Digital Magazine

What's wrong with what we've got?

A bit of discussion with a few mates shows that we have differing views on modern ie after 1970 cartridge and rifle design.
American design philosophy seems dominated by making things that fit the std ar platform dimensions to generate more sales with “the world’s most popular rifle”. This is largely irrelevant to the rest of the world, ourselves included so why should we fall in step.

These are my thoughts on the subject. Please feel free to disagree.

Modern cartridge developments have produced case designs that are more efficient at turning powder into velocity
than those of 125 years ago, and powders have come a long way from cordite and balle D.
Bullet design has also skipped ahead from the days of soft lead, the spitzer, boat tails, and even monolithics were around 100 years ago so really modern designs just tweak that which has gone before.
However the basic function of a rifle has not changed, that is to deliver a little lump of metal accurately at distance.
When it comes to hunting there is only one kind of dead, that counts, Dead!. Not slightly dead, mostly dead, or soon to be dead.
It is shot placement that kills, a bigger faster bullet in the wrong place is no better than a small slower one in the same place in this regard.
With a few exceptions eg sub calibre rounds like the 204 Ruger and 17 Remington and the long range Lapua 338 that have been designed for specific end uses, the modern run of short, super short and ultra magnums I believe offer the average hunter or shooter little advantage over those already available, and in some cases offer the decided drawback of short barrel life, excessive noise and recoil out of all proportion to any gain in range, accuracy or actual

New cartridges and rifles for them are usually the result of a company’s desire to introduce something new to keep sales going, or occasionally to tap into the results of some “bloke in a shed tinkering” with a commercial round that gets a large following that needs commercilisation.
Examples of wildcats that have become mainstream are the 22-250, 243, 270, 280 Remington, 300 AAC, 7-08, 6.5 Grendel, 308 Norma Magnum, and the Ackley improved and magnum families plus a whole host of others.
So before you run out and buy the newest thing to improve your shooting remember this.

Most shooters myself included don’t extract more than a fraction of the potential that their current rifles have to offer and believing getting the newest thing out will make you a better shot is quite frankly delusional. Its trigger time, practice and familiarity that makes for a good shooter.

I recall as a young fella entering a hunting comp, I had my then new sako forester in the mighty 270 and tasco scope and along with a few friends similarly kitted out we were rather scornful of the older guys with cut down 303s, sugar bag pikaus etc and were confident that with our new gear coupled with our age and mobility we would hose all over the old buggers.
At the briefing the organisers made a comment about don’t write off the 303 crowd in the corner. Naturally, we laughed.
Guess what, at the end youth and enthusiasm proved to be no match for old age and experience.


we sure do try hard to reinvent the wheel
I have a good friend who wanted a fast .224 so he got the .204 ruger case necked up…I believe its done quite a bit…so what??? you say…
well the .204 ruger is a necked down 222 magnum… see the irony???
sure the newbie has shorter neck and about a 1mm longer body,sharper shoulder …this fellas rifle started life as a .223 its a savage…
he got it reemed out and altered mag box etc to feed new round…
after using rifle for a while…he tried to sell it…new user wounded deer so both got shits with rifle…I tried it and found it no better than .223 on the one and only time I used a chronograph…
a burst primer and first shot landing 6" away from aiming point made me decide it wasnt a good option…back in cabinet it sat,and sat and sat…now my mate was getting sick of making reloads for his odd balled chambered rifles and was talking about buying something standard…I suggested he take the unused savage BACK to gunsmith and get barrel moved back to make it a .223 AGAIN…he did and happy as pig in pooh…how ironic rifle had a probably $500 chamber…then another maybe $500 rejig to put it back to standard… round and around in circles…loads of dosh gets spent chasing your tail and you achieve nothing. Ive still got 270 that ive used for 30 something years…it still does the job perfectly well…dont tell my Mrs but I could use it and sell all THE REST and be no worse off…although .223 is cheaper to feed and easier on shoulder…why I bought it in first place.

