Hunting Caliber Chart
Squirrel Hunting Calibers
Squirrel has been on the menu in America for a long time. Since the colonial era, a dinner of fried squirrel has been welcomed across the eastern regions of the USA.
Whether it be the .22 LR or .22 WMR, the .22 caliber is no doubt the quintessential caliber for squirrel hunting. It’s powerful, deadly accurate out to 50 yards (the distance you’ll be shooting most squirrels) and won’t make a mess of your pelt. You can also take a squirrel with the .17 HMR or a good high-powered pellet gun.
|Pellet||A quiet alternative to rimfire cartridges. Accuracy is more important than velocity. A pellet needs to travel at a minimum 600 feet per second for squirrel hunting, but not much faster. Pellets are cost-effective. Lead pellets perform best and deliver good impact at close range.|
|.22 LR||Most popular squirrel hunting caliber on the market. Highly accurate to 40 yards and extremely cost-effective. 22 LR rounds are readily available, less expensive than the .22 WMR, and substantially quieter. More squirrels have been harvested with a .22 LR than all other cartridges combined.|
|.22 WMR||Provides a slightly flatter trajectory and a bit more range than the 22 LR. A good crossover caliber for hunting larger game, such as coyote. Most models come with a clip magazine as opposed to a tube. A .22 Mag is a great choice for squirrels since it offers just a bit more range.|
|.17 HMR||Not as popular as the .22, but an effective squirrel killer. The .17 HMR is a faster, flatter shooting caliber for making longer shots. An effective kill range for a .17 HMR extends beyond 100 yards. Ammo options are limited compared to the .22 but as the .17 HMR gains popularity the ammo supply follows.|
Rabbit Hunting Calibers
These furry rodents, both the eastern cottontail and the western jackrabbit are almost always the starting point for a youngster on a lifetime of hunting. Rabbits are plentiful, easy to find, and still a challenge since they are quick animals, and in the case of jackrabbits can tear up the prairie at almost 40 miles per hour. You don’t need a cannon for rabbits, the smaller caliber does just fine and won’t ruin the meat on impact. Another benefit to smaller calibers is less recoil and a small-stature youngster can enjoy their first hunt without worrying about a kick that can induce shooter’s flinch.
|.22 LR||What can you say about the venerable .22 LR? It’s been around since the 19th century and has taken more rabbits than all the other calibers combined. This is a great round to start a novice with. It has almost no recoil and is accurate for a long distance with more than enough stopping power for a jack or cottontail.|
|.22 WMR||The same .22 caliber bullet that comes in the .22 LR rimfire, this is a faster, harder-hitting caliber in a center-fire style. At 100 yards this cartridge is flat, but it rapidly drops after that. The muzzle velocity is nearly twice that of a .22 LR so it has tremendous power on impact.|
|.17 HMR||The smallest rimfire cartridge on the market, but a surprisingly accurate round that is more than a match for any rabbit. .17 HMR is growing in popularity, and they’ve become easier to locate on sporting goods store shelves. With a scope, they’re effective to 200 yards.|
|.22 Hornet||Traveling over 2,000 feet per second at 100 yards, with a heavier 35 or 45--grain bullet. The Hornet gets its name from the “sting” it delivers on small game. This was a popular cartridge in the 1940s and has made a resurgence recently. Its energy is impressive for a small caliber.|
|.222 REM||Available in standard 35 and 50--grain bullets this cartridge packs a wallop at long range and is one of the flattest shooting calibers you can find. It drops just six inches at 300 yards, making it a top-notch light caliber for distance shots, and with limited recoil, it is a cartridge for everyone.|
|.204 Ruger||The closest thing you’ll probably ever shoot to a laser. This is an incredibly fast cartridge with a muzzle velocity of almost a mile a second. At 400 yards it’s still traveling at over 2,000 FPS. It packs power, accuracy and when you pull the trigger, the target is hit almost instantaneously.|
Turkey Hunting Calibers
Upland game birds and waterfowl in the United States must be harvested with a shotgun, the lone exception is the largest of North American birds, the wild turkey. Turkey hunting with a centerfire cartridge presents a challenge. Unlike its domesticated relative, the usable meat on a wild bird is just the breast. The legs, thighs, and wings are stringy from exercise. A rifle shot to the body of the bird will take it out effectively, but even a slight misplacement will destroy much of the white meat.
