Ultimate deer cartridge

hardcorehunter5

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With all thats “new” in cartridge design these days, what is the ultimate deer cartridge for the western hunter with handloaded ammunition....A cartridge that would not hunt anything larger then mule deer.....No practical distance limits, at least to practice if not for killing. For a conversation piece not looking for an all-around cartridge that can hunt other things.....And for those that may ask what I already have in the stable, that doesnt matter, I want another gun for this niche...Just wanting to get an idea of what people think if narrowed down to that species.

 

Spreedizzle

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I’m biased as I’m all about the 7mm’s.....

Short action, 7mm-08. Can shoot nearly any 7mm weight bullet below 175 and below.
Long action, non mag bolt face, and I’d go with the 280AI. Can shoot anything in the 7mm weight and with great accuracy, good velocity, and long brass life.
 

rfurman24

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There is no "ultimate" cartridge for anything. For every advantage you may gain you will be compromising something else. My favorite bullets are the 156 Berger, 175/180 Bergers, and the 215 Berger. I would take what Jeff said and plug those bullets in to see what you want/need.
 

RBanta66

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I like Ryan's thought process being based on bullet performance. That being said I'm sure many of us have killed deer with many different calibers as I have. Situation and hunting terrain really dictates what caliber we choose.

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Goosedog02

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I agree with many others here. My ultimate cartridge is dependent on the terrain and location I'm hunting. Hunting in the deer woods, I'm taking a 270 or 7RM. Open areas, where I can stretch out distance, I'm taking my 300 RUM.
 

RBanta66

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The other answer to this is the caliber you shoot most accurately!!! If you can't put rounds on target it really does not matter.

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elkguide

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While I like the .25, .26, .27 and .28 calibers and have several rifles in those calibers, to answer your question as to what is the "ultimate" deer cartridge, I would unequivocally go with a .30 caliber and like the other calibers I have several rifles in different .30 caliber options. Bottom line, I would go with the .300 Win Mag. You can load it with quality bullets from 150 grains to 230+ grain bullets. I use a WM for mule deer or whitetails and never worry about distance or size of animals.
 

Gord0

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I think Broz stated it best. The 6.5 Creed is a great cartridge, so is the PRC, or 6.5x284. They all have drawbacks as well. A 300win mag is tough to beat too.
 

Dave Wilson

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i think the best is whatever your favorite rifle is and you are most familiar and practiced with. you know, that one rifle that you grab when you go hunting and don't have to think what gun should i take. it's ole Betsy! that's the best deer gun for you!
 

matt_3479

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I firmly don’t believe there is ever an ultimate cartridge for any anaimsl as everyone has an opinion. Best to have lots of choices and try them out lol.

strickly for deer, once again highly depended on ranges but the 25 creed last year with the 131’s just hammered a pair of whitetail at 535 and 550. Preformance was amazing, recoil was extremely mild, and it just amazing in the wind. The 30’s with the 215 are flat out performers when I know shots tend to be on the longer side!
 

scottrod338

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You asked for an opinion and I'm going to give mine. I won't hunt with anything that doesn't start with a 3. I don't like the 308 win and 3006 would be my minimum. I've taken a liking to the 300wm but really prefer the 338 caliber. 338wm is my favorite and does a great job on big high country mule deer, I also have been down the big 338 road and own and edge but for your requirement I would look real hard at a 338wm with a 210 to 250 grn bullet weight.
You can't have to much rifle and you can't make them to dead, that why I always go with a 338
 

hardcorehunter5

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A lot of great answers and opinions. None are of surprise really. Everyone has their favorite. Im going to order custom rifle this week and nothing cartridge wise is getting me excited. I want a cartridge that has good recoil management if i choose to hunt without a brake, I dont need to hire a gun bearer to walk with me on the hunt, and if i decide to pass on a shot its due to the conditions and my skill not the firearms capability.
 

rfurman24

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A lot of great answers and opinions. None are of surprise really. Everyone has their favorite. Im going to order custom rifle this week and nothing cartridge wise is getting me excited. I want a cartridge that has good recoil management if i choose to hunt without a brake, I dont need to hire a gun bearer to walk with me on the hunt, and if i decide to pass on a shot its due to the conditions and my skill not the firearms capability.
Welcome to the forum! You should stop by the new members introductions and introduce yourself.
 

