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Old 06-23-2019, 08:46 AM
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chuck chuck is offline
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Default Why do you choose a particular cartridge?

I have a friend who says “cartridges are more alike than different” and I tend to subscribe to that reasoning. Yet tend to agonize over cartridge selection at times. I have regretted doing that more than once as it turned my focus from what really should have mattered. That is the rifle itself.

How do people here select a specific cartridge? Velocity? Power? Barrel life? Component availability? Platform availability? Dies you have on hand? Etc.
"All rifle mechanisms are not the same when it comes to reliability in the field."
-Bob F.
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Old 06-23-2019, 09:04 AM
elkhunter11 elkhunter11 is online now
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Location: Camrose
Posts: 34,561

It varies, for a big game rifle , velocity matters more than barrel life to me, for a target rifle , recoil and barrel life are considered more. If it comes down to two or three very similar cartridges, and I have dies and components for one, that will be a factor. I load all of my centerfire, so being able to buy factory loads at the local store is never a consideration. To start from scratch for a big game rifle, I would pick a bullet diameter and weight that interest me, and then look at cartridges that deliver the bullet at a velocity that I want, at ranges that I want. Then I look at component availability and go from there. For a go to big game rifle , I shoot customs, and most cartridges can be chambered in actions that I like. For an range rifle, the platform is important to me, as I shoot factory rifles for range practise.
Only accurate guns are interesting.
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Old 06-23-2019, 09:29 AM
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catnthehat catnthehat is offline
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For me, cartridge selection is not an exact science , except when it comes to rifles built for matches , Palma or Fclass for example .
The requirements of the particular match dictates the cartridge .

In a hunting rifle it comes down to several things with the cartridge it is chambered in , being not the least nor the most important .
A balance must be struck between the action ,cartridge , barrel length and sighting system , with the outcome being a rifle I can shoot comfortably .
I have never picked a cartridge for the fact that I thought it was the best, most powerful, accurate , etc ., because that cartridge would be a unicorn .
" And then there's Neil Young- I'm certain there's a few loose strings on THAT guitar!"
Rex Murphy
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Old 06-23-2019, 09:38 AM
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pikergolf pikergolf is offline
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I own two centre fire rifles. I picked the .243 win. for coyotes, was dreaming of those 500 yd shots. Turns out most shots at coyotes are well under 100yds, so a .22 of some sort would have been a better choice. I am making a change to target bullets for it, hopefully that will cut down on damage.

My other CF is a .223 which I picked because I wanted a rifle for strictly targets. Our range only goes to 300 yds and it is cheap and fun to shoot, so I am happy with it.

So I guess you could say I put out the parameters and picked the best cartridge for the use. My parameters were off for the coyote gun.
Isaiah 5:20-25 God help Canada
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Old 06-23-2019, 09:45 AM
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Scottmisfits Scottmisfits is offline
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Location: Calgary
Posts: 1,913

Fr right now, my main consideration is recoil. Although my some is fairly stout, he's still 13. He manages recoil very well, has shot some moderate recol rifles, but going to the range or just out shooting, he just can't do it all day. I think even 20 rounds in a 308 is a good day for him. He owns a 243 but likes my Kimber in 308 for hunting.

2r3, 6.5 (I don't really care what variety), and 308 is what I have tended to lean towards. 30-06 has been there a couple of times. Next just may bea 223.
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Old 06-23-2019, 10:02 AM
cowmanbob cowmanbob is offline
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For me it has more to do with rifle selection.
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Old 06-23-2019, 11:21 AM
mattthegorby mattthegorby is offline
Join Date: Oct 2017
Posts: 717

When grabbing my first rifle I selected cartridge based on:
  • Recoil
  • Oomph to harvest big game at short/moderate distances
  • Resale popularity

For my next...
  • Something with a bit more oomph for longer distances, but still conservative recoil
  • Something you do not see everywhere... like 280 AI or 6.5 PRC
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Old 06-23-2019, 12:09 PM
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bat119 bat119 is offline
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Location: On the border in Lloydminster
Posts: 5,915

Jack O'Connor

I read every book, my first store bought non surplus was a Mod 70 featherweight in 270 win.

Since then I've gone through dozens of different rifles mostly for the experience these days I settled on a 280 Rem for general hunting similar to the 270 with a broader range of bullet choices.

