Comparing Barrel Twist Rates

Rifling 101

When a bullet is fired, the rifling of the barrel puts a twist on the bullet in order to improve accuracy, increase the distance traveled, and to stabilize the bullet as it moves through the air towards its target. Twist rates are often set up as a ratio, such as 1:14, 1:12, or 1:7, which refers to inches per turn. A twist rate of 1:10 means the bullet will turn one time in 10 inches of the barrel.

Rifling was discovered in 15th century Germany and most likely took the science behind arrows, which are fletched in a way that the arrow spins, thereby increasing its accuracy. It did not gain popularity until the 18th century, and was a crucial tool for the young United States to beat the British in the Revolutionary War. Nowadays, gunsmiths use either cut rifling or button rifling to produce this effect, but either technique effectively adds raised lands and depreciated grooves along the length of the barrel that cause the bullet to rotate before it ever leaves the gun.

fireringThere are many factors that can affect the twist rate of a barrel. Even the same type of guns from different manufacturers can have different rates, and this can be very confusing to people who are new at purchasing or analyzing rifles. Furthermore, different bullets will require different twist rates for proper stabilization depending on their weight.
For example, if you want to shoot more accurately over a longer distance with a gun such as the AR-15, you may decide to upgrade from a 62-grain bullet to a 77-grain bullet; the lighter bullet requires a twist rate of 1:8 while the heavier bullet in question requires a rate of 1:7; in fact, a much lighter 40-grain bullet only requires a twist rate of 1:12.

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It is important to note that you could potentially use any grain bullet for the rifle, but the accuracy will vary at different distances, so it is important to know at what distance you would like to shoot. Furthermore, a lower ratio means an increased speed, so a twist rate of 1:7 will travel faster than one at 1:9, because it will complete a full rotation in only 7 inches compared to 9, and so it makes sense that a heavier bullet needs a higher twist rate to be accurate.



Since many gun manufacturers may use a different barrel twist rate for their gun, it is important to research before purchasing a rifle so that it can fit the intended requirements. Although it may be difficult to determine at what range you intend to fire the rifle most often, a little bit of gun training will allow you to determine your needs. For example, an expert marksmen may want to shoot at a longer range when he hunts out in the open, while someone who usually hunts in the woods may not need to fire at longer distances because there is usually increased coverage.

For a while many people believed that a slower twist rate would cause poor accuracy, which is true, but some also believe that having too high of a twist rate could “over-stabilize” lighter bullets, also decreasing accuracy. This idea has been debunked by ballistics experts, although firing a very light bullet through a gun with a very high twist rate could still decrease its structural integrity.



However, for the most part a higher twist rate will increase accuracy across the board, especially if closely paired with the correct bullet weight. Nowadays, almost all standard military-grade weaponry has a twist rate of 1:7, while you will find hardly any rifles now with twist rates less than 1:14.

It is also important to keep barrel lengths in mind. Comparing a 10.3″ AR-15 with a different model 18″ barrel, both with a 1:7 twist rate, shows that the smaller barrel is pretty accurate with 55- to 77-grain bullets, while the longer barrel was extremely accurate with higher grain bullets but virtually useless with the lighter options below 70-grain. Although it is impossible to tell exactly what sort of bullet and barrel combinations will be best, knowing a little about twist rates can make it easier to get close, and from there it’s just practice and trail and error.

Source: Wikipedia





9mm vs 380

Calibers Different Purposes

The debate between the .380 and 9mm will always be ongoing among us gun folks. Both calibers have their place within the CCW and Law Enforcement/Military groups. Our approach is to provide you an understanding of how these two calibers fits into personal defense and law enforcement capacity.
When we think of using firearms in a gunfight situation, Hollywood movies have brain washed the public into thinking that bigger gun blast and sounds with bad guys bodies flying violently back after taking a shot. Ammo manufacturers have capitalized on this marketing approach, so naturally in general perspective bigger calibers takes center stage.

Shooting .380 S&W EZ – Kelly Ann
Objectives
The true reality between the private citizen and law enforcement objectives are entirely different when a gun is in play during an emergency. Ok, here’s the nitty gritty – personal defense for the private citizen is about making the bad guy stop from attacking you and not about taking a life with a double tap. This can be accomplished with the .380, 9mm or even a sharp stick.


Law Enforcement Officer’s objective (duty) is to stop the attacker and make the arrest. A more difficult job, even though, the main goal is to stop the perpetrator. Naturally, LEO’s are equipped with a higher caliber pistol along with the high capacity magazines to perform this duty.
So with this out of the way, the following are the basic differences between the .380 and the 9mm calibers. If you want to skip the generic comparisons, click here.


Caliber Comparisons
Both calibers have the same diameter, but the 9mm casing and overall length is longer. Which means there are more gun powder in the 9mm casing which is more powerful. The .380 has less recoil which means you can be really fast when running multiple shots accurately.

Here’s a comparison done by Pew Pew Tactical highlighting the S&W EZ pistols with the .380 and 9mm. This vid went straight to the recoil section to give you an idea of the differences. However, its not like actually shooting it to feel the “felt recoil”.



Cost & Availability
The cost of the .380 has come down since its inception, but the 9mm is still more affordable. The 9’s are more available to come across than a .380.

Terminal Performances
380 ACP





Hornady 90-grain XTP Jacked Hollow Points are a well-rounded .380 round.
Note on the 9mm
We left the 9’s terminal performance out since the 9’s are usually off the charts when compared to the .380.



Common FAQ’s:

Can a .380 stop an attacker?
Here’s a typical answer:
In reality, no ammunition has guaranteed stopping power. Some people believe that . 380 ammo doesn’t have enough stopping power because of the relatively weak ballistics. However, the force of impact doesn’t actually stop your attacker.

What is better .380 or 9mm?
No matter how you look at it. 380 ACP cartridges — both popular choices for self-defense rounds — have the same diameter, but a 9mm round is longer. The . 380 ACP round is cheaper and easier to handle and conceal, while the 9mm is more powerful overall.

Is a .380 good for self-defense?
For personal defense the . 380 Auto is perfectly fine, so long as you’ve selected a quality bullet and can put it where it needs to go.

Can a 380 stop an attacker?
The . 380 Auto is perfectly fine for self-defense, so long as you’ve selected a quality bullet and can put it where it needs to go.

What is the best self defense round for 380?
Depending on which company you ask, here’s one that come to mind.
Based on the numbers provided by Ammo To Go, the Federal Personal Defense loaded with 99-grain HST JHP bullets appears to be the best 380 acp ammo for self-defense. During testing, this round delivered penetration within the FBI’s desired range and had excellent shot diameter at.

What is the effective range of a 380 pistol?
The typical answer is 7 to 10 yards – but thats with a regular full size pistol. So if you were toting a pocket size pistol the effective range may be less. Best thing to do is shoot one and see if it works for you.

