Hunting caliber

BenjaminMartin6.5

Sergeant of the Hide
Belligerents
Minuteman
May 5, 2018
103
20
22
Time for new barrel, was 6.5x47L.
Is this a good medium size critter killer or is there a better cal?
 

kthomas

Sergeant
Belligerents
Jun 17, 2009
2,353
2,255
219
32
Tucson, AZ
When I shot a deer in Texas, it was with a .220 swift. Deers are generally small animals, you don't need a whole lot of horse power to take one down. Hogs are very commonly shot with a .223.

A 6.5x47 would be more then acceptable, in my opinion. There's plenty of others on this board that have a lot more hunting experience then I do, and I'm sure they'll chime in. This can be a fairly subjective topic when you throw the word "best" around.

Myself, I'm debating about making myself a deer rifle in .22cm.
 

Rancid Coolaid

Gunny Sergeant
Belligerents
Aug 10, 2007
1,234
150
169
Houston, TX.
Hunting in Texas is rather vague, it could mean over fields or feeders with several hundred yard shots and clean lines of sight, and it can mean very, very thick scrub where an animal that runs 50 yards might never be found.

I occasionally hunt the former and usually run a 243AI or 6.5CM - and am more than happy with both. In hunting, it is shot placement.

On the latter, the very thick stuff where everything has a thorn or biting intentions, I over-gun. My choice in that environment - which is the overwhelming majority of hunting I do - is a 300WM tipped with Barnes TSX or TTSX. When I want to anchor animals, I run large, fast bullets that hit very hard. And placement still matters.

A few years ago I hunted in South Africa and everything shot fell to a well placed round of 190-gr TTSX from a 700 mil spec 300WM. Sure, a few animals were almost cut in half by it, and it actually did gut a klipspringer, but nothing ran from it. And in Africa, you write the check when you pull the trigger, so a lost animal is a real ball buster.

Hogs are a different story altogether, if you wound it, he'll start hunting you. And they are dangerous. Smaller caliber is fine, but the round better hit brain or spine or they will surprise you by their will to live and their tenacity at making you pay for shooting them.

A 6.5x47 is a good choice, with a purpose-made hunting round. It carries energy very well to most ethical hunting ranges, and the selection of bullets is great.

On the 22CM, it is devastating on medium-size game if the round is well placed. If you are off by a little, you don't get much forgivingness - and that is what I like about the 300WM: a bit more room for error on my part or Mr. Murthy's.

Last, there is often a perfect setup for one set of circumstances that is very deficient at another. Set the gun up for what shot you will definitely take, rather than setting it up for the shot you might one day take. I cannot count how many hunters I've seen that take 100 yard shots with what they consider 1000 yard guns.
 
  • Like
Reactions: kthomas

BenjaminMartin6.5

Sergeant of the Hide
Belligerents
Minuteman
May 5, 2018
103
20
22
Hunting in Texas is rather vague, it could mean over fields or feeders with several hundred yard shots and clean lines of sight, and it can mean very, very thick scrub where an animal that runs 50 yards might never be found.

I occasionally hunt the former and usually run a 243AI or 6.5CM - and am more than happy with both. In hunting, it is shot placement.

On the latter, the very thick stuff where everything has a thorn or biting intentions, I over-gun. My choice in that environment - which is the overwhelming majority of hunting I do - is a 300WM tipped with Barnes TSX or TTSX. When I want to anchor animals, I run large, fast bullets that hit very hard. And placement still matters.

A few years ago I hunted in South Africa and everything shot fell to a well placed round of 190-gr TTSX from a 700 mil spec 300WM. Sure, a few animals were almost cut in half by it, and it actually did gut a klipspringer, but nothing ran from it. And in Africa, you write the check when you pull the trigger, so a lost animal is a real ball buster.

Hogs are a different story altogether, if you wound it, he'll start hunting you. And they are dangerous. Smaller caliber is fine, but the round better hit brain or spine or they will surprise you by their will to live and their tenacity at making you pay for shooting them.

A 6.5x47 is a good choice, with a purpose-made hunting round. It carries energy very well to most ethical hunting ranges, and the selection of bullets is great.

