RCBS 2012 Top 10 Rifle Reloading Die Sales

By Chuck Hawks

Curious about the popularity of centerfire rifle cartridges among reloaders? There usually isn't a dramatic change from year to year; it is more like a glacial movement. Regardless, here is RCBS's 2012 sales list (first published in 2013) for their top 10 best selling rifle reloading die sets:

  1. .223 Remington
  2. .308 Winchester
  3. .30-06 Springfield
  4. .243 Winchester
  5. .270 Winchester
  6. .300 Winchester Magnum
  7. .22-250 Remington
  8. 7mm Remington Magnum
  9. .30-30 Winchester
  10. .25-06 Remington

Although missing the top 10, .338 Winchester Magnum remains the best selling of all medium bore cartridge reloading dies. The most interesting changes on this RCBS die sales list are the .308 surpassing the .30-06 as the number one big game hunting cartridge among reloaders and the .300 Win. Mag. passing the 7mm Rem. Mag. Since all .300 Magnums indisputably kick too hard for most hunters to handle without flinching, the latter is particularly deplorable.

Less surprising in this magnum oriented hunting climate is the decline of the .30-30, which has slid in reloading die sales over the last decade or so. (Of course, the .30-30 has always been a better seller in factory loaded ammunition than in reloading dies.) I regard this trend as unfortunate, as the .30-30 is all the cartridge most hunters will ever need and it kicks much less than the magnums, allowing more precise bullet placement.

The increasing emphasis on long range shooting in the mass sporting media is, no doubt, responsible for this trend. However, it flies in the face of the reality that the percentage of clean deer kills falls dramatically as the range increases beyond about 160 yards. With typical factory loads, the .30-30 is a 200+ yard cartridge, more than enough range for all but a tiny minority of deer, hog and black bear hunters. Encouraging hunters to shoot at game animals beyond the maximum point blank range (+/- 3") of their rifle/cartridge combination is a recipe for wounded and lost animals, a fact that has been repeatedly demonstrated.

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Copyright 2014, 2016 by Chuck Hawks. All rights reserved.