|.22 WMR(.22 Mag)||A .22 WMR is a good choice for turkeys at close range. Beyond 75 yards the cartridge loses energy so quickly that it is not an ethical choice in taking a bird. At 25 to 50 yards, the standard range for 12-gauge shotguns, it is a viable round that causes minimal damage.|
|.22 Hornet||This faster cartridge with good energy at ranges up to 250 yards is an excellent choice in a turkey caliber. Available in 35 or 45 -grain bullets, it packs more than enough punch to take a large gobbler at long range. The caveat is the energy of the .22 Hornet at closer ranges where it can blow a turkey apart.|
|.223 REM||Perhaps the most popular cartridge for rifle turkey hunting is the venerable .223. This round is available in sizes from 35 to 75 -grains, but for turkeys, you should limit hunting to just the 35-grain bullet since the power is tremendous for even the largest tom and no matter how well you place a shot you’re going to blow the bird into pieces.|
|.243 WIN||The .243 will kill a turkey, and a high headshot is the best option for this cartridge since even the smallest 58-grain bullet still packs a 1200+ pound punch at 200 yards. A body shot with a .243 means a lot less white meat on the table or maybe none at all.|
Fox Hunting Calibers
There are two reasons to hunt fox. The first is if they’re a threat to poultry or other small animals on your farm or homestead. The second, and most often cited reason to hunt fox is for their fur. Fox are considered both a varmint and a fur-bearing animal depending on the area you live. In selecting a good caliber for taking fox you want one that does the job in a single shot, but that doesn’t destroy the pelt in the process. Lighter -grain bullets, fired at high velocity are the best cartridges for fox.
|.17 Hornet||Firing a tiny bullet weighing from 15.5 to 25 -grains, the .17 is an ideal choice for taking fox without ruining the pelt. The better cartridge is the heavier 25-grain design for fox since it delivers ample energy to take these small predators up to 100 yards.|
|.17 HMR||This is the upgraded version of the venerable .17 caliber rimfire cartridge with the additional power of centerfire technology. The .17 HMR is best at short range, less than 50 yards. It is flat shooting at 100 yards but lacks the energy at that range for an ethical kill.|
|.22 WMR(.22 Mag)||Another short-range choice, the 22 mag is among the most popular for close-range fox hunting. The problem with the 22 mag cartridge comes in substantial bullet drop after 100 yards. At closer range, the heavier 30-grain bullet is your best choice for dropping a fox in a single shot.|
|.223 REM||Flat shooting at 200 yards with minimal drop at 300, this is a great cartridge for fox at long range. With a muzzle velocity approaching 400 FPS, the .223 delivers a heavy punch at longer distances. Be careful in selecting bullets for fox hunting since an expansive cartridge will destroy the pelt, often on both sides of the small animal.|
|.22-250 REM||For varmint hunting, the .22-250 is hard to beat. Available in hard-hitting 35 to 50 -grain bullets, and with a tremendously fast muzzle velocity, this is a great long-range cartridge for fox. In 35 -grain it drops only four inches at 300 yards. A fox is a small target, so accuracy is key, and this is an accurate caliber.|
|.243 WIN||Don’t even consider this round if you’re taking a fox in winter for its plush coat. The .243 is the starting point for big game rifles and will destroy a fox on impact. If you’re after a predator who is raiding your henhouse, this is a great choice since you can hit targets over 400 yards with ample energy.|
Coyote Hunting Calibers
Among predator or varmint hunters, the coyote is king. The versatile coyote has expanded his range to include cities as large as Los Angeles and the wily wild dog has moved east, even frequenting New York City’s Central Park. Hunting coyotes is best in the heart of winter since their full pelts demand the highest price in those months. Taking a coyote is usually done at long range so a cartridge with a punch out beyond 300 yards is preferred, but shorter-range shots can be taken if you are adept at calling coyotes with a few dozen yards. It all depends on your hunting style.
