Big-Game Rifles: How Big is Too Big?

I love shooting my .416 Rigby--seriously--despite the tough love it gives back when I pull the trigger. Partly, I like the challenge of shooting a big-boomer. It requires conscious mental and physical relaxation to shoot well during practice sessions. (Actually shooting at game is much easier--if you've practiced the right way, the propensity to flinch and otherwise ruin your shot is negligible.)

But there's a limit to what anybody can take. After a few shots I find it is usually time to rack the gun and move on.

None of us are immune to the effects of recoil. I realized this some time ago and, as a result, have developed a fondness for mid-range calibers that are accurate, deadly and easier to shoot.

Among my favorites for big game: 6.5 Creedmoor, .35 Remington, .280 Remington, .338 Federal and the .257 Roberts. Of course, I shoot a lot of .30/06 and .308 Winchester as well. And even though I've owned (and still own) a number of over-bored magnums, they are usually not my first (or even second) choice for hunting.

How big do you go? How has your appetite for recoil evolved over the years? For me, less is more.