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Other Rifle Calibers: What to Expect from Each


Rifles are precision instruments. The controlled explosion that is a bullet firing is a blend of a lot of different forces: physics, chemistry, aerodynamics, optics, and ergonomics. When it comes to accurately hitting a target, the rifle is only one part of the process; the other is the cartridge. Without the right type of cartridge, the rifle is just a blunt weapon, so selecting the right kind of cartridge is as important as having the right kind of rifle. The type of cartridge you use depends on the application and different sizes of cartridges will affect the accuracy and effectiveness of the shot differently. There are pros and cons to every variety of cartridge--mostly having to do with different hunting applications. Knowing which caliber of cartridge to use for which rifle is important to getting the most out of your shot.


As the most popular rifle caliber, the .22LR is a great round for small game hunting and for beginner shooters. The small size and high velocity of the cartridge make this round ideal for targeting small game at long range. In a rifle, these rounds have more velocity and power and have practically no recoil when fired. These rounds are also cheap and light to carry. For defensive purposes or use in a pistol, these rounds are inefficient due to the diminutive size and power of the round compared with other larger calibers.


This caliber of cartridge is one of the most popular hunting cartridges due to its power and overall effectiveness against medium and large game. This round is primarily used in lever action rifles and has a light recoil, but can still take down a small bear and deer. The rounds themselves have a blunt nose which limits their effective range to 200 yards or so, and they can be inaccurate because of this shape. In general, however, these rounds are easy to find, have a light recoil, and are powerful enough to hunt most popular game.


Another popular caliber of hunting round, the .270 is a fast and accurate round ideal for larger game like elk. This round is available in multiple weights to allow greater flexibility in hunting applications. A heavy weight can be better for larger game. The round itself shoots flat and fast and can deliver a devastating impact when shot accurately. The cost of these cartridges is much higher than other popular hunting rounds, but for certain types of game, they can be a good investment.


This round originated as a military round in 1906 and is still a popular bolt-action hunting round. Often referred to as ‘thirty aught six’, this round is extremely easy to find and is a perfect hunting cartridge for just about any kind of game in North America. The round is highly accurate and very powerful, but the recoil from the shot can be severe. This is a serious round meant for experienced shooters.

Posted 8/13/2014 10:23 AM