When you’re talking hunting cartridges, it’s a family affair. Nepotism at its best. Practically Old Testament. Begat begat and begat again…
Variations on a theme is what they are. While hunters persist in imagining different cartridges possess magical properties, the reality is that most are nearly genetic matches with minor changes in power capacity and bullet diameter/weight. Those minor changes are, however, worth contemplating.
Our famous, old 30-06 (8th from the L.) was built by modifying the older, German 8mm Mauser. Check dimensions of the two and you discover many more-than-coincidental similarities in head size and body diameter. The 30-06 was then necked to a narrower diameter to hold a .277-inch bullet and called, you guessed it, the 270 Winchester. Necked down further to grip a .257-inch projectile and it became the 25-06 Remington. Others in the clan not shown here are the 280 Remington, 338-06, 6.5-06 (wildcat,) 243 Catbird (wildcat,) and 35 Whelen. There have been .375 and .400 wildcat rounds, too.
The short-action 308 Winchester, which is itself just a shortened version of the 30-06 case, spawned plenty of efficient, famous cartridges. Shown above from L. to R. are the 243 Winchester, 260 Remington, 7mm-08 Remington, 308 Winchester and 338 Federal. The 358 Winchester is not shown.
After Holland & Holland put a belt on a case to make its 375 H&H Magnum (2nd from R.) in 1912, that higher-volume powder container became the foundation for many high-velocity cartridges, starting with Holland & Holland’s own Super Thirty, later known better as the 300 H&H Magnum. In the 1940s Roy Weatherby straightened the walls of this sloping case and shortened it to the same overall length of the 30-06 to make a bunch of his famous belted magnums, including the 257, 270 and 7mm Weatherby Magnums. Winchester borrowed this idea to morph the belted H&H case into the 458, 264, 338 and 300 Winchester Magnums (third from R.) in the late ’50s and early ’60s. Remington bounced onto the belted band wagon with its 7mm Remington Magnum (4th from R.)Lost on many shooters is how the similarities among family rounds results in similar performances. While hunters argue over the minor differences in downrange trajectory and punch between the 30-06, 270 Winchester and 280 Remington, deer and elk can’t tell the difference. Hunting success is determined not by the cartridge, but by the right bullet in the right place.