The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Hide > The Art of the Rifle: General

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old September 3, 2009, 11:55 AM   #1
300magman
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 12, 2008
Posts: 714
Flattest Shooting Hunting Caliber

I'm just looking for input to settle a debat a few guys and I got into earlier today. We were talking about how if a target's range (In these parts, that means deer or moose) is uncertain the best friend you can have is a flat shooting rifle.

Quick example, if you see a deer that you think is About 250 yards away and you're carrying a 45-70 firing 400gr round nose ammo, then your going to miss unless you're extimated range is within +/- 20 yards of the actual distance. But if you're carrying a 300winmag with 165gr bullets it doesn't matter if your off by 50 yards your still going to hit vitals.

Anyway, I was arguing the flattest hunting round suitable for both deer and moose had to be the 300RUM, while my friend contested something in the 270 or 7mm family had to be flatter and still powerful enough for longer shots on moose. A random bystander overhearing us, weighed in and swore he could handload something in the 338 family (he didn't say standard 338, 338RUM, or 338 Luopa) just that he could handload something that would shoot flatter than anything we were discussing and still not obliterate medium range deer. Though he conceeded it would be on the heavy side in terms of acceptable meat damage.

Let the debates begin
300magman is offline  
Old September 3, 2009, 12:01 PM   #2
GeauxTide
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 20, 2009
Location: Helena, AL
Posts: 3,056
Flattest shooting caliber would be the one you can put every shot into the vitals, at any angle, from any position, to 300 yards.
GeauxTide is offline  
Old September 3, 2009, 12:46 PM   #3
Doyle
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 20, 2007
Location: Starkville, MS (new to MS)
Posts: 4,668
There are two general rules of physics you need to be aware of:

1. ALL bullets drop at the same rate. Gravity is constant. It doesn't matter if the bullet weighs 40grns or half a pound. It drops to the ground at the same rate (as a function of time - not distance).
2. The faster a bullet gets from barrel to target, the less it will drop. Therefore, the bullet with the fastest average speed is the flattest. Average speed is a function of the initial speed and the ballistic coefficient (how quickly it slows down).

If you want to play, download the Remington ballistic software and experiment with different caliber/bullet combinations.
Doyle is offline  
Old September 3, 2009, 12:53 PM   #4
Dave R
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 7, 2000
Location: Idaho
Posts: 6,073
My guess is the .17/50BMG wildcat.

Seriously, though, I think something in the 7mm Mag category will beat anything in the .30 or .338 category. If it starts at the same speed, the 7mm will have a higher average speed because of its lower ballistic coefficient. And I think you can load a 7mm as fast as you can load a .30 or a .338
__________________
I am Pro-Rights (on gun issues).
Dave R is offline  
Old September 3, 2009, 01:00 PM   #5
Brian Pfleuger
Staff
 
Join Date: June 25, 2008
Location: Central, Southern NY, USA
Posts: 18,395
Quote:
We were talking about how if a target's range (In these parts, that means deer or moose) is uncertain the best friend you can have is a flat shooting rifle.
The way I see it, your best friend would be a range finder.
__________________
Still happily answering to the call-sign Peetza.
---
The problem, as you so eloquently put it, is choice.
-The Architect
-----
He is no fool who gives what he can not keep to gain what he can not lose.
-Jim Eliott, paraphrasing Philip Henry.
Brian Pfleuger is online now  
Old September 3, 2009, 01:30 PM   #6
kwells6
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 24, 2008
Location: Central Arkansas
Posts: 437
270 or 25-06
__________________
"Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it."
kwells6 is offline  
Old September 3, 2009, 02:27 PM   #7
Scorch
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 13, 2006
Location: Washington state
Posts: 11,408
It has been generally accepted for a looong time that the flattest shooting big game rifle chamberings are 240 Weatherby, 25-06 Rem, 257 Weatherby, 264 Win Mag, 270 Win, 280 Rem, 7mm Rem Mag, 300 Weatherby, and the like. They all start a fairly heavy-for-caliber bullet at eye-popping velocities, which is what you need for good flat trajectory out past 400-500 yds.

