The “Must Have” Cartridges

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by High Plains, Apr 28, 2022.

  1. High Plains

    High Plains Member

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    Sorry if you think is about who makes what great steel and walnut / manmade material stock and scope.
    Established, capable centerfire cartridges legal for deer (in most states) include but are not limited to:
    222 Rem
    223 Rem / 5.56 NATO
    22-250 Rem
    220 Swift
    243 Win
    240 Wby
    6mm Rem
    250 Sav
    257 Roberts
    25-06 Rem
    257 Wby
    6.5x55 Swede
    264 Win
    260 Rem
    6.5-284 Win
    6.5 Creed
    270 Win
    270 WSM
    270 Wby
    7x57 Mauser
    280 Rem
    284 Win
    7mm Rem
    7 STW
    7mm Wby
    7mm-08 Rem
    30-30 Win
    308 Win
    30-06 Spfd
    300 Win
    300 Sav
    300 Wby
    30-378 Wby
    308 Norm
    303 Brit
    8x57 Mauser
    338-06
    338 Win
    340 Wby
    35 Whelen
    35 Rem
    OK, you didn’t need a sandwich or a nap to finish this list, are there any new cartridges within the last 10 years that do the job better in a bolt action rifle than a cartridge of the same caliber on this list?
     
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  2. NIGHTLORD40K

    NIGHTLORD40K Member

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    I wouldn't take deer with any of the first 4 you listed, but the rest are all perfectly capable.
     
  3. 49willys

    49willys Member

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    Dead is dead,243 kills just as dead as 378 weatherby.nothing in the last 10 years kills any deader.
     
  4. bluetopper

    bluetopper Member

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    Why did you quit? Lots of good ones that start with a 4.
     
  5. 3Crows

    3Crows Member

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    I know I would be in the minority but I do not think any .22 caliber is sufficient for deer or hogs. I know people use them but I would not. I think the .243 is the beginning of deer capable.

    3C
     
  6. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    The centerfire 22's will kill deer with range limitations, careful bullet selection and careful shot placement. I've taken deer with a 223. They died, but I have better choices without the limitations.

    For deer and similar size game anything 24 or 25 caliber will work as well as anything bigger and are probably ideal as long as game larger than deer aren't an option. Yes a 243 or 25-06 will kill an elk. But I feel the same way about 24 and 25 caliber on elk as I do 22 caliber on deer. It can work, but there are better choices.

    Anything 26 caliber or larger works on anything in the lower 48. Pick whatever you like, but understand that some like 30-30 class cartridges will have limited ranges. Some will take game at ranges much farther than 95% of hunters have the skills to use them. Some recoil more than needed. Some are simply bigger than needed for anything on this continent. And some are virtually impossible to find ammo for, and/or it is very expensive.

    I've owned rifles in 13 of the cartridges listed and several more not listed. They all have proven they will kill any game animal in this country. But my personal choice based on performance, availability, reasonable recoil and price of ammo is 308. The 6.5CM and 7-08 are also contenders but 308 wins in my book based on availability and price of ammo.

    The only animal in North America that I'd feel even slightly under gunned for are the supersized Brown bear in Alaska. And I have no plans to ever hunt there. I'd have no hesitation using any of those 3 on inland grizzly, black bear, moose, or elk in addition to deer.
     
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  7. LoonWulf
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    LoonWulf Contributing Member

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    .348 and 358win, the new marlins, the 307win, 7-30 waters......others


    Cant kill nuthin deader than dead......Yea but you Can kill it dead sooner!

    In my experience, killing things isn't really that demanding a task mechanically
    Doing so effectively, with a margin of user error can be.

    Where I hunt a .223 is all i need, and for 99% of the animals I shoot a .22mag (just to get harder bullets and a tad more reach over the .22lr) would suffice, tho not be legal for public land.
    My success ratio would drop a bit, and id become more specialized in HOW i hunted, but dead would be dead.
     
  8. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    At my count, I’d owned all but 8 of those cartridges, but among all of them, the vast majority certainly are not “must haves” by any reasonable definition of the class.
     
  9. Beck

    Beck Member

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    Must have 7.62x39.

    Old data puts it close, but slightly less potent than 30-30 Win. But that was then; this is now. With modern powders and projectiles from 125gr to 150gr, today's 7.62x39 is a 225+ yard 30 cal deer cartridge.
     
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  10. redneck2

    redneck2 Member

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    As much as shooters get all twisted up over (insert your favorite caliber here) ______ a given 120 to150 grain bullet at 2,200 FPS kills the same no matter the head stamp.

    As my friend used to say “deer don’t care”

    If shooters spent as much time practicing as they do arguing over the “most bestest ever caliber”, they’d be better off
     
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  11. dh1633pm
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    dh1633pm Contributing Member

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    45-70 and 7.62x54R. Your list is certainly inclusive enough. Yes there are all but a few capable for the taking of any type of critters that roam in North America. I listed two that I use or have used for the taking of deer and other animals.
     
  12. earlthegoat2

    earlthegoat2 Member

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    Only cartridges and rifles released in the last 3 or 4 years are capable of killing anything. Everyone knows that.

