Best Caliber for New England Deer Hunting?!

What is the Best Caliber for New England Deer Hunting?

  • .308

    Votes: 22 35.5%
  • 7mm-08

    Votes: 3 4.8%
  • 6.5 Creedmoor

    Votes: 4 6.5%
  • .243

    Votes: 4 6.5%
  • Other

    Votes: 34 54.8%

  • Total voters
    62

whacko

NES Member
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Joined
Jul 26, 2012
Messages
10,430
Likes
6,551
my choices for each category:

Bolt Action: 30.06

MSR: 6.5 Grendel

Slug: 3" 20 gauge (think Savage 220, but a cantilevered barrel on a scatter gun you already have is efficient and cost effective)

Lever: 45-70 (ultimate brush gun)




Considered a high end muzzle loader? Those things can be damn accurate and will often qualify you for any and all shotgun, rifle, and muzzle loader seasons.
I'll be out with my tc muzzle loader tomorrow.....be on a powerline with long sight lines. 3 rounds touching at 100 yards. If I hunt woods it's shotgun......if I hunt a power line it's the muzzle loader.

It's not even "high end". It's a tc impact. $179 4 years ago. Out to 100 yards it blows my shotguns away on accuracy.
 

hv55maxx

NES Member
Rating - 100%
4   0   0
Joined
Oct 30, 2012
Messages
2,368
Likes
646
Location
Northwest Assachusetts where the dragons be
I'll be out with my tc muzzle loader tomorrow.....be on a powerline with long sight lines. 3 rounds touching at 100 yards. If I hunt woods it's shotgun......if I hunt a power line it's the muzzle loader.

It's not even "high end". It's a tc impact. $179 4 years ago. Out to 100 yards it blows my shotguns away on accuracy.

muzzle loaders are often overlooked because they aren't the flashy implements used on TV by the heavily sponsored hunters, but there is a reason theyve been used for so long -- they get the job done.


The benefit is that it can be used across multiple seasons (ie- shotgun, rifle, etc).
 

northny

NES Member
Rating - 100%
9   0   0
Joined
Aug 12, 2010
Messages
1,113
Likes
769
Location
Between Cabelas and Harvard Sportsmen’s Club
Lots of good advise above. Any will kill a deer provided you hit him in boiler room.

Two additional thoughts. First is a 30 caliber round nose bullet will leave a better blood trail than a pointed one. A 45 caliber leaves an ever better one. Small diameter pointed bullets leave a smaller to non existent blood trails. So also pay attention to what bullet you choose.

Second is buck fever is a real thing. The only way I found to "practice" while having "buck fever" is to enter competitive shooting. Appleseed or club matches or long range qualifiers, anything to put pressure on yourself v

This one had my heart going. 180 yards with 6.5 CM last week
 

Attachments

Last edited:

Mark from MA

NES Member
Rating - 100%
47   0   0
Joined
Jun 4, 2008
Messages
5,355
Likes
2,111
What do you think is the most ideal caliber for hunting white tail in New England bush/woods when you are on the ground and NOT in a tree?

In the middle of trying to get my first hunting rifle [pretty set on a Ruger American Compact] (and begin the process towards my first big hunt). Doing research I was planning on going .308 but I also plan on using this gun a lot at the range and people told me the recoil could be too much for a long day at the range. Then I was thinking .243 but then was told that the round is too small for woods hunting and a twig might make it bounce away? So that led me to 6.5 Creedmoor as a kind of middle ground.

There is a lot of info out there it seems but not much specific to NH, VT, or New England in general.

Not trying to get some magical do everything gun, just something I can comfortably use at the range for extended periods and reliably use on a deer hunt!
You mention range, and hunting. Im probably your only vote for 6.5 creedmore. New England as a whole is a varied area, it can range from 15 yard shots in thickets, to 300 yard plus shots in a vermont green field. (My son's first deer kill with at .243 for instance). Assuming we are talking deer size game or under, the 6.5 will do all that nicely. If looking at bigger game move up to .308, but recoil will be more stout.

Buy a 30-30 and end up sitting a 350 yard green field, or big open oak ridge, long sendero type powerline, and you'll need another rifle.

Yeah...you won't find 6.5 creed at some remote hardware store, but after looking at the ammo shelves in most larger sporting goods stores, there are more types and brands in 6.5 creed than there is of 30-30. Whether that lasts is beyond scope, but it seems like a good up and coming caliber with great ballistics, so why not.
 

