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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After following along for 11 pages and 3 1/2 months, I have seen mention made of all sorts of chamberings........ 257 Weatherby, 7mm Rem Mag, various 300 Mags, 338 Win Mag, 35 Whelen.......... in a post about BIG caliber guns.

So it got me to wondering........what are your personal criteria for labeling a cartridge as a "big caliber" ??

Is it a bore diameter ?? A certain recoil perception ?? The word "magnum" ?? A certain ft/lb value at the muzzle ?? Just anything bigger than what you shoot ??

What say yinz ??
 

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I really think its relative to what youre hunting, and who is shooting. A 300 win mag could be seen as overkill for our pa whitetails. But for a kodiak brown bear youre just scratching the surface for.what most would say is enough gun. To make the same point, a 30-06 may not seem like a big caliber to a full grown man who has shot many calibers....but to a newbie, or a 12 year old kid it definitely is a big gun.
 

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To me any cartridge over 30 caliber that shoots a heavy bullet FAST is a big caliber gun! A good example would be my Mark V 340 Weatherby Magnum or the Winchester Model 70 Stainless 375 H&H Magnum that I regret getting rid of.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Just playing Devil's advocate with a couple of yinz here.......

How about a big bullet slow.......like a 458 Win Mag ??

How about a 378 Weatherby ?? It doesn't start with a 4.

How about a 44/40 ?? It DOES start with a 4.

Just asking.
 

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Indeed slow big bullets with mild recoil can be considered big. There are no doubt hard hitting guns on both ends like the aforementioned 378 wby or even the 340 for that matter. Powerful fast cartridges, but that is a distinction between "cartridge" and "caliber". For caliber I stand by 4 and up.
 

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It's hard to say, I guess. I've got a 350 rem mag, .450 Marlin, or for sheer powder capacity, a 300 RUM. Shooting any of them doesn't really bother me, but I guess I don't consider any of them "big". Bigger than average, yeah. Big, not really. This just makes me realize I need to start gun shopping more aggressively. Thanks Strut!!!
 

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This is such a subjective and personal topic that I think a very broad range of answers has to e expected and accepted at the outset....
That being said, I think anything starting around .338 caliber or larger is what I consider to be big. Obviously that's not a broad stroke of the brush. I don't consider a .338 Federal to be big, nor do I consider a .375 Winchester to be big. I do consider a .338 WinMag to be big though I don't find it to be punishing to shoot at all. A .375 H&H is big to me. Most any of the .416's are big. No to the .444 Marlin, but yes to the .45/70 in handholds. Anything larger in case capacity or horsepower than the .416's is "Big" to me.
 

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To me it would be a blend of powder capacity and bullet weight it's pushing. I consider a 7mag stout, but big to me would start at the 338 win mag pushing balls 100 gr heavier than the avg 7mag load.
 

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I don't really think "big caliber" is a thing. It's too broad of a term. There's big bore calibers, and there are magnum calibers. Big bore calibers I would consider anything around .35 and up. Magnum would have the word magnum after its first name. I suppose some could even be both!
 

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In some BPCR competitions, the cut off is .40 and above vs under .40

However, there was a famous African hunter that hunted with a 2 bore rifle. Bullets 1.32 inches in diameter and the bullet weighed 3500 grains. (yes a half pound) Not some puny little 30 caliber 200 grain popper. See the write up here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2_bore. A guy here in york county has an inch bore muzzle loading rifle and I started building a 4 bore muzzle loading pistol.

The term big can describe alot of things, but when combined with CALIBER means the diameter of the bullet, not the size of the cartridge.
 

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It's all about foot/pounds of energy and recoil. A 243 is pretty fast. A 50 cal. flintlock is a big bore. So big bullets and speed alone don't do it. You need the combo. I'd say starting at a 375 H&H for energy levels. I can't go 338 Win Mag because they are pretty ho-hum, especially out west.
 
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