Rifles have the widest range in terms of the types of calibres that they are designed to fire. Therefore, you have more options in this category of guns than with handguns and shotguns. The best way to choose the right calibre for you is to simplify the process into a few factors.
There is an overwhelming selection from the small .22 Long Rifle calibre to the .300 Winchester Short Magnum. Each one comes with their own pros and cons that will have a huge impact on your experience. Here is Outstanding Munitions’ short guide to help you choose the perfect rifle calibre to stock:
What to consider when choosing a rifle calibre
Besides the laws and regulations of gun ownership in the United States, there are only three questions to ask yourself in choosing a rifle calibre to buy. You must answer each one from top to bottom in order of priority. You can always ask Outstanding Munitions clerks for suggestions but these will help you decide for yourself:
Availability and price per round or bulk
The first concern you should address is which rounds are accessible to you as a buyer. Some gun stores don’t stock certain calibres either because the manufacturers limit its distribution, some states outlaw its use.
Now that you have narrowed your options to what’s available, you should then think about how much you are willing to spend on bullets. If you are shooting for practice, then you need to invest on the cheapest calibre you can buy in bulk. Hunters should prepare a larger budget as the rounds you will need are more specific.
The task at hand
Your second concern is what you need the live rounds for. Gun owners each have their reason for carrying firearms. Some only collect them as a hobby so most of their budget goes to the firearms and accessories, not so much for the bullets. A lot of professions require carrying guns like police officers, security guards, military personnel, and park rangers. Others are hunters who are more likely to need higher calibres as their task involves taking down large targets.
If you are a hunter, then you should consider the size of the target. Large mammals like lions, deers, and
Your capability of withstanding its recoil or wielding the rifle
The highest calibre is ideally the most effective round for shooting targets. However, it’s not the best option as stronger rounds have more powerful pressure when fired. Using a high-calibre rifle is dangerous for an untrained wielder as those who aren’t used to handling recoil could sprain a muscle or dislocate a shoulder.
Firing rounds also harms the gun, reducing its lifespan with every shot. That’s why the general rule of thumb is to only use rounds that the gun is assigned to use even if their barrel can fit a higher calibre. Likewise, guns meant for stronger bullets are also typically heavier, making them unwieldy for inexperienced shooters. Only use guns and bullets that you know you can use or seek training to be capable of using more powerful rounds.
Best calibres for every situation
Rifles are not usually used for self-defence as it is impossible to conceal in public places or use while being chased by wild animals. That job is given to the handgun, which is more ergonomic and easier to aim with. Therefore, the only situation you will find yourself using a rifle includes target practice, hunting, and defending your home from invaders. Here are Outstanding Munitions’ suggested rounds for each of them:
The .22 Long Rifle (LR) calibre is a beginner’s best friend. It’s the lowest calibre available with a long reach for decent shooting practices while also being the cheapest round to manufacture. It is always available in every store and shooting range, allowing you to start your training anywhere. The .22 LR is ideal for newbies still learning the fundamentals as long rifles for this calibre are typically light and the round’s recoil is manageable.
However, the .22 LR is only great for shooting up to 100 yards. For 600-1000 yards, you will want to start using .308 Winchester. It is also widely available in the United States as the civilian counterpart to the military standard, 7.62 NATO. There are also more rifles made to better withstand the .308 Winchester’s strength, making it relatively one of the safest calibres for practice shooting.
Small game hunting
Hunting any critters between 2 to 20 pounds will only need accuracy rather than power so a .22 LR can suffice if that’s what you are used to. However, a .22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire (WMR) is more powerful and has an effective range up to 125 yards. It’s perfect for taking down any small varmints like a fox, beaver, or a standing crow with a body shot. Bigger targets like a coyote will need a clean headshot to be taken down effectively.
If you need a much farther distance of up to 200 yards, then go for the .17 Hornady Magnum Rimfire (HMR). It’s a bit more expensive than the .22 LR or .22 WMR but it’s popular among veteran hunters with a bigger budget. The rifles needed for this calibre are only heavy enough to mitigate the cartridge’s recoil while also avoiding being cumbersome for the shooter.
Medium game hunting
Deer, caribou, and antelopes are considered medium games which became more popular practice targets as they are easy to take down with any calibre. They can be instantly killed with a well-placed .22 WMR but a .243 Winchester can kill them if hit from any part of the body. Thus, the latter is a lot more popular among hunters with a big budget. You can also use this . 243 Winchester on small games but aim well if you don’t want to leave a messy carcass.
Big game hunting
In technicality, any animal bigger than a rabbit is considered a big game like deer and goats but this sport is revolving around beasts like moose and bears specifically. For this activity, you will need powerful rounds capable of taking down targets in one shot to a vital area like the head, neck, or abdomen. Weaker rounds would often be stopped by these beasts’ thick hide where they can simply run away even though they are wounded.
Most hunters rely on the .300 Winchester Magnum for sniping big beasts. It can be used on any mammal between the size of a bighorn sheep or a moose given its heavy penetration power to paralyse them on hit. Lions and bears are trickier targets as they are more resilient to damage. You only have one shot or they will flee if they survive or remain standing. A .308 Springfield is typically the ideal cartridge for these larger breasts up to 500 yards.
If you aren’t confident that you can hit any target at long ranges, then you should opt for the 45-70 Govt rounds. These have an effective range of up to 150 yards with minimal bullet drop but it’s best known for close-range engagements.
Home and self-defence
Choosing a calibre for defending your home has a looser criteria than hunting as the only concern you have is how good you are at using a gun. Bigger rifles are intimidating so they are great for dissuading conflict but when push comes to shove, you need the gun to match your intentions. For this reason, a .22 LR is often enough as long as your target is within 100 yards. It is non-lethal when hitting the limbs but it will wound and incapacitate invaders.
You should also consider the type of engagements that you will have to prepare for. If you are a farmer whose house is surrounded by flat planes, then it’s better to arm yourself with long-distance calibres like the .308 Springfield. On the other hand, weaker rounds for lighter guns are favourable in a close-quarters encounter like in an apartment complex.
Being a hunter can also make you the hunted in the wilderness of the United States. After all, it is populated by both predators and large animals that can trample you. During such situations, aiming is often made impossible. This is where the rifle quick kill fundamentals are important where you simply point and shoot at a predator. The .22 LR is surprisingly efficient at close-quarters combat as the light bullet expands on impact, giving it powerful stopping power.
Must-have accessories for rifle owners
The rifle and the cartridge are best maintained with the proper accessories. You need to invest in ammo cases like the NANUK 908 to protect your ammunition from water, dust, rust, and the harshest elements. If you prefer keeping your cartridges in their package boxes, then you can keep them sorted using the Plano Ammo Can. Likewise, a light tactical backpack is what you need to take when venturing into the wilderness. Outstanding Munitions will often change accessories in stock so just say what you need to better sort your options while shopping.