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Yesterday I went to the range to sight-in three rifles with newly installed scopes at a local range. I ended up doing only two of them. After dialing in the .22 Savage and AR-15, I loaded my Remington 700 ADL 30-06, got comfortable at the bench with sandbags, put the cross hairs on the target, and squeezed the trigger.

I was not comfortable after that shot.

The last time I fired the Remington, my right shoulder gave me some degree of pain for over a week. Not the surface bruising I have experienced in the past, but deep inside the joint where age- and arthritic-related problems lay lurking. Shooting the .22 and 5.56/.223 calibers yesterday was pure joy and fun. Firing that one 30-06 round was enough to make me unload the remaining rounds and put the rifle back in its case.

I have read that if it ain't fun, you probably shouldn't be doing it. I love shooting. And I have loved the 30-06 caliber since I was a kid, raised by my father's and grandfather's generations that venerated that most American of rifle rounds. And I love my classic Remington 700 that was produced in the 1970s with its lovely walnut stock and forearm. But now I pretty much know that whenever I shoot it from this point forward, it's going to hurt. And that's not fun.

Long story short, I'm beginning a search for a smaller caliber with less recoil that still can "reach out and touch" whatever the target is. Now, I just spent about 30 minutes Googling "25-06 vs 7mm-08 vs 6.5 Creedmoor vs 7x57 vs .243" etc., ad nauseum. My goodness, the possibilities available today for hunting calibers under .30 are mind-boggling! Hence, this discussion.

The parameters, loosely defined:

I live in the desert southwest (can you say, "Horizons so far, you can see clear to tomorrow"?), so flat-shooting is good. Besides, I like trying to make those long-distance gongs at the range make some noise.

Purpose: Range shooting and some hunting. The game animals around here range from cottontail rabbits to elk, although my knees are nowhere in good enough condition to hunt elk. Hunting deer and desert antelope are more realistic, with black bear and mountain lion defense thrown in when camping in the mountains with my family.

Availability of ammo is important. One of the things I like most about the 30-06 round is that you're gonna find some in even remote locations. Every store in America that carries rifle rounds will have 30-06 ammo. 6.5 Creedmoor is the craze these days, and there's even 6 Creedmoor coming over the horizon, but 25-06 and .243, et al., have been around a lot longer and are far more apt to be found at Harry's Hardware in Dust Devil, NM.

So, there it is. What <.30 caliber rifles do you own and shoot, and what are their pros & cons?
 

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.25-06 is a good caliber. I have a .257 Roberts I've killed most of the deer I ever killed with. I inherited it from my grandpa. It's a near duplicate to factory .25-06 the way I load it, pushes a 100 grain Sierra game king to 3150 fps. It'd deadly WAY out there on medium game. :D No finer pronghorn caliber or mulies. With mulies, it can shoot the 117 grain stuff which I'd go with as mulies are heavier than whitetail.

I shoot my 7mm Rem Mag from time to time off the bench. Yeah, it can bang you up, but I wear a Past recoil shield when I shoot it which takes the sting out. I never even notice the recoil when I'm shooting at game. You might just get you a Past recoil shield and keep that naught six. It would be a cheaper solution.

Also, as to calibers, consider the .260 Remington and the 7mm-08. :D
 
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Try a Limbsavor shoulder pad it will decrease the kick by close to 50%.
It tamed my Mossberg 12 gauge and I have had shoulder surgery and Arthritis!

Sent from my SM-G930P using Tapatalk
 

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I won't make any recommendations as I don't hunt anymore and everything I know is hearsay. I did want to chime in on the 30-06. It was my first centerfire rifle. I bought it in 1969 and I still have it. It is still pristine but I never shoot it. It is a punishing round to shoot. When I was young I just shrugged it off but it's not fun anymore. It kicks like a mule on steroids.
 
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Have you tried reduced recoil ammo? I believe Hornady has a line of it.
 
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I recommend a recoil pad of some type.

One thing I have noticed over the decades is that shooting when seated seems to increase the felt recoil over shooting while standing. Think of it as a leaf spring on a pickup. If the ends are close together, it's harder to flex the middle than if the leaf spring was longer.
What I'm trying to say is that if you shoot offhand while standing (you have the length of your body from shoulder to your feet) your body has much more give and less pain than when you are sitting (you have only the distance from your shoulder to your hips) and shooting.

