Assuming you’ve read P1, we’ll move along…
Others to be discussed will include the following:
.300 Weatherby Magnum
.338 Winchester Magnum
And all that will only take one page.
< As told several times, I had four tags in my wallet on this moose hunt: a bull moose, buck whitetail, black bear and wolf. The rifle was my CZ550 in .458 Win Mag loaded with 350gr TSXs at +2700 fps.
Please understand the parameters of what is being proposed. “One rifle, one load” is implying a mixed-bag hunt, or a tour of several countries for a mixed-bag, or a mixed-bag in Africa where convenience or preference would suggest one rifle and one load. So as not to have concerns over which load to use, would be the main motive.
Another might be efficiency in the amount of ammo that would be touted in baggage — to simplify that matter.
Another very important motive is familiarity with the rifle and that particular load. A 180gr premium Nosler Partition is a very lethal offering from a .300 Weatherby Magnum for most big game at 3250 fps. Happy is the hunter who has both familiarity and confidence in what HE can do with such a rifle load — and it’s limitations, if any.
Those are further examples of our intent in this theme should there be questions.
Now, a favorite white-tailed deer hunter’s choice…
The .308 Winchester: If I ever bought a new rifle, this might be it. I’ve never owned one, though I did make reloads for a friend’s BLR in .308 Winchester for bear hunting. A .308 Win was my suggestion as he wanted a new rifle for such sport, and he had some training in the British military in using their .303. The load was a 165gr Hornady SP at about 2500 fps. Even that’s cutting no slack for any black bear at less than 100 yards.
But, of course, the .308 Winnie is capable of more (and less). If I were to own a .308 Win, it would not be to accomplish what three or four other rifles in my cabinet would do as well or better. I went down that endless trail some time ago, where all gun nuts have gone and still do, but with experience and time I realized it was too much duplication. Yes, it briefly satisfied a thirst for something slightly different, but in ballistics they were essentially the same. Somewhere the light came on that I was spending money in a ballistic direction that changed nothing! So I took a more pragmatic approach and less of a “must have that too” plan.
For example: at one time I had three .45-70s: an 1895 Marlin, a NEF single-shot and a Ruger No.1 single-shot. If you’ve read previous blogs, you know that I had a second #1 Ruger in .45-70 that was given a longer throat by a world-class gunsmith so monolithic bullets could be seated longer – which in practice made it the equivalent of a 22″ .458 Win Mag. For a couple of decades of use it was my favorite rifle. Yet on August 10, 2018 it was traded for a real .458 Win Mag in a Ruger No.1 Tropical. So, what I now have in ballistics in one rifle is the equivalent of a BP .45-70 firing 465gr cast bullets at 1500 fps, or a .375 H&H shooting a 300gr at 2500 fps, or a .378 Weatherby at 2950 fps, a 500gr at 1750 to 2300 fps, etc.
The pic above was taken a couple of weeks ago in one of my favorite hunting areas. That’s my Ruger No.1 Topical in .458 Win Mag. I had a bear licence, small game and wolf/coyote tags. The load is a 350gr Speer at a moderate 2500 fps.
Why? The idea was the same ballistics as the Ruger No.1 in .45-70 with the long throat at less recoil. The “Tropical” version is two pounds heavier. Plus it has the Mag-na-ports. All told, for similar ballistics, recoil is reduced by 30% to 43% depending on the load. For example: The Ruger #1 in .45-70 LT would shoot the 500gr Hornady at 2200 fps at 73 ft-lbs recoil . A similar load for the .458 “Tropical” firing the 500gr Hornady at 2200 fps produces “only” 51 ft-lbs recoil. (It will also fire the 500gr at 2300 fps with still less recoil than the .45-70 LT.) So, my .458 Ruger #1 easily covers the ground of any BP rifle, a .375 H&H, a .458 Lott, and more! So, I don’t have to look after, nor feed, a lot of rifles that demand numerous bullets, calibers, styles, and cans of gun powder — it can all be done with ONE!
Since I’ve expounded on all that more than twice, where would a .308 Win fit in? It can do a few things as well as my .458, and perhaps one small thing better: It’s debatable, but just maybe it’s “better” for coyote/wolf at long range.
Yet, that’s not my motive for bringing in the .308 Win for discussion. But with one load it could accomplish quite a bit: from coyote to moose, as long as the range for a big moose doesn’t exceed about 200 yards. What load?