Components and factory easy to get flat shooting with enough power for anything.
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Old 06-23-2019, 12:14 PM
shooter12 shooter12 is offline
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 390

For hunting rifle I prefer the most powerful cartridge I can shoot comfortably under the field condition (means off hand shooting), at any range that I want to shoot without wondering if its energy is gonna be enough or not for an animal .
I am not looking for the lightest gun possible as it will increase the recoil and I don't like to use muzzle brakes .
300 WSM is probably the most powerful cartridge I can use to knock down 500 m still rams from the kneeling position , so this is what I use for elk and moose.
I have 300 WIN and 325 WSM and their recoil is slightly heavier then 300 WSM but its enough for me to not use them as often as 300WSM for hunting, but I use them for targets.
For lighter game like deer I prefer flatter shooting 270 WSM.
Couple 30-06s , 308,243 and some others I mostly use for targets and occasionally for hunting .
I reload all my ammo and components for those calibers are not difficult to find.
For practice to be in a good shape I shoot a lot .22 rounds from different barrels, heavy or lights off hand.

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Old 06-23-2019, 05:55 PM
Buckhead Buckhead is offline
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Location: Sherwood Park
Posts: 1,143

My first rifle and cartridge chose me. I walked into the store many years ago and there was a Model 70 Featherweight in .270 in the rack. Shouldered it and it felt right so walked out with it. That same rifle is still in my safe. I’ve had many rifles and cartridges since then but I kept coming back to the 30-06 so that’s my primary right now. Also have a .223, 7mm-08, and a .338 to round things out. I like my cartridges simple and cost effective. Don’t need much that I don’t already have.
Putting down game is probably 80% the shooter and 20% the cartridge in any event.
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Old 06-23-2019, 06:23 PM
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6.5 shooter 6.5 shooter is offline
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Location: Medicine Hat
Posts: 2,459

When I first started hunting I choose a rifle Cartridge that was versatile and easy to find ammo for..30-06. Once i started reloading then I chose the same cartridge due to he ease of reloading components, bullet selection etc.

Then as time went on I read, learned more, I found weird and wonderful cartridges, learned about BC, barrel life and a multitude of other factors that effect recoil, barrel life etc.....

Now I buy cartridge cause there cool or preforms a certain task for a certain discipline.

There are no wrong choices....
Trades I would interested in:

-.22 Hornet or K Hornet
- light weight walking rifle in .204
- Anything in 6.5mm.
- Sightron rifle scopes, 4.5x14x42mm or 4x16x42mm especially! with the HHR reticule.
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Old 06-23-2019, 07:01 PM
Bushleague Bushleague is offline
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 2,181

I honestly don't really worry too much about the chambering any more. I mainly worry about getting a rifle that is well suited to how I want to use it, as far as cartridges go its generally pretty hard to go wrong.
There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.
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Old 06-23-2019, 07:57 PM
Don_Parsons Don_Parsons is offline
Join Date: Jul 2016
Posts: 1,819

I enjoy mid size cartridges becuase of the recoil thing,,, other than that I like the idea of the rifle platform first,,, boolti selection,,, and hopefully a mid size case to luanch it from...

My old school days of what-ever brass are gone now,,, if Lapua dosen't make the brass I don't own that type of cartridge,,, purhaps I'm a bit more fussy these days...

Awesome thread by the way...

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Old 06-23-2019, 08:08 PM
Athabasca1 Athabasca1 is offline
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 184

Being a left handed shooter I look at available platforms first. Yes there is a much better selection of left handed bolt action rifles available now compared to years gone by but still find that manufacturers limit their chamberings in left hand options. Also consider the specific intended use for the firearm as in heavy bush, open prairie, foothills and range.
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Old 06-23-2019, 08:15 PM
markg markg is offline
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Posts: 1,891
Default Ballistics Performance

I tend to choose a cartridge for its ballistic performance. Thats why I am a fan of the 6.5 mm offerings, be it the 260 the Creed or X47 or the Swede. They function well as target or hunting cartridges. With high BC's and sectional density. They have a wide selection of bullets.

That being said I have recently become intrigued with 30 Cal magnums and I am building a 300 PRC and we will see how this project pans out. The new heavy high BC bullets in 30 cal seem to have a lot of potential. We shall see.
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Old 06-23-2019, 09:01 PM
roper1 roper1 is offline
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Posts: 3,100

Dad had a Cooey .22, a Wingmaster 12 gauge, & Husqvarna '06. All you really need & us boys all shot them a pile. Sure fun buying different guns & getting them to shoot now though! Why do I think I really like the Monte Carlo cheekpiece yet 2 of my favorites are a Ruger in 220 Swift & an A-bolt in 300WM?