|.17 Hornet||The Hornet draws its name from a time when small caliber cartridges were equated to stings from wasps, hornets, and bees, all names of competing cartridges in the 1940s. The Hornet is the perfect caliber if you don’t want to damage the pelt on a coyote with a shot closer than 200 yards. Beyond that range the 15.5 and 20 -grain bullets lack the energy to ethically drop a coyote with one shot.|
|.223 REM||For long-distance coyote shooting without excessive damage to the pelt, it’s hard to beat the .223 in 50-grain. This cartridge has tremendous power to 500 yards, is flat at 200, and has just a marginal drop at 300 yards. With a target as small as a coyote, even in profile, you’re not going to get good results beyond 250 yards or so in most settings with the .223.|
|.204 Ruger||Screaming out of the barrel with a muzzle velocity of 4400 feet per second in the 24-grain cartridge, the .204 is an instantaneous sensation for distance shooters. The 24-grain bullet is small enough to create minimal surface damage while expanding quickly on impact to easily drop coyotes at ranges up to 400 yards. This is a blazingly fast caliber.|
|.22-250 REM||This cartridge, in its 50-grain offering, is a long-range shooter’s caliber. It drops just four inches at 300 yards and is flat at 200. The extreme velocity, multiplied by the ample 50-grain weight of the bullet will drop a coyote easily with a single shot at long range. Be careful of the style of bullet you select with the .22-250 since an expansive soft-lead style will blow huge holes in a coyote.|
|.243 WIN||Generally regarded as the opening level big game cartridge, the .243 will destroy a coyote at ranges up to a quarter mile. The .243 isn’t a great cartridge for fur hunters, but if you want to eliminate a varmint with extreme prejudice, you won’t find a better caliber than the venerable .223.|
|.220 Swift||With nearly twice the energy of a .17 HMR at 100 yards at 400 yards, the 220 Swift lives up to its name as a fast, accurate cartridge. With minimal drop at 400 yards, and just 15 inches at 500, this is a long-range shooter's caliber. When dialed in correctly on a rest or bipods this will reach out and touch coyotes well beyond a quarter mile.|
|6mm Creedmoor||The class of coyote hunting goes to the 6.5 Creedmoor, at least to those who hunt coyotes in the vastness of the American West in Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and the Dakotas. This is a fast, accurate cartridge with ample energy to flip over a coyote from close range to distances well beyond a quarter mile.|
Antelope Hunting Calibers
The Pronghorn is a challenge for any hunter with their incredible speed and wary nature. They can be called into close range with a simple waving of a white flag, but most of the time you’re going to be taking long-distance shots when hunting pronghorn. A cartridge with big game energy in excess of 1,000 foot-pounds at ranges beyond 300 yards is ideal for this fastest of all North American game animals, reaching speeds of 65 miles per hour in short bursts. Antelope live on the open plains of the high desert so long-range shots are often the only shots you’ll have a chance to take. An accurate, hard-hitting long-range cartridge is what you’ll be looking for.
|.243 WIN||The .243 has been around for a long time and remains a favorite for youth, female, and slighter-stature big game hunters. With minimal recoil in comparison with larger cartridges, it still has the energy to take down large game animals at distances between 300 and 400 yards. It is accurate, flat shooting is a good choice for pronghorn hunting.|
|6.5 Creedmoor||The 6.5 Creedmoor is the darling of present-day hunters. With range, energy, and good speed, it is one of the most accurate long-range cartridges favored by target shooters, varmint hunters, and especially pronghorn hunters. The ability to handle crosswinds better than most other cartridges is a plus in hunting the windswept deserts that pronghorn call home.|
|.270 WIN||The .270 rose to popularity in the 1960s and70s and remains in the top five for most hunters when choosing a big game rifle. For pronghorn, the energy is substantial, delivering north of 1300 foot-pounds of energy at 500 yards. This will drop a goat on impact from a few yards to over a quarter mile away.|
|.257 WBY||Critics claim the 90-grain bullet is too small for big game, but the ballistics tell a different story. The .257 Weatherby is a magnum cartridge that delivers bone-crushing impacts at up to 400 yards. This is a high-end pronghorn platform and ammunition is not as easily available as more popular calibers.|
|.300 WIN||This cartridge is “heavy artillery” when hunting antelope. A .300 Win Mag will easily take out an antelope at any range, but it will leave a mess. Another concern is collateral damage to neighboring pronghorn. Antelope are herd animals and often a shot must be taken the second a buck presents a profile away from the herd.|
|7mm REM||The 7mm Remington Magnum is on the overkill end of pronghorn cartridges as well. Its energy is on par with the .300 Win Mag and has the same caveats when hunting a herd animal. The bullets, ranging from 150 to a massive 200-grain size are great for elk, moose, and bear, but a little much for antelope.|
Mountain Goat Hunting Calibers
The Rocky Mountain Goat inhabits some of the most challenging terrain in North America. They can cling to nearly vertical ridges, scale perpendicular walls, and vanish as quickly as they appear. Many consider them the apex big game animal within the lower 48 states. When hunting them a long-range cartridge, in a lightweight rifle is what you’re after.
