What exactly is a "Big Bore" rifle?

matt85

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I just have a hard time lumping .338 with .17
There is more difference in a .17 HMR vs .338 Lapua than there is between a .338 Lapua and a .600 Nitro express.
30-06 is over 100 years old, and even with 100 year old powder is still a potent round. A surplus WWI round will kill a pig today just fine.
.36 cal hasn’t been considered a small bore since the days of black powder muskets.
It is not modern smokeless powders that put under .50 cal in the medium size deer rifle, it was simply smokeless powder itself.

I think that applying the standards for black powder rounds to smokeless powder is a mistake. The propellants are just so different it is comparing apples and oranges.

no one is applying black powder standards to smokeless powder, the 36 caliber is a medium bore and the 50 caliber is a large bore. the .17 and .223 caliber guns were never really considered small bores though and really should be put in a class of their own but im not sure what that class would be called (micro bore?). small bore for rifles usually starts around 24-25 caliber depending on the source but there is a substantial difference between a .243 rifle and a .223 rifle in both general performance and practical use.

Eric, in Pierre van der Walts book he named all the different calibers under these three different categories...It is just too many calibers to copy direct from his book..the .416 Rigby and 404 Jeffery will be included in the Large Bore division....40 caliber...
Transitional Bore = .366 to .378
Large bore = .400 to .460
Super bore = .500-.700

i love Pierre van der Walts book, but i disagree with his belief that the .474 and .510 calibers are some how greatly different from the .458. the .458, .465, .474, and .510 are so incredibly similar in performance that separating them into two different classes is just silly. now i do agree that .585, .620, and .700 could be in their own category and have heard of them referred to as "ultra bores" but i personally think that title is a bit silly sounding.

-matt
 

Gert Odendaal

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Good morning all,

I was reading over some of the recent threads on here and it suddenly occurred to me that I had a very poor grasp on what, exactly, a "Big Bore" rifle is. I know the "Wikipedia definition" which is "large-bore refers to calibers with a diameter of .40 inches or larger." but what does that mean to you? For example when I decided to go to Africa for the first time last year I purchased a .375 H&H. Having never shot anything (in the civilian world, not counting the service) larger than a 300 Win Mag the .375 was most definitely a "Big Bore" to me! I thought that surly the minimum caliber acceptable to stop an elephant must be a big bore, but by the definition I was mistaken. I then purchased a 404 Jeffrey. Now I certainly had the "text book" big bore, but I have come to find that some do not even consider this, nor the 416 that would come after it, to be a "big bore" rifle. So I'm asking the community: What, to you, is a "big bore" and why? Is it bullet weight? Speed? Recoil? Sheer machismo and history? Please let myself and the others who may be wondering but do not want to ask know. As always, thank you in advance for your time and wisdom.
Matt, I am careful not to stray from the original question...that is why I composed a "definition" of what I think a "Big Bore rifle is...not really focusing on a specific caliber ...there are much more to a Big bore rifle than meets the eye.. even if you shoot a .500 Jeffery and it does not feed flawlessly, to hunt dangerous game , it still is a big bore in caliber but it is just another nice wall hanger that you can use to hunt warthog...that is sometimes dangerous as well due to it`s sharp tusks...(y)(y)
 

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no one is applying black powder standards to smokeless powder, the 36 caliber is a medium bore and the 50 caliber is a large bore. the .17 and .223 caliber guns were never really considered small bores though and really should be put in a class of their own but im not sure what that class would be called (micro bore?). small bore for rifles usually starts around 24-25 caliber depending on the source but there is a substantial difference between a .243 rifle and a .223 rifle in both general performance and practical use.



i love Pierre van der Walts book, but i disagree with his belief that the .474 and .510 calibers are some how greatly different from the .458. the .458, .465, .474, and .510 are so incredibly similar in performance that separating them into two different classes is just silly. now i do agree that .585, .620, and .700 could be in their own category and have heard of them referred to as "ultra bores" but i personally think that title is a bit silly sounding.

-matt

Big difference when you step up to .510, especially in a 500 Jeff(not 500 NE) with hand loads, when compared to 458,465,474
 

Eric Anderson

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no one is applying black powder standards to smokeless powder, the 36 caliber is a medium bore and the 50 caliber is a large bore. the .17 and .223 caliber guns were never really considered small bores though and really should be put in a class of their own but im not sure what that class would be called (micro bore?). small bore for rifles usually starts around 24-25 caliber depending on the source but there is a substantial difference between a .243 rifle and a .223 rifle in both general performance and practical use.



i love Pierre van der Walts book, but i disagree with his belief that the .474 and .510 calibers are some how greatly different from the .458. the .458, .465, .474, and .510 are so incredibly similar in performance that separating them into two different classes is just silly. now i do agree that .585, .620, and .700 could be in their own category and have heard of them referred to as "ultra bores" but i personally think that title is a bit silly sounding.

-matt
If you drop everything under .24 that makes more sense.
The problem is in the United States at least, .22 lr is a staple of small bore competitions.

This is really just an academic discussion though, unless somebody like SAAMI defines them, there are always going to be grey areas at the boundaries.

I still stand by my assertion that if .30 cal is small bore, then we have been safely and ethically hunting almost all game in the world with small bores for over 112 years.
 

matt85

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If you drop everything under .24 that makes more sense.
The problem is in the United States at least, .22 lr is a staple of small bore competitions.

This is really just an academic discussion though, unless somebody like SAAMI defines them, there are always going to be grey areas at the boundaries.

