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Thread: "Antiquated" cartridges: musings on short vs long action.

  1. #1

    "Antiquated" cartridges: musings on short vs long action.

    Let me first state that I have never put much value on the whole short vs long action debate: a couple ounces weight savings, a negligent difference in bolt throw and OAL, and a "theoretical" advantage in action stiffness have never been reasons enough for me to think, "oh golly, I need to replace my 6.5x55 with a .260 ASAP".

    Most importantly, I've largely turned away from short action chamberings due to one very important disadvantage and that is their limited overall cartridge length. I have a preference for heavy for caliber bullets and to seat a 250 grain cup/core (never mind the longer for weight copper bullets) in a .358 Win results in eating up way too much powder space.

    With the advent of copper bullets (and their longer OAL per/weight) and their rising popularity, I think that the medium and long action cartridges will have a clear advantage when it comes to the flexibility of the cartridge (usable range of bullet weights). While I disagree with it, some places are even legislating the use of all-copper bullets to make it mandatory.

    To be fair, the expanding monometal bullets are considerably better than traditional cup/core so a 130gr .264 TSX will not only outperform a 160gr round nose in velocity/trajectory, but will also have superior penetration (see .264 CGN bullet tests), and this is likely all a person would need to hunt all ungulate species. But we still need to compare apples to apples and consider applications.

    The option to load up 7mm 175 gr. TSX with superior BC and SD at 2400fps is a great motivator to consider a 7x57mm over the 7mm-08, whose OAL limits use to 140gr cup/core. Same goes for any .308 based cartridges and their medium/long action "ballistic twins".

    I hunt heavier game and thus I am partial to heavy for caliber bullets based on my experience alone. Lighter and faster bullets do not have a monopoly on external ballistics. BC and a bullets retained energy count for a lot and this is the domain of heavy for caliber. There are also clear terminal advantages in going heavy for caliber. I foresee with these long for weight bullets that the previously understood advantages (particularly within the reloading community) of running heavier bullets in those medium and long action cartridges will be even more apparent.

    I am NOT disparaging the .308 based cartridges. I think they are great albeit not as flexible as their medium and long actions counterparts. For many (the majority?) of people, this doesn't matter because they hunt with only one bullet weight. The problem, however, is when you want that one bullet to be heavier for caliber. With a .308 based cartridge you're pretty much SOL unless you want to eat up case capacity.

    What ye say?

  2. #2
    I would possibly turn your argument around the other way.

    The great advantage of the new Barnes type bullets is that you can drop down in weight for the same or better penetration, and surely this should be the "apples to apples" we are comparing. So a .308 can now launch a 130 grain projectile that will have better penetration than a conventional 160 grain significantly faster and flatter.

    Unfortunately the manufacturers of these new bullets have not yet produced a long bullet with a bc to rival Berger or the AMax. When they finally do I think your argument will start to hold true for paper punching at long range, but they are still unlikely to be expandable enough at low velocity to be better than the AMax for what you guys call long distance hunting.
    So much to learn and so little time left

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by NigelM View Post
    I would possibly turn your argument around the other way.

    The great advantage of the new Barnes type bullets is that you can drop down in weight for the same or better penetration, and surely this should be the "apples to apples" we are comparing. So a .308 can now launch a 130 grain projectile that will have better penetration than a conventional 160 grain significantly faster and flatter.

    Unfortunately the manufacturers of these new bullets have not yet produced a long bullet with a bc to rival Berger or the AMax. When they finally do I think your argument will start to hold true for paper punching at long range, but they are still unlikely to be expandable enough at low velocity to be better than the AMax for what you guys call long distance hunting.
    Apples to apples would be a TSX vs TSX. My point, and I did have one, was that regardless of whether you are using cup/core or monometal is that you are limited in weight due to the OAL restrictions of the 'short action' cartridges. All things equal, the larger for caliber will give you better down-range ballistics (trajectory doesn't kill, and largely does not matter under 300 yards for most moderate cartridges).

    I pointed out in my original post that this probably doesn't matter to most because, like you say, a 130gr Barnes bullet will outperform the C&C bullet of a heavier weight and maybe that is all that is necessary. However, there are also legal minimums. In Sweden the minimum caliber/weight for moose is .264/156gr. I emailed Barnes and asked if they had any intention of making a .264 grain TSX heavier than 130gr and they said no because most .264 cartridges sold in the USA are short action (and short throat) and they cannot handle the longer length for weight. If there was a market, they said they would make them.

  4. #4
    I've fitted a Wyatt's Box to a couple of my short actions and that helps a bit with OAL. Regards JCS

  5. #5
    Canadian, you are probably right, because the 7x57, 8x57, and 30-06 were originally for long, RN bullets - 175, 220, and 220. So the magazine boxes are long, too. Then the more modern bullets become shorter, faster, pointed and boattailed: 139, 154, and 150. So they have plenty of room to play with the long polymer tipped and copper bullets.

    The 7.62x51 NATO was for a 147-gr bullet, a half inch shorter, then the heavier bullets kept being added to its plate: 163, 168, 173, 175.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Southern View Post
    Canadian, you are probably right, because the 7x57, 8x57, and 30-06 were originally for long, RN bullets - 175, 220, and 220. So the magazine boxes are long, too. Then the more modern bullets become shorter, faster, pointed and boattailed: 139, 154, and 150. So they have plenty of room to play with the long polymer tipped and copper bullets.

    The 7.62x51 NATO was for a 147-gr bullet, a half inch shorter, then the heavier bullets kept being added to its plate: 163, 168, 173, 175.
    Not that older cartridges are any less popular, but I wonder if, in time, they will chosen over the short action cartridges for the simple fact that the newer monometal bullets are longer per weight? It is a definite advantage for reloaders. For the common man? Maybe not so much.

  7. #7
    I don't think that cartridges based off the 7x57 or .30-06 are going away anytime soon. The .50 BMG is just a scaled up .30-06, and the .223 Rem is just a scaled down 8x57. And they all work splendidly.

    Charles Newton was selling his rifles with what are basically WSM, back in the 1920s. And he, and others, were experimenting with monometal bullets, turning them on a lathe. His .250-3000 Savage may not be a big seller today, but its progeny, the .22-250, sure is.

  8. #8
    I'd agree with you , others might not . I like heavy for caliber bullets , and large caliber rifles . You and I hunt in very similar country and the same species of game , I've seen a fair number of Moose , Elk , and other large game cleanly taken with 6.5X55s and 160ish gr bullets , as well as other similar rounds with comparably heavy for caliber bullets . The plus side is cup and core bullets are a lot cheaper than monolithic designs and , within their design parameters , are just as effective .
    That being said , I still like my 9.3X57 and my 45/70 when it comes to the big stuff inside 150 yards lol . Theyve always worked really well . But that's just me .

    AB

  9. #9
    You're more of a hill-billy than I am, AB!
    Back fro your gallivanting??~Muir

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Muir View Post
    You're more of a hill-billy than I am, AB!
    Back fro your gallivanting??~Muir
    No , I'm sitting in a bar in Chiang Mia that has free Wi Fi and the best Mojitos in town lol . And to your original point , yes I am more of a hillbilly than you.............now where's my Don Juilio ? Lol
    Ill be home in April , expect a package shortly thereafter .
    Ab

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