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What is America's all time best, purely civilian hunting cartridge?

LaSportsman

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On 30-30, it's not going to be my go to but in the south and east, hunters often can't see farther than 100 yards and the cover is thick. 30-30 is more than enough for whitetail, the top big game target.

Your thread and your topic but excluding a prior military round, you take out the top contenders but best hunting cartridge then and now. I think 7mm-08 might compete in civilian category when it has more years under it's best. I know southern whitetail hunters who have made the switch because it is more than enough cartridge and less punishing than 30-06.
 

1100RemingtonMan

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If I had to slim down gun my collection. I could do all the rest of my Big Game hunting with a .280 Rem.
I use to think a 7mm Rem would be great but I have learned Magnum’s are not needed as much as one thinks and this is from the Man that 2 out of my 3 Big Game rifles are Magnum’s.
 

ImBillT

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Even tho I don't own one I'd say the .270 Winchester. I recall from eons ago Jim Carmichael making a comment about Winchester should never have developed the .270 or something like that, but he never said why. I hate it when those people like that make those kinds of comments and never back them up. If you're afraid of insulting Winchester keep your pen in your pocket protector.
.277” is just about the perfect bore diameter for an ‘06 case. How it is just about the least supported bore diameter I do not know. I’d probably own one if they made .277” bullets that were as good as readily available .264” and .284” bullets.

Winchester should have put their focus on 150gr-170gr bullets from the beginning.
 
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Mustangs Rule

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It is important to put both the 30-30 and the .270 into the context of their time.

Being the first smokeless powder cartridge in America, the ballistics of the 30-30 were simply game changing as was the killing power of this mighty midget. Plus it was introduced in a brand new production rifle that soon became famous worldwide, the Winchester model 94.

It was in the perfect place at the perfect time for both North and South America. It went from Alaska and Canada to Argentina and Chile.

Next look at another great rifle cartridge combo exampling Winchester’s design genius: The model 54 and the .270.

I have only to great firearms regrets after a life of buying and selling guns. Not bad for 73 years old.

The first was selling a Winchester model 92 in 44-40 with saddle ring no less.\

The second was not buying a totally original Model 54 in .270 from the original owner. I have one in 30-06 and years past had another one. Do not ask me why I sold that one.

The Winchester model 54 was Americas very first civilian sporting bolt action rifle. It came out in the prosperous roaring twenties, (1925) and the model 70 came out in the great depression. The model 54 makes the model 70 look cheap and clumsy by comparison,

In 1925 bolt action big game hunters in America had little but military rounds to choose from, 7×57, 30-06, 30-40 Krag and 8mm Mauser.

The .270 opened up an entire new world to shooters and hunters. The 250/3000 kinda paved the way to “speed” but the .270 became the queen of “fast”, for velocity and killing like lightning struck down large game animals,,,,,without punishing recoil. The 150 grain bullet came out because the 130 grain bullet really torn up meat.

I could hunt the entire world with three great designed in America civilian cartridges, the 30-30. in a 94, a .270 in a pre-64 model 70 Winchester and one nobody has yet mentioned,,,,the 35 Whelen in a true controlled round feed action.

The 35 Whelen was another American game changer. Just at the time that big game hunting was really opening up in Alaska and Canada, when British dangerous game rifles cost a fortune, along came the 35 Whelen.


I have had two 35 Whelens, one in a Remington model 700. I sold it, as I did all my model 700’s and had a custom 35 Whelen made on a Montgomery Wards rifle made from the 1950’s. These were made in Belgium by Fabrigue National, one of Europe's most respected gun manufacturers of Mauser actions. It was a commercial sporting, not military action too. Stronger because of no push loading notch in the receiver as the military actions had.

30-30, .270, 35 Whelen, all as American as Mom and Apple Pie. They have been with me for a half century from Alaska, to the Mexican Border, in saddle scabbards, and canoes too. What a wonderful hunting party I have had with them.

Mustangs Rule
 

Jasher

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Does anyone really believe that's true about a 30-30?

I think its a fairy tale.

My family started hunting Montana in the early 1900's never shot a single big-game animal with a 30-30 that I'm aware of. Matter of fact, nobody in the family owned a 30-30 until the late 1960's and nobody has shot any big-game with it...doubt it has been fired more than 30 times and is going to be sold shortly.
If you are going to sell it let me know
 

Jasher

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Even then, I doubt it...as Ben Lamb pointed out, lots of 300 savage, 308, 35's, 25-35, 25-20, etc. used in the East and mid-west.

