The Most Popular Big-game Cartridge: Ranking the Leading Choices

Choose the big-game cartridge you think is the most popular!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Apr 9, 2024 06:51
Welcome to StrawPoll, where the opinions of the masses converge to create a definitive ranking of the most popular big-game cartridges! As an avid hunter or a curious enthusiast, you must have pondered upon the best cartridge to bring down that prized trophy. Well, search no more! Our extensive list of top big-game cartridges has been curated based on the votes of thousands of hunters and firearm aficionados just like yourself. But the hunt doesn't end here - you can make your mark by voting for your favorite or even suggesting an overlooked option. So, lock and load as we uncover the ultimate big-game cartridge kingpin, and remember, every vote counts in this exciting quest to determine the champion of the hunting world!

What Is the Most Popular Big-game Cartridge?

  1. 1
    20
    votes
    .30-06 Springfield
    AliveFreeHappy · CC BY-SA 3.0
    This cartridge has been popular for over a century and is versatile for hunting a variety of big game animals. It has a flat trajectory and good energy, making it a favorite for many hunters.
    The .30-06 Springfield is a popular big-game cartridge that was developed for use in military rifles but has gained tremendous recognition among hunters. It possesses excellent versatility and remains one of the most widely used rounds for medium to large game hunting.
    • Bullet Diameter: .308 inches
    • Case Type: Rimless, bottlenecked
    • Case Length: 2.494 inches
    • Overall Length: 3.34 inches
    • Rifling Twist Rate: 1:10 inches
    .30-06 Springfield in other rankings
  2. 2
    43
    votes
    .308 Winchester
    AliveFreeHappy · CC BY-SA 3.0

    .308 Winchester

    Winchester Repeating Arms
    This cartridge is similar to the .30-06 but is more compact and has less recoil. It is popular for hunting deer, elk, and other big game.
    The .308 Winchester is a popular big-game cartridge known for its versatility and accuracy. It is used widely for hunting various game species, including deer, elk, and bear. The cartridge delivers a balance of power, flat trajectory, and manageable recoil.
    • Bullet diameter: .308 inch (7.82 mm)
    • Case type: Rimless, bottlenecked
    • Parent case: .30-06 Springfield
    • Case length: 2.015 inch (51.18 mm)
    • Overall length: 2.8 inch (71.12 mm)
    .308 Winchester in other rankings
  3. 3
    17
    votes
    This cartridge is known for its accuracy and flat trajectory, making it a popular choice for hunting deer, elk, and other big game.
    The .270 Winchester is a popular big-game cartridge known for its flat trajectory, strong performance, and versatility. It is widely used for hunting larger game such as deer, elk, and moose.
    • Bullet diameter: .277 in (7 mm)
    • Case length: 2.54 in (64.5 mm)
    • Rim diameter: .473 in (12.0 mm)
    • Overall length: 3.34 in (84.8 mm)
    • Case capacity: 67.8 gr H2O (4.40 cm3)
    .270 Winchester in other rankings
  4. 4
    25
    votes
    This cartridge has a high velocity and good energy, making it a popular choice for hunting big game at longer distances. It is also popular for long-range shooting competitions.
  5. 5
    10
    votes
    This cartridge is popular for hunting smaller big game animals like deer and antelope. It has less recoil and is accurate at longer distances.
    The .243 Winchester is a popular big-game cartridge known for its versatility, flat trajectory, and manageable recoil. It is widely used for hunting small to medium-sized game, including deer, varmints, and predators.
    • Bullet Diameter: .243 inches
    • Case Length: 2.045 inches
    • Overall Length: 2.710 inches
    • Bullet Weight Range: 55-115 grains
    • Muzzle Velocity Range: 2,800-3,400 feet per second
  6. 6
    12
    votes

    .375 H&H Magnum

    Holland & Holland
    This cartridge is popular for hunting larger big game animals like moose and bear. It has significant stopping power and can take down even the largest animals.
    The .375 H&H Magnum is a popular big-game cartridge known for its versatility and power. It was developed by British firearms manufacturer Holland & Holland (H&H) in 1912. The cartridge has gained a reputation for being capable of taking down a wide range of game, making it a favorite among professional hunters and safari enthusiasts.
    • Bullet diameter: .375 in (9.5 mm)
    • Case length: 2.850 in (72.4 mm)
    • Rifling twist: 1:12
    • Muzzle velocity: 2,530 ft/s (770 m/s)
    • Muzzle energy: 4,687 ft⋅lbf (6,360 J)
  7. 7
    11
    votes
    This cartridge is popular for hunting big game at longer distances. It has a high velocity and good energy, making it a popular choice for elk and moose hunting.
    The .338 Winchester Magnum is a popular big-game cartridge known for its exceptional power and long-range performance. It was introduced in 1958 by Winchester Repeating Arms Company as a belted magnum rifle cartridge.
    • Bullet diameter: .338 in (8.6mm)
    • Case length: 2.5 in (64mm)
    • Overall length: 3.34 in (85mm)
    • Case capacity: 86.0 gr H2O
    • Rifling twist: 1:10
  8. 8
    10
    votes
    .300 Weatherby Magnum
    Arthurrh · CC BY-SA 3.0

