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Thread: Choosing calibre based on ammunition availablitiy

  1. #1
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    Choosing calibre based on ammunition availablitiy

    Morena.

    Sorry if this is in the wrong section.

    I'm 6 months into what is now slated to be at least a 12 month process of getting a firearms license. This huge wait time has sucked me into a black hole of looking into various calibres and cartridges. The missus isn't too keen on feeding the kids little bits of lead, so I'm leaning towards bonded or monolithic bullets.

    I was initially keen to use the 120gr Barnes TTSX bullet in 6.5 Swede. While the Sako Powerhead II used that bullet, I couldn't find it stocked anywhere. I emailed Beretta NZ and was told that Sako are discontinuing that cartridge as they are having problems sourcing the projectiles. Once the worldwide stocks of Powerhead II are gone they will remove that line from their marketing. While a few outfitters have the same bullet in 6.5 Creedmoor, it seems silly to buy a rifle based on ammunition that will disappear soon.

    So, I have a few options once I am licensed: A) Buy a 6.5 Swede and use Sako's Powerhead Blade instead; B) Buy a 6.5 Swede and learn to hand load the Barnes TTSX bullet; C) Buy a .308.

    With those options in mind:
    Does anyone have experience with the Powerhead Blade either in general or specifically the 120gr 6.5 Swede? What is the effect on game in terms of terminal ballistics and speed of kills? I don't plan on hunting long range. 250 - 300 metres would be my maximum, so the bullets do not need to be capable of quick kills at long range and low velocity;
    Is there anyone in the Wellington region that hand loads and wouldn't mind me coming and watching them load some ammo? I have Nathan Foster's book on hand loading, but I'm reluctant to get into that art before I can watch someone do it and can gauge whether or not it's something I might be capable of;

    Thanks in advance.
    Gibo, Mooseman, Moa Hunter and 2 others like this.

  2. #2
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    One positive of the .308 is the (relatively speaking) cheap surplus ammo if you want to send a lot of lead down range for fun. For me this is reason enough alone to have a .308.

    If you only fire your rifle 5 times a year while out hunting then I don't think it really matters what calibre, it's just 5 rounds.

    I don't reload though, perhaps if I did then I would have another opinion.
    Waldo Peens and CBH Australia like this.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by iambatman View Post
    Morena.

    Sorry if this is in the wrong section.

    I'm 6 months into what is now slated to be at least a 12 month process of getting a firearms license. This huge wait time has sucked me into a black hole of looking into various calibres and cartridges. The missus isn't too keen on feeding the kids little bits of lead, so I'm leaning towards bonded or monolithic bullets.

    I was initially keen to use the 120gr Barnes TTSX bullet in 6.5 Swede. While the Sako Powerhead II used that bullet, I couldn't find it stocked anywhere. I emailed Beretta NZ and was told that Sako are discontinuing that cartridge as they are having problems sourcing the projectiles. Once the worldwide stocks of Powerhead II are gone they will remove that line from their marketing. While a few outfitters have the same bullet in 6.5 Creedmoor, it seems silly to buy a rifle based on ammunition that will disappear soon.

    So, I have a few options once I am licensed: A) Buy a 6.5 Swede and use Sako's Powerhead Blade instead; B) Buy a 6.5 Swede and learn to hand load the Barnes TTSX bullet; C) Buy a .308.

    With those options in mind:
    Does anyone have experience with the Powerhead Blade either in general or specifically the 120gr 6.5 Swede? What is the effect on game in terms of terminal ballistics and speed of kills? I don't plan on hunting long range. 250 - 300 metres would be my maximum, so the bullets do not need to be capable of quick kills at long range and low velocity;
    Is there anyone in the Wellington region that hand loads and wouldn't mind me coming and watching them load some ammo? I have Nathan Foster's book on hand loading, but I'm reluctant to get into that art before I can watch someone do it and can gauge whether or not it's something I might be capable of;

    Thanks in advance.
    ....you're over thinking things.
    Get a 308, get some factory ammo, and go hunting.
    Reloading is a rabbit hole to go down later on....

  4. #4
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    For the time being, unless you don't mind burning money or you're a very clever shopper, do your best to steer clear of 6.5mm and potentially 7mm. Ie. 6.5 Creedmoor, 6.5 Swede, 7mm08 etc.
    The range of both factory ammunition and or components that are consistently available for these fairly small to non existent.

    However, if reloading is the direction your keen to explore, you have 12 months to gather components when/if they become available.

    For factory ammunition availability, the 308 is hard to go past. Components for reloading are generally more available (except for Powder).

    It is extremely capable of doing what you are asking, and capable of a lot more in the right hands.

  5. #5
    MB
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    Buy a .308

    (From a 7mm08 owner)

  6. #6
    Member mikee's Avatar
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    If you intend to shoot a little......buy a 308
    If you intend to shoot a lot .........buy a 308
    If you intend to reload ..................buy a 308
    Its not trendy or new but it plain works.

