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Old August 28, 2009, 06:18 PM   #1
ted1a
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Caliber popularity and sales volume

I am thinking of getting into centerfire rifles, more for target practice and less for hunting, and would like to know the popular calibers.

Does anyone know a resource that shows recent sales volumes by caliber, and typical cost per round?

I read on this forum a recommendation to pick up "Cartridges of the World" by Frank C. Barnes. Would that resource have it?

I was thinking of researching the top selling calibers, considering my use, and comparing them to make a decision.

Thanks,

Ted
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Old August 28, 2009, 07:55 PM   #2
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Personally I think you’re going about this all wrong, I would go for what will work best for you and forget what the most popular round is. There is popularity and then there is just sales volume.
Your going to find the most popular round is 223 because its made in the largest number for military and it keeps the price down which make it a very good choice for most shooters.
I think you should look more at what kind of range your going to be shooting and go from there.
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Old August 30, 2009, 02:04 PM   #3
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Probably 100 to 200 yards will be my range. possibly 300. I have shot a 30 06 with a friend of mine. Lots of recoil on his rifle, which I would like to avoid. Other than that, you are right, I should research a bit more.
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Old August 30, 2009, 02:32 PM   #4
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308 would be as large as I would go for just plinking and its overkill for what you want. 7MM-08 or 257 or 243 would more than fulfill your requirements or just get something in a 223.
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Old August 30, 2009, 02:43 PM   #5
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Some of my favorite rounds are 223 (5.56x45), 243, 6.8 spc, 7.62x39, 308 (7.62x51). What type of rifle? Semi auto, bolt, lever action? I like the semis as a general rule. My precision guns are bolt.
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Old August 30, 2009, 09:42 PM   #6
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.308 is extremely popular. Just try to buy some brass/bullets these days.

It's also a very accurate flat shooting caliber that's good for smallish game right up to bigger game. It's also a good long distance shooter with the right bullet and rifle.

There are tons of bullet weights/styles to choose from in .30 as well.
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Old August 31, 2009, 10:38 AM   #7
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Any of rounds that have been suggested will do well out beyond 300. My next question would be, do you reload?
If money is a major concern for ammo, I would go with the .223. For center fire you’re not going to get much cheaper.
If you do reload then I think since there really isn’t much difference between the recoil of a 308 vs a 30-06 I would go with the .243. I don’t own a 243 but do a 6mm Rem. The nice thing about the 243 is that its a very good round for deer and smaller game, there are a large number of bullets and manufactured ammo for the gun since it is a very popular varmint and deer round.
Couple of more questions,,, semi or bolt? Price Range?
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Old August 31, 2009, 10:48 AM   #8
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I am thinking of getting into centerfire rifles, more for target practice and less for hunting, and would like to know the popular calibers.

I have .223, .243, and .308 as well as many others. You will get tired of the noise and recoil of a .308 pretty quickly unless you are a masochist. It is really a shortened .30-06 after all.

The .223 is a nice round and cheap to shoot as there is a lot of ammo around, however for target shooting I enjoy the .243 the most. It is a nice mild round to fire and can be very accurate. If you reload the .243 is perfect.

The .243 is also very adequate for small game right up to deer sized game as well. My experience with deer is that it usually drops them in their tracks.
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Old August 31, 2009, 12:54 PM   #9
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You should really be looking for the rifle you like first.

Just about any centerfire round will do fine out to 300yds.
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Old August 31, 2009, 01:03 PM   #10
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I will save you a lot of time and money,go get a Remington 5R ,mount a good Quality scope on it and buy a bunch or Fed Gold Medal Match 168 grain ammo and pratice,save the brass and srart reloading .
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Old August 31, 2009, 07:33 PM   #11
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+1 Buzzcook

The rifle that fits you best is the one you want. I recently bought a Ruger Hawkeye All Weather in 280. Only rifle that I've ever purchased that didn't need trigger work. Other recommendation is the 700 SPS or CDL in 270 or 7-08 if you're concerned about recoil.
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Old August 31, 2009, 08:25 PM   #12
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If you're just punching paper AND reload, then something like a 6mmBR will be easy on the shoulder and will put all the shots in one ragged hole.

