View Full Version : Overlapping Calibers for North America

Wild Bill Bucks
June 13, 2006, 01:18 PM
Not having much experience outside of Oklahoma, I figured,

.22LR for plinking and wasting ammunition

.22 Magnum for Squirrel, Rabbit,Racoons, Possums,

.204 for Coyote,Bobcat, extended range varmints.

.308 for whitetail, hogs, antelope, (Possibly Elk or Moose and Black Bear)

.300 Win Mag for anything bigger than Black Bear

.44 Magnum pistol for protection

.50 Caliber muzzleloader (Cause I like to smell the smoke)

Is this a pretty good selection, or what do you guys think
I could make an improvement on?

What are some of the overlaps some of you guys use?

June 13, 2006, 02:00 PM
I feel something is lacking between the .204 and the .308. There is a wide array of diameters available inbetween. Another pistol might not be a bad idea. But it seems like you have your bases covered.
.22 some for sitting in the safe some for shooting
.22 Hornet short range (150 yds or less) varmint
.222 for target, deer, & varmint
.22-250 same a bit longer varmint
.25-06 same and still longer + hogs
7-08 go to gun for "general hunting" aka truck gun
.308 target, deer, hogs
300WM long range hunting and "way out there rocks"

I could do it all with a .22lr and a 7-08, but why?

June 13, 2006, 03:35 PM
.22magnum for rabbit and squirril is way over kill.

.22lr is where it is at for those.

coons and posums yes, .22 mag.

June 13, 2006, 04:05 PM
The .222 is too small of a round for deer.

I believe the smallest round for humane hunting of deer is .243. I'd offer up the .30-06 as an alternative to the .308 primarily due to a wider variety of bullet weights. Both are great rounds though. I'd also suggest the .270 as an alternative to the 7-08 due to a wider variety of readily available bullet weights.

June 13, 2006, 04:27 PM
Faced with this same problem, I got:
22 LR for general small game
22 Mag is too expensive, but I like shooting the same stuff I use the 22 LR for.
223 for medium varminting, target
22-250 for long range varminting, target
7X57 for deer, elk, etc.
8X57 for larger game (I really like the metric cartridges, can you tell?)
Used to have a 8mm Mag and a 375 H&H, but they are too much for anything.
12 gauge for geese, late season pheasants, all around
20 gauge for early season pheasants, quail, dove
22 LR pistol for small game, target
357 Mag for target, etc
44 Mag for handgun hunting, target
45 ACP for defense, target

I figure I can take anything that walks on this continent with this combo. Could I use more power? Maybe, but I like what I have. Of course, I always want more.

June 13, 2006, 05:54 PM
gunslinger, if you reload, all become moot points.

June 13, 2006, 06:23 PM
.22lrX4 for small game to rabbit size.
.22 WMRX2 for small game and varmints.
.223 RemX2 for varmints and predators.
.243 Win for varmints, predators, pronghorn, and deer.
.270 WinX2 and .280 Rem Varmints, predators, hogs, pronghorn, deer, and elk.
.30-06 enough said.
8mm-06, .338-06, and 35 Whelen anything larger than listed above.
.35 Rem deer and hog.
.303 British for play.
.50 Black Powder mainly for deer.
.54 Black powder deer and elk.
16guage for birds, small game, and predators.
12gaugeX3 for birds, small game, and predators.
.22lr & .22WMR cylinders for my revolver for plinking and small game.

Wanted .17HM2/HMR, .22-250, .25-06, .257 Roberts, .260, 6.5X55, 7mm-08, .308, .30-30, .338 Federal, .358 Win, and .45-70.