    Took me 36 years and buying / using / owning multiple other trendy calibres to work it out!

    However if you want a rifle you cant buy ammo or components for .......buy a 6.5 something

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nickoli View Post
    ....you're over thinking things.
    Get a 308, get some factory ammo, and go hunting.
    Reloading is a rabbit hole to go down later on....
    This... Deer won't know the difference, if / when you get bored with the 308 then try reloading. 308 has plenty of choices for projectiles, can use a couple of powders as well. Factory 308 is on the shelf in most shops around the countru

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikee View Post
    If you intend to shoot a little......buy a 308
    If you intend to shoot a lot .........buy a 308
    If you intend to reload ..................buy a 308
    Its not trendy or new but it plain works.
    never a wiser word uttered.....
    (and i dont own one ....but if i could only have one it would be 308)

  9. #9
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    dont be too worried about lead in your meat, the bruising is far greater spreading than the lead when you shoot something
    it will be all blood fucked for 4+ inches around the bullet hole so you will be cutting off tons of meat regardless that "could" have the lead spread to it
    basically anywhere the lead goes it causes damage and you trim all the damaged bits off

    running pure copper bullets like the barnes/peregrin ones you are talking about is very spendy, so very very spendy to practice with


    308s are great if they suit the area you hunt in.
    mikee, Micky Duck, Pixie Z and 3 others like this.

  10. #10
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    While I love the 6.5x55 swede as a calibre, I would still suggest the 308. Ammunition availability and variety is one reason, but it is a solid work horse calibre well place for any type of hunting in NZ.

    Dont worry about the "bits of lead" in your animal. Generally the bits of animal where the lead is , is badly bruised and beat up and most tend to leave that bloody, damaged stuff on the carcass. With a deer or even a goat, as long as you dont shoot it in the hips before you shoot it in the chest you will get most of the meat from the back end well away from where the bullet parts are.

    If hunting rabbits (and the are noce to eat) be selective when you pick the carcass up. If you got it in the head, take the whole carcass, if you got it in the chest, just take the back legs (drumsticks). These can be removed quickly and easily without having to gut the animal making it clean and the driums are most of the meat on a rabbit anyway...

    Duck shooting or shotgun shooting is where you will find bits of pellet everywhere, and they should be steel now....

    One "however" with calibre choice, look at the rifle as an overall picture when you get it. If a 270 /6.5x55/7mm08/ 30/06 is cheaper than the 308 by some margin, that difference can be put towards ammo. Generally if you go look at a new rifle then all the calibres will be much the same price. But 2nd hand it is more the rifle that is for sale and that rifle will be in whatever calibre it is in....Does that make sense?
    Moa Hunter, Micky Duck and Copelli like this.
    Intelligence has its limits, but it appears that Stupidity knows no bounds......

  11. #11
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    I'm going to lower the tone and suggest that while .308 is a far better deer calibre, for all round shoot-everything-cheaply a .223 is hard to beat. Belmont black etc do not cost much, my last purchase from them was $599/1000 (GST incl). Bullet placement is always key, and even a really big calibre will not stop something if you just nick it's tail. 223 is obviously not the best rifle to start deer hunting with, but .223 ammo can be obtained for less than $1/rd so is very economical particularly if you're gong after wallabies, goats etc.

  12. #12
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    Right now Belmont doesn't have any stock of Black 223 (list price now $800/1000), but neither do they have Black 308.
    Mind you they seldom have stock of other items of interest to me.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Waimata View Post
    I'm going to lower the tone and suggest that while .308 is a far better deer calibre, for all round shoot-everything-cheaply a .223 is hard to beat. Belmont black etc do not cost much, my last purchase from them was $599/1000 (GST incl). Bullet placement is always key, and even a really big calibre will not stop something if you just nick it's tail. 223 is obviously not the best rifle to start deer hunting with, but .223 ammo can be obtained for less than $1/rd so is very economical particularly if you're gong after wallabies, goats etc.
    This or a .243. I own neither and use a 22-250 instead. Uses 22 calibre bullets and shoots flat. A real good goat killer, I haven't shot a red with it yet but it will happen this year.
    dannyb likes this.

  14. #14
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    All good advice above.
    .308 makes sense, others still work.
    I will always have a .308 but I also like the others for various reasons.

    Nathan Foster has a .308 as his hack rifle.

    If you are capable of handling a firearm safely and can read and understand directions you are more than capable of learning to handload.
    Don't peer in the endless possibilities of equipment , a standard kit from a reputable supplier and the dies to suit you chosen chambering will get you started. You will make satisfactory hunting loads and be able to make loads for practice.

  15. #15
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    I can walk you through the reloading process, pretty busy over the next 5-6 weeks but should be able to arrange something for early March
    Micky Duck and CBH Australia like this.

 

 

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