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Near-Perfect Hunting Cartridges...

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Maverick223, Dec 14, 2009.


What do you think ofmy choices?

  1. Spot on, my choices as well.

    5 vote(s)
  2. You got pretty close.

    40 vote(s)
  3. There are a few good ones...but not most.

    56 vote(s)
  4. How did you come up with those?

    13 vote(s)
  1. Maverick223

    Maverick223 Well-Known Member

    In my mind the perfect hunting cartridge would sail out as far as you like, damage no meat, reliably drop any size prey, with little recoil, and be inexpensive and available...since that doesn't exist...and never will, the following is my selection for the near perfect rifle cartridges and their respective uses (let the *constructive* arguing begin):

    .22LR: Magnificent old chambering for small game such as squirrel, rabbit, and larger prey at short range with good shot placement. Added benefit of cheap and available ammunition.

    .223Rem.: The choice of soldiers and groundhog hunters alike. This cartridge makes a great varmint and moderate size game round with flat trajectory, and many projectile options available for the task at hand. Relatively inexpensive and readily available ammunition is a added bonus. (.22-250 and .220Swift are honorable mentions but are much more costly)

    .260Rem.: Introduced late in the past century, it has demonstrated itself to be a superb medium and large thin skinned game cartridge, the very flat trajectory and excellent BC makes the cartridge very effective with little recoil. (honorable mentions are the 6.5x55 and the 7mm-08)

    .280Rem.: A near perfect large game cartridge with good trajectory and hard hitting power to take nearly any animal that strides the plains (or anywhere else) in NA, including most in the far north, whilst maintaining manageable recoil. (the .30-06 and .270 are honorable mentions and more cost-effective alternatives)

    .30-30Win.: Generally packaged in a lightweight handy rifle, the cartridge seemingly doesn't exhibit any attributes that make a rifle cartridge great, but the low-recoil, inexpensive ammunition, adequate power, and quick handling that it affords makes it a cartridge that has tested the test of time.

    .375H&H: This big belted magnum can solve nearly any problem that you might encounter on the NA continent and most on the great dark continent as well. It offers good trajectory and plenty of power to put down beasts in the far north. (honorable mentions are the .338WM and the .300WM, but are slightly more limited in application)

    .45-70Govt.: This lumbering old cartridge has proved itself to be a great brush cartridge and can quickly slay all but the largest beast with brute force. It has a reputation for making a large hole that you "can eat right up to".

    As you may note there are no wildcats (though a few are not common cartridges), and little mention of magnums (for I believe the vast majority of hunting does not require one). Some are quite old, and some more recent rounds, none are terribly costly in comparison to similar cartridges or their respective use. It seems lately that there have been quite a few threads about this or that new uber-super round (some that look promising...others just expensive) or why old reliable is or isn't good enough any more. What would make your list of the greatest cartridges for hunting North America?

    Heck lets even make it a poll...
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2009
  2. janobles14

    janobles14 Well-Known Member

    the .260 and .280 can both be covered by the .30-06. with varying bullet weights and styles its just as effective. otherwise i almost agree with them all!

    also the .45-70 has never been really high on my list but i know it has its place.
  3. Uncle Mike

    Uncle Mike Well-Known Member

    Mav...you left out the .30-06! just an honorable mention!?!

    What is wrong with you...!?! lol hehehe
  4. Maverick223

    Maverick223 Well-Known Member

    I know, I know...wrath of the crazy .30-06ers and .308ers is a comin'. I just couldn't put it above the .280, and it fills nearly the same roll, I just like it a little better. I think that all cartridge sizes have a near-perfect bullet for it, and for the '06 it is 7mm.

    Thank you both for the commentary, even if you are wrong. :neener:

    Some may find this surprising, but I voted that I agreed 100%. :D
  5. skiking

    skiking Well-Known Member

    I would have swapped the .260 with a 7/08 and the .280 with the 300 Win Mag
  6. R.W.Dale

    R.W.Dale Well-Known Member

    I'm sorry but There simply isn't anything a 280/270/25-06 will do that the ORIGINAL 30/06 won't do better.

    It's Long been my opinion that necking down a parent case is always a step down in performance and vise versa for going up
  7. Maverick223

    Maverick223 Well-Known Member

    Sometimes range and trajectory matters...do you really feel the same way about the .308Win. (.300Savage) case necked down? :uhoh:
  8. tommyintx

    tommyintx Well-Known Member

    Only thing i would have changed is swap with 260 with 243.. make 260 the honorable mention.. 280 also should have 308 as honorable mention.. other than that.. perfect list.
  9. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

    so my personal battery has reduced your list from 7 to 4. i almost bypassed the .22lr because there isn't much that a .22lr does in a rifle that couldn't also be done with a .22lr handgun and what the handgun couldn't do could be done with the .204 Ruger.

    i was happy to see you leave off the 30-06. it and the .270 exact an unnecessary price in recoil. the .260 or the .375 H&H easily cover the same range with more effectiveness
  10. R.W.Dale

