Top 5 Rifle Calibers for Deer Hunting [GUIDE]

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So you’re shopping for a new rifle. Maybe it’s for you, or maybe it’s for a new hunter you’re helping introduce to this great sport.

Where will this rifle be carried? How large or small is its owner? What type of hunter will carry this rifle? These are all key considerations in the quest to find the perfect rifle.

The criteria are simple, yet most shoppers find themselves changing their mind several times over the course of shopping. Then, just as often, shooters have second thoughts about their choices. That’s never fun.

Setting Your Sights on the Right Caliber

Any thorough decision must have a set of clear, well thought-out criteria. Let’s lay out a few critical boxes that any prospective shoppers should check before they make a decision.

First, are you going to try and set any distance records? Some calibers have more favorable long-distance shooting ballistics than others; it’s true. It’s also true that far too much is made of this when considering a deer rifle. Hunting ethics can be extremely personal, but taking a 500-yard shot at a deer-sized animal may be suspect with many hunters.

Another common sticking point is recoil versus so-called “knockdown power.” If you are happy and comfortable with the recoil and you can shoot tight groups with a rifle, that’s a good caliber. All calibers on this list will take down a whitetail or mule deer. Likewise, 100% of them will fail if your shot misses the vitals.

Lastly, is this ammo hard to find? Is it overly pricey? You are going to want to shoot this rifle quite a lot and get comfortable with it. So it may behoove you to consider how much recoil you prefer.

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