|.270 WSM||The .270 Winchester Short Mag has a short 20-year history but the ability of the cartridge to deliver high shock at impressive distances in a lightweight rifle makes this an ideal gun for trekking above the tree line in the thin air where goats live.|
|.22-250 REM||In 55-grain bullets, the .22-250 has the energy to drop the largest boar at ranges to 200 yards. This is not a high-powered, long-range cartridge, but it does the job in lighter model rifles and delivers a flat shot at 200.|
|.260 REM||This little-known cartridge fits the demands of long-range, high-altitude shots well with its 129-grain bullet. Accurate to 400 yards and flat shooting at 200, this is a caliber that has the energy to take down the surprisingly large mountain goat with a single shot.|
|.308 WIN||The venerable .308 doesn’t get the press it once did back in the early 1950s, but it is still a remarkable cartridge that can drop any of North America’s big game animals. The .308 has impressive recoil in lighter models but delivers a lot of power in any weight bullet you choose to use it with.|
|7mm REM||A powerful cartridge, perhaps too powerful for a mountain goat, but one that will do the job at long range. On a mountaintop, you’ll often be shooting long distances in thin air, and this is a caliber that can do the job.|
|.300 WIN||This monster cartridge can take all North American big game including grizzly bears in a single shot. It is more than ample enough to handle a mountain goat at any range.|
Hog Hunting Calibers
Hog hunting is a growingly popular sport in the Southeast and west into Texas, but feral pigs are now a threat on the plains and in California. A hog can reach almost a thousand pounds, moves quickly, is perhaps the most intelligent big game animal you can hunt, and can take a lot of punishment. A heavy, hard-hitting cartridge is called for when you square off with a huge wild boar.
|.45-70 GOVT||Slow with a bullet tipping the scales at almost an ounce. The .45-70 Government is a throwback to the 19th century, but it is deadly technology and works wonders in delivering a powerful shock to hogs in heavy cover.|
|7mm-08 REM||The 7mm-08 is a slower, hard-hitting cartridge that handles brush better than its faster rivals. The moderate size bullet delivers serious shock at ranges less than 200 yards, and it is accurate at that distance as well. This is an excellent hog cartridge for heavily forested areas.|
|.308 WIN||The .308 packs a wallop on both ends, it is one of the best hog cartridges since it comes in sizes from 150 to 200 -grains. Any of these will drop the biggest hog in its tracks on a heart/lung shot. The .308 is the original long-range cartridge and is very versatile.|
|.270 WIN||Hogs and bears are the only big game animals that can hunt you as easily as you hunt them. A .270 is great for open meadow style shots on hogs. Since you rarely get a long-range shot on hogs the power is ample for shorter ranges.|
|.30-06 Springfield||If it walks, a .30-06 can take it down with one shot. The .30-06 has filled more tags than any other caliber over the last half-century and it’s a good cartridge for hogs as well with its hard-hitting energy. They’ll hear you shooting on the first loud blast but with the accuracy of a .30-06, it won’t matter.|
|7mm REM||A good gun for heavy brush that handles limbs and leaves well without altering the shot is perfect for hog hunting in the swamps and heavy woods of the south. The 7mm Remington is that type of cartridge, when it hits a hog, it does the job.|
|.300 WIN||This magnum cartridge will stop the largest hog, even those seven-foot-long, thousand-pound monsters hiding in the woods and farm fields of the Mississippi Delta. The .300 Win Mag is a great platform for dangerous game like hogs.|
Alligator Hunting Calibers
You don’t hunt gators, you trap or hook them and then deliver a kill shot at close range. There are times when you can get a clear shot at an alligator on a riverbank or a closer shot on a semi-submerged gator near your boat, but most of the time you’re delivering the coup-de-grace at intimate ranges of less than 10 feet. Just about any cartridge will work for this.
