Best Rifle Calibers for Big Game Hunting

You may have had a heated debate on this topic with a hunting buddy: What’s the best caliber for big game hunting? Everyone has an opinion on it. The truth is that there is not one right answer. So much is based on personal preference and what type of game you are hunting that selecting just one is nearly impossible. But that does not mean that certain rifle calibers are not better than others; in fact, quite the opposite is true.

There are a few that are more capable than the rest when it comes to your best option for hunting calibers suited for big game. Before you check out the latest semi-automatic rifles for sale, do yourself a favor and look at these bullet caliber options that many hunters agree are preferable for larger game.

.338 Winchester Magnum

What is more representative of big game hunting than Alaskan wildlife? A widely used bullet for hunting moose and grizzlies is the .338 Winchester Magnum. Nearly everyone who has done any sort of large game hunting in North America has used this ammunition at some point. These rounds can take out big game, but they are also generally associated with a large recoil and can be more expensive than some of the other rounds on the list. Don’t let that deter you, however. If you need to take down big game in the States, the .338 will get the job done.

7mm Remington Magnum

Do you desire to hunt exotic big game from regions of Africa? Perhaps impala, nyala, kudu or other animals that are not seen in the States? If so, then the 7mm Magnum is the caliber for you. Commonly associated with a flat trajectory and consistency in hitting long range shots, there are numerous reasons why the 7mm is ideal for big game hunts. Stellar ballistic coefficients, above average velocities, and mid-range bullet weights help make the 7mm Magnum the right choice for the open plains and other African terrains may find yourself hunting in.

.30-06 Remington

Another caliber found in many rifle magazines throughout Africa is the .30-06. Though not often used at the distances that the 7mm Remington Magnum is, the .30-06 Remington is more than capable of taking down your prey at a few hundred yards. One of the smaller bullets on this list, it has plenty of power to be useful against most species you would be hunting. These controlled expansion rounds keep the hide of the animal intact while still deliver lethal force. With a long history of usage, the .30-06 is an old favorite for many hunters that continues to show its worth out in the field.

.308 Winchester


What could be a better seal of approval than that of the United States Military? The .308 is the civilian equivalent to what the armed forces use, the 7.62x51mm NATO. Bringing that kind of power in your ammunition to hunting expeditions means when you find your target, you don’t need to worry that you did not bring enough firepower. It is ideal for the most common big game in North America such as deer, black bears, and elk. Easily accessible and easy to fire, this could be the round you need for most hunts in North America.

Though there are plenty of calibers to choose from – anything between a .22 caliber and a 50 cal – there are some that are more equal than others in the world of big game hunting. In addition to the ammunition, it’s a good idea to have high-powered rifle scopes at your disposal. All the ammo in the world will not do you a bit of good if you cannot see the target you are aiming for.

Now that you know a little more about the caliber you will need, you can go scope out the latest bolt action rifles or other firearms to make your hunt successful. Make sure that the rifles you own or buy are compatible with the ammunition you need. While the options presented here are not the only ones available, they are some of the best for big game hunting.

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