Best Caliber for Hunting | Which is Best for You?

Hunter in the fall hunting season | Best Caliber for Hunting | Featured

Every hunter needs the best caliber for hunting to stand a chance at a successful day outdoors. Here is a roundup of the best calibers in the market.

RELATED: The 9mm As a Hunting Cartridge

11 Long-Range Hunting Calibers to Add to Your Hunting Arsenal

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.30-Caliber Cartridges

A box of Winchester 308 shells Best hunting caliber SS

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1. 300 PRC

The 300 PRC is like a shorter and beltless version of the .300 Winchester Magnum and will effortlessly cruise out to 1,650 yards. Like the two 6.5 caliber introductions by Hornady, it has gained preference with hunters who like hitting with heavy bullets from a distance and long-range competitors.

Ammunition and factory rifles options are limited, but that will not be the case for long, judging on this cartridge's ballistic abilities.

2. .308 Winchester

This shorter version of the .30/06 will not win any ballistic awards but has repeatedly proven that it delivers at a distance. It works wonders in the field where it matters, where the 6.5 Creedmoor has less recoil.

Also, there are more ammo options for the .308 Winchester than any other herein. It has been every sniper's favourite with a supersonic speed of around 1,200 yards.

Tip: Feel free to swap it with the .30/06 as long as you can handle the extra kick.

3. .277-Caliber Cartridges

Being an oddball bullet diameter, the .277 doesn't fall in the 7mm, 6.5mm, or .30-caliber categories. Besides, the .270 Winchester happens to be the only .277-caliber cartridge manufactured—and the one that matters to hunters. This is besides the .270 Weatherby Magnum and 6.8 SPC.

As far as guns and loads go, you can rest assured there are plenty out there for it.

4. .300 Winchester Magnum

The .300 Winchester Magnum is considered to be the optimum long-range, large-game caliber for a reason. It can launch heavy bullets with exceptionally high speed and precision, making it a top choice for military snipers.

Its recoil is stiff; not many master it, but those who can shoot this caliber with a supersonic speed beyond 1,650 yards. What's more, there are tons of factory rifles and loads for various price ranges.

5. .270 Winchester

During the 192os, 300 yards was considered the maximum distance for shots on game. The .270 Winchester rose to fame as it was considered one of the best commercial option for hunting.

With today's ammunition, the old .270 is still one of the best long-range hunting caliber. It cruises out to 1,400 yards – way more than what hunters will ever need.

RELATED: How to Start Deer Hunting

7mm Cartridges

12.7 mm caliber ammunition ready Best hunting caliber SS

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6. 7mm Remington Magnum

Since its introduction in 1962 alongside the Model 700 bolt-action rifle, Remington's Seven-Mag has remained popular, especially with hunters looking to stretch their effective range. It pretty much dethroned the Winchester's .264.

Even with all the muzzle blast and extra recoil, this cartridge will not shoot flatter than most 6.5s. But it remains lightning fast to 1,400 yards making it ideal for cross-canyon hunting.

7. .280 Ackley Improved

Hand-loaders and wildcatters have praised the .280 Ackley Improved for years. This makes sense because it outperforms the .280 Remington.

It is now a SAAMI-approved cartridge and in the same league with the 7mm Remington Magnum. While ammunition options are limited, the .280 Ackley Improved will maintain its speed to 1,400 yards.

8. 28 Nosler

Like its 26 Nosler counterpart, the 404 Jeffery case-based 28 remains supersonic past 1,750 yards. However, to achieve this, it must launch a heavy bullet which means a stiff recoil. For instance, an 8-pound rifle can generate more than 33 foot-pounds of recoil. This is more than two times what the 6.5 Creedmoor generates.

Still, Nosler's 28 is the best 7mm option for pushing heavy projectiles to reach further. Besides recoil, the limited availability of factory rifles and ammunition is the other downside.

6.5mm Cartridges

6.5 creedmoor reloads in ammunition box Best hunting caliber SS

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9. 6.5 PRC

The 6.5 PRC by Hornady came in just in time to replace the.264 Winchester Magnum after its downfall. With fast-twist barrels rifles and modern barrel-life extending powders, the 6.5 PRC closely matches the Winchester Magnum ballistics.

It can remain at its high speed beyond 1,600 yards, but ammo options are limited.

10. 6.5 Creedmoor

This caliber carries more energy and velocity downrange with less recoil than any other cartridge. The 6.5′s long and slender bullets seem to defy gravity and wind when shot from SAAMI-mandated 1-8 twist barrels. This allows the cartridge to deliver sleek kills from a distance.

With the 6.5 Creedmoor speedy to 1,400 yards, it is becoming a popular long-range, big-game cartridge in the world.

11. 26 Nosler

26 Nosler shoots with the flatness of Kansas prairie and while holding its velocity way out there. Being the same length as the .30/06, it operates in standard-length actions. It is somewhat rough on barrels, but you probably won't care as the cartridge shoots so flat.

Being the highest BC bullets, it is supersonic beyond 1,750 yards. Like with the 6.5 PRC, there are not many factory-ammo options out there.

Here’s an infographic guide. Don’t forget to download, save, or share this handy infographic for reference:


Watch this video by ClassicFirearms on the best calibers for hunting:

There you go, fellow hunters. A lot goes into bagging your limit when hunting, with the most critical factor being the caliber you use. All the caliber here is a worthy try but settling for one is more about personal preference and what works for you.

Are you getting more than 1 caliber for your hunting?

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Which caliber do you prefer for hunting? Let us know in the comment section below!

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