I suppose that if you start to throw the UltraMag line in there, you could probably sway the tables quite a bit, but I don't really consider them big game hunting cartridges (rifles get too heavy, too much meat damage). There are also quite a few barn-burners like the Lazzeroni, Hawk, and Dakota proprietary cartridges that deliver pretty flat trajectories.
__________________
Never try to educate someone who resists knowledge at all costs.
But what do I know?
Summit Arms Services
Taylor Machine
Scorch is offline  
Old September 3, 2009, 02:29 PM   #8
Bayou Rifle
Member
 
Join Date: June 8, 2009
Location: Texas
Posts: 44
Not going out past 300 yards or so, there isn't much difference (for hunting purposes) with any of the traditional calibers. For instance, zeroed at 150, there's only about 3 inches less drop for a 180 grain 300 RUM vs. a 140 grain 270. A 30-06 would be right there too. A 45-70 or 30-30, to me, would be a gun I would carry if I were looking to have shots at less than 150 yards.
Bayou Rifle is offline  
Old September 3, 2009, 02:59 PM   #9
jknight8907
Member
 
Join Date: February 25, 2006
Posts: 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by GeauxTide
Flattest shooting caliber would be the one you can put every shot into the vitals, at any angle, from any position, to 300 yards.
The trajectory of any given round over a distance is a hard number. It's not dependent on the shooter. You might not be able to hit the broad side of a barn at 300 yards, but that won't affect the bullet's trajectory.
jknight8907 is offline  
Old September 3, 2009, 03:03 PM   #10
GM-GUY
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 27, 2005
Location: The People's Republic of MA
Posts: 149
300 Weatherby Magnum with the 180gr Accubond

3" high at 100 & 200 yards
Zero at 300 yards
8" low at 400


The perfect wack'um whenever, wherever, whatever cartridge
__________________
EX-USAF, NRA, GOAL, CCW-ALP

PS3 Network ID: GM-GUY
GM-GUY is offline  
Old September 3, 2009, 06:22 PM   #11
Deerhunter264
Member
 
Join Date: April 6, 2008
Posts: 82
the .264 winchester magnum is the flatest shooting caliber.

here are some ballistic coefficient

.224" (.22) 55 grain, BC .255
.243" (6mm) 90 grain, BC .385
.243" (6mm) 100 grain BT, BC .430
.257" (.25) 100 grain BT, BC .393
.257" (.25) 120 grain BT, BC .435
.264" (6.5mm) 120 grain, BC .433
.264" (6.5mm) 140 grain, BC .496
.277" (.270) 130 grain BT, BC .449
.284" (7mm) 145 grain, BC .457
.308" (.30) 150 grain BT, BC .423
.308" (.30) 165 grain BT, BC .477
.311" (.303) 150 grain, BC .411
.323" (8mm) 150 grain, BC .369
.338" (.338) 200 grain, BC .448
.375" (.375) 270 grain BT, BC .429
i got these from http://www.chuckhawks.com/bc.htm
Deerhunter264 is offline  
Old September 3, 2009, 06:26 PM   #12
TerminalVelocity16
Member
 
Join Date: January 26, 2005
Location: Mineola, New York
Posts: 71
257 Weatherby is probably the flattest, any 7mm mag would be a close second. my 7mm WSM can stay within a 3" circle until 400 yards.

Term
__________________
3A/E Maritime College '10
TerminalVelocity16 is offline  
Old September 3, 2009, 06:32 PM   #13
Waterengineer
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 7, 2006
Location: Aurora, CO and Palm Beach, FL
Posts: 861
The short-lived 7mm Remington Ultra Magnum needs to be added to the discussion.
Waterengineer is offline  
Old September 3, 2009, 06:38 PM   #14
Flatbush Harry
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 30, 2008
Posts: 417
Judging range and sighting appropriately for that range given the caliber and ammo are key elements of good hunting. Trying to buy a rifle that solves that problem for you is the wrong way to proceed. Easy for me to say...but I shoot more than 200 rds/mo with my rifles to stay in practice. Just finding the hottest magnum you can buy to defeat gravity will make shooting torture instead of fun and likely, make your hunt unsuccessful.

