What Caliber or Ammo is Best for Deer Hunting?.
We can be clear about something. Under compulsion, I’m writing about the greatest deer hunting caliber. It’s not that I disagree with the topic. The headline is the only thing that bothers me. Anyone with even a smidgeon of ballistic sense understands that it should read “greatest deer hunting cartridge.” But, sadly, in a world where Google decides our fate, we have no choice but to follow the crowd. And “best deer hunting caliber” is significantly more popular than the technically proper “cartridge.” Let’s get started now that that’s out of the way.
How I Went About Choosing the Best Deer Hunting Calibers
This was not an easy task. More than just knock-down power is required to be a top deer hunting caliber. These are the whitetail world’s superstars, with the numbers and longevity to back up their claim to fame. Choosing the best deer hunting cartridge is also a matter of personal preference. And who better to judge such things than myself, Outdoor Life’s Shooting Editor? I’m pleased you concur.
Springfield.30/06 The Immortal
The.30/06 is a big-game cartridge’s Captain America. It’s been around for a long time, packs a punch, and helped the Allies defeat the Nazis during WWII. It is without a doubt the greatest big-game round of the twentieth century. It’s still going strong after all these years.
My first true deer rifle, like many others, was chambered in the ought-six. Over the years, I’ve frozen hundreds of pounds of corn-fed Michigan venison using 165-grain ballistic tips. I’ve also used it to hunt in North America and Africa, with 150-grain soft points, 180-grain Triple Shocks, 200-grain Trophy Bonded Bear Claws, 180-grain Accubonds, and a few other bullets I can’t recall right now. You won’t find another round with such a diverse range of options. It is, without a doubt, the greatest all-around hunting rifle cartridge.
The.30/06’s success is mostly due to physics. It achieves an excellent mix of power and shooting skill. The ought-recoil six’s is on the higher end of what most shooters can handle without acquiring a crippling flinch. And, with the exception of thick-skinned dangerous wildlife, its terminal ballistics can handle everything.
It’s a bigger rifle than most whitetails need, but it gets the job done and has a nostalgic value that few cartridges can equal. This deer hunting caliber is good enough for the likes of you and me if it was good enough for Teddy Roosevelt.
Best Deer Ammo in .30/06 Springfield
.30/30 Winchester OG Lever-Action Caliber
It’s impossible to name one cartridge as the best whitetail caliber, but it’s difficult to envision anything better than the.30/30 Winchester. It was debuted in 1895 alongside the Winchester Model 94 lever gun, and we haven’t seen a more successful rifle and ammunition combination in the century and a quarter since.
How did it come to be so powerful? Few people understand it nowadays, but the rifle and the round were both technological miracles. The ’94 was a quick-handling, fairly accurate rifle with excellent balance and ergonomics and a large magazine capacity. The.30/30 was the first small-bore smokeless cartridge to be introduced in the United States, and it marked the beginning of the high-power cartridge era in the country.
Despite the fact that the.45/70 has seen many more new rifles and ammunition choices, the.30/30 is still the most popular lever-action cartridge, beating out the.45/70.
Why is the.30/30 so popular? More than 7.5 million Model 94s have been produced by Winchester, not to mention the Marlin 336s and (more recently) Henry Repeating Arms lever guns chambered in.30/30. As a result, there are plenty of guns chambered in this caliber.
These figures, however, do not tell the whole story. The.30/30 has the power to take down a whitetail deer from 200 yards away, making it acceptable for 95 percent of deer shots. It also has half the recoil of a.30/06, making it a delight to shoot. Hunters that prefer the.30/30 see no need to switch to another caliber, believing it to be the best deer hunting caliber for 200 yards and in.
Winchester’s 150-grain PowerPoint, Hornady’s 160-grain FTX LeverEvolution, and the Federal Premium 150-grain Barnes TSX hollow point are all excellent loads for the.30/30.
Best Caliber For Deer Hunting 2022
Best Deer Ammo In .30/30 Win.
Old-School Metric: 7mm Remington Magnum
Best Deer Ammo In 7mm Rem. Mag.
Jack O’Connor’s Legacy: .270 Winchester
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Benchrest Wildcat: .243 Winchester
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Best Deer Ammo In .308 Win.
The Underdog: .223 Remington
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The Boomer: .300 Winchester Magnum
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The Newcomer: 6.5 Creedmoor
Best Deer Ammo In 6.5 Creedmoor