Forgotten Calibers

danr55

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One thing that has not changed over the years, is hunters/shooters all have favorites that are better (in their opinion) than the favorites of other hunters/shooters. I guess that's what keeps us all looking at new stuff. Let me just say while you are all correct, you would be more correct if you agreed with me that once we got past the 6.5X55, 7X57, 7X68 and 8X57, they all just variations on the theme.
 

danr55

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I've been loading the venerable 6.5 cartridges including the Swede, M-S, and 6.5-06 for many years. All of the new craze with the 6.5 is marketing related more than performance based. The 6.5X54, 6.5X55, 6.5X57, and the 6.5-06 are capable of taking any game in North America and most anywhere in the world. What that he says?? Look at the history of elephant hunting with the 6.5X54 and 6.5X55. You may be surprised. Some of the cartridges I'm surprised I haven't seen mentioned on here are 220 Swift, 240 Weatherby and 30 Newton.. These were all famous and desirable cartridges at one time that have passed from glory for one reason or another.
 

rookhawk

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Apr 17, 2019
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While not at all forgotten calibers in fine rifles, or with New Englanders, Europeans, or safari hunters, these calibers get no discussion on this forum:

7x57
6.5x55
7x64
9.3x62
6.5x54
303 British
35 Whelen
300 H&H
257 Roberts
318 Westley Richards
404 Jefferey


On this forum, accuracy and modern products is penultimate. Accuracy is subordinate to reliability in practical matters and any nice rifle is good enough inside 350 yards.

Just my opinion.
 

BluegrassBilly

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It's interesting to me that better bullet design has breathed new life into the 6.5 class, but the same love has not been shown to the quarterbores. Perhaps it's that they are class 2 cartridges whereas 6.5 can serve class 2/3 (in western states anyway). Sure the .25-06 is silently alive and kicking, but why have we let the 257 Bob go obsolete? It's a great, soft shooting cartridge perfectly adequate for deer, and more accurate at longer ranges than the undisputed 30-30. Give me a 257 with 100 grain e-tips at 3000 fps, and I'd be a happy camper. But nobody chambers it anymore, and the only commercial loads are the premiums.
 

6mm Remington

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Westen Montana
The 6mm Remington has become my favorite over the years. I have an old Remington 700 carbine 1963 in 6mm Remington. I noticed Federal has dropped their premium line for this cartridge. I gave them a call. It was stupid for me to bother.
My favorite too for coyotes, antelope, and deer. I have a Ruger 1B in 6mm Remington and my son has two rifles in 6mm Remington. One is a Remington Model 600 Montana Centennial made in 1964 with the 18 1/2" barrel that I passed down to him. The other is a Ruger MKII. Both are great shooting rifles as is my Ruger 1B. It's such a fast, flat shooting cartridge with plenty of pop for deer sized game and it doesn't beat a person up shooting it.
 

Kotimaki

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Jan 13, 2019
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My favorite too for coyotes, antelope, and deer. I have a Ruger 1B in 6mm Remington and my son has two rifles in 6mm Remington. One is a Remington Model 600 Montana Centennial made in 1964 with the 18 1/2" barrel that I passed down to him. The other is a Ruger MKII. Both are great shooting rifles as is my Ruger 1B. It's such a fast, flat shooting cartridge with plenty of pop for deer sized game and it doesn't beat a person up shooting it.
I have a 788 6mm that shoots like a laser beam and very accurate. Kills deer like the hammer of Thor too.
 

rookhawk

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Some thoughts for this thread, apologies if the ideas offend some, but that's not my intention.

Do you believe reliability of a controlled round feed / mauser action is supreme? (then the forgotten calibers aren't forgotten, they are commonplace)

Do you shoot inside of 350-400 yards? (then the forgotten calibers are probably not just not forgotten, but are probably in their sweet spot where they are working very well as heavy for caliber hunting rounds)

Do you buy high quality used guns rather than buying plastic stuff that will end up at a pawn shop for $150 in ten years? (then the forgotten calibers are pretty common and you're buying $8000-$25000 guns at modern costs to reproduce, even if you only paid $800-$2500 for a sublime example in a "forgotten caliber")

Why do I shoot what this forum typically calls "forgotten calibers"? Because they were typically built on guns that qualify as functional art.

I'm not besmirching the crowd that wants a Howa, Christiansen, Remington, Savage or other such rifle with a Burris, Leupold, or Bushnell optic, its just that those high production choices don't come in the more "gentlemanly" cartridges that have been proven in Europe, Africa, Britain, and in the fine gun rooms of Abercrombie & Fitch, Griffin & Howe, or Von Langerke & Detmold.

Its not an issue of cost, its an issue of preference. The "forgotten cartridges" in fine used guns cost no more than new mass-produced options, they just don't advertise on hunting shows as most of the master gunsmiths that built these weapons have been dead for 50 years.

My son shoots a custom, german made 7x64. Its arguably the most effective light recoil medium game caliber you can buy. (17lbs of recoil to send a 7mm 140gr at 2950fps). Gun would easily cost $6500-$8500 to have built today. It was at a Cabelas for years as a like-new unfired example. I paid around $850, spent $400 doing pivot mounts myself, $450 for a used swarovski optic. About $1600 all-in.

My daughter shoots a Mannlicher-Shoenauer 1903 in 7x57 that was custom built about 100 years ago by a noted German Gunsmith. 7x57 sends a 175gr bullet at 2450fps and only 12lbs of recoil. This caliber has been successful on everything from small game up to moose/elk and brainshots on elephant and hippo. With exhibition wood, german optics, claw mounts, the gun would cost $12000 to build today. I think I paid $850 and will spend another $400 restoring the stock and reblacking some of the metal parts.

