Best deer caliber and long distance caliber

Discussion in 'Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics' started by 2frogeyes, Jul 16, 2018.

Help Support Long Range Hunting by donating:

  1. 2frogeyes

    2frogeyes Well-Known Member

    Jul 25, 2012
    Im looking to get 2 custom rifles but want 1 caliber. The first rifle will be my deer/antelope gun. I already have an elk/moose rifle. The second rifle will be my long distance rifle for shooting steel. I want to get 1 caliber that will fit both my needs. A couple thoughts are 6.5 creed, 6.5-284, 260. Looking for opinions. Thx
  2. duckhunter175

    duckhunter175 Well-Known Member

    Mar 4, 2015
    I'm sure someone will be along shortly with a "cartridge not caliber" comment.

    That being said-- what do you feel like is 'longe range' for your hunting and shooting distances? Give us something to quantify.

    For example-- the longest shot I've taken on game is a little over 400 yards which is a chip shot for most modern long range rifles and cartridges. I probably won't shoot much further on any animal.

    So-- I stick to somewhat faster cartridges which helps eliminate elevation errors at those distances.

    Do you plan to handload? That will open another pandora's box of options.
  3. 2frogeyes

    2frogeyes Well-Known Member

    Jul 25, 2012
    Yes I will be handloading
  4. elkaholic

    elkaholic Official LRH Sponsor

    Dec 4, 2008
    There are a lot of unknowns here. The 3 cartridges that you mentioned would all be viable chices. The 6.5/284 would be the top performer of the 3 velocity wise, but would be harder on barrels. The Creed might be the best choice if factory ammo was a high priority for inexpensive shooting. Then there is how much do you want to spend for performance. It appears that you are interested in a short action. If your budget allows, one of the Sherman Shortmags in 6.5 would easily outperform any that you've mentioned. There is top quality brass now available, as well as custom dies, etc. The downside is no factory ammo at this point, and more costly custom components. You can check the Sherman Shortmags out at . Good luck with your build and let me know if I can
  5. 300whisper

    300whisper Well-Known Member

    May 15, 2012
    7 Rem mag, 300 win, 300 RUM, 300 Norma mag, all the WSMs, 280 AI....
    CaptnC, Barrelnut and Elkeater like this.
  6. Elkeater

    Elkeater Well-Known Member

    Dec 3, 2017
    no sense in going small I guess

    seriously I guess if you were just looking for a long range plinker then go the route with cheapest ammo (probably 6.5CM). for all around versatility my vote is 300 win mag. excellent component selection. widely available factory ammo and it tends to thump critters and steel.
  7. The Oregonian

    The Oregonian Well-Known Member

    Jul 20, 2012
    If you want a SA I’d go 6.5cr or if you want a LA go 280AI. Neither are tough on barrels and both have factory brass and a wide variety of bullets to choose from, and when the 156 Berger 6.5 comes out, both will have very high BC pills available. The cr will have more factory ammo availability, obviously.

    I recently went from one rifle (30-06) to three that should cover all my needs. A 6.5cr in a shorter LOP that my son will soon be starting to shoot, and 280AI for my primary whitetail and range gun (though I can use the cr whenever I have a desire to). Both easy on barrels. I have a 28N for my first bull elk hunt this year, and in the future for anything elk or bigger, or anything that requires more energy, but it is shorter Barrel life so won’t get shot as much.

    If pressed for one for things smaller than elk, I’d go with the 280AI.
    Tidus56 and Barrelnut like this.
  8. MagnumManiac

    MagnumManiac Well-Known Member

    Feb 25, 2008
    This is what I have done, I am NOT advising you in any way, take it as an example.
    I have 3 cartridges that I use for hunting and also for comp in DIFFERENT rifles.
    I couldn’t decide on just ONE, so I built 3 of each for comp, and bought factory rifles for hunting. I have used more cartridges than these for comp work, but that’s a different story.
    They are 6.5x47, 264WM and 300WM. The latter 2 are in Win Model 70 EW’s and the 6.5x47 is on a switch barrel Rem 700 VSSF II for hunting, all have 26” barrels.
    The 6.5x47 is used for different hunting than the other 2, primarily long range bunny, fox, goat and pig work. The others are used for either long range deer, goats and pigs, or just general still hunting or stalking.

    I also use switch barrel setups on my comp guns and a few hunting rifles, I don’t often change calibres/cartridges while hunting, BUT, if you want flexibility with ONE RIFLE, this is another way you can go.

  9. MudRunner2005

    MudRunner2005 Well-Known Member

    Oct 13, 2008
    7mm RemMag or 7mm SS (Sherman Shortmag).

    The .260 AI is another great option for both.
  10. Jeremy338

    Jeremy338 Well-Known Member

    Aug 19, 2017
    I would say 6.5 mm is best caliber for deer and long range combo. If you were asking just long range prob the .375 caliber. 6.5's are easy on the wallet and barrels. No recoil is a plus. With the new Bullets out in the 150+ weight range you can easily shoot out past 1k. Good Luck
  11. Creedmoor shooter

    Creedmoor shooter Well-Known Member

    Oct 21, 2013
    Depends how far your wanting to shoot. Deer and antelope 800 yards or under, the 6.5 cm or 260 would be just fine, and steel as far as your supersonic range will allow. I've taken my 6.5 cm with a 140eld at 2828 fps to 1454 yards with good success on targets. The 6.5x284 will definitely be the top performer out of those 3. If your wanting alittle more umph then I'd go that route. I personally believe the 6.5 mm cal is one of the best or the best deer hunting caliber out there(pretty fond of 7mm as well). Any of the 3 you listed should work fine.
  12. N2TRKYS

    N2TRKYS Well-Known Member

    Sep 27, 2015
  13. Greyfox

    Greyfox Well-Known Member

    Jan 21, 2008
    The 6.5x284 is a a solid 1000 yard performer on deer sized game, and capable of accuratel target work, and shooting smaller animals(coyotes) well beyond.
    Don A Parsons and CaptnC like this.
  14. CaptnC

    CaptnC Well-Known Member

    Jun 21, 2017
    Of those three the 6.5x284 would get the nod if those were the cartridge choices I had.

    I'm very fond of my 264wm but that's more powder and some extra recoil but it's one of my best shooters.

    I want to hunt with my 6.5x284 some this year. I have not drawn blood with this rifle yet...almost my best shooter!

    The wife will hunt with her 6.5 Creedmoor this fall and I will say it is a pleasure to shoot too.