Currently most-popular large game hunting calibers in the USA


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Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
August 5, 2009, 07:40 PM
Just from looking at the current new model offerings' centerfire chamberings in some fall season ads, it would appear that the order of popularity, at least in terms of what they makers THINK will sell, and therefore what is offered, are:

1. .30-'06 Spgfld
2. .270 Win
3. .243 Win
4. .308 Win (tie)
4. 7mm Rem mag (tie)
6. .300 Win mag (tie)
6. .30-30 Win (tie)
8. .300 WSM
9. .22-250 Rem


Oddly, the .25-06, which I would have expected to fall into 4th or maybe even 3rd place, has suddenly and mysteriously nearly fallen completely off the radar screen! Seems like .25-06 was enormously popular in new offerings just last year - what gives?

What order would you rank the popularity in your area?

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Scratchy
August 5, 2009, 07:47 PM
My .25-06 is first on my list of hunting rifles. I don't want .25-06's to become too popular because ammo has been real easy to find at the big box stores.

swiftak
August 5, 2009, 08:47 PM
I've always been a 30 cal person. Just personal preferences.
.308
30-30
3006

jim in Anchorage
August 5, 2009, 09:12 PM
Whats really amazing is how old everything is on that list[except #8]

MCgunner
August 5, 2009, 09:13 PM
I can't imagine owning a rifle and not handloading for it. But, I guess that's because I haven't ever owned one I didn't handload for. Some have never seen a factory round.

Two of my rifles are tied for fourth. I really didn't expect to see .257 Roberts on the list. :D

I don't really care what's popular, though. That probably has to do with my reloading habit. I don't need no stinkin' factory ammo!

In Texas, both the .25-06 and the .22-250 are wildly popular for hunting. If the list was for gun sales (surplus OR new) or for ammunition sales, I'd have expected 7.62x39 and 5.56mm NATO/.223 to be up on the list somewhere. Some of these lists have to do with reloading die sales. Those lists seem to me to be a might odd, don't really tell ya what sells in factory ammo.

DiTzMaN
August 5, 2009, 09:38 PM
+1 MCgunner. I like the odd balls. I love 6.5s. Fav right now is .264 Win Mag. Considering a 6.5x284 soon.

My "kid" gun is .250 Savage in Remington 700. Plenty for whitetail in PA. Not nearly as popular as the ballistically superior .243, but fun because it is an oddball.

LeonCarr
August 5, 2009, 09:41 PM
In Texas the .22-250s are used more for deer hunting than for varmint hunting :).

Just my .02,
LeonCarr

Matrix187
August 6, 2009, 04:48 PM
That's because the deer down there are so small huh.:neener: It seems like that list is right, especially around here.

CoRoMo
August 6, 2009, 04:53 PM
I'm .270 to the bone.

janobles14
August 6, 2009, 05:38 PM
i really do think that with more and more people handloading the old timer calibers are simply being stretched to new heights. people now realize that they actually can kill an elk with the .30-06 and dont have to go get the superdupermegatondinokiller-06 from the showroom.

i am surpirsed that the .300 WSM is on the list and the .270 WSM isnt though. i really do like that caliber even though im a .30 kinda guy

Maverick223
August 6, 2009, 07:16 PM
i am surpirsed that the .300 WSM is on the list and the .270 WSM isnt though. i really do like that caliber even though im a .30 kinda guyI am surprised that any WSM round made the count...but I don't care for any of the WSMs either...had a .270WSM and although it was a flat shooting, hard hitting round...shooting hurt by butt too much (right behind my wallet). Ended up selling it solely due to the cartridge...too expensive, and there are no offerings for bullets with good BCs to make the cartridge work as designed (for long range). :)

Of what you listed I would say it would rank like this in my neck of the woods...
1. .30-06 Spgfld
2. .270 Win
3. .308 Win
4. .243 Win
5. .30-30 Win
6. 7mm Rem mag
7. .300 Win mag
8. .25-06
9. .22-250 Rem
10. .300 WSM

Sir Aardvark
August 6, 2009, 07:52 PM
I view North American LARGE game as being elk, moose, grizzly, etc -
For these I would expect calibers of .338 Win Mag, .375 etc., etc. (Minimum .30-06 or .300 Win mag. - with these calibers being functional, but not ideal)

Cosmoline
August 6, 2009, 08:15 PM
.338 WM is the standard big game hunting round up here in AK. .375 H&H also has a strong following.

murdoc rose
August 6, 2009, 08:20 PM
AR here a lot of 30 30s around

MCgunner
August 6, 2009, 09:02 PM
i really do think that with more and more people handloading the old timer calibers are simply being stretched to new heights. people now realize that they actually can kill an elk with the .30-06 and dont have to go get the superdupermegatondinokiller-06 from the showroom.