FH
Flatbush Harry is offline  
Old September 3, 2009, 09:27 PM   #15
300magman
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 12, 2008
Posts: 714
haha, ok...lots of different oppinions here eh, some a bit off topic but still interesting. I had thought about some of those lighter calibers like 7mm RUM or 264win initially myself...but we were argueing about a caliber that wouldn't pulverise deer but could still kill moose. I consider those calibers pretty light when your talking about getting flat trajectories by using 140gr on less bullets.
And for the record, we were not discussing "long range hunting" or "my magnum is bigger than your magnum" we were just theorizing as to what caliber simply is the flattest capable of being used practically in our part of the world. Not that flattness of tragectory alone is a reason to buy a rifle.
For my part of it, I'm still argueing 300RUM...damn its flat
300magman is offline  
Old September 3, 2009, 09:34 PM   #16
Westcoaster
Member
 
Join Date: April 14, 2009
Location: Central BC
Posts: 68
We are talking about a hunting application here?

There are two key aspects to this, the first being the absolute physics of it and the second being real life, practical hunting.

Most of the calibers are pretty flat shooting, but how much difference does it really make?

The following is off the Federal Ammunition website for rifles sighted in to zero at 200 yards.

Quote:
P7RT1 7mm Rem. Magnum 0.9 2.0 -8.5 -24.6 -50.2
P300WK 300 Win. Magnum 0.5 1.5 -6.6 -19.4 -39.5
P338B2 338 Win. Magnum 1.0 2.1 -8.8 -25.1 -50.5
P300WBA 300 Weatherby Magnum 0.4 1.4 -6.2 -17.9 -36.3
I selected a 175np in the 7mm, a 180 np in the 300wm, a 250np in the 338wm, and a 180tbbc in the 300 weatherby. All fairly similar bullets.

From a pure ballistics perspective the weatherby is the flattest shooting.

From a real life perspective out to 300 yards it's basically a wash, what is it 2.6" difference? Out past 300 the amount you practice and the quality of your components will have more to do with you hitting something than 15" difference in drop.

We have one of each of these calibers in our hunting camp and I've gutted, skinned, and quartered the deer, bear, elk, moose, and caribou killed with each. As far as meat damage, based on my experience, the 388wm damages less meat than the other three. The 338wm meat damage is more on par with the damage from a 3006 or a 308. I would offer for consideration that shot placement has more to do with the volume of meat damaged then the cartridge.
Westcoaster is offline  
Old September 3, 2009, 10:41 PM   #17
Flatbush Harry
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 30, 2008
Posts: 417
I'd offer a thought. I've shot military rifle matches out to 600 yds with .223, .308 and .30-06. You have to know the trajectory of your ammunition and rifle to hit targets at 200 yds, 300 yds and 600 yds or you can't hit the bull. If you're hunting, you have to know the distance between you and your target to understand where to aim. Whether you estimate with a ballistic plex reticle, a mildot reticle or measure with a laser rangefinder, hitting your target in the vitals requires both aiming at the right point and good marksmanship...this assumes a capable and accurate rifle and good ammunition.

Now a battle zero on a military rifle (usually set at 200-250 yds) allows aiming at center of mass for all distances between point blank and 400 yds and yielding a wounding hit somewhere on the target, not necessarily a killing hit in the vitals. Also, humans are much more sensitive to wounds than animals...if you've ever had to track an elk for miles because you got a non-vital hit, you'll know this from experience.

Rifles firing ballistic projectiles are not laser or ray guns, the bullets follow the laws of physics. A caliber that shoots a very high speed projectile will have that projectile drops less for a given time, and hence distance, than one in which an equivalent projectile's velocity is slower. The cost of higher velocity is more recoil for a given projectile. That is an immutable fact. This is why a 7mm magnum kicks more than a 7mm-08 and a .300 RUM kicks harder than a .30-06 when using the same bullets.

Now, translating this into practice, a bigger kick generally means you'll shoot the rifle less frequently for practice. I've found, in 50 years of shooting, that if you know your rifle, your ammo, their ballistics and practice enough, you'll hit what you want to hit where you want to hit it. If you rely on a big mag to be a "flat" shooter so you don't have to be a good one, don't expect good results or fun.

