What caliber gives the most mileage as far as variety?


June 10, 2012, 03:31 PM
I'm getting into reloading and, in addition to researching for calibers I already own, am looking through for potentials to what would make an accurate and versatile "pet load." Allow me to explain.

Though a novice to the hobby, I have always loved ballistics as a science and now that I have the resources, want to find 2-3 loads that will allow me to experiment in accuracy, range and velocity. Hoping to find one for each of the following criteria.

1. A .30's caliber that preferably takes a .308 projectile and is best suited for a bolt-action rifle and can make a larger than average variety of loads while sacrificing as little accuracy as reasonably possible. Hoping to find a caliber that can be loaded for small and large game alike.

2. A small bore rifle cartridge that can use cast projectiles and lose little in terms of range and accuracy. Again, best suited for bolt-action.

3. A pistol caliber that can use cast projectiles, produce a variety of effective loads, and be relatively common.

I ask because, I want to be able to look out for deals and avoid investing in a caliber that won't keep me interested for a long time.

If your caliber happens to have a rifle/pistol that is a perfect match for it, please include it in your post. Thank you very much for your time.

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June 10, 2012, 03:36 PM
.308, 30-06, .38 Spl/.357 Magnum, .44 Spl/.44 Magnum.

In small bore, .223 is very popular, as is 22-250.
But small-bore high velocity rifles don't take too well to cast bullets.

First, it is hard to cast really good tiny bullets.
Second, you can't begin to use the velocity and trajectory capability of lead bullets in any 3,000 - 4,000 FPS .22 centerfire caliber.

The .30 cal's would be the ones to shoot cast bullets in a rifle if it was me.


June 10, 2012, 03:40 PM
1. .30-06
2. .222 Remington
3. .357 magnum

The '06 is about as versatile a cartridge that exists. The .222, well about the best .22 centerfire ever devised (case looks remarkably similar to the .30-06). .357 because you can shoot defensive loads and plinking loads. You can use .38 specials which are available everywhere, cheap..

As always JMHO.

June 10, 2012, 03:43 PM
.223 does the same thing as .222 and you can easily get new & once-fired cases for it.

Not so much for .222 anymore.


June 10, 2012, 05:09 PM
Agreed, if case availability was the issue I would side with the .223. The .222 isn't obsolete yet. Lot's of manufacturers are still producing the brass. The longer neck of the .222 seems it would lend itself better to handloading lead bullets than the .223. The brass lasts forever and in a bolt action not much gets lost on the ground, if any.

My original thought was the .22 Hornet, but that cartridge is fairly anemic.

Jim Watson
June 10, 2012, 06:48 PM
In the Good Old Days, there was some use of cast bullets in .250 Savage and .257 Roberts, not quite as small a bullet to try to cast well. Does that count as a "smallbore?"

Got to agree that a .30-06 is the best common caliber for a lot of "variety" in loads.

Pistols don't much care, .38, .44, .45; revolver or auto, any will do well with a wide range of loads including cast bullets.

June 10, 2012, 09:02 PM
handgun I like .357 mag. It comes in rifle (marlin, H&R, and pump. I

June 10, 2012, 09:06 PM
handgun I like .357 mag. It comes in rifle (marlin, H&R, and pump) and handguns.

June 10, 2012, 09:16 PM
30-06 & 357 without a doubt. I don't do the small rifle stuff (yet).

June 10, 2012, 09:48 PM
By caliber , rifles, .30,.25, & .22, handguns .32, 35, 44 & 45

In the fore mentioned calibers ya have conservative to grossly oversised cases to choose from !! Not to mention molds , loads, & firearms !!

June 11, 2012, 06:15 AM
I was really hoping y'all would say 30-06, from what I've read it just seems like a solid performer and let's be honest, I've been looking for an excuse to buy that caliber.:D

Reason I was looking into small-bore was because from what I've read, .30 caliber cast bullets just aren't up to task. I know that even linotype cast bullets can only take 2000 fps and even though a .30 calber is heavier the speed to weight ratio would be too low.

That in mind, I know in general cast bullets under-perform in the jacketed age. However, I want to know how to cast my own ammo and which cartridge will provide the most uses for me.

How big an improvement can I make by using gas checks and even paper jacketing?

Also, if anyone knows of a good book on casting and one on cast projectile ballistics, please let me know.

Thanks again.

June 11, 2012, 07:09 AM

The 06 is probably the most versitile calibers there is , "Jack of all trades master of none" calibers especially when there`s molds from 100 grs. -220grs avaiable.

& where did ya find this fairy tale stating 2,000 fps was all ya could get out of lead boolits ???

Anyways ,Lymans Cast Bullet Handbook will have alot of info on loads & ballistic tables in print & a good reference to have .

But for rite now hands on experiences & the latest molds & stuff go to :


Good site ,Good people !!!!

June 11, 2012, 07:27 AM
1. .308 or .30-''06 as others said.
2. I'd say go for something older and "interesting" rather than the plane-Jane .223s and such -- and most of those are really shining with jacketed high-performance bullets anyway. Yup, you can load gas-checked cast. But I'd look for a .25-20 or .25 Savage or other neat old fun rounds. Just seem better suited to cast, to me.
3. How could ANYONE ever argue with the good ol' .44 Mag? Load anything from ~500 fps .44 Russians to 300 gr/1,300 fps stompers. Easy accuracy, 3 case lengths to work with -- will do anything you need a pistol to do, just about. Yeah... kind of like a .357, perfected!

evan price
June 12, 2012, 06:26 AM
30-30 and 38 special. Can do anything you need with cast with those.

June 13, 2012, 01:23 AM
IMO the 30-06 is the most versatile caliber around. There is no other caliber that can use such a wide range of bullet weights from a 110gr bullet to a 220gr bullet. You can hunt Chucks or Moose with a 30-06 and it has probably taken more Deer than any other cartridge.

I have 2 main hunting rifles, both are on a Howa 1500 platform. One is a .223 (usually with a 55gr bullet) and the other is a 30-06. (usually with a 165/168gr bullet) For me those 2 rifles cover everything I could want to hunt.

June 13, 2012, 03:19 AM
.38 Special - I have cases I have re-loaded at least 10 times, mostly with wadcutters so it keeps costs way down.

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