.308s: I own two of these beauties. Both are Browning (‘Lightning’) Lever Action models (BLRs). My wife bought me the first as a silver wedding anniversary present back in 1998 (and I should have shot a MOOSE with it in the Hilda Burn, Fiordland NZ in 2000…Oh Well!) The second (a take-down model) she bought for my 60th birthday in 2009. You can’t get a better wife than THAT! A ‘take-down’ model is one which ‘breaks’ in half so it will fit in your pack (a very handy feature) or under the seat in the camper.
I now have two carbon fibre hiking poles (thanks AGAIN TO my wife this Xmas) which are short enough (they also are two-piece) to fit in my pack when not in use. This means I can use them after I have stowed my gun. Each weighs about 100 grams, while the rifle weighs 2900 grams. This is a great boon if my back is playing up (often, unfortunately) or if I am very tired and/or the going is quite rough: you have MANY fewer falls when using hiking poles and they make walking 40% easier. She ordered the two shortened poles (each section is 2’ long) at no extra cost as a special fromhttp://www.rutalocura.com/ which seems to be an offshoot of the excellent http://titaniumgoat.com/ (Recommend you view website AND especially LINKS!)
Some ‘Big Game’ hunters claim you need a much bigger gun than the .308 (which was the lightest of the ‘short-action’ high-powered rifles until the new Winchester Magnum round came along, and excluding the .30-30 and .375 Winchester Magnum rounds – it gets confusing). Anyway, to use a .30-06 (or larger, ‘long-action’) you need to carry maybe a kilo more of steel, which gets tiresome as you get older! Some of the ‘big guns’ such as the .457 Magnum are just TOO big for me at least. The ‘little’ .308 (which used to be the ‘standard’ NATO round – and was the one used in the 100,000 SLRs John Howard ‘gifted’ to Indonesia after Port Arthur, along with a BILLION rounds of ammo in order to make us SAFE!) will ‘spit out’ a nearly half oz. of lead at over 3,000 feet per second. (Imagine those in the hands of 100,000 INVADING troops, if you please!) In my experience this is quite sufficient to seriously discommode even the largest sambar stag (but may not work so well on an elephant! Though it WOULD on a moose!)
I have found the .308 will produce one-shot kills on the largest sambar when you hit it in just the right place, whilst my .30-06 and .45-70 have sometimes failed to knock the big fellows down even when they were shot right through the heart!
Carrying those extra kilos is fine for the young and gung-ho, but the .308 is enough gun for me. Both of mine are already pretty seriously scratched up from rough use, which is as it should be. Neither has a scope as I have never ‘learned’ how to use one – and anyway iron sights are much more stable (against knocks and falls etc) so long as you learned how to shoot straight as a whipper-snapper (which we all did, once – alas for the defence of the realm and other things that those days are gone!)
Open sights can also be ‘brought to bear’ much more quickly and are better at ‘tracking’ a running shot – often the case in ‘snap’ shooting of (rapidly departing) sambar deer in the thick forests of Gippsland they typically inhabit. This is also an advantage of the lever action: it can be carried unloaded (which is much safer than relying on safety catches etc) and can be quickly loaded as you swing it to your shoulder. A follow-up shot is also easily taken without the gun swinging off the target. I find it much superior to the bolt action or the pump in these regards. http://www.browning.com/products/catalog/firearms/detail.asp?fid=003B&cid=034&tid=009