5 Best Whitetail Cartridges | MeatEater Wired To Hunt

best whitetail cartridges

Right here’s the reality about these “Greatest Cartridge” articles: the one trustworthy reply is, “It relies upon.” Are these 5 cartridges actually the 5 finest whitetail cartridges in existence? It relies upon.

It is dependent upon the place you’re looking, your expertise with firearms, what rifles you already personal, how a lot cash you’ll be able to spend, how delicate you’re to recoil, and the way a lot weight you’re prepared to hold.

The very best cartridge for you may not be on this listing. However to extend our odds of success, I’ve categorized every of my decisions in line with completely different looking wants. Should you can decide the place you match, you’ll have not less than one stable choice when you’re in search of your first (or second or third) deer gun.

For the Recoil-Delicate: .243 Winchester

There’s a motive the .243 Winchester has taken down extra youth-season whitetails than (most likely) some other cartridge. The .243 throws bullets within the 70- to 100-grain vary a really respectable 3,000 feet-per-second. That’s sufficient energy to take down a whitetail in a rush, however in most deer weapons, recoil remains to be extraordinarily manageable. Of the cartridges on this listing, solely the .30-30 Winchester can boast comparably low recoil, making the .243 an awesome alternative when you’ve managed to develop a flinch (or simply don’t like shoulder ache).

Our Choose: 85-Grain Trophy Copper .243 Win.
Muzzle Velocity: 3,200 fps
Muzzle Vitality: 1933 ft.-lbs.
Drop at 300 Yards: 9.8 inches
Recoil: 7 to 11 ft.-lbs.
Different Choices: .223 Remington, .30-30 Winchester, .257 Roberts

For the Lengthy-Vary Hunter: 6.5 PRC

Everybody desires to play Chris Kyle, however not everybody ought to. Lengthy-range looking requires follow, persistence, and an intimate data of how your cartridge performs in several situations. However when you’re prepared to place within the work, the 6.5 PRC gained’t allow you to down. The PRC has turn out to be a favourite choice on the long-range competitors circuit, and Federal gives a loading with their 120-grain Trophy Copper looking bullet. The projectile is touring north of three,000 feet-per-second (fps) on the muzzle and remains to be touring over 2,100 fps at 500 yards. With a 200-yard zero, it solely drops about 36 inches at that distance and hits with 1,241 foot-pounds (ft.-lbs.) of vitality. Click here to take a look at extra long-range looking choices.

Our Choose: 120-Grain Trophy Copper 6.5 PRC
Muzzle Velocity: 3050 fps
Muzzle Vitality: 2478 ft.-lbs.
Drop at 300 Yards: 10.5 inches
Recoil: 15 to 18 ft.-lbs.
Different Choices: 6.5 Creedmoor, .270 Winchester, 7mm Remington Magnum

For the Funds-Aware: .308 Winchester

Hunters typically neglect about value when choosing a cartridge. That’s comprehensible when you solely buy one field a yr. However when you’re trying to up your recreation and improve your skill with a rifle, follow ammo can get costly, quick. That is the place the .308 Winchester shines. It’s one of many best big-game cartridges of all time, so that you gained’t have hassle filling your tag when the season rolls round. However in the course of the offseason, you’ll be able to hone your abilities with bulk ammo cheaper than anything on this listing. Midway USA gives 500-round packages for as little as $1.16 per spherical, and Federal has good soft-point ammo in inventory for $1.75 per round.

Our Choose: 165-Grain Sierra GameKing Boat-Tail SP 308 Win
Muzzle Velocity: 2700 fps
Muzzle Vitality: 2671 ft.-lbs.
Drop at 300 Yards: 15.1 inches
Recoil: 15 to 18 ft.-lbs.
Different Choices: .223 Remington, .30-30 Winchester, .350 Legend

For the Straight-Wall Hunter: .350 Legend

In some states (or parts of states), whitetail looking has historically solely been permitted with smoothbore weapons. These days, nonetheless, lots of these states have expanded authorized technique of take to incorporate straight-wall cartridges. If that’s you, the .350 Legend is the way in which to go. As I clarify in more detail here, the .350 Legend balances energy, vary, recoil, and price higher than some other choice available on the market. Federal’s Fusion .350 Legend can push a 160-grain projectile 2,300 fps on the muzzle and preserve terminal velocity out to about 250 yards. Plus, recoil is extraordinarily manageable and ammo is cheap.

Our Choose: 160-Grain Federal Fusion .350 Legend
Muzzle Velocity: 2300 fps
Muzzle Vitality: 1879 ft.-lbs.
Drop at 300 Yards: 26.6 inches
Recoil: 8 to 10 ft.-lbs.
Different Choices: .450 Bushmaster, .45-70 Govt., .44 Remington Magnum

For the Shut-Vary Hunter: .30-30 Winchester

Lengthy-range looking will get loads of press, however I’m prepared to guess that the overwhelming majority of whitetail hunters take the overwhelming majority of pictures inside 150 yards. If that’s the form of shot you’re this yr, you’ll be able to’t go flawed with the .30-30 Winchester. The .30-30 has been incomes its maintain in gun safes since your grandfather’s father was utilizing it to carry residence whitetails. Most fashionable masses use a bullet between 150 and 170 grains that scoot alongside at 2,300 fps, and plenty of of those bullets can reap the benefits of the newest designs. Federal gives a Trophy Copper edition of the .30-30, which is type of like placing a type of new twin-turbo V6 Ford engines in an F-100. Better of each worlds.

Our Choose: 150-Grain Trophy Copper .30-30 Winchester
Muzzle Velocity: 2300 fps
Muzzle Vitality: 1762 ft.-lbs.
Drop at 300 Yards: 29.0 inches
Recoil: 9 to 12 ft.-lbs.
Different Choices: .35 Remington, .300 Blackout, .357 Magnum

Use the Rifle You Already Have

The very best whitetail cartridge for you might be the one chambered within the gun you have already got. You don’t want a Howitzer to carry residence venison. Whitetail are killed with .22 LR rifles yearly, and regardless that I don’t advocate that exact cartridge, it proves my level. Something with as a lot or extra energy than a .223 Remington that’s loaded with a top quality looking bullet will get the job carried out.

Federal additionally makes it straightforward to know which variations of a specific cartridge are designed for whitetail-sized animals. Each product on their website comes with a “utilization” designation like “small recreation,” “huge recreation,” or “goal taking pictures.” Should you choose one thing within the big- or medium-game class, you’ll be good to go.

Don’t let indecision over the “finest” whitetail cartridge maintain you from the deer woods. If you have already got your grandfather’s deer gun, otherwise you bought a semi-auto rifle for residence protection, these will most likely work simply nice. Get them cleaned up, get some follow, and get on the market.

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