Having said the previous, I think you might consider cartridges like the 25-06 of the 270 for flat shooting rounds.
For somewhat less flat shooting with mild recoil you might want to look into the 243 or the 708 (it makes a fine shooting handgun cartridge with less recoil than a 44 mag).
Just an FYI I ran some moderate reloads through a chronograph with my XP100 and was right at 2600 fps with a Hornady 139 flat base bullet and 35 grains of WW748. It was my standard load for IHMSA pistol silhouette competition.
 

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Go for the Creedmoor! I've heard only great things about it - or the .224 Valkyrie unless you wanted something a bit larger than .22.
 
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depends on how far reach out and touch means, and what size animal that you are trying to reach out and touch.
I have a slight rotator cuff tear in my right shoulder so the Old 300 Win mag kind don't get shot much. the problem with smaller lighter projectiles is that they move around a lot on any kind of wind.
I have pretty much quit hunting anyway.
The 243 is a nice low recoil weapon and does well on smaller medium sized game (white tail) the best of the bunch that I have as to recoil and power is the 250-3000 Savage, of course that is almost an obsolete caliber now, but its one sweet shooting lil cartridge.
 

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Go get yourself a 6.5 Swedish. Lots of 'em out there yet (armory graded) and one with a really good barrel can be had reasonably cheap.
 

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Elmer Keith spoke of an English shooting stand that the great white hunters used in preparation for African safaris. It was basically a table perch on four long folding legs that allowed for steady accuracy, but also allowed the shooter to better absorb the recoil as opposed to shooting, sitting at a bench.

I'm not a big game hunter, but when I tests heavy recoiling rifle loads, I C-clamp a carpeted shooting perch to a post near the firing line and shoot standing as if I were in a trench. Shooting sticks work well, but are not nearly as solid a perch.

A decent recoil pad is also something to consider. If you want to tame recoil, look no further than the Shooter's Friend. They are big and ugly and not that cheap, but they absorb recoil better than any other pad I've found.

Shooter's Friend Welcome!Home
 

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depends on how far reach out and touch means, and what size animal that you are trying to reach out and touch.
I have a slight rotator cuff tear in my right shoulder so the Old 300 Win mag kind don't get shot much. the problem with smaller lighter projectiles is that they move around a lot on any kind of wind.
I have pretty much quit hunting anyway.
The 243 is a nice low recoil weapon and does well on smaller medium sized game (white tail) the best of the bunch that I have as to recoil and power is the 250-3000 Savage, of course that is almost an obsolete caliber now, but its one sweet shooting lil cartridge.
Weight has nothing to do with wind drift, only ballistic coefficient. Boat tailed stuff like the Game Kings have a pretty high BC.
 
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Weight has nothing to do with wind drift, only ballistic coefficient. Boat tailed stuff like the Game Kings have a pretty high BC.
Those Hornady ELD bullets do pretty well in the BC field too.
 
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I should add that initial velocity matters in wind drift as it affects time of flight.
 

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Yeah, I had a 700 ADL Stainless, that I eventually sold...it was in .30-06' as well. Shooting it on a bench really beat me up at times, so I sold it. I can imagine that the .243 Winchester would be a decent trade off, at least as far as ammo availability goes.
 

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I have a Win Mod 70 Classic Featherweight in 308 is not bad at all at the bench. The Rem 700 should be a cupcake with 308. I don't shoot at the bench sitting too low where I'm leaning into the rifle like in a prone position but I sit upright and let the recoil push rather than beat me.
 
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I know zip about the hunting rifle and caliber question but I will say that the first thing I thought of was some sort of shoulder pad and doubling up with some sort of pad for the butt stock. I would think it would be a fairly inexpensive experiment anyway.

This getting old thing where the body just isn't what it used to be is not fun!
 

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Yeah, I had a 700 ADL Stainless, that I eventually sold...it was in .30-06' as well. Shooting it on a bench really beat me up at times, so I sold it. I can imagine that the .243 Winchester would be a decent trade off, at least as far as ammo availability goes.
Anybody know if the '06 could just be rebarreled for either .243 or 6.5CM or .308 etc. being that they're all based on the same cartridge? The only thing that seems would be a little iffy is the length of the action for cycling. Could just be an awkward bolt to work but still work and be a cheaper option.
 
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