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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am building a 6.8 upper for western deer hunting (300-400 yards shots possible). I have a 9" suppressor that I plan on using at times so I am thinking a 16" barrel would be ideal with the suppressor, but I want enough energy to reach 400 yards for mule deer. So, would I be better suited with a 20" barrel to squeeze a little more velocity out of the 6.8 or will a 16" barrel still get the job done.
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RidgeRebel
 

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I am building a 6.8 upper for western deer hunting (300-400 yards shots possible). I have a 9" suppressor that I plan on using at times so I am thinking a 16" barrel would be ideal with the suppressor, but I want enough energy to reach 400 yards for mule deer. So, would I be better suited with a 20" barrel to squeeze a little more velocity out of the 6.8 or will a 16" barrel still get the job done.
Thanks
RidgeRebel
400 yards with a 16" barrel and 120 SST's is extremely optimistic. In fact, 400 yards with a 6.8 and western Mule Deer is too optimistic period. I hunted Mule Deer in Oregon with my 6.8 and 120 SST's but I would not have taken a shot over 300. Fact is, I passed on a shot at 400. If you're going to hunt Mulies in an area where 400 yard shots are a strong possibility I suggest a more appropriate caliber that's better suited to making a reliable and clean kill at those ranges. IMHO, though I love my 6.8, it has it's limitations at longer ranges which are made even worse with a shorter barrel.
 

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Ask H what it'll do from an ARP rig. He took a CO elk (neck shot) at what?... 375 yrds?
 

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Ask H what it'll do from an ARP rig. He took a CO elk (neck shot) at what?... 375 yrds?
That's nice but, is it the right thing to do, by routine, by the majority of shooters. The legitimat answer is a resounding NO. Personally I have more respect for the animals I hunt. I don't stretch the capabilities of my hunting shots just to see if I can. H is an excellent shooter with a lot of experience but I am too. I wouldn't have but he did. His skill enabled him to make a good shot but even he will say the conditions were perfect for the kill. 75% of hunters don't have a clue about those things and need to abide by reasonable limits. For Elk, I don't even use bullets that light in my 300 mag. But, I like them to be DRT. Western big game hunting is generally a steep, remote, difficult affair. Not one you want an animal to run to the bottom of a canyon or mountain in because you didn't shoot a DRT rifle and had to track them for a mile because you didn't make that perfect shot under perfect conditions.

It's a little tiring to hear the H and Elk story every time this discussion comes up. He did good and did what most simply can not do. Some might say he just got lucky the animal was hit perfectly but for him it probably wasn't luck. For most others it would be pure luck. I don't rely on luck when I decide to shoot an animal. I rely on my skill level, that I have enough weapon and that the shot is fully within it's legitimate capabilities. Maybe isn't in that equation.
 

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I also recall reading here from other members:

A fella in the Canadian Arctic, using a Ruger 6.8 Ranch Rifle and friggin' REMINGTON factory ammo took a brown bear.
Arteacher (I think is how he spells it) took a black bear with his 6.8 and (if my rememberer is working correctly) 110 TSX loads.
Buddy (as I recall) has taken a couple of elk with his 6.8 (100 Accubonds I recall).
How many BIG hogs (250-300 lbs) have been dropped with the 6.8? Tough animals.

A competent hunter doesn't NEED a big magnum to kill game. When I was living in the Arctic of Alaska, my lowly .22-250 was my go-to gun for caribou. I killed dozens of 'em with it. Up there, you'd be surprised at how many hunt moose with a .223 (and, fill the freezer). I know how surprised I was at folks doing that, but, it worked for them. Personally, I was much more comfy taking my two Alaskan moose with my .30-06 with 220 grain bullets.

My gun choice has more to do with what I MAY come up against in the woods, not JUST what I'm looking to find. Where I am, small black bears and cougars live where elk/deer are. I'm comfortable with my lowly 6.8 with them... an Alaskan Brown Bear? Not so much. I prefer my Marlin Guide Gun .45-70 and 425+ grain locomotive loads. LOL
 

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You can kill anything with anything that goes bang. That's a fact. Another fact is that 22-250 is a far more capable round at 400-600 yards than any 6.8 will ever be. I certainly hope that person who shot that Brown Bear had someone backing him up or was carrying a very big handgun as a backup. Otherwise, "stupid is as stupid does."