They do say beware the old man with only one rifle, he probably knows how to use it! :slight_smile: :smiley:


Haha. i remember a young guy giveing my father heaps about his old 303. Tell you what says dad. ill give you 200 yards head start and I bet you still cant beat it.

This is a great discussion to have around the fire or over a beer. I don’t disagree with you but think you are over simplifying things a bit.

As hunters there’s a lot of merit in what you say after all its not like there have been any new game species developed that require new cartridges :smile:

I have long believed its the Indian not the arrow and that its a mistake to try and buy skill than earn it. @Milky_Duck friend would probably have been better off investing $50 in a good manual and the other $450 in ammo to practice with rather than messing around with his rifle. @Mark_Wheeler story about the old and bold with their .303s proves it as well.

The fact is though that the driving force for innovation is not hunters its the military. The needs of the average Soldier have changed more times in the last 20 years than the previous 50. In that context rounds like 6.8, 6.5 creedmoor, .300 AAC Blackout and the .277 Fury make more sense. To an overloaded Soldier facing an adversary in plates cramming more capability into their light weight AR has value, to a goat shooter on a quad bike (whos buying his own ammo) not so much.

The irony is that once the military adopts a round, civvies tend to as well. Some of the most common hunting rounds were made popular because of their military use. And around and around we go. It wont be long now before the young thrusters with their phased plasma rifles in the 40 watt range are looking at us funny with our .223s and .308s :smile:


aha grasshopper…you miss read what was written…twas not this tightwad that spent money altering a rifle…Ive paid to have rifles threaded for suppressor but thats as far as my Scottish heritage will allow me to spend money on them.
I have rolled my own ammunition for 25 years. manuals…lets see
Nick harvey#2
Nosler #2 and #3
Sierra #3
lyman shotshell
numerous paper freebee from 1990s
my poohseventy will print ANY round you care to feed it into a playing card group and I mean any…tried 10 different rounds off bench to proove it years back…and rifle is arguably more accurate now as it suppressed and bedded.
the 223 is boringly accurate with 50 -55grn loads
the .308 does what all good 308s should…kills stuff dead
Ive loaded shotgun both 12ga and .410 using whackamole loaders…
did that to get loads doing what we needed and not costing a bomb…the 410 really shines with good loads
so I have done the yards and worked out what works…what I need and dont need… latest rifle is a .45/70 insert that fits in 12ga break open…cast projectiles and home rolled black powder are FUN FUN FUN to let rip
them plasma toters best be cutting gorse down on way up hill…any chance they might have a light saber I can borrow???

and to go back to the .303
if you got a p14 mauser action and fitted with new barrel of proper length…it would give up nothing to the mighty .308 that replaced it…folks have done so and also rebarreled into some other weird n wonderful calibres to make use of a good fast action.
with rangefinder and dial capable scope you could emulate stuff that buffallo contract shooters were doing close to a hundred years ago with none of the modern gear but a heck of alot of misplaced shot resulting in wounded buff would stampede the herd and end days slaughter…them boys could shoot.

45/70 inserts if they were long enough to give some velocity and proper spin to the bullet would definitely be a good thing. Multi tasking at its best.

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Never said it was mate. I was talking about your friend.

Speak to Nik he might be getting some for review, lol.

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Haha, imagine that!

Great topic. As much as I love my guns and ammo, I don’t get too tied up with all the fancy marketing. I’m all for practicality over anything else. Once I have a load sorted and the gun is shooting well, that’s about all I want and then its off into the hills.


just incase I havent said so before I really HATE gorse…the pomgolian who brought it into country shouldve been castrated ,then hung drawn and quartered and sent back to whence they had come with gorse spines for decoration on casket…

I would have thought with Scottish heritage your pockets would have been lined with furze :grin:
Even if its a bit off topic For your info I don’t like celery

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