Splitting Hairs?

DG870

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I really enjoy reading this forum and enjoy the discussions about bullets, calibers, shot placement and other factors but sometimes it seems like it gets down to splitting hairs. There was a thread on the 270 vs the 280that got me started thinking and I’ve had too much time because of the shelter in place stuff going on because of covid19.

It seems many of us are older and have been doing this for a long time and we have had experience to back up our opinions but if were honest we all have our personal pet calibers that we defend. I’m 65 years old and at 13 years old I read everything Jace O’Connor wrote about the 270 Winchester and at 16 saved money from fixing fence and stacking hay to purchase a Ruger 77 in 270 with a weaver K4, so I’ve been a 270 Winchester fan for most of my life. I started reloading in 1977 and now have too many rifles and calibers (according to my wife and daughter) and have shot deer with lots of different calibers While sitting around this week I have been thinking about the last few deer hunts I’ve been on and the guns I’ve used.

The last 5 mule deer I’ve taken with 5 bullets: 2 with 270 140 grain SST’s, 1 with a 30-06 165 grain Interbond, 1 with a 280 Remington with 139 grain SST and 1 with a 7 mm magnum with a 154 grain Interbond. The shots averaged 200 yards with the closest at 150 and the farthest at 250.

As I think about each shot I realized that it wouldn’t have made any difference which rifle I used. The ballistics are similar enough that it really wouldn’t have made any difference which rifle I used.

I’m not trying to disparage anyone’s favorite but many calibers are very similar in their effectiveness. Think about the last several game animals you’ve shot and mentally substitute a similar caliber and decide if the end result would have been different

If nothing else, this could be a pleasant pass time remembering past hunts and hopefully generate some interesting discussion to help pass time. . Stay Safe! And be healthy!
 

Panther Shooter

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I shall go first , I suppose . I have shot 25 man eating leopards in my life ( Clouded Leopards , Spotted Leopards and Hunting Leopards ) .
I have successfully put down 95 kilogram Hunting Leopards with a .375 Holland & Holland Magnum , employing 300 grain Winchester Silvertip soft nose cartridges.
44C0A4C3-7AE5-4B2E-BE8D-89FA3EEA560D.png

However , I have also successfully put them down with one shot kills using my 7 millimeter Remington Magnum, employing 175 grain Remington Core Lokt soft nose cartridges.
4147F809-2E11-434B-88A4-C82B4F4FC979.png

When my aim was true , both calibers were easily able to produce dead Hunting Leopards . When my bullet did not reach a vital organ , I was always in for plenty of trouble... regardless of what caliber I was using .
This helped me understand from a very young age that precise shot placement can ( and often does ) compensate for lack of bore size ( assuming of course , that your caliber choice is reasonable in proportion to your intended quarry ) .
 

crs

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MMM,
The last split hairs that I saw were on a trophy wild boar!
My guide said that meant it was descended from a Russian boar blood line. Who was I to argue?
 

375 Ruger Fan

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@DG870 of course we're splitting hairs. If we all agreed that all we need is a small, medium and large caliber gun, it would be a pretty short and dull conversation. I completely agree with all your comments and noticed you like the Hornady SST. I too have found that bullet to perform quite well.

As an analogy to guns, have you noticed how many golf clubs a golfer carries? Fourteen in the bag is the rule. Does a golfer really need that many? I watched an instructional video where a teaching pro played a par 3, a par 4 and a par 5 hole with only a 7 iron and a putter. He played those 3 holes in a total of 1 over.
 

curtism1234

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Bullet placement kills; ft lbs kill right there.

Most of my centerfire rifle hunting over the years is with a 308 (20"), 30-06, and 7mm rem mag. In retrospect, I should have bought a 300wsm instead of the 308

I've never had an animal under 250 pounds take more than a step or two when hit in the shoulder until I started using a 308. Last year I very well could have lost my 140" whitetail due to using my 308 - took put the heart and both shoulders and he managed to run 100 yards and bled 1 drop. Very thankfully, he ran a big horseshoe so I thought I saw him fall. If he ran straight, it would have a been a body search in a very thick creek bottom.

In my opinion, there is a small but noticeable difference in the 308 vs 30-06. Seems with a 308 the bang/flop is 50/50. A 06 has just enough more power to put them down on a shoulder shot 90% of the time - sometimes with a bit of a stagger but always pretty much right there.

A 7mm rem mag (my favorite cartridge for medium sized game) hits like a freight train. It has the power to spin them facing the opposite direction stone cold dead or it can send an animal 15 feet high in the air landing with only a leg twitch. Is it a meat waster with 150gr cup and core ammo - you bet it will blow a hole the size of a baseball through a shoulder and come out with 2 or 3 exit holes; but when you need something dead right where it stands, the 7mag is one of the most violent cartridges out there.
 

CJW

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Like stated, it's going to happen but sometimes gets ridiculous. Some say that the 458wm isn't a DG cartridge even with todays bullets and powders. Yet nobody disparages the 450 or 470 NE or the 450/400 and the 458 lott is treated like it was delivered by the hand of God himself for another 150 fps.
 

