There are small wars between academics, and clairvoyants in choosing calibers. Full magazines are sold with pages of arguments about the advantages of caliber X over the caliber Y when the animal has hair on the verus animal with brown hair. How to choose caliber a beginner when it is so many calibres on the taste, and some of them appear and others disappear.
In my opinion things are simpler than they are presented, but not necessarily easy, especially for beginners. Below you have my reasoning that is not the letter of law, but a personal opinion of a man who is trying to put order in confusion. The guide below is not absolute and there are areas where the requirements and therefore the potential of the gauges overlap. Also, I do not know enough about the caliber to talk about everything and please those who know more to complete.
So input data:
1) Shooting distance: very small (tens of meters), small (up to 100-150m), medium (up to 200-250m), high (over 300m)
2) Size of the game: very small (up to the rabbit), small (of dog, fox, wolf), medium (small deer and gruntling), great (great wild boar, bear, red stag)
Depending on the input data above, I believe there are several Calibration Categories. Once we have “zeroed” on one category we have the following criteria of choice (again personal and uncombat: haha :):
4) Spreading of the caliber
There may be 20 combinations of [distance, size of the game] between the input data but not all make sense. In my opinion the following combinations make sense:
[Very small distance, very small game]
It’s like “fighting around the house”. A rate, uncomfortable squirrel, armadillo;), etc. In such cases WHERE IT IS LEGAL, rimfire or even compressed air guns do all they need. So, the 22lr is just good for these cases. Whoever has not yet heard of it, please put your hand on the book and learn or ask older hunters. For cases where a fox visits your yard, a 22-WMR or even 17 HMR, it flies well. Also in the woods if we crave for a rabbit stew, a rimfire is only good to make contact with the bunny without jigsaw puzzle. For cases where rimfire is not legal, a lick more powerfully, loaded with a birdshot does all it takes and has place for trembling hand.
[Medium distance, very small and small game]
Here is a little bit of power and a bit of ballistics. It’s the kind of terrier and / or varmint hunting here. Fox, dog, wolf, jachal are the main protagonists, and the centerfire gauges of the 22 or even 6mm series are just good to send. Here comes 223 with all his lower and bigger sentences, and if the wolf is evan from Little Red Riding Hood, a 6 mm healps healing the transvestite. But watch out for the projectile. The 22 and 6 mm caliber can be extremely fast calibers, some of them in the quadro-sonic range, with great energies for very small animals and even for a dietary fox. Extremely explosive bullets, especially drawn, can “unpack” the small animals, and the very small one cook it on the spot.
[Small distance, average size of the game]
In this category, in my opinion, the 357 Magnum revolver gauges, 44 Magnum pulled from the rifles. The respective gauges use thick, heavy, flat, low-velocity projectiles. So poor, but sufficient ballistics for small distances. More recently, Hornady took out the ammunition series called Leverevolution, where the projectiles had a polymer peak, so the ballistics had improved considerably. In my opinion, Leverevolution extends the distance by about 1 / 3-1 / 4 compared to the similar projectile pulled from the same weapon.
[Small distance, average game]
In this category are all guns with thick projectile, and heavier than the previous category, but also with relatively slow speed. Here comes 444 Marlin, 45-70 (charged hot), 450 Marlin. All these gauges can develop energies that rival magnums. Most often these gauges are chambered in a carabine leveraction
[Medium distance, average game]
I think this is the case where most of the hunters fit. In this category, the gauge and the pride abound. The projectiles start at 6 mm and reach up to 8 mm. There are so many calibers in this category that just listing them might fill pages, you can also analyze them. There is a fairly large variation in ballistic and caliber power in this category. I do not know it all. Here are just a few notable gauges: 30-06 is king in the USA and in Romania also, but 308 Winchester and 270 Winchester have spread. 243 also gains ground for goat hunters due to ballistic and small recoil. 30-30 are all in this category. So are the 7.62×39 (caliber AK) and the 7.62×54 (caliber of Mossin, Dragunov, PSL). Note: Some of them are not legal in Romania.
[Medium and big distance, big game]
Here is the field of magnums that they too abound. The most well-known are the 7mm magnum, 300 Winchester Magnum. But now they are their siblings with 7 mm RUM, 300 RUM steroids. There are also variants of 7mm and 300 short magnum, where the only claim to fame is that there is no need for long action but can be chambered in short action. In my opinion, it solves an inexistent problem. Weatherby is full of magnums in this area and rivals power and ballistics with Remington’s RUM variants. If we go up to the diameter of the projectile we have 338 Winchester magnum, 338 RUM, 340 Weatherby, 338 Lapua. Size of the game practically increases caliber energy. And still going up with the gauges we help at 50 BMG which is the supreme magnate and is not good at anything practical (in my humble opinion) than pulled into the polygon and wrote to my mom and dad about it. I have noticed here that the percentage of 50BMG is great for those who buy their Porches (purely personal observation). Practical precision generally decreases as caliber and energy grow. It’s harder to control bigger weights, bigger powder amounts … and it’s harder to pull. In my opinion (which is questionable) I prefer a little smaller caliber I can shot than a big one I’m afraid of. Another detail. Besides small magnum, if 7mm and 300 Winchester magnum can be called small, almost all others can not shoot without a muzzle break, which is a problem in itself.
[Small distance, very large game]
Ok, we decided which category we were voting for, now the caliber we choose in that category. As I said above, it is now important to consider the following criteria: price, ballistic, precision and spread. Let’s say we have decided for the category [Medium and big distance, big game]. In this category, magnums dominate. Starting with my little ones: 7mm Magnum, 300 Winchester Magnum and ending with 50BMG calibration spectrum is very high. Let’s take the criteria.
Precision: Maybe most magnums can be accurate, but much experience and documentation is in older and classic magnums. Here wins 7mm Magnum, 300 WM. RUMs seem to come up close, but they are far from winning as many competitions as they older clasics did
Ballistics: here the Weatherby variants, RUMs and Laupa Magnum are in front of almost anything else. Perhaps the only exception would be 50 BMG that has projectiles with ballistic missile coefficients, but the speeds of departure are not great.
Price: All the classics are winning here for everything. Not only are the 7mm Magnum and 300 WM the most powerful magnums in this category, but they use the barrels lighter than the others, so they also have an economic advantage in this regard. And because they have cheaper bullets, they will be used more, and therefore you become a better shooter, and thus greatly increase practical precision. Ancestors are among the only magnums that can be shot without the muzzle brake. By playing with numbers and economy I came to the conclusion that for 1000USD you spend, you will shot 2-3 times more shots in classic magnums than in ultra magnums. For me this was a decisive argument
Spreading: 7mm and 300WM are the most widespread magnums.
So, from all the above considerations, we choose the classics and sacrificed a bit of ballistics. Now, choosing between 7mm Magnum and 300WM I made it for reasons more subjective than objective. 300 WM has higher starting power but 7mm because it has better ballistic coefficients equalizing things at a distance.
For someone shooting 1000 shots in 10 years, a supermagnum from Weatherby or RUM would be a better choice due to ballistics. But let’s not forget that it has to be shot with the muzzle brake and the ears plugs will be necessary for both performers and spectators.