Which caliber to keep?

Milan

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Like many of you, I have too many guns and too many calibers. Let's just say I'm a true gun nut who likes to hunt rather than hunter who likes guns (though that is also true). As such I have many rifles and calibers that can fulfill my hunting needs. I would like to weed out some to minimize the agony of having to think which one to take out on the next hunt. The fewer choices I have the easier it will be for me (will it really?).

I should warn you, that even if you are willing to provide suggestions, I may or may not take them to heart and I may still end up owning way too many rifle-caliber combinations. It is an obsession after all.

As I age, I now feel or have rediscovered passion for the smaller, lighter kicking calibers (mainly because they do not make lighter, handier rifles unwieldy). So, if I want to (not need to but want to) use 7x57 as my main hunting caliber, which of the other following ones would you complement it with to account for critters you might feel the 7 is not enough for? I would ideally just have (LOL as I'm typing this :D ) 2 hunting calibers. I'm in Canada, do not plan on hunting bears, but they are on my mind when in the woods. I hunt mostly whitetail, elk and moose in the bush, and whitetail, mule deer and elk in the prairies. I also do not plan on hunting elephants or any of the dangerous game, except maybe buffalo. Really just maybe, most likely not. If I manage to hunt in Africa again, it will be plains game. I will also add comments/reasons next each so you can hopefully see how these came about to be in my possession.

I have:
8x57 - cool old caliber, does everything the 7 can but can hit harder. Always liked it, always had one, even when I was hunting with 30-06.
8x60 - this one I do not need but have a cool rifle in, so maybe it could be used more than just sit pretty in the safe, waiting for me to reload some ammo. Plus if 8x57 is good, 8x60 must be better. :D
8mm-06 - don't have one, never shot one but have few 8x57 barrels that beg to be re-chambered. Could this be the one to replace 8x57, 8x60 and 30-06? Plus if 8x60 is better than 8x57, 8-06 is better still. Right? ;)
30-06 - another old classic that seems to work on most things, always seem to have one. Easy to find ammo for still.
.338 WM - barrel and dies only from the past, but actions it can be screwed into. May not build the rifle after all as lighter, less recoil is what I'm going for but used to hunt with one and that cartridge kills extremely well.
.300 WM - got this for longer shots on Elk last year and used it. Did I "need" it? Not so sure. I think a 30-06 would have worked just as well. One of the cooler magnum, IMHO.
9.3x62 - love this thing, even with short barrel not much muzzle flash, quiet and downright pleasant to shoot, used it in Africa too. Was meant to replace my passion for 375 H&H.
.375 H&H - what does that tell you? I guess 375 cannot be replaced. Or can it? Is it really much better at killing than 9.3x62?...I never shot anything with the 375 but find the 9.3 penetrates like a laser. And if I had to live with larger than 30-06/9.3x62 recoil, I'd rather have the .375H&H than the .338WM I think.
.404 Jeffry - again just barrel at this point...thinking of building one and it seems at least as cool as .375 H&H but for the hunting I do?

Ammo availability (including factory options) should be perhaps considered for all-around hunting cartridges, so I do consider this as factor, but it would not stop me from owning one that is less available. The 8x60 may be a bit of a stretch but so would be 8mm-06 which one of my 8mms may become.

Thank you for indulging me and please keep your answers genuine even if you may feel my questions/reasons are ridiculous.
 
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Ridgewalker

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I’m a bit in the same boat though I now am building a set for my granddaughter.

I see no reason, judging from your animals you hunt regularly, to need more than a 7x57 or 30-06 (just my personal choice). If/when you return to Africa for DG, just rent from your PH.

You indicate a nice assortment of calibers, but as you say if your a shooter you need more, a hunter you don’t,

“Beware the man who only owns one gun, because he probably knows how to use it!”
 

JakeH

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Hey man, I’m all for having just a few nice rifles but TWO? A man needs to have, at minimum:
  1. A .22LR for pot shooting and plinking
  2. A medium game “deer” rifle, be it a .270, .30-30, .243, 7x57, any of the wide variety of 6.5’s....something of the like.
  3. A big game rifle for those animals with a few more pounds than deer. A .308, .30-06, the .300 and 7mm magnums.
  4. A medium bore for when you absolutely need to drop something big (non-dangerous game division) or you’re hunting something that could reasonably kill you. .338 WM, .35 Whelen, the .375’s, and honestly I feel like the smaller .40 caliber rounds fit here too.
Of course this should be complimented with at least one if not a pair of shotguns and anything else desired. If budget, want, or need arises, a true stopping rifle should be added as well!

Don’t deprive yourself, man!
 