Elk at 400 yards with a 100gr Accubond? Or was that at realistic ranges. Hogs at 400 yards? Or was that at typical hog hunting ranges. No you don't need a magnum but you need something capable enough for that typical hunter that typically only puts a few rounds downrange a year and udually guesses at where to aim when the game is at ranges over 200-300 yards. A 6.8 starts becoming a rainbow gun at 400 yards and velocity begins to get very marginal for anything more than medium sized game. I'm sure you can read about those people who have killed Elk with a .22 Long Rifle too but......really?
 

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These discussions generally go nowhere so, my answer to the OP is simply get a bigger gun if you intend or possibly could be shooting at big western Mule Deer at 400 yards. AR10 in 308 or 260 Rem or 6.5 Creedmore would be good choices.
 

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Western hunting is all about spot and stalk, just get closer, I bowhunt out west and getting within 300 yards is easy, try 50 yards!

Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk
 

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Dad used to tell me about his father hunting bears (Arctic of Alaska) with his rolling block, single shot .22 and always told Dad "Shoot 'em in the ear." My reply to Dad was... "Grandpa was nuts."

A shoulder cannon isn't an end all, in and of itself. A close friend of mine had an inland grizzly charging him. His first round from his .338 win mag took a fore-leg off at the shoulder. The bear barely missed a stride and required a few more to stop him.

I watched a close friend (taking a caribou) blow a leg clean off an animal with his .300 win mag.

My point? Some handle recoil rather well. Some, not so much. If one does better with a lower recoil caliber, are they right to "by default" use a caliber more suitable to another's capabilities/opinion?

Yes, you're right... these conversations generally do not go anywhere... yet, each side of the opinion remains feeling justified in expressing their opinion. Kinda what makes this troubled Country... still great.
 

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Dad used to tell me about his father hunting bears (Arctic of Alaska) with his rolling block, single shot .22 and always told Dad "Shoot 'em in the ear." My reply to Dad was... "Grandpa was nuts."

A shoulder cannon isn't an end all, in and of itself. A close friend of mine had an inland grizzly charging him. His first round from his .338 win mag took a fore-leg off at the shoulder. The bear barely missed a stride and required a few more to stop him.

I watched a close friend (taking a caribou) blow a leg clean off an animal with his .300 win mag.

My point? Some handle recoil rather well. Some, not so much. If one does better with a lower recoil caliber, are they right to "by default" use a caliber more suitable to another's capabilities/opinion?

Yes, you're right... these conversations generally do not go anywhere... yet, each side of the opinion remains feeling justified in expressing their opinion. Kinda what makes this troubled Country... still great.
Very good post Ratdog. I started using the 6.8 because I couldn't handle the recoil of larger cartridges after neck fusion surgery. The 6.8 put me back in the deer stand.

After I started reloading the 6.8, I learned it's a very capable round. Much more capable than the size of the cartridge suggests. My suggestion to the OP is: use whatever caliber you are comfortable with at the range you are comfortable at.

My limitation is around 300 yards because I don't have anywhere near me to practice longer shots. Here in the south, we rarely have a shot on game longer than 200 yards. My longest shot on a deer was a measured 278 yards, and my 6.8 made him DRT.
 

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A 6.8 would not be my first choice for dangerous game, nor any smart person's choice, unless the hunting area allowed a 20 round mag. I would leave it home. I also knew someone that hunted hogs with a really big knife. At least before he ended up getting a leg so badly maimed he now only walks with a cane and no longer hunts.
 

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Western hunting is all about spot and stalk, just get closer, I bowhunt out west and getting within 300 yards is easy, try 50 yards!

Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk
Very true. If you need to shoot at deer at 300 yards you need to develop better hunting skills. All the deer I've killed with a bow have been at 20 yards or less. Elk at 35 yards. The longest shot with a rifle in Idaho was at 250 after 3 hours of stalking and no available cover left to get closer. Good glass and hunting skill are more important in Western hunting than having a rifle that will kill at 4-500 yards. If you think, as an average hunter, you can accurately kill at those ranges, you are watching too many of those stupid "Long Range Hunter" shows on cable that are produced to sell custom rifles, not kill game humanely.
 

