I have made some mention of cartridges that I love lately, but realize that I have never made a list of little explosive pills that I love. So, in no particular order, here I go:
22LR – The greatest cartridge ever designed. Soft shooting, quiet from a rifle, enough power to get work done, accurate, cheap, what’s not to love? Be it from a rifle, pistol, or revolver, I love it more every time I fire it. Loud, sulfurous, meditation, it is. My addiction isn’t helped by the fact that the little bullet is cheap enough to shoot for hours on end for the cost of a couple burgers.
9x17mm – I only like this for its ability to bring respectable firepower to tiny sidearms. The 9mm Makarov would knock it off the list entirely if it came in itty-bitty guns.
9x18mm – It is just one of those things that I like for no rational reason. If it came in a weapon sized like a P3AT, my love would at least make sense. The slappy recoil and bark-like report of firing a friends angry chihuahua (VZ. 82) is just way too fun. I have no practical use for this round, but I like it anyway.
9mm Parabellum – Cheap for centerfire, light recoiling, offers impressive capacities, easy to shoot well, and packs a decent punch. I find no flaw with this little guy, especially when stoked with 147 grain boolits. If I didn’t regularly have a bear bumming around the property, I would even consider carrying it.
38 S&W Special – This ole’ thing just goes with a model 10 like the 30-30 goes with the Winchester 94. Cheap, potent enough, stupid easy to shoot, everything I like about the 9×19, only in a revolver. I feel like I am cheating on the 357 when I shoot it, but I just can’t stop.
40 S&W – My favorite carry cartridge. It is potent, offers decent bullet weight, still has a decent capacity in a 9mm frame, has a better track record against critters around here than the 9mm, and it just feels right to me. It may help that it was the first center-fire handgun round I ever fired, and that I grew up for most of my childhood shooting my Dad’s before he went to a department that issued a 9mm. The round fits me, and I seem to have a thing for intermediate, jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none cartridges.
357 Magnum – My first love in handguns. If I could only have one cartridge in all of my handguns, it would be the 357. This fine pill is the most hellfire the average shooter can usually tolerate in a handgun for any stretch of time. More than once, the old 357 has been a comfort on long nights in the woods. I’ll admit, the hellacious noise gives me a boyish grin.
30 Carbine – Hehehehehe, best carbine caliber ever. I will hear arguments from the 223 crowd, but only from those shooting carbines in the weight class of an M1. Even the biggest recoil-wuss in the world can shoot this one. This means that someone who would normally shy away from a long-gun for defense can be armed with a more than effective enough weapon around the homestead. Also, one of my favorite calibers for a trunk or home-defense gun. The most fun you can have with a firearm outside of a 22. This little thing is loud as hell, by the way.
5.56 x 55mm – No 223, no Ruger Mini-14. I love Ruger’s little Ranch Rifle. This cartridge is a fine solution to problems of the vermin and predator varieties. No recoil to speak of, ammo available on the cheap, and is just easy to shoot well. The first center-fire rifle I ever fired was a 223.
7.62 x 39mm – I have no practical love for this one, just sentimental. The clankety clunk thunk of a kalashnikov in action reminds me of childhood.
30-30 – 30WCF is my favorite rifle caliber by far. I live in the woods where shots are usually short, and this bullet is more than enough to drop anything that breathes in this state. Soft shooting, enough power, and just makes the lever-action complete. If we could have loaded long guns in our vehicles around here, it would never be far from me. Until that day, I’ll have to settle for rifles that feed from box mags and are quicker to action from empty.
7.5 x 55mm – I like it better than the 308, and it doesn’t kick any differently. No practical difference between the two, I just like the Swiss villain-slayer more. I may custom order a turn-bolt in this caliber for elk some day. Although, if I were ever to become wealthy, a Blaser in 7.5 would just kick all kinds of ass.
303 – My preferred caliber for moose. You can’t help but have an empire moment when you fire it. Those big rimmed cases just feel right to a guy who has been shooting 30WCF his whole life.
30-06 – Power and grace. My favorite all-around rifle caliber. This is also the biggest caliber I can handle indefinitely in comfort, any bigger and I start to feel it after a few rounds. If I lived in a more open area, I would like it better than the 30-30.
410 – Fun, no-muss-no-fuss scattergun feed. If only it were cheaper, so that it could be a truly efficient garden gun.
20 Gauge – Cheap, gentle for the load it delivers, and fun in a still potent shell. The 20 bore is the perfect single-shot fodder.
16 Gauge – Greatest shotgun gauge ever. Anyone who says otherwise is a heathen. The guns tend to feel better than heavy twelves for me.
12 Gauge – Only in 2 1/2″ or so blackpowder loads, wrapped in paper, and coming from a Winchester lever-action shotgun. It is a religious experience. God himself hunts birds with an 87 Winchester and paper hulled shells.
Note: Yes, God and John Moses Browning’s own caliber is not on this list. I have fired a fair amount of the All-American Hun-Stopper. I was almost tempted into buying a GLOCK 30 after firing a friends, but only because the gun worked well for me. When I shoot it, it is just a means to an end. Some day, a bone-stock 1911 will keep my Garand and Carbine company, but only to have. If one of the kids were to fall in love with it, I wouldn’t disapprove.