Bullet: 180gr Nosler AccuBond; SD = .271; BC = .507
MV = 2700 fps/2910 ft-bs
100 yds = 2532 fps/2562 ft-bs
150 yds = 2450 fps/2399 ft-lbs
200 yds = 2370 fps/2245 ft-lbs
I’d use the 180 AccuBond over the 180 TTSX because of a better BC at .507 vs .473, and also the Barnes TTSX is much longer, impinging into powder space. In any case, the .308 isn’t a long-rang mature bull moose gun no matter how you slice it. Nor is the .270 Winchester if we take a hard look at its ballistics. My 9.3 x 62 is far superior to both in using the 250gr AB at 2700 fps or the 286gr Nosler Partition at 2640 fps.
The .30-06: Little needs to be said. It’s a half-step up on the .308 Win up to 180grs and a full step beyond that. What has it not done….. Not much. Still, there are better.
The .300 Weatherby Magnum: This one is a full step-and-a half up on the ubiquitous .30-06. Shooting a 220g at 2850 fps, a 200g at 3100 fps, and a 180gr at 3250 fps, it has at least a 200 yard advantage over the .30-06 — whatever the .30-06 can do at any range, the .300 Wby Mag can do 200 yards further. That might count on big bears, elk or bison, etc., that you wouldn’t, or shouldn’t, attempt at particular ranges using the “good-old” .30-06.
The .338 Winchester Magnum: My first was the Sako FS with a 20″ barrel. I loved it until the two-piece stock began to fall apart. I then put it in a fiberglass stock, which cracked. That was replaced under warranty. It then got traded for an M70 in .375 H&H. Never an issue with that rifle except for its length and weight compared to the Sako .338 Win Mag.
My second .338 Win Mag was a Browning A-Bolt with a 26″ barrel. It was very accurate and fast. It attained 2842 fps from th 250gr Hornady SP from a book load. According to plan, I had it re-chambered to a .340 Weatherby. “Everyone” knows about that by now – right? No?
Then I also did some work with our second son in building loads for his Rem 700 Mountain Rifle in .338 Win. It had a 24″ barrel that gave 2735 fps from a 250gr Hornady SP. That was it’s moose load — and it worked!
The .338 Win Mag is very versatile due to the endless weights and styles of projectiles available for the handloader. But which one of those as a “one load” for this capable rifle cartridge?
Depending on the game I’d have on my “bucket list” for my “world tour”, it could be either a premium 225gr or a premium 250gr. Since my thinking would tend toward the larger species, I’d choose a 250gr. That could be used on the smaller stuff like Coues deer and/or the larger beasts such as the Asiatic buffalo. Muzzle velocities around 2700 to 2800 fps would serve nicely to 500 yards or so. But a bullet with a high BC, such as the 250gr AB, is mandated for longer ranges in order to maintain adequate speed for both penetration AND expansion.
The .35 Whelen: This one may not have the number of available bullets in weight and styles as the .338 mags, but still more than adequate all the way to a 310gr Woodleigh. But for an all-purpose load a more aerodynamic shape would be called for. So, again, I’d go with the same as friend Dan Schindler, a 250gr Nosler Partition at 2650 fps/3897 ft-lbs. That will get-er-done using about ten to twelve LESS grains of propellant than the .338 Win for the same effect. He uses 58-59 grains W748 in his custom Whelen. Recoil is a mere 32 -33 ft-lbs compared to about 40 ft-lbs in an 8.5 lb .338 WM.
The .416 Remington: Could this be made into a world-class rifle and cartridge for a bucket list of a dozen from 100 lbs to 3000 lbs using one bullet and load? Sure, let’s give it a try outside the elephant and hippo (it will handle those too with its heavy-weights designed for those tasks, but this is about one load from bambi to buffalo, and anything between.
The obvious choice would be a 350gr premium bullet of relative high BC. Unfortunately, a 350gr in .416 isn’t available with a relatively high BC from the usual sources. Barnes makes a 350gr TSX FB with a .345 BC which is the highest among three sources, so we’ll go with that from a 24″ barrel.
MV = 2630 fps/5375 ft-lbs
100 yds = 2412 fps/4522 ft-lbs
200 yds = 2206 fps/3780 ft-lbs
300 yds = 2009 fps/3136 ft-lbs
400 yds = 1823 fps/2583 ft-bs
500 yds = 1650 fps/2116 ft-lbs (good for a 1500 to 2000 lb soft-skinned animal)*Conditions are African.
This is not a recommendation for shooting a Cape Buff at 500 yards. There are “rules” against that. Nonetheless, it surely demonstrates the capabilities of that great cartridge…. or most of the .416s. Yet my choice might be the .416 Taylor based on the .458 Win case in a light and handi package.
Space and time forbids the examination of all appropriate cartridges for a “One Rifle, One load” in world-wide hunting. But this incomplete exercise may provoke further thought and research into this concept.
‘Til the next….