These are just two examples of "forgotten cartridges" (according to this forum) however they've been used ubiquitously worldwide for a century. Ammo is readily available online and certainly for handloading. Buying something new at the store is a choice, and that choice usually results in a "conventional caliber" and at the end of the day, its a disposable tool that does a job and then ends up at a yardsale. Nothing wrong with that, that's how most people buy most things. There are profound reasons to buy better quality used goods in "forgotten calibers" though, the least of which is the quality of the gun, but also because the calibers are usually giving you maximum performance at minimal recoil possible. Naturally, if you're willing to take 50% more recoil there is something new that will send bullets flying 10% faster; surely Howa and Savage make them.
 

Ben Lamb

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I'd prefer a master-craftsman made firearm over a factory one. Unfortunately, left-handed shooters have limited choices, or we have to shoot right handed rifles. I sent a 1995' vintage Ruger Mark II in 30-06 (totally antiquated and not useful on today's super-game) to a smith who turned it into a pre-war Oberndorf style rifle with appropriate lines & slimness.

The old guns are still the best ones when it comes to fit & finish. The metal work is second to none and the wood to metal fit is generally excellent. The A&F/LV&D guns are some of the finest imported into the states ever, and until the 1940's, were coveted above all others besides Griffin & Howe sporters.

They don't make 'em like that anymore, at least not to where a working man can afford them.
 

JV842

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My father n I r working on the resurrection of his 25Gibbs as we speak. He made it over 40 years ago. He reworked a Omendorf 98 n made an unbelievable fiddleback maple stock. Will send pics
 

Europe

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rook hawk you are to be commended for your ability and willingness to turn fine old firearms into works of art for your children. I dare say that if they take care of them, those rifles will still be capable of hunting when their children are ready to hunt.

Time and money is the enemy of so many working families, that sometimes the only way to continue to hunt, especially with more than one or two children in the family is to look for ways to do so for less. Granted as in everything in life you get what you pay for but possibly some would prefer to own a less expensive rifle, therefore leaving him enough money that he can spend time hunting with his children. Also in larger families not everyone is always going to want to hunt, someone is going to want to go to to Disneyworld and that also is expensive and decreases the amount of money one can spend on rifles, scopes and even hunting trips.

Believe me, I agree with you and my grandchildren have already put in their requests, with one grandson wanting the H & H's ( 275, 300, and 375 ), one wanting the 30/30, 348, 250/3000 ( as he likes levers ), the 6,5 x 55 and 7 x 57 have been used for years by several and the 9.3 x 64 and 74R have been in my younger brothers hands for a few years now and I dont expect them back anytime soon. And the fight over my late husbands collection will be a sight to see, but his most sacred pieces would be appreciated by folks like Ben and Brent, so to will be interesting to see if they stay in the family or not after I am gone.

Stevens--(Savage), did in fact make the combo I enjoyed as a child and to me it was as good as someone with a custom built Holland & Holland, and it didn't even have a scope. Actually I had no idea who Holland and Holland was, at that time

But I agree that many of the so called forgotten calibers have not been forgotten all, at least not in my family, or Brent, or Ben Lamb, or Richard or--well you get the idea LOL
 
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Panda Bear

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Believe me, I agree with you and my grandchildren have already put in their requests, one wanting the 30/30, 348, 250/3000 ( as he likes levers )
Does anyone hunt the larger big game animals with a lever action anymore ? ( Elk, Moose, Brown Bear ) I wonder if besides some calibers, good calibers, being forgotten, if also the lever action has fallen out of favor ?
 

mikwat

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Jun 28, 2018
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Looking through this thread, it doesn't appear to be entirely forgotten. However I swear that I'm the only one running around the woods and range with a 6.5x55 or a .35 Remington.
 

Scott85

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Nov 22, 2018
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I'd prefer a master-craftsman made firearm over a factory one. Unfortunately, left-handed shooters have limited choices, or we have to shoot right handed rifles. I sent a 1995' vintage Ruger Mark II in 30-06 (totally antiquated and not useful on today's super-game) to a smith who turned it into a pre-war Oberndorf style rifle with appropriate lines & slimness.

The old guns are still the best ones when it comes to fit & finish. The metal work is second to none and the wood to metal fit is generally excellent. The A&F/LV&D guns are some of the finest imported into the states ever, and until the 1940's, were coveted above all others besides Griffin & Howe sporters.

They don't make 'em like that anymore, at least not to where a working man can afford them.
About the only route to go for left handed rifles is for a custom rifle. I love my main right handed rifle but I hate to carry it, I hate when the bolt starts to dig into my back. I haven't had to worry too much about working the bolt. All my rifles from here on out will be custom left handed rifles, the first one will be in 280 AI sub 6 pound range.
 

BluegrassBilly

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Well except for Kimber and Ruger with the occasional run by Winchester... ;)
Those occasions seem decreasingly frequent, and a search of Buds, KyGunCo, Academy, and Cabelas turned up not a single 257 Bob. Those who are into semi-customs, rebarrelling, and handloading will always have options.

Is there a term for a obsolescent cartridge that isn't commercially available anymore, like "wildcat," but in reverse?
 

Europe

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Bluegrassbilly, maybe we should start one

birthmother, reborn cat , original cat, line breed forefather, founding father,
 
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