The subject has been debated around campfires, at hunting camps, as well as during the morning quarterbacking sessions on Mondays for years! Two of my coworkers almost ruined a relationship due to the differences between the 324 Winchester and 6MM Remington. One of the people I worked with owned the 64 Winchester Magnum named “Big Joe” which he believed was the only suitable caliber for hunting deer.

When I first started hunting deer in the 1970s, the majority of my acquaintances employed a 30-06 gun or a 30-30. Some people used a 244 Winchester (the most compact caliber allowed to hunt deer in Kentucky in the era of) There were a few acquaintances I had who was using a 270 Winchester Ammo and one person was using the 300 Remington. The man who had the 280 was hand-loaded due to the lack of ammunition. In the past, nobody was around me who used an “magnum” anything for deer hunting. Magnums were the tools that those who traveled west!

How things have changed! When I wrote this piece I inquired of many acquaintances of mine who hunt what caliber they use and why they believed it was the most effective. The selection of calibers has grown significantly over the past 40 years. From my family and friends, The list of calibers now ranges from the 222 Remington and up to 300 Remington Ultra Magnum. I have personally killed deer using rifles that range from the 204 Ruger and 300 Win Mag. The reasons behind this change are numerous and could be a whole article of its unique, however, let’s have a look at the rifles hunters are currently using and the reasons. Remember that I’m not attempting the coverage of every caliber and if I’ve missed your favorite tell us the reason why you like it.

204 Ruger Winchester

Although this shot is able to kill deer, it’s extremely precise and has virtually no recoil, it is not something I would suggest for hunting deer. The bullets are too lightweight and they aren’t constructed sufficiently to last long enough to ensure consistent and clean killings.

222 Remington

Henley McIntosh, a cousin of mine, is a fan of this cartridge and has killed numerous deer using it. However, because of the light bullets that are found in a majority of factory ammunition, I’d suggest it to the hands by a proficient marksman.

223 Remington Ammo

Randy Bryant, Vice President of the local Sportsman’s Club and the competitive shooter is a huge fan of the 223 with large bullets with an AR-type rifle. He hunts at close ranges and is a fantastic shooter. It is important to choose the right bullet when you are using the 223 remington Ammo for hunting deer.

243 Winchester Ammo

One of the people surveyed stated that this was their first choice when it comes to deer. Ashley Sandlin, local Deputy Sherriff said it kills well and doesn’t kick. She also said her children love to take it with them when they go out hunting. Henley McIntosh stated that this is probably the most reliable all-around caliber due to its absence of recoil, accuracy, and the fact that all the energy is used in deer. My brothers, daughter (Maddi Mastin) as well as a lot of others have mentioned 243 in their answers. Maddi’s 243 on paper

244/6mm Remington

Similar to the Winchester. Very similar to the Winchester however the limited availability of factory ammunition is a concern.

257 Roberts

A fantastic caliber for deer, however, hardly any of my friends ever spoke of it. A buddy of mine, who died in the last few years loved this caliber due to its accuracy and the absence of recoil. A limited stock of ammo from the factory is a drawback.

25-06 Remington

Another classic from the past that is becoming obsolete is a great accuracy gun with low recoil and excellent long-range capabilities. Trish Bishop has played with a variety of calibers but always comes back on her 2506.

6.5 Grendel

Jon Allen of Nighthawk Tactical Solutions employs the Grendel on Hogs and is planning to hunt deer using the rifle this season. Jon claims that precision (which I’m going to be able to confirm) nearly zero recoils as well as being able to make dramatic kills has the gun’s owner excited about this calibre. My daughter Maddi is already swooning over the bolt action Grendel. The expanding quantity of ammunition available, the various bullet types as well as the possibility of using AR-style rifles and bolt guns, are just a few good things to the Grendel.

6.5 Creedmoor

The Creedmoor has been taking the hunting world and its shooting community by storm. Although none of the people I interviewed have shot a deer using such a caliber before, at most four of them said they were looking to take advantage of it in the next year. The majority of them cite the accuracy, long-range capabilities, and a low recoil as the reasons. The Gun-Nut Dustin Cooper has killed deer using  , 270 winchester3006 as well as 300 Win Mag and has said, “I just want to see what it does on a big ol buck.”

260 Remington

Mike Gross, custom gun builder and competitive shooter employs the Model 7 Remington in 260. Relatively low recoil, amazing accuracy , and “drop in their tracks” kills are his main reasons for.

264 Winchester Magnum

I have to mention the 264 Winchester as a token of respect for my good friend Dexter Evans, as it is the only caliber that he acknowledges. From what I’ve heard I know, it is the Remington Sendero SF II is the only model of production rifle that is currently in stock, and ammo in the factory is scarce.

270 Winchester Ammo

The long-running favorite was mentioned by a number of people. The 270 Winchester Ammo is available in the factory since 1925 and shows no signs of slowing down. Amazingly accurate, incredible kills, long-range capability, controllable recoil, amazing variety and a wide range for factory rounds are among the list of its many advantages. It’s available as bolt action semi-auto, pump, and lever-action rifles.

