Boone and Crockett did a survey one time. They compiled a list of cartridges that hunters used to kill North American big game and big bucks that ultimately made their record book. Not surprisingly, here are the top 4 rounds:
–.300 magnum (used by 18 percent of the hunters in the survey): This includes the .300 Win. Mag and .300 Rem. Ultra Mag. A lot of the animals killed in this survey were big and tough, like bears and elk. But quite a few record-size mule deer and whitetails were felled with the flat-shooting .300 too. Never a bad choice, IF you can handle some recoil.
–.270 (12 percent): The .270 is still one of the kings and always will be, no matter how many sexier, flatter-shooting cartridges are developed. The .270 is a proven performer and has little recoil, so most hunters shoot it well. Fine whitetail cartridge, all things considered probably the best. After a few years of hunting with other cartridges, I find myself going back to my Remington Model 783 in .270…I shoot a few more bucks with it and wonder why I ever stop using that fine rifle.
–.30/06 (11 percent): Only thing surprising is that it didn’t rank higher in the top 2. Still the best all-around big game cartridge on the planet. I’ve killed sheep, black bears, caribou, elk and lots of deer with 150-, 165- and 180-grain bullets; why I ever stopped hunting with the .30-06 I really don’t know, but I haven’t shot mine in years. I need to go back to this venerable cartridge again.
--7mm Rem. Mag. (10 percent): The 7 Mag. will always have a following, especially with elk and mule deer hunters out West, where it really cannot be topped. I used this cartridge a lot last fall, and while it performed well, I need more range and hunting time with it to feel comfortable.
Which rifle and cartridge do you hunt with?