View Full Version : A Caliber Question and the MAGNUM Rifle Fallacy
My thoughts on the subject after reading someone say the .308 is not good enough for grizzly bear.
Too many people are falling for the magnum craze and not paying attention to the ballistics and the situations that THEY hunt in.... not many people need a a Magnum rifle to go out and go hunting, after all up until Smokeless power was created they hunted everything from elephants and grizzly bear to rabbits with just Black Powder Firearms. Do I have you Yet ?
My thoughts on this thread (and this coming from a lover and shooter of the .338 win mag) is that people are putting to much emphisis on horse power and not enough on technique and practice..... a .308 you could shoot all day at the range, with the .338 I shot a box of 20 and I am ready to quit.
No one has really defined what the question is, here. Is this about hunting, or about defensive use? If hunting is the need, then a .308 will always kill a griz with a properly placed shot - eventually. As long as you don't mind waiting, tracking, and recovering the critter from God knows where, it'll do the job. If it's for defensive use, then the picture's a bit diferent.
I think this goes back to the old defensive pistol argument of "killing power" (lethality) vs. "stopping power" (make critter/person stop whatever they were doing that required you to shoot them in the first place).
A .308 WILL kill a griz. So will a .338 Win Mag. If the shot is placed exactly right (CNS), the killing AND stopping power of both will probably be about the same. If the shot is SLIGHTLY off, the .338 MIGHT have a better chance of killing and stopping, because it will displace more tissue, hopefully disrupting something important. HOWEVER, this is ONLY true if the shot is placed ever so slightly off the intended point-of-impact. If the shot is WAY off, neither will do a good job of stopping (or killing, for that matter). The shot must hit accurately to be effective.
So the defensive question is not "Will the critter die?"; the question is "Will the critter stop doing what it WAS doing, in time for me to survive the situation?". And as usual, the answer is much more dependant on the skill of the person wielding the tool, than the size of the tool itself. A shooter of almost ANY skill level is much better off with a .308 that they can shoot quickly and accurately because they HAVE practiced with it; rather than a .338 Mag that they rarely fired because ammo was too expensive, the gun kicked the snot out of them until they became gun-shy or recoil-sensitive and started jerking the trigger, and they shot poorly for both of these reasons.
In the third and forth paragraphs above, you can also substitute 9mm for .308; .45 for .338; and Bad Guy for griz. The basic relationship remains the same.
I know, I got up on my high horse and stumbled on the dismount.... the reason I started this thread is because I was talkingto a friend on MSN Messenger and he was telling me how wizz bang the new .300 RUM was, I know for a fact that this guy hasn't shot an animal over 200 yds away in 20 years of hunting. so I asked him what was wrong with the 30-06 he normally uses..... too old and out dated he says :rolleyes:
So to gain approx. 200-300 fps in velocity he spent close to $3000... sure we like our toys and such but he couldn't shut up about how much better the round was.
so I says, it still punches a .30 caliber hole and the same amount of blood is going to come out..... no reply to that, then he goes yeah but I can shoot 500yds with it, I says "when you going to do that ?", no reply
My point again is as DJ pointed out... it is not the power in the powder but the placement of the bullet that makes a caliber effective for your Purpose
Oviously the "magnum" people need to make up from lack of other manly things. My .22 has a farther range than I can accuratly shoot. So I'm sure the .3000000Wiz-bang magnum, shooting a 180gr projectile over 3,500fps has a more range than I and most any other human can accuratly shoot. Since my range only goes to 300yds,then that is the max distance that I will attempt a shot. I have a couple of "more dollars then sense" friends that have to have the wiz-bang for their once a year Elk hunt. They started with the 7and.300 mags-and since they kick too hard for them, I got nominated to sight their guns in before the hunt.Last year they decided to get the .30-378 Whetherby-because it's the wiz-bangiest around. I refuse to sight those in after reading the reloading specs-110grains of h-110 or $90 a box of 20. Amazing that I've won money from them at the range since my 1900 Swede mauser with a 4x scope only shoots a bullet going 2500fps-that 1,000 less than the 30-378-also amazing that they don't want to try a 10shot group with me either.
But to answer your question-a .30-06 with a 165-220gr bullet will kill anything in N. America further than you can shoot. If it was my choice for grizzlies, then I would opt for ma duce.
I'd take my M1-A as major bear medicine any day of the week.
Tack-driving accuracy with a topped off gun (21 rounds) and never a malfunction shooting any kind of ammunition (but preferrably something heavy in a full metal jacket) would make me very comfortable against a large animal like a bear, even a brownie.
Excellent post and point.
The magnum craze has been a money maker for the rifle and ammo companies, so they continue to produce new magnums to bring in more sales. I think it is more about marketing than improved effectiveness.
I've been hunting for a long time with a 30-06 as my main firearm. I've shot probably 75-100 deer and numerous other critters with the '06, and if I do my part, it does it's.
I've also seen yearling does get gut shot with magnums, and have them run off to never be found. It is a shot placement arguement, plain and simple. Hit them in the right place, and you will succeed. Hit them poorly, and you will fail.
That being said, I think that if I ever have the chance to hunt the big bears, I will probably use the 375 H&H over my '06 for penetration reasons. Just my opinion though.
