After passing the hunting license exam, the young hunter's interest is focused entirely on his first gun. Not only are there countless options and designs when it comes to choosing the manufacturer and model, it can also be easy to lose track of the large number of different calibers. Especially as a young hunter, it is difficult to decide on the right caliber when buying a gun - and the advice of experienced hunters is not always helpful.
In principle, when choosing a weapon and a caliber, two desired but contradictory factors are at odds with each other: A projectile should achieve the strongest possible hit effect on the game, but with the greatest possible protection of the bellows and game.
As a young hunter, one's own preferences and hunting possibilities are usually not yet precisely formed; in addition, one may not yet be clear about which game is mainly hunted. The first weapon, in most cases a bolt action rifle (in former times rather a combined weapon like the driling), should therefore be suitable for all hunting situations and the caliber should be easy to shoot, so that hunting is successful.
It is also important that the ammunition is readily available and that there are many different labs of bullets.
The most widely used calibers in Germany because of these characteristics are .308 Winchester (7.62 x 51 mm), .30-06 Springfield and 8x57 IS . All have similar ballistic characteristics, such as the curvature of the trajectory, the velocity of the bullet, or the impact energy that the bullet delivers to the target.
As a rule of thumb, the longer the case, the more elongated the trajectory, making it easier to aim at long range. On the other hand, it increases recoil and possibly muzzle flash when fired. In addition, a higher diameter of the projectile speaks for a higher effect of the cartridge.
Direct comparison: .308, .30-06, 8x57
In a direct comparison of these three very popular hunting calibers, the .308 Winchester cartridge is said by many hunters to have the highest inherent accuracy. In addition, the recoil is not as strong as with the .30-06 Springfield caliber, which is equipped with a stronger propellant charge - an advantage when hunting with a repeater and several shots are to be fired in a short time. The .30-06 caliber has a more elongated trajectory due to the stronger charge, and fans of this caliber also swear by the "energy reserves" that the stronger charge has compared to the .308 caliber. This means that the projectile is supposed to have more destructive effect in the body of the game: Even heavy pieces should be more likely to be in the bang (i.e., right after the shot) than with the same deal with .308. However, anyone who wants to buy a gun in .30-06 must be aware that the larger amount of propellant charge takes a longer time to burn completely than with the same cartridge in .308. This means that guns in .30-06 should either have a longer barrel than guns in .308, or that special short-rifle ammunition must be used, which uses extremely fast-burning propellant charges. Overall, the usually slightly longer barrel and heavier recoil make rapid multiple shooting with a bolt action in .30-06 caliber somewhat more ponderous than with .308.
The traditional German 8x57 caliber is said to have a very high hitting power, especially at the first 100 meters, although it loses its power and elevation more quickly thereafter - inexperienced hunters have a hard time with this caliber at distance. Other disadvantages are the higher price and the fact that there are fewer different types of ammunition available than with the Anglo-Saxon calibers mentioned above. Hunters who swear by guns in this caliber like to point out the pleasant recoil as well as the muzzle blast and muzzle flash as advantages of their equipment.
Conclusion: The choice of the right caliber for their weapon should depend on the type of hunting. As a young hunter who may not yet have tapped into his preferences and options, it is advisable to choose an all-around caliber such as the very common 8x57 IS, .308 Win or .30-06 Spring just mentioned. With these standard calibers, he can shoot all European cloven-hoofed game and predatory game and will have no difficulty finding the right ammunition. Moreover, almost every new as well as used rifle is available in these calibers.
To the overview of the most common hunting calibers in Germany
More exciting reports on the subject of caliber
You can also find exciting, interesting and informative reports on the topic at our premium partner, the hunting magazine hunting time. for example in the overview of all articles on the subject of caliber.