On the 22CM, it is devastating on medium-size game if the round is well placed. If you are off by a little, you don't get much forgivingness - and that is what I like about the 300WM: a bit more room for error on my part or Mr. Murthy's.

Last, there is often a perfect setup for one set of circumstances that is very deficient at another. Set the gun up for what shot you will definitely take, rather than setting it up for the shot you might one day take. I cannot count how many hunters I've seen that take 100 yard shots with what they consider 1000 yard guns.
 

BenjaminMartin6.5

Sergeant of the Hide
Belligerents
Minuteman
May 5, 2018
103
20
22
Thanks for that! I think I will stay with the 6.5x47 since I have good data on it. Thanks guys.
 

txguero

Private
Minuteman
Sep 28, 2019
44
29
24
More than enough for hunting anything in Texas within a few hundred yards. I think the toughness of hogs is over hyped at times. Even a 223 with proper bullets will down a pig with ease.
 

BullGear

Private
Belligerents
Nov 29, 2017
603
1,620
99
I personally think the 270 win is the best all around caliber for hunting. Others may not think so, but I can hunt more with this caliber than any other.

YMMV
 

Rancid Coolaid

Gunny Sergeant
Belligerents
Aug 10, 2007
1,234
150
169
Houston, TX.
More than enough for hunting anything in Texas within a few hundred yards. I think the toughness of hogs is over hyped at times. Even a 223 with proper bullets will down a pig with ease.
Having hunted several of the > 300 pound category, I can say with some confidence that "too dead" is far, far better than "not dead enough."
 

spife7980

Luchador
Belligerents
Feb 10, 2017
7,211
4,856
219
Central TX
Having hunted several of the > 300 pound category, I can say with some confidence that "too dead" is far, far better than "not dead enough."
This. The 223/300bo and 6/6.5mms are all fine and capable of killing something dead but its hard to argue against a chambering that just plain does damage better like a 3006 as being a more commanding choice.
I have plenty of thermal video of putting hogs down with less powerful options but I also have video of critters shaking it off more frequently with 2 or 3 holes punched in them. I have yet to have an animal walk away from my 3006. The small stuff doesnt leave fisted sized holes and missing heads.

Edit: these two pigs were 30 minutes apart for as close to a straight up comparison as I could get to see how I liked the 6xc for hunting

6xc with 103 at 2880, tiny little blip of blood pinky finger sized exit on what was admittedly quartering slightly more than the pig below but still...
5F3B9A09-3DAC-4F11-8B8D-EA2CF9B2650D.jpeg

3006 with 150 at 2990, kung pow hole through it’s chest (one of the less gruesome pics to share)
FD988654-6488-4562-AD61-88CE4A392079.jpeg


The 6xc gets it done. The 6.5x47 will get it done. It wont do it as well as something larger though.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: EternusVigilantia

wade2big

Knowing just enough to be dangerous
Belligerents
Sep 16, 2017
2,809
2,427
119
TEXAS
This. The 223/300bo and 6/6.5mms are all fine and capable of killing something dead but its hard to argue against a chambering that just plain does damage better like a 3006 as being a more commanding choice.
I have plenty of thermal video of putting hogs down with less powerful options but I also have video of critters shaking it off more frequently with 2 or 3 holes punched in them. I have yet to have an animal walk away from my 3006. The small stuff doesnt leave fisted sized holes and missing heads.

Edit: these two pigs were 30 minutes apart for as close to a straight up comparison as I could get to see how I liked the 6xc for hunting

6xc with 103 at 2880, tiny little blip of blood pinky finger sized exit on what was admittedly quartering slightly more than the pig below but still...
View attachment 7230862

3006 with 150 at 2990, kung pow hole through it’s chest (one of the less gruesome pics to share)
View attachment 7230863


The 6xc gets it done. The 6.5x47 will get it done. It wont do it as well as something larger though.
The bullet can also make the difference as far as the exit holes go. I like using soft point ammunition when I hunt. The exit wounds are usually about a 50 cent piece in size with my 270 or my sons 6.5 creedmoor. This is what I like to see. I could shoot a match bullet or ballistic tip of some kind and punch fist size holes. I just don’t like to do it.