Newboomer

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Everything old is new again. When you compare all the new calibers with the old ones of years ago, there is not much new. It makes for great conversation but there is an old caliber that will do anything a new one will and sometimes better. So many are so close together it makes no difference. 270 vs 280, 308 vs 30-06, 9.3x62 vs 375HH, 35 Whelen vs 9.3x62, 375HH vs 375 Ruger and on and on.

I guess it all boils down to personal preference. I like the variety. It can be fun and frustrating trying to decide which caliber to buy and for what. I have a 375HH but I bought a 9.3x62. Why. They are too close together to call. They both do the same thing. Ah, but it's the idea of a classic caliber and the history (both of them). Much more satisfying than than one of these new copycats to me.
 

Newboomer

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Everything old is new again. When you compare all the new calibers with the old ones of years ago, there is not much new. It makes for great conversation but there is an old caliber that will do anything a new one will and sometimes better. So many are so close together it makes no difference. 270 vs 280, 308 vs 30-06, 9.3x62 vs 375HH, 35 Whelen vs 9.3x62, 375HH vs 375 Ruger and on and on.

I guess it all boils down to personal preference. I like the variety. It can be fun and frustrating trying to decide which caliber to buy and for what. I have a 375HH but I bought a 9.3x62. Why. They are too close together to call. They both do the same thing. Ah, but it's the idea of a classic caliber and the history (both of them). Much more satisfying than than one of these new copycats to me.
To add a little to the mix, I think another boon to the old guns is the advances in bullet technology. With the new bullet types old guns can give the new ones a real run for the money. Seems like a lot of the new are just modifications of the old. Change the chamber length, different barrel twist, so called "improved" for a little bit of performance.

I like the old guys, thank you. Like a lot of us, they have been around for quite awhile and have proven themselves or they (we) wouldn't still be here.
 

Alistair

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I'm firmly of the opinion that almost all cartridge innovation and selection is completely subjective bollocks.

Take the 6.5Creedmoor. I'm told its a completely new thing. A total gamechanger. Nothing at al like anything that's come before, not the 6.5x55, the 6.5x47, the 260 Rem, the 6.5x64 or, or ,or... Totally new. It's amazing really that nobody every thought to sort a cartridge to drive a 6.5mm bullet at moderate velocities before! Thank god for Hornady I say!

It's the same in every bracket of the power range. .308, 30-06, 300WM, 8mm Mauser. All wunderwaffen in their day, but in practical terms, exactly the same.

I'd challenge any hunter, no matter how experienced, to pick up any rifle chambered in any non-magnum round from 6.5mm to 8mm (ie, practically any mid calibre game round), shoot a game animal with it and be able to state after the fact what they'd shot it with, either in terms of recoil, bolt throw, trajectory or terminal performance.

Yeah, there are small differences on paper, but in the field? Close enough to make no difference. And yet you have people saying that a 6.5x55 or a .308 is a mild mannered pussycat to shoot and is intrinsically accurate, whilst simultaneously stating, with some seriousness, that a .270win or a 30-06 is an outdated design that's postively vicious to shoot. Really?

Now I'm no different here. The only logical choice in the UK based on application, cost, availability of ammo and components etc, is .308. Yet I shoot .270win and have a 6.5Creedmoor range gun. Marketing is a powerful thing, but I'm sceptical enough to see it for what it is, and Ididn't buy them because they're objectively better, simply that I like them. That's enough in my book!

Al.
 

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One of the things that changed my thinking on calibers was having kids start hunting. Suddenly my most loved old .30-06 and newer .300 wm were “too much gun” for teenage girls. I started buying 7mm-08s and .243s and .223s-and loved them all! Some stayed and some went away, and some became personal favorites. For sure we split hairs and lose sleep over FPS and fight to the death over one bullet or another.
Smart post and you are correct!
 

Major Khan

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This is extremely relatable . I personally consider the 9.3x74 mm Rimmed calibre to be every bit as potent as the venerable .375 Holland & Holland magnum calibre .
Based on my personal experiences , there is nothing in the world that a .375 Holland & Holland magnum calibre rifle can do ... that a 9.3x74 mm Rimmed calibre rifle cannot do .
As of recent years , I also often find myself wondering :
Can the .338 Winchester magnum calibre ( when loaded with 300 grain bullets ) come close to matching the .375 Holland & Holland magnum calibre ?
 

Standard Velocity

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To add a little to the mix, I think another boon to the old guns is the advances in bullet technology. With the new bullet types old guns can give the new ones a real run for the money. Seems like a lot of the new are just modifications of the old. Change the chamber length, different barrel twist, so called "improved" for a little bit of performance.

I like the old guys, thank you. Like a lot of us, they have been around for quite awhile and have proven themselves or they (we) wouldn't still be here.

To echo what you’ve said the older cartridges relied on heavy for caliber bullets. They weren’t all that aerodynamic but they would penetrate like crazy.

Newer classic American cartridges have almost all been optimized for medium to light for caliber bullets.

Modern cartridges are very efficient and some, like the Creedmoore, can use heavier bullets.

Put a modern heavy bullet into an old cartridge and you may burn a little more powder, but you can stabilize the bullet and deliver it with reasonable velocity. Modern bullets have made some old cartridges better and more relevant than ever.
 

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