The answer to the most discussed question among the hunters and gun enthusiast – what is the best all- around rifle caliber for a big game?
The truth is, everyone will tell you something different since there couldn’t be a completely correct answer. Choosing the best all- around hunting caliber is really subjective based on a personal experience and preference.
However, there’re certain rifle rounds that deserve more attention than others. Not just because they are more popular than others, but other factors are those that will set them above the rest of the playing field.
Maybe you have the hunting rifle you want to be picked out but you cannot make a decision about the caliber. Therefore, this list is aimed to help you make the best decision faster and easier!
The Very Best 4 All – around Rifle Caliber
1. .308 Winchester
The .308 became the most popular rifle cartridge in the US these days. A nearly identical all-around rifle cartridge is also in service with the US military — the 7.62x51mm NATO. This means that your average hunting rifle chambered in .308 is going to accept both calibers, making it one of the most versatile rifles that you could own. Also, the noted reputation comes for the accuracy, and as a result of this, the 7.62x51mm NATO at this moment is used as a sniper round in addition to the .300 WIN Mag and the .50 BMG. And this is not everything. Both .308 and 7.62x51mm are one of the most plentiful and affordable rifle calibers currently on the shelves.
Beyond this, the .308 is an effective all-around rifle caliber for the most North American big game. It is an excellent all-around hunting rifle for elk, deer, black bear and bighorn sheep. Well, there could be a time when you would wish you had a bigger round and that would be if you go after the biggest prey like a grizzly or moose, where a magnum cartridge would provide greater knockdown power. The .308 is also effective against smaller and a medium-sized game. A further benefit of the .308 is the relatively light recoil it has, meaning that no one is going home with a bruised shoulder after a whole day on the range.
2. .30-06 Springfield
If you are looking for a classic choice on this list, then trying a .30-06 Springfield is the right choice. This model has the longest proven track record of any caliber we’ll discuss on this list. Although it has been eclipsed narrowly by the .308 in terms of popularity, the .30-06 stays one of the most popular and common all-around hunting rifle rounds today. It is not hard to find it on the shelves since nearly every rifle manufacturer produces large quantities of .30-06. Speaking about hunting, the .30-06 is a heavier all-round than the .308, giving it slightly more stopping power, and also less velocity and a moderate recoil. While it is still not the best all-around rifle caliber you could use for the biggest game the .30-06 is a superb all-around rifle caliber for all other game. And beyond hunting, no gun collection is complete without a .30-06 rifle of some sort in the mix.
3. .300 Winchester Magnum
The .338 Winchester Magnum, the little brother of the .300 Win Mag, has gained a stout reputation since is a near-flawless combination of stopping power and accuracy. This all-around rifle caliber it has gained favor in the military like an A-grade sniper round and without a doubt, will serve you well when it comes to hunting.
The best feature about the .300 Win Mag is the excellent long-range performance that comes with high velocity and superb stopping power. Therefore, it has been used successfully to drop the biggest hunting game like grizzly and moose. So far, the .300 may feel such as a perfect cartridge. The only downsides to this all-around rifle caliber are its greater recoil and because it’s more expensive caliber as well.
4. .338 Winchester Magnum
This round is the one that was specially made for Alaskan big game hunting, so it is the preferred caliber of a grizzly bear and moose hunters all across the continent. This all-around rifle caliber will drop anything, so it’s considered to be the best big game American hunting cartridge by many proven professional hunters.
However, the .338 is also not suitable for everybody. First, it is insanely expensive (plan on spending $3 -$4 per round). Second, as you can imagine, the recoil is the largest one of any of the calibers you see on this list. New shooters and those who doesn’t want to go home with a little bit of pain on their shoulder are not going to be a fan of this round. Still, the .338 Win Mag is an all-around rifle caliber respected by all gun owners, so, if you want a caliber that’s going to kill anything without question, you have the answer.