what caliber for new rifle


Aug 26, 2017
Hi, I'm well-versed in firearms and shooting (former jarhead), except at the longer ranges and the newer calibers. .308 is where my experience stops as far as anything that will go a good bit of distance, but have been reading about 6.5 Creedmoor, and now 6mm Creedmoor, .260 Remington, etc, etc. I'm looking to get something that will reach out and touch something. Not for competition, but for the Zombie Apocalypse scenario. Looking at the Tikka T3 Tactical (had a T3 and stupidly sold it awhile back). Anyway, I'm torn between sticking with .308, of which i've got an old Savage Model 99 and soon with have the Desert Tech MDR, and therefore have some ammo stocked up. But, intrigued about all these other newish calibers. Would appreciate any thoughts and advice from ya'll. Thanks much.


Retired Swab Jockey
Full Member
Dec 15, 2009
Norfolk, Va
Currently shooting a .308 my self. I'm looking to build a Savage with several barrels on a laminated long action Palma stock. I just got a .300 Win Mag Savage Hunter with an accurate trigger for the action and plan on getting a heavier 6.5 Creedmoor for it next. The plan is .308, 6.5 Creedmoor, .30-06, and .300 Win Mag heavy barrels. This barrel only has five rounds but it's a thin barrel.


Invite new Gun owners to the range in 2021
If you want something fun, buy a used 50 bmg bolt gun.... surplus ammo is still about the same as 338 lapua

the 750 grain Amax has a cD that is over 1.00. It might be 1.07.

If you are serious about a zombie gun, then all the questions apply... starting with budget for everything.

Have you watched the 100+ episodes by Rex...



Full Member
Feb 20, 2017
SE Florida
Way too many factors in caliber selection. There is nothing wrong with a 308, with the right loads, it is an effective 1000 yard gun. It may not hold up to the wonder 6s and 6.5 in competition anymore but it doesn't require reloads if you can afford to shoot factory match ammo. Zombie apocalypse? Gimme a break.
I like the reduced recoil of the 6.5CM or 6.5x47L in my guns. Less fatigue in the long run for basically equal performance.

Greg Langelius *

Resident Elder Fart
Full Member
Aug 10, 2001
I think the .308's great, and have recently reintroduced it (a Savage 11VT with Choate Tactical stock, Harris-style Bipod, and Mueller 8-32x44 target dot scope) into my shooting lineup. Will shoot mine for the first time tomorrow, Lord willin' and the creek don't rise...Testing an initial load with 178 ELD-X bullets and 42.2gr of IMR-4064. The .308 can make the 1000yd run, but it can also get a little winded when it's pulling up to the finish lone.

My main LR gun has been a 28" .260 Rem built on a 2001 Savage 10FP action. It will also test new 143gr ELD-X loads with 43.5gr of H-4350. This will be the debut of its Mueller 8-32x44 target dot scope. With the right BC bullet and at a higher altitude (I'm up at around 4500ft ASL), it can remain supersonic well past 1000yd.

My Savage 11VT .223 is good at 600yd with HDY 75gr HPBT-Match bullet and 24.4gr of Varget, and is my primary practice rifle as well. It has carried the Mueller 8-32x44 target dot scope for years of 300yd club matches. It resolves 22 caliber holes for me at that distance.

Tomorrow's test shoot will round out with a Savage Axis II 30-06 that has the Bushnell 4-12x40 hunting scope that comes as part of the 11VT package gun deal. It will test a 50.0gr IMR-4064, 178 ELD-X load.

These are my chosen chamberings. I am not personally familiar with the 6 and 6.5CM. The 6.5CM is an about equally good chambering compared to the .260, and has some advantage with loading longer bullets to magazine length than the .260, which has the alternative advantage of some additional case capacity. I see the 6CM as a reasonable alternative to the .243. At one time, the 6.5CM had an advantage over the 260 in factory ammunition availability, but that gap is closing.

For many, the .223 is the practice chambering of choice; that is most definitely the case for me, and I have successfully shot my 11VT at 600 in National MR F T/R competition just earlier this year. The rifle is a lot more competitive than I am at my advanced age and decrepitude. As a beginner comp rifle, the Savage 11VT is a good choice for F/TR in .223 and .308. A barrel replacement can turn the 11VT 308 into a 260 LR F-Open rifle.

There are a solid number of folks who will advocate an all out custom rifle for competition, and they are definitely right about that for shooters who have already weathered their formative competitive years. For me and those like me, a lot of that custom-built advantage gets nullified by the typical learner mistakes. I think the 11VT is simple, robust, and dependable enough to tide the beginner over until those improved skills can more responsibly justify much better equipment. My 11VT's are upgraded with the Choate Tactical stock

The 10FP custom has a factory pillar bedded McMillan A3 tactical stock that was one of several furnished at no cost by Kelly McMillan back around 2002 for inclusion in the SH .260 Rem Ghost Dancer project. I can never say enough good things about Kelly and those McMillan stocks.

I personally recommend the Mueller 8-32x44 Target Dot side focus 30mm scope. It's not a Nightforce, or a Vortex, but it's not junk, either. If the savings involved (they go for about $250-260 or so each) can get a shooter on the line sooner, and maybe with that savings invested into a startup handloading setup, it has already more than paid its way.

That's an opinion, but it's mine, so I favor it pretty solidly.



Sergeant of the Hide
Full Member
Feb 15, 2017
South Carolina
Sticking with the .308 or going with a 6.5 Creedmoor or 260 Rem would all be good options. The problem with the 6mm calibers is that your barrel becomes very much of a consumable. You probably don't want to go through a barrel in 1,000 rounds. All three of the aforementioned calibers have readily available, cheap factory ammo that is also of high quality. Too me it boils down to wanting a caliber that has superior ballistics or sticking with the .308 so you are forced to get better at reading the wind. I don't think you would go wrong with any of those choices. If you ever decide to get super competitive, then you may want to go with a 6mm and do your own reloading.


Aug 26, 2017
Well I went with a Tikka T3x TAC A1 in .308. Figured I'd stick with a caliber I have the ammo for, and since I live in the hills of Virginia with few really long range opportunities, it will fill the bill. Appreciate the responses. Semper Fi. Dave


Gunny Sergeant
Full Member
Feb 13, 2017
Black Hills SoDak
Nvm, ignore the info below. Just saw he made his choice..

6.5CM. Just shoot the damn thing and you won't regret it.

If you really need sold on it: Same $ for match ammo, if not cheaper. Better ballistics. You don't need a 175 gr. pill if only hitting "zombies" and shot placement is key anyways.