Mark from MA

NES Member
Rating - 100%
47   0   0
Joined
Jun 4, 2008
Messages
5,355
Likes
2,111
I don’t get the “but that cal (fill in the blank) is not common ,and ya can’t get it out in the rural small Berg you go to hunt .

If you forget to pack enough ammo ,t.s.

Your now on a camera hunt.

But you forgot your phone as well, huh.
I never really got that either. My closest oh shit moment was recently when I ran out of a special type of 20 gauge sabots.
But...I still had a week because im thinking and planning about a hunt a week ahead and not the night before.

I just dont get it, there really is no excuse not to have ammo on hand. This isnt the depression era
 

Heathen

NES Member
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Joined
Feb 22, 2016
Messages
365
Likes
310
Location
MA
I never really got that either. My closest oh shit moment was recently when I ran out of a special type of 20 gauge sabots.
But...I still had a week because im thinking and planning about a hunt a week ahead and not the night before.

I just dont get it, there really is no excuse not to have ammo on hand. This isnt the depression era
There are a couple, like traveling to hunt and the baggage handlers losing your luggage for instance.
 

tuna

NES Member
Rating - 100%
5   0   0
Joined
Sep 20, 2006
Messages
7,339
Likes
7,741
Location
Far North New Hampshire
Ahh, the darling unicorn of the shotgun world. And the last time a 16 was in production as when? By who?
Currently. Browning A5, not as good as the original, but back by popular demand.

There’s others, but I don’t pay much attention to new guns, especially shotguns. My newest shotgun is from the 1980s, I like older guns more.
 

Fritz the Cat

NES Member
Rating - 100%
1   0   0
Joined
Aug 11, 2018
Messages
3,160
Likes
4,059
Location
South Berkshire County
Currently. Browning A5, not as good as the original, but back by popular demand.

There’s others, but I don’t pay much attention to new guns, especially shotguns. My newest shotgun is from the 1980s, I like older guns more.
Browning is definitely not now what it once was.
Holland & Holland is producing a 16guage side by side as well for a mere $100,000. Lovely engraving. Very nice wood.
 

whacko

NES Member
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Joined
Jul 26, 2012
Messages
10,430
Likes
6,551
Currently. Browning A5, not as good as the original, but back by popular demand.

There’s others, but I don’t pay much attention to new guns, especially shotguns. My newest shotgun is from the 1980s, I like older guns more.
I've handled the new a5 and it's definitely not the same as the original browning a5. My favorite shotgun in my safe is my 1969 auto 5 light 12. They were just built so solid. I bought it a few years back with the long full choke vent rib barrel and loved it so much that I want on eBay and purchased an ic barrel with vent rib a year later for hare hunting. Over the summer I picked up a buck special smooth bore iron sight barrel as well for deer season and it shoots a nice tight group at 50 yards.....it'll be with me tomorrow morning for the first time for deer. Can't wait.

My son will inherit a nice 3 barrel set when I'm gone.
 

tuna

NES Member
Rating - 100%
5   0   0
Joined
Sep 20, 2006
Messages
7,339
Likes
7,741
Location
Far North New Hampshire
I agree that browning isn’t the same as it was, but what is?
Most new shotguns are either: cheap feeling, overpriced, or tacticiooled out with all kinds of stuff that I don’t want like pistol grips and rails. Besides, most 16gauges were used for hunting, so they stay in pretty good shape compared to trap or skeet guns that see much heavier use.

My favorite gun is actually my H&R Topper single shot. Followed by the rest of the single shots in my collection. The old Iver Johnson’s and Savages were and are pretty bulletproof. And will provide more lifetimes of memories.
 

whacko

NES Member
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Joined
Jul 26, 2012
Messages
10,430
Likes
6,551
I agree that browning isn’t the same as it was, but what is?
Most new shotguns are either: cheap feeling, overpriced, or tacticiooled out with all kinds of stuff that I don’t want like pistol grips and rails. Besides, most 16gauges were used for hunting, so they stay in pretty good shape compared to trap or skeet guns that see much heavier use.

My favorite gun is actually my H&R Topper single shot. Followed by the rest of the single shots in my collection. The old Iver Johnson’s and Savages were and are pretty bulletproof. And will provide more lifetimes of memories.
One of the nicest 16 gauge guns I've seen is a buddies old ithica side by side. He uses it for upland bird and snowshoe hare. Beautiful gun......he's had it 30 years and still hunts with it regularly.
 