I picked the cartridges I'm shooting today because I'd spent some time wanting them. Whether it's just an stainless/synthetic chambered the same as a blued walnut I already have, or something in between what sits in the safe.

The anticipation is part of it, enjoying a good fit looking down the barrel is the rest.
Trump facts, Hillary facts, Internet facts, probably a dead heat.
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Old 06-24-2019, 09:06 AM
oldgutpile oldgutpile is offline
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Location: Brooks
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Default selection

Always been a fan of the " odd and unusual". When my buddies were packing a .270 or '06, I was using a .54 BP.
I am a sucker for the big boomers, mostly because I get to see first-hand all the damage some of the supersonic ultra-lite bullets do on the carcass!
Most of my gun safe is full of guns in the 30-06 to 375 range, with the 358 norma being one of my all-time favorites. I use heavy for caliber bullets, and can usually "eat right to the whole".
The last few years I have been using vintage double rifles with hammers. This offers a distinct challenge to the hunt, requiring close distance shooting, and tonnes of prep work to cast the proper bullets, and come up with the best load that regulates between the two barrels. All of these older doubles were regulated (shoot both barrels to the same POI) to fifty yards, which is just about right, considering they were never equipped to have scopes mounted on them. I have shot to the two hundred yard gong at our local range, and feel comfortable with that on game, but the grouping with my old bi-focal eyes aint pretty!
"a gun without hammers is like a spaniel without ears!"
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Old 06-24-2019, 10:03 AM
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Groundhogger Groundhogger is offline
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Ontario~looking west
Posts: 949

Like others, I don't find it to be an exact science..and all the reading/research/video reviews only really help narrow-down the possibilities. Clearly...the wrong choice is always up to me. lol

The biggest variable will be how much I like the gun once set-up, how well I can shoot it, how well it does it's job, etc. THAT I can only know once I've had time with it. I've had uninteresting/old/beat-up guns become favorites...and I once had a brand new Cooper that I didn't really love when the dust settled. Two ends of the spectrum of course.

Other than very spooky grouse here in Ontario, I only hunt varmints so the criteria isn't overly complicated. Fast/flat/easy to reload/not too hot, etc. Even then, I've cycled through a handful of varmint guns, sold most of them off...and finally have (what I THINK will be ) the ultimate varmint rifle showing up in the mail today/tomorrow. Maybe it will, maybe it won't~I just think I've got it sorted out.

One thing that has never really changed is that I want the best tool for the job, not necessarily the most powerful thing I can legally shoot for a given task. When I factor in the distances I engage targets here (seldom over 200 yards) that also shapes the decision...and why, say, I sold my .243.

So yeah..it's a journey, not a destination...and a limited budget keeps the moves small/measured in my life. lol Good thing that I'm blessed with patience. lol
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Old 06-24-2019, 10:34 AM
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ghostguy6 ghostguy6 is online now
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Location: edmonton
Posts: 2,378

When I bought my first rifle there were 3 deciding factors when selecting the caliber. Recoil, ballistic performance and round availability. I wanted something manageable to avoid developing a flinch. I wanted the keep the ballistic performance within a realistic range for ethical kills. Lastly I looked at the store shelves to see what rounds were available during hunting season at reasonable prices. If a round cost me $5/shot Im not likely to shoot it very much. I want to be able to practice year round without breaking the bank. I can also go to any store in remote Alberta and buy a box of .308 if I need to but likely they will not have many of the exotic calibers in stock. This did happen to a hunting partner once who lost his ammo from his pack. The store had .270. 30/06 and .308 on the shelf but no .338. Care to guess who filled their tag and who didn't on that trip?

The .223 I use for target practice because ammo is cheap. I also use it for coyotes on the farm when the .22 doesnt have enough range.