|.22 WMR||A .22 Magnum is substantially more powerful than its cousin the .22 Long Rifle and at three feet away, it has the power to kill an alligator with ease. Gator hunters like the .22 WMR for its low-cost, readably available ammunition. The .22 Magnum is a popular revolver cartridge which is great for gators.|
|.17 HMR||Point and pull, what could be easier? It's just simple ballistics until a snarling 500-pound angry reptile is just inches away from you. The. 17 HMR is a low-cost means of dispatching a gator with a single headshot. It might seem a little underpowered, but it does the job at intimate distances.|
|.30-30 WIN||Power at close range and a low price. The .30-30 is good for deer at short distances, and it is better for alligators at intimate distances, but it is effective for shots from 50 to 100 yards away on exposed alligators. The .30-30 has the power to take a swimming gator with a well-placed shot.|
|.243 WIN||The entry-level big game rifle delivers a tremendous shock at the close range you’ll find with alligators. The ammunition is universally available, and the lighter recoil allows one hand shooting with a rifle. The range of the .243 makes it a great choice for distant shots as well.|
Deer Hunting Calibers
Deer hunting remains the most popular big game venue in the outdoor world. Whitetail or mule deer it doesn’t matter which, you need a cartridge with at least a thousand-foot pounds of energy to ethically drop a large buck. The styles of hunting in all 48 continental states differ with species. In the east its close range shots but in the west, you can harvest bucks at very long distances, an effective caliber for each individual is what you’re after.
|.30-30 WIN||The venerable “brush gun” of the early 20th century. The .30-30 was the first widely accepted deer rifle and once adorned the pages of Outdoor Life and Field and Stream. This is still a great short to medium-range caliber.|
|.243 WIN||The best deer hunting cartridge for women or youngsters out on their first hunt. The .243 is light, easy to handle, and usually in a smaller frame, it has only moderate recoil, is accurate, and has the energy to take the largest buck at 300 yards. The ammunition is inexpensive as well.|
|.308 WIN||The “game getter” for many substance deer hunters. This cartridge is excellent for all types of deer and the ammunition is readily available and inexpensive. The only drawback is the tremendous recoil in certain rifles.|
|.270 WIN||The favorite platform for many deer hunters that has stood the test of time and handled upstart trends with ease. The .270 packs a wallop at ranges to 500 yards and was originally designed as a deer cartridge.|
|.30-06 Springfield||This is the cartridge your grandpa and uncles told you about. The loud muzzle blast of the “ought six” is a trademark during deer season. It may be loud, but it is equally deadly at short to long range. This is an overall excellent caliber for deer.|
|7mm REM||A growingly popular cartridge, the 7mm by Remington doesn’t sport the largest bullet and it isn’t the fastest caliber at the muzzle, but it delivers the shock to take deer up to a quarter mile away and it is accurate.|
|.300 WIN||This heavy-hitting cartridge is a universal caliber for many serious big game hunters since it is effective at everything on the North American continent. The .300 Win May crushes deer at long range with its tremendous energy.|
Caribou Hunting Calibers
Don’t tell the kids you’re out hunting Rudolph, but caribou and reindeer are the same animals. These large members of the deer family inhabit an area circling the globe near the Arctic Circle. They live on the tundra or in nearby boreal forests, so long shots are often the only shots you’re going to get on a caribou. Caribou are similar in size to elk, but with six distinct sub-species, they can range in size from 250 to 700 pounds.