Courtesy of Pink Gun
Final Shot
As we stated earlier our objective is not to give you the winner between the 2 calibers, but to give you the information and let you decide which is best for you.
Here’s our summary about these two calibers, 9s have more power than the .380s. The 9’s also are more popular due to the great marketing work done by top gun/ammo manufacturers. Magazine capacity only plays a role if the purpose is for law enforcement duties.
When choosing the calibers for personal defense, whether its for the 9s or 380s. Go with hollow points or other expanding ammunition. Keep this in mind about terminal performance – a slow bullet (velocity) expansion is less reliable.
When it comes to penetration depths, follow the FBI standard of 12 to 18 inches. If you’re one of the micro (pocket pistol carrier) crowd, choose an ammo design to function at slow velocity with +P.

Whether you shoot the 9, .380, full size or pocket size pistol. Train to be highly accurate while under stress. Yes, investment will not just be on ammo but on good training and practice. Within the context of a gunfight, it is better to be more accurate with multiple shots on target than carrying a .44 Magnum and not be accurate. The .380 does beat out the 9 in the recoil department. For CCW carry, both calibers will suffice, even for the pocket carrier.

9mm vs 40

Talks about which is the better caliber between the 9mm and 40 caliber for self-defense is an on-going thing. In the past the conventional wisdom has held that a typical handgun velocities, bigger bullets are better.
Its always best to view both of these rounds (9mm vs 40 cal pistol rounds) objectively. Many LE agencies across the U.S. are following the FBI suit when they switched to the 9mm. Even though not used by the FBI, the .40 cartridge still thrives and will continue for many years to come.

.40 S&W Background
First came out in 1990, the .40 S&W is one of the newer cartridges on the block.
The FBI sought out Smith & Wesson and Winchester to come up with an effective round to replace the 9mm and .38 Special.
The .40 S&W round was not the silver bullet but built out of necessity.
– The FBI decision for this change was due to the infamous FBI Miami shootout in 1986 which took the life of two agents and injured five others.
– Some thoughts was that the .40 S&W was created because the FBI felt their 9mm jacketed hollow point rounds were underpowered and contributed to the agent’s deaths in Miami.
What makes this debate interesting is that both cartridges have technically been declared as winner by the FBI.

Comparing the 9mm and the .40 S&W

The biggest advantage the 9mm has over the .40 S&W is the handling.
The big gripe of the .40 caliber is its kick.
In fact, some people downright dislike the .40 S&W because they feel it’s underpowered for the amount of recoil the cartridge produces. Big bark but no bite.
Since most proficient marksmen shouldn’t have any problem handling a .40 S&W, newbie shooters will have a harder time shooting the .40 S&W than the 9mm.
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This may not seem like a big deal for your average plinker getting off a few rounds at the range, but handling is extremely important for anyone in a self-defense or tactical situation where accuracy makes the difference between life and death.
I know we just talked about the the recoil differences but here are some more things to chew on:
Recoil on the 40 S&W can range from kind of snappy with a full sized pistol to downright annoying with a compact. Small guns like the Glock 27 will often drift out of that perfect grip after a few shots and require readjustment.
9mm is downright pleasant to shoot, even in small, lightweight guns. Rarely would anyone describe the recoil effects on 9mm as harsh. 9mm also has a wide variety of loads designed for lowered recoil for those who are super recoil sensitive.
9mms recoil allows for faster follow up shots, more pleasant shooting, and less wear and tear on most firearms.

Availability
Both ammo types are quite popular and easy to find at any gun/ammo store. Both calibers also have a variety of different self-defense loads available to them.
Both calibers can easily be bought in bulk.
The main difference in availability was mostly noticed from 2012 to 2014 when there was an ammunition drought. 9mm was difficult to find and almost impossible to buy in bulk, .22 ammo for pistols was the same.
40 S&W however remained available.
This could be due to 9mm being more popular and therefore more people purchasing it.
Or, it could be that until very recently the 40 S&W has been the choice for law enforcement since the early 1990s.
This means more 40 S&W is produced than 9mm for these law enforcement contracts leading to more on the shelves perhaps?
Regardless of the reasoning 40 S&W and 12 gauge were the only calibers widely available for almost two years.
That can change, but as of now 40 S&W has proven to be the more available ammunition.
Chalk this one up for the .40 S&W.



Ballistic Penetration & Knock-Down Power

Both of these rounds were designed initially for police work.
Law enforcement established 12 inches of ballistic gel as the penetration standard.
The logic is that if the round can penetrate 12 inches of ballistic gel it can strike a vital organ and stop an attacker.
Everyone will agree that the .40 S&W does trump the 9mm is in the power department. It’s a bigger, heavier cartridge that punches a little bit harder than the 9mm.

However, advancements in ammunition technology have helped the 9mm to become the cartridge that the .40 S&W was supposed to be which was a replacement for the .45 ACP.
Obviously, there’s no denying that the .40 S&W isn’t a powerful cartridge. Have a look at this ballistics tests using Winchester Train & Defend 180 Grain JHP, a popular .40 caliber cartridge for self-defense.

As you can see, the .40 S&W is more than capable of stopping an incoming threat and should have no problem going through clothes.
But a bigger diameter and greater power don’t necessarily give the .40 S&W a clear-cut win over the 9mm.
The issue with the .40 caliber has always been its recoil and how much more difficult the gun is to control than the 9mm for beginners and even average shooters.



Last Word on the 9mm vs the .40 S&W
In regards to which gun is better, that depends on the needs and expectations of the shooter. If you happen to be in the market for a new handgun and you can’t decide between the .40 S&W or 9mm, here are some key facts to consider:

The .40 S&W is a powerful cartridge that offers deep penetration and good expansion. Be aware that the downside is that the cartridge also packs a huge amount of recoil that can dramatically affect your accuracy when shooting follow-up shots, especially if you have a lightweight gun.
While the 9mm can achieve similar effects as the .40 S&W, it’s with premium ammo that costs way lots more than your baseline 9mm ammunition.

With regards to baseline prices, 9mm ammo is quite cheaper than run-of-the-mill .40 S&W ammo. The difference in price is less profound when looking at premium ammunition.
Overall, the truth is that the .40 S&W was a great cartridge during its time – even with the recoil.
But with the improvements in ballistics technology, the 9mm can now perform the same way as the .40 S&W has for nearly three decades.

Now that we see it from both calibers perspective of pros and con. Here’s another angle that Youtuber God family & guns is pitching. That is higher magazine capacity combine with multiple accurate shots wins the gunfight for the FBI agents. With the 9mm the felt recoil is much more manageable than the 40.




Here’s another view from Youtuber FunwiththeGun:



The Magnificent Sevens

Despite The Rise Of The 6.5, The 7mm Remains America’s Favorite Metric Hunting Cartridge

STORY AND PHOTOS BY BRAD FITZPATRICK

It’s hard to pick up a shooting magazine or wander through a large gun store without coming face to face with one of the myriad of popular 6.5 cartridges. Some, like the 6.5 Grendel, 26 Nosler and 6.5 Creedmoor are relatively new. Others, like the 6.5×55 Swedish Mauser, are practically historic. But the 6.5s are trending right now in every platform for hunting and competitive shooting.

