Sub .30 vs .30 cal?

Tim McCoy

Veteran member
Dec 15, 2014
1,855
4
Oregon
The Broz guy seems to be talking very long range shooting, which has it's own set of issues. No doubt that much past 450-500, you better select your 7mm bullet and cartridge well, same for a .308 bullet/cartridge too, but arguably to a lesser extent with the heavier bullets available. One needs to make sure you have enough pop way out there. That's one of the reasons a .338 Lapua is very popular for ultra LR hunting, and effective for those that can handle it. But one can arguable a .338 is recently less necessary with 180+ and 190+ bullets in .284 & .308 respectively, specifically designed to perform on game at lower velocities found at very long range.

But to comment further is difficult as all he shares are generalizations. The devil is in the details. A 7mm RM shooting a 140 pill vs a 300 RUM launching 210 grains of bullet would be likely to have noticeable differences on an elk at say 500 - 600 - 700 yards, all else being equal. But make it a 7mm STW with a 180-195gr pill and odds are you'd notice little if any difference vs a 300 RUM with 210 gr. ish bullet at the same ranges.

But it makes for great conversation material.

Here's some added fodder, it relative to brown bear, but comes from an expert:

I make my living cleaning up messes caused by self proclaimed excellent shots and experienced hunter on Brown Bear hunts. In over twenty five years the over whelming majority were caused by the hunter using a rifle he could not handle.
When a hunter shows up with a well worn 7mm or 30-06 and a sensible scope I know he is going home with a trophy.
I don't have a minimum caliber I require a hunter bring but anything less than a .270 is a stunt and anything over a .375 usually ego.
Phil Shoemaker
 

theleo91386

Member
Apr 20, 2016
74
0
In response to wapiti/broz:
If I'm a little off I hit the shoulder, or high lung, or towards the back of the lungs. The elk is still going to die and be recoverable. If I'm just completely off and gut shoot it I'm just as screwed with an uber magnum as I am something more pleasant. For me and the majority of hunters out there that might stretch our shots out to 500 yards but not go further, 30+ caliber magnums are mearly more weight, recoil, and noise. 95 percent of the hunters out there don't play the long range game. Of the remaining 5 percent that do only about half are actually capable enough to shoot that far. I'm not a long range shooter, I'm not a capable enough marksman to take those way out there shots nor am I interested in lugging a rifle around the mountains capable of shooting that far. The argument that comes to mind though, is at what point should a person stop bragging about what kind of hunter they are and instead brag about the kind of marksman they are? For the longest time long shots were considered part of western spot and stalk hunting. With the ranges some guys are pushing themselves to these days, can we officially make a new category called spot hunting? Spot the animal and shoot?

I really don't care what guns other guys shoot or how far they shoot animals at, as long as the animals they shoot at are taken cleanly and recovered. If they do that 99 percent of the time, they are ethical hunters in my book. I just like debate and discussion.
 

Colorado Cowboy

Veteran member
Jun 8, 2011
7,670
3,300
80
Dolores, Colorado
We kinda got off on a tangent about long range shooting. My 2 go to calibers are .25-06 & .300 Wby (as I said in an earlier post) and I have spent a lot of time working on loads that I've shot out to 500 yds. I am an excellent shot, but for me their are too many variables that I have no control over that get magnified out beyond that distance.

A couple of years ago I shot an antelope that was ranged at 417 yards. One shot with my 25-06. I shot from prone using my bipod and the buck antelope was feeding. No way to get any closer. I've shot a couple of buck deer with the same load at 400 yards, same result.
Never have shot an elk over 275 yards, altho my Dad shot a bull with my rifle that we ranged at 350, everything was one shot kills.

My point is that I'm sure the rifles will kill at a lot farther than I will use them, but that's me.
 

JimP

Veteran member
Mar 28, 2016
6,475
7,271
69
Gypsum, Co
my 338is just to expensive to shoot!
You need to reload. The rounds that I shoot out of my .340 Weatherby will run $100+ for a box of 20 factory rounds. I can reload the same round to the same velocity for just over $1.00 a round if I have the cases or $2.00 a round if I need cases. So $20 for a box of 20 vrs $100 for a box of 20. But even if you need to purchase cases for $1.00 each the price comes down each time you reload them.
 

JimP

Veteran member
Mar 28, 2016
6,475
7,271
69
Gypsum, Co
You will find with reloading that you really don't save any money since you shoot a lot more.

You will also find out that the last few years that components are very hard to come by and only in the last year have you been able to find powder, primers, and bullets in a decent supply. If a certain female gets voted into the presidency you can expect for powders, primers, and bullets to become almost extinct again.
 

boiler

Active Member
Dec 26, 2015
302
130
Indiana
Been a family fued for years! I prefer my 300 & 338, my dad and brother favored 7mms. I broke down and bought a 7 this year, but regardless of how much I love it, I'll never quit playing devil's advocate... to much fun to argue!!!
 

