Does Your Rifle Cartridge Match Your Personality?

by Braxton Taylor

You can tell a lot about a guy by what kind of rifle he shoots. Not that it matters, but what does your favorite rifle cartridge say about you? Does he follow trends and need the latest and greatest gear? Does he appreciate novelty or cherish a passed-down .30-06? Does he hunt the thick timber or the open country of the west? Does he drive a grocery-getter or a bright red sports car? All joking aside, choosing a rifle and cartridge to match your circumstances and value set can be a tough decision, complicated by the growing myriad of rifle cartridges on the market today.

The Academic

If you’re constantly looking to increase your efficacy, are looking to squeeze out every bit of performance in your hunting rifle, and have run numbers in a ballistic calculator, you are truly a student of the game. Your rifle choice probably reflects that, and you have one purpose built for your mission. As far as a cartridge choice to suit your personality, you’d be hard-pressed not to choose one of the modern rifle cartridge designs in the PRC family (7 PRC, 6.5 PRC, or 300 PRC). The 6.5 Creedmoor and 6.8 Western can also be thrown into the mix. These cartridges are as efficient as modern ballistics allow, utilizing high B.C. bullets, stretching your maximum ethical range, meanwhile keeping recoil to a manageable level to ensure accuracy.

The Jack of all Trades

If you like to keep things simple and minimalistic, you likely want one gun that will work well for all North American big game species. This way you only need to outfit and maintain one rifle and one rifle only. Sure, you can shoot elk with a .243 and whitetail does with a .300 Win. Mag., but you want something in the middle of the road. Something that’s a jack of all trades, but master of none. You likely confide with a 7mm cartridge like the 7mm Rem. Mag. or .280 Ackley Improved. If you prefer larger .30 caliber projectiles, you may appreciate a trusty .30-06 or .308. Between the two, a .270 Win. or 6.8 Western are also great do-it-all choices.

The Surgeon

Accuracy is your primary concern, above all else, which also means low recoil is a must. You believe in putting the bullet in the right spot over maximum energy and displacement. To accomplish these criteria, the 6.5 Creedmoor and/or 6mm Creedmoor are your preference. Similarly, the 7mm-08 is the perfect low-recoil medicine for deer-sized game and even elk at moderate ranges.

The 110% Guy

If you tend to believe that anything worth doing is worth overdoing or that there’s no replacement for displacement, you’re willing to endure more recoil if that’s what it takes. You’re also likely to choose a heavier gun and accessories to help absorb some of that recoil energy. Favorite choices in this category are the 28 Nosler, .300 RUM, .338 Win. Mag., or the heavy-hitting 33 Nosler.

The Specialist

If you appreciate optimizing performance for a specific task and enjoy a literal arsenal of sporting rifles, you likely appreciate something like a .25-06 or 6mm Creedmoor for its flat-shooting trajectory and maximum point-blank range. Introduce challenging environmental factors and larger critters, the 7 PRC really begins to shine for long range applications. If speed and forgiveness are what you’re looking for, the .264 Win. Mag. or Weatherby’s 6.5 RPM delivers 6.5mm bullets far faster than the ever-popular 6.5 Creed.

The Fail-Safe Guy

We’ve all heard the argument, forget your ammo at home, and you’ll be glad you’re shooting a .30-06 or .308. In fear of this happening to you, you’ll choose something that’s as likely to be on the shelves at your local sporting goods store as it is to be on hand at a small-town gas station. You can’t go wrong with the classic 7mm Rem. Mag. or .300 Win. Mag, either. In today’s day and age, the 6.5 Creedmoor has also entered this debate, believe it or not.

The Historian

Whether you’re a lifelong gun collector or cherish the idea of taking your grandfather’s .30-06 into the woods, the classics are right up your alley. American classics like the lever-action .30-30 bring a smile to your face. The .257 Roberts and .270 Win also deserve a spot on this list, each more than capable despite being conceived some 100 years ago.

The Contrarian

You don’t know why, and you don’t do it intentionally, but when everyone else is zigging, you tend to zag. If everyone in your circle is following the current trend, you want nothing to do with it. You appreciate novelty, cheer for the underdog, and want a rifle that is uniquely yours. Even with the advancements of powders, bullet design, and fast twist rates, you appreciate a cartridge that was way ahead of its time. Ballistically, it doesn’t get much cooler than the 7 SAUM, 6.5-284 Norma, or .280 Ackley Improved.

The Economist

You strive to practice often and don’t want to drop $100 every time you hit the range. Factory ammo pricing and availability are major drivers in choosing a rifle cartridge. This is a decision that every new gun buyer factors into the buying equation. If you aren’t good at shopping year-round and stockpiling ammo, you’ve probably got an economist mentality. Cartridges commonly used in the military tend to be the most readily available factory ammunition and the most affordable, which makes the .308 Win. (7.62x51mm NATO) and .223 (5.56x45mm NATO) good choices in terms of cost and availability. With the .223 being a little light for most deer hunter’s preference, you’re probably a .308 guy.

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