Monday, December 22, 2008

I have recently taken an interest in comparing different rifle loads with some thought toward identifying an ideal deer rifle. I have a .223 rifle for my children to use deer hunting that started this blog series. I ended up using it this past season to kill a young buck that was pictured in the previous post. However, it appears that there are a couple different cartridges that I did not consider. A list of possible cartridges that I might have considered are the 6.8mm Remington SPC, 30 carbine, 45 colt, 7.62 x 39 soviet, and the .357 magnum.

The relatively new 6.8mm Rem SPC (.277") has about 11% less recoil than the .243 that my son had rejected. When loaded with a 130 grain bullet it has a sectional density of .242 that will positively punch a nice size hole all the way through a deer.

The old 30-30 winchester and the 7.62x39 soviet have the same recoil as the 6.8 Rem SPC and are well respected woods deer cartridges. The bullet diamater of .308 and about that for the 7.62. This will put a bigger hole in the deer at the cost of a little less velocity when compared to the 6.8.

The 45 colt is a revolver round and again has the same recoil as the 30-30, 6.8, and 7.62x39. Unfortunately it's velocity is so low that for the same recoil the 30-30 and 6.8 are ranked as the better deer rounds. The 45 has only about 57% the effectiveness of the others according to the Optimum Game Weight (OGW) formula.

Of those the .357 magnum seems to have been a missed gem that I might have gone for. Normally this is a revolver cartridge. But when fired through a rifle it achieves a higher velocity but one that is still very moderate compared to regular rifle velocities for low recoil. It's recoil is the same as a .223 which is 66% of a .243. At it's max loading a 180 grain bullet will exit a rifle at 1,550 fps. At 100 yards it has a speed remaining of 1,280 fps. At this speed it has about the same performance as the .223.

As I was doing a little more research on the .357 I came across the following article that gives some additional thoughts.
It appears that cor-bon makes some higher powered loads that can up the normal max velocity for a .357 used with a carbine rifle. Also, Jeff Quinn mentions that youth can also practice with more mild and less expensive .38 special ammunition that fit the same rifle. Plus Jeff recommends what looks like a very nice Winchester lever action rifle.

So I think that I might have gone for a .357 carbine if I was making the same choice now


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I got a nice 3 point buck this past weekend using this .223 rifle that I am shown holding. I really like the low recoil and light weight. However, I am going to change the bullet type. I used a Nosler Partition that appeared to have too much penetration. From a 50 foot distance the bullet went in with a small hole, broke both front legs at the shoulder, plus hit the bottom part of one lung and exited with a tiny 1/4" hole. There was no blood trail so I was very very fortunate that the deer couldn't go far. I am currently leaning toward a less expensive 64 grain soft point that I hope will open up more.
One disadvantage of the Handi Rifle is that you really can't change barrels without affecting the aim point. Certainly you can, but the aim point of the rifle is changed a little depending upon how much you tighten the forearm screw. I think that when I tested this the aim point seemed to move 2" at 50 yards. I need to try it again to be sure of the amount of difference. So you would need to recheck this each time you switched.

Friday, June 02, 2006

I have been working on selecting a deer hunting rifle for my children to be their first gun. I have four children ages 1 to 11 and am anticipating using this gun with them during their younger years of 9-15 years old. Since that period will last abou the next 16 years for me I wanted to do a good job picking out the best cartridge and rifle. To guide the selection I have used the following requirements.

1) The gun must be light. I had my 9 year old heavy set son evaluate my Ruger 10/22 rifle weight. It weighs 5 1/2 pounds. He felt like it was at around the maximum weight he could work with.
2) The cartridge must be legal for deer hunting in Kentucky and effective.
3) The recoil must be low enough that the children are not afraid to shoot the gun. If they refuse to shoot that would defeat the purpose of buying it.
4) Would prefer an inexpensive gun. (I'm cheap.)
5) The gun should have a shorter pull dimension from the trigger to end of stock for a youth. (I had to set a scope back on my Ruger 10/22 partly off the rail to get it far enough back for my son to be able to look through it since it is an adult size .22 rifle.)

Cartridges evaluated
After doing reading several books and doing an internet search of relevant articles the most likely cartridges for women and youth seemed to be either the .223 or .243. For range and effectiveness on deer the .243 was better. A friend and I with our sons went shooting on Memorial day and we borrowed a .243 to try out. My son took one shot and didn't want to shoot it again due to the recoil. So that settled me on the .223. The .223 should be effective on deer out to 130 yards where it drops below the minimum 900 lb recommended terminal energy for white tail deer hunting.

Rifle selected
I have selected a "Superlight Handi-Rifle Youth" by New England Firearms (H&R 1871, LLC)."
The part number is SB2-SY3. It cost $217.92 special ordered from the Walmart sporting goods department and it has the following features.

-5 1/3 pounds, typical weight is around 7 pounds
-11 3/4" length of pull as compared to 13-14 1/4" for adult size rifles
-Single shot
-$217.92 cost, cost for a bolt action is around $350+
-tapped for scope mount
-Also I can send the action back to the factory in the future and get a 20 ga shotgun or slug barrell that I can swap out for $40-$90 later when they can handle that much higher recoil.

I have not received it yet but when it comes in I will post a picture and the results.