Poll: Best caliber for blacktails

Best caliber for blacktails

  • .30-06

    Votes: 113 27.7%
  • .270

    Votes: 124 30.4%
  • .243

    Votes: 65 15.9%
  • .308

    Votes: 45 11.0%
  • .30-30

    Votes: 8 2.0%
  • .25-06

    Votes: 42 10.3%
  • .257 roberts

    Votes: 11 2.7%

  • Total voters


Well-known member
I personally use a Winchester model 70 in 30-06. I like the gun and have a lot of confidence with it. I think that the best gun is whatever you are comfortable with.


I started out with a .30-06 Rem M-700 in 1962, but bought a Ruger m-77 (flat bolt) in .284 for my blacktail hunting. I retired that rifle in 2000 and got a Browning .270 WSM. Works real well for CA blacktails. All scoped with Leupold 3 to 9x variables. I take a Weatherby .300 wby for out-of-state mulies, a .25-06 for goats and a .338 ultra mag for Alaska.


Well-known member
I voted for the .270 not because I think it's the best. Since best is completely situational and has more to do with preference. It is the caliber that I use and have taken most of my deer with.

I wouldn't want to use anything much smaller. While I trust my shooting to do an ethical kill. I prefer to have the cards stacked into my favor. If the animal is going to be kind enough to be tasty I should ensure that there is little to no suffering.

rifle ammo


Well-known member
I voted .243 because it was my favorite rifle growing up. At 14, I dropped a nice 4x4 muley at about 100 yards with a single shot to the chest. It may as well have been my 300 Win Mag the way he dropped. I have not had to shoot twice with that gun on a number of deer, it was sweet to shoot as a kid, and a new one will be added to my collection at some point. All of my experience with all the listed calibers, I don't have any problems with any of them. My next rifle will likely be a Mosin Nagant. I like a project, and I am trying to spread out my expenditures on guns so my wife will continue to enjoy them. That 7.62x54R looks like a great all-around cartridge, light for a bear gun, but would do the job in a pinch. all that said, My last deer was a heavy bodied NV Muley 2x3 at about 125-150 yards with a 20 gauge Mossberg 500, rifled barrel, 4x scope, and a Sabot. He took about a step and a half and folded up. He was dead by the time I jogged over to him. That setup may be going in a backpack later this season if I can get a slug barrel of my own (that slug gun was my Pop's) with a 22" field barrel for small game.


New member
243 for me hands down. iv seen it do more damage than 300 mags. its a nasty little bullet. iv shot deer at 300yds and they have run 50yds top. Shot my farthest shot at 508 yards with my 234 95gr ballistic tip on a coyote and she just droped. Love the 243 and for ca i wouldnt shoot any thing else!


Well-known member
I started my deer hunting carreer with an '06 with and a 180 grain bullet but always felt it was too much gun for our deer (big hole, noticable recoil). I moved to a .270 with a 150 grain bullet 15 years ago and never had a problem. Light recoil, goes through and drops them at impact. When my three kids were of hunting age I picked up a couple of Rugers in .243. We used a 130 grain bullet. I like this set up a lot! Low recoil for a 12-year olds, great ballistics and decent stopping power. We've killed 17 deer with those rifles over last 9 years (including several pigs) and haven't missed, lost or wounded an animal yet. My only gripe is the pennetration. The bullet only goes through only about 30% of the time. With a heart or lung shot the animal will ususally run 10-30 yards before it goes down.

My vote goes to the .270 for best all around blacktail caliber.


Well-known member
I use a 220-Swift with nosler pars............Than my 7MM Mag with 140 grain bullets,also nosler pars...........I've never lost a deer with my 220,they never go more than 10 yards if that....
The 7MM drops them in their tracks everytime.....Can't compare I like them both...
Just bought my wife a 243 for "Mothers Day",she really likes it,but would take my 220 in a heartbest-LOL.........
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Well-known member
Couldn't vote, as 300 Savage was not an option. Think I'll try out my new (100 year old) 25-35 Savage this year.
SWEET! I've got one in model 99 with octagon barrel as well and a 25-35 in Win 94 too! Great Black-tail cartridge!


