Top 5 Calibers for Your First Hunting Rifle

Most Popular Deer Hunting Calibers

Hunting is a time-honored tradition all over the world. It will help you get more in touch with nature, learn how to be more self-sufficient, and create treasured memories with friends and family.
If you’re ready to take the plunge into hunting, but you have no idea what caliber you should choose for your first rifle, these are our top 5 first hunting rifle calibers.
Due to the popularity and accessibility of deer hunting, we’ll focus on calibers more focused on game of that size. While a couple of these calibers can be used for larger game such as Elk, Caribou, and Moose, these calibers are more geared towards common North American deer species such as whitetail, blacktail, and mule deer.

.223 Remington

The small but fast moving .223 Remington is a great choice for a first hunting rifle because of its excellent ballistic capabilities and low recoil.
With a .223, you’ll be able to take down deer sized game within real-world distances. While .223 bolt action rifles are inexpensive and accurate, with the popularity of the AR-15 you may already have a rifle suited for .223 Remington that can easily be used for hunting.

.350 Legend

Many states in the U.S. have cartridge restrictions for hunting with high powered calibers such as the .223 just mentioned. This is implemented for safety purposes due to population density and/or hunter density. These states do however allow “straight walled” cartridges, so in the last few years calibers such as the 350 legend have become incredibly popular.
The 350 Legend can be found in several different models of bolt action rifles and even some AR-15 upper receivers. Not to mention 350 Legend has plenty of stopping power and accuracy to get the job done coupled with manageable recoil.

.30-06 Springfield

There are few rifle calibers as famous as the .30-06 Springfield. It saw action as the primary infantry caliber for rifles and machine guns for the U.S. in both world wars and has since been one of the most trusted hunting calibers.
.30-06 ammunition and rifles are easy to find and relatively inexpensive, so you won’t have any problems finding what you need. In addition, .30-06 is also capable of taking larger game such as Elk and Moose with heavier grain bullets.

6.5 Creedmoor

Compared to other calibers on this list, the 6.5 Creedmoor is the new kid on the block. It’s often viewed as a “hipster” hunting caliber, but its performance speaks for itself.
With low recoil compared to common 30 caliber hunting rifles and incredible extended range accuracy, the 6.5 Creedmoor can take game as big as Elk with ease. You’ll also get the benefit of a short action for lighter bolt rifles well suited for backcountry hunts where weight is crucial.

.30-30 Winchester

It’s said among old-timers at local bars all over the country that the .30-30 Winchester has taken more deer than any other rifle caliber.
That may or may not be true, but the .30-30 is certainly a well-regarded caliber for deer hunting, even to this day among more modern calibers and rifles.
If you have a special place in your heart for a good old lever action rifle, look no further than a .30-30. They have the range and stopping power to take down deer, and you won’t have any trouble finding ammunition and a reliable rifle due to their popularity.