I killed a couple hogs with my 6.5 creedmoor and 147gr eldm at 2650fps this weekend. I made a neck shot at 230 yards and it blew it apart worse than your picture which I don’t like. I killed several deer last year with them as well. Anything 250 and in they seem to come apart. At 365 they put a nice 50 cent piece hole just like the soft points will do at any range.
 

Rancid Coolaid

Gunny Sergeant
Belligerents
Aug 10, 2007
1,234
150
169
Houston, TX.
No can do, great caliber, great bullet selection, great hunting option. Buy with confidence. Don’t hunt with Sierra matchkings.
If you do go 308, you are most of the way to 300WM, and I would just go 300WM. But that’s me: better reach, hits harder, kills animals dead-er.
 
  • Like
Reactions: kthomas

BenjaminMartin6.5

Sergeant of the Hide
Belligerents
Minuteman
May 5, 2018
103
20
22
No can do, great caliber, great bullet selection, great hunting option. Buy with confidence. Don’t hunt with Sierra matchkings.
If you do go 308, you are most of the way to 300WM, and I would just go 300WM. But that’s me: better reach, hits harder, kills animals dead-er.
thanks
 

SD carpenter

Gunny Sergeant
Belligerents
Minuteman
Apr 28, 2019
529
454
69
San Diego
How much do you shoot? If it's strictly hunting then it doesn't matter, but you like to practice with your rifle then the 6.5 you could shoot all day long and not feel anything
 

BenjaminMartin6.5

Sergeant of the Hide
Belligerents
Minuteman
May 5, 2018
103
20
22
How much do you shoot? If it's strictly hunting then it doesn't matter, but you like to practice with your rifle then the 6.5 you could shoot all day long and not feel anything
i shoot a bit and started shouting 6x47 for comp but just wanted to rebarrel this on with lighter barrel to hunt with long range reach.
 

Rancid Coolaid

Gunny Sergeant
Belligerents
Aug 10, 2007
1,234
150
169
Houston, TX.
I forgot this started as a rebarrel, disregard the 300WM recommendation.

In Texas, on a trophy deer, I like 308 a bit more than the 6 and 6.5mm, but that is pure personal preference. For me, the real value of the 6 and 6.5s is their range, and in hunting situations, that is almost never the limiting factor.
Keep in mind that really high KE doesn't mean much if most of it squirts out the back of the animal and continues down range.

If it is a range gun and you want 1000+ yard shots, 308 is definitely not your best bet. But inside 600 yards, with a well placed shot, it is the gun I would grab if the 300WM was not an option.

If you want something in between, 7mm-08 is another great option, lots of great bullets, and more mass than the 6s and a bit more velocity than the 308, all things being equal. For a mixed hunter/plinker/range gun, 7mm-08 has LOTS to offer.

Just to complicate the decision a bit more for ya.
 

rob.sfo

Online Training Member
Online Training Access
Minuteman
May 6, 2018
83
80
24
Contra Costa County, CA
I went 308 on my 16" hunting setup. I think it's the best all-around hunting setup, barrel will last forever, plenty of quality ammo to choose from, and if you go short, it's a super handy package to drag through the woods (especially since mine's an SRS Covert).

If you want something that's also good for long-range target, PRS, etc, then I'd do something else, but for general North American game, it's spot on.
 

BenjaminMartin6.5

Sergeant of the Hide
Belligerents
Minuteman
May 5, 2018
103
20
22
I went 308 on my 16" hunting setup. I think it's the best all-around hunting setup, barrel will last forever, plenty of quality ammo to choose from, and if you go short, it's a super handy package to drag through the woods (especially since mine's an SRS Covert).

If you want something that's also good for long-range target, PRS, etc, then I'd do something else, but for general North American game, it's spot on.
Thanks. I’m still going back and forth. Leaning more to 308, because I don’t plan on shooting at any animal past 500yds.
 

stello1001

Professional Newb
Belligerents
Feb 20, 2017
2,011
983
219
Corpus Christi TX
I have hunted in Texas and northern Mexico all my life whether that would be large open fields or very thick and thorny brush. Pick any SA non magnum caliber from 223 to 308. Shot placement and bullet construction are what matter most (assuming you are not shooting outside of the cartridge's potential range of energy for harvesting an animal). I have shot and killed them with. 270 but nowadays I find it pointless to use a LA cartridge with a bunch of recoil when something like a 6CM will kill them just as dead.