7mm-08 Remington

The cross between the 243 and the 7mm-08 offers the most diverse options. This caliber is a huge fan base and it’s not without reason. Paul Johnson mentioned the amount of flexibility when it comes to modifying loads, low recoil, astonishing precision and powerful knock-down power. Carl Cooper laid down his 300 Win Mag for the 7mm-08 due the less recoil, and hopes to never return due to the killing force of this small round. Phyllis Cornett likes it because of its accuracy and absence of recoil. Mossy Oak’s Walt Gabbard said, “It is still hard to beat the 7mm-08.”

280 Remington 

Although the 280 hasn’t had the same commercial success as its 270 Winchester ammo has, most gun enthusiasts are of the opinion that it is superior over the 270. Ammunition that is factory-made is available in bullets that range from Norma’s 135 gr up to Remington’s 135 grams. The ammo available websites and big box stores for outdoor are just some of the reasons why this calibre is still available.

7mm Remington Magnum 3-shot group with 7mm Rem Mag from a Browning BBR

This is the type of ammunition that people choose to use when they first encounter an ailment or a case of “Magnum Fever.” The possibilities of factory ammo are astonishing as are the choices for creating the right handload. The 7mm, which is what most people refer to it, is precise and powerful, making it a top choice. It was when Walt Gabbard was 14, He received his first shot that contained “Magnum Fever” when he shot the 8 point buck. The only downside is that when it is poorly constructed or badly-fitting rifle stock the 7mm Rem Mag may be difficult to shoot.

30-30 Winchester

The 30-30 Winchester Ammo was among the most sought-after calibers decades ago and is still in use. Based on my tiny survey of hunters in the area it isn’t as numerous people are using it today. The retired U.S. Army Colonel Brad Turner remains a big fan however. Col. Turner stated that the 100-yard range he hunts is a long distance and the 30-30 is still able to stop the ball in their tracks!

308 Winchester Ammo

The 308 Winchester is one the most sought ammo -after calibers and it has plenty of reasons. Accuracy, long-range capability excellent knock-down capability, controllable recoil, a vast range of options for ammo that is factory loaded, and an endless array of parts that can be used by hand loaders are only some. The Ammo 308 Winchester comes in a variety of models including bolt, pump, lever and single shot models as well as semi-auto rifles. Sheriff Kelly Shouse quickly replied 308 when asked about his favorite deer caliber was. It was which was then echoed by the son of his Hunter and also Benny Gabbard and his son Ben. A few other people mentioned it as a second preference.

30-06 Winchester

The 30-06 Winchester from the past was in use since 1906 and has remained highly regarded. A lot of people have described it as their absolute favorite or their second preference. Ammo availability as well as knockdown power and nearly every type of firearm are among the top features that are listed for the 06. The only downside is recoil when it’s not a well-fitting stock.

300 Winchester Magnum

You may be amazed by the sheer number of hunters who utilize this rifle as the primary one for deer hunting. A great round for long-range hunting It is not a quarter in terms of performance on whitetail deer. When used in conjunction with a suitable rifle and the right bullet weight, the main drawbacks of the 300 is recoil. Moreover, an extremely long barrel is needed to get the best performance. Gary Deaton, Mike Gabbard and Hank Patton, all accomplished deer hunters, are often be seen wearing very well used 300 Win Mags which they feel comfortable with. Patton stated, “I just love watching them smack the ground at the drop of the hammer, no tracking involved.”

300 Remington Ultra Magnum

One of my buddies utilizes this type of gun. Jamie Thomas said that hands down, this is his most favorite. “It flat kills – no tracking, no chasing. I pull the trigger , and the game is ended!” Limited selection of ammunition and recoil from the factory are the only negatives for this caliber.

This article isn’t an academically-based article that cites feet per second or pounds of energy stored at particular distances. It’s a collection of observations based upon the experience of successful and experienced hunter deer. Every hunter I’ve talked about here fits the description. Some have been hunting deer for longer than 50 years, while others are brand new to hunting.

My conclusion for the highest caliber deer hunting is that the centerfire rifle is equipped with correctly designed bullets can shoot comfortably. Every hunter has the responsibility to know and be aware of what capabilities are available and the limitations to their firearm in order to be proficient in using it.

And, to the fellow at the back of the room who was asking “Hey Bill what do you use,” I have always think a lot in what I’m going to hunt with, including accuracy and energy, as well as my comfort with the rifle. And for the last 12 years in Kentucky I have reached into the vault and take out the exact rifle. A vintage Remington 700 chambered in 7mm Weatherby Magnum. There is no one else who hunts with this rifle, however the rifle shoots 0.3 in groups when I use my handloads. It just works for my needs. Recoil isn’t an issue. The outcomes on the other side are amazing!

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