Excerpted from JOURNAL #456
For most of the first half of the 20th Century the 30-06 Springfield dominated long range shooting in the United States. But in 1935 something happened that had a profound effect and started a change that continues to this day. In that year a shooter named Ben Comfort won the prestigious Wimbledon Cup with a rifle chambered for the 300 H&H Magnum, shooting factory match ammo of all things. The magnum craze was underway.
Following a lull during World War II, competition at the longer distances started anew but shooters had not forgotten the big belted H&H case, and it was a rare firing line that did not bristle with big 30 caliber wildcats firing long boat tail bullets of 200 grains or more. A few 30- 06s were still seen but most competitors turned to cases with large, and even larger capacity. When 1000 yard Benchrest shooting started in 1967 it was natural that many of the same large capacity cartridges used in conventional long range were used. They are what I like to call the Loudenboomers, or simply the Boomers. But the early Boomers were not restricted to 30 caliber. Both smaller and larger calibers, such as 6.5 and 7mm, and 338, were seen on the line. The belted magnums dominated until new wildcats, based on the large bodied “beltless” cases, appeared. Most of the old and new Boomers exhibit abrupt shoulder angles and little body taper. Even when seen sideby-side it is often difficult to identify one from another. Today, all that restrains shooters from going even bigger are rules that prohibit rifles of more than 40 caliber.
I’ve assembled and photographed six of the Boomers in my collection. First is the one that started it all, a 300 H&H MAGNUM. Next is one of the oldest long range wildcats, the 6.5/300 Weatherby-Wright Magnum. Badly over bore-capacity, this cartridge could easily shoot out a barrel in one season. (Stainless steel barrel = $400. Pot metal and fake wood 1st Place trophy = Priceless.) Third is the 7mm JADE, an Australian cartridge made by necking down the Remington 375 Ultra Mag. Next is a 30 HART MAGNUM, an improved 300 Weatherby case with a short neck. Fifth is the 30-404 IMPROVED, a 404 Jeffery NE necked to 30 caliber and improved. Finally a 338 LAPUA IMPROVED made by blowing out the shoulder to 40 degrees and reducing body taper to a minimum.
Next, the Baby Boomers.