Jack O'Conner
June 13, 2006, 08:26 PM
Here is my list:

22 LR for cans and bottles

.223 for coyotes and prairie dogs

.243 for antelope

30-30 for mule deer

.308 for everything else short of Alaskan bears

22 MAG derringer for EZ concealed carry

.357 MAG for night stand or glove box

16 gauge side by side shotgun for pheasants and ducks

June 13, 2006, 08:40 PM
I too like at least one gun in the slot between .204/.223 and .308. Either a .243, .257 roberts, .250-3000 savage, .25-06, 6.5x55, .260 rem, something like that. Right now mine is the .25-06 (and I have a couple .243s for that matter as well, and a 6.5x55, and a .303 Brit) Something for whitetails that kicks less than .308, and thus can be put in a very light rifle, and has equal or better PBR. Other than that, your lineup looks great.

As you know, in a concurrent thread in rifles, we are discussing simplifying, with a focus on hunting, and in my analysis which resulted in me being able to convince myself to part with 6 or more hunting rifles, I have narrowed it down to essentially 10 north american centerfire rifles in 8 calibers, plus 1 as-yet-unobtained Africa-only caliber for the future, for a total of eleven centerfires to cover all game worldwide in all conditions & terrain. But this EXCLUDES rimfires, shotguns, and other categories, so obviously I'm not nearly down as simple as I ultimately want to be.

However, I was able to gather a little more clarity as to why I think I need so many rifles for different north american hunting niches (right or wrong), and here's how it breaks down, AFTER the simplification :) (again, this excludes milsurps, some of which are great for hunting, and excludes handguns, shotguns, combo guns, rimfires, & air rifles, and excludes the vaporware africa rifle also). As you can see, rifles are ranked 1-10 (actually A-J), roughly in order of muzzle energy and thus general game weight range they can take down cleanly/ethically, and the game categories represent the species I am interested in, and grouped by similar body weight & overall toughness of critter:

A. .223#1, 1 in 12 HB (NEF), 40-45 gr: (1) Small Varmints [at long range]
B. .243#1, HB 1 in 10 (Custom M98), 55-70 gr: (1) Small Varmints, and (2) Coyote/Beaver
C. .223#2, 1 in 9 (AR15), 64 gr powerpoint to 68 gr bthp: (1) Small Varmints, (2) Coyote/Beaver, (3) Pronghorn, and (4) Defense vs Human Predators (herein, "DVHP")
D. .243#2, 1 in 10 (NEF), 85-95 gr: (1) Coyote/Beaver, (2) Pronghorn, (3) Sheep & Goats, (4) Whitetails, and (5) DVHP.
E. .25-'06, (Howa), 117 gr: (1) Coyote/Beaver, (2) Pronghorn, (3) Sheep & Goats, (4) Whitetail, (5) Mulies, (6) Black Bear, and (7) DVHP
F. .303 Brit (SMLE), 150 gr: *Specialty Rifle* for vehicle carry - pretty much ONLY for shots at (1) Coyote/Beaver, (2) Wild Hogs, and (3) DVHP when out & about and otherwise unarmed but in need of real firepower. But is in a power range that would work well for many species without being overkill.
G. .454 Casull & .45 Colt, iron-sighted, 240-260 gr (Rossi Puma 92) - also a *Specialty Rifle* for a variety of game (depending on how loaded): when a light rifle for a looooong hike is needed, for (1) Whitetail, (2) Mulies, (3) Black Bear, (4) Wild Hogs & Caribou, (5) Elk, and (6) DVHP.
H. .308 Win (AR10), 165-180 gr, depending: (1) Black Bear, (2) Wild Hogs & Caribou, (3) Elk, (4) Moose, and (5) DVHP
I. .35 Whelen, 250 gr: (1) Wild Hogs & Caribou, (2) Elk, (3) Moose, (4) Brown Bear, and (5) African (Plains) Game
J. .45-70 Gov't (Marlin 1895), level 2 loadings, 350-500 gr: (1) Moose, (2) Brown Bear, (3) African Game, and (4) Backup All-purpose hunter.

So, as you can see, the things to notice are...