The .22, well ammo is cheap and quite often I'm shooting less than 100 yards at small game, plinking or at the odd coyote. Everyone should own a .22
" Everything in life that I enjoy is either illegal, immoral, fattening or causes cancer!"
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Old 06-24-2019, 10:58 AM
32-40win 32-40win is offline
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Location: Calgary
Posts: 4,725

I pick the gun more so than the cartridge, the cartridge just needs to be a useable one for a given purpose. I like to use different cartridges if I can, but have stuck within calibre for the most part. Ie; 2 different 22cal cartridges, 2 different 7mm, and a couple of 30cal for the guns I want to hunt with or use outside of a range. I built a 218Bee after owning 22-250 and 223, less powder and enough range for 95% of varmint stuff, built it on a Stevens 44-1/2 action. Ordered a SXS rifle in 30R Blaser, enough power for anything I want to shoot with it, in a gun style I'd always wanted to own, and different to run of the mill cartridges. Bought a 7-08 in a #1 for a range gun and a hunting gun, the gun turns my crank, the cartridge will do what needs doing, works well with cast bullets, easy to shoot on the range as well.
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Old 06-24-2019, 11:31 AM
Patchrat Patchrat is offline
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 14

When I bought my first big game rifle, I went with 7rem mag because that's what my father used and I subsequently started out using. I knew it worked and I was comfortable with it. I still use it for most of my hunting, but I've vastly expanded the cartridge availability in my safe since then. It still works great, but it's fun to wandering around with a Ruger no.1 in 35 Whelen for ****s and giggles.
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Old 06-24-2019, 12:41 PM
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sns2 sns2 is offline
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For me there is no science behind it. If it's bigger than a .243 and smaller than a 338 RUM, it is just fine. However, as I have aged, I have a gotten a bit smarter. Animals don't wear armor, and nothing can live with a hole in it's lungs. IMO, anything larger than a 308 is not really necessary. I will say that hunting is unpredictable, and so it is never a bad thing to carry as much gun as you can shoot accurately and comfortably. At this point in my life a 300 Win Mag is my upper limit.
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Old 06-24-2019, 01:09 PM
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aulrich aulrich is offline
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Posts: 2,894

Sometimes it was to be fancy, I was a early adopter of the 204 ruger.

Sometimes it is in reaction to another cartridge, When it was time for a "kids" rifle I went 7-08 due to some bad experience with a 243.

Sometimes it is all the store had, I wanted a stevens 200 in 7-08 for a deer gun ( I was tired of my 338wm blowing big holes in things. But Russlles (at the time) did not have any , so I bought a 270 instead figuring it was not a magnum and a 270 is just fine for a deer gun. With no regrets oddly.
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Old 06-24-2019, 01:14 PM
Jayhad Jayhad is offline
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Posts: 1,504

I have my hunting options covered with rifles so now the question is do I like the rifle, will I shoot it.
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Old 06-24-2019, 03:17 PM
obsessed1 obsessed1 is offline
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Location: North of Grande Prairie
Posts: 1,130

My first big game was a 308 because that's what the used gun came in. My first new gun was a 30-30 cause I wanted a short " bush gun" for thick timber hunting. My next gun was a coyote rifle. I picked 22-250 cause it gave me specific advantages over the 223. Then I picked up a 243 for my wife / kids to use. Then I was given a 300wm. Since then I tend to buy based more on platform of gun rather than caliber but given a caliber choice I often choose one that I already have dies / components for as a cost saving method.
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Old 06-24-2019, 06:29 PM
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peakseeker peakseeker is offline
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Location: alberta
Posts: 370

For myself it's usually a cartridge i am interested in, then i will find a rifle that suits my purposes for it.
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Old 06-24-2019, 09:06 PM
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Dewey Cox Dewey Cox is offline
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Location: Central Alberta
Posts: 3,150

I shoot a 30-06, because that's what men do.
Why does the rest of the country get first dibbs on half my income?
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Old 06-24-2019, 09:33 PM
Buckhead Buckhead is offline
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Location: Sherwood Park
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Originally Posted by Dewey Cox View Post
I shoot a 30-06, because that's what men do.
I bow to your superior intellect, oh wisest of the wise.
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Old 06-24-2019, 11:51 PM
260 Rem 260 Rem is offline
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Location: East Central Alberta
Posts: 7,949

Before I started shooting at paper, I never gave cartridge choice much thought and just went with what was popular at the time for the animals I hunted...so for 20 years that was a 30-30...then 308 Win for a few decades. It was not until I retired and shooting became a hobby that I started to “choose” cartridges.
For the most part, my preferences narrowed to cartridges that were proven performers in terms of both accuracy and consistency....
Old Guys Rule
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Old 06-25-2019, 05:57 AM
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58thecat 58thecat is offline
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Location: At the end of the Thirsty Beaver Trail, Pinsky lake, Alberta.
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I like wildcat and discontinued cartridges....because they are u inquest and not common but do just as well or better than over the counter cartridges.....like 6-284 or the mighty 30rem....

Be careful when you follow the masses, sometimes the "M" is silent...
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