    I just bought my new 6.5 PRC CZ 600 Alpha. Too bad they are apparently going to be recalled. Newer is better. Can’t you tell?

    And obligatory :confused: for the dimmer amongst us.
     
  13. Archie

    Archie Member

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    I'm a bit confused. The Title reads "Must Have" cartridges. Then the introductory post reads - in part: [
    I find many cartridges in the list are quite redundant. This suggests to me a list of 'favorite' cartridges for deer.
    So is this listing and thread for a discussion of calibers generic to a complete inventory, a list of 'deer sized' cartridges only or something else? (It's early, perhaps I'm dense this early.)

    This seems to indicate only 'new cartridges' should be added to the list. I am not sure what it is you seek.

    I have no use for Weatherby cartridges. In their own right they are adequate or effective for most purposes but I have no desire to spend much money than what is needed. My ego isn't in urgent need of bolstering and I despise 'bowling pin' finishes. I have little or no use for belted magnum cartridges. (I find that a sales gag much like selling the same old product in a more colorful box.)

    For deer, my favored round is .257 Roberts +P. (Essentially the original in a strong action.) I do not hunt game at 'extended ranges' nor do I shoot targets at ranges over 300 yards at maximum and likely not over 150 yards. Confessing I do own a couple of oddball calibers (6.5x53.5mmR, for instance) which will do for any critter of similar size, .257 Roberts is 'available' if one seeks and is easily reloaded. I hope that adds to the process of the (to me) vague thread.
     
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  14. Buzznrose

    Buzznrose Member

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    Seems like a lot for “must have” calibers. Maybe I missed the point.

    As mentioned in many other threads, you could and many have gotten by successfully hunting most everything with one rifle their whole life
     
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  15. Turkeytider

    Turkeytider Member

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    Agree on the .243 being the threshold for deer. I have a .223, like it, but would not use it for deer even though it will kill one if everything`s just right.
     
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  16. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

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    I have had nothing but success using the 223 in a 75 gr Hornady BTHP on deer and hogs. In fact, I have had less runners with them than with other calibers generally thought to be more "optimum" for the purpose. Most people I know around here who hunt hogs (deliberately, VS just killing "surprise hogs" with whatever gun they happen to have at the time) use 223. As for 243, I have had runners, but never failed to find a shot deer after following a very short and colorful blood trail- more so than some other "more better" calibers. Just my experience.
     
  17. 1948CJ2A

    1948CJ2A Member

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    Need more 8mms on the list. The 8mm Rem Mag and 325 WSM are both great options.
     
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  18. bluetopper

    bluetopper Member

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    People forget about the awesome 444 Marlin. It’s not overkill on small deer yet will take down anything in North America with authority.
     
  19. marksman13

    marksman13 Member

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    The .22 cal center fires kill deer and pigs just fine. Folks who say otherwise have not used them. Yes, there are much better options, but they kill just fine.

    That said, there’s really nothing new under the sun. The reason newer cartridges tend to do better than their older relatives is ballistics technology. There’s a better understanding of what it takes to make an accurate bullet/cartridge these days.
     
  20. Bronco72

    Bronco72 Member

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    I guess I am old school!
    If I was limited to only one cartridge it would be probably a 30-06. I am thinking of being able to reload for it in my selection. 110's for small stuff, cast bullets to minimize meat damage and 180's to 220's for the big stuff. All weight's in between included.
    I am biased since I have had a '06' for 55 years.
     
  21. d2wing

    d2wing Member

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    I don't quite understand the question. Any on the list would do for me. I have killed deer with several and some not on the list. With correct bullets and placement, they all work just fine. My current favorite is 7-08 but could easily be replaced by several on the list. I do prefer high velocity rounds because in my experience they do the best job of killing at the greatest range and accuracy.
     
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  22. someguy2800

    someguy2800 Member

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    Honorable mention for 30-40 krag. Others I am a fan of are 338 federal, 358 win, 9.3x62. This list could be 300 cartridges long if you spent enough time at it. Glad I have the freedom to chose and the ability to pursue the obscure or wildcat.
     
  23. Mosin77

    Mosin77 Member

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    Putting holes in things to kill them can take many forms. I reckon just about any new 6mm-7.62mm round developed in the last decade would do to take down a deer at most realistic ranges. And there’s a whole host of .357-.50 caliber rounds that can do the same with equal aplomb (plus some more that will be definite overkill.)
     
  24. High Plains

    High Plains Member

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    Ever cartridge on the list can be your favorite for this or that small game or big game. Some, like a 243 Win or 30-30 Win, can excel on vastly different game animals, depending on your desires and restrictions.
    If nothing else but what was on the list was available for plains game and smaller animals, we could still fill our tags and freezers in North America. The new cartridges of the last 10 years have not made a vast change in how effective we are as hunters. Virtually all of them are only a bigger case speced out for higher chamber pressure than others of the same approximate case size and bullet diameter.
     
  25. marksman13

    marksman13 Member

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    I don’t disagree. The one thing modern cartridge development has given us is cartridges and properly twisted barrels for long, heavy for caliber bullets. That’s the only real advancement other than powders.
     
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