The best all around hunting rifle caliber will allow you to get the most out of your hunting rifle because you’ll be able to use it for the widest range of hunting possibilities.
Hunting rifles are expensive. In order to get the most for your money, it is important to buy a rifle caliber that you can use for the widest range of species for hunting.
In this post, you’ll learn what the most versatile hunting rifle caliber is, and why, let’s get started…
Table of Contents
Best All-Around Hunting Rifle Caliber Criteria
To be considered the best all around hunting rifle caliber there are some criteria that must be met:
- Ammo Availability
- Diverse Bullet Selection
- Power or Foot Pounds of Energy (FPE)
The Best All Around Hunting Rifle Caliber
The 30-06 Springfield is the best all around hunting rifle caliber. It’s been around since 1906, hence the “06” in 30-06, and is still one of the most popular calibers for hunting on the market today because of its versatility and time-tested performance.
The 30-06 Springfield is a .30 caliber rifle, hence the “30” in 30-06. There are a lot of 30 caliber rifles on the market but there is a lot of variation in ballistics between .30 caliber rifles.
This caliber has great ammo availability, diverse bullet selection, and a range of power.
30-06 Springfield Ammo Availability
Ammo availability is really good with the 30-06 Springfield. Since the 30-06 is a commonly used caliber, stores will likely have plenty in stock at all times so you don’t have to worry about finding ammunition. This is great when you’re traveling to hunt because there will almost always be a store that will carry 30-06 ammunition.
With some other calibers, you might have to order online or jump from store to store to find the right ammo.
30-06 Springfield Diverse Bullet Selection
Certain calibers are more versatile than others because they offer a more diverse bullet selection. A vast bullet selection will allow you to tailor your caliber to specific types of hunting.
For example, with the 30-06 Springfield, you can buy ammo in many different grains. This means you can hunt many different animals of many different sizes just by adjusting the grain of the bullet.
With the 30-06 Springfield you can shoot anything from small 100-grain bullets all the way up to 220-grain bullets. This allows you to use the 30-06 Springfield for anything from varmints to large and dangerous game. This is one of the biggest reasons the 30-06 Springfield is the best all around hunting rifle caliber and one of the most versatile hunting calibers.
30-06 Springfield Ballistics
One of the greatest features of the 30-06 is the varying amounts of energy it can produce depending on bullet selection. Energy is measured in foot-pounds or the energy required to move one pound for one foot.
Small Grain Bullets
A 100-grain bullet is pretty small so there is less overall FPE, but there is still a lot of powder in the cartridge which makes these small bullets shoot fast and flat. For this reason, the 30-06 Springfield is great for long-range varmint shooting.
If you’re looking to preserve pelts you will probably want jacketed bullets so that the bullets don’t expand. If you use bullets that expand the 100-grain bullets will do a lot of damage because too much energy will be directly dealt to those smaller animals even with the 100-grain bullets. However, if preservation is not the goal, a small 30-06 bullet will work great.
The 30-06 Springfield is generally overkill for smaller species. However, if you’re looking for one gun that can do it all you can make the 30-06 Springfield work with the right bullet weight and type.
Large Grain Bullets
A 220-grain bullet is the largest bullet you can get for the 30-06 Springfield. These heavier bullets are going to have a lot more drop than the light 100-grain bullets but they have more energy.
The high ft-lbs energy of these bullets can deal 3000+ ft-lbs of energy. This is enough energy to take down any North American animal. It is also powerful enough to take down many dangerous game species with proper shot placement.
The 30-06 Springfield is generally underpowered for large game species like brown bears, elk, and moose at longer ranges. That said, it is still a great choice for those short to medium ranges with heavy bullets.
History of the 30-06 Springfield
Best All-Around Hunting Rifle Caliber Considerations
Although this is the best all-around rifle caliber, don’t forget that you will have to sight in your gun each time you change the ammo.
Even though the 30-06 Springfield is an extremely versatile caliber, you might not want to use it for all types of hunting. For example, it might make more sense to own multiple guns at different calibers. This will further maximize versatility and simplicity.
Hunting Rifle Caliber Spectrum
For example, depending on what you hunt you might want a 300 win mag for large animals and a .243 for smaller animals. With these two rifles, you are able to hunt a very broad spectrum of animals with more appropriate bullet energy for animals at each end of the size spectrum.
For example, the .243 works great for small (fox) to medium-sized animals (deer). The smaller diameter of the bullets and slower speeds, when compared to the 30-06, is better suited for smaller animals. You can also get much lighter bullets, like 55 grain, which is just about half of the smallest bullet you can get with the 30-06 Springfield.
300 Win Mag Caliber
The 300 Win Mag works great for medium (deer) to large and dangerous game (elk, bear, and moose…etc). The 300 Win Mag is still a .30 caliber rifle just like the 30-06. However, a 300 Win Mag is a bigger cartridge with more powder which allows it to shoot the .30 caliber bullets faster and flatter. This makes it better for big game at long ranges when compared to the 30-06 Springfield.
This way you can hunt different-sized game without resighting in your guns each time because you’ll have a gun dedicated to both sides of the size spectrum when it comes to hunting.
Is The 30-06 Springfield Right For You?
The 30-06 Springfield is perfect for a hunter that is looking for the best all around hunting rifle caliber. This caliber will work for anything from small to dangerous game. That said, if you’re hunting really small or very large game you might want to consider getting a more appropriate caliber for those ends of the spectrum.
Overall, the 30-06 Springfield is the most versatile hunting rifle caliber on the market. Because of the vast bullet selection, it is highly customizable to different species.
Of course, this is a highly debated topic and comes down to personal preference. But you can’t go wrong with a 30-06 Springfield because of its ammo availability, diverse bullet selection, and ballistics.
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