I won’t take anything away from the 6.5s. They’re versatile cartridges that are accurate out to long range. But the king of the metric mountain is and will be (at least in the foreseeable future) the 7mms, and here’s why.

Modern smokeless 7mm cartridges have been around for more than a century. The first truly successful sporting and military 7mm across the Atlantic was the 7mm Mauser, and at the Battle of San Juan Hill, Teddy Roosevelt and his Rough Riders realized that the fast, accurate, flat-shooting Mauser 93s in 7mm Mauser were far superior to their .45-70 Springfields. That battle prompted a change in American cartridge design that continues to this day.

Shortly after the Second Boer War ended, WDM “Karamojo” Bell, the Scottish adventurer, soldier and hunter, began hunting ivory professionally in Africa using a 7mm Mauser rifle. Also known as the 7×57, Bell’s rifle accounted for a number of big tusker trophies across the Dark Continent, most of them taken with precarious brain shots.

1609-MAGNIFICENT-02
From mild to wild: The 7mm Mauser, .280 AI, 7mm Rem Mag, and 28 Nosler

Why was the 7mm so effective?
In that particular case, Bell used a 173-grain bullet with a sectional density of .306, higher than a .375 H&H Magnum with a 300-grain bullet. Long, heavy-for-caliber bullets penetrate well, battle the wind and carry energy over long distances. But despite its power, the mild little 7mm Mauser was (and is) very comfortable to shoot.



Today, the round faces competition from the 7mm-08, another mild 7 formed by necking down the .308 Winchester.

But while the 7mm Mauser and 7mm-08 remain excellent options, 170-plus-grain bullets are no longer the norm. Modern factory loads have bullets from 120 to 140 grains, which offer ample knockdown power for nearly all North American game at moderate ranges. These two mild 7s are great for just about any game, and that includes elk and moose, though there are better, more specialized options outlined below.

The Nosler Model 48 Liberty rifle comes with a 1-inch accuracy guarantee and is available in a host of 7mm chamberings, including 7mm-08, .280 AI, 7mm Remington Magnum and the company’s own 28 Nosler.
The Nosler Model 48 Liberty rifle comes with a 1-inch accuracy guarantee and is available in a host of 7mm chamberings, including 7mm-08, .280 AI, 7mm Remington Magnum and the company’s own 28 Nosler.

IN THE 1950S AND 1960S, there was an arms race of sorts going on in the United States. Big, belted magnums that shot flat and hit hard were en vogue, and no person symbolized that line of thought more than Roy Weatherby. Weatherby had recently designed his ultrasafe Mark V rifle, and that led to a jump in the popularity of his cartridges.

Weatherby already offered a 7mm Weatherby Magnum design, but the caliber took off in the Mark V with Western hunters who wanted to kill elk, mule deer, whitetail and just about anything else across wide canyons. The flatshooting 7mm Weatherby, with its large case and Venturi shoulder, had the capacity to burn lots of powder. And with better bullets on the market, the 7mm Weatherby became a star.

Nosler’s 28 is a nonbelted cartridge capable of long-range shooting for all North American game. It’s an excellent elk cartridge.
Nosler’s 28 is a nonbelted cartridge capable of long-range shooting for all North American game. It’s an excellent elk cartridge.

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Remington seized on the 7mm’s success in 1963 with the production of the 7mm Remington Magnum, an effort that happened to coincide with the release of the budget-priced but accurate Model 700. The years that followed saw an unprecedented jump in the 7mm Remington Magnum’s success, and it remains one of the most popular American hunting cartridges today.

Although these two 7mm magnums were at the top of the class in speed and power in the ’60s, they have since been eclipsed. But each remains an extraordinarily versatile round that blends sufficient game-killing energy, flat trajectories, and tolerable recoil. In fact, both the 7mm Remington Magnum and 7mm Weatherby Magnum beat .30-06 velocities by more than 300 feet per second with the same or slightly higher recoil.

The 7mm Remington Magnum is widely available and perfectly suited for a variety of game. If you want a versatile cartridge that is affordable, then this is the gun for you.
The 7mm Remington Magnum is widely available and perfectly suited for a variety of game. If you want a versatile cartridge that is affordable, then this is the gun for you.

The midmagnum 7s are perfect for everything from antelope and whitetails to elk and moose, and both have great reputations among African professional hunters. If you are sheep hunting, these are your rounds as well.



The 7mm Remington Magnum is more widely available, and ammo and guns for it are less expensive, but don’t overlook the Weatherby. If you are a fan of the Mark V or are looking to have a custom rifle built, it’s a great option. Bullet weights for these cartridges pick up where the mild 7s leave off; expect to find what you need ranging from 139 to 175 grains. There are precious few things that these 7mms won’t do, and I’d be at a loss without one midpower 7mm in the gun rack.

THE 7MM FAMILY continues to grow, which is a testament to how great this bullet diameter really is. The first is the .280 Ackley Improved (.284 is the diameter in inches of the 7mms). It isn’t exactly new – developer P.O. Ackley used the .280 Remington case as its base – but Ackley gave the case a steeper shoulder slant (40 degrees), and in 2008, this wildcat cartridge became SAAMI recognized.

Since then, the hunting world has adopted this cartridge with gusto; Nosler loads a variety of ammo for it, and really good factory rifles are available from Kimber, Nosler, Montana Rifle Company and others. The .280 AI, as it’s called, can fire .280 Remington ammo (and the resulting case is fire-formed to .280 AI afterwards), yet it is capable of nearly matching 7mm Remington Magnum velocities with less powder and muzzle blast from lighter rifles. Plus, it’s known for accuracy. While the .280 isn’t as widely available as the 7mm Remington Magnum it’s a great option that gives you – pardon the pun– the most bang for your buck.



Another new 7mm is the impressive 28 Nosler. Based on the 26 Nosler case (which, a few generations back, came to us from the .404 Jeffrey), the 28 Nosler uses a lot of slow-burning powder. The 160-grain factory loads leave the muzzle at 3,300 feet per second and, when sighted in at 200 yards, the bullet is only 14.9 inches low at 400 yards. That’s flat-shooting!

The Nosler Model 48 Liberty rifle comes with a 1-inch accuracy guarantee and is available in a host of 7mm chamberings, including 7mm-08, .280 AI, 7mm Remington Magnum and the company’s own 28 Nosler.
The Nosler Model 48 Liberty rifle comes with a 1-inch accuracy guarantee and is available in a host of 7mm chamberings, including 7mm-08, .280 AI, 7mm Remington Magnum and the company’s own 28 Nosler.

The 28 Nosler is winning fans quickly, especially among sheep and elk hunters who want plenty of power and range without getting thumped at the back end by a .300 magnum. The flat trajectory simplifies long shots, and this cartridge will kill anything reliably with the exception of the largest and most dangerous game. Nosler has begun to make rifles chambered for this cartridge, and they promise sub-minute-of-angle accuracy. The Model 48 Liberty rifle I tested from Nosler beat that figure considerably.