-the .25-06 is the most versatile, with .454 casull and .303 brit in second place in versatility. Actually, the .308 would tie for the most versatile if I included for it whitetails & mulies, but I'm not too keen on recoil and don't deem it necessary; and besides, my .308 is an EBR, and thus in certain states prohibited for hunting - and it's not a precision rifle. 3rd place for versatility is a 3-way tie between .243, .308, and .35 Whelen. P.S. I have another .308 turnbolt but it's slated for sale as one of the 6!

-I end up with 3 rifles (plus rimfires) for small varmints, 5 for coyote/beaver (medium nuisance species), 3 for Pronghorn, 3 for Sheep & Goats, 3 for Mulies, 4 for Black Bear, 4 for Wild Hogs & Caribou, 3 for Elk, 3 for Moose, 2 for Brown Bear (& polar bear), and 2 for african game (will be 3 when I add the .458 Lott or a .416 :) ). So, it's a pretty nice balance in terms of being able to grab at least 3 rifles for most any single species, then ask the locals which of the 3 they have most luck with when I get there, or otherwise look at terrain, etc., for the best rifle choice among the 3. Or if it's a multi-species hunt, pick the one that fits best. About the only thing I question in my list is whether the .308 is sufficent for moose, or would the .35 whelen be the minumum...regardless, the whelen would be the *primary* if I went after moose.

OK, as we knew, I'm insane. :) I'm gonna try to eliminate .243 or .25-06, one or the other, probably .25-06. Actually, what I need to do is sub out 6.5x55 for both .25-06 and .243 - that eliminates a caliber but still leaves me one real good goldilocks caliber. Probably eliminate the .454 too, at least as a hunting rifle.

Don't even get me started on rimfires (I dare ya!). :)

Hey Jack, why do you use a .30-30 for mulies and a .308 for whitetails, when mulies are ordinarily in more open plains areas whereas whitetail are in typically more densely wooded areas? Plus mulies tend to be a tad bigger - so aren't those 2 calibers reversed of what they should be? Or do you not hunt whitetail?

Oh yeah, for backup protection, .45 colt or .357 mag revo for puma/hog/feral dog/black bears, and .454 casull revo for brownies.

June 13, 2006, 08:47 PM
Wild Bill Bucks, I think you have a good selection for your hunting situations.

June 13, 2006, 10:54 PM
Ill keep er simple for ya.

.22lr for the little stuff
.30-06 for the big stuff

North America...Done and if you want to throw in Africa add a .375H&H

June 14, 2006, 07:51 AM
FF if by "get rid of" the 25-06, you mean sell it, PM me, i believe I may require another.

June 14, 2006, 11:22 AM
Actually, I think you can get by with alot less;

I have .22LR (for pests and small game, like rabbit and squirrel)

Buying a .22-250 for coyote and "large" small game (we've just recently started having large numbers of coyote), at longer ranges

Sporterized Mauser in 8x57 (but .308 or 30-06 is the "same thing", I just happen to have the Mauser).

Building 8mm-06 AI (which, with handloads can approach .338 Win Mag performance), again substitute .300 or .338 Win Mag or similar.

Nothing in NA that can't be taken with the above.

Jack O'Conner
June 15, 2006, 11:09 AM
Except for antelope, prairie dogs, and coyotes I could probably get by with a Mossberg 12 gauge shotgun. They build a rifled slug barrel that I heard is quite accurate out to about 125 yards. Although slug hunting is foreign to me, I'm guessing I could learn to handle the kick.

Mossberg also makes a 50 caliber muzzle-loader barrel to fit their shotgun. No kidding! Of couse, Mossberg has multi-choked barrels for flying and running smaller game.

A one gun hunter could do okay with a Mossberg!

June 15, 2006, 12:10 PM
I remember someone's signature line " beware the man with one gun ..."

The good news is that we have little to actually fear so we are free to have as many as we like!!!!!!