Milan

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@Milan,

you should sell me the 404 barrel and an action to go with it. tooo much recoil for you, not light, pretty much a waste of your time an money. ;)
LOL...it could happen. Have a VZ24 action opened up to take 375 (and so I hope 404 as well). But it's not a push feed Remy, so you probably would not like that. ;)
 

BeeMaa

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I don't see any reason not to keep the lot.
In fact I see more than a few gaps in your arsenal below the the .30 caliber mark.
I suggest adding at least a 22-250, 243WIN, 6.5x55SW, 257Roberts, 275Rigby and a 7mmRM to top it off.
That will bring your total to 15, a good round number until we consider the gaps existing above .40 caliber....(y)

In all seriousness, keep the ones you love and if you love them all you should keep them all.
If not at least give (or sell) them to family members or friends that will appreciate them and let you shoot them every now and then.
 

Milan

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Hey man, I’m all for having just a few nice rifles but TWO? A man needs to have, at minimum:
  1. A .22LR for pot shooting and plinking
  2. A medium game “deer” rifle, be it a .270, .30-30, .243, 7x57, any of the wide variety of 6.5’s....something of the like.
  3. A big game rifle for those animals with a few more pounds than deer. A .308, .30-06, the .300 and 7mm magnums.
  4. A medium bore for when you absolutely need to drop something big (non-dangerous game division) or you’re hunting something that could reasonably kill you. .338 WM, .35 Whelen, the .375’s, and honestly I feel like the smaller .40 caliber rounds fit here too.
Of course this should be complimented with at least one if not a pair of shotguns and anything else desired. If budget, want, or need arises, a true stopping rifle should be added as well!

Don’t deprive yourself, man!
Just because I did not mention them, does not mean I also have the .22s and shotguns, and such. Just talking "big" game hunting...
 

Milan

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I don't see any reason not to keep the lot.
In fact I see more than a few gaps in your arsenal below the the .30 caliber mark.
I suggest adding at least a 22-250, 243WIN, 6.5x55SW, 257Roberts, 275Rigby and a 7mmRM to top it off.
That will bring your total to 15, a good round number until we consider the gaps existing above .40 caliber....(y)

In all seriousness, keep the ones you love and if you love them all you should keep them all.
If not at least give (or sell) them to family members or friends that will appreciate them and let you shoot them every now and then.
I did not mention all calibers I have, just the ones I want to dwindle. I would absolutely love to give away some to family members. But my son is not into it. My brother is on another continent and so is my dad. My friends are not into guns or hunting or if they are 1 rifle seems to satisfy them (maybe I need new friends :D ).
 

Milan

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I’m a bit in the same boat though I now am building a set for my granddaughter.

I see no reason, judging from your animals you hunt regularly, to need more than a 7x57 or 30-06 (just my personal choice). If/when you return to Africa for DG, just rent from your PH.

You indicate a nice assortment of calibers, but as you say if your a shooter you need more, a hunter you don’t,

“Beware the man who only owns one gun, because he probably knows how to use it!”

Hmmm....your answer sounds most practical...this exact solution is in the back of my mind - keep 7x57 or 30-06, sell everything else. Hmmmm...not quite there yet mentally to sell all others...
 

Bullthrower338

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You definitely need new friends! You need friends that tell you it’s ok, you don’t have a problem! Anyone that tries to convince you that you don’t need another rifle is a wolf in sheep’s clothing! I think that buying brass for rifles you don’t even own is just normal progression into achieving a goal. Keep them all and add more, you can’t ever be known as the old curmudgeon down the road with the arsenal that becomes local lore if you only have a couple guns!
Cheers,
Cody
 

AZDAVE

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Keep three! 30/06 for deer size critters, 9.3x62 for everything, then 404 Jeffrey because of your whole list you will kick yourself the hardest for it if you don't keep it.

If only 2 9.3x62 for everything, then 404 Jeffrey because of your whole list you will kick yourself the hardest for it if you don't keep it.
 

Bullthrower338

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Dave,
Nobody here believes that you could even fathom keeping only 3 guns! Lol
 

Milan

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Dave,
Nobody here believes that you could even fathom keeping only 3 guns! Lol
I know. Insane. And nobody is too keen on the 7....they keep trying to move me to 30-06 or 9.3. Luckily I like both of those very much. But I have now fallen in love with the 7 recently. It used to be also one of those calibers I always had but never used much and never hunted with it. Now I like using it and hunting with it as well.
 

cmk

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...I'm in Canada, do not plan on hunting bears, but they are on my mind when in the woods. I hunt mostly whitetail, elk and moose in the bush, and whitetail, mule deer and elk in the prairies. I also do not plan on hunting elephants or any of the dangerous game, except maybe buffalo. Really just maybe, most likely not. If I manage to hunt in Africa again, it will be plains game.

From what you're saying (hunting needs, and 2 calibres/rifles ONLY), and the fact that you want to keep the 7x57 (wise choice), you should not keep anything less than the 338WM.

I would say that either the 338WM or 9.3x62 is the logical choice.
The 375 H&H comes next.
Then nothing
Then nothing
Then the 300WM, but you're getting close to what you can already achieve with the 7x57.
 

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