I now primarily use a 6.5CM launching a 140 class bullet @2720 and plan to use a .223 at one point in the coming hunting seasons. I may even rebarrel my 6.5CM to 22CM just because.
 
  • Like
Reactions: hlee and txguero

hlee

Sergeant
Belligerents
Jul 14, 2012
2,844
2,429
219
41
TX
I hunt Texas and have taken deer with a 223rem, 30-30 win, 270 win, 6.5 Grendel, 50cal muzzle loader, and bow. 30-06, 300 win mag, 280 win, and 7mm Rem mag are also popular. Anything between a ~ 40 lb bow and 50 bmg will do the trick, given appropriate range and good shot placement. Pigs too.
 

BenjaminMartin6.5

Sergeant of the Hide
Belligerents
Minuteman
May 5, 2018
103
20
22
I have hunted in Texas and northern Mexico all my life whether that would be large open fields or very thick and thorny brush. Pick any SA non magnum caliber from 223 to 308. Shot placement and bullet construction are what matter most (assuming you are not shooting outside of the cartridge's potential range of energy for harvesting an animal). I have shot and killed them with. 270 but nowadays I find it pointless to use a LA cartridge with a bunch of recoil when something like a 6CM will kill them just as dead.

I now primarily use a 6.5CM launching a 140 class bullet @2720 and plan to use a .223 at one point in the coming hunting seasons. I may even rebarrel my 6.5CM to 22CM just because.
Thanks I think I’m going stay with my tried and true 6.5x47 with 140 eldm or 143 eldx.
 

BenjaminMartin6.5

Sergeant of the Hide
Belligerents
Minuteman
May 5, 2018
103
20
22
I hunt Texas and have taken deer with a 223rem, 30-30 win, 270 win, 6.5 Grendel, 50cal muzzle loader, and bow. 30-06, 300 win mag, 280 win, and 7mm Rem mag are also popular. Anything between a ~ 40 lb bow and 50 bmg will do the trick, given appropriate range and good shot placement. Pigs too.
Thanks, you’re right shot placement is everything. Always aim small miss small!
 

BenjaminMartin6.5

Sergeant of the Hide
Belligerents
Minuteman
May 5, 2018
103
20
22
That's going to be a solid killing machine. I launch 140ELDM at 2720FPS and took a buck this season. Sucker only went about 30 yards before it tumbled to its death.
Good to know! A friend of mine always calls the 6.5x47 “That’s a hard hitting Son of a Buck! Haha I’ll keep it going and hope I can come back with a good hunting tale! Thanks guys!
 
  • Like
Reactions: stello1001

Snipe260

Private
Belligerents
Feb 11, 2017
2,841
3,420
219
I’ve killed deer with 7mm 08, 7 mag, 6.5x284, 6.5x47, 260 rem, 300 wsm, 300 Weatherby mag, 7mm Weatherby, 300 win mag, and 338 lapua, and 300 Norma mag! They all died the same way!
 

Chemguy

Sergeant
Belligerents
Aug 13, 2012
119
4
22
Texas Hill Country
I live in the Texas Hill Country. Took my seven year old hunting for Axis deer for the first time today actually. She has a 6mm creedmoor. My hunting partner hunts with a .22-250 swift.

Make it a 6mm Creedmoor or .243. Or stick with what you have. You don’t need a lot of gun for Texas hunting.

I’m not sure like the 6.5 143 eldx bullet. I shot two deer this year with it: one with a 6.5CM and the other with a 6.5 PRC. Shoulder shots on both and failed to anchor either one on the spot. The one with the 6.5CM shot ran 60 yards into the sage - that shit is thick and it was still warm enough for rattlesnakes. No bueno. I’m going to try it a few more times - but I’m not 100% sold on it yet.
 
Last edited:

Matches Malone

Jihad Joe
Belligerents
Mar 6, 2017
317
136
49
Your moms bed
It doesn’t take much to kill deer in mid and eastern states.

Come out west and a ridge to ridge shot might be the only one you have. Around 500 to 800y is pretty average in my experience.
You want a good bullet, some velocity, energy and section density.
In the archery season it’s a little easier. Most of the bucks are hearded up in bachelors while still in velvet, and are out of the thick stuff sometimes.