Jus sayin'

FH
Flatbush Harry is offline  
Old September 3, 2009, 10:47 PM   #18
seant
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 28, 2009
Posts: 115
"The short-lived 7mm Remington Ultra Magnum needs to be added to the discussion. "

I still use mine regularly to shoot caribou over 400 yards. The last caribou I shot was at 430 yards with a 140 grain nosler partition. The bullet went in the left front quarter and went out the right flank leaving a hole bigger than my fist. I couldn't ask for a better gun for the tundra. For me Remington's big 7 is alive and well. I think that it is premature to call a cartridge "short-lived" which is still chambered in factory rifles, with factory loaded ammo readily available.

Other than the 7mm Ultramag, I think the 257 Weatherby is a good long range cartridge.
seant is offline  
Old September 4, 2009, 12:05 AM   #19
Bowes
Member
 
Join Date: April 5, 2009
Location: Pensacola, FL
Posts: 32
Remember the Centenarian 30-06?

I call my prewar M-70 30-06 "The Telephone Company." I load the Lyman accuracy load of 150 gr Speer MagTip with 48 gr H-4895 and CCI LR Primer. Recoil is moderate, accuracy impressive, and it will "reach out and touch someone (eg, a deer)." There's everything to be said for placement. I also enjoy shooting my 375H&H, but I got rid of a 300 Wby because recoil was savage. Also, when you theorize about flat-shooting, remember that an accurate second shot is far more likely with an '06 than a red-hot magnum. The big cases just aren't easy to shoot with consistent accuracy like the '06 delivers. Factoid: Do you know how the dimensions of the 222 Rem (one of the most accurate cartridges ever) were derived? Ans: Mike Walker and his team reverse-projected a 30-06 profile down to 22 caliber. (Today you could do it with AutoCad.) You just can't improve on the venerable '06 for efficiency and inspiring raw performance.
Bowes is offline  
Old September 4, 2009, 12:23 AM   #20
dondavis3
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 20, 2009
Location: Dallas / Fort Worth Area
Posts: 671
I shoot a Weatherby 7 MM and it's sited in at 2" high at 100 Yards .

It's a nail driver - I've taken Elk, Deer, & Antelope at all sorts of ranges from close to real far (for me).

Excellant rifle & cartridge.
__________________
Don Davis
dondavis3 is offline  
Old September 4, 2009, 02:15 AM   #21
jgcoastie
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 15, 2009
Location: Kodiak, Alaska
Posts: 2,098
Flattest shooting? Probably something along the lines of a .30/378 or .338/378 Weatherby Magnum... Though I wouldn't want to pay to feed a rifle chambered for either one.
__________________
"To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them." -Richard Henry Lee, Virginia delegate to the Continental Congress, initiator of the Declaration of Independence, and member of the first Senate, which passed the Bill of Rights.
jgcoastie is offline  
Old September 4, 2009, 02:31 AM   #22
mnshortdraw
Member
 
Join Date: October 1, 2008
Location: Kodiak, AK
Posts: 49
What's all this talk about meat damage? I normally shoot all my meat animals broadside in the heart/lung area. Besides rib meat, if I hit where I aim, I don't wreck any meat. I have used 50ml, 375h&h, 300wm,458wm, etc. on deer and never worried about meat damage. Someone please explain this concept to me...
mnshortdraw is offline  
Old September 4, 2009, 05:41 AM   #23
Waterengineer
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 7, 2006
Location: Aurora, CO and Palm Beach, FL
Posts: 861
Coastie says:

Probably something along the lines of a .30/378 or .338/378 Weatherby Magnum... Though I wouldn't want to pay to feed a rifle chambered for either one.


Reply:

Or pay for the ammo at $80 or so a box.
Waterengineer is offline  
Old September 4, 2009, 01:45 PM   #24
Cleet
Member
 
Join Date: May 12, 2009
Posts: 47
My 270 WSM shoots pretty flat. It's muzzle velocity is around 3200 fps according to the factory specs. I have not chronied it.
Cleet is offline  
Old September 4, 2009, 05:12 PM   #25
Nightowl
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 17, 2009
Location: New England
Posts: 113
For whitetail deer shooting at moderate range (200-300 yds), I use a BAR in 7mm Mag. and handloads with a pretty stiff load and a medium weight (160gr. BT) bullet to achieve a relatively flat trajectory. I have had pretty good luck with it so far.
__________________
Nightowl
Supporter of NRA & GOAL
Proud Veteran
Always - Safety First!
Nightowl is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 09:41 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2014 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.14199 seconds with 8 queries