|.270 WSM||Think of a standard .270 on steroids and you have the short magnum version of this popular cartridge. Created with a necked down .300 Win Mag case, this version of the .270 screams out of the barrel at over 3500 FPS and delivers bone-crushing energy in excess of 2000 foot-pounds at a quarter mile.|
|.308 WIN||What can’t you hunt with a .308 is a question that’s easy to answer. For caribou, the long-range hitting power of the .308 is nearly ideal. Distance hunting is often what you find with caribou and the .308 has served as a long-distance round for over 60 years.|
|.270 WIN||The .270 is a great choice for caribou. It’s light in comparison with other cartridges but it still delivers ample energy at 500 yards with bullets ranging from 130 to 150 -grain. The minimal drop at 300 yards and roughly 35-inch drop at 500 yards require simple adjustments to remain accurate.|
|.30-06 Springfield||You’ll find the .30-06 listed among favorites for a wide variety of big game hunting, and you can add caribou to the list. The flighty nature of caribou, when startled, will be evident when the booming muzzle blast of the .30-06 echoes but with a steady hand, your hunt should be over with the first shot.|
|7mm REM||Caribou don’t respect international boundaries, and the 7MM Remington Magnum is an international traveler as well, preferred by many European and Asian hunters. The slight drop of this cartridge at 300 yards while still delivering over 2,000 foot-pounds of energy makes it an excellent choice for caribou hunting.|
|.300 WIN||The .300 Win Mag has ample power to literally crumple the largest caribou from a long way away. The power of this magnum cartridge makes it a favorite among long-range big game hunters, and the indigenous hunters of the northern realms prefer this caliber when they can find it.|
|.338 WIN||Caribou don’t stand a chance against a cartridge so powerful that it retains at least 1800 foot-pounds of energy at 500 yards. The .338 Win Mag does this with just moderate muzzle velocity but the larger 185 to 225 -grain bullets compensate for the slower speed and deliver a powerful impact.|
Elk Hunting Calibers
Elk are considered the penultimate big game animal in North America. They inhabit the foothills and slopes of the Rocky Mountains but good-sized desert herds roam Wyoming, Montana, and the Dakotas as well. Elk are close relatives of mule deer, only much larger. They can be called within very short range with a variety of calls, hunted via the track and stalk method, or taken with long shots after glassing an area from a high vantage point. Elk are trophy animals that many hunters dream about.
|.270 WSM||This is a powerful round, delivering over 2,000 foot-pounds of energy at 400 yards. It is an ideal elk cartridge for both its high energy and its accuracy over distance. If you’re employing the glass and locate method, this is a great long-distance cartridge, and you’ll be able to stalk with it as well.|
|.308 WIN||Whether you’re calling a big bull to within 50 yards of your location or attempting a long shot over a sloping mountain meadow, the .308 is a cartridge that will deliver. The favorite of long-distance big game hunters for almost three generations, the .308 in either 150 or 180 -grain has ample energy for elk.|
|.30-06 Springfield||The pages of Field and Stream and Outdoor Life are filled with stories of massive bulls taken at long range with the venerable .30-06. The cartridge is powerful, has excellent range, and has taken more elk than any other caliber over the last 75 years. The easy availability of ammunition is another key factor.|
|7mm REM||With similar energy and range as the .300 and .338 Win Magnum cartridges only in a smaller bullet. The 7mm Win Mag is also experiencing a growing market. The 7mm has a faster overall speed than the two Winchester Magnums but shares similar ballistics with the larger, but slower competition.|
|.300 WIN||This is a cartridge that has grown increasingly popular over the last decade. Its ability to deliver high shock at long range is the reason. A favorite of long-distance target shooters for a long time, it has crossed well into the hunting world and is a great elk caliber.|
|.338 WIN||Just a bigger version of the .300 Win Mag with more energy at the same range than its smaller competitor. The .338 Win Mag might be a little much for even large bull elk, but it does drop these large mammals easily on impact with good placement. The .338 Win Mag is popular.|
|.300 PRC||This is a relatively new cartridge, created by necking down the massive .375 Ruger cartridge. The ballistics are impressive with moderate velocity multiplied by heavier 210 to 225-grain bullets in creating a platform with accuracy, energy, and good range, perfect for the longer distance elk hunting you’ll find out west.|
Moose Hunting Calibers
Moose are the largest members of the deer family. Alaskan and Canadian moose are even larger than those found in the Great Lakes and the Rocky Mountain Region. Distance shooting isn’t usually in the picture for moose, but on occasion, you can spot one on a far off meadow. Moose enjoy riparian habitat, and the shots are usually less than 100 yards in the wetlands, small ponds, and tributaries that they inhabit. A cartridge with high energy at close to moderate range is what you’re after.
