Eastmans' Staff
Staff member
Feb 21, 2011
30
28
I have shot several deer with the 25-06 and a lot more with the 243. With good bullets placed well they work very well. I use them now mostly on antlerless hunts when I can take my time and pick broadside shots. Even at 250 to 350 yards they do very well. I've had good luck with Sierra Gamekings and Nosler Accubonds in both. The Accubonds are tougher and penetrate deeper, they are hard to beat. The Sierra's fly great and put deer down fast with a good hit. Somewhat surprisingly I have seen better penetration a lot of times with the 85gr Sierra HPBT from the 243 than the 100gr Gameking softpoint from either. In the 25-06 the 100gr Swift Sirocco 2 intrigues me. It is a tough bullet with a great BC for a 100gr 25 cal. I tend to shoot Sierras more in these rifles because I bought a lot of factory seconds and use them for varmints and predators as well as game.

I tend to lean toward other rifles for buck hunts. I like a bullet of around 140 grains with a high BC and SD that penetrates well and bucks wind great. I want to have confidence in taking shot angles that might not be perfect, and breaking shoulders when necessary. I've used the 270 and 270 WSM, 7mm Rem Mag, 300 win mag (with 180gr bullets), and my favorite the 264 win mag. I am currently trading for a 6.5 Creedmoor to see how I like the 6.5 diameter in a shorter, handier rifle with less velocity.

For your deer gun I'd ask if you plan to shoot longer range and dial elevation with your scope. If the answer is yes I would probably go with a 6.5 Creedmoor, 260 Remington, or 7mm-08. You can get a bullet like the 140gr Accubond that will do a great job on deer. In my 6.5 Creed I will first try the 143gr ELD-X. I don't expect it to be as tough as the Accubond, but I'm not sure at 6.5 Creedmoor speeds it will need to be.

One thing to keep in mind, the 6.5 Creedmoor doesn't benefit much from a long barrel from all the tests I have seen. I went with a Browning Hells Canyon Speed when I got mine ordered due to the 22" barrel on that model. I don't think you gain a lot with more barrel, I'd really prefer a 20". That rifle had the best combo of features I personally wanted.

If you don't plan to dial elevation the 25-06 is really hard to beat with a tough bullet. The 110gr Accubond or 100gr Sirocco would be my top picks if I was planning to use a 25-06 as my primary deer rifle. I've seen that 110 Accubond hold up well to a shoulder of a big buck at 80 yards started at over 3400fps from a 257 Weatherby. I think the Sirocco is at least as tough. Those can be pushed hard enough to be really flat shooting out past 300 yards making wind and elevation corrections easier.
This is a GREAT conversation with a ton of good information. I think as with anything each person is slightly different so your needs and preferences will be different. Here is my story.

I agree with the 6.5CM. I have been shooting a 6.5CM before they were cool. It had to do with weight for me. I was shooting a 300WSM for over a decade. However as I got older, weight was starting to become a factor.

So I went down to a 6.5CM in the Savage lightweight hunter, 22" barrel as well. In the first few years I struggled to find a factory ammo that would shoot well out of it. I think the barrel was so short I was not getting a consistent powder burn. I found a fast burning powder and increased the weight of the bullet. That seemed to work. I now shoot the Hornady Precision Hunter 143gr ELD-X bullets. I have yet to lose a deer or antelope. It's a winning combination. I hope my experience helps you out. Good luck in your quest! ~Ike
 

HuskyMusky

Veteran member
Nov 29, 2011
1,157
61
IL
6mm Rem. AI, since you reload? may give you enough extra juice...
6.5 Creed
6.5 PRC
.260
7mm-08
25-06 w/ 100gr might be a nice option?
270 w/130gr.
 

DRUSS

Active Member
Jun 22, 2014
382
39
nw oregon
I agree about the 280rem and 280AI. Couple of my favorite rounds. but the 270,25/06 have a very good track record. I might have missed it somewhere but I don't think I seen anyone recommend a new stock for the 30/06? I have done this for a couple of rifles and the felt recoil was considerably different. I agree on brakes being to loud. I have a few but prefer hunting without them. couple stocks I have changed out were on Winchester 30/06, its now a 30/06 AI and its much more comfortable to shoot even with upgraded performance. its my dads rifle. used a Oregunsmithing stock. also changed a Ruger M77 257 Roberts to a 25/05 with same model of stock and I feel it kicks less than the 257 did.
a McMillan on my 300RUM tamed it down substantially. and a Browning A-Bolt 325WSM got switched to a MPI UL stock. just thought if the OL' 06 is sentimental maybe a stock change could keep it on the hunt a little bit longer.
 

Colorado Cowboy

Veteran member
Jun 8, 2011
6,649
1,263
79
Dolores, Colorado
I agree about the 280rem and 280AI. Couple of my favorite rounds. but the 270,25/06 have a very good track record. I might have missed it somewhere but I don't think I seen anyone recommend a new stock for the 30/06? I have done this for a couple of rifles and the felt recoil was considerably different. I agree on brakes being to loud. I have a few but prefer hunting without them. couple stocks I have changed out were on Winchester 30/06, its now a 30/06 AI and its much more comfortable to shoot even with upgraded performance. its my dads rifle. used a Oregunsmithing stock. also changed a Ruger M77 257 Roberts to a 25/05 with same model of stock and I feel it kicks less than the 257 did.
a McMillan on my 300RUM tamed it down substantially. and a Browning A-Bolt 325WSM got switched to a MPI UL stock. just thought if the OL' 06 is sentimental maybe a stock change could keep it on the hunt a little bit longer.
I used to make stocks ( over 100) and am a huge proponent of proper stock fit. Most (if not all) factory stocks are designed and made to fit the "average person"......whatever the hell that is! Less felt recoil and better accuracy are both possible with a stock that fits the shooter. Length of pull, comb height and butt angle all contribute to a proper fit.

Just my thoughts....
 
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Mule3006Elk

Active Member
Jul 3, 2013
260
74
If you reload for the 30-06, consider a lighter bullet for deer (110, 130 or 150 grain), and drop the velocity some. As long as the accuracy isn't compromised you're good to go. Know the range with the chosen bullet and impact velocity limitations. I've had great success with Barnes TTSX.

I've loaded youth loads for my kids, 150 grain TTSX, 2250 fps, my daughter was nervous to shoot borderline emotional, after the shot she said "that's it" and wanted to shoot more. The point is, there will be happy medium, between recoil (manageable) and velocity needed for ethical big game hunting. Again, if you reload, you will find this happy medium.

Proper stock configuration as mentioned: fully agree.
 
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Rich M

Active Member
Oct 16, 2012
293
79
I did look at some stocks but would need to find some to handle & see how they felt. We don't have many true gun places around here.

Did do some downloading and missed the biggest buck I have shot at in 10 yrs with one such load. He was 200 yards. Bullet hit bull at 100 and figured 4-6 inch drop to 200 but it was 11 inches. Went back to proven load. Kicked myself for not shooting 200 that day at the range - next time...

Back to looking at 6.5 CM and 7mm-08. LOL! Last weekend wife had a big buck at 250 and didn't have enough gun for that range. No issues in getting a new gun now.
 
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