February 2010

Downrange: February 2010

America’s Favorite Trophy Rifle

Although the venerable 30-06 Springfield and 270 Winchester remain among the favorites, Boone and Crockett Club big-game records show that hunters with a 300 Magnum are taking more North American trophies than any other caliber.

Todd Woodard

Todd Woodard

Surprisingly, the second-most-popular trophy-taker isn’t a firearm—it’s a bow.

Boone and Crockett compiled the data from its records-book entries from 2007 through 2009.

"Trophy entries have increased 400 percent over the past 30 years, which not only means wild, free-ranging, trophy-class specimens are more plentiful now than ever before, it also means we’re getting larger samples and better snapshots of today’s culture of hunter-conservationists," said Tony Schoonen, chief of staff for the Boone and Crockett Club.

Following are the most commonly used calibers across all Boone and Crockett categories over the past three years, along with percentages of trophy entries credited to each. Note: The B&C records do not distinguish specific variations, i.e., 300 Win. Mag, 300 WSM, 300 Wby. Mag., 300 Ultra Mag., in the totals:

300 Magnum, 18%; Bow/Crossbow, 16%; 270, 12%; 30-06, 11%; 7mm Magnum, 11%; Muzzleloader/Shotgun, 10%; 6mm, 3%; 338 Magnum, 3%; 257, 2%; 30-30, 2%; 308, 2%; 375 Magnum, 2%; and Other, 8%.

The 300 Magnum appears among the top three calibers in 11 of the following 15 species recognized in Boone and Crockett trophy records. A bow/crossbow appears in 7 of these 15. Species are arranged by frequency of records book entries 2007-09. Most popular calibers by species include:

Whitetail deer—1.) Bow/crossbow, 2.) Muzzleloader/shotgun, 3.) 270

Black bear—1.) Bow/crossbow, 2.) 300 Mag., 3.) 30-06

Pronghorn—1.) 300 Mag., 2.) 270, 3.) 7mm Mag.

Sheep (bighorn, Dall’s, desert, Stone’s)—1.) 300 Mag., 2.) 7mm Mag., 3.) 270

Mule deer—1.) 300 Mag., 2.) 7mm Mag., 3.) 270

Elk (American, Roosevelt’s, Tule)—1.) 300 Mag., 2.) Bow/crossbow, 3.) tie: 30-06, 7mm Mag.

Moose—1.) 300 Mag., 2. ) tie: 7mm Mag., 338 Mag.

Caribou (barren ground, central Canada barren ground, mountain, Quebec-Labrador, woodland)—1.) 300 Magnum, 2.) 270, 3.) 30-06

Blacktail deer—1.) 30-06, 2.) tie: 7mm Mag., 300 Mag.

Coues’ whitetail deer—1.) 7mm Mag., 2.) 270, 3.) 300 Mag.

Rocky Mountain goat—1.) tie: 270, 300 Mag., 3.) tie: 7mm Mag., 30-06, bow/crossbow, muzzleloader/shotgun

Brown bear/grizzly—1.) 375 Mag., 2.) 338 Mag., 3.) 300 Mag.

Bison—1.) 338 Mag., 2.) tie: 7mm Magnum, bow/crossbow GT