Mark from MA

NES Member
Rating - 100%
47   0   0
Joined
Jun 4, 2008
Messages
5,355
Likes
2,111
There are a couple, like traveling to hunt and the baggage handlers losing your luggage for instance.
True.....didn't think of that. Of course you could ship it to your destination beforehand if worried about that....but yeah.

Reality is though last time I flew to hunt, my destination in Kentucky had a Cabela's closer than my local one at home is.
 

Mark from MA

NES Member
Rating - 100%
47   0   0
Joined
Jun 4, 2008
Messages
5,355
Likes
2,111
Ahh, the darling unicorn of the shotgun world. And the last time a 16 was in production as when? By who?
I cut my teeth hunting with the Sweet 16 A-5. Still have it. It will always be my favorite deer gun. I had an Ithaca featherweight in 16, never should have sold it, I still have a Winchester Model 12 pump in 16. There are many old pumps and doubles in 16. I just recently passed up buying an 870 in 16 off the Cabelas rack. Begrudgingly, and now it's gone. 16 is my favorite for game hunting overall bird or deer.

Ithaca Gun still makes a 16 pump, CZ makes a double in 16 for about $900, Browning makes pumps and the A-5 in 16 currently. Its not only in expensive English guns.

16 isn't going by by, anytime soon. They tried to replace it with the 20 gauge mag.....and failed.
 
Last edited:

Mark from MA

NES Member
Rating - 100%
47   0   0
Joined
Jun 4, 2008
Messages
5,355
Likes
2,111
I've handled the new a5 and it's definitely not the same as the original browning a5. My favorite shotgun in my safe is my 1969 auto 5 light 12. They were just built so solid. I bought it a few years back with the long full choke vent rib barrel and loved it so much that I want on eBay and purchased an ic barrel with vent rib a year later for hare hunting. Over the summer I picked up a buck special smooth bore iron sight barrel as well for deer season and it shoots a nice tight group at 50 yards.....it'll be with me tomorrow morning for the first time for deer. Can't wait.

My son will inherit a nice 3 barrel set when I'm gone.
The new a-5 is nothing like the old one. It probably has a lot less recoil, but the old ones from Belgium and later Japan were just craftsmanship in wood, solid steel and bluing like you will never see again in a production shotgun.

My dad has a Belgium made Magnum 12, with the original 28" barrel and a 24" buck barrel as well. Bought new in the 60's sometime, still have original box and paperwork. LOL! My son will get that.
 

HorizontalHunter

NES Member
Rating - 100%
4   0   0
Joined
Jun 23, 2009
Messages
5,066
Likes
3,092
Location
Western Massachusetts
Anything that is 30 caliber-ish will do the job nicely.

After that it boils down to the type of hunting you will do:

A 30-30 lever is great for short range brush hunting.

The 6.5 or .243 is great for long range deer getter.

If you are looking for a one gun does all in North America a 30-06 or .308 is the way to go.

If you are recoil sensitive the .243 or .270 is the way to go.

JMO

Bob
 

whacko

NES Member
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Joined
Jul 26, 2012
Messages
10,430
Likes
6,551
The new a-5 is nothing like the old one. It probably has a lot less recoil, but the old ones from Belgium and later Japan were just craftsmanship in wood, solid steel and bluing like you will never see again in a production shotgun.

My dad has a Belgium made Magnum 12, with the original 28" barrel and a 24" buck barrel as well. Bought new in the 60's sometime, still have original box and paperwork. LOL! My son will get that.
That's a hell of a nice package.
 

Mark from MA

NES Member
Rating - 100%
47   0   0
Joined
Jun 4, 2008
Messages
5,355
Likes
2,111
Anything that is 30 caliber-ish will do the job nicely.

After that it boils down to the type of hunting you will do:

A 30-30 lever is great for short range brush hunting.

The 6.5 or .243 is great for long range deer getter.

If you are looking for a one gun does all in North America a 30-06 or .308 is the way to go.

If you are recoil sensitive the .243 or .270 is the way to go.

JMO

Bob
Pretty much says it all right there. If I could only buy "one" rifle. It would be a 30-06 bolt action.
 

M60

NES Member
Rating - 100%
56   0   0
Joined
Sep 24, 2010
Messages
5,486
Likes
4,167
Location
Occupied Massachusetts
.44mag and .357mag are what I use in Maine with great success; plus they match sidearms and are common enough. No "long shots" in the Maine woods.

I hunt with a few guys shooting .45-70 however I can't justify the expense and prefer ammo to match my sidearm.
+1 For .44 magnum in Maine. Knocks them down. I can't remember the last time I had the option of a long shot in Maine.
 
Top Bottom