My personal choices for an ideal set ( some I already have ) would be:

pistols/ revlovers:

.22lr auto ( browning or ruger ), a .22lr revolver ( smith k-22 )
a SAA .45 ( colt or knockoff ok too)
A double action .44 ( smith or ruger )

My encore with .223, .243 and .308 15" barrels


22lr bolt rifle - fairly cheap for plinking
.22lr anschutz, cooper, kimber, CZ etc for nice ddays at the range
.22lr 10/22 because everyone has to have at least one.
.17hmr bolt just for fun

.223 bolt for range and varmints
.243 heavy barrel for my encore for varmints and deer.
.308 custom tack driving barrel for my encore, for deer and such.

A decent lever gun in a pistol caliber for cowboy shooting.

That's about it for today's wish list. As soon as I get all of the above I'll add to the list and repeat the cycle of useful calibers and guns.....:)

June 16, 2006, 02:54 AM
Well, I’ll stick my oar in the water here too. I’ve had to sell off everything but a few choice pieces a couple of times when I’ve gone reely, reelly broke. Here’s what I’d keep:

.22 LR w/ iron sights ($60 rifle) plinking and small game
.308 Win Scout rifle for coyotes to Elk, Moose, etc.
.458 Lott w/ iron sights for primary dangerous game rifle

12ga 870 for dove to geese, jump shooting coyotes & rabbits, deer if required, personal defense

.22 Ruger autoloader for cheap pistol practice
.44 M629 4” for personal defense, backup to rifle when hunting

As soon as I got flush, I’d add the three below to fill in some gaps:

.375 H&H scoped for LRDS (Long Range Death Stick), Alaska rifle, Africa plains game and dangerous game backup rifle.
.357 unobtanium-framed snubby for camping, hiking, home defense, etc.
.4X Combat Tupperware for serious social sidearm

I learned about 15 years ago that if I’d focus on fewer guns and spend more money on ammo and practice, I wound up being categorically better at hitting stuff in the field. I can understand why people buy dozens of rifle calibers, but some of the differences are academic from my perspective. Instead I focused on getting really good with the .22 and the .308, and it’s paid of great dividends.

June 17, 2006, 02:00 AM
The problem is that when you get bit by the gun bug, there is never enough guns.

For simplicity though:

22LR, plinking and small stuff

222 or 222 Mag, any varmint smaller than bear, adequate and effective up to 250 yards. It will also quickly kill deer with one shot to the head.

270, Deer sized game and upwards. Faster shooting and flatter trajectory than 308 or 30-06. Cheaper ammo than the magnums. Unless you are going after Alaskan bears this will take anything on this continent. It would probably take a big bear too if you can shoot.

45 ACP self defense

50 cal balck powder gun

12 gauge, birds and home defense

That should cover the needs. I don't believe you can cover the wants. :)

June 17, 2006, 11:07 AM
My usual choice is something like this;

22LR pistol or rifle for plinking and close range small game
223Rem for extended range varmint.
270Win for deer, antelope, Black Bear.
338Win Mag for anything larger than Black Bear.
45/70 for packing in AK backed up by 44Mag revolver.

357Mag revolver for overall personal/woods defense and occasional hunting.
357Mag Carbine for woods defense and deer hunting.
44Mag for defense in grizzly territory.

I feel I get most things done with this combo.

June 17, 2006, 12:58 PM
:) 22lr for the real small stuff and my 1903 Mannlicher-schoenauer in 6.5x54ms for anything else.including Pachyderms!!:D :D JITC

June 17, 2006, 04:47 PM
22lr-for hunting, squirrels, rabbits, raccoons, and possum, and plinking

.223-coyote, small deer, groundhogs, bobcat, mountain lion

7.62x54 (my m44)-truck gun, deer, hogs, black bear, maybe elk or moose

.30-06- elk, moose, long range deer

.450 Marlin- Big bear, moose, elk, buffalo, hogs

.44 magnum as camp defense pistol and boar, deer and anything else

.500 s and w mag- bear defense

June 17, 2006, 04:48 PM
Also, you can easily down a deer with a .222 or a .223 with a well placed shot

June 17, 2006, 08:25 PM
.22 Long Rifle for everything up to rabbit and perhaps for short range predator whacking up to raccoon size.

