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Unlicensed Dremel
March 18, 2014, 06:16 PM
Is this an accurate general observation about the popularity of certain rifle chamberings?

It seems like the MOST popular chamberings are ones which are the at the "cusp" or margins between one general range of rounds (for use A) and the next biggest general range of rounds (for use B). In other words, they're the most versatile because they can serve two or more general uses.... But this seems to make the most popular rounds a jack-of-all-trades / master of none.

For example, .243 Win...considered top-end of large/long-range varminting rounds, and bottom end of big-game rounds. Does both pretty good, but far from ideal for either.

.223 Win (556x45)... considered top-end for small/short- & medium-range varminting rounds, and bottom end of anti-personnel / self-defense rounds. Does both pretty well. Some would argue that does neither ideally..though others would say it does do the self-defense role ideally.

.375 HH mag .... considered top end for large & very large non-dangerous game, but bottom end (usually - it or 9.3x62) for very large & dangerous game.

Is this just my perception or is there something to this? If this is a rule of thumb, there would definitely be some exceptions to it, too. For example, .30-06 is extremely popular but it's not on the cusp - it's considered popular not because it's versatile (though it is); but because it's right in the middle (not on the edge) of big game rounds - goldilocks round, not a "multi-use" round. So yeah, it's versatile on game, but not because it's on the cusp of one use to another - unless you say it's on the cusp of the high end for "large" game and low-end for "very large game", which I suppose it might be.

I dunno. Thoughts? Examples which prove or disprove this idea? Is it just all one giant continuum, and there's really nothing which accounts for popularity other than things like military use, marketing, inertia, and maybe threshold of recoil tolerance, and smaller things like efficiency, belts, looks, etc.?

kilotanker22
March 18, 2014, 06:52 PM
i think you are correct in thinking that its because of the versatility.

i like the 243 because it is a light recoiling round that is good for varmints, sufficient for deer, and boy do 105 grain amax's shoot really well with h4350 and cci 250 primers.

probably my favorite hunting caliber is the good ole 270 win. with the right bullets and load is quite accurate, and will shoot nearly as flat as the magnums. and with 130 grain sierra game kings drops deer like they were struck by lightning. i would call it middle of the road for light thin skinned game, and at the bottom end for the heavier of the deer species (elk, Moose.)

the 30-06 is partially popular because everyone has used one or grew up around one. also has earned its own merit. has taken all game on the planet with the right bullet but does not shoot as flat as the 270 or the magnums. in my opinion the 30-06 is the middle of the ground cartridge and a great all around catridge.

1stmar
March 18, 2014, 08:23 PM
I don't know that 375 is anymore popular then 458 or 416 rugby, 375 ruger. Maybe, just haven't seen anything to indicate that. Though if I were looking at magnums it would be my choice :-). 223 I think is popular primarily due to the ar. I don't recall it being anywhere near this popular 20-25 years ago, but with the growth of the ar it seems to have found a following. Just my opinion. I have no stats on any of this.

Art Eatman
March 18, 2014, 09:00 PM
I'll bet that 416 rugby is a ball! To shoot! :)

(Sorry; couldn't help it. Character defect.)

(One of many.)

1stmar
March 18, 2014, 09:14 PM
It can be very challenging since you can only use your feet.

Jay24bal
March 18, 2014, 09:14 PM
I think you are dead one when it comes to versatility dictating popularity, especially when it comes to "non-enthusiasts". Let'e be honest, those of us on this and similar forums would most likely count as "enthusiasts." Sure we have guns that serve specific purposes (HD, CCW, Hunting, etc), but we just love guns. I feel pretty confident in saying that we are the minority of gun owners and that most gun owners do not have the same interest we do in guns as a hobby.

Most gun owners own just enough guns to meet their needs. So if a .243 works on deer, coyotes, small hogs (pretty much all thin-skinned animals up to 175ish pounds) and also can be a gun that does not recoil much for their annual range day, then that is what they have. Same goes for shotguns as I would bet that at least 75% of people that only own one shotgun own a 12 gauge. Depending on the load, can be used for small birds to large birds and small varmints up to trophy game.

WV_gunner
March 18, 2014, 10:03 PM
I think most rounds are popular because of the military used them first. Could be because people think its good enough for them it's good enough for me. It could also be the military usually uses the most up to date technology because for some reason that's what everyone wants. Could be the surplus of guns and ammo flooding the market from the military.
Look at the .45-70, very popular for hunting when it came out and still has a following.
.30-06, very popular then and now
.223, seems like about everyone has to have an AR.

