Caliber choice for first time.

beedubae

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I've read and read as much as I can handle, and have narrowed my choices to either .243 or .308 for my first bolt action. I currently do not reload so I'm leaning towards .308 however I have a question about barrel life in the .243

If I would be sticking to commercial ammo and not using hot handloads can I still expect to wear the .243 barrel out around 1500-2000 rounds or would commercial ammo result in longer life?
 

ukshooter

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Re: Caliber choice for first time.

I think you figured it out, .308 of course.
Better barrel life means more practice time,at the range.
I own a .243 and try to save it for hunting,love rifle but it barrel burner.
 

desertHK

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Re: Caliber choice for first time.

Until you reload and take advantage of the high BC and heavier projectiles in the 6 mm family, you will be better off with the 308. A wide variety of match grade ammo is available. It also has a longer barrel life than the 243 win.
 

chili77

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Re: Caliber choice for first time.

One more vote for the postings above.

For a beginner the .308 is the much better choice.

Chili
 

TEAMSENDIT

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Re: Caliber choice for first time.

if you don't reload a 223 would be the best choice, more rounds down range, no recoil, cheaper, and will teach you wind reading faster.
 

Pusher591

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    Re: Caliber choice for first time.

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: diggler44</div><div class="ubbcode-body">if you don't reload a 223 would be the best choice, more rounds down range, no recoil, cheaper, and will teach you wind reading faster. </div></div>

    +1 on that. Thats a pretty good idea. As long as you don't plan on going over 600 yards. Before I get flamed, I know it can be done but for a novice shooter it will take some building up to get past that. A 77 grain Sierra will get to 600 pretty good, and diggler is right on it teaching you the wind. If it were me, I would probably go that route.
     

    GRIM

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    Re: Caliber choice for first time.

    If you left the choices wide open I'd have said .223 but from the choices you list - I'd go .308.

    It'll be a while before you need to rebarrel a .223 or .308 as compared to a .243 - each trigger pull you'll be thinking about throat erosion.

    Some states restrict what the minimum caliber can be for hunting also so that would rule out a .223 - just a thought.
     

    GB213

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    Re: Caliber choice for first time.

    Between those 2, 308. If you enjoy shooting it, do yourself a favor and start reloading. I will payoff in many ways.
     

    beedubae

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    Re: Caliber choice for first time.

    Thanks for all the replies. I've thought about .223 as well, hunting caliber will not be playing a part in my decision.

    Sounds like either .223 or .308 would be better to start off with until reloading becomes an option.
     

    sotexhill

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    Re: Caliber choice for first time.

    If medium game (deer) hunting is not a factor, 223 is cheaper to reload than 308. Uses less powder and lead per shot.

    Case size and powder loads for 243 and 308 are relatively the same. Since the circumference of the 243 throat is less than the circumference of the 308 throat, the blowtorch on the throat is more concentrated on the 243. But, in the same weight rifle, the recoil of the 243 will be less.

    If you are just getting started, a 22 rimfire will allow you to learn technique without the recoil/flinch getting involved. Then going to the 223 will be the next step. Or, you could start with a 223 bolt action and use light loads and bullet weights for familiarization and lots of cheap, useful training.

    My personal experience with 243 is that the factory stuff is loaded pretty hot so that they can brag about their velocity. I used to get very impressive muzzle flash out of factory 243 loads in an 18.5 inch barrel.

    Of course, if you are reloading, you could back off on your powder loads and probably help your barrel life. This would be true with any cartridge. But, as you go for the longer ranges, you will be tempted to go for velocity instead of barrel life.

    All of this is IMO and FWIW and YMMV.
    smile.gif
     

    RobertB

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    Re: Caliber choice for first time.

    Get a heavy bbl remington 700 or savage in .308. good performance for a budget. Not to say not to get a high dollar rifle for your first. They both make higher end rifles but also good starter rifles. What I'm saying is that if your on a budget those rifles will work so that you can put more in your scope. A good scope is just as important if not more than the rifle. And if you want to step it up you can swap your scope while those rifles hold their value well. Find the ammo that shoots good in your rifle get a good zero and drop chart and start practicing and try to find someone that can help you. Make every shot count and you will be suprised how far you will be able to shoot in a short amount of time. good luck
     

    270grdeerbullet

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    Re: Caliber choice for first time.

    I would go with the 223 if you want to run the heavy stuff (more than 70 grains) go with a 1 in 7 twist. There is a huge amount of factory and reman ammo out there for not a lot of money so you can shoot a lot for not much $.
     

    Guns4570

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    Re: Caliber choice for first time.

    If you don't reload and most factory barrles are geared for shooting the hunting loads...go factory tactical 308 or target 308. You can't beat the Remington SPS and 700P or the 5R for a starte gun or anything that Savage makes. I myself would look at the Savage. After buying 3 in the past month..I am getting more and more impressed with what they are making for us. I have to get a 6BR next from them. Savage in the McM stock would be a good place to start in .308.
     

    JamieD

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    Re: Caliber choice for first time.

    .308 or .223 I love my .223 and train with it all the time. I'll even take it to some matches. Great for training, easy on the wallet and will teach you a lot about the wind. Without recoil!

    Good Luck,
    JamieD
    Wolf Precision
     

    Greg Langelius *

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    Re: Caliber choice for first time.

    The .308 over the .243, and unless you're going to be doing the bulk of your shooting beyond 500yd, the .223 over the .308. It's adequate and economical; and it's very accurate besides.

    But whatever chambering you go with; a good, basic, and reliable bolt action 22LR trainer should be doing the bulk of the practice and training work. It just makes far better sense to do the bulk of the shooting with an inherently economical and accurate rimfire, rather then an inflicting a lot of unnecessary wear on a centerfire rifle's throat and bore. The rimfire will essentially shrug off the kind of usage that can wear out a centerfire's barrel.

    Greg
     

    Graham

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    Re: Caliber choice for first time.

    You decision will be influenced heavily by your primary use for the rifle and how much money you want to allocate to the initial investment, including optics and mounts.

    The advantage of a .223 bolt gun is the ability to feed VLD's from the mag. But that requires at least an 8-twist and the ability to load match ammo, which moves you quickly into custom rifle and precision reloading territory.

    With .308 you have excellent factory match ammo readily available that will work with almost any twist rate, long barrel life, stellar accuracy out of the box, easy to reload should you decide to start doing that, the ability to modify your rifle with high quality after market parts, and ease of re-sale value should you decide to upgrade or ever decide that you don't like it or don't want it any more.

    Depending on your budget, I would look at an AE MK II if you can afford one, or the 700PSS or 5R Milspec if you are not prepared to make a 3K initial investment in a rifle.

    Why an AE as a first rifle? Because it will never limit you in any way, you won't ever need to spend money to upgrade, it will hold its value, and a rifle like that will take you seamlessly from beginner to seasoned match competitor in the years to come. When you consider the high cost of training and ammo, spending up-front for a top quality rifle and a permium scope is money saved in the long run.