.223 Remington/5.56x45mm Nato for predators and close range, precise shot deer hunting as well as varminting out to long range with proper powder and bullets.

.243 Winchester for light recoil deer hunting and overlaps with varminting and predator hunting with a change in powder and bullets

7mm-08 Remington or .308 Winchester/7.62x51mm Nato for deer hunting and short range elk hunting.

7mm Remington Magnum, .300 Winchester Magnum or .338 Winchester Magnum for deer hunting, but mainly for elk and moose, with some bear hunting.

.338 Winchester Magnum, .375 Holland & Holland Magnum or .458 Winchester Magnum for elk or moose, but mostly bear

,45-70 Government or .450 Marlin for brush duty or short range deer, elk, moose and bear hunting

12 gauge for overlap with small game, varmints, predators, deer, elk, moose and bear, but limited to short ranges, though can be role change with a barrel, choke and/or ammuntion swap.

The specific calibers might go up or down a slightly depending on the person, but I'd say the selections would cover just about anything in North America. Any two rifles chambered in calibers next to each other on the list could back up the other one, that is, a .22 Long Rifle and a .223 Remington could back up each other, somewhat, to a point. However, a better mach for varminting might be the .223 and .243 or deer with a .243 and 7mm-08/.308 and so on.

Granted, these are just my choices.

June 20, 2006, 06:11 AM
" Jseime
Senior Member

Join Date: 12-31-2004
Location: Canada
Posts: 769

Ill keep er simple for ya.

.22lr for the little stuff
.30-06 for the big stuff

North America...Done and if you want to throw in Africa add a .375H&H"
WOW! that's my rifle selection!!!!
I'm probably going to sell the 375, and move to an open site, 458 Lott, or, 450 Nitro 2 double.
If the 30-06 won't work, I'm not a long range hunter type, but, I am a short range stopper type. Hence, get the open sites, and shoot to save my hindparts.

Now for meth lab areas, I'd like an M1A, or maybe a Garand. Then I don't need another caliber, or, I could sell the 06, and move to 308.

Course I could dump the 30-06...

For pistols:start at 454, and, my favorites are 480, 475 Linebaugh, 500 JRH, and, 510 Maximum.

July 7, 2006, 08:00 PM
Ill keep er simple for ya.

.22lr for the little stuff
.30-06 for the big stuff


might want a 12 guage just for all round use aslo...

why get all kinds of fancy ammo and need to stock all different powders and things, i like .30-06 and .270 for my centerfire rifles and .22lr for plinking...

July 7, 2006, 08:59 PM
In my collection I have:

.22 Long Rifle (Ruger and Marlin semiautos)

7.62 Nato (for a SMLE 2A1)

.30-06 Springfield for M1903, M1917, M-1 Garand

.303 British for two No. 1 Mk. III* and two No 4 Mk. I

.30 Carbine for a Universial M-1 Carbine

7mm-08 Remington for a Lone Eagle single shot pistol

.45 ACP for a M1911

12 gauge for a Mossberg M835

If I were to add more firearms they would be necked up or necked down on the .308 Winchester brass (.243s, ,more 7mm-08s and 7.62 Natos/.308s), be 30-30, .30-06 or .300 Winchester Magnum for the .308 diameter bullets, 7.62x39 and .303 British for the .310 to .312 diameter bullets and add more 12 guage shotguns as well as add a 5.56/.223 rifle and carbine or two, handguns in ..38/.357 and .44 Magnum, 9 mm and more in .45 ACP, perhaps a revolver or two in .45 Long Colt, .454 Casull or .460 S&W (all use the same diameter bullets).

