The Best Rifle Caliber For Your Needs
We honestly can’t say you need to shoot this or that caliber rifle for the big game you plan to hunt. We only give suggestions as to your region of the country.
I hunt in the southeast where the woods are dense and long shots are rare. I hunt in the west where the open plains and high winds cause more misses than engagement rings. I hunt in the great white north where accuracy and knock down power are paramount for penetrating thick hides. No matter where you hunt, Bergara has the rifle for you.
We’re not here to tell you what caliber rifle you need to shoot, only to try and help point you in the right direction when it comes time to upgrade to a Bergara hunting rifle. Plus, it gives us something to discuss. Let’s face it, EVERY hunter and shooter is partial to one round or another. We know guys who shoot a .270 Win. solely because they grew up reading Jack O’Connor. They couldn’t tell you a thing about the caliber, just that O’Connor swore by it and that’s okay with them. Others turn their noses up at anything less than a .30 caliber round, whether that be the .30-06, .308, what have you. That too, is perfectly fine.
Being that we make a wide variety of rifle calibers for the shooter and the hunter, feel free to chime in and let us know if we missed yours. Or if there’s an obvious one that we haven’t included into our repertoire, we’ll at least take it into consideration.
SOUTH by SOUTHEAST
Since Bergara USA is based in the southeast, where we build our rifles, we’ll start here. Down south we hunt deer with a high-powered rifle, a bear here and there, and that’s really about it. Our region is comprised mostly of a heavily wooded landscape that doesn’t offer a ton of long shots. Sure, there are times when we might have to reach out across a big green field or out to another ridge, but for the most part a long shot is 200 yards.
Many hunters in the southeast will tote a light kicking rifle such as a .223, .22-250 or .243 without a second thought. Low recoil increases accuracy, which you definitely need with a lighter load. Do take into consideration that it may be illegal to hunt big game with small calibers in some states. Check all regulations before heading out there. Or, if you’re more of a shooter and tactical rifle enthusiast, these rounds are great for a day at the range.
The aforementioned .270, .30-06 and .308, as well as the 6.5 Creedmoor are all solid, accurate rounds with enough knock-down power to take down sturdy animals at long distances. Stray across the Mighty Mississippi River into Texas and you’ll certainly be glad for something a little heavier.
Whoever said the west is tame has obviously never flown over its great expanse in an airplane. We know cowboys, Indians and bandits no longer give each other what for on the range, but the country out there hasn’t changed much in the last 200 years. And despite the buffalo, perhaps America’s greatest conservation tragedy, the wild animals haven’t either.
Some of the mid-range .30 cals will work on elk, moose, bear and caribou, but we prefer to up it a bit. The .300 Win. Mag, .300 Remington Ultra Mag., .338 Lapua, and 7mm Rem. Mag. are some of our choices for your next adventure to the Rockies and beyond. When 400-yard shots into thick hides are commonplace, you need a caliber with that extra bit of umph that is also capable of cutting prevailing winds. Out past 300 yards is when the wind can really take control of a bullet.
NORTH by NORTHWEST
The north is kind of a hybrid of the other two regions. First, the north is wild and untamed and has a plethora of big-game animals. If you’re east of the Rocky Mountains the landscape is similar to the south in that it’s heavily wooded and holds a lot of whitetails. Further west you’re going to find the same larger members of the family Cervidae, elk, moose and caribou, and will need similar heavy calibers to take them down.
The .300 Remington Ultra Mag. and .338 Lapua are sufficient for heavy hide game while the .300 Win. Mag. and 7mm Rem. Mag are conducive to both. Regardless your quarry and caliber, some of the larger species are going to need multiple doses of lead to bring them down, which is why we’ve created the Bergara Premier Action, one of the smoothest on the market.
It’s really impossible to pinpoint one caliber hunting rifle to use for all game. Owning guns is a great aspect of being an American citizen and not to be taken for granted. Sometimes it’s just as fun to plink targets with a .223 tactical rifle as it is to take big game with a .338. They’re both gratifying in a way that only the hunter and shooter can understand.