If you plan to shoot long-range, you have to think about more than your scope. Choosing the wrong long-range caliber can throw your shot off no matter how tight your grouping is at the range. So, you need to figure out the best long-range caliber ammo for your weapon before you think about stepping foot in the field.
Not every hunter will be good at long-range hunting. You have to have patience, determination, and the perseverance to admit your flaws to yourself so that you may correct them while practicing. If you decide to jump into long range hunting without enough practice, it’s likely that you’ll end up wasting your day.
One thing that many expert hunters will recommend when you first start long range hunting is to make sure you are using the right caliber for the job. Certain cartridges can make it easier to have a successful day on the field.
Reviews of The Best Long Range Caliber
The best calibers used for this type of hunting are often flat-shooting and hard-hitting. You want to use long range calibers that have a great track record for successful hunts.
Fast magnum cartridges are a good place to start, however, speed is not the only thing you need to consider when looking for the best long range caliber. You also need to think about recoil and reloading options as well. Here are our suggestions for the best long range caliber ammunition that you can use for this often difficult type of hunting.
.300 Winchester Magnum
Although there is an endless amount of .30 caliber cartridges available on the market, it seems as if there are more appearing every day. There was a time when the .300 was believed to be the fastest of all, however, today, it has been overrun by the many .30 caliber cartridges that with extreme shooting power. So, if it’s not the best of the best, why is it included on this list?
The .300 Winchester Magnum can shoot very flat and it produces a recoil that most shooters can easily manage. That means you don’t have to deal with the harsh recoil that you would receive with the much faster .30s.
The Winchester Mag can also benefit from a broad range of high-quality .308 bullets. Although it may not be the fastest caliber cartridge on the market, or the fastest in its category, the .300 Winchester Magnum can still provide serious hunters with quality results. It is capable of forcing a 150 grain bullet at 3,2000 fps, and a 180 grain bullet as much as 3,000 fps.
The ammo is usually easy to find which is another plus. You can purchase it at most sporting good stores, and you have plenty of factory loads to choose from. Velocity is a good thing, and vital when long range hunting, but the .300 Winchester Magnum proves that you don’t always need the fastest caliber to have a successful hunt.
7mm Remington Magnum
The 7mm Remington Magnum is now over 50 years old, along with several other 7mm cartridges that were introduced at the time from other brands. But regardless of how many different types of 7mm calibers there are, the Remington Magnum is by far the most popular. And after half a century, it is still considered one of the best long range calibers on the market.
The 7mm Remington Magnum can drive a 140-grain bullet at 3,000 fps. And the heaver 160-grain bullets can travel even faster than that. There is a large selection of bullets available from Remington that are different densities from .284 to .310 and everything in between.
Heavy bullets are good if you want deep penetration and retained energy. However, they can be difficult to find at your local sporting goods or hardware store.
The 7mm Remington can be used for any type of hunting you have in mind. And unlike the heavier bullets, they can be found anywhere ammo is sold.
7mm Shooting Times Westerner
The 7mm Shooting Times Westerner or STW was first developed in 1979 by Layne Simpson. While it never reached the same level of popularity as the Remington Magnum, the STW is just as good, if not better than the Remington caliber cartridge.
The STW features the same design as the 8mm Remington Magnum which is necked down to allow use of 8mm and 7mm bullets. Hunters in the western part of the nation appreciated the 7mm STW because it was a flat shooting, medium bore cartridge.
The 7mm STW is a hard-hitting caliber that can propel 160-grain bullets as fast as 3,200 fps. It carries more than 2,000 lbs. of force at an impressive 400 yards. And when you use heavier or longer caliber bullets, you don’t have to worry about them drifting as much when using the STW.
Although the Shooting Times Westerner may not be as popular as the 7mm Remington Magnum, it is still a great quality long range caliber that deserves some recognition.
8mm Remington Magnum
Another popular choice for most hunters is the 8mm Remington Magnum. The caliber cartridge has many loyal fans who will always turn to this product over any other in the same category. The 8mm
Remington was first developed in 1978. It features impressive ballistics and is one of the best choices out there for hunting large game in the U.S. and foreign countries. The only issue with the 8mm Rem. Mag, is that it needed a long action bullet and when it was first made available, there weren’t many .323 bullets produced.
The .338 Winchester Magnum however was already a popular option, and at the time there were plenty of .30’s for hunters to choose from. As a result of this, the 8mm Remington Magnum was forgotten by most consumers. However, there are still plenty of long-range hunters who are big fans of the 8mm. And it has a lot of features that make it a high-quality caliber. It is capable of firing 180-grain bullets at 3,300 fps and 200-grain bullets at 3,000 fps.
