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The 4 Best Calibers For Deer Hunting | Whitetail Hunting Caliber Options

The 4 Best Calibers For Deer Hunting | Whitetail Hunting Caliber Options
March 21, 2022

By: Dylan Hayward

Gun season for deer hunting is without a doubt one of the most special times in a hunter's season. Aside from the rut, it’s something that we as hunters look forward to all year. Even avid bow hunters will tell you how special hunting with a gun in hand is. Depending on what state you are in, there are different times for gun season. In Ohio, we get a full week after Thanksgiving to hunt with a shotgun or a straight walled rifle, due to our flatter landscape. Whereas in Kentucky, you get two weeks in the middle of November, which allows you to capitalize on the rut and on using a firearm. In Kentucky you are also allowed to use a wider range of rifles, which begs the question, is there a superior caliber firearm to use when you’re hunting deer? I suppose this all depends on several factors, however, there are a few calibers that I love breaking out for deer season.

.45-70 Gov For Deer Hunting

This caliber is important to note because it is completely legal to use in states that only allow straight walled caliber rifles. The .45-70 Gov’t is a caliber that has been around for nearly 2 centuries, which is something that can’t be said about most bullets. What it lacks in velocity, it makes up for with its powerful punch. A decent shooter can feel comfortable with this caliber well past 100 yards, and with a well placed shot, this bullet will leave hole that will kill deer quickly without doing too much meat damage.

.30-06 Springfield For Deer Hunting

This caliber can accurately be described as “ol’ reliable”, because of its history and how versatile it is. I remember asking my father what gun I should buy for one of my western big game trips and he responded, “You can ethically kill any game species in North America with a .30-06” and he was right. This caliber has been around for a very long time and was actually used by the allies in World War II. I have harvested many deer with 180 grain .30-06 ammo, and it has never led me astray. Most hunters will be able to shoot this caliber accurately at a few hundred yards, with not as much recoil as other commonly used whitetail rifles. While this gun could be considered overkill for common whitetail deer, it certainly will get the job done.

7mm Remington Mag For Deer Hunting

The 7mm is a caliber that I have had tremendous luck with. The statistics alone speak for themselves when you consider the fact that it generates over 2000 ft/lbs energy at 300 yards, while also having a -2.0 MOA. The speed and power of this caliber make it highly desirable to modern deer hunters. This is a fantastic caliber for even reaching out up to 500 yards, which is a distance that seems rare for whitetail hunting. 7mm Rem Mag ammunition can be rather expensive, but in my personal opinion, it is absolutely worth the cost.

6.5 Creedmoor For Deer Hunting

I recently decided to try out a 6.5 Creedmoor this past deer season. I will say, I heard mixed reviews. It’s somewhat of a new and exciting caliber to even be considered for deer hunting, so it’s expected that you will have your naysayers. Some of the negative opinions I got were that it wasn’t a big enough round to ethically use on deer, or that it is just “trendy” to use at the moment. I disagree completely. I have never shot a round with more accuracy and shootability than the 6.5 Creedmoor. When I say shootability, I am referring to it’s incredibly light recoil for such a powerful round. Do I believe this is the end all be all for deer hunting calibers? No, absolutely not. However, I do think it is a great round to use, especially in situations of hunting open ag fields, where it may be necessary to take a several hundred yard shot. When I am hunting whitetails, one of the most important factors that I take into consideration is the accuracy and reliability of a rifle, and the 6.5 Creedmoor gets a 10 out of 10 in both of those categories.

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