|.270 WSM||Fast and smaller delivers the same energy on impact as bigger and slower when ballistics are calculated. With moose, it's all about shock on impact since the Alaskan variety can exceed 1,000 pounds. The .270 short mag is a great gun for moose, delivering 2,000-foot pounds or more at close range.|
|.30-06 Springfield||– As with deer and elk, the venerable .30-06 is the moose gun of legend, it has taken more moose than any other caliber. It was your grandfather’s moose cartridge, it worked well for your dad and uncles, and it remains a standard among moose hunters despite heavy competition from new calibers emerging almost every year.|
|7mm REM||An international favorite, capable of firing three different size bullets, the 7mm Remington delivers great energy over distance, making it an ideal cartridge for high mountain, open meadow style hunting. The smaller bullets deliver ample energy thanks to the 3000+ speed out of the muzzle. This is perhaps the best kept secret in moose hunting.|
|.300 WIN||If power is what you’re after as measured in energy delivered to the target over distances up to 500 yards, the .300 Win Mag is a great choice. This cartridge jumped onto the moose hunting market a generation ago and continues to convert hunters with its accuracy and ability to deliver.|
|.338 WIN||Canadian and Alaskan bulls have been known to challenge locomotives when they’re in the rut. The .338 Win Mag will resemble the effect of a southbound freight on a big bull with its incredible power. This is a round that will drop the largest bull at long distances with a single shot.|
|.300 WBY||Weatherby didn’t mess around with their .300 Magnum. Available in 180 to 200-grain bullets and exiting the muzzle at a respectable 3,000 feet per second, this cartridge is a monster on moose. The energy remains above 1600 foot-pounds at 500 yards, so it is a versatile short or long term choice.|
|6.5-300 WBY||This is an exciting new offering by Weatherby that was released in 2016. The newness of the cartridge is slowly hitting the market and the metrics are awesome. This is a high velocity, flat shooting at 300 yards, monster of a cartridge. The bullets only weigh 124 to 140 -grains but exceed 2000 pounds at 500 yards.|
Black Bear Hunting Calibers
Legend has it that Daniel Boone was adept at harvesting black bears with his smooth bore musket, but in today’s hunting world with thousands of options in caliber, bullet size, and velocity one thing remains true when hunting black bears, they are tough animals. Comparable to wild boar hogs in their ability to take a shot and survive, bigger is better when it comes to the stopping power you’ll want to send down the barrel after a black bear.
|.45-70 GOVT||If you’re old school, this is the cartridge for you. The .45-70 Government came out in the final years of the buffalo hunting frenzy of the 19th century and remains popular with many big game hunters. The .45-70 is slow, with massive 250 325-grain bullets, but it will harvest a black bear in a single shot.|
|.338 Federal||In 2006 Federal went in the other direction with a .308 case and necked it up to .338. The result is a cartridge with more power than the .30-06 and designed specifically for large-bodied, big game animals. The recent introduction offers a standard cartridge with magnum ballistics and is slowly moving up in the big game market.|
|.308 WIN||The .308 cartridge is a proven platform for many large game animals and in 180-grain size is powerful even at extreme ranges beyond 500 yards. You’re not likely to find a bear at long range since most hunters work over bait for black bears. From a stand or blind, a .308 is a great choice for black bear hunting.|
|6.5 Creedmoor||Though a black bear is a game animal, not a varmint, many hunters approach them the same way. A bear won’t come in on a call, but they are attracted to bait and are creatures of habit. A 6.5 with its blazing speed delivers high shock and has the power to ethically take the largest boar with a single shot.|
|.30-06 Springfield||It’s been said for generations, the .30-06 is perhaps the best overall hunting cartridge on the market. It’s been there for a long time and remains the caliber of choice for overall hunting use. The .30-06 is more than a match for any black bear, delivering energy and accuracy over a wide range.|
|7mm REM||This is a cartridge on the rise with a steadily growing fan base. The 7mm Remington Magnum offers great range, beyond 500 yards with high energy, but delivers tremendous shock at the closer range where you’re likely to get a shot on a black bear.|
|.300 WIN||The .300 Win Mag is a massive cartridge with nearly triple the energy required to take a black bear at 100 yards. You’re not likely to get a shot beyond 50 to 75 yards on the secretive black bear in heavy brush, but if you do, a .300 Win Mag will deliver over 3,000 foot-pounds of energy.|
Grizzly Bear Hunting Calibers
Ursus arctos horribilis, the scientific name for the grizzly bear, is the apex predator on the North American continent. The grizzly is the stuff of legend, and on occasion, of nightmares. The massive animal is powerful, fast, and aggressive and the numbers of grizzlies in the Rocky Mountains are steadily increasing in this federally protected animal. The same is not true in Canada where the grizzly is a game species, the only wild game on the continent that can prey on you as easily as you prey on it. It takes a powerful cartridge to stop a grizzly, and even then it requires a well-placed shot, or you have an enraged mass of snarling muscle coming at you at 35 mph.
