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Hunting/Big Game hunting Versatile Caliber


My name is Nicolas and I live and hunt in eastern Canada. I would like to have some advice for choosing a caliber for a rifle that I'll be using for hunting Whitetails but also eventually Moose and Elk.

I currently have a Browning BLR in 308 that I really like to use in the woods but I need something for wide open fields/longer ranges. My father has a browning 7mm wsm which he uses for Whitetails but also for Moose and Elk and I want to be able to follow him.

While looking online, some calibers caught my attention: the 270wsm, the 300 win mag and the 338 win mag. I have basic knowlegde in terms of calibers but I know there are probably some noticable differences.

I would like my rifle to have the best stopping power possible without splitting the animal in half of course but also to be quite versatile in terms of animals to hunt in North America while keeping a relativly flat trajectory.

In terms of recoil, if its going to be less or equal to a shotgun in 12ga its not going to be a problem but I'm a small frame man so I'd like to be able to shoot it several times without breaking my shoulder.

I usually buy my ammo at hunting stores and the calibers I mentionned are easy to find except maybe for the 338 win mag but if its worth it it doesn't really matter for me.

So in your oppinion what would be the best option? Maybe there is another good caliber I haven't mentionned.

Thank you for your time!


The exotic calibers such as 270 wsm are the ones I'd rule out first.  Not for performance reasons, but rather practical ones.  If you are ever way out in the middle of nowhere and find you've forgot your ammo, lost it, or whatever, you will lose an entire day driving to a big enough city to find a store that stocks rare ammo.  I've seen this happen.  Pick a caliber that has relatively easy to find ammo.  For that reason I shoot a .30-06.  I've cleanly dropped elk with it, along with deer and antelope.  Have not shot moose but the .30-06 would be about the minimum. I think the best all around caliber when moose is in the picture might be the .300 winMag.  Ammo is relatively plentiful.  The belted magnums will beat up you though.  Most people don't shoot them as accurately.  I'd suggest popping a few rounds from a belted magnum rifle to see how you shoot it before committing to one.  Since elk is the biggest thing I'll ever go after, I'm sticking with the .30-06.  Everything I've hit with it was a one shot kill.

Good luck!
Kent in SD


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Kent Staubus


Nearly 30 years` experience hunting upland game, big game, and waterfowl in the Upper Midwest and many college level classes in biology. I can answer questions about hunting with rifles and shotguns, and how to hunt mule/whitetail deer, antelope, pheasants, quail, ducks, squirrels, and rabbits. I can also answer questions about outdoor clothing for cold climates. As a licensed therapist, I have helped handicapped outdoorsmen.

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