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Just weighing in here. I have a 6.5 lb Ruger M77 in .30-06. It kicks so hard that I am reluctant in using it. I am going to try the 125 gr reduced recoil which should help. I am of medium stature at 5'9"-175#. I have learned through the years that you do not need a Howitzer sized firearm to bring down most animals. Bullet placement rules. You will hold better groups with less exposed recoil. I prefer the .25-06 - .270 caliber/recoil range for whitetail hunting. In my opinion the .30-.35 cals align to moose,black bear,etc.
 

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I have lost 3 deer over 25 years of hunting. Lost a 6 point last year and didn't pull the trigger on a 200 pounder because I was not comfortable with the shot. Years ago I had 9 opportunites to shoot and did not because I panicked and was green. These things can weigh on you as you start to second guess your decisions. Turn it into the positive view by understanding what when wrong and ensure it doesn't reoccur.

I think the .243 is a little light for New England whitetails due to the thickness of the woods. The chance of deflection is very high. I think .25 cal is the min. cal. I have seen many debates on the .243's effectiveness. Deadly if placed into the vitals out 300-400 yards.
 

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True, true, true. My point here: There are some calibers designed better than others for thick woods. 35 rem is much better say 50-100 yards in thick woods than a .243. If either bullet hit the vitals then the deer is most likely done. The likelyhood of the .35 getting there is higher than the .243. Again thickets or thick woods is what I refer to here.
 

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I know for a fact that I would wait for a clear shot myself and would never blast through a mess of brush...all good ethical hunters would. The members of this site are clearly in this category. Unfortunatly there are some hunters that would blast through the brush thinking the bullet would go through undeflected...simply can't happen as mentioned above. The term "brush buster' is a myth and may send a wrong message to hunters. Apologize if I sent this message to anyone. Any caliber that can cut down brush belongs on the battle grounds, not the deer woods. A caliber like the .35 Rem (my fav) is better suited for short range work (NE) vs the .243 which shoots much flatter and designed for more open spaces like fields and the West however Hornady has really changed the outlook of these short range tools with the Leverevolutions.
 
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