The Latest News in Conservation

America's Favorite Trophy Rifle: .300 Magnum

Although the venerable .30-06 and .270 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. 

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

B&C Assistant Director of Big Game Records harvested this record-book Rocky Mountain goat with a .300 Winchester Short Mag in 2008. The goat, which scores 48-2/8 points was taken in Wallowa County, Oregon.

Boone and Crockett compiled the data from its records book entries from 2007 through 2009. This three-year period of big-game trophies, fair-chase hunting and success in conservation and game management will be celebrated at the Club’s 27th triennial Big Game Awards, June 24-26, 2010, at the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno, Nev. Free attractions include a public exhibition of top-ranking North American big-game trophies in 36 categories taken since 2007, plus a variety of seminars and exhibits.

For more info about the event, visit

“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.


Here are the most commonly used calibers (Note: Records do not distinguish specific variations, i.e. .300 Win. Mag, .300 WSM, .300 Wby. Mag., .300 Ultra Mag, etc.) across all Boone and Crockett categories over the past three years, along with percentages of trophy entries credited to each:

  • .300 Magnum—18 percent
  • Bow—16 percent 
  • .270—12 percent
  • .30-06—11 percent
  • 7mm Magnum—11 percent
  • Muzzleloader/shotgun—10 percent
  • 6mm—3 percent
  • .338 Magnum—3 percent
  • .257—2 percent
  • .30-30—2 percent
  • .308—2 percent
  • .375 Magnum—2 percent
  • Other—8 percent

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 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, 2.) Muzzleloader/shotgun, 3.) .270
  • Black bear—1.) bow, 2.) .300 Magnum, 3.) .30-06
  • Pronghorn—1.) .300 Magnum, 2.) .270, 3.) 7mm Magnum 
  • Sheep (bighorn, Dall’s, desert, Stone’s)—1.) .300 Magnum, 2.) 7mm Magnum, 3.) .270
  • Mule deer—1.) .300 Magnum, 2.) 7mm Magnum, 3.) .270
  • Elk (American, Roosevelt’s, Tule)—1.) .300 Magnum, 2.) bow, 3.) tie: .30-06, 7mm Magnum
  • Moose (Alaska-Yukon, Canada, Shiras)—1.) .300 Magnum, 2. ) tie: 7mm Magnum, .338 Magnum
  • Caribou (barren ground, central Canada barren ground, mountain, Quebec-Labrador, woodland)—1.) .300 Magnum, 2.) .270, 3.) .30-06
  • Blacktail deer (Columbia, Sitka)—1.) .30-06, 2.) tie: 7mm Magnum, .300 Magnum
  • Coues’ whitetail deer—1.) 7mm Magnum, 2.) .270, 3.) .300 Magnum
  • Cougar—1.) bow, 2.) .30-30, 3.) 6mm
  • Rocky Mountain goat—1.) tie: .270, .300 Magnum, 3.) tie: 7mm Magnum, .30-06, bow, muzzleloader/shotgun
  • Brown bear/grizzly—1.) .375 Magnum, 2.) .338 Magnum, 3.) .300 Magnum
  • Muskox—1.) Bow, 2.) .300 Magnum, 3.) tie: 6mm, .375 Magnum
  • Bison—1.) .338 Magnum, 2.) tie: 7mm Magnum, bow


Scott G. Hettinger harvested this black bear near Kipahigan Lake, Manitoba, in 2007. The bear was taken with a bow and scores 21-5/16 points.

The Boone and Crockett Club system of scoring big-game trophies originated in 1906 as means of recording details on species thought to be disappearing due to rampant habitat loss and unregulated hunting. Science-based conservation efforts, led and funded by license-buying hunters, brought those species from vanishing to flourishing. 

Boone and Crockett records remain a classic gauge of habitat and management programs. 

In addition to its prestigious history and tradition, Boone and Crockett scoring is strongly associated with the highest tenets of fair chase and hunting ethics.

For more about the Club’s 27th Big Game Awards,