    .300 Weatherby Magnum

    Roy Weatherby
    This cartridge has a high velocity and good energy, making it a popular choice for hunting big game at longer distances. It is also popular for long-range shooting competitions.
    The .300 Weatherby Magnum is a popular big-game cartridge renowned for its powerful performance and long-range capabilities. It is a belted, bottlenecked cartridge designed for hunting larger game such as elk, moose, and bears.
    • Bullet diameter: .308 inches (7.8 mm)
    • Case length: 2.825 inches (71.76 mm)
    • Overall length: 3.57 inches (90.67 mm)
    • Rim diameter: 0.531 inches (13.49 mm)
    • Base diameter: 0.532 inches (13.51 mm)
    .300 Weatherby Magnum in other rankings
  9. 9
    5
    votes
    .416 Rigby
    DeusImperator · Public domain

    .416 Rigby

    John Rigby & Company
    This cartridge is popular for hunting larger big game animals like buffalo and elephant. It has significant stopping power and can take down even the largest animals.
    The .416 Rigby is a large, centerfire rifle cartridge primarily designed for big-game hunting. It is renowned for its exceptional stopping power and long-range performance.
    • Bullet diameter: 0.416 inches (10.57 mm)
    • Case length: 3.60 inches (91.44 mm)
    • Overall cartridge length: 4.17 inches (105.92 mm)
    • Bullet weight: Up to 450 grains (29.17 g)
    • Muzzle velocity: 2,400 – 2,800 ft/s (732 – 853 m/s)
  10. 10
    8
    votes
    This cartridge is popular for hunting larger big game animals like buffalo and elephant. It has significant stopping power and can take down even the largest animals.
    The .458 Winchester Magnum is a popular big-game cartridge developed by Winchester Repeating Arms Company. It was introduced in 1956 as an upgrade to the .450 Nitro Express cartridge. The .458 Winchester Magnum is known for its exceptional power and is widely used for hunting dangerous game in Africa and other parts of the world.
    • Bullet diameter: .458 in (11.63 mm)
    • Case length: 2.5 in (64 mm)
    • Overall length: 3.34 in (85 mm)
    • Rim diameter: .532 in (13.5 mm)
    • Case capacity: 95 gr H2O (6.2 cm3)

Missing your favorite big-game cartridge?

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Ranking factors for popular big-game cartridge

  1. Ballistics
    The effectiveness of a big-game cartridge is largely determined by its ballistics, which includes the energy, trajectory, and terminal performance. This can be evaluated based on factors like bullet weight, velocity, and sectional density, as these factors influence the bullet's ability to penetrate and expand effectively on big-game animals.
  2. Recoil
    Recoil is an important factor to consider, as excessive recoil can lead to discomfort and negatively impact the shooter's accuracy. Generally, a cartridge with lower recoil energy is more suitable for extended shooting sessions and easier for a wider range of hunters to shoot accurately.
  3. Availability
    The popularity of a big-game cartridge is often reflected in its availability. A widely available cartridge is easier to find and often comes in a range of bullet weights, designs, and manufacturers. This could affect the cost of ammunition, making it an important factor for many hunters.
  4. Versatility
    Versatility of a cartridge can be measured by its suitability for different game animals. A popular big-game cartridge should be effective on a wide range of game species without causing excessive damage to the meat or trophies.
  5. Reliability
    A reliable cartridge is essential, especially in harsh conditions and remote locations where malfunctions can be a major issue. Look for cartridges with a track record of reliable performance and compatibility with a variety of firearms.
  6. Accuracy
    A cartridge's inherent accuracy influences its popularity among hunters as it directly affects their ability to hit targets consistently. The cartridge should have a reputation for producing tight groups and consistent trajectories, making it easier for hunters to take precise shots.
  7. Firearm compatibility
    Some cartridges are designed for specific types of firearms or action types, like bolt-action rifles or semi-automatics. Make sure to consider whether a given cartridge is compatible with your preferred firearm before making any decisions.
  8. Barrel life
    An often overlooked factor, the expected barrel life of a cartridge can impact its long-term appeal. Some high-performance cartridges cause increased wear on a rifle's barrel, leading to decreased accuracy and potential need for replacement sooner than with other cartridges.
  9. Historical success and reputation
    The track record and reputation of a cartridge in the hunting community is a strong indicator of its popularity and effectiveness for big-game hunting.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most popular big-game cartridge. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or big-game cartridge is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!

Statistics

  • 1610 views
  • 161 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each big-game cartridge once every 24 hours. The rank of each big-game cartridge is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

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More information on most popular big-game cartridge

Big-game hunting is a favorite pastime for many hunters, and the right cartridge can make all the difference between a successful hunt and a missed opportunity. With so many options available, it can be challenging to determine which cartridge is the most popular among hunters. In this article, we will explore the most popular big-game cartridges and what makes them stand out. From the classic .30-06 Springfield to the more modern .300 Winchester Magnum, we will provide you with the information you need to choose the right cartridge for your next big-game hunt.

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