It appears that the next generation of great, fast 7mms has arrived, so whether you are hunting big game or clanking targets from long range, this versatile caliber – from the wild and mild to a host of newer cartridges – will help you achieve your goals. AmSJ



The 7mm Mauser, or 7x57, has little recoil and is perfect for light, handy rifles like this Ruger No. 1.
The 7mm Mauser, or 7×57, has little recoil and is perfect for light, handy rifles like this Ruger No. 1.




243 Winchester Caliber

Versatile, Dual Purpose Caliber?

In the plinking and precision long range world we all like to talk about which gun or caliber is better than the other. This goes the same in the hunting world as well.
Something that hunters and semi-seasoned hunters talk about is the best or versatile deer rifle/caliber. For the non-hunters most will only think of the .30-06 or .308.
All the old favorites are normally there, like the classic Marlin, Remington and Ruger rifles.
They go back and forth on what’s better between a .270 Winchester, a 308 Winchester and a 30-06 Springfield.
But, some experienced hunters will tell you go with the .243 caliber rifle.
This hunting rifle may be smaller than most, but it packs a pretty good punch from varmints to medium-size game. Even if you’re content with whitetail in your area, that is cool as well.

The .243 is light, small and perfect for beginning deer hunters. The .243 Winchester cartridge was initially designed as a target/varmint round, it may be used for animals such as coyotes, black tail deer, whitetail deer, mule deer, pronghorns, and wild hogs.

Taking Aim with a .243 Rifle (WideOpenSpace)


Hunters from the western states have used the .243 on mule deer and bears. At under 200 yards the .243 may just be the most accurate round. Low recoil attributes to its high accuracy.
Some hunters share the sentiment that the .243 just simple isn’t big enough for a true ethical shot. However, with the added accuracy of this round, shot placement is deadly with practice. Taking a shot from 200 yards is a common thing.

Loads
We mentioned the versatility of the .243 caliber. If you handload your own, you can try these loads:
  • 55-grain for varmints
  • 70-80 grain – will retain velocity and resists the wind better and a better choices for coyote, bobcat, and fox
  • 90-100 grain for deer and pronghorn
  • 105-115 grain – Federal Hi-Shok, Remington Corelokts and Winchester Power points are to go with.
Word of caution – the heaviest grain does not mean it will take down the biggest game. .243 is not meant for that.

Here’s a plinker at 500 yards


Bolt or Lever?
When we get into the .243 rifles, a classic bolt action usually leads to better accuracy with a Ruger American.
This factor is what hunters base their decisions whether to have one or not.

If you want to factor in the coolness of the rifle of lever action, Savage and Browning make some awesome lever rifles.
But if those sounds like a little too much rifle, look at Rossi and Henry. They make single shot 243’s.

Browning .243 Lever
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Rossi 243 Rifle
Henry .243 Rifle


These rifles average around $250-$500, so you don’t need to spend too much. The thing to do is shop around which has bundles like a rifle that comes with a scope, recoil pad, maybe a synthetic stock and an adjustable trigger.
Its like plug and play right out of the box.
It’s important with all cartridges to match the bullet to the game animal. If you only hunt whitetail, small game and is recoil sensitive, the .243 is for you.

Here is Gridlessness take on the awesome .243 Caliber.







New Life for an Old Favorite

Decision to hold ‘old-style .22 match’ leads to an adventure in restoring legendary Stevens single-shot.

STORY AND PHOTOS BY MIKE NESBITT

Among the guys I shoot with, there is an increasing interest in old or old-style .22 rifles. The guns we like the most are the old single-shots, such as those made by Stevens, Remington and several other makers. One friend of mine said he thought that the popularity of shooting .22s would rise in the near future, and our feelings and interests certainly follow what that friend had predicted.
The reason .22s are being focused on in this black powder column is simple: most .22 rimfires can be considered black powder cartridges. The .22 Short is our oldest self-contained metallic cartridge, appearing in the first Smith & Wesson revolver in 1857. The .22 Long followed within a few years, and in 1885, the greatest cartridge of them all was introduced: the .22 Long Rifle. Both the .22 Long and the .22 Long Rifle used 5 grains of black powder and the only real difference between those two cartridges is their bullet weight, usually 29 grains for the Long and 40 grains for the Long Rifle.
There are kits available for reloading .22 Long Rifle cases with black powder. I have not tried one of those yet, but now I’m thinking that I should. If I do get to use one of those reloading kits, a report is likely to follow.

Here’s the same rifle, restored and with the tang sight added.
WITHIN OUR SMALL clan of black powder cartridge shooters, one of the guys thought about putting on an “old-style .22 match.” We talked, and then set about putting such a match together. Our plans included two novelty paper targets (a “turkey” and a “beer can”) to be shot at from just 25 yards, shooting offhand. Five or 10 shots would be taken at each of those targets. Then we’d move to 50 yards for a bull’s-eye target, which would be shot at from the sitting position while using cross-sticks for muzzle support. The bull’s-eye target would absorb another 10 shots.
The paper targets would be followed by another 10 or 20 shots, taken offhand again, at various gongs and clangers for a plinking portion of this informal match. For our little band of shooters, this match would consume 40 to 50 rounds of .22 Long Rifle ammo and it shouldn’t take more time than just the morning. Shooters would be awarded with meat or other prizes, similar to what we give out as prizes in our more common black powder cartridge or muzzleloader matches.
At this point, the old-style .22 matches are still a subject of thought. Although we did have one match scheduled, it had to be cancelled because of the virus shutdown. We still hope to have it, perhaps later this year. That rescheduling simply gives us more time to iron out any details, in addition to getting some fine .22 rifles for shooting in the match. One rifle I had never owned is a Stevens Favorite, a .22 that I have admired for several years. Others in our group were buying used Favorites, mostly the Model 1915, and using them as-is or having the old guns restored. A restored Favorite seemed to me a perfect way of getting well-equipped for more good .22 shooting.

A left-side closeup view of the action.
THAT IDEA LED to my search for a used old Stevens Favorite Model 1915 and I found one for just over $200. A friend looked at it and, having a well-studied background in the details of Stevens Favorites, told me my gun is a “parts gun,” made up from parts on hand, which is just fine with me. This one has the part octagon barrel, which I do prefer. Other Favorites had either round or full octagon barrels. And on my gun, the outside of the barrel was in better shape than the bore. Actually, the bore of this old, well-used .22 wasn’t that bad, but the chamber area had some disturbing pits in it. When the gun was fired, those pits in the chamber made extraction of the fired case rather difficult.
The pitted chamber was quickly cured by simply relining the barrel. That was inexpensive and it gave me a Favorite with a brand-new bore. This old rifle was too far gone to be considered a collector’s item, so relining the bore was a completely positive move; it brought new life to the old gun and made it serviceable once more.
At least, it would be serviceable for younger eyes. The rear sight on the barrel was just a little too close to my eye for me to see it clearly. To fix that, a new Marble’s tang sight was ordered for the old Favorite from CPA Rifles (cparifles.com). Peep sights are my favorites and I’m quite happy that CPA Rifles had a sight in stock for this favorite to wear.

