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Top 5 Underrated Rifle Cartridges

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/09/2015 at 11:41
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Top 5 Underrated Rifle Cartridges5 Underrated Rifle Cartridges

by Philip Massaro - Monday, February 09, 2015

 

Top 5 Underrated Rifle Cartridges

   

We all have our darlings. You know, those cartridges that our fathers, uncles, grandfathers and heroes have used, and have been written about for decades. But what about some of the former greats that seem to have been forgotten? Someone must champion the unsung heroes. I volunteer to be that someone.

While the .30-’06, .270 Win. and .375 H&H Mag. are favorites, I have a flair for the obscure or obsolete—those cartridges that perform well but are becoming increasingly rare. Here’s my list of the top five most underratedcartridges.

.30/40 Krag 
America’s love affair with .30-caliber cartridges started right here, with the Krag. Until the Aught-Six tackled the shooting world, the Krag wore the .30-caliber crown. What few shooters realize is the Krag still makes for a great hunting rifle. Its performance falls smack in the middle of the 30/30 Win. and the .30-’06, and that’s not a bad place to be. It makes a great choice as an all-around North American rifle cartridge and is perfect for African plains game. Plus, it comes in the uber-cool Winchester 1895 lever-action and Ruger No. 3 falling-block, so you can be doubly stylish.

.257 Roberts 
Necking the 7x57mm Mauser down to hold .257-inch-diameter bullets was a fine idea, and it produced one of the most useable quarter-bore rifles around. Velocities are better than the .250-3000Savage, yet not quite as hot as the .25-06 Remington or .257Weatherby, giving shooters a cartridge that will perform well with standard cup-and-core bullets but still deliver the flat trajectories we like. The “Bob,” as its aficionados refer to it, is a light-recoiling option that is just about perfect for deer and antelope anywhere. The fact that the Winchester Model 70 and Ruger Model 77 both have models chambered for it is just a bonus.

6.5x55mm Swedish Mauser 
To me, there is something magical about 6.5mm bullets. Long and lean, with a high ballistic coefficient that rivals a .30-caliber bullet’s wind-bucking ability, they are the stuff of legend. From Scandinavia to South Africa, many hunters have relied on the 6.5s. The Swede dates back to the late 19th century, and the moderate velocity of that time period is part of the successful equation. I like the 160-grain round-nose bullets at around 2,400 fps (an almost magical velocity when it comes to bullet performance), as they will handle both deer and black bear here in my native New York quite well. Look long and hard at the Norma Oryx 156-grain load at 2,560 fps, which will handle everything up to moose and elk.

6.5x55-Swede1_underrated

9.3x62mm MauserMetric cartridges have long perplexed American shooters, but this one needs to be considered. The 9.3s shoot .366-inch-diameter bullets, and shoot them well. The 9.3x62 has a case based on the .30-'06, and it is to the .366 bore what the .35 Whelen is to the .35 bore. But, unlike the Whelen, the 9.3x62 shoots 286- and 300-grain bullets to speeds adequate for all game, save Cape buffalo and elephant, and in some African countries it is legal for those as well. The lighter 250-grain bullets make a superb choice for elk and moose, as well as bears and hogs. Oh, and all this performance comes in a standard long-action rifle.

9.3x62-Mauser3_underrated

.218 BeeFinishing up with the smallest of the lot, the .218 Bee is a rimmed varmint cartridge that was originally chambered in the Winchester Model 65 lever gun and suffered from a lack of accuracy in that rifle. That accuracy problem didn't show itself in the Ruger No. 1 that I carried for a couple of years as 3/4-inch groups at 100 yards weren't a problem, recoil was nearly nonexistent, and the report was a pleasure compared to my .22-250. The Bee will push 45-grain pills to 2,700 fps, and that makes it a perfect varmint rifle out to 250 yards. The Bee runs on very little powder and does the job well, though the coyotes weren't big fans!

218-Bee-2_underrated

If you're after something a bit different, that will still be totally useful, give these cartridges a look, and have some fun!

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/09/2015 at 12:01
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I have a Remington 7MS in .257 Roberts and love it.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/09/2015 at 12:02
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I have a friend who has 6 30/40 Krag rifles… he and his son are rebuilding them… They swear by them and I've often considered trying to find one.  Last I saw, they had one finished and the rest in various stages of repair.  Interesting 30 caliber variant. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/09/2015 at 12:13
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After working up a load for a friends daughters 257 Roberts I'd go with it.


115 gr Combined Technologies BT over 42.5 grs of Hybrid 100 V powder and BR2s turned an 80yr old rifle into a laser deer slayer!

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/09/2015 at 12:14
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My Grandpa had a Krag.  It was before my time, but he talked about it all the time.  He very much regretted getting rid of it.  Traded it for a 300 savage
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/09/2015 at 22:13
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Interesting read. Thanks Chris.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/10/2015 at 09:43
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I love my 9.3x62 mauser.  It does great on hogs and deer with the 232gr Norma Vulcans.  My guess is that the bonded 232gr Norma Oryx would do great on Elk and Bear as well.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/10/2015 at 18:43
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I will state that the 6.5x55 is hard to beat.  Ahead of its time somehow and just a pretty round.  Very well proportioned and sleek.  Floats to the target with ease at extreme ranges and patterns like it is being guided...  One of the funnerest reloading cartridges I have played with to date.  Loaded hot and heavy and loaded just right she outclasses many cartridges and chronos better than any stated BC...

Fun round to shoot in a bolt gun, old gustaf or new wood, or ag42 just a fun little platform...