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It was a hot loaded 110 accubond out of a 20" 32.5gr h335 iirc.
400 is a stretch imo. If I hadn't been shooting lizards off the cliff face at 460 and the elk had not presented himself for a perfect shot I wouldn't have taken the shot. Plenty of people could make the same shot but some would rush it. It's all about knowing your limitations and knowing when not to take the shot.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Wow,
I didn't mean to start a philosophical argument here. Before you go branding me an unethical hunter, let me explain that I have lived and hunted out west my whole life. I have killed elk, antelope, and deer with archery equipment(one elk at less than 10 yards). I am not a "long range hunter" either, my point was to have a set up that gets the best bang for my buck if you will. So, let me rephrase is a 20" barrel worth the extra length in terms of velocity.
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Wow,
I didn't mean to start a philosophical argument here. Before you go branding me an unethical hunter, let me explain that I have lived and hunted out west my whole life. I have killed elk, antelope, and deer with archery equipment(one elk at less than 10 yards). I am not a "long range hunter" either, my point was to have a set up that gets the best bang for my buck if you will. So, let me rephrase is a 20" barrel worth the extra length in terms of velocity.
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No worries... it's a common discussion when the topic arises. You'll gain about 50 fps with the extra two inches of barrel. And, some loads may not function well (90 grain) in the rifle gassed 20" barrel. I'd probably opt for the 18" and pick my shot wisely and call it a day.
 

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Wow,
I didn't mean to start a philosophical argument here. Before you go branding me an unethical hunter, let me explain that I have lived and hunted out west my whole life. I have killed elk, antelope, and deer with archery equipment(one elk at less than 10 yards). I am not a "long range hunter" either, my point was to have a set up that gets the best bang for my buck if you will. So, let me rephrase is a 20" barrel worth the extra length in terms of velocity.
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IMO, if you aint trompsting around in thick underbrush and thick woods, then I would take the 20". I have both thick woods and thick underbrush and I wish I went with a 12.5 or 16 inch barrel instead of a 18".
 

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Wow,
I didn't mean to start a philosophical argument here. Before you go branding me an unethical hunter, let me explain that I have lived and hunted out west my whole life. I have killed elk, antelope, and deer with archery equipment(one elk at less than 10 yards). I am not a "long range hunter" either, my point was to have a set up that gets the best bang for my buck if you will. So, let me rephrase is a 20" barrel worth the extra length in terms of velocity.
Thanks
IMO yes, increase of 7-8oz barrel weight and 100fps over a 16" if using factory ammo, maybe 200fps if you hand load. I think I was getting right around 2875-2900fps with that load out of a 20".
I've been hunting with a bow since 78. Only bow hunted(no rifles) from 89-2000. People like to throw crap around to make their point sound more significant and sound they are the hunter all others should strive to be but I would have loved to see someone scale that cliff starting around 4pm with a bow and take that elk before he disappeared over the top. I would have given them my most impressed ninja bow.
We ring 8" steels at 300+ using 0 power EO Techs during 3 gun shoots and I had a trajectory cheat sheet taped to my 6.8 stock. I had no doubt about the shot. The elk never knew what hit him, he took about 6 steps and my buddy got the meat he wanted.
 

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biggest thing that effects shooter accuracy is recoil. most cannot shoot a magnum accurately more less anything even harder kicking than 308 in an 8 ish pound gun
the 6.8 has a huge advantage being low recoil even in lightweight guns.
shot placement is key baby.

You can kill anything with anything that goes bang. That's a fact. Another fact is that 22-250 is a far more capable round at 400-600 yards than any 6.8 will ever be.
:a05:really!lmfao!:a05: dont add fact to your opinions, adding it doesnt make it factual
I certainly hope that person who shot that Brown Bear had someone backing him up or was carrying a very big handgun as a backup. Otherwise, "stupid is as stupid does."
so a "big handgun" is adequate but not a centerfire rifle(6.8)
These discussions generally go nowhere so, my answer to the OP is simply get a bigger gun if you intend or possibly could be shooting at big western Mule Deer at 400 yards. AR10 in 308 or 260 Rem or 6.5 Creedmore would be good choices.
bigger? i thought you said 22-250

It's a little tiring to hear the H and Elk story every time this discussion comes up.
dont bring yer personal feelings into it.
 
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