Stevens Favorites were take-downs; the longest part is the 22-inch barrel.
BUT BEFORE MOUNTING the Marble’s tang sight on the rifle, I boxed up the gun and sent it to C. Sharps Arms to have the barrel reblued and the action color casehardened. This rifle would have far more value to me as a shooter in restored condition than as a relic from the past that looked like it should have had better care. There was a little metal work that needed to be taken care of too and I knew my friends at C. Sharps Arms, particularly Pat Dulin, would see that things were done correctly. I gave Pat only general instructions of what I wanted done; how to do it and how well it could be done were up to him.
You might remember that C. Sharps Arms restored a Remington rolling block in .50-70 caliber for me. Actually, this .22 is the fifth rifle I’ve sent to the company for restoration, including three rolling blocks that I’ve rebuilt and sent to them for bluing and color casehardening. I’ve always been well pleased with their work. If you have any questions about restoring an old rifle, contact them at csharpsarms.com.
One thing that was not discussed with Pat was how long the restoration of this .22 might take. So I was highly surprised when it came back to me after only two or three weeks! (We can’t count on that happening every time, due to their workload.) To me, this rifle looks fantastic and I do appreciate the work that was put into it. Also, that “little metal work” that I mentioned was fixed perfectly. (Some terrible engraving had to be removed.) Getting the gun back so soon was a very pleasant surprise.

THE NEXT THING to do was to shoot this new-looking rifle. That was done the next morning, and a box of CCI standard-velocity .22 Long Rifle ammo was taken along. Getting the tang sight adjusted for both windage (those Marble’s sights are windageadjustable) and elevation was no trouble, once I figured out which way to make the adjustments.
Then bullets from the little rifle just seemed to pour through the middle of the target. That’s the only paper target shot at with this rifle so far, but more will be coming. And there was no chance of going back home with any unfired cartridges.
All of the remaining ammo was fired at gongs and clangers from 25 to 100 yards, getting hits often enough to feel quite successful. Of course, I give all of the credit for those hits to the rifle. Now I call this rifle “My Favorite” and I can’t completely relate how pleased I am with this little gun. It certainly will see action when we get that old-style .22 match up and running.
In fact, this .22-caliber Stevens Favorite is giving me so much shooting pleasure that I don’t understand why I waited so long to get one.

Boattail or Flat Base?

Does the base of your bullet make a difference at the ranges you hunt?

Story and Photos by Phil Massaro & Massaro Media Group

The Lichtenstein’s hartebeest bull was feeding slowly across the dried pan in the Ikuria block of Tanzania’s Selous Reserve, just over 300 yards from where we stood.
Professional hunter Terry Calavrias and I agreed that the shot could be taken if I could get down prone, across a log that was conveniently placed in just such a position as to provide a solid rest. Once situated firmly on the Tanzanian soil, I raised the cross hairs just over a foot above where I wanted the bullet to strike, and broke the trigger of the Winchester Model 70.
The .416 Remington Magnum sent the 400-grain Swift A-Frame exactly where it needed to go, and the solid “whunk” of the bullet striking flesh came back to us on the midday breeze. We soon stood over a handsome kongoni dume, and the celebration began. The heavy, flat-nosed semispitzer bullet did more than its part.

The flat-based Nosler Partition on the left and the boattail AccuBond on the right; both have their attributes, but the performance isn’t radically different inside of 400 yards.
Hornady’s SST (Super Shock Tip) uses a polymer tip and a boat tail to maintain its high ballistic coefficient values, and the cup-and-core construction delivers a quick energy transfer.
WAIT, A .416 Remington at 300-plus yards? Yes, it can be done, and you’d more than likely be surprised at exactly how accurate those big bores can be at longer distances. But it got me to thinking about the conformation of that bullet, and examining trajectory tables, all in order to determine the effects of bullet shape on trajectory and wind drift.


It was an eye-opening experience for me, and some of the older ideas regarding bullet choice were rewritten in my mind. The boattail bullet design is most certainly an excellent choice for retaining velocity and resisting the effects of wind deflection. By changing the profile of the rear of the bullet from a flat-based design to an angled, tapered design, the air flows around the base of the bullet in flight and that projectile will slip through the atmosphere with less drag.
Few people would consider using a flat-based bullet to punch a steel target 1,000 yards away, as the velocity will drop off quickly and the wind will wreak havoc with the design. For this application, you see, it all comes down to the ballistic coefficient, that unitless number that compares the characteristics of a given bullet to a model of a particular shape. The higher the ballistic coefficient, the better the bullet will slip through the atmosphere.
So for target and other long-range work, a long, sleek ogive – that portion of the bullet that is curved, and tapers down to the pointed nose or meplat – and a boattail make all sorts of sense. But does that fact make the flat-based bullets (and those with a flat or round meplat) obsolete, or even insignificant? It depends entirely upon the application at hand.

The Federal Terminal Ascent shown in profile, cross section and upset; the bonded core, heavy copper shank and high ballistic coefficient combine to form a bullet worthy of any impact velocity, yet will make a good choice for long-range work.
TARGET BULLETS, GENERALLY speaking, are designed for precision, and take no care about what happens after the target, whether it may be paper or steel. In order to best serve the target shooters, almost all of the target, or “match,” bullets are of boattail design – with the exception of Sierra’s No. 1400, which my Ruger .22-250 absolutely loves – in order to give the best results at the longest ranges.
But does a hunting bullet need the same conformation as a long-range target bullet? Does the highest ballistic coefficient matter to the hunter? Let’s take a long look at this, in order to choose the bullet conformation that will best serve you in your hunting scenario.


Before I was able to travel to hunting destinations outside my home state of New York, my big game hunting was limited to whitetail deer and those black bear residing in the Catskill and Adirondack Mountains. I couldn’t afford a dedicated varmint rifle, and there weren’t enough coyotes to speak of, so the majority of my time with a center fire rifle was spent in the woods, where shots rarely exceeded 100 paces.
This is typical of most hunting in the Northeast, and at that distance, the shape of the bullet matters not, as the time of flight is so short that the effects of atmosphere, wind and other factors just don’t come into play. The lever-action cartridges like the .30-30 Winchester, .32 Winchester Special, .35 Remington and .38-55 Winchester have shined in these scenarios, and all normally use projectiles that have less than desirable ballistic coefficient values.
What a world I’d find once I began to travel. Caribou bulls out across the taiga as far as I could discern, pronghorn antelope on distant hillsides, herds of eland better measured in portions of a mile rather than in yards; all presented a unique set of challenges to a kid whose longest shot might have been 175 yards. These experiences caused me to adopt the boattail spitzer as my bullet of choice, yet these came with their unique challenges as well.
With the cup-and-core bullets, I have found the jacket and core can, and will, separate during the terminal phase. This phenomenon results in poor penetration, and a long tracking job in some instances. In those rifles that have a less-than-perfect crown, accuracy can be more erratic with boattail bullets than with the flat-based choices. Now may be a good time to examine the effects on trajectory and wind deflection at hunting distances.