With bullets, powders and primers I can easily standardize on brands with just various bullet weights that can overlap the cartridges. No, I don't HAVE to have that many, but I like variety and I also look to the fact that if I have to scrounge I want to have common bullet diameters with my selections so I could harvest components from what is around. That would mean I could pull bullets from .308 bullet diameter cartridges to load what I have or I could pull from 7.62x39, 7.62x54R or 7.7 Arisaka to get bullets for my .303 British.

For hunting I can afford to use fun cartridges like .243, 7mm-08, .223 and save more potent chamberings for defenesive work. Actually, that is more how I feel about what I have more in military calibers, save them for more serious things and have fun with the less popular rounds.

July 11, 2006, 08:00 AM
i'll play
22 squirrels rabbits cats plinking

22-250 small game target cats cyotes

308 deer bear cats target

30-06 deer cats bear

338wm elk bear cats plinking .......................................deer

12ga 3 1/2 upland game birds targets cats skeet

curiosity wasnt the only thing!!!!!

July 11, 2006, 09:49 AM
pumas or kitty-kats?

July 11, 2006, 10:10 AM
I'll play too:

.22lr for small eatin' critters

.223 or .22-250 for blowin' up small stuff and for dogs.

.30-06 for any big game in N. America.

Should we not also own a 12ga? Not all game is Earthbound.

A .454 will shoot .45LC for bad guys, birdshot for snakes, and heavy loads for heavy critters.

Now if you want a 7mag .300mag or a .338mag you are not wrong. Or you could split the varmints into 2 calibers. I've tried fast .22s on deer & speed goats, but they don't offer the "BOOM-FLOP" performance of a true deer rifle.

July 11, 2006, 04:30 PM
why kitty cats of corse:D

July 12, 2006, 04:52 AM

....But for a while, Maas was the suspect!

I actually have this on a T-shirt, substituting "I" for Maas of course.
Remember: feral cats are hard as heck on small game. Wisconson even
has a bounty on 'em I hear.

July 13, 2006, 02:44 AM
where can i find that shirt i need it. i used to have problems with cats being droped off at my house. at first it was one or two then it became 23. since i have no neighbors, target pratice would start after work.

July 13, 2006, 02:58 AM
i found it and bought it. its on (of all places) a cat lover website. www.marcet.com/cats.html

July 21, 2006, 03:22 PM
I tend to think about this too...
.22lr ... you just gotta have one.
.243 can shoot varmints, or whitetail etc.
.300 wsm anything bigger... i guess you could replace this with someting in the .330-.340 range but i think for my real world lower 48 hunting this would do, probably ok in alaska too.

July 21, 2006, 11:39 PM
I agree with timnic about the .243 (I have one I shoot 100gr for deer and 55gr for varmints such as yotes, prairie dogs, etc...)

so here is my list (I have all the calibers pluss many more "filler calibers")

.22LR for squirrel, etc..
.243 for varmints and small/medium deer and antelope
.7MM Rem Mag for elk and larger deer and small black bear and small moose
.338 Win Mag for Buffalo, moose, elk, bear
.416 Rigby (can shoot .416 remington in guns chambered for rigby) for Grizzly, moose etc.. and the occasianal charging vehicle or dinosaur risen from the dead :D

as far as shotguns a good 12 gauge is all you need for everything that flies and lots of the above animals(just choose different size shot for different game)

A good combo gun in 12 gauge and .243 or .270 would be perfect as a universal/survival gun

July 26, 2006, 05:50 PM
.30-30 - little stuff, up to mule deer.

110gr varminter spirepoints at 3000fps +
180gr stompers at about 2200fps.
150gr plated plinkers at about 1000-1600 fps using a pistol powder, can do quite well on bunnies, coyotes, possum... Might negate the need for a .22LR

Spirepoints may not be useable in a tube mag, but you still can have 1 in the pipe + 1 in the mag for hunting.

.338WinMag - big stuff, 200gr + projectiles for everything up to elk, griz or moose.

2 guns.