The 8mm Remington Magnum produces as much s 2 tons of muzzle energy and can shoot flat enough for you to hunt successfully in open country.
The .220 Swift was the very first factory cartridge to break the 4,000 fps record. The .220 was first introduced to the public in 1935 by the Winchester brand. They placed the cartridge inside a Model 54 bolt-action rifle for testing and were more than pleased with the results.
Early releases of the .220s received mixed reviews from hunters. Most believed that it was a barrel burner. A few changes were made to the design and today the .220 Swift is considered a great cartridge for hunting small game such as squirrel or rabbit. That’s because the barrels that are made today are capable of handling the fierce speed behind the .220 Swift.
The 40-grain Nosler Ballistic Tip Load by Federal shoots from the barrel at an impressive 4,250 fps. It is also one of the best to hunt small game with from far away distances. There are very few varmint loads now available that can hold up the same way that the .220 Swift can.
In the 1950’s, Roy Weatherby started experimenting with a .30 caliber load made from his company’s .378 Magnum. And that is how the 30-378 Weatherby caliber was invented. In 1996 this cartridge became more commercially available and the statistics were very impressive.
The Weatherby is capable of sending a 180-grain bullet out of the barrel at a speed of more than 3,400 fps. It could also produce a staggering 4,676 ft. lbs. of energy.
.270 Winchester Short Magnum
The .270 Winchester Short Magnum or WSM is similar to the .300 Winchester Short Magnum and is capable of driving a 130-grain bullet more than 3,2000 fps. Because the .270 Winchester is so popular among hunters, there are many varieties of the .277 bullets available to purchase. The .270 Winchester Short Magnum is extremely accurate and generates enough force to kill all types of game large or small.
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And thanks to the short length of the .270 WSM, it can be chambered in lightweight rifles making it the perfect cartridge for hunting in the mountains. This cartridge generates about 10% more recoil than other popular models, but it retains around 20% more energy at 300 yards. This makes the .270 Winchester Short Magnum a good choice for long-range hunting.
It is recommended for varmint hunting with light 100 and 110-grain bullets. For larger game such as deer, you will need to use 130-grain bullets. Any heavier bullets such as 150-grain will work best on caribou and elk.
.338 Remington Ultra Magnum
The .338 Remington Ultra Magnum is a great long-range hunting round, but hunters should be aware that it can generate a very high recoil level that is intolerable for many hunters. But, if you can deal with the recoil issue, this cartridge can deliver an impressive 225-grain bullet at 3,200 fps. That generates around 4.500 lbs. of energy and shoots flat enough to be considered the best possible long-range cartridge there is.
The case for the .338 is developed using a shortened .300 Remington Ultra Magnum rebated, beltless case that has a modified shoulder and necking to accept a .338 bullet. Experienced hunters who can take the kick that this .338 caliber can handle will love using it for long-range hunting. It is the ideal cartridge to use for taking long-distance shots on moose, elk, or caribou.
What Exactly is a Caliber?
While it seems like a question that all experienced hunters should be able to answer, there is a little confusion when it comes to what people are referring to when they talk about calibers. The word “caliber” is one of the oldest terms in relation to firearms. It originated in Ancient Greek times long before the first firearm was made. Then ‘caliber’ referred to hard wood objects that shoemakers used to mold leather to create footwear.
Over time, the term was used to describe bullet molds, but it was initially used to describe lead sling bullets and not the firearm bullets we are familiar with today.
After the first firearms were made, the term made it to the Early Modern English language which can be used to describe everything from quality to measurement. Initially, it was in reference to the diameter of the bore, or barrel of a gun. Since practically all firearms were muzzle-loaders prior to the 1850s, and all firearms used round lead balls, there wasn’t a need for a term to describe the different sizes of ammo.
Today we associate the word ‘caliber’ with the diameter of ammunition since there is now a broad range of bullets available such as .22, .45, 9mm, and so on. However, caliber is also used to describe the type of firearm that can be used with each type of bullet, such as a .45 Caliber Rifle.
When referring to bullet caliber, you are talking about the diameter of the slug portion of the bullet cartridge. However, the caliber number may be slightly off from the actual measured diameter of the slug. The same goes when referring to the caliber of a gun barrel. The actual diameter could be slightly smaller or larger, but the gun still uses the specified cartridge.
Which is the Best Long Range Caliber for You?
There are many different types of long-range caliber cartridges available, some that are more powerful than others. Finding the caliber that works best for you depends on what type of game you are hunting and how much experience you have using a caliber with a powerful recoil.
By learning more about how each caliber on this list works, you will be able to narrow down your choices and find the right cartridge to use for each long-range hunt you have planned.