Pragmatic - when one is more concerned with practical results than with theories and
principles. How about saying it this way - advocating behavior that is dictated more
by practical consequences than by theory? Maybe this - treating historical phenomena with special
reference to their causes, antecedent conditions, and results. In other words - what works
and is very practical covering all the needs for taking game within reasonable hunting
ranges that most hunters experience?
I have found through my experiences what I think is the perfect pragmatic compromise
in rifle, cartridge, scope, bullet and load components for taking all kinds of game
from just in front of the muzzle out to 300 yds - distances where 95%
of all shots are taken on game by hunters.
Now before we get into the specifics of what makes up this perfect pragmatic
compromise, let me lay a little groundwork. Remember, I said this is a compromise,
but it needs to be one that is very practical in function and can
be used on small to large game, as well as dangerous game, and is
very effective in getting the job done. No! It is not the .30-06, even
though you can find ammo anywhere. I am talking basically to those who like
to reload. Although, the .30-06 is a great candidate, it is my second choice,
but remember now - it must be rifle, scope, bullet, cartridge and load chain
that controls the compromise, along with the fact that reloading is the way to
go with the cartridge. Developing your own loads is also part of the fun
In my hunting life that spans of over 35 years of hunting all kinds
of game in many kinds of conditions and topography, using 30 different cartridges in
45 different rifles - I now think that it can be reduced down to
a common denominator, at least for me. One rifle, one cartridge, one scope, one
bullet and load chain - that would end up being a perfect compromise to
do it all. Now that said, I did not mean to indicate that this
is all I would use from now on when hunting game. I like to use
many different cartridges and rifles with specific qualities, covering specific tasks - but what
about the mythical combo of rifle, scope, bullet, cartridge and load chain to do
all our work? Now that is intriguing indeed, and there is a world of
options and ideas hunters have come up with, but here is mine, for what it is worth.
We would first and for most need a bolt-action rifle that has a reputation
of being rugged, you know, the Jeep Wrangler of the rifle world. It needs
to be accurate and also would prefer control feed for any dangerous game we
decide to hunt. It would require a cartridge that has a good balance between energy and momentum,
having good bullet weight and construction, with velocities between 2300 and 2800 fps and has
reasonable and controllable recoil, no more than a .30-06 shooting a 165gr bullet. The
scope needs to be one that is light, roughed and has good glass without
spending a fortune, and is low power enough for close encounters, while being powerful
enough for hitting big game out to 300 yds. It needs to have a
bullet that has good construction and will open up on small game and penetrate
enough on big game, without coming apart and allows the rifle to end up
being a real big time thumper. Also, one must use load components that bring out the best
the rifle and cartridge has to offer. One might say the goal seems impossible.
So what in the world is it that I think is THE PERFECT
PRAGMATIC COMPROMISE? The rifle is a Ruger Hawkeye with a 22" barrel, control
feed, weighing 7.5 pounds and with scope, rings and mounts it needs to weighs
around 8.5 pounds. It needs to be an out of the box with no
custom work done on it and it must not cost a arm and a
leg or one having to go to the bank to borrow the money. The
one load chain I would settle on would consist of 225 gr Accubond, Winchester brass,
CCI 250 primers and TAC powder, moving the 225 gr Accubond at 2506 fps on the
average. The scope would be a Leupold VXIII 1.5-5x20mm. The above combination is extremely
accurate, very deadly and dispatches game quickly. Yes it is the .358 Winchester. What
a perfect pragmatic compromise with all the elements of the mythical combination of rifle,
cartridge, scope, bullet and load chain.
It will punch a good size hole in the game without destroying a lot
of meat or making a big mess, leaving a distinct Blood trail to follow
in case the animal isn't immediately dropped and down for the count. It would
allow us to have confidence when larger game might be encountered unexpectedly, making it
desirable to carry, knowing it is powerful enough to do the job without being
to much for smaller game even when up close. All these qualities, make the
.358 Winchester a perfect and pragmatic compromise; the mythical all around rifle, scope, cartridge, and
What about recoil?
Here is recoil of my 165 gr HPBT deer load in my .300 Winchester Magnum.
|Muzzle velocity (ft/sec): ||3161 |
|Bullet Wt (gr): ||165 |
|Charge Weight (gr): ||74 |
|Barrel Length (in): ||24 |
|Firearm Weight (lb): ||7.50 |
|Free recoil energy: ||31.1 ft-lb. (42.2 Joule)|
Here is the .30-06 with a 165 gr bullet:
|Muzzle velocity (ft/sec): ||2950 |
|Bullet Wt (gr): ||165 |
|Charge Weight (gr): ||59 |
|Barrel Length (in): ||22 |
|Firearm Weight (lb): ||7.50 |
|Free recoil energy: ||23.9 ft-lb. (32.4 Joule)|
Here is the recoil of my .358 Winchester 225 gr AccuBond deer load.
|Muzzle velocity (ft/sec): ||2556fps |
|Bullet Wt (gr): ||225 |
|Charge Weight (gr): ||47|
|Barrel Length (in): ||22|
|Firearm Weight (lb): ||7.50|
|Free recoil energy: ||24.7 ft-lb. (32.1 Joule)|
Frank Barnes said years ago in his book Cartridges of the World, that the
.358 Winchester was, "...definitely out of the short range, deer-only class."
Frank Barnes was so right about the .358 Winchester being more than a bush or deer cartridge. What a
wonderful compromise that fills so many of the ideas embodied in the concept of
one rifle, one cartridge, one scope, one bullet and load chain, to do it
all for the average hunter who likes to reload.
The Ruger Hawkeye, with a 22" barrel, the .358 Winchester cartridge, Leupold VX III
1.5-5x20mm, TAC powder, CCI-250 primers, Winchester brass and the 225 gr Accubond. Yes sir, the
perfect pragmatic compromise, possibly the mythical all around for taking game in North America.
I did say mythical, didn't I?
Mike Price is a lifelong shooter, hunter and reloading enthusiast. He
has been published at AmmoGuide.com, Guns & Ammo and Nosler.
His article "Green Boxes", available at AmmoGuide.com, is posted
in the bullet production area at Sierra.
Mike has traveled to Africa, Europe, Asia, parts of Central
America. His favorite two hobbies are spending time with
grand children and taking them hunting. Mike holds
a Ph.D in Philosophy and Psychology, is a licensed clinical
therapist, adjunct professor and Minister in the Church of Christ.
To read more by Mike, CLICK HERE.