About the 9.3x62.  Fun cartridge not a real heavy punch. Certainly a little more umph than a 06. I Have a few hundred cases virgin cases (GRAFS good batch) of 9.3x62 and 285SP PRVI bullets for anyone who wants for a good price.  Thought it was another fun cartridge to reload liked the 300 Swift A frame and the 285 MEGA's... Also Dies Would be available as well. 

Traded my used dies to a gentlemen for his unused RCBS dies that are new in the package and gave him my once fired brass but he did not want to pay anything for the cases or bullets so I said sorry I can't give them away...

SO I have had them for awhile gathering dust for anyone who wants them...  They are brand new in Packages yet...

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/14/2015 at 11:44
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6.5's are really neat and one of my fave cartridges which never caught on is the 6.5-'06. A buddy recently told me about a really nice one with low miles for sale, but it sold before I got there. Another fave is the .338-'06 and well, just about anything built on an '06 case. Speaking of Whelens, the .358 Winchester is built on a .308 case, but is unappreciated and gets close to Whelen velocities, with some loads. I think a BLR in .358Win is about it for a fast action big hog rifle.

I inherited an old beater .30-40 Krag from my Grandpa, but have never shot it because the bore is very rough and the rcvr has a longitudinal crack. I'd shoot it, but would rather keep what's left of my face.

Ps Speaking of great 6.5 cartridges, I can't believe Remington more or less abandoned the excellent 260 Rem. I think they stopped making rifles in that excellent flavor because it's introduction was hampered by the lack of quality brass. Remington made the only brass available at the time, which really sucked and has only gotten worse, as far as I can see. Remington appears to be ruled by clueless corporate bean counter types. Remington isn't alone, in that regard. Several other corporate conglomerates have scooped up much of the firearms- related and sporting optics industry and the results have seldom been to produce quality products. There's more to providing goods and services than increasing the CEO's take home pay.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/14/2015 at 19:15
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Had a .358 model 88, if you happened to be a masochist it was a neat killer. Harvested a few Whitetails and then sold it a wiser man I thought!

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/15/2015 at 07:52
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Like the "Bob" here as well. Us old geezers appreciate the mild recoil... right Skip???!!! Big Grin
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/15/2015 at 17:14
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You got it Bro!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/18/2015 at 20:42
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i blasted many a gopher when i was younger with my grandfathers winchester model 43 in .218 bee. I also carried his pre-64 m70 in .257 roberts the first year i was old enough to hunt big game. Both hold a bit of nostalgic value in my life.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/19/2015 at 16:41
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Are those rifles still in your family's possession?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/21/2015 at 19:39
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Originally posted by Chris Farris Chris Farris wrote:

Are those rifles still in your family's possession?

Absolutely! 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/27/2016 at 08:16
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My goodness, owning a 257 Roberts and a 9.3x62 both on FN Commericals...

I'm clearly a dinosaur...

(Rate the 6.5x55 as well)
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/27/2016 at 09:01
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300 Savage is another goodie.  
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/27/2016 at 09:42
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My grandfather hunted with a Krag as well, it was stolen, then he bought Rem 30.06
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/27/2016 at 11:07
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Scrummy, that's just...cool.  I'm certainly jealous.  I have a 9.3x62 FS CZ and love it.  It is a hog destroyer, and not terrible recoil-wise.  I wouldn't mind having a .284 Win built on a 7x57 mauser donor.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/27/2016 at 11:07
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I like 6.5s myself, and I toyed with the idea of getting a Swede.  However, I decided to limit my milsurp collection to Mosins (for the record, I do not think 7.62x54R gets the respect it deserves either).  Now, the only 6.5s I have are Grendel and 6.5x47.  I like them both are here to stay: Grendel in a semi-auto and 6.5x47 in a bolt gun.  Those are the two guns that will be pried from my cold dead hands some day, but no sooner than that.

ILya
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/27/2016 at 11:15
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Originally posted by DCAMM94 DCAMM94 wrote:

Scrummy, that's just...cool.  I'm certainly jealous.  I have a 9.3x62 FS CZ and love it.  It is a hog destroyer, and not terrible recoil-wise.  I wouldn't mind having a .284 Win built on a 7x57 mauser donor.

Hi DCAMM94,

 

There is indeed something just cool about those old FN Commercials.

 

The 9.3x62 is my piggy rifle of choice. Between the 257 and the 9.3 sits my 7x64. It’s a Santa Barbara worked over by Voere. Is OK but not great. I do know someone with a couple ’06 length FNs sitting in his workshop and he’d love to build me a 7x64 on one of those…

 

Scrummy

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/27/2016 at 16:48
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I love my Model 7 MS .257 Roberts.....Bought it the first year the Custom Shop brought it out.

I have a customer that is located about 3 blocks from the factory and he's buddies with the supervisor of the Custom Shop. He called the shop one day and told them I had a 7MS and got me a tour of the shop. It was a neat tour.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/27/2016 at 16:51
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If you ever want to sell or trade that Model 7 I would be very interested.  Yippee
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/27/2016 at 17:00
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Originally posted by Chris Farris Chris Farris wrote:


If you ever want to sell or trade that Model 7 I would be very interested.  Yippee


Duly noted Chris.Its a honey. I believe I'm responsible for Ted buying the one he owns.

When I was a kid I worked in a Gun & Tackle Shop and I fell in love with a Mannlicher Schoenauer that we had for sale that I couldn't afford and always said I would own one someday. I saw the 7MS at the Shot Show the year they brought it out and ordered it that day.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/27/2016 at 17:03
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