|.30-06 Springfield||Smaller cartridges than the .30-06 have successfully killed grizzlies, but they are the exception, and the .30-06 is a starting point for these massive bears. A heart/lung shot on a grizzly from a .30-06 at 50 to 100 yards will drop the bear in its tracks, but at that range, a bear will cover the distance before you can reload.|
|.338 WIN||The .338 Win Mag is a preferred cartridge for Canadian big game hunters and indigenous Alaskans who need protection from marauding grizzlies. It has tremendous power and even a poorly placed shot will slow a charging bear enough to jack the bolt for a second shot.|
|.35 Whelen||A .35 Whelan will no doubt drop a grizzly bear inside 100 yards, but that’s about it. This cartridge has less energy, and lower velocity than the introductory .30-06 and is not a preferred caliber for the challenges faced in a hostile encounter with an enraged bear. There are better options, but it is better than no gun.|
|.340 WBY||Introduced 60 years ago, the .340 was designed to compete with the .338 Win Mag and did just that. It has tremendous energy at likely grizzly bear target ranges of 100 yards or less and is flat at that distance. The cartridge has one of the most dramatic drops after 100 yards of any big game caliber.|
|.375 H&H||At 100 yards, the .375 H&H delivers almost 4,000 foot pounds of energy. This is a true high caliber cartridge that has been known to knock down some shooters and leave the ears ringing in most. That much energy is more than ample to take the largest grizzly bear in a single shot.|
|.416 REM MAG||They don’t calculate velocity or energy on the .416 after 300 yards, but why would you with a cartridge that fires a 400-grain bullet, (almost an ounce of lead.) You’ll feel recoil with this cartridge but so will a grizzly bear in close range. This is a low speed, high-density cartridge that delivers good shock at shorter range.|
Muskox Hunting Calibers
Muskox are an ice age species that still thrive in the brutal cold of the Arctic. They appear a lot larger than they are due to their heavy coat of fur. Muskox only weigh 500 to 600 with cows and at most, 800 pounds with bulls, but they look a lot larger. A mythology of firepower has descended on muskox hunting in Siberia, Alaska, Canada, and Greenland that calls for huge, high-powered cartridges to take these animals. Physically, they are no larger than elk, and most are much smaller than moose, but appearances can be deceiving so the bigger is better belief prevails.
|.300 WIN||There isn’t much cover on the tundra, you see a muskox in the distance, approach as close as you can without spooking it and take a shot. The .300 Win Mag with its tremendous energy and long-range capability is a great cartridge for long-range shots on these woolly, big-bodied animals.|
|7mm REM||More muskox are taken in Siberia than anywhere else, and the 7mm Remington Magnum is a popular cartridge in that region of the world. High energy at great distance with a bullet that only drops marginally at 500 yards makes the 7mm mag a great choice for long-range shots on muskox.|
|.30-06 Springfield||The .30-06 makes everyone’s list for all game species in North America. The venerable cartridge has lasted for generations and remains the “go-to” caliber for hunters of all types of big game. The .30-06 will easily take a muskox at the longer range you’re likely to find out on the tundra.|
|.338 WIN||Like its smaller rival, the .300 Win Mag, the .338 will get the job done. A .338 works well with larger species like bison and will take a muskox at ranges up to 500 yards with a single well-placed shot. The .338 packs around 1800 foot-pounds of energy at 500 yards and will easily drop a muskox.|
|.35 Whelen||The .35 Whelen is within the limits to take a muskox at 500 yards. To safely take one with a .35 Whelan you’re going to have to stalk on the tundra for a while to get within 300 yards where the Whelen has enough energy to do the job. This is not a great cartridge for long-range muskox hunting.|
|.375 H&H||– The .375 H&H is offered in 250 to 300 -grain bullets, but in a bit of counterintuitive thought, go with the lighter cartridge. The 250 -grain version offers more energy, (2000+ pounds) at 500 yards than the heavier cartridge. A 375 H&H will drop a muskox well beyond 500 yards and is a great choice.|
|8x68mm S||Approaching the century mark in a few years, this German made cartridge was one of the first magnum rounds on the market, designed to just fit the 8mm Mauser. It remains a popular muskox cartridge in Scandinavia and Siberia. It has slightly more energy than the .338 Win Mag making it an outstanding muskox cartridge.|