Broz

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If I thought at times I would shoot without a brake, I would want a little heavier rifle and nothing larger recoil wise than a 6.5 PRC or a 6.5 x 284. Also without brake I would consider using 130~140 grain bullets. Braked, the same rifle the 156 Berger all the way. The Christensen Arms Traverse is coming to mind. It is just under 1 lb heavier than a Ridge line and comes with a good brake and rail as well as a thread protector for when the brake is off.

I took an antelope with mine just over 800 yards and the exit was 1 1/4" plus. Goat dropped in his tracks. Shot placement is always king, but the point is the rifle was plenty at this distance.
 

J2shooter

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I would agree that there really isn't an ultimate cartridge for this or that....or there are a bunch of them. However you want to look at it.

I too like the idea of setting distance / velocity / energy requirements first and picking a bullet and then a case to push it accordingly.

With that being said I'll throw one at you that has piqued my interest lately, well two that have... For a low recoil but still hard hitting setup for my three little ones that are coming up that will hopefully love hunting as much as I do.

For more on the high performance side.
25 SST + 131 ace blackjack bullets with .33 g7
*Designed to work well in short action
*Headstamped ADG brass available on sherman website (saum parent case)
*Lance kenyon has one with a 26" 7.5 t barrel pushing 131 Ace Blackjacks @ 3225 with a mild load of h1000. Sounds awesome.


The other one I'm thinking is
25 creedmore + 131 ace blackjack
Peterson headstamped brass available in small primer which is cool.
Probably 2900-3000 fps.

I don't mean to assert that these two are better or worse than anything but I too like to be intrigued by the project. And these two are doing just that for me personally.
 

DerekS

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I too am partial to the quarter bore (.257). My first rifle ever was a 25-06. I shot the original barrel out, and recently re-barreled with the same cartridge. I started our shooting 117 Hornady Interlock bullets at deer and speed goats. My favorite prairie dog and coyote bullet was the 75 V-Max. Later I moved to the 115 Berger for everything. I'm now working with the 110 ELD-X. I'm pushing the "new" Hornady bullet around 3250 fps, and according to the ballistic computer I have enough energy at 650 yards for deer sized game.

Point being my recommendation is quarter bore for great braked or non braked deer gun.
 

Aoudadshooter1975

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For deer, where I live...and deer size only--a 257 weatherby mag. It just works. If I would build one today I'd build with a 1-7 or 1-7.5 twist. My 2 both have 1-10 and I shoot 115s out of my talon and 90-100s out of my 700 custom. When it comes for a new tube--it will be a fast twist to take advantage of the 120-135 grain bullets.

The 257 is a light kicking laser beam. Inside 700 yards easy to dial...inside 400 very little dialing...for deer devastating--I have shot a lot of deer with 257s...
 
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Quest1000

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There is some great discussion points in this thread! A few years ago I was under the impression of energy and have sense converted to impact velocity. My friends are still not on board but to each there own as long as they feel they’re within their ethical limits.
 

OSOK - Crash

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There is some great discussion points in this thread! A few years ago I was under the impression of energy and have sense converted to impact velocity. My friends are still not on board but to each there own as long as they feel they’re within their ethical limits.
Same here! I asked not too long ago about this with my 6.5 Creed. My question wqs to find my max effective range by getting opinions on minimum impact velocity.

 

MJ73

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Whatever is in my hands at the time. The majority of the time that has been a 300 win. The best deer hunter I have ever know would use nothing but a 25-06. The other a 270 Weatherby. Both of these gentlemen have taken many deer over 200”. Anything is the best as long as you know exactly where your bullet will end up.
 

hardcorehunter5

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I will follow up. The deposit has been sent, but Ive gotten some cold feet on the chambering issues. Probably switching to the apex hunter version as the stock is likely a better fit for my shooting too. Shop is closed until Thursday, so I have to wait to talk it over with him until then. Like the start of this thread, I’m not in love with any cartridge, so Ill decide based upon his recommendation. Stay tuned.


