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Which Rifle To Give A Young Deer Hunter

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I have a new 7MM08, and a new 308 rifle, with a Weaver 2 to 9x40 scope, I purchased back in November. I want to give one of them to my 12 year old grandson, this fall, vie his dad. Which caliber would be the best deer hunting rifle for my deer hunting grandson? I know I will get differing opinions so just tell me why you made your choice between the two calibers. I know the 308, but not so with the 7MM 08. From the research I have done, the 08 is somewhat comparable to the 6.5 Creedmoor or 260 Remington.  

I would appreciate your opinions. 

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Either caliber will do for anything he's likely to run into, the 7-08 will just do it with a bit less recoil in full-power loads. It will shoot a bit flatter than .308 and (while not as ubiquitous as .308) does have whitetail-appropriate commercial low-recoil loads available.

That said, there are many more commercial loads available for .308 as well options for relatively inexpensive plinking/ practice rounds. Among those options are multiple low-recoil rounds which will still do for deer out to about 100 yards or so.

If his dad or hunting party already have one of those two calibers, give him that gun. I'm a proponent of interchangeability.

Edited by TomInMN
Additional thought.

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Very little difference between the two in real world applications. Same case; one bullet measures .308 diameter while the other measures .284.

Let him choose.

Edited by gregintenn
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I agree with Greg.  Why not have him out and let him shoot both?   See which he shoots better with - and start with that confidence. 

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1 hour ago, pop pop said:

I would appreciate your opinions. 

They are the same when it comes to killing deer. So it comes down to the round itself. For that reason I would go with the .308. It is one out the most popular hunting round in this country, used by our military, available everywhere, plentifully, and cheap surplus ammo is available. Plus its my favorite rifle round (the most important part); there is nothing better for all-around use.

The 7mm-08 is a designer spin off of the .308. There won’t be any cheap surplus ammo for range day. It will be expensive and not readily available. Those aren’t good things for a young man.

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Being the same grandson that wanted the 6.5 Creedmore (I assume), I am guessing if you asked him, he would go with the 7mm-08.  Why?  It is different.  Everyone has heard of 308, but if gets to talking with his buddies he will be proud that he has something different. 

I would let him choose as well.  He may do some research and decide.  I think that alone is worth it.  If he's interested enough to research it, and you don't care, let him decide.  7mm-08 will be around forever too.  It's too well established.

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Is he well on his way to being 6’4/245?  If so, give him the .308.  If he is smallish or looks like he’s gonna be, maybe give him the 7.  Not that a .308 kicks that much, but there will be some difference between a 120/130/140 grain 7-08 and a 150/165/168 grain .308 (typical hunting bullet weights).  I shot a 6.5 CM and a .308 back to back this weekend and was surprised at the difference in recoil ( both ~9 pound rifles).  

7-08 ammo will be less common, but Midway stocks 31 different kinds.  It’s not too hard to find.  

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Thanks for the replies guys. This is not the same grandson that wanted the 6.5 Creedmoor, but my youngest grandson who lives in S Carolina. I have decided to give him the 308 because of what Dave posted. It will be easier, and cheaper, to find ammo for it. This grandson has no idea he is getting this rifle. He is 11 now and I will take his dad to a FFL in Charleston and transfer the rifle to dad with the stipulation Parker gets it when he is old enough.  I also have previously given him a Rem 1911A1 45 and I will also take it to him on this trip.

I gave him my scoped Marlin Mdl 336 30 30 a couple years ago and he hunts with it now. Has not killed anything yet, but enjoys the hunts with his friend and dad.   

As soon as it warms a little I will get the 308 out and sight in the scope before we take it to him in Mt Pleasant SC on our next trip. Will also sight in the 7MM 08 and make sure they are both in good condition, then make the trip. 

I have another grandson, the one who wanted the Creedmoor, that I will give the 08 too when I am through with it. I will say my collection is thinning as I have decided to give the rifles and pistols to family before I pass. I gave this grandson's dad a new Sig mdl 250, 45 caliber pistol last week. 

Thanks again for the advice. 

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Thinning the herd by giving them to grandchildren who will use them has to be satisfying.  I hope to be able to do the same thing someday. 

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