9 Best Cartridges for Deer
Outdoor Hub Staff 10.11.16
In a few short weeks, firearm deer seasons will be in full swing across the country, and an estimated 10-12 million hunters will tromp the forests, fields, mountains and prairies in pursuit of their favorite game animal – whitetail deer.
Some have referred to this group as the “world’s largest army,” and if you’re among its troops, you understand the importance of being able to rely confidently on every piece of equipment you use, including the ammunition you slide into the magazine.
Because, despite all the pre-hunt scouting and planning, your honed tracking and stealth talents, and your ability to outthink the deer, when the critical moment arrives everything boils down to your shooting skills and rifle ammunition that performs as it should.
While we can’t help you eliminate that flinch, we can introduce you to some cartridges that will send a bullet to where you aim it, and quickly take down a properly hit deer. A few might even offer a bit of forgiveness for a minor shooting sin or two. Check out our list before your 2016 opening day arrives.
Remington’s Core-Lokt bullet, the original controlled-expansion projectile, has been around since 1939. So, there’s a better-than-fair chance you’ve thumbed more than a few of them into your deer rifle’s magazine. Perhaps it’s because the bullet’s Spitzer-shape profile allows it to fly fast and straight; maybe it’s the way its solid lead core retains weight and penetrates deeply; whatever the case, there’s good reason why this illustrious cartridge has endured for nearly 70 years.
With the words “deer season” built right into its name, you don’t have to stretch your imagination too far to know what this Winchester round is meant to do—take down thin-skinned big game, such as whitetails, mule deer and pronghorn, quickly. Its high ballistic coefficient (the measure of air drag on a flying bullet) means it shoots flat and accurate, while its large-diameter Extreme Point tip expands immediately on impact to transfer energy to the target.
Hunters everywhere know Hornady’s reputation for producing premium ammunition, and the company’s American Whitetail series lives up to that heritage. Ranging in calibers from .243 to .300 Win. Mag., the cartridges feature the legendary InterLock bullet, which owes its excellent knockdown power to the special mechanical element that locks the jacket and core together for deep penetration into deer-size game, as well as propellant loads that deliver maximum terminal effect.
This Select-Grade rifle ammunition, from one of the oldest names in the shooting and hunting sports, is available in many popular whitetail calibers, as well as several that are less common. Affordable, yet powerful, Herter’s cartridges are made by ammunition specialists Sellier & Bellot, who use high-quality powder, primers and bullets to ensure consistent hard-hitting accuracy.
Over the years hunters of all types, but deer hunters especially, have come to depend on Power-Shok ammunition because of its consistently dependable performance. They also enjoy its hunter-friendly price tag on the popular whitetail calibers. Most firearms shoot this reliable cartridge with highly accurate results, and the straightforward soft-point jacketed bullets deliver unwavering stopping power on deer-size big game.
The proprietary copper/polymer matrix tip on Browning’s BXR rifle ammunition allows for high downrange velocity and excellent weight retention, but more importantly it initiates rapid expansion on impact to deliver an immediate and devastating energy transfer within the body cavity. What it means for hunters is that any deer, including the biggest, toughest trophy buck, will drop quickly with a well-placed shot.
Another highly respected classic, Winchester’s Super-X Power Point ammunition has seen the inside of countless deer rifle barrels across North America. It’s also proven itself worldwide on various species by consistently delivering unparalleled game-getting results. On whitetails and other deer, the exposed soft lead tip and notched jacket combine to provide rapid, but controlled, expansion on-target that dispenses lethal knockdown power.
This premium ammunition promises to deliver increased performance out of any type of rifle of any caliber for which the cartridge is chambered. Hornady engineers developed an advanced innovative propellant that boosts bullet velocity by 100-200 fps, while maintaining pinpoint accuracy, and without increasing muzzleblast or felt recoil. Teamed with the streamlined Super-Shock Tip (SST) bullet, the result is a fast- and flat-flying projectile that sneers at wind-drift and impacts with devastating force. If you shoot long range, you must check it out.
Nosler is known for employing the strictest quality standards with all its ammunition, but stepped things up even more with the NoslerCustom Trophy Grade cartridges. Cases are meticulously checked for length; necks are sized, chamfered and trued; and powder charges are painstakingly measured. Then it’s all carefully paired with an AccuBond or Ballistic Tip bullet – all to produce a cartridge that deer hunters can count on to deliver superb accuracy and power anytime, anywhere.
Good luck this upcoming firearms deer season. The ammunition detailed above can’t help cure “buck fever,” but if you can control your excitement, at least for the split-second it takes to squeeze the trigger, these loads will help fill your freezer and hang antlers on the wall. Be safe!
This article was produced in cooperation with Cabela’s