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J2shooter

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Well, now that you mention that, it's a good time to ask if he's using an updated reamer that fixes the web size issue that's causing a bunch of clicking extractions and even hard extractions in 6.5 prc.

@Broz ordered a reamer that's slightly larger in the web area. Alex Wheeler is also using an updated reamer to fix the issue.

If he's still using a standard SAAMI reamer then an alternative would be 6.5 x 284.

Edit: better yet, 6.5 SAUM
Awesome cartridge.
 
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J2shooter

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You've probably read through this but just in case.
 
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hardcorehunter5

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Im familiar with those threads. Thank you. Problem with 6.5 saum is brass is non existent currently. The 6.5x284 has been on my short list just dont know if its going to have the performance I want.


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J2shooter

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Im familiar with those threads. Thank you. Problem with 6.5 saum is brass is non existent currently. The 6.5x284 has been on my short list just dont know if its going to have the performance I want.


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Was just poking around on Graf and sons and noticed they have both peterson and Lapua 6.5x284 brass in stock.

It'll get the 156 EOL into the mid 2900s with a 26" barrel pretty easy.
 

J2shooter

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Looking fwd to seeing it on here. He makes some very fine shooting rifles.

Did he estimate about when to expect it?
 

Blobby159

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If you do decide to go with a 6.5x284 I would go with a long action and have it throated appropriately.

Just a random thought here, but depending on the availability of Lapua brass on YOUR side of 'The Pond' in 6.5x55 Swede, one of the "Improved" numbers for it can get damned close to 6.5x284 velocities with careful loading. I mention that here cos - in the UK at least - Lapua "6.5 Swede" is faaaar cheaper than the brass for 6.5x284 and faaaar more readily available too!!

OK, one would need to blow out the cases with appropriate loads, but I have found that with careful loading one can pretty much equal the velocities of the A.I. type rounds by using THE SAME powder loads as one would in the main deal..

Sounds a bit iffy to the uninitiated but with the pressures being attenuated somewhat by the brass getting mechanically blown out into the 'Improved' shape, the high(ish) powder loads get the sting taken out of them and at the same time end up giving velocities very close to the end product one would get from the fully loaded but Improved cases....

The alternative is to fire-form the plain initial parent cases using a moderate charge of much faster powder than in the regular rifle loads, with the pressures being generated by topping off the cases with something like 'Creamed Wheat' or 'Cracked Rice' or even moderately packed tissue paper rather than a true projectile.... I have tried that route too for making Improved cartridges and it works just fine, but after discovering the method I mentioned FIRST, there is no way back. Having a FULLY USEABLE, Accurate round AND fire-forming the cases at the same time works for me!!

Kind Regards,
Blobbs...


ATB ..... and shoot safely

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hardcorehunter5

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Looking fwd to seeing it on here. He makes some very fine shooting rifles.

Did he estimate about when to expect it?

June...8.4 twist which i neglected to mention. I bought two boxes of berger 195’s today as well. Ill need some 180 vld hunting next and neck bushings. Should be good with everything else...Also the bench source annealer i bought arrived yesterday. Out of town until Tuesday so playing around with it will have to wait...I also had some work finished on a 280AI ive had for years that has so chambering issues, so ill dink around with that this summer too. If it wont shoot that will be turned into a 6.5x284 Ive decided.....


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J2shooter

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June...8.4 twist which i neglected to mention. I bought two boxes of berger 195’s today as well. Ill need some 180 vld hunting next and neck bushings. Should be good with everything else...Also the bench source annealer i bought arrived yesterday. Out of town until Tuesday so playing around with it will have to wait...I also had some work finished on a 280AI ive had for years that has so chambering issues, so ill dink around with that this summer too. If it wont shoot that will be turned into a 6.5x284 Ive decided.....


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Looks like some ADG in stock here. Looks like a pre order that they're receiving on 4/22 but it lists how many they have left.

 

J2shooter

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