I think another reason is affordability, how many people loved .22 LRs before the shortage? The AK rifles, even with the recent gun and ammo shortages a box can be had for $7.

Another reason is over power. How many people hunt deer with a .300 Magnum and act like its too small?

Then there's the people who actually try to pick the best caliber. But then the ability to get your hands on it comes into play, so that puts you back into the main stream calibers.

-.223
-.243
-.270
-7.62x39
.30-30
.30-06
.308
.300 Magnum
.45-70

Plus you have the people who want the old stuff vs. the people who want the new stuff. Some want that old lever and some want that new AR. I personally would love it if someone made a Henry reproduction in .44 Rimfire instead of .45 Colt. Which leads me to my next category.

Handgun calibers in rifles
I love the idea, I have a .45 Colt rifle and its great. I'm wanting a Marlin Model 9 next.

So there's many factors I believe but I think the military factor is the biggest.

FrankenMauser
March 19, 2014, 12:41 AM
Most gun owners own just enough guns to meet their needs.
I agree.
All of the gun owners I know fit into one of four categories:
1. Enthusiast. Don't bother asking what he's hunting with or shooting at the range, he'll tell you what he's using, what the backup rifle is, what the backup's backup is, what's on-deck at home, and try to keep going until you cut him off. And those are just the rifles that were ready to go at the time.
2. Self defense / General hunter. They own one, two, maybe three firearms; and rarely more than one rifle. A "Jack of All Trades" is usually what you'll find for the rifle.
3. Blaster / Plinker / Rifle hunter. They own maybe half a dozen firearms, including 2-3 rifles. Even though they may own a .22 dedicated to plinking and small game, they might also have an AR-15 or AK variant just for fun. The hunting rifle (even if they don't hunt)... "Jack of All Trades" again.
4. Duped by an "expert". These are the people that own only one centerfire rifle (and maybe a .22). However, the rifle is chambered for a less popular cartridge, because some "expert" at the gun store told them it would be the best murder-death-kill-machine for the buyer's purpose. Yea... right up to the point that they try to buy ammo for their .325 WSM...


(For the record, I really like .325 WSM. But for average gun owner, it's a nightmare.)

darkgael
March 19, 2014, 05:01 AM
I think most rounds are popular because of the military used them first.
There is a great deal of truth in that statement.
Our most popular cartridges tend to be those which were adopted by the military first.
The .30-06 is, perhaps, the best example. (and the .308 Win, the .223 Remington. In other parts of the world, the .303 British.)
Think, also, about pistol cartridges.....the .45 ACP, the 9mm Parabellum (Luger, 9X19) are good examples.

stubbicatt
March 19, 2014, 07:49 AM
Take into account that most folks who do not hand load their ammunition are constrained to what is available on the retail market. Nothwithstanding the present shortages, the price of a box of ammunition for a given blaster will often drive a decision on which rifle to buy. Last time I looked, munition in the military type chamberings are a little less expensive.

BumbleBug
March 19, 2014, 08:44 AM
For enthusiasts, I feel that many rifles are purchased with a rationalization around the “deer hunting” premise. For example:
"I would like to own a .22-250. You know, in a pinch, I can shoot a deer with it."
"I would like to own a .375 HH. You know, in a pinch, I can shoot a deer with it."
What makes these same guys buy .14, .17 & .20 cal rifles I don’t know(?)

…bug :):):)

bamaranger
March 20, 2014, 03:49 AM
Don't really have an answer to the OP's original question, but lets not confuse popularity with longevity. Certain forces drive our sport and can sway many folks into the latest "gee-whiz" caliber. All that to make cash.

Consider the "push" and popularity of all the alphabet soup, short fat calibers from not so long ago....how many are mainstream now....not many, if any.

The near extinct 5mm Remington Rimfire Mag was a leap forward, and a good 40 years ahead of its time, but it didn't sell....nobody got on board the wagon. Weigh that against all the hoopla when the 17 HMR hit the scene. Everybody made guns for it, and it flew.

I think the "Leverlution" chamberings, or however they spell it, is another example. For the most part, 30-30 users are going to contiue to clobber bear, deer and hogs at under 100 yds, and plain old SP bullets will do fine. A poly tipped .44 mag slug, or whatever, is an answer to a question nobody asked. But the advertising was/is everywhere, and folks bought the stuff.

Brian Pfleuger
March 20, 2014, 12:33 PM
I think most rounds are popular because of the military used them first.

This is certainly true of the most popular rounds in US history... .223/5.56, .308/7.62 and .30-06.

