World War II Infographic

World War II Comparison

War is a terrible business, and the sheer mass of bombs we carpet the enemy with during conflicts is staggering. However, as we advance in technology, we are able risk fewer troops by dropping more ordnance.

Rounds to Incapacitation

Trainer: For Self-Defense, Carry What You Want

Greg Ellifritz, a full-time firearms and defensive tactics training officer for a central Ohio police department and the president of Active Response Training, recently conducted an extensive self-study of cartridge and shotshell stops. He graciously allowed the CTD Chronicles to excerpt some of his findings—which challenge conventional wisdom about which cartridges are best for self defense.

Happy with a short, punchy .308

Orthodoxy in Training

I introduce a new person to firearms every week or two. Usually, we cover the basics of rimfire pistol and rifle. I teach the stances and positions learned in courses I took. Every so often, the learners stump me by adopting positions that are unorthodox and seemingly inefficient. For example, this right eye dominant shooter used a variation on the conventional sitting and kneeling positions that I have not seen before. It didn’t look stable, but she made 75 yard hits on sporting clays with it, so it worked well enough.


Don’t Use Too Much Gun!

Yesterday, I stayed at a friend’s cabin in the backwoods of Tennessee. In the evening, her cat discovered a mouse that infiltrated from the outside. Three hours later, the cat was still chasing the mouse all over furniture, running through the upstairs bedroom, then along the hallways. Something had to be done to remove the rodent since the cat was clearly not up to the task.

32-20 Winchester

Cartridges that Make You Ask Why

Not every caliber does a particularly good job at filling its role. We can’t all be a .308 I suppose. I will say however, that any caliber is better than none. If I had to choose between carrying an anemic cartridge or no gun at all, I’ll take the anemic cartridge every time. That being said, some calibers make you step back and wonder why they ever made them at all. We looked through some gun history and came up with some pretty odd performing bullets.

1908 Steyr-Pieper .32 tip-barrel pistol

“Amazing penetration and striking power!”

This marketing slogan of the early 1900s described pistols chambered in the lowly .32 ACP cartridge. The guns were touted as being good for everything from home defense to assassinating important persons to self-defense against brown bear. To the modern reader, such claims appear outrageous, but why were they taken seriously back then? The rounds that 32ACP superseded were mainly the black powder .320 revolver cartridges loaded with lead round nose bullets. 80 grain unjacketed bullet at about 550fps lacked penetration and typically did not expand. Five or six of those from a revolver were rather less likely to end a fight than eight jacketed pistol bullets propelled by smokeless powder at 900fps. Neither round would equal the performance of .38 Automatic or similar, but then neither would the larger guns fit pockets, whereas the .32 could. Note that neither the higher velocity nor the greater penetration were at all significant for target shooting, so the Olympic pistols use .32 S&W Long even today.

PTR91 clone of G3 rifle has very energetic extraction cycle

When to use steel cased ammunition?

The use of steel cased ammunition is hotly debated on web forums. The concept has been around since World War 2, but the controversy is far from over. Originally used to combat brass shortages, steel cases actually have a couple of important advantages. Let’s cover the disadvantages first. Steel cases don’t spring back as well as brass and aren’t effectively reloadable. They require plating with zinc or copper, or else a coating of polymer or lacquer to resist corrosion. Some people feel that even mild steel is harder on the extractors, and that is almost certainly true. However, the alternative to the increased extractor wear with steel cases is the increased likelihood of failure to extract because of a torn brass case rim in certain firearms. All in all, I used to view steel cased ammunition as something to avoid until a friend acquired a .223 FAL rifle.

Will the Best Medium Sized Cartridge Please Stand Up

It can be a difficult decision when trying to decide what deer-hunting cartridge to go with. So often, we are stuck on how well these rounds do at four and five hundred yards, we forget that most of time, we take shots inside of one hundred yards. We decided to take a look at some cartridges designed for medium-sized game, like Texas white tail deer. So how well do these common rifle cartridges do against each other? We took a look at some common rounds, and tried to help our readers decide for themselves.

.30-30 Winchester

.30-30 Winchester

.30-30 Winchester

The first cartridge in our list was actually the first .30 caliber round that propels itself with smokeless powder. The .30-30 cartridge has probably brought down more deer than any other rifle cartridge. Put into production in 1895 for the Winchester lever-action rifle, the .30-30 soon gained popularity as the smokeless powder it used allowed for faster follow-up shots and significantly reduced fouling in the barrel and action. This soft shooting round has an effective range of only 200 meters but with a 170-grain flat point bullet, it hits hard enough to drop all but the largest CXP2 Class animal.

.243 Winchester

.243 Winchester Cartridge

.243 Winchester Cartridge

The .243 Winchester is a popular round for youths and new shooters who dislike the harsh recoil of larger calibers. Though it is soft shooting, the .243 is more than capable of taking down any medium-sized game animal, from feral hogs to large white-tailed deer. BVAC’s 100 grain Grand Slam is an easy to shoot round with a maximum point-blank range out past 300 yards, depending on the size of the game animal. Hornady’s Varmint Express topped off with a 58 grain V-Maxon the other hand is an extremely fast and flat shooting cartridge that travels over 3750 feet per second at the muzzle, making it an excellent varmint round out to 200 yards. Their Superformance ammunition is even hotter, throwing a 58-grain projectile down range at over 3925 feet per second.

.270 Winchester

.270 Winchester Cartridge

.270 Winchester Cartridge

With the release of the Model 54 bolt-action rifle, Winchester unveiled the .270 cartridge in 1925. Writer Jack O’Connor who wrote at length about it in Outdoor Life and other publications praised it highly, but the round never enjoyed great success for nearly 20 years. After World War II, it saw an enormous surge in popularity, becoming one of the most widely chambered calibers for hunting rifles across the globe. Loaded with a 100 Grain cartridge, Remington Core Lokt PSP achieves a muzzle velocity in excess of 3,300 feet per second. This extreme velocity makes the .270 a very flat shooting round with devastating terminal ballistics. Loaded up in a heavier 150 Grain Federal with Sierra Game King the round is effective on larger game animals like moose or elk. The middleweight 130 Grain BVAC Grand Slam is a good all-around cartridge for hunting a variety of medium sized game.

.25-06 Remington

.25-06 Remington

.25-06 Remington

For decades, the .25-06 was just a custom round created from a necked down .30-06. When Remington began producing the round as a factory load in 1969 however, it experienced a surge in popularity. Topped off with a 120 Grain Speer Grand Slam bullet the BVAC .25-06 cartridge generates a muzzle velocity of 2898 feet per second, and when topped with an 85 Grain Nosler Ballistic Tip Federal’s V-Shok load reaches a velocity of over 3550 feet per second. This zippy little round may be a small caliber, but its flat trajectory and deadly terminal ballistics help it to remain popular among varmint and medium game hunters. Despite the small size of the .25-06, it has superior sectional density at higher bullet weights. The 115 Grain Winchester Ballistic Silvertip has a ballistic coefficient of 0.446, giving it penetration and performance comparable to larger .30 caliber rounds.

So, these rounds all work well for medium-sized game, they shoot flat and have tons of energy. They are all perfectly capable of dropping a white tail deer in their hooves. Which cartridge works best? Comment below and let us know what kind of luck you have had with these rounds. Personally, I’ve always had luck with my .270, it’s not overkill for white tail, but I can still bring down an elk if I choose. Just wish we had some elk down here in Texas.