Not into reloading? Check out some of the small bores for low recoil......22 hornet, 204, 223, 17 HMR, etc....
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Old August 31, 2009, 09:36 PM   #13
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Whatever you do don't make the classic "scope mistake". If you spend $800 for a top of the line quality bolt action rifle, don't go cheap and saddle it with a $69 scope from a mail order catalog. Personally, I figure I am going to spenf 50% or better on a scope to measure up to the rifle I'm buying.

Decide what you are going to do with your rifle, then build a rifle, cartridge and scope package that will accomplish what you want to do, Good luck!


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Old September 1, 2009, 10:22 AM   #14
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Good glass and mounts should be AT LEAST half, but usually equal to, the cost of the rifle
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Old September 1, 2009, 11:05 AM   #15
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Quote:
If you're just punching paper AND reload, then something like a 6mmBR will be easy on the shoulder
If you're just punching paper and NOT reloading, its real hard to do it cheaper than 7.62x39. Lots of rifles chamber this round including ARs, SKS, and the bazillion different AK variants, although you won't get great accuracy with the AK platform.
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Old September 1, 2009, 02:32 PM   #16
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If you are going to be hunting big game, please note that most states and provinces do not allow the use of .22 centerfire rifles...they make wonderful, superb even, varmint/predator calibers but not big game...

Anything in the .243 Win/6mm range and up with do well to 300 yards with a lot less noise and certainly recoil...,.250, .257, 260, 6.5mm, .264, 6.8mm, .270, .280, .284, 7mm will all do splendidly...

I prefer the .257 Roberts and Weatherby and the .280 Ack Imp and my daughters like the 6.5x55mm and 7mm-08 Rem...

If reloading is in the future then maybe getting something that uses .308 surplus brass would be nice --.243, .260, 7mm-08 are all just necked down from the .308 parent case...as they can be bought quite cheaply...
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Old October 18, 2009, 10:49 AM   #17
ted1a
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Sorry for the long absence. I have been really tied up, and hated to leave this thread. These are all good recommendations. Out of the 16+ calibers discussed, I am leaning towards the 223, 243, 257, and I might research some of the others (maybe look at the Ruger Hawkeye below, etc.)

I will probably be punching paper mostly.

I prefer Bolt action, but semi-auto is a possibility. I am sure I will end up with both after enough time.

I don't think I will be reloading, though my uncle does this and could show me how. And I just ran into another friend at work the reloads.

I spent about $400 on my last bolt action rifle. I will probably be in that price range or a bit higher. Yes, I heard the comments on scopes. Was looking at some in the store yesterday - wide range of prices. A friend at work has a Cooper in 223. Does anyone know much about that brand?

Thanks for the great comments. This is a great forum.
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Old October 18, 2009, 12:19 PM   #18
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I've always figured that the desirability of any scope has to do with the type of shooting. For instance, if the shooting is always during the daytime, there's no benefit to a large, light-gathering lens. If one is not hunting, a wide field of view is not particularly important.

For target shooting, finer cross hairs and higher magnification allows for more precision, but for no more than some 300 yards, I've found that 10X to 14X is quite adequate.

If a range session will involve more than one distance, and the scope is reset for the different ranges, than, yes, repeatability of the internal adjustments is important. If you go up four clicks, you want the return downward of four clicks to take you back to the original point of aim.

I've never understood this idea about the cost of the gun having anything to do with the cost of the scope. When I bought my $350 Weatherby Mark V in 1970, I bought a Leupold Vari-X II 3x9x40 for around $70 or so. Lotsa dead critters; lotsa sub-MOA groups. The scope still works fine on a .223...
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