The .30-30, which is no doubt right up there are well is a bit of an oddball to me. Perhaps because of being one of the earliest smokeless cartridges and being initially chambered in the Marlin 1893/1936/36 which would in itself be one of the most popular guns of all time. (Any detail there could be incorrect, I'm not a lever or 30-30 historian;))

Model12Win
March 20, 2014, 01:12 PM
It's called .223 REMINGTON, NOT WINCHESTER!

But I think you are correct in your logic. :D

Kreyzhorse
March 20, 2014, 05:23 PM
But this seems to make the most popular rounds a jack-of-all-trades / master of none.

I think most rifle rounds fall into the jack of all trades arena. I can't think of one center fire that is only good for one thing. Additionally, lots of rifle rounds will share, at some point, the same energy as the rounds above and below them leaving a lot of room for discussion on what each rifle round is best suited for.

kraigwy
March 21, 2014, 08:24 AM
Not sure I agree with the OP's assessment.

Yes the 243 is an excellent LP Varmint round, it is also an excellent (not marginal) mid size game (deer/antelope) round.

The 223/5.56 is a great combat round in the 55 gr M193, and moves to excellent in heavier bullets. Russians didn't adopt a similar bullet because it didn't work.

I like the 375 H&H and would tackle anything in the world with it. May or may not be as effective as the 416/458 Win, but to me it would be. I have both a 416 & 458s, they hurt, because they hurt it wouldn't be near as effective as the 375 H&H in my hands.

30-06 if probably the best all-a-round round in North America. Its more effective then the 30 cal magnums for 90% of the hunters out there because its easier to shoot.

Where you have non-dangerous animals, or in the lower 48, the 270 Win tops them all in my book. Easier to shoot and excellent long range round.

Of course this is my opinion, others vary of course, but when I go hunting I do pick the round that matches my opinion and right or wrong, I don't go hungry.

hooligan1
March 21, 2014, 06:23 PM
I agree with the captain from Wyoming, as long as there are thin skinned game to harvest, the .270 winny will be perfect. And I also like the 7mm rem mag for the larger deer such as elk and moose, (one day I might get a chance at those two critters) and for antelope and deer and varmint, I would use my 25-06, Id like to shoot my daugjters .243 more but dont want to use up barrel until I can talk her out of it..
.which will be never!
I will own another 30-06, because my confidence level in that round is at an utmost high...but my need for the .308 grips me at this point....

jimbob86
March 21, 2014, 06:41 PM
I'll bet that 416 rugby is a ball! To shoot!

Nobody could pass on that one, for sure!

The Marketing pitch would have to be pretty strong though, go get it to catch on in this country ..... :D

Most gun owners own just enough guns to meet their needs.

In my case, need has nothing to do with it.

I have more rifles than I will ever need.

Don't really have an answer to the OP's original question, but lets not confuse popularity with longevity. Certain forces drive our sport and can sway many folks into the latest "gee-whiz" caliber. All that to make cash.

Consider the "push" and popularity of all the alphabet soup, short fat calibers from not so long ago....how many are mainstream now....not many, if any.


This.

"What is it for?" "Why, to sell, of course!"

kraigwy
March 22, 2014, 05:05 PM
I'll bet that 416 rugby is a ball! To shoot

Bet Not:

But you're more then willing to stop by and shoot mine if you want.

jimbob86
March 22, 2014, 09:19 PM
Kraig, do tell us about the 416 Rugby!

kraigwy
March 22, 2014, 11:47 PM
LOL I missed that, no mine is a Rigby

Sierra280
March 23, 2014, 02:09 AM
Interesting topic. No doubt the most popular chamberings are also the most versatile (seems like a no brainer). Beyond that I think it's mostly personal and, as others have pointed out, dependent on how 'enthusiastic' a gun owner is.

Seems like a lot of people are taken with fads and a popularity of certain rifles; like me and my buddy I usually go shooting with. To compare apples to apples, as best as I can: I've never been unhappy with my marlin 60, he got a fancied up 10/22 (in 22mag). I have always been impressed with my 308 and 7mm mag, he bought a 300WSM (savage), then a 300RUM(rem). He loves his 22-250, but asked 'what the hell is a 220 Ackley?'

It all depends how much you are interested in guns.

Picher
March 23, 2014, 12:42 PM
I was at a large southern Maine sporting goods store and they didn't have any .22 LR, .308 Win, and other popular cartridges, but had some .218 Bee, and .25-20.

Maybe we need to get people to hoard those instead of the ones we like to shoot?

jimbob86
March 23, 2014, 04:18 PM
I was at a large southern Maine sporting goods store and they didn't have any .22 LR, .308 Win, and other popular cartridges, but had some .218 Bee, and .25-20.

