So, apparently some of you felt left out in the first installment of this piece, and the powers that be have allowed me to extend the party, so as to include you in the festivities. Still, there’s no way to cover them all, and if your favorite didn’t make the list I suggest you pick a new favorite. Kidding, kidding…
After reading some of your comments, I tried to pick the most requested cartridges, so here goes.
.243 Win. You scoff at the foolish masses, with their silly, huge cartridges, trying so desperately to find their way in the world. Even though you’re the smallest of the .308 clan, your bigger brothers can continue to play their silly games; you know that a well-placed 6mm bullet will do all that is ever asked of it. To you, magnum cartridges are the general equivalent of needing Rogaine or driving an Iroc-Z; you just shake your head and have pity on the rest of the shooting world.
7.62x54R Da, Comrade! Who exactly are these ridiculous Westerners, with their cushy little recoil pads? Were they not born men? Go ahead, install your silly mercury-tube recoil reducers, you just pull the Stolichnaya from the freezer, slug it straight from the bottle, and print tiny little clover-leafed groups. Your dog, Mosin, and your cat, Nagant, look at you in awe as you glue your molars back into your jaw while cleaning your Model 91. You instinctively make all your Rs and Ns backward when you write your name, and you cheer for Ivan Drago in Rocky IV.
.338 Win. Mag. Look, we all know that Holland & Holland started the belted magnum thing, but for the love of the Pope, your beloved .338 case from Winchester is ultimate incarnation. Everybody knows that the .338 bore is the best available, with bullets available from 165 grains to 300 grains, and there isn’t anything on the North American continent that you can’t crumple like a piece of typing paper. You hardly acknowledge the .30 caliber crowd, and when you do, it’s with a consoling pat on the back, as if to say “Nice try, kid.” After all, even Elmer Keith (please bow your head in reverence) embraced you as the Holy Grail of bore diameters.
.280 Rem. You’re the type of person that doesn’t really care about the opinions of others. Yeah, .270 blah blah, ’06 yadda yadda; you know you’re the coolest guy at the party, and you can quietly sit it the corner, sip your Martini, and watch the rest of the guys fruitlessly try to impress the ladies. Meanwhile, you’ve got a small party of your own going on, and it’s infinitely better than theirs. You’re a James Bond type; never looking like a threat, but always coming out on top, having executed the mission perfectly. You’re so darned hip, you even went by an alias at one point in time.
.30/30 Winchester Centerfire Look at you! Your hair is gray, you’re wrinkled up like an old baseball mitt, but you’re hanging on like a champ. By all accounts, you should have been dead decades ago, but like Dick Clark, you never did look your age. While you won’t run any marathons, you revel in the fact that you can still challenge the young bucks when it comes to the short game, and you do your job with an unprecedented finesse, although you do it slower than others. I like you, snickering in the corner, while the rest of the young punks wish you’d drop dead. Carry on, old timer, you’ve earned the lifetime achievement award.
.303 British Well, ‘ello! How in the bloody hell are ya? You sit across the aisle from that cheeky .30-30 chap, wondering just who he thinks he is. You’re much older, and have served in the military, while he was out having fun hunting. You’ve a pair of famous lions to your credit, and actually worked with black powder, cordite and smokeless powder over the years. Not too shabby for a case they call “thin walled” and “inefficient”. Bloody wankers, they are probably scared of your name, not knowing what bore diameter you really are. Go ahead Yanks, tell us all about your history, you know nothing. You, after all knew Queen Victoria personally, God Save the Queen.
.300 Win. Mag. Ah, few times in life does a specimen the likes of you roll along. You’re the Gregory Peck of the cartridge world, manly as heck in any role, be it a war movie or a drama set in Africa. You take secret pleasure watching the ’06 and the .308 squabble over who does what, knowing full well you make a mockery of both of them. Yes, if you feel like it, you can lower yourself down to their level, but you can also dig deep and leave them both in the dust. They pitifully point out your short neck, trying desperately to find a flaw, but you just let it roll off your steep shoulder, and call your Marine sniper buddies to go out for a beer.
7.62x39mm You are a rock, unbroken, standing the test of time. You were born in the midst of war, but rose high very quickly. Yes, perhaps, you’re not as handsome as the 7.62x51 NATO, but you have your own strengths. You’re lighter, and while not as speedy, you can be dropped in the mud, have sand kicked in your face, or be nearly drowned, yet still you deliver the goods. Maybe the terrorist fan club wasn’t the best of ideas, but you’ll be ok, proudly wearing Number 47 on your jersey.
.50 BMG Well, aren’t you a tall drink of water? You don’t shop at the normal clothing stores; you need something for, well, ‘plus’ sizes. Sitting in airplane seats is an embarrassing proposition, and you usually duck to get through doorways. However, when the fight breaks out, it’s almost unfair, the way you can destroy an opponent with unprecedented ease. Once, you crushed a bus when you tripped on the curb, and bar patrons use your empty case as a shot glass. When you bark, people go deaf, and dislocate their shoulders trying to catch you. Carry on, King-Kong, and continue to enjoy your status as the biggest tree in the forest.
.44 Rem. Mag. You are a lost soul. You really don’t know where you fit in, being the offspring of a rifle and pistol. Yes, both sides of your family loves you, and you feel at home no matter whose house you visit, but you can feel the skeptical eyes of your pure-bred cousins burning a hole in the back of your head. Let them ridicule, you take great personal pride sitting in the thick woods, exercising domain over nature, 300 grains at a time. After all, with friends like Elmer Keith and ‘Dirty’ Harry Callahan, who needs family?
6.5x55 Swedish Mauser Look, you and yours are so very well aware of how efficient the 6.5 mm bullets are, and how effectively they kill that it’s almost a boring topic by now. Were it not such a chore, you’d explain how the Swede is one of the best cartridges ever developed, giving very useable velocities for a hunting round, and how the Sectional Density and Ballistic Coefficient of the bullets it shoots offers wind bucking capabilities comparable to the ‘oh-so-Holy-Thirty-Calibers’, but you just took a big mouthful of lutefisk, and can’t be bothered. Besides, you just pulled up a re-run of the Muppet Show on YouTube and the Swedish Chef is about to come on. Skol!