The Swift Scirocco II has a high ballistic coefficient, thick jacket, polymer tip and boattail. The thick jacket is bonded to the core to prevent the components from separating during the terminal phase.
LET’S USE THE .30-06 Springfield and 180-grain bullets as a benchmark in order to compare the trajectory of flat-based and boattail bullets. The loads I will compare are from Federal, and share a muzzle velocity of 2,700 feet per second. I’ve picked three bullets: the classic Nosler Partition, a flat-based spitzer bullet that has an impeccable reputation; the Federal Trophy Bonded Tip, a boattail polymer tip design; and the Nosler AccuBond, similar in profile to the Trophy Bonded Tip.
My own personal shooting distance limit while hunting is 400 yards, but I’ll extend the data out to 500 yards for comparative purposes. We’ll also use a 200-yard zero for all three bullets, common in many hunting scenarios, and examine data at 300, 400 and 500 yards. The G1 ballistic coefficients of the trio are .474 for the Partition, .500 for the Trophy Bonded Tip and .507 for the AccuBond.

Two Sierra .30-caliber 180-grain bullets: the flat-based ProHunter and the boattail GameKing. The author has used the pair for decades, and finds the ProHunter to be the tougher of the two.
At the 300-yard mark, the three bullets are within 0.2 inch of one another, with the Partition dropping 8.5 inches, the Trophy Bonded Tip dropping 8.4 inches and the AccuBond 8.3 inches. At 400 yards, the separation is just over half an inch, with the Partition dropping 24.4 inches, the Trophy Bonded Tip dropping 23.9 inches and the AccuBond 23.8 inches;
even at 500 yards, the separation is a mere 1.3 inches, with the drop being 48.7, 47.7 and 47.4 inches, respectively. That difference is smaller than most hunting rifles can deliver at 500 yards, especially under field conditions. What about retained energy? At 500 yards, the Partition still carries 1,348 foot-pounds of energy, while the boattail designs retain a bit more at 1,408 and 1,423, respectively. Still not a huge difference.
What effect does the wind have on the trio? A 10 mph wind for the 500-yard shot will see the Partition drift 20.7 inches, the Trophy Bonded Tip 19.4 inches and the Nosler AccuBond will be blown 19.0 inches off course. Not really a big difference, considering the 500-yard distance and the performance of a hunting bullet. Assuming accuracy of one-MOA, there would be a 5-inch group on the target; one might say that the differences between these three bullets may be nullified, depending on which load your rifle shot best.

The flat-based Speer Grand Slam is a sound choice within sane hunting distances; it hits hard and holds together.
I use quite a few models of both flat-based and boattail bullets, but as the above example goes to show, the difference between the two isn’t quite so large after all. Point is, while there is an advantage to the boattail bullets, there is nothing wrong with using a flat-based spitzer in the hunting fields. Should you find a bullet that works well in your rifle, but is flat-based instead of boattailed, I wouldn’t shy away. Sierra’s ProHunter series, the great Nosler Partition, Speer’s Grand Slam, and Hornady’s InterLock are among the flat-based spitzers I enjoy. Yet, if the boattail designs like the Nosler Ballistic Tip and AccuBond, Sierra GameKing, Hornady ELD-X, and Swift Scirocco II perform well in your rifle, take them to the hunting fields confidently.

Nosler’s AccuBond Long Range uses a steeper boattail angle than the AccuBond does, to obtain a higher BC value. Yet, inside of 500 yards, the benefits may not be evident.
Federal’s Trophy Bonded Tip, a stout bonded-core bullet with a polymer tip and moderate boattail, is a great all-around choice for any hunting situation.

.22 vs 9mm

Which is better for Self-Defense, Hunting or Plinking?

The 9mm and the .22LR are two popular ammunition out in the market. They are different in respect to cartridge sizes. Comparing the two in a head to head is easy when you’re only viewing the size of the caliber. The 9mm is bigger than the 22 round.
The .22 rounds have much less energy than 9mm rounds, the powder load is smaller. When fired has less acceleration and kinetic energy.
Which means the penetration and knock down power is not in the same class as the 9mm caliber. However, that doesn’t mean the .22 isn’t good for anything.
Beginner shooters can start with the .22. With the less recoil, it helps newbies in learning all the basic marksmanship shooting.
For the more seasoned shooter, the .22 does offer speed in shooting and accuracy.



Now thats not to say that you can’t do the same with the 9mm. The FBI commissioned the 9mm caliber as the standard carry for their agents. In this instances, from a beginner perspective the .22LR would be a good starting point to develop their marksmanship. As a more experienced shooter, its a matter of preferences. (more on this later)

Which is better is not a simple A or B answer. These two calibers are quite popular amongst avid shooters, some may be more of the die-hard but it seems that they prefer these calibers for self-defense, hunting and plinking.
Let’s take a look at why these purposes serve one caliber and not the other.

Self-Defense
For personal defense stopping an attacker in their track with good shot placement to the vital area takes paramount in priorities.
Which is why the 9mm takes the lead in this due to the bigger size and was specifically design for this purpose. (no brainer)
A quick word about “stopping the attacker” it means creating enough damage to cause significant blood loss and/or causing enough pain to make the attacker change their mind. So even if you’re packing a .22 J-Frame revolver and put 5 rounds into the attacker which compelled them to stop is also a good thing.

Shooting accurately and reliably can be about the Indian. But both of these rounds can do the same. The .22LR is probably more comfortable to shoot. Penetration is another important factor, the ideal penetration needs to be at least 12 inches. (according to the FBI)
Most 22 LR does not reliably penetrate deep enough to strike something critical. 22LR was never designed to be a self-protection round and it serves poorly as one.
However, in some self-defense circle they believe the .22 is more capable than a lot of people give it credit for. For example, with the advancement in loads, the CCI Velocitor 40-grain small game load has been known to perform relatively well out of handguns.


Lucky Gunner tested a 1.9-inch snub nose revolver with the 22 shooting at the ballistic gel. All five rounds penetrated between 10 and 12 inches. There was no expansion, which is expected for a .22. Penetration is by far the more important attribute. The FBI uses a minimum standard of 12 inches of penetration for duty ammo but 10 inches is nothing to sneeze at.
With good multiple shot placement, a bullet from a .22 handgun should be more than capable of reaching the vital organs to physically disable an attacker or create enough pain to make them stop.

Hunting
In this department its sort of unfair to compare the two for hunting because the 9mm was never meant for hunting purpose.
22LR ammo is a better choice for hunting for this purpose. The .22 is the more ideal round in this environment due to practicality. Of course we’re not talking big game here, but small game. Another thing is most .22LR for hunting is from a rifle. Unless you’re able to find a Stevens Model 35 pistol from the past.

This single shot pistol in rimfire calibers and the more rare .410 shotgun shell including the .22LR were the favorite of sportsman and target shooters of yesteryear.
The downside to this pistol is that its a single shot. This gun was knowns as “bicycle guns” because they were light and handy and perfect for bringing along on your country bicycle trip for small game and plinking. (back in the day)
The 9mm can be used for hunting, but its likely to cause much damage to small game, it would destroy the meat that you’re harvesting.