    R.W.Dale Well-Known Member

    Yes in fact I do

    there isn't that much a 100grn 243win a 120grn .260 or a 140grn 7mm-08 can do that a 168grain or slippery 150-155grain .308" projectile won't do just as well. The difference in all these is likely a great deal less than you think. A value that would best expressed in TENTHS of an inch to 300 from a 200yd ZERO because remember this thread is about HUNTING cartridges and not 1000yd group shooters

    Case in point look at 6mm BR it does a good 90% of what 243 can but with only 70% of the case capacity

    A list I'd compiled for another thread

    Last edited: Dec 15, 2009
  11. Bobarino

    Bobarino member

    ya, i'd have to say you left out .30-06 and .308. having to choose one of the two, i'd pick .308. i'd replace .280 and .260 with .270 for more available ammo and flatter trajectory than the .280 while still being able to take the same game, given proper shot placement.

    other than that, i think you did pretty good :)
  12. AStone

    AStone Well-Known Member

    Let's make this simpler by staying on North America.

    These 4 will do everything you need to do.
    In a pinch, I'd be fine with only 3 (leave out #2)

    .260 Rem. or 7mm-08
  13. rskent

    rskent Well-Known Member

    Let’s make it even simpler.
    30 06
    12 gauge

  14. Shytheed Dumas

    Shytheed Dumas Well-Known Member

    I would have had the .30-06 or .308 in place of the .260 and .280 Rem. I also like a lever action in .35 Rem better than a 30-30 any day. Those are preferential and either your list or mine would cover North America perfectly.
  15. Sav .250

    Sav .250 Well-Known Member

    Around and around we go.............:)
  16. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Well-Known Member

    That's how I'd go -- albeit here in the Ozarks, I like the .22 Hornet, too.
  17. gondorian

    gondorian Well-Known Member

    I think that the .260 is too expensive in factory ammo to be considered "near perfect" especially when you could have a .243 and a 30-06 for just a little more, both in terms of guns and ammo.
  18. Maverick223

    Maverick223 Well-Known Member

    I was actually keeping it to NA, only mentioning the use of the .375H&H in Africa as an alternate use and sidebar, if we included Africa I would have added a larger round (on the order of .416Rigby/.458Lott/.470NE). Also I don't consider myself qualified to accurately choose an acceptable "Elephant Cartridge" as I have no experience with very large, dangerous African game.
    As far as your choices (which echo many others), while it is true that you can do nearly everything with them, it won't do it well in all areas especially where longer range is needed. Also there are a few cartridges that are somewhat redundant (notably the .22, .30-30, and .45-70) but these were added to the list due to their quick handling/follow-upshots and/or inexpensiveness when compared to their contemporary counterpart.

    Additionally, to all the folks that suggested "12 Ga"...I have never seen a rifle chambered for it...so it doesn't count. :neener:
  19. GunTech

    GunTech Well-Known Member

    260 is a superior long range target cartridge - exactly why you see it in a lot of tactical rifle matches. The selection and availability of hunting bullets is still lacking, and I say that as a huge fan of the 260. I would pick the 7mm-08 over the 260 for hunting. It's an improved 7x57 and that round is a near perfect light game cartridge - a perfect balance of power, recoil accuracy and with a large selection of good BC bullets.

    308 and 30-06 are classics in that they are highly popular and are former military service rounds - which in large measure are responsible for their popularity. As a result, they have a huge selection of loadings. The advantage of the 30-06 over the 308 is small unless you hand load.

    30-30 is, IMO, and obsolete round. Ballistics are poor for the cartridge size, and most loadings feature bullets that make it safe in tubular magazines. The 7.62x39, for example, can deliver very similar performance in a much smaller package. But while it may fail the 'perfect' test, it is extremely popular and there are millions of guns chambered for it. But there's nothing the 30-30 will do that the 308 and 30-06 won't do better

    375 is the perfect African light rifle. It's application in NA is limited. Many American hunters seem to thing that bigger is always better, and that huge calibers are required for non-dangerous game, where a lighter cartridge and good shot placement are a much better answer.

    45-70 is another example of an obsolete cartridge that remains popular. The case is far larger than necessary only because this is a BP round meant to be fired in guns that are noted rated for modern pressures. It would be simple to build a round with identical performance in a much smaller package. One has to wonder if the 460 S&W could offer similar ballistics, while allowing lever guns to also fire 454 and 45LC
  20. Maverick223

    Maverick223 Well-Known Member

    Agreed, it was included to take care of the beasts (Kodiak and Polar Bear) that roam the far north.

    Since its conception I too have thought that it would make a near ideal rifle cartridge for a lever rifle due to the variable loadings, the 454s use would be limited (filled by the 460S&W) but the use of the LC could be beneficial for additional cartridge capacity and/or cheaper target rounds. Don't forget you can fire .410shot out of them as well making it the near ideal survival rifle IMO (ideal would be a over and under .22LR and .460S&W). That said I still enjoy the .45-70Govt., classic thumper.


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