What Gun for What Game: Matching Your Caliber to the Hunt

Before you go on your next hunting trip, you need to make sure you have the right caliber ammunition based on the type of game you plan to hunt. Caliber refers to the diameter of a bullet, and the higher the caliber of your ammo is, the larger and more powerful it’s going to be. In general, you are going to want to use a higher caliber bullet for hunting big game, but what size is the right size?

Caliber is only one part of the equation. The other part is knowing what rifle to use that can handle the caliber of bullet that you intend to use on your hunt. If you try using a higher caliber bullet than your rifle can handle, you could end up with a misfire or – far worse – a damaged or exploded fun that could even injure or kill yourself or others in your hunting party.

Small Game

When deciding which caliber to buy, think about what type of game you are going to be going after. For small game like squirrels and rabbits, Bass Pro Shops recommends you aim for .22 Long Rifle rimfire (LR) or .22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire (WMR). For predators, .223 Remington, .22-250 Remington, .220 Swift, or .243 Winchester will do the trick.


Depending on whether you’re going to be hunting from short or long range, deer call for .243 Winchester, .30-30 Winchester, .300 Savage, .25-06 Remington, .270 Winchester, .308 Winchester, .30-06 Springfield, 7 mm Remington Magnum or .300 Winchester Magnum. These bullets are large enough to fell a deer in a single shot. These deer bullets also tend to have a softer metal, as deer do not have the thick and tough hide and bone structure of larger animals.

Large and Exotic Game

The largest category of game requires even more specially designed ammunition. For black bears, Bass Pro Shops recommends the .30-30 Winchester, .300 Savage, .44 Marlin or .45-70 Government. Elk fall also fall into this category of large game, but can also be hunted with .270 Winchester, .308 Winchester, .30-60 Springfield, 7 mm Remington Magnum or .300 Winchester Magnum. Sheep and goats, despite being smaller animals, have a tougher body than other animals, and can be hunted with many of the same calibers as above as well as the.25-06 Remington. The largest and most exotic game – namely grizzly bears, brown bears and moose – call for some of the highest calibers used in hunting, including the .300 Winchester Magnum, .300 Weatherby, .338 Winchester Magnum, or .375 H&H.

Picking the right caliber can be a little bit confusing if you’re new to hunting, but it’s an important part of the process. At Tioga Boar Hunting, we offer the opportunity for hunters to pursue all different kinds of game. From deer and rams to boars and buffalo, we have something for everyone and we’re more than willing to talk to you to recommend the best caliber for the specific game that you want to hunt. For more information on our full range of hunts, contact us at 570-835-5341 today.