Plinking & Target Practice
Both rounds are accurate and easy shooting. Both are chambered in a variety of platforms and both are abundant and affordable. When it comes to basic target practice it seems either round will serve you well.
22 LR is often a much cheaper option as compare to 9mm ammo. The easy shooting 22 LR is excellent for new shooters and older people.
9mm is often the perfect caliber for shooters to move up once they are comfortable with the 22 LR. The 9mm can be used in rifle form for training and is still a blast to shoot. Both rounds certainly have their place when it comes to plinking.

Final Shot
Think about it this way — most of us who are serious about practicing our handgun skills on a regular basis tend to do the vast majority our shooting with a full size or a compact pistol chambered for a service caliber. That’s where we dedicate most of our training hours and our ammo budget.

Both rounds excel at what they are designed and to do, and that’s why they are the king of their respective bullet genres. Ideally its nice to have one of each.
If you are just starting out – it’s impossible to go wrong with a .22 LR caliber rifle/handgun as your first pick.
For a more experienced shooter and their purpose is everyday carry for self-defense, they will lean more towards the 9mm.
Then theres the prepper groupies, if they had to choose only one caliber, they will go with the .22LR. The .22LR is more pragmatic in that environment and conditions.
What would you choose?

On the Hornady A-Tip Match

Not all match-grade bullets are created equal, especially those featuring an aluminum tip.

STORY BY PHIL MASSARO • PHOTOS BY MASSARO MEDIA GROUP

In the cold, dry air of the eastern Oregon desert, the Leupold Optics Academy hosts its shooting courses at an impressive rifle range, with targets at distances from 100 yards to 2,000 yards. The ever-changing winds, the constant mirage and the physical location of the targets make for some very interesting shooting, to say the least, and you’ll want every advantage possible to make that steel ring.
The 230-grain A-Tip Match can be a wonderful choice for the .300 Winchester Magnum, if your barrel can stabilize it.
There are many facets, but an accurate rifle, good glass and a proper cartridge/bullet combination will make the shooter’s job much easier. Steel and paper targets are the playground of the match bullet, as they are not designed for any sort of terminal performance, and only concern themselves with their flight to the target. Match bullets have gone through some serious changes over the years, with some older designs (read: Sierra MatchKing) still leaned upon heavily, and some of the new designs being absolute game-changers.


One of the newer offerings that made an immediate impression on me – and was a definite advantage in those high desert conditions – was Hornady’s A-Tip Match.

Hornady has recently expanded the A-Tip Match line to include the bigger bore diameters like .375 and .416 inch, in addition to the more common diameters.
DATING BACK TO 1947, when Joyce Hornady and Vernon Speer partnered to convert spent .22 rimfire casings into bullet jackets, the Hornady name has been equated with value, performance and innovation. Though Joyce is no longer with us, his son Steve and grandson Jason – as well as their excellent team of designers, engineers and ballisticians – have kept the products evolving, in both cartridge development and bullet development.
In recent years, Hornady has been responsible for the .375 and .416 Ruger, the .300 and .338 Ruger Compact Magnum, the .17 Hornady Magnum Rimfire, and perhaps most famously, the 6.5 Creedmoor. Their projectiles are equally famous; think about the wonderful pair of DGX Bonded and DGS Solid bullets for dangerous game, the ELD-X hunting bullet and its brother, the ELD Match bullet, with their revolutionary Heat Shield tips, and most recently, the A-Tip Match.

In nearly all aspects of shooting, consistency equals accuracy, and that concept certainly holds true in the extreme long-range shooting world. When designing a match bullet, you’ll want all the parameters of that bullet to be as consistent as possible, including the weight of the bullet, the concentricity (or uniformity), the outer dimensions, and perhaps most importantly, the tip or meplat of the bullet.


The bullet industry has long labored to keep the meplats of match bullets not only consistent throughout the construction phase, but also when resting in the magazine of a rifle. The hollowpoint design – employed for decades – is certainly sound, but you’ll find trimming tools designed for keeping the fine bullet noses consistent, in an effort to achieve a uniform ballistic coefficient value. It is a uniform BC (along with uniform muzzle velocities) that aids in long range accuracy, and projectiles have become increasingly complex in the effort to attain the uniformity desired to routinely hit targets to 1,000 yards and beyond.

The polymer tip made a huge difference in keeping a consistent meplat, and therefore a consistent BC, but it was Hornady who discovered that their polymer tips were actually melting in flight, drastically affecting the BC downrange. Solving that problem was certainly a step in the right direction, and I’ve had great results with both the ELD-X in the hunting fields and the ELD Match at the target range.

But Hornady wasn’t done, and the pursuit of the perfect match bullet continued. Using aluminum for a meplat material wasn’t exactly a new idea; the original Winchester Silvertip used a flat-tipped aluminum cap as a means of slowing expansion, and Hornady themselves used a huge (in comparison to the A-Tip Match) aluminum tip on their National Match line of bullets years ago. But the manufacturing techniques of yesteryear are not those of today, and Hornady turned to aluminum once again to try and manufacture the ultimate meplat.
DEAD FOOT ARMS


Hornady used their excellent AMP bullet jacket and machined a long, and very precise, aluminum tip, which relocated the center of gravity and optimized the long-range performance of the A-Tip Match. And the tolerances held by Hornady are so tight you can barely feel the seam between copper jacket and aluminum tip.

Lying prone, author Phil Massaro prepares to engage
the 1,200-yard target in Oregon’s high desert.
Massaro took the 135-grain A-Tip Match – loaded in the 6.5 Creedmoor – out to 1,500 yards, making solid hits in some rather stiff wind.
AT THAT OREGON range, I had the opportunity to take the 135-grain A-Tip Match to task, handloaded in the 6.5 Creedmoor, launched from a Ruger Precision Rifle and topped with a Leupold Mark 5 7-35×56. Those handloads – the A-Tip Match is only available in component form, you see – generated an average muzzle velocity of 2,769 feet per second, as observed on a LabRadar unit.
In spite of wind gusts up to 20 mph, changing direction numerous times throughout the day, we were able to make solid hits out to the 1,500-yard mark, the furthest we could engage from the particular point we were shooting from.
I found the A-Tip Match to shoot a bit tighter at longer ranges than it did up close; it’s the type of bullet that needs a bit of time to stabilize. It handled wonderfully in those stiff winds, needing much less correction for wind deflection than other designs I’ve used. Admittedly, the 6.5 Creedmoor is a wonderfully accurate bullet, but the cartridge is made better by launching Hornady’s new A-Tip Match. On the last day of the Shooting Academy, we had an opportunity to use a different shooting position and stretch the Creedmoor/A-Tip Match combo out to the 1-mile mark. While my shots fell victim to the winds and transonic window (that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it), a couple of colleagues made contact at that distance.
Hornady ships the A-Tip Match directly off the machines in sequential order; in fact, they provide a polishing cloth bag to remove the machine lubricants. They are shipped in boxes of 100, and Hornady will sell you a sequential run of up to 500 bullets, in an effort to obtain the best consistency. They have also seen the wisdom of producing this bullet up and down the spectrum, with the geometry of each bullet being unique to the caliber/weight combination.