Deer numbers and opportunities were also much lower as well...with the number deer that we have now, and the amount of deer being killed yearly, no way the 30-30 has killed more than lots of other rounds.

Who do you know that hunts deer with a 30-30?
Me if you sell me the one you have
 

Randi

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Not one mention of Weatherbys.
I’d say the .257 Weatherby, from rabbits to rhinos, it’s done it all.
This probably falls under the heading----yes and no

Weatherby is an American company but technically the 257 came from the 375 H & H which is from the U.K. and the thread title speaks refers to cartridges, not rifles , but the 257 is a beast for sure.
 

antelopedundee

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.277” is just about the perfect bore diameter for an ‘06 case. How it is just about the least supported bore diameter I do not know. I’d probably own one if they made .277” bullets that were as good as readily available .264” and .284” bullets.

Winchester should have put their focus on 150gr-170gr bullets from the beginning.
Way back when bullets were likely more frangible too. Something like the Nosler partitions or the current crop of lead-free bullets would have likely done less meat damage in 130 grain weight class. For my 6.5-06s I see no reason to shoot anything heavier than 130 grains for deer or antelope.
 

TrumpkinTheDwarf

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My body is in Texas, but home is the Big Sky count
...

But the 338 WM stands above them all as far as being the tops of American specific hunting cartridges. It is the quintessential American cartridge of the 20th Century. Overpowered, loud like a Olds with a 442 and glasspacks, it's the boss of the cartridge world. It's a Percheron in a Quarter-horse world, the Mastiff to the greyhound, the Jerome Bettis of cartridge's & yet is delicate and able to finesse like Tim Meadows in the Ladies Man.

And I'll internet fight anyone who says differently.
You had me at Jerome Bettis! I find myself needing to kill an elk with the mighty American cannon. Gotta figure out how to make that happen now... :unsure:
 

ImBillT

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Depending on how strict you are with your military lineage there may be very few options.

Anything based on an ‘06- 25-06, 6.5-06,.270, 280, 280AI, and more

Anything based on a 308- .243Win, 260Rem, 7-08, 338Fed, probably more

6BR wouldn’t even count if you were being picky. It was based on the .308x1.5” which was just a shortened .308Win.

.223Rem is out.

6.5grendel and 6ARC are based on a 6ppc which is based on a Russian military cartridge.

To the best of my knowledge that leaves most magnums(300Win has been used by the military) the .284Win, the .222Rem and .222mag, 30-30, 25-20, 22lr and some much less used black powder cartridges than the one that I named.

I hate to say a 22lr because it really leaves out big game despite the fact that it’s been done.

Ask a poacher or an Eskimo, and the answer is definitely .222Rem. The .222mag would only be better with a tighter twist and it never got any traction.

30-30 seems like the obvious winner, BUT for western hunting, no matter how many people use it, I have a hard time labeling it “best”. It’s probably the “best” non-military cartridge for hunting in the east.

I can’t name any magnum the “best” if a non-magnum that is suitable for moose and bear exists because there’s just no need for a magnum for 90% of hunting.

30TC just didn’t get any traction, but being a civilian equivalent to a .308, it gets good consideration. Why they throated it so that a loaded cartridge would actually be longer than a 308Win is beyond me.

6.5CM is seriously an excellent cartridge. Again, why the long throat? You use a short enough case to get modern bullets in a magazine, but then throat it so long that they no longer fit? I lean toward recommending 156gr for a 6.5mm on elk, moose and bear, and a 6.5CM is a little small to win the “best” with bullets that heavy. With a 130-140 I can’t call it the best for elk, moose and bear.

It looks like the .284Win is the winner! What can you not kill with a 168-190gr 7mm? Good barrel life, technically usable in actions other than a long action, could be used in a lever action, can use bullets heavy enough for anything and light enough for deer, what else were you looking for?

Well, I’m looking for brass that doesn’t suck, and I don’t mind a military based cartridge, so .280AI for me. Thanks.

I think the 6.5CM (and 6.5-284 if you want to allow it as American) are VERY close to the .284Win if elk, moose and bear are off the table, or if you’re not going to go heavier than 168gr in a 7mm.
 
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Randi

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Ask a poacher or an Eskimo, and the answer is definitely .222Rem. The .222mag would only be better with a tighter twist and it never got any traction.

The First Nation individual who posted on post 75 might disagree with you. And, I believe her cartridge of choice was American made and not derived from a military cartridge and is used from Wolf to Bear
 
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