Caliber Myths

Shooters and even ammunition manufacturers sometimes claim that certain calibers are more efficient than others. An advertisement for a hot, new 7mm cartridge bragged that the .284 caliber is inherently superior for long-range accuracy and minimal wind drift. Nonsense.

This is the kind of misconception that prevents hunters and shooters from making intelligent, informed decisions about cartridges, bullets and rifles. Let’s set the record straight:

  • First, no caliber (bullet diameter) is inherently superior in accuracy. Bullet accuracy depends on its balance, stability imparted to it by the barrel’s twist rate, and the launchpad (rifle.)
  • Second, no caliber (bullet diameter, not cartridge) is inherently more efficient than any other. Yes, many .284 bullets are extremely long, sleek, heavy and ballistically efficient, but that can be said of any caliber.

To equal the high ballistic efficiency of, say, a 168-grain .284 Berger VLD Hunting bullet (B.C. 617,) in a .308-caliber, all you have to do is use a long, heavy bullet like the 210-grain .308 Berger VLD Hunting bullet. Drive both with a 3,000 fps muzzle velocity, zero at 300 yards and look what happens:

Impact/Wind Drift

168-grain .284:
500 yards: -25/13
600 yards: -47/19
700 yards: -77/27
800 yards: -116/36

210-grain .308
500 yards: -25/13
600 yards: -47/19
700 yards: -77/26
800 yards: -114/35

Prefer less recoil? Load up a 140-grain Berger VLD Hunting (B.C. 612) in a 264 Win. Mag. at 3,000 fps.

Impact/Wind Drift

140-grain .264

500 yards: -25/13
600 yards: -48/20
700 yards: -78/27
800 yards: -116/36

Bullet performance isn’t the result of caliber any more than magic. Build a perfectly balanced bullet with a specific ballistic coefficient and it will be equally accurate and efficient in any caliber.


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