Remington 700-PSS 200 yard target on the first day with Federal® Classic 150gr .308, scope set for 100 yards.
Whether the choice for hunting is with a rifle, a pistol, or a bow, two of the main needs are for dependability and accuracy.
On the first day of hunting season several years ago I drove a hunter up to the highway where he could wait for his ride home. His hunting season was ended due to a dust storm that blew in and thoroughly jammed his Remington® 30-06 (I believe that it was a model 7400). The hunter's rifle was so badly filled with dirt and sand that it would have taken hours to clean (I have an old Remington 552 .22 that is similarly designed, and yes, it takes a good eight hours to properly clean). I really like the 7400, but only in regions where there is little flying dirt. In my area (Texas panhandle) the near-constant wind and blowing dirt leaves us with fewer choices.
Several times a year I used to drag all of my firearms from the safes and perform 'scientific research' to determine which firearm might work best for my area (yes, it was more fun than research, but that was my excuse). For 200 yards and greater the Remington 700-PSS was always far superior to any other choice, but the 0-100 yard range was a strong competition between a Winchester® 94 Trapper, an old Chinese SKS that I had accurized, and a Ruger® P89 9mm pistol. Rapid-fire shooting in the standing, kneeling, sitting, and prone positions, the Trapper maintained a steady 3+- MOA, and while the SKS had a few advantages (semi-automatic and 1.5+- MOA in the prone) and the P89 was as accurate as a typical AK-47 up to 100 yards (6+- MOA), I determined that the Trapper was the best rifle for my short range needs.
Choosing the right firearm for the right terrain enables us to then focus on accuracy and bullet energy. The 3030 caliber is not much powerful, but still sufficient for well placed shots within 100-150 yards. Me personally, I like the 30-06 a lot, but I still choose .308 because of it most commonly being more accurate and having good energy to 400 yards and beyond. With sufficient accuracy most any caliber is useful.
Remington 700-PSS (old pre-2000 graphic).
It has been my experience that the Federal Classic ammunition is usually about as accurate as Gold Medal four out of five shots (a flyer almost always ruins an otherwise excellent group). For poking holes in paper or any other super-serious need I always choose Gold Medal, but for hunting I would not feel disadvantaged with Classic. Between a good bolt action like the Remington 700-PSS and good ammo like Federal, I have confidence that the equipment will serve me well in all types of weather and terrain.
Hunting with a pistol is far more reasonable than many people might think. A Ruger MKIII stainless slab-side .22 pistol with a Leupold® scope was so darn accurate for me that I was a bit disappointed: it was actually too easy to shoot sub MOA groups, no challenge at all. A good pistol, preferably a .44mag or similar, can be as accurate and powerful as some rifles within 100 yards. My skill with a bow is not much good, but I have tossed enough arrows to know that sizable experience and talent is needed to be a successful bow hunter.
Choose the right firearm for the right terrain, choose the ammunition that has the best accuracy for the firearm, and after a lot of 'scientific research' at the rifle range a hunter should be ready for an enjoyable hunt, even if the hunt is an excuse for taking naps in the hunting blind and talking tall stories with other hunters.
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