BuzzH

Very Active Member
Apr 15, 2015
821
700
The 3 most important things, when it comes to killing big-game, are: shot placement, shot placement, and shot placement roughly in that order.

I also don't agree with the "bigger is better" nonsense regarding "marginal shots". IME/O most "marginal shots" are a function of the nut behind the trigger. A bad shot with a .243 is no different than a bad shot with a .338. I've also found very little correlation in regard to recovering marginally hit animals with a small caliber rifle VS. larger caliber rifle. Its simply been a function of what was hit, conditions, tracking ability, etc. as to whether an animal was recovered or not. Granted, I haven't been involved in many marginally hit animals, but enough to know that rifle caliber probably didn't have much of an impact.

I routinely hear arguments being made that if a person is not that great of a shot, then they should shoot something bigger to make up for the less than perfect shot.

That "logic" makes as much sense as a soup sandwich. I've NEVER seen a bad shot, shoot a bigger rifle better...ever. What I have many times seen, are people that shoot a .338 like crap, grab a 25/06, .243, etc. and shoot them very well. Yet, they many times still shoot the .338 for hunting...again, makes NO sense.

Rifles that are fun to shoot, they get shot a whole lot more. The more a person shoots, the better shot they become.
 

Colorado Cowboy

Veteran member
Jun 8, 2011
7,670
3,300
80
Dolores, Colorado
The 3 most important things, when it comes to killing big-game, are: shot placement, shot placement, and shot placement roughly in that order.
Rifles that are fun to shoot, they get shot a whole lot more. The more a person shoots, the better shot they become.
These are words to live by! In 60 years of shooting big game, nothing makes more sense than this!
 

JimP

Veteran member
Mar 28, 2016
6,475
7,271
69
Gypsum, Co
I have to agree that a bad shot on a animal is a bad shot, but there is a difference in the calibers when a bad shot is made.

Lets say that a hunter takes a shot at a deer sized animal with a .243 at 200 yards, well within the killing range of this caliber and round. Lets also say that he hits it a little low and just clips the rear portion of a front leg. Odds are that deer will survive his wound. He'll be limping around for a while but it is not a lethal wound and it is quite possible that the hunter will not recover this deer.

Now lets say that another hunter takes the same shot at a deer with a .338 magnum at 200 yards, another shot that is well within the killing range of this caliber and round. Lets also say that he hits the deer in the same location and also just clips a rear portion of a front leg. Odds are that deer is going to have a broken leg and by following the blood trail or the wounded animal that hunter just might recover it, I am not saying that he will but he might. Just the kinetic energy of that .338 caliber bullet hitting a portion of the deer's leg or just passing through that area is going to do quite a bit of damage.

Now both of the shots were bad shots but I would bank money on the hunter with the .338 finding the deer.
 

BuzzH

Very Active Member
Apr 15, 2015
821
700
Not my experience at all in regard to the .338 being "more lethal" with an equivalent hit or shot placement (either good or bad). Kinetic energy is largely a myth as well.

I've shot 14 deer with a .338 all with 250 grain partitions. What I found, is that the deer I shot with it typically traveled FURTHER after a good shot than many of the deer I've shot with various .243's, .25's, .284's, and 30 calibers. If kinetic energy meant anything, that's not the results one would expect. That's not to say that I had any trouble recovering or finding those 14 deer I shot with a .338. Just that many of the others I've shot with lighter calibers traveled wayyy shorter distances, on average, than the .338.

Of the 17 elk that I've killed with a .338 only one time do I think the heavier rifle made any difference at all. That was my fault, as I shot through a 5-6 inch diameter lodgepole that was directly if front of the elk I killed. In that case, there is not much doubt the .338, with a good penetrating bullet, made a difference. Something lighter, perhaps wouldn't have made it through the tree and most certainly not through the elk. My experience with elk, is the .338 killed them slightly quicker than smaller rifles, but not in a way significant enough for me to recommend, or imply, that one is even close to necessary to kill an elk. That's tough for me to say, as I shot a .338 for many years and it treated me very well...but it would be a flat out lie if I said it worked that much better than a lot of other smaller rifles I've shot elk, deer, moose, etc. with. I surely wouldn't recommend one for a new elk hunter or anyone that was recoil shy at all.

After killing several hundred big-game animals, its more and more apparent to me, that shot placement is king. The rest of the stuff we discuss and argue about (bullets, bullet weight, head stamps, etc. etc.) are all wayyy down the list of what it takes to kill game effectively.