It is currently available in: .224-inch-diameter 90-grain bullet; 6mm-diameter 110-grain bullet; 6.5mm-diameter 135-and 153-grain bullets; 7mm-diameter 166- and 190-grain bullets; .308-inchdiameter 176-, 230- and 250-grain bullets; .338-inch-diameter 300-grain bullet; .375-inch-diameter 390-grain bullet; and .416-inch-diameter 500-grain bullet. My .300 Winchester Magnum shows a definite liking for the 230-grain A-Tip Match, though here in New York I have only had the opportunity to take it to 300 yards.

While Hornady offers both the G1 and G7 BC values for each of these bullets, we had excellent results using the 4-DOF ballistic program from Hornady, relying on an axial form factor rather than ballistic coefficient.
These are not cheap, as the street price will run between $0.80 and $1.35 per bullet, but they are a good value for those who take their precision shooting serious. Look at how our optics, receivers, barrels, triggers and stocks have changed for the better over the last 20 years. I can’t possibly understand why anyone would have an issue with an expensive projectile, especially considering that it is the only part of our setup that touches the target at all.
Hornady has a winner here, and I think you’ll see the product line expand over the coming years. Perhaps for the target shooter who stays within 500 yards there may be more affordable options – including Hornady’s ELD Match – but when the distances get truly long, look to the A-Tip Match.

308 vs 30-06

In the long range shooting world the .308 and the .30-06 have been embedded in the history of American firearms. Both rounds have their roots in the U.S. Army and was used in many conflicts all over the world. The hunting community and self-defense groups also recognized its effectiveness and highly embrace them both. However, many gun folks love to debate which caliber is better or the best for hunting elk.
Photo from WildernessToday.com

Brief History
The U.S. military used the .30-06 in both world wars. Springfield M1903 was used during World War I. In WW II the .30-06 caliber was used in the M1 Garand. Conflicts in Korea and Vietnam also employed the .30-06. Today this round is used by snipers for special purpose. The .308 made its debut in the 1950s, which later developed into the 7.62x51mm NATO.



Caliber Differences
The bullets are an identical 7.8mm in diameter. The primers are the same. The only real difference is in the cases. Put a .308 and .30-06 next to one another the .30-06 has a longer case.
What it all really boils down to is that the Army liked the stopping power of the .30-06, but they didn’t care for the long action round. They wanted something better suited for short action rifles that would allow boots on the ground to carry more rounds into combat.
The military wanted a round that could cycle better out of their rifles. Which is why the .308 was the better option, with the less recoil that allows faster accurate follow-up shots.

Personal Preferences
When talking about .308 vs .30-06, a lot of people want to pick sides and ask ‘Which is best?’ But let’s face it, “best” is highly subjective, especially when we’re talking about two rounds that are for all intents and purposes nearly identical.

You can try and break things down by comparing bullet weights and muzzle velocity. Both are going to be slower as you use heavier bullets. There are differences there, but in some cases they’re so small that it doesn’t matter to most shooters.
A .30-06 has a muzzle velocity around 2,900 feet per second with a 150-grain bullet, while a .308 is around 2,800. You won’t be able to know the differences.

DEAD FOOT ARMS


The choice you make between the two really depends on personal preference and what you intend to use it for. Both rounds are great for big game animals. If you’re deer hunting on the Kansas plains, you might want to go with a .30-06 hunting rifle. The higher velocity means this round is going to shoot flatter at longer ranges than the .308.
A good rule of thumb to remember is for long range, the .30-06 is the better round because of its higher velocity. Means it will shoot flatter at the long range distance than the .308.

You’ll also find some hunting and fishing guides in Alaska prefer a little bit of extra power that a heavier grain .30-06 has for protection against black bears or other angry large game animals. The extra stopping power is probably why it has become one of the most popular big game hunting rounds ever. Bighorn sheep, elk, antelope, bear, moose, deer, you can pretty much hunt them all with a .30-06.

As far as hunting cartridges go, it has more than enough stopping power for deer and similarly-sized North America game animals. It’s something to consider if you’re hunting an area where most of your shots are going to be under 200 yards. That’s not to say the .308 can’t go long range. It definitely can, but most hunters are more confident with the .30-06 at longer distance.

The .308 is also a round to consider for AR platform-style rifles. If you’re predominantly using the AR platform the .308 can be used. Maybe want the capability to launch many rounds down range with more rounds than the .308 is the better candidate.
If you don’t want the AR but still want to hurl .308. Take a look at a M14 or a M1A – which you can use effectively against most pest predators.
So, again, just to recap: a .30-06 is generally going to be better suited for long range shooting, and a .308 is going to be better for faster shooting.

You can’t go Wrong with Either Calibers
We’re not going to pick a favorite between the .308 and .30-06, because both rounds are great for what they are. You really can’t go wrong buying a sporting rifle chambered for either. Before you go to the gun store to buy one, just ask yourself what you’ll be using it for and pick the one that best suits your needs.

Either way, you can rest easily at night knowing that whatever task you have picked for your rifle, these cartridges are sure to deliver when the time comes!



PRICE: Which is Cheaper?

Price is something to consider when it comes to practicality – Yes, the .308 ammo is usually cheaper.
The .308 uses less brass and the popularity means bigger production and lower price. The difference isn’t that much, but if you’re an F-class long range shooter, then price can be an issue.

From a prepper/survival perspective, the .308 is mass produced for many different types of sporting rifles. Which means, the .308 Win will be easier to find and use in the event of some type of catastrophic event that requires you to hunt your own food or survive in the wilderness.

For Hunting
Experienced hunters will tell us it all depends on the size of the game. For short to medium range, both cartridges do an awesome job for game up to elk. Beyond elk, go with the .30-06 Springfield with a heavier bullet like 180 grain which gives you a bigger punch.
With this extra power – you can bring down bigger or angry 4 legged that comes at you. So, for deer, big coyote, elk, and even small moose you can use both cartridges with 150- or 165-grain projectiles.
If you’re a .308 Winchester diehard and insiste on big game, then get some high quality bullets. Hunters also know that the .308 Win has less recoil than the .30-06, which translates into slightly better accuracy.
-For whitetail hunting both soft-tip hunting rounds are great although the .30-60 might be too much within 100-150 yards.
-For smaller game like squirrel and rabbit, neither of the two are a good choice. Pick something less powerful like a .22LR.

Overall Winner
The .308 Winchester for survival, and for rifle hunters starting from scratch; 30-06 for really large game.
So if you’re trying to decide between the two calibers, maybe you shouldn’t worry about which caliber is more lethal or more accurate. View it from a practical and logistical factors, find the rifle you like in either caliber, and be confident that no matter which you choose, it will perform. Again its all about the Indian and not his arrows.