Sep 26, 2012, 1:01 AM EDT
By Bill Miller
My definition of a great deer cartridge demands that it throw at least a 130-grain bullet out the muzzle at a velocity of at least 2700 fps. That means the modern day front runners are the: .270 Win., .270 Win. Short Mag., 7mm-08 Rem., .280 Rem., 7mm Rem. Mag., 7mm Win. Short Mag., 7mm Weatherby Magnum, 7mm STW, .308 Win., .30-06 Springfield, .300 H&H Mag., .300 Win. Mag., .300 Win. Short Mag., .300 Weatherby Mag., and .300 Rem. UltraMag.
Now, you could get yourself your favorite action and brand of rifle in any of these contending cartridges, top it with quality optics, and successfully pursue deer in everywhere they live.. Yet we’re trying to select a champion, so we must forge ahead.
I’ll trim some based on the criteria of wide availability. By that measure, I’m ruling out the 7mm STW, 7mm Wthby. Mag, .300 Rem. UltraMag, .300 H&H Mag., the 7mm Win. Short Mag., .300 Wthby. Mag. and (tear my heart out) the 7mm-08 Rem.
None of these cartridges are available in a wide variety of factory-loaded bullet options anyway. My goals are much more about hunting and much less about the time and resource consuming research, development and testing of hand loads. So even though it’s fairly available I’m knocking the .280 Rem. out of contention, too, though I’ve hunted with it many times and dearly love it for deer.
So it’s time to get personal. With the .270 Win., .270 Win. Short Mag., 7mm Rem. Mag., .308 Win., .30-06, .300 Win. Mag., and .300 Win. Short Mag. still in the running, the only way to cut is by being subjective. May the spirit of Jack O’Connor forgive me, but I’m not a .270 Win. fan. It just never did anything for me that I didn’t think some other cartridge couldn’t have done as well or better. I’ve shot it. I’ve hunted with it. It worked great. It just leaves me … blah. I’m not a short mag fan. Shooting as I’ve been blessed to, no cartridges (excepting the Ultramags) have beaten me up as badly as the shorts. I’m too old to suffer such abuse. No short mags for me. Much as I love the 7mm (.284 caliber) bullets in the 7mm-08 Rem. and the .280 Rem. for hunting deer sized game (I’ve taken more head of big game with the 7mm-08 Rem. than any other single cartridge), I’m not a 7mm Rem. Mag. fan. It’s a great cartridge, but I’ve had more brand to brand and rifle to rifle consistent accuracy with the .300 Win. Mag., so on the road to naming the champion, the .300 Win. Mag. stays on the bus; the 7mm Rem. Mag. gets off.
But that’s as far as this bus goes. I can not choose between the .308 Win., the .30-06 and the .300 Win. Mag.
If I’m hunting big woods cover, then it’s the .308. If there’s a chance I’ll get a really long shot, then the .300 Win. Mag. will go. If I’m headed to a remote corner of whitetail country or could encounter a variety of conditions, then it’s .30-06 time.
Yes, I know. Woo hoo! Really going out on a limb here in picking the three .30 calibers as the best all-around deer cartridges. Well, there’s a reason they win the sales awards year after year. They are that good.
More Top Posts
- None found
- PHT: Bruins stymie Blackhawks, take Game 3
- PBT: Heat haven't won back to back in a month
- PHT: Hossa day to day with upper-body injury
- HBT: Phanatic's scooter breaks down during pregame routine
- PFT: Gleason jokes get Atlanta radio hosts fired
- PFT: Judge will release Johnson after 7 days
- PBT: Unheralded Green could steal NBA Finals MVP