Maybe we need to get people to hoard those instead of the ones we like to shoot?


If you have a variety of guns, and a bit of handloading know-how, finding ammo is easier .....

Jack O'Conner
March 23, 2014, 06:42 PM
30-30 has been popular for over 100 years because of moderate recoil, good accuracy, and deep penetration thru the vitals. It's still a TOP seller with current rifles built by these companies:

- Marlin
- Winchester
- Rossi
- Henry
- Mossberg
- Thompson Center

Jack

Unlicensed Dremel
March 24, 2014, 09:06 PM
I'll bet that 416 rugby is a ball to shoot!

Nobody could pass on that one, for sure!

The Marketing pitch would have to be pretty strong though, go get it to catch on in this country ....

You win, sir. :)

On the .30-30 win (much like the .30-'06), I'd have to say it's an exception too, more than it is the rule (if there is a rule) - just because it's just NOT a super-versatile chambering. It's quite a goldilocks chambering for big game, of all types, from medium to very large (so to that extent it's "versatile"), but my definition of "versatility" as used in this thread is premised on "large game" being ONE purpose, not a lot of purposes. Since .30-30 is not a great plinker, varminter, or target chambering, and only a "pretty good" defensive chambering, it tends to disprove my "theory", since it's without a doubt one of the most popular of all time.

And yes, by "popular", I'm referring *mostly* to popular over time; meaning staying power; not so much trendy, popular right now today.

Gunplummer
March 25, 2014, 11:59 AM
Just a side note. I was hunting public land in West Virginia and near the parking lot I found a loaded .416 Rigby round. I have found all kinds of ammo near Game Lands parking lots because of guys loading their pockets in the dark. I found a whole new box of 30-30 once. Apparently (In somebody's mind) the .416 Rigby overlaps into the "I can use it for deer in a pinch" category.

jimbob86
March 25, 2014, 12:28 PM
Since .30-30 is not a great plinker,

Not so, IME. Loaded with 100 gr bullets at moderate velocities in a Marlin 30A, it is a wonderfull milk jug and tin can killer.

Brian Pfleuger
March 25, 2014, 12:38 PM
And yes, by "popular", I'm referring *mostly* to popular over time; meaning staying power; not so much trendy, popular right now today.

All of the most popular rounds have been popular for many decades.

.30-30, well over 100 years.

.30-06, over 100 years.

.308,7.62, over 60 years.

.223/5.56, over 60 years.

The "other" Top 5 contender, .270Win, has been around 90 years.

Colt46
March 25, 2014, 04:23 PM
.30-06 Springfield and .308 Winchester are well represented. .223 certainly sells a lot of rifles. 9mm, .45 ACP have large followings.

reynolds357
March 25, 2014, 04:39 PM
I have no idea what makes cartridges popular. Some of the best ones do not ever have SAAMI specs. I really will never figure out why the .270 Winchester is as popular as it is.

Brian Pfleuger
March 26, 2014, 08:30 AM
I have no idea what makes cartridges popular. Some of the best ones do not ever have SAAMI specs. I really will never figure out why the .270 Winchester is as popular as it is.


Two words....

Jack

O'Connor.

Mystro
March 26, 2014, 10:27 AM
The 270's flat shooting, superior ballistic coefficient, and inherent accuracy doesn't hurt its popularity either.;)

http://i272.photobucket.com/albums/jj182/TheMystro1971/Hunting%20Guns%20etc/Winchester%20M70%20Jack%20OConnor%20Tribute%20Rifle/Range2net.jpg (http://s272.photobucket.com/user/TheMystro1971/media/Hunting%20Guns%20etc/Winchester%20M70%20Jack%20OConnor%20Tribute%20Rifle/Range2net.jpg.html)

Unlicensed Dremel
March 26, 2014, 02:00 PM
All of the most popular rounds have been popular for many decades

Not true at all.

The .270 WSM, the 6.8 spc, the .357 Sig - I could name dozens that are either popular now or were at one time, but were relative flashes in the pan, or are destined to be flashes in the pan (relatively speaking). The .250 Savage was extremely popular for a time. Many other examples of this.

As I said, for good reason:

And yes, by "popular", I'm referring *mostly* to popular over time; meaning staying power; not so much trendy, popular right now today.

Brian Pfleuger
March 26, 2014, 02:16 PM
I don't known of any evidence that indicates that those rounds are among the most popular.

Sure, they're on a list but I wouldn't call the 50th most popular, "popular". Are they top 10? I doubt it. Top 30? Who knows?

