View Full Version : Calibers, honestly...

Para Bellum
March 31, 2009, 02:38 PM
...I've recently read a very wise post in a German forum follwoing a newbie-question on what would be the best all-around-caliber for deer and hog. The answer was something like that:

Dear Newbie, believe me, I have 35-40 years of hunting practice and I can assure you of the following:
Nothing is more beautiful than the quest for the ideal caliber. It resembles te quest for the holy grail and is self-rewarding like the rush for the dog.
The advantage: You have reason immune to all doubt to buy a new rifle every two years. The fun-factor is immense. [...]
Some day, when you're wise and mellow you will come to one conlsusion: It's all nonsense.
Because, if you make the hole on the right spot, it doesn't matter, and that applies to caliber and bullet design.

To clarify my point, here is a chronological list of the calibers carried in the course of my life:
9,3 x72R - .243 - 7x64 - 8x57IRS - .300 winmag - 6,5 x 57R - 7 x 65R - 7x57 - 8x68S - .270 - 9,3x74 - .243 - 7x65R - .444Marlin - 7x57R - .375
- 30-06 - .243 - 9,3 x 62 - 7x57R.
If you read this line carefully, you will realize that there is an almost constant chance from raptor to mosquito and back. Man is fully captured by his will, Schopenhauer said.

So, find your rifle by testing and take the one that
a. doesn't kick like a horse,
b. has a trigger you like,
c. fits you in quick aiming,
d. still fits with the scope mounted,
e. pleases your eyes.

If you found that ask for the caliber. If that caliber is legal for your hunting grounds and game, take it!
Because, if the hole is in the right spot... see above

That summs it all up, doesn't it?
IMHO all calibers are so similar in fact that the choice of caliber doesn't really matter half as all the other criteria above do....

and all those who want to go to the source will find it here:

March 31, 2009, 02:49 PM
Range of expected shot plays as much a role as species you are hunting. Shot placement is even more important than both above.
If I were out and about in "hoggy" swamp land I would never have a scope mounted on the gun... I would pull a side arm only for point blank attack and a .40 cal. is the smallest I would intentionally carry for this. I would rather carry a short lever action in any caliber than a long bolt action in any caliber. I would likely carry my 500 20 gauge loaded with slugs as it is my ugly gun and if it get scratched dented or busted on a hog's head I would more easily replace it than my 1977 Marlin 336 .30-30...
i am more confident in my ability with the pump which is really paramount to all other factors when on the ground in hoggy swamps...
I feel safer with my catchdog bulldog "Deadly" on the leash than with any fire arm! She is a "hog seeking missile" with teeth!

March 31, 2009, 07:10 PM
Sounds like pretty reasonable advice. But where would be be if we listened to all the reasonable advice we get?

Seriously, those are all good cartridges for hunting big game, and the advice is good, but if all we had was one chambering, one type of car, one style of shoes, one type of coat and pants, life would all be pretty boring. Variety is the spice of life, and I like different things than some folks, but as long as it gets the job done, no one should be able to dictate to me what I buy and use.

lt dan
April 1, 2009, 02:33 AM
that response to the question was filled with passion, the guy is honest and to the point. i would only add one thing to his comment:"if you make the hole in the right spot the rest doesn't matter". with the hole in the right place there's still the small matter of penetration.

Para Bellum
April 4, 2009, 03:22 AM
Sounds like pretty reasonable advice. But where would be be if we listened to all the reasonable advice we get?