Nah, I don't believe handloading has much to do with it. .30-06, 7mm Rem Mag, and .308 Winchester have been in the top five for forever by all means of polling. They're just popular, as is the .270 and the .30-30. You really can't get much more out of 'em with handloads BECAUSE they're so popular. There's Hornady's light magnum. That one's hard to beat with a handload, neight on impossible. .30-30 now has the Hornady Lever Evolution which will probably help its popularity in the future.

The rounds in the top five on this list have NEVER been unpopular, at least in Texas, that I can remember in the last 40 years.

fase3
August 6, 2009, 09:03 PM
338 Win Mag. It does it all for me. Deer in south La -Elk in Colorado-Red Stag in Argentina. It is my "go to" gun with my hand loads.

1858
August 6, 2009, 09:34 PM
I am surprised that any WSM round made the count...but I don't care for any of the WSMs either...had a .270WSM and although it was a flat shooting, hard hitting round...shooting hurt by butt too much (right behind my wallet). Ended up selling it solely due to the cartridge...too expensive, and there are no offerings for bullets with good BCs to make the cartridge work as designed (for long range).

Luckily that's not a problem for the .300 WSM! If you thought that your .270 WSM was expensive, wait till you start sending 208gr bullets downrange from your DTA SRS. Powder becomes a significant part of the equation when you're using 70+ grains per load.

I have no idea as to what's popular in my area. Most folks at the range seem to favor ARs in .223. I have rifles chambered in 4, 6 and 8 (list provided by OP) and plan to add a .30-06 and possibly a .338 Win Mag but that's it for me. I'm going to call it a day for bolt action rifles at that point. 7mm-08 is the smallest I want and .338 Win Mag is probably the biggest (in a bolt action).

:)

oneounceload
August 6, 2009, 10:02 PM
When I lived out West, my 7 mag worked well. Here in the SE, I would prefer my model 7 in 7-08 - will work well for deer or hogs

Maverick223
August 6, 2009, 10:33 PM
Luckily that's not a problem for the .300 WSM! If you thought that your .270 WSM was expensive, wait till you start sending 208gr bullets downrange from your DTA SRS. Powder becomes a significant part of the equation when you're using 70+ grains per load.Totally different use for that rifle though. The SRS will be [very likely] a dedicated target gun (unless something goes very wrong or a need to very long range hunting comes up). Out of that beast I expect to pay a premium for the match grade projectiles (and "excessive" powder) that I will (almost exclusively) employ. The .270WSM (in a Browning A-Bolt) was a hunting gun, though I did use it for some target shooting as I am not a real big hunter (I am actually kinda svelte ;)). The problem is that when used for range duty (compulsory for all of my guns) ammo cost (when compared to performance) became a problem, though I was not reloading at the time. The .300 at least has the advantage of a good BC allowing it to reach out there and retain its energy as was seemingly the purpose of the .270WSM. In short I think the .300WSM is a better round, but the originals seem to suit me better due to ammo availability and factory loading cost. :)

Runningman
August 6, 2009, 10:45 PM
What my 9.3 x 62 didn't make that list either? ;)
List sound reasonable for deer. But during Elk season around here anyway these days sure see a bunch of 338 Win Mag, 300 Win Mag mixed in with 270 Win and 30-06. With some 300 Weatherby, 300 WSM thrown in.

Interesting is in the 70s and 80s used to see a lot of 7mm Rem Mags. Don't seem to see very many people packing them anymore. Also haven't seen anyone packing a 30-30 during Elk season in many years now even though they were fairly common before the 80s. Can't remember ever talking with anyone ever using a 243 for Elk in my neck of the woods.

Fumbler
August 7, 2009, 12:05 AM
In eastern North Carolina it goes something like this:

1. 270 Win
2. 7mm Rem mag
3. 30-06
4. 243 Win (these are purchased by the same guys who bought the 7mm mags and realized you can actually kill a deer without the recoil)
5. 300 Winmag

If you talk about any other caliber then all the rednecks will insist you don't know what's good for killing deer or black bears.

I personally have a 308 Win for deer. I would have preferred a 260 Rem, but the rifle was the model I wanted at a great price in a caliber that I'm fairly fond of.
If I was bear hunting I'd tote my 12ga and my 480.

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