Note: This article originally appeared July 3, 2015.
The United States is the birthplace of a wide array of rifle cartridges. Some are the offspring of military design while others sprang from industry innovation. Many have made an indelible mark on hunting across the world. No list can encompass all of the cartridge contributions the US has made, but the four below are sure to make it high on anyone’s list of favorites.
The .30-06 started off life as the .30 US Gov’t ’06. It’s won world wars, accounted for countless game animals, and is the parent case for a number of notable cartridges, including the .25-06. If you could only have one gun to hunt with, you wouldn’t feel handicapped with it being a .30-06.
To say it changed the world is beyond an understatement.
.22 Long Rifle
The rimfire equivalent to centerfire’s .30-06.
The beloved cartridge was developed by the American J. Stevens Arms & Tool Company in 1887. It’s used to shoot everything from squirrels to alligators, comes in an incredible selection of rifles and action types, and is (was) cheap to shoot.
Always popular, ammo shortages have made shooters truly appreciate what a precious commodity the plinker is.
The American cartridge that played the metric game and won.The 7mm is one of only a few cartridges to use millimeters and become popular among American shooters, who usually frown on anything other than thousandths of an inch for caliber measurements.
It’s flat-shooting, mild-recoiling, and can take the western species like elk and moose with ease. It fills the niche between the .30-06/.270/.280 power level and the larger magnums.
The cowboy cartridge. While gunslingers in the Wild West were actually using .44-40 Winchesters and other black powder cartridges, it’s the “thirty-thirty” that embodies the lever-gun image. More white-tailed deer have been killed with it than probably any other cartridge, and with new ammo that allows it to shoot bullets with a high ballistic coefficient safely in a tubular magazine, it’s future seems secure.
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