New member
As a Blacktail caliber you cant go wrong with .270, 30'06, .243, 25-06, 7mm mag, etc. All great loads and great for the woods. Ive seen $2500 Dakotas with scopes that cost the same in the hands of so called hunters who could't even sight the weapon in!! Now if thats not bass ackwards I havent seen it. If you are not competent with your weapon the caliber is inconsequiential.


Well-known member
So wierd. you here more about the 06 but more people prefer the 270. So do I, but i hunt with both. no reason why i just pull out the first gun i see. from the closet.


Well-known member
270 wsm is what i shoot... 270 is the best caliber you gun out there its versatility and ballistics make it the perfect gun.... just ask Jack O'Connor


Well-known member
I use a 220-Swift for my close shooting(they drop like a rock) and my 7MM Mag for shots over 150 yards.........


If all you ever hunt is blacktail deer, then the 270 is indeed the best choice. Really good for pigs too.

A 270 is a necked down 30-06 so the slightly smaller bullet flies faster and flatter and hits harder than the 308 cal of the 30-06.

My personal preference for North American hunting however is the 300 RUM instead. It's knock down power is immense. No matter where you hit the deer.


So wierd. you here more about the 06 but more people prefer the 270. So do I, but i hunt with both. no reason why i just pull out the first gun i see. from the closet.
The 30-06 was made famous by the 1903 Springfield followed by the 1937 M1 Garand. Thus this is the caliber that great-grandpa and great-great grandpa from The Great War and from WW2 used. Grandpa probably used the M-14 or M-16 in Viet Nam. And dad is probably too young to have ever fired a shot in anger.

Brush Hunter

Well-known member
Well it would be quite natural for me to vote for the 30-06 considering its the only rifle I've ever owned. I got a Savage 111. After a few mods and shooting my own reloads the rifle has become pretty Damn accurate. While lying down with my bipod Im averaging 1-1/4 groups at 100 yds. Last time I shot at 300 yds ,while lying down, the groups were an average of 4-1/2" apart. I know I'm not shooting it to its full potential. As for blacktail, let's just say ill be shooting at most a 150 grain tsx this year. The 168 grain was a little more than I had bargained for last year. Oh yea the downfall, With a 168 gr. Nosler custom comp. I got an 8" drop at 300 yds.


Well-known member
Really caliber is inconsequential. I have a buddy that uses his 22-250 for everything. I have a 270 and inside of 100 on pigs it's too much but am confident out to 300+ with good support and 400+ if I can lay down and use my bipod. Like many others have said its not the gun it's how well you can shoot the gun. My grandpa tells stories of friends killing deer with a 22lr. I don't have the nuts to try that, but love a good hunting story. One reason I picked the 270 was that you can get ammo anywhere. You know I love the round, but always root for a clean kill. So if you can do that with your gun you have a good round.


Well-known member
hey you forgot .280! :) its a rare round these days, aka 7mm...(not mag). its basically a 30-06 cartridge but with a 7mm bullet. Pretty dman flat, very accurate, good punch, and pretty lightweight gun. My brother used to use a 243. It worked pretty good, but where we hunt a 300-350 shot can easily happen and a 243 just won't cut it out that far, IMHO past about 250. a 280 looks very similare to 270, except longer casing, not as stubby. 270 is a good round too. To someone 'new' picking a cartridge, i'd say have them shoot all of the above and see what they like best. Some guns may be heavy and a pain to pack around (eg 20lb 7mm mag) and provide too much power (baseball hole) or kick, or too little.

I love that gun, browning BAR 280. 7 blacktails, all made it less <30yds. Some just dropped (spine/close range). So it really depends how the shooter shoots with it. You could hand me a 30-06, 243, 270, 7mm mag, 25-06, 270 and i would still probably shoot best with my 280.

As long as you can shoot consistently, IMHO < 2" groups @100 your good. I like having the comfort of knowing i can reach out and knock one down. (again, my opinion; you could maybe get away with 3" groups if your hunting in country where you would never even see anything over 150 yds, like timber).
I use to have a .280, very light weight gun but I got rid of it some years ago for a .270 WSM

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