By Todd Woodard, Editor, Cartridges of the World 15th Edition
The 15th Edition of Cartridges of the World will be out this fall, and in the process of researching and assembling this edition, I came across a handful of new or newish rounds I’ve become interested in personally. Because of their heritage, practicality, and design, here are five cartridges I believe will be trending upward in popularity the next few years:
6.5-300 Weatherby Magnum
For the first time in decades, Weatherby unleashed a new cartridge in 2016, this one based on a necked-down .300 Weatherby Magnum: the 6.5-300 Weatherby Magnum. This cartridge isn’t exactly new, even though Weatherby is billing it that way. Roy Weatherby built a 6.5-300 in the early 1950s, as evidenced by an old Mauser-action rifle in the company’s collection. Also, in the early 1970s, a group of benchrest wildcatters built rifles chambered for the 6.5-300 WWH (Weatherby Wright Hoyer), a 6.5mm cartridge using the .300 Weatherby as the parent case.
“This is now the fastest production 6.5mm cartridge in the world,” said Adam Weatherby, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Weatherby Inc. “The speed and energy of this cartridge is unprecedented and worthy of carrying the Weatherby name, all while exhibiting very manageable recoil.”
The fastest factory load shoots a 127-grain Barnes LRX at 3,531 fps. Factory-supplied ballistics show that with a 300-yard zero, the 127-grain Barnes drops 7.12 inches at 400 yards and 18.99 inches at 500 yards. Flat.
In 2015, Nosler created its new 28 Nosler by necking up the 26 Nosler case, itself a derivative of the 7mm RUM case, which descended from the .404 Jeffery. Nosler supports this new cartridge with Nosler brass, Trophy Grade ammunition and M48 rifles in 26-inch barrel configurations.
The fat case creates powder space, with a water capacity of 93.8 grains when loaded with a 150-grain AccuBond Long Range Spitzer, according to Nosler specs. The rebated-rim centerfire rifle cartridge shares the same overall cartridge length (3.340) as the 26 Nosler, which allows it to be chambered in standard-length actions. Likewise, the .284-caliber (7mm) centerfire .28 Nosler has the same 3.340-inch maximum cartridge overall length as the .30-06, but the case length is 2.590 inches with a 35-degree shoulder. Accordingly, the 28 Nosler cartridge case can be formed by necking-up a 26 Nosler case to 7mm (.284 inch) diameter.
Slower-burning powders and high load densities generally yield the best loads. Some of the best are with Norma 217 and RL 33.
7.62×40 WT (Wilson Tactical)
Kurt Buchert originated this round as the 7.62×40 USA. Introduced commercially in 2011 by Wilson Combat, the 7.62×40mm Wilson Tactical is a centerfire rifle cartridge that’s an accurate, low-recoil .30-caliber round that can be used in AR-15/M4 rifles with minimal changes beyond swapping the barrel.
All other standard AR-platform 5.56-caliber components are compatible. The 7.62×40 WT is based on the 5.56×45 NATO cartridge case, which is shortened to 1.560 inches and then re-sized (single operation) in a standard 7.62×40 WT sizing die. Result: A formed 7.62×40 WT case with a finished overall case length of 1.565 inches.
From a 16-inch barrel, the 7.62×40 WT fires a factory 110-grain bullet at 2534 fps muzzle velocity.
The 416 B&M (Bruton & McCourry) is designed for the Winchester M70 Winchester Short Magnum control-feed action with 18- and 20-inch barrels, but 20-inch barrels are optimum. In 20 inches of barrel, it runs most 350-grain bullets faster than 2450 fps and in 18 inches of barrel, 2400 fps and more. It makes an awfully good Alaskan rifle that is only 38 inches long and weighs 6.5 pounds.
To make 416 B&M brass, cut the .300 RUM case close to 2.240 inches, then trim, lube and run through the 416 sizing die. Firing a 300-grain ESP Raptor over 75 grains of AA 2520 will generate 2,627 fps/4,596 foot-pounds at the muzzle, according to a B&M load data sheet.
12 Gauge From Hell (GFH)
Okay, so this one is just interesting — I don’t expect too many reloaders to try this project. Cartridge researcher and collector Zachary Weighman has documented several shotshell-based cartridges designed by Ed Hubel of Lake, Michigan, one of which is the 12 Gauge From Hell, aka 12 GFH. Hubel has been building wildcat rounds since the early 1990s, and they range in caliber from .458 to .700.
Hubel says Rod Garnick and John McMorrow are co-designers of the 12 GFH dating back to 2004, and, in fact, the original concept was Garnick’s idea. The 12 GFH was made from a necked-up .50 BMG case, 3.85 inches overall, made to fire in a falling-block Borchardt action. Top loads tested have been 600-grain bullets at 3400 fps, but more shootable current loads run out at 1,650 to 1,700 fps.
Todd Woodard also edited Cartridges of the World 14th Edition and has been editor of Gun Tests magazine for 17 years. He loves shooting suppressed 22 LR firearms and is buying “cans” for his rifles and handguns as fast as his budget allows.