Yep! And still I found myself yesterday discussing my next rifle for shooting heavy deer and boar at 300m (which I have absolutely no need for). ;)

Art Eatman
April 4, 2009, 10:45 AM
Giggle-snort. Para Bellum, you just defined the justification for the old '06. There's other stuff that's just as good, but nothing that will kill them any deader. :D

Para Bellum
April 4, 2009, 11:48 AM
Giggle-snort. Para Bellum, you just defined the justification for the old '06. There's other stuff that's just as good, but nothing that will kill them any deader.
:p maybe. But I'm more thinking about a Mauser 03 Match Extreme (19mm barrel, Composite Stock) in 300 WinMag. But I really don't need it, having a formidable Mauser 98 in 7x57. :D

The Mauser 03 Match Extreme looks like this:

April 4, 2009, 02:22 PM
Thanks, I enjoyed that

April 4, 2009, 02:29 PM
The OP's post is right on.

I'll add,an appropriate bullet,constructed for the job at hand.

That 7x57 will do just about anything that needs doing.And quite well!

Up close hunting,I would have to defer to Hogdogs.

Western hunting,my limited experience has shown me,there is not a lot of point to carrying the 600 yd rifle as game seldom poses in the open at 600 yds,and if it does,there will be wind ,mirage,a pumping heart,and an escape route over a near vertical dropp of 1100 ft covered in doghair lodgepole with a creek bottom choked full of blowdowns below.Which is where our prey will go when hit from 600 yds.

Inside 200 or 300 yds is really all I need.

I have learned that if we load a 7 mag with a 160 gr Sierra boattail up to max and hit a pronghorn square in the shoulder at 200 yds ,even the backstraps will get bloodshot clear to the sirloins.(first big game kill.40 years ago)

Somewhere along the way I found the .257,which kills pronghorn nicely,and leaves more to eat.

But,when I have time for my mind to wander,I can think about one of my Mexican Mauser actions,and a #1 contour .338 bbl,and asking Elliot reamers to do a sharpenin/regrind job on a .338-06 improved reamer so I can short chamber the bbl and use 8x57 brass to get a 57 mm version of a .338-06AI,but wityh an 8x57 length neck.

And,I don't even have to actually buld this rifle,but I might some day,or maybe an Encore rifle in .405 WCF with a 20 in bbl and an ACOG scope I can break down and put in my rucksack.

A person has to have a way to be creative and a "Happy Place" to hold onto some sanity in this world.

April 4, 2009, 02:57 PM
Well, that German missed one of the best. The 6.5x55 Swede, which is what I use and love.

James R. Burke
April 4, 2009, 03:27 PM
I have had many over fifty rifles in my life. I mainly hunt whitetail deer, and now and then black bear. My favorite all around rifle is no doubt the 30-06. If your buying ammo or making your own it has a fantastic range of things you can do with it. There is no doubt not ever one will agree with this, and we all have our favorties for very good reasons. My is the Ruger No 1-A Light Sporter in 30-06. I reload, and it is a great rifle to reload for you can do about anything with it. Some no doubt will think being a single shot would not be a good idea. Like the saying goes one shot, one deer, two shots maybe, three shot never or very seldom.

Fat White Boy
April 4, 2009, 09:35 PM
I agree with Senor Bellum- My primary rifles ar a Remmie .308 vls, a Winchester Model 70 in .270 Win. and a Browning Model 1885 in .22-250. I usr the .22-250 on varmints and smaller. The .308 and the .270 I use interchangeably...They are also comfortable to shoot, have excellent optics and are all extremely accurate...

Jack O'Conner
April 7, 2009, 07:10 AM

A lot of hunters give their bullet diameters more credit than they should. For example, a fast stepping .243 with 95 grain bullet makes a huge wound channel inside the animal. In contrast, 38-55 makes a very narrow wound channel inside the animal. What's the difference? Impact velocity + characteristics of the bullet.

For many years, the .270 was compared to 30-06 with charts and graphs. Yet the real story of wound channels was rarely discussed. Both of these old cartridges produce about the same size wound channels within deer sized animals.

I'm a big fan of the following:

30-30 for mule deer - forest and foothills

44 MAG carbine for deer - ambush hunting

.243 for muleys, 'lopes, coyotes - open prairie and butte country

.308 for all around use; favorite for elk