I still stand by my assertion that if .30 cal is small bore, then we have been safely and ethically hunting almost all game in the world with small bores for over 112 years.

i suppose we should stick to thinking about this from a hunting perspective. if we start thinking about target shooting or military service then caliber size can have completely different classifications and completely different uses.

i dont think any one in this thread has said that small bore rifles arent ethical for most game.

-matt
 

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I think there are really 2-3 standards, one for Africa, one for North America and one for the rest of the world. Different people and different cultures have their own ideas and we seem to forget this
 

Gert Odendaal

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I think there are really 2-3 standards, one for Africa, one for North America and one for the rest of the world. Different people and different cultures have their own ideas and we seem to forget this
No, I do not believe so, a Big bore is what it says...a Big bore rifle is a type of rifle designed to be used for a specific type of hunt , other than that of a small or medium rifle. In India a Big bore rifle was used to hunt Tigers, in Africa it was used to hunt elephant, buffalo, lions, rhinos hippo and leopard...dangerous game animals..in Alaska it was used to hunt polar bears , North America it was used to hunt Grizzlies ....nothing to do with cultures..only to do with a big caliber rifle hunting big dangerous animals....as the question asked by the member"What is a '' Big Bore rifle????
 

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A 24 foot long, 12 inch diameter tungsten round stock with guidance jets attacked fired at a target on earth from outer space when it hits the earth will have about the same effect and damage as a small nuclear warhead kinda like the ones we dropped on the Jap's.

Some call it," The Rod of God ".

Many people carry a round for what the will probably see, shoot and kill with little to no problem what so ever, but when they get in the area where the game is a grand stud animal stomps into a clearing, looks you dead in your eye and you know that he just ain't there for romance.

All of a sudden that medium bore queen just don't look as good as it did just 5 minutes earlier.
 

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From the way I’ve always understood it, small bore was up to .30 cal, medium bore was from .30 to .40, and big bore was over .40 cal. Of course that speaks nothing as to the effectiveness of a particular cartridge as there are medium and big bore rounds like .35 Rem, .45-70 Gov’t, .358 Win, and .450 Bushmaster that are, for a lack of a better term, just fat small bore rounds in terms of impact.
 

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Own a .375 HH and I’m of the opinion a big bore is in the .40 bore.

I’d love a .404 Jeffery and wanted one for year and years. Though being Canadian a .458 is more practical with the selection and quantity of .458 bullets up here.

With that reason to, I dream of a .450 NE double. It’s the perfect combination to me
Hello fellow Canuck! If you wanted to got the 404 Jeffery route, Tradex carries Woodleigh bullets in .423. Several retailers across Canada carry Hornady 404J brass. I had my dies made by CH4D. Rifle started out as a Winchester Stainless Classic in 375H&H. Corlanes put a Lilja stainless barrel on it. Now I have a stainless 404J for half the price you would pay for a new CZ!
 

Nhoro

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All of a sudden that medium bore queen just don't look as good as it did just 5 minutes earlier.
:ROFLMAO: I like it. The bore size of the rifle depends on the situation and generally the medium bore queen will be replaced with the latest greatest super-ultra spiderman bore for the next hunt !
 
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Dang, there are some really different opinions on this, more than I thought when I asked! I guess that I fall into the diameter group, so after reading all these its simply "The Rod of God" ;). Seriously though I think I'm comfortable calling my 404j a big bore, and I want to thank you all for such a great discussion on it. I'm sure this will help a lot of us newbies in the future.
 

Gert Odendaal

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Hello fellow Canuck! If you wanted to got the 404 Jeffery route, Tradex carries Woodleigh bullets in .423. Several retailers across Canada carry Hornady 404J brass. I had my dies made by CH4D. Rifle started out as a Winchester Stainless Classic in 375H&H. Corlanes put a Lilja stainless barrel on it. Now I have a stainless 404J for half the price you would pay for a new CZ!
I like the way you think and do things 8x68...never let facts get in the way of a good story...what ever you need to do to get a 404 Jeffery ..just do it...:LOL::LOL::LOL::LOL:
 

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Certus

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I believe it’s pretty much personal opinion, although some people seem to use it for chest beating.

The way I view things is like this:

30 and under is small.
8mm-374 are the mediums. So that includes the 9.3’s
Then you have 375+ as the bigs. But there are cartridges amongst that aren’t in the same league as each other. Example - 375H&H and fine for buff, elephant etc, but it’s the small side of big bores for that. Whilst a .375 Winchester is a big caliber for a whitetail, but is too small for what the 375H&H can handle. .45-70 is also probably a poor choice for what the .375 H&H does.
The dedicated stopping guns are .577+ IMO.

It really depends on the cartridge talked about.
Recoil is irrelevant. Have a 100lb .600 nitro and it won’t kick, doesn’t make it a small bore.

And to elaborate above - 9.3x62/74 on up is the smallest I’d go for big game (meaning buff and up), but I’d feel them small for that.

You can have small big bores too (.375 H&H etc). Doesn’t make them any less adequate.

*shrugs*
To each their own I reckon.
 

IvW

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8mm-374 are the mediums. So that includes the 9.3’s

The dedicated stopping guns are .577+ IMO.

You can have small big bores too (.375 H&H etc). Doesn’t make them any less adequate.
8mm to under .375 have never and will never be medium bores. The closest would be .338 but they still fall short.

Very very few professionals use .577+ as stopping rifles. Most find .458-.510 more than adequate. .577 and up are just not practical and are very seldom used.....

Small bores below .375 are in most cases inadequate for any thing that wants to scratch, bite, gore or stomp on you..small bores have no place in hunting DG. The lone exception being leopard on bait.
 

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