I went down in power for deer. When I first started to hunt I used a .32 Special (win 94). I'd shoot, hear a splat and watch the critter collapse. I bought a 30-06 when I was in high school. Shot a lot of deer with it, but some would run after being hit.
So, I went to a 6mm Rem and have never looked back. For open shooting I used to use 85gr Sierra boat tails with hollow points. Brown and down.
I've always tried to shoot just behind the shoulder to minimize damage to the front quarters. I think this is why they ran on the '06. Maybe too much juice when I didn't hit bone - I don't know. Anyway, I'm really happy with the smaller calibre.
To each his own. I think we all shoot what we want becuase of past success. And, they all work for what we want them to do. If I was hunting black bear in WI, I would use my 6mm. But, I would move up for Griz.
270 is the best round for me... it'll kill any animal in North America... although Grizz is about as High as I would go... Not a cape buffalo gun. I just hate the sore shoulder after a day of Magnums. I believe that with the faster bullets you do get more damage from the intense shock but is that necesary on deer and smaller game. No... Elk, Moose, and bear??? maybe, I would want the big boys but a 270 will do. I personnally like the fact that a 270 gives me mag speeds at MUCH less kick. I like the price of ammo, and see only the 150 grain max standard size bullet as a limiting factor. I must say that the 300 win is more than enough for anything in the country and yet would NOT go after C Buffalo with it. Just my thoughts. Get a easy to fire round that has good ballistics. Then get a ballistic chart shoot some small critters... (deer) and when you see what damage is produced by a rifle round, the bears wont seem so formitable. SHOT PLACEMENT IS KEY!!!
Well, size does matter. And while a 308 will kill anything on the face of the earth given proper placement and enough time to bleed out. A dangerous game stopping rifle it ain't.
Karamojo Bell shot several hundred african elephants using nothing more than a 7x57 Mauser and a precisely placed brain shot. The rest of the story, however, is that he never went out without someone backing him up with a big heavy double rifle throwing 500 grains of full metal jacket ammo. He was good...but he was no fool and he knew the capabilities and limitations of his equipment.
Anyone who has ever witnessed the incredible amount of killing some animals can withstand will never make excuses for choosing a bigger gun. I've seen Cape Buffalo take 6 to 9 well placed shots from serious heavy caliber guns...470 NE, 500 Jeffrey etc, through the boiler room, broken bones and shoulders, and still manage to charge the hunters. A big 1,000 pound, 9 foot long alaskan brown bear is not small potatoes. And there are plenty of Alaskan guides who have plenty of experience with charging brownies and most of em prefer a .375 H&H.
WHile I don't understand the desire to buy a 300 Ultramag, STW et al to kill a scrawny whitetail. And I generally disdain any of the medium belted mags as they simply don't buy you a practical advantage over a standard round like a 30-06. I feel for larger game like elk, Kudu, Moose etc, they have a place, especially with the heavier for caliber bullets.
But I promise, if you've never seen some large animals absorb lead like I have you simply don't understand that there is no substitute for sheer raw power delivered by big heavy bullets at moderate velocities. Sometimes shot placement isn't enough...
The record Grizlly was taken by a petite Indian woman in alaska with a 22 rifle.
Placement and skills rule.
But a 45/70 guide gun or a 7mm Rem mag would make me more comfortable.
I sold the ony hunting rifle I owned 4 years ago, it was a browning stainless stalker .338 win mag, it was the perfect all around rifle to me and was the first "hunting" arm I had bought. I had my gunsmith load me 165gr barnes X bullets for deer and used federal premium 250gr noslers for anything big, that rifle wouldput them down and the light weights where good for deer size game.
I am currently in the market for a new Hunting rifle and have decided that 90% of the time I would be well served with a 30-06 (plus the added bonus that the ammo is interchangable with my M1 Garand).
I haven't bought my new hunting rifle yet and will be puzzling over the decision for the next 3-4 months but I am tired of the "magnum" craze and the people who look at you like your an idiot for shooting a caliber that is older then Dirt, I used to be a magnum nut.... no longer, common sense has shown me the way and an extra 100-300 fps are NOT going to make a difference at the ranges I shoot at (under 400 yds).
I still might get a .338 win mag but have to see whats available for lefties now a days first.... I am in the grizzly bear capital of canada ;)
For bear? Give me a 12 gauge!
I am looking at buying my first hunting rifle--a .30-06. It is a very good calibre, and you can get such varied rounds for it for any game. Also, it is plentiful in even the smallest towns (should you need to get more).
All you guys spouting the overall perfectness of the 30-06 for N. American game...you're exactly right! '06 is the SUV of calibers.
100gr-220gr bullets available...what more could you ask of a rifle?
My Ruger M77 stainless/Synthetic w/a 3.5x10 Luppie has killed Maine Moose and Texas Prarie poodles.
This is only an argument for those who can't shoot accuratly...for if you could, you'd know that '06 is "enough gun."
IMHO a .30/06 is suitable for all thin-skinned, non-dangerous game. It might be a bit lighter than ideal for eland and giraffe, but it will get the job done.
I really wouldn't feel comfortable using it on Cape buff, rhino, lion, or elephant, but it's just fine for leopard. As for the big bears, it wouldn't be my first choice, but with good shot placement and the right bullet, it will work.
While I don't worship at the altar of Jeff Cooper, I believe he's right when he says that if a .30/06 isn't enough gun, you don't need more velocity, you need more bullet.
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