A Selection of Rifle Cartridges and Bullets.
Here are some of the calibers, bullets and rifles I have used and hand loaded over a time span of 40 years. The selection is based on personal experience and experimentation. In this regard, consider them as the best choice for that caliber. The powder charges are omitted since all of them were developed maximum loads.
The 340 Weatherby Magnum with a 250 gr Silver tips and the same weight Nosler partition bullets are tops. Also a tremendous moose and elk caliber, I had to give up on this rifle because of a shoulder ailment. Build on a Sako Magnum action it was on the light side at 8.00 lbs. and a 4X Leupold, it kicked. Because of the muzzle blast, a muzzle brake has never appealed to me. Maybe some day some one will come up with a devise that reduces both the recoil of and the sound of that beast and other big noise makers to that of a 22 long rifle. I love the performance the 340 Wby caliber on big game. Once you get used to that performance, it is hard to use anything else.
The 300 00 Weatherby Magnum MK V. 200 gr Bitterroot bonded core, 196 gr. Sierra Match (coyotes only) 180 gr Hornady Spire point. Perhaps the best all round rifle for anything you want to hunt. In winter on windy days the coyotes were in trouble with the big match bullets out to 500 yards with only four feet Kentucky.
For the economy minded shooter with a 303 British P17, this chamber can be spruced up to a 303 Short magnum version. By running a 308 Norma Magnum reamer into the 303 chamber, and shoot bullets that are 0.312" in diameter. A bushing die can be used to reload. The 303 bolt face will handle the magnum without any alterations if you really lucky you may find a 30 cal barrel for that gun. The action is super strong, if you are looking for an inexpensive magnum.
The 7x61 Sharp and Hart with a 160 gr. Speer bullet and H4831 Powder, is a stunning load and rifle. Super accurate with a Premium Douglas barrel and FN Mauser Action. It gave way to the 7mm Rem Mag. before it got established. The closest caliber to 7x61 S&H is the 280 Ackley improved. I hunted antelope with the 7x61 and now with the 280 Ackley improved. If there is a difference I can't tell. The 280 AI has a more socially accepted stigma. With the abundant variety of available bullets these two calibers are as comfortable in the woods as they are in the plains. They are not in competition with the big "7" noise makers and powder burners, but do their job without much ado. The 280 Ackley improved with the long neck holds any hunting bullet tight from 130 gr to the 200 gr Barnes Solids.
I loaded for the 7mm-08 Remington and don't like the short neck. The 7mm- 08 Ackley improved with a 0.305 long neck is more to my liking. Brass is easy to make from 30-06. This is a 270 Win in Bermuda shorts, with the short stroke action of the Savage 110 or the 700 Rem. All the Ackley Improved cartridges have one thing in common, that is the brass last a long time with reasonable loads. In a good chamber, using neck size bushings to reduce necks two or three thou, they are a pleasure to reload.
The 257 Weatherby is one gun that produced the most erratic performance. The bullets either blew up or never expanded at all on deer sized game. Since then bullets improved considerable, and performance has improved. But the problem has never totally disappeared with the regular types of bullets. This rifle produced 5 shot groups at the 600 yard range, measuring 4 inches with 115gr Nosler bullets. This did not occur by accident but on a regular basis. Not bad on targets, but as a hunting rifle I never had much luck with it. One antelope and one deer shot at a very long range showed no sign of being hit and when we found them there was hardly any visible sign where they were hit. The antelope was hit three times and after a while it just fell over. These two episodes completely changed my mind what constitutes a deer hunting rifle.
My experiences with five different 6mm rifles indicate that these are not my ideal deer rifles either. My latest one a 243 Ackley Imp. is most destructive on deer, and only the heaviest hunting bullets should be used, and placed in the head or neck if at all possible. That is if you like to eat venison. Perhaps this is contrary to popular belief, but the 6mm's are for cool shooters only, for deer and antelope hunting.
Today my two favorite deer rifles are the 280 Ackley Imp and the standard 30-06, using 140 gr bullets for the former and 150 and 160gr bullets for the latter. In future I will add a third rifle called a 7mm SSI. A short 7mm-08 Ackley improved with a longer neck. The SSI stands for Sore Shoulder Improved.
For a varmint rifle I only used the 22-250 before it became a factory loading. I was then called the 22 Varminter. After a few trial loads, the 55gr bullet became my standard load and was never changed. No ground hog was save at 400 yards plus. This caliber is a premium number in my books. Also with todays urban crawl less potent calibers are preferred. The popularity of the 223 Winchester speaks for it self. The 223 with a 1-14" twist makes a Ne Plus Ultra varmint rifle. Even the old 22 Hornet is making a come back, and the 222 Remington, a class act performer has never lost popularity because of its gentle behavior and accuracy.
The above is what I have used, and what I liked at the time, also recently I have fallen in love with the 25 Hunter wildcat see Item #22. Nevertheless the rifles and calibers are based on real hands on experience. I assume that you may disagree with my selection of hunting rifle cartridges, since there are a dozen for each one of them, that will perform in a similar fashion. I like all hunting rifles what ever shapes and sizes they may be. Furthermore I totally agree with your own selections as long as you do not ask me for my five cents worth of wisdom. You may not like what I have to say.
If you like to share some rifle/ hunting experiences. Please contact me.
Fred The Re-Loader