© 2010 BN Reece
You would be pretty hard pressed to find very many hunters and competitive shooters that are not shooting something in the 30/7.62mm family. Not to mention it s the caliber of choice in one weapon or another of most all the militaries of the world. So lets start by listing them.
· .30 Carbine (7.62×33)
· .30 Newton
· .30 Remington
· .30 Remington AR
· .30 TC
· .30-30 Winchester
· .30-06 Springfield
· .30-40 Krag (.30 Army)
· .30-378 Weatherby Magnum
· .300 H&H Magnum
· .300 Remington SA Ultra Mag
· .300 Remington Ultra Magnum
· .300 Ruger Compact Magnum
· .300 Savage
· .300 Weatherby Magnum
· .300 Winchester Short Magnum
· .300 Winchester Magnum
· .303 British
· .303 Savage
· .307 Winchester
· .308 Marlin Express
· .308 Norma Magnum
· .308 Winchester
· 7.62 mm caliber
· 7.62x25mm Tokarev (30 Tokarev)*HG
· 7.62x38mmR (7.62 Nagant Revolver)*HG
· 7.62x39mm (SKS /AK47)
· 7.62x51mm NATO (308 Nato)
· 7.62 x 54R (rimmed) (7.62 Russian)(Mosin Nagant Bolt actions)
· 7.63x25mm Mauser (30 Mauser/Broomhandle)*HG
Note:I would like to thank Wikipedia for supplying the data above.
Now within this family of cartridges there are some extremes. You can not logically compare a 30 Mauser to a 30-06. But you can regroup the handgun rounds(*HG) away from the rifle rounds.
Now there are Military rounds intermingled with civilian. Simply because in this country we have a tendancy to acquire Mil-surp guns and put them to work as hunting guns. Look at calibers like 303 British,7.62x54R,30-40 Krag,30 carbine,and 30-06 Springfield. Toss in the post Vietnam era SKS invasion of the late 80’s and the 7.62×39. Coupled with post coldwar influx of AK47 variants in the 90’s.
A lot of the rounds listed are distinctly hunting rounds. Specifically designed as hunting calibers for everything from deer to muskox. The lowly 30-30 to the new generation rounds like the 300 Remington SA Ultra Magnum. Rounds that bridge the gap in performance from a heavy hitter like the .308 Winchester to the milder 30-30 Winchester. The 308 Marlin Express being one version of that idea. A 308 Win reworked in a new case (307 Win) that allows it to perform better in lever guns. But ballistically pushes the venerable 30-30 lever gun up to .308 performance. A lever action that was a 100 yard gun, now shoots to 400 yards with sniper like assurance.
The AR’s are seeing some 30 caliber infiltration. Whether in the form of .308 uppers. Or now with Remington recalibrating and coming up with it’s own round the .30 Remington AR. Specifically designed to advance the AR 15/M16/M4 platform into the next millenium. In fact the hot new 6.8 mmSPC round is based on the old .30 Remington case. (The 30 Remington came about as result of Remington trying to create a rimless round similar to the 30-30 Win.) Now the case has been reworked to form the base for the 6.8mmSPC and 30 Rem. AR. Both chamberings will push the “Black Rifle” into the racks of more hunters who need more than a .223/5.56mm around the homestead.
Short action fans can grab up a 300WSM and hang with the 300H&H/300 Weatherby crowd. For some long range killing power on a bigger quarry like Moose/Elk/Caribou. Or you can rock the bear world with a 30-378 Weatherby Magnum in a magnum action and heavier loadings. With an effective Killing-range in excess of 1000 yards!
Suffice it to say that 30 caliber can take you from potting jacks with the Milsurp 30 carbine Grampy used in Iwo Jima. To rockin Grizzlies from mountain tops with a custom 30-378 Weatherby Magnum. Or to just shooting on the cheap using 7.62x54R surplus in your Mosin Nagant in the local gravel pit range.
As a hunter and a shooter I know that I can push all of it further by doing my homework. Find the best load in the right gun and in the right chambering for my hunt and or shooting situation. Now add in Reloading and I can literally custom craft the best ammo to suit all of my uses for that caliber and that gun. This extra effort always means more meat in the freezer and better accuracy from every gun in every caliber I own.
Here’s a few questions to ask yourself:
1. How far do you go to buy the right ammo?
2. Do you try ammo from all makers to find the best for each gun you shoot?
3. Do you shoot all of the 150/170/180/ and 200 grain bullet weights to see what shoots straighter and hits hardest in your gun?
4. When was the last time you went to the range and shot more than a box of shells you sited the gun for?
5. Do shoot any ammo as long as it’s 150 grain(170/180/200)? (Just so long as the weight stays the same it should all shoot the same right?)
6. Do you consider yourself as knowledgeable about your gun as you do about your favorite sport, or your job?
7. Which chambering best suits your hunting?
a. 30-30 Winchester……brush
b. .308 Winchester ……..mixed cover shots to 200 yards normal
c. 300 Weatherby ……..Open country…shots to 400 yards normal
8. What do you hunt?
Now keep in mind if you swap out deer and add in elk/bears/ moose and vary the conditions you can see that intimate knowledge of the gun and chambering influences greatly the application. Small things like knowing your .308 Winchester loves 150 grain boattails out to 200/250 and knocks deer dead. But lacks enough penetration at 200 yards on an Elk to be used on it. But switching to 180 grains on Elk, and 200 on bears is a killer chambering/load equation. All requiring “Intimate Knowledge” of the gun and chambering. None of it can be done by ambiguously deciding to shoot 170/180 grains and “anything that is on sale”.
In closing I challenge you not only to look into the wild world of 30 calibers. But to learn your gun/caliber combination. Shoot a lot and observe the details to be a better shot and a better hunter. Reloading may not be for you, but be willing to shoot more to learn more. Refine your knowledge and your skills through more range time. You never know you may put that buck down this year all because you learned to shoot straighter and range them more accurately at your local gravel pit.
Good hunting and God Bless,