Just for the record:



 

Tim McCoy

Veteran member
Dec 15, 2014
1,855
4
Oregon
I tend to agree with you Buzz. Placement, adequate bullet for the task, and little else will matter.

Foot pounds, joulies, kinetic energy, or whatever method one uses to calculate muzzle energy are of limited value. Arrows kill...newton's third law I believe, suggests the punch to your shoulder equals the punch of the bullet at the muzzle, it fades with distance. It is how the bullet transfers the energy that is important, aka terminal ballistics I believe.

My best MD was with a 25 caliber, shot hit a 2-3" diameter branch about 15' in front of it I did not see. My last sight picture was a deer that humped up and a danged branch falling. Branch impact caused the bullet to alter it's path, hit just behind the diaphragm, did not exit. It was a 25 yard shot at a relaxed deer, so the 25-06 was at near full MV. We were lucky, snow on the ground, or I am not sure we'd have recovered him, but I bet a 338 would have upped the odds in that case.

There was a large ranch in TX, as I recall, that logged shots taken by caliber and shot results. Was in an article quite a number of years ago, hundreds of kills logged. Now these were smaller WT, but the 25-06 was the winner as far as distance travelled after the shot. I suspect much of that was due to "tougher" bullet constriction in some of the larger calibers, vs the 25 cal bullet opening faster and doing more damage in the animal.

Who knows, but fun stuff to chew on.
 

JimP

Veteran member
Mar 28, 2016
6,475
7,271
69
Gypsum, Co
OK lets say it this way.

What would you rather be hit by, a base ball bat swung by Reggie Jackson or a baton swung by a cheerleader?

The cheerleader might be fun but which is going to hurt the most?

I agree that shot placement in paramount but a bad shot with a heavy caliber bullet is going to do more damage than a lighter one when the animal is hit in the same place. More damage equals to a possible dead animal.

I also have killed more than my fair share of animals with both light and heavy caliber rounds. I have make bad shots with both but have recovered all the animals that I have shot except for one. What happened to that one I have no idea and it was shot with a 7mm mag.
 
Last edited:

7shot

Active Member
Mar 26, 2015
177
0
Idaho
I have to throw in my .02$. I love the .284 or 7mm bullet - it can go heavy up to 195 grains or light into the 140 gr. I shoot 180 for deer and elk, bear and it has stone cold killed everything it hits. My key is it is very accurate, has great ballistics and I can shoot it all day long with the muzzel break on my rifle. I shot over 400 rounds working up the right load for my gun and had a blast dialing it in. Now I have all the confidence in the world when I dial the scope that the bullet will hit on the X. I shoot the 180 berger VLD in 7mm WSM with 64 grains of H4831 ext.
 

mcseal2

Veteran member
Mar 1, 2011
1,166
175
midwest
To me there are 2 arguments for a heavier bullet with more powder behind it. Both are 100% trumped by shot placement. If you can't shoot the bigger rifle well, it's not worth it.

One is the one shown above where a bullet has to penetrate vegetation it unintentionally encountered. No bullet is guaranteed to go off course here but a stouter heavier one is harder to misdirect than a lighter more fragile one. I remember when I first got a 204 I slipped up on a cow carcass right before dark to hopefully snipe a coyote. There were 2 on her and I dropped the first one at 175yds with a clean behind the shoulder shot. The other one ran into some tall grass 20yds further out and I shot at it 3 times while it stood there in the thick grass. Not one bullet made it to the coyote, it ran another 50yds and paused in an opening and I dropped it also. I was lucky that coyote was dumb. It made me a believer in a stout bullet that still opens quick. I've had other experiences with larger rifles that made more sense after that realization. The fastest kills I've ever seen on deer size game have come on broadside shots with a 25-06 shooting 90 or 100gr bullets that open fast. That doesn't make such a fragile bullet ideal for all deer hunting though.

The other argument is that mature animals don't always offer good shot angles and I want to be able to take any reasonable shot. I hunt during antlerless season mostly with a 243 or 6mm because I'm willing to pass anything but broadside shots while hunting for meat. They do a great job on a broadside shot on any deer, drop them fast and clean. During buck season though I want to be able to penetrate more of the animal if a quartering shot or shoulder shot is all I get the chance at. I'll sacrifice a little meat if that's the only angle I am likely to get. Having enough gun to do this with a good quality bullet has paid off for me with quick clean kills that required a little more penetration. I don't say that having a 30 cal is necessary for this at all, but it is a good idea to match your weapon and bullet to the quarry. I just got a 300WM shooting 180gr accubonds I plan to use for all elk or bigger critters plus any bear I might hunt.
 
Last edited: