4 Lost Classic Hunting Rifle Cartridges

4 Lost Classic Hunting Rifle Cartridges

Classic rifle cartridgesWe have had many new cartridge designs in the last three decades, from the revival if the .416-inch bore in the late 1980s to the more recent 6.5mm craze, and most of them have been good, despite a bit of redundancy.

But what about the classics — those cartridges you may find rifles chambered for in the dusty corners of your favorite gun shop? Does all the modern cartridge development preclude buying a rifle chambered for one of the lost classic?


I say no, as they are classics for a reason. Let's look at some of the classic cartridges that I've seen in the shops lately, as well as their history and availability.


.300 Holland & Holland Magnum


Ah, Holland's Super .30, the original .30-caliber magnum. Holland & Holland set a trend in 1925 that rages on to this day, as we're still figuring out the best way to launch a .30-caliber bullet. For years, when a rifle was marked ".300 Magnum," it was a .300 Holland & Holland. It betters the velocity of the .30-06 Springfield by just over 150 fps, without a huge increase in felt recoil, and is only slightly slower than the .300 Winchester Magnum. It does require a magnum-length action, but to those who've spent any time behind a good .300 Holland, that poses no issue.

The .300 Holland & Holland, also known as the Super .30, still makes an excellent hunting cartridge, for almost all the world's game.


The beauty of the .300 is the way that it feeds; the sloping shoulder results in one of the slickest feeding rifles ever. The belt at the rear of the cartridge is used for headspacing — most of the offspring of the H&H cases wear that belt, but don't use it all — and there is enough case capacity to drive even the heaviest of bullet in .30 caliber to very respectable velocities.


Factory ammunition is still available from Federal, Hornady and Nosler, and it's good stuff. If you handload, even better, as you can get good brass, like Hornady and Norma, and customize your load. I owned one in a Colt Coltsman — now in the possession of dear friend — and that rifle was as accurate as you could ask for from a hunting rifle.

.257 Roberts

Based on the 7x57 Mauser necked down to hold .257 bullets, Ned Roberts' brainchild is still a cool cartridge, being very effective on deer and similar size game, as well as handling coyotes neatly.

Ned Roberts' brainchild, the .257 Roberts, based on the 7x57 Mauser case, is a fine choice for deer and similar sized game.

The Bob — as it is affectionately known among its devotees — can push a 117-grain bullet to between 2,750 and 2,950 fps in modern loads with the +P designation, making for an excellent choice for a deer hunter looking for a cartridge out of the ordinary. It sits comfortably between the .250 Savage and the .25-06 Remington and has what I would describe as a sweet recoil, being a good choice for a new shooter who wants a good blend of striking power and the ability to accurately place their shots. Ammunition for the Bob is still available from Nosler, Norma, Hornady and Federal.

.350 Remington Magnum

Here we have one of the original short magnums, developed by Remington in 1965 before short magnum was cool. It is a shortened H&H case, designed to fit in a short (.308 Winchester-length) action rifle, embracing the short-fat theory. In terms of velocity, it sits just north of the .358 Winchester and just south of the .35 Whelen, which isn't a terrible place to be.

What I've found when handloading for the .350 Remington is that the sleek, pointed bullets — especially the polymer tipped 225- and 250-grain bullets — have an ogive too long to work with the case and magazine length. However, with the shorter bullets, the .350 Remington Magnum can be a real winner of a cartridge.

The .350 Remington is a short fireplug of a cartridge with plenty of horsepower.

I saw a Remington Model 700 Classic chambered for the cartridge, which was nearly the twin to the one my good pal Dave de Moulpied has, and for a guy who wants a light, trim, hard-hitting rifle, it'd be hard to argue with that combination.

It makes a great choice for bears, elk, moose and other large mammals with the heavier bullets, and the lighter 200-grain slugs are certainly effective deer medicine.

Is it as flat-shooting as a .300 Winchester? No, but that's not what it's supposed to do. It's supposed to be a cartridge that will give a hunter 300-yard capability, while putting a period at the end of the sentence.

I like the way the .350 Remington performs and don't feel a hunter should hesitate to use one if the rifle tickled their fancy. Nosler loads factory ammunition, but I'd plan to handload if I wanted the most out of my .350 Mag.

.300 Savage

A young hunter once called me and asked me, "Just what is a .300 Savage?" He had found a used custom Mauser chambered for the cartridge, and he wasn't remotely familiar with it. I explained that is was sort of a.308-Lite, being an older design that gave sufficient velocities in its day, and still made a sound choice for most of our local hunting, where shots were inside 250 yards.

Introduced in 1920 in the Savage 99 lever-action rifle — designed to replace the .303 Savage cartridge — the .300 Savage became very popular in the first half of the 20th century, being unseated by the .308 Winchester which came along in 1952. It still makes a good all-around cartridge, when you consider that it was released in an era when iron sights were the prevalent sighting method, and for those who don't embrace the "next zip code" mentality of hunting, it represents a low-recoil option that is actually fun to shoot.

The classic .300 Savage (center), flanked by the .308 Winchester and .30-'06 Springfield

It will drive a 180-grain bullet to 2,350 fps, and the 150-grainers to 2,650 fps; this is by no means a barn-burner, but again, at common shooting distances, has the horsepower to get the job done. Ammunition is available from Hornady, Federal and Winchester. Were I to spend the rest of my time in the deer woods with a well-tuned .300 Savage, I'd have no qualms whatsoever.

These are just a few of the classic cartridges you may encounter while perusing the gun shops. While each presents its own unique set of challenges, as well as its own "cool factor," sometimes swimming against the stream of the most popular cartridges is fun in and of itself.

Even if ammunition for some of these cartridges isn't readily available at the large box stores, there are always solutions to ammunition issues, whether you make it yourself or hire a small, custom ammunition shop to make it for you. I like the oddball cartridges; they can provide a connection to the hunters of yesteryear, and that's something we all appreciate.

Recommended for You

A new wave of allergies threatens to turn hunters into vegetarians. News

The Ticks Making Hunters Allergic to Meat

David Hart

A new wave of allergies threatens to turn hunters into vegetarians.

Boost antler growth on your deer property with these food plot tricks. How-To

How to Supplement Antler Growth with Food Plots

Jeff Johnston

Boost antler growth on your deer property with these food plot tricks.

Companies in the outdoor industry know how to get our attention. We know, it might seem cheap, but SHOT Show

Booth Babes from the 2012 SHOT Show

PH Online Editors - January 18, 2012

Companies in the outdoor industry know how to get our attention. We know, it might seem cheap,...

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

2018 Petersen

2018 Petersen's Hunting Episode 10: Snowbound Chamois

Host Brittany Boddington gets more than she bargained for on what turned out to be a grueling, snowbound and extremely physical hunt for chamois in Romania's Carpathian mountains.

2018 Petersen

2018 Petersen's Hunting Episode 9: Aloha Axis Deer

Host Mike Schoby joins his buddies Jon Dubin and Jeff Johnston on the island of Lanai for a deer hunt Hawaiian style!

2018 Petersen

2018 Petersen's Hunting Episode 12: High Plains Elk

David Draper teams up with Fred Eichler to hunt elk on the high plains of southern Colorado.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

I have never felt that camping trailers at least the Hunting

The Ultimate Hunting Trailers

WA Staff

I have never felt that camping trailers at least the "house on wheels" variety that most...

Follow these basic steps to prepare your meat, then pair it with one of these delicious marinades. Recipes

8 Best Venison Marinades

Hank Shaw

Follow these basic steps to prepare your meat, then pair it with one of these delicious...

What's The Best Coyote Cartridge? .22-250 Versus .223 Ammo

What's The Best Coyote Cartridge? .22-250 Versus .223

Joseph von Benedikt & David Faubion

What's The Best Coyote Cartridge? .22-250 Versus .223

See More Stories

More Ammo

Check out these top choices for building out your reloading bench. Ammo

Roll Your Own: Best Reloading Supplies

David Draper - April 19, 2019

Check out these top choices for building out your reloading bench.

Sitting on the rifle range for the start of a December 2017 Mossy Oak hunt at Vatoville, a Ammo

Whitetail Hunt Shows Off New 224 Valkyrie Cartridge

Lynn Burkhead - January 28, 2018

Sitting on the rifle range for the start of a December 2017 Mossy Oak hunt at Vatoville, a

With spring turkey season just around the corner, OSG senior digital editor Lynn Burkhead was all ears as Steve Nelson of Winchester Ammunition talked about the new Winchester Xtended Range Bismuth turkey load Ammo

First Look: Winchester Xtended Range Bismuth Turkey Shotshell Load

Lynn Burkhead - January 25, 2018

With spring turkey season just around the corner, OSG senior digital editor Lynn Burkhead was...

See More Ammo

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save.

Temporary Price Reduction.

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

×