Since you define popularity "over time", those rounds (.30-06, .270, .30-30, etc) have remained popular for many decades. 357sig, .270WSM and 6,8spc haven't even existed long enough to meet your criteria.

If you start getting onto "popular" but only for 3 years, 5 years, or whatever, you then have to define what qualifies as "popular". I'd be willing to bet that most gun owners have never even heard of 6.8SPC.

There are lists put out by RCBS on the most popular dies, I've never seen any of those (except .270WSM) on the list, not in the top 25 anyway. I don't call that "popular".

reynolds357
March 26, 2014, 08:36 PM
From a ballistic standpoint, the 6.5-06 is superior to the .270 Win. The latter is extremely popular. The first is pretty much custom only.

PHEASANTPETE
March 26, 2014, 09:05 PM
If it works for you shoot it. We live in the US where we can get just about anything within reason. If you are on a budget stick to what is cheap and gets the job done. If you like to experiment with wildcats have at it. If you like to carry a lever action you will do well with a 30-30 for whitetail. If you got one of those 44 Mag Ruger semi auto rifles maybe that Hornaday ballistic tip stuff will give you a little flatter shot at 125 yds.

I know a pastor who's wife asked why he needed more than a couple of guns. Without lying how could he explain that. Maybe he could justify four or five but beyond that it is justifying a hobby.

Get what works for you and forget about all the hoopla.:D

PHEASANTPETE
March 26, 2014, 09:45 PM
I like the 270 Winchester. I considered the 260 Remington but the ammo was much more expensive and I like to shoot. The rifle choices were limited and much harder to find. I got 2 Savage 111 without Accu triggers brand new with a crappy 3X9 scope but good mounts on clearance for $270 each last year. I will put the scope on a Savage 22 Mag with a heavy fluted barrel and Accu Trigger. The other scope will be a backup. The other rifle will be there as rifle for visting friends to shoot. They trust my ability to provide a decent rifle for their hunt and no airport morons to deal with.

Good luck finding a 260 Remington on clearance. I even picked up some Federal Premium Barnes 150 gn ammo on clearance last fall. They did not carry 260 Remington. The 270 has some very good bullets that have high sectional densities and ballistic coefficients. It is cheap to shoot, shots flat and accurate, easy to find, has a reasonable recoil for range shooting, and did I mention cheap to shoot for a powerful smallbore. I have noticed medium game 223 Remington loads cost more and are marginal on white-tail at best.

I owned a Winchester 270 WSM with a pre-64 action. I sold it and it covered both of the Savages and then some. It was beautiful but the deer just simply did not care and the ammo was expensive so I hardly shot it. Ballistically it did no better than a 270 Winchester. Some may not care about costs and love such a well made and beautiful rifle. I used to think that way when I was younger but now appreciate value and versatility more.

PHEASANTPETE
March 26, 2014, 09:50 PM
30-06 is a great round due to its versatility but is over kill on white-tails. A 30-30 gets the job done fine in the woods. A 270 is better in the open. The venerable 30-06 has its place though especially if one chases elk within a reasonable range. So here is my list:

White-tail: 1. 270 Win 2. 30-30 lever action in the woods 3. 25-06 4. 7mm non-magnum 4. 308 Win 5. 30-06 6. 7mm Rem Mag (a bit of overkill but widely available) 7. 280 Rem

Elk 1. 30-06 2. 7mm Rem Mag 3. 308 Win 4. 300 Mag 5. 338 Win Mag (a definite must in Great Bear areas) 6. 270 Win (Many elk have been harvested with 270's) 7. 280 Rem

Varmit: 1. 223/5.56 2. 22 Magnum (cheap to shoot and good at close range) 3. 22-250 (short barrel life) 4. 243 Win (good for youth on deer as well) 5. 270 Win with light bullet 6. 25-06 7. Shotgun on Yotes called in.

My list ain't perfect:eek: but it is what works for me. Note the 270 Win on each list. So for all around versatility outside of Great Bear country it is my top choice. No odd balls were included but if you like to mess around there are many viable less used cartridges out there.

jimbob86
March 31, 2014, 05:24 PM
I really will never figure out why the .270 Winchester is as popular as it is.

Kicks less and shoots flatter than the -06, which was the standard "big rifle" in this country when the .270 hit the market.

With loadings available from 90gr fragile varmit bullets to 150gr modern bonded bullets, there isn't anything walking on 4 legs, from ground squirrels to elk and bears in the lower 48 that isn't suitable game for it..... and it's 1 in 10 twist will stabilize all of them. What's not to love?