Deciding on caliber?


December 23, 2011, 12:50 PM
I have an Encore with the .50 BP barrel, which is currently the only long gun I own. I'm looking to get a center fire barrel for it, 24" length with open sights. I really wanted a 6.5 Grendel, but looking at cost/availability it seems I'm more or less limited to the following: .223, .22-250, .243, 25-06, 7mm-08.

The overwhelming use would be paper and steel targets at the range. Given that I'd have to travel about an hour to get there I'd want to make a day of it and fire at least 50 rounds each time, so I'd want something friendly in the recoil department. Given that I'm reloading I'd want something fairly easy to manage in that department as well.

I have very limited experience with the 25-06, but from what I remember it's probably not something I'd want to fire several dozen times in one sitting. The same probably holds true for the 7mm08, but def correct me if I'm wrong.

Assuming the above two are a little heavy for extended sessions, that leaves the two .22s and the .243 win. Focusing on the first two, if I'm keeping to open sight distances and just shooting for fun, the 22-250 probably has no practical advantage over the .223, would be somewhat more expensive to shoot and might burn out the barrel faster depending upon how I load it. But on the other side of the coin I've always had a strange fascination with the 22-250, and have a box of rem PSPs from about twenty years ago when I just about bought a 700 chambered for it from a co-worker. And the 250 might have the extra edge needed for a small hog, if I decide to take it out for that.

Then there's the .243. I don't know much about this cartridge, and don't know if it'll have any benefits over the .22s that would outweight the added cost of reloading components.

So, all that rambling aside, if you guys have a good recomendation I'm all ears. I'd just buy a bunch of different barrels if it was in the cards, but things are tight right now.

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Jim Watson
December 23, 2011, 12:55 PM
For a Day At The Range with a light gun like that, I would lean toward the .223.

Although if you really really like the Grendel, there is no added expense once you have a sack of brass. Powder, primer, and bullets no different from any other 6.5.

December 23, 2011, 12:56 PM
If you don't plan on hunting with it I would go for 223. It's cheap to shoot and accurate. If you want the best of both worlds a 308 would be great. It would handle up to elk well and targets will certainly sing. And it's also inherently accurate.

December 23, 2011, 01:53 PM
Taking in the recoil factor, I would choose the .243, because its a more versatile cartridge. It's very accurate, a good hunting round for up to deer size critters, and you can get decent factory ammo fairly cheap. But,you aren't going to be able to appreciate the performance of any of those rounds mentioned though without some sort of telescopic optics IMO.

December 23, 2011, 03:14 PM
If it was an AR, the 6.5G wouldn't be a bad idea. Since you aren't limited to an AR's magazine and action length, there is not reason to. Of the cartridges you listed, I would be leaning to the 7-08.

December 23, 2011, 03:20 PM
Seeing that you want to make a day of it and recoil is a factor for you the least expensive ammo would be the .223 as well as recoil. Ammo is accurate and since you are going to be at a range probably limited to a couple of hundred yards this is a great caliber to learn how to read the wind as well all around plinking. You could actually shoot a couple of hundred rounds and have a great time without breaking the bank.

December 23, 2011, 03:35 PM
From your list, if not hunting go with the .223. If you plan to hunt up to deer-sized game even occasionally, I'd opt for the .243. The latter is a great intermediate cartridge for everything from groundhogs to whitetail. But the .223 will be less expensive, even if reloading.

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