4 Best Rounds for Deer Hunting


When it comes to deer hunting we can debate the proper calibers for hours, days or even weeks. It’s a can of worms that may never be sealed shut. When we all head out hunting for deer, though, we could all agree there are certain properties we’re looking for in certain cartridges. Given your personal hunting situation, you may need a round capable of plowing through brush, or one that reach out and do damage from long range. There are countless scenarios that call for reaching for specific cartridges, but in the end, selecting the best rounds depends on your terrain and personal preference.

Below, we will offer you four of the best rounds to use for deer hunting:

20 Gauge

Sometimes you just need some good ol’ fashion hurting bombs. Whether it’s thick brush, you love big calibers, or have a known brute of a buck on your property that would look better on your wall. A 20 Gauge sabot or slug can sometimes be just the trick you need. In the movie “Rocky Balboa,” a timeless monologue occurs talking about the power of hurting bombs: “Blunt force trauma… horsepower… heavy duty, cast-iron, pile-driving punches that will have to hurt so much they’ll rattle his ancestors.” While some men and women shy away from that type of recoil, for others that is just what the doctor ordered. To lay the smack down on a whitetail deer 20 Gauge is a strong choice for hunting.

deer hunting
Federal Vital-Shok Trophy Copper 20 Gauge Sabot [Photo Credit: Vista Outdoor]

.30-30 Winchester

The venerable .30-30 Winchester cartridge is the most enduring chambering a hunter could choose from all of our suggestions here. Originating back from 1895 in the iconic Winchester Model 1894, this cartridge may have successfully harvested more big-game animals in North America than any other caliber to date. What still makes it an attractive round today is the design of the cartridge, its freight-train ballistics, and the firearms it is offered in. The stout nature of this .30 Caliber makes it impactful, but uniquely soft shooting. Most lever-action rifles chambered in .30-30 Winchester are compact, carbines making them perfect for long days hunting in the brush. A final tip-of-the-hat to the .30-30 Winchester is its ability to plow through thick brush. When a deer will not step out into the open to give you a preferred shot you can simply bulldoze your way into their vitals with this round.

deer hunting
Federal Non-Typical Whitetail .30-30 Winchester [Photo Credit: Vista Outdoor]

6.5 Creedmoor

The 6.5 Creedmoor is the most infant caliber on our list, but it currently is the most popular as well. Whether people are trying to tag steel targets a literal mile away, drop an elk from 600 yards, or afford younger shooters a lighter-recoiling yet meaningful cartridge for hunting, the 6.5 Creedmoor tends to do it all. Since its introduction to shooters in 2007 by Hornady, the 6.5 Creedmoor has been the darling of the shooting world. Touted for its long-range accuracy, the 6.5 Creedmoor is the caliber to own if you want to be jonesing with fellow hunters. Its superior ability to shoot flat over long distances, maintain energy upon arrival, and have light recoil all the while makes it a great deer hunting cartridge.

deer hunting
Federal Fusion 6.5 Creedmoor [Photo Credit: Vista Outdoor]

.30-06 Springfield

The .30-06 Springfield is an old caliber that a lot of people tend to overlook, but it has a ton of positives. For one, it is as universal of a cartridge as any. If you need ammo and you are in the middle of nowhere, a local gas station or hardware store will have this ammo if they stock any ammo at all. If you are on the other side of the coin and reload your own ammunition, this is a very easy cartridge to reload for with a wide grain weight range to play in. The ability to shoot long-ranges, but also the energy to take game much larger than your typical whitetail deer are tremendous benefits for hunters if they can only own one firearm dedicated to hunting.

deer hunting
Federal Power-Shok .30-06 Springfield [Photo Credit: Vista Outdoor]

Do you own any of these 4 rounds? Is there a round that you think should have made the list? Let us know your thoughts in the Comments below! We always appreciate your feedback.

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