What is the most popular caliber?

by Krzysztof Turowski

Some time ago, I asked my friends on Facebook and Instagram what calibers they use. The amount of answers which I have received surprised me a lot. I have decided, that I would gather it all together and summarize in the article. The help of an expert will also be useful.

However, before I tell you about the most popular I will stop for a moment on what is rare or exotic.
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Let’s start from social media, from where I’ve got a lot of feedback – including those from outside of Poland or Europe. Several calibers were leading from the beginning, however I have been interested in those that appeared on the list very rarely or carried some interesting story behind them. How many people do you know who have .375H & H Magnum in their safe? This caliber from 1912 appeared on the list only once and although it is associated primarily with hunting trips to the Africa, it is also liked by Americans who are hunting with it in Alaska. One friend form America shared the opinion that the .375H&H magnum is comprehensive, efficient and accurate, and that he takes to places where everything in the hunting menu – including the hunter. That’s why he is hunting with .375H&H magnum in American mountains and he will not be surprised by anything – not even by a grizzly bear.

One of my friends from Serbia gone even further and have a .458lott caliber weapon in his safe. The caliber is based on the previously mentioned .375H&H Magnum. It was designed to work with dangerous, heaviest and thick-skinned animals from the Africa like an elephant or rhinoceros. Some also take him on hunt for a big cat like a lion. The .375 or .458 caliber requires a strong arm, because this size does not does not forgive any error.

On the other hand, I saw the .22 lr caliber on the list. What is interesting, the owner does not use it for sport. He spoke about the 22 LR Shotshell version popularly called “Snake Shot” or “Rat Shot”. Instead of a single projectile, we have a plastic cartridge filled with tiny pellets. Everything in the small .22 caliber.

This caliber is jokingly called the gardener’s weapon, but to be fair, it is actually used to fight snakes, rodents, birds and other small pests, where shots are taken from a very short distance.

In Poland, the law does not allow such use of this weapon, but as you can see even this caliber finds its users. By the way, I wonder what’s the feeling when a hunter returning from Africa and using the Rat Killer.

A special place in the ranking goes for a rimmed caliber. I always wonder what story the weapon would say if it could only speak. Bullets in 9.3×72 caliber had been used by Mateusz’s grandfather in his very old scoped rrilling. Now the weapon is in Mateusz hands. Jacek is already in the possession of an old Merkel driling in the 7x65R caliber. Jacek admits that he uses it for 5 years, and it is just the beginning of the adventures with this weapon. Several people still use weapons in the 7x57R caliber or the previously mentioned 7x65R.

Despite the sentiments of the owners for combination gun, the most popular calibers are also in their safes.
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I was very curious about my juxtaposition compared to the actual sale of ammunition. I contacted the mentioned earlier expert. I was helped by Janek Świda from the M.K. Szuster company. Janek is also known from the Time2Hunt team, where together with Ola and Gosia they show that hunting is not only shooting to animals but it’s a lifestyle.

My summary showed that the most popular calibers are in the following order: .308Win, .30-06 .223 and 8x57JS.

M.K. Szuster specialized in the sale of RWS and Geco ammo, so Janek presented calculations based on these producers. Interestingly, their store is more of a distribution center for other stores in Poland.

That’s why, they have a full vision of how much and what ammunition of those producers goes to our market. It turns out that my small sample fits into the image that Janek introduced. Top 3 calibers are .308Win, 8x57JS and .30-06 Spring, but it’s hard to determine the leader. The 7×64 caliber also appears quite often on the list and those four are the most sold ammunition by RWS. On the global sales scale, the RWS looks as follows: First place 30.06, second .308, then 8x57JS and 7×64.

As you can see, my small sample falls quite reliably in comparison to the actual distribution of M.K. Shuster.

I also asked Janek what the sale of ammunition components looks like. He said that within the previously mentioned producers it is almost a negligible amount of inquiries. Despite this, making ammo at home is more and more popular, and it is done mostly by the advanced hunters.

On my list, rilled calibers appeared quite often. So, I was curious how their sales actually look like, and what was the strangest or most interesting question from the customer. It turns out that the rilled ammunition is a very rarely product. It is not the exotic calibers that surprise Janek, but the fact, that a lot of customers can forget or confuse the calibers of the weapons they own.

Interesting thing which Janek told me was, that he is looking forward for the 10.3x68Magnum RWS caliber, which has its roots in the Swiss Alps.
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Apart from the sales podium, there were a .223 caliber which overtook 8x57JS in my comparison. It is worth noting that the weapon in .223 usually appears as the next gun in the sage after .30-06 or .308 caliber.

The popularity of 8x57JS may be due to being able to forgive some of the shooter’s shortcomings. I know this because I hunt with him myself and I have noticed that I do not have to walk too far to find hunted game after the shot. It may also be a response to the war between .308 and .3006. As for the love of the calibers, my friend Arek even said that he has two units in .30-06 caliber. I made sure – it was not a mistake or accidental copying of the same text. In fact, he has two units in this caliber and it remains faithful to both driven and individual hunting.

You can also do it in a different way, and like Adam or my Canadian friend, and have both 308 and 3006. It’s a checkmate.

My expert also added that in Poland there is a myth that if the bullet is heavy, it will be effective, and it is not about how much energy a given bullet carries with itself only what happens with this energy after entering the game. I think that is a very important observation.

And what in the summary surprised or amused me? Well, a friend said he was hunting with a 22cm caliber. At the same time this info passed without much echo. The list also includes a spear with Łukasz use for hunting. I wonder if this is also passed down from generation to generation.

Finally, many thanks to M.K. Szuster, Janek and you my dear fiends. This article would not have been created without your contribution.

Happy Hunting!

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