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What's the Best Deer Hunting Caliber for Women?

Best Deer Hunting Calibers for Women
Getty Images: KKIDD

Is there a one-size-fits-all rifle for ladies?

With typically smaller frames, some women can have a difficult time shouldering the same guns that big, burly men carry into the whitetail woods. While any deer rifle fit for a man can still do the job for the fairer sex, a select few models offers a better overall fit for many women. There might not be one caliber that's right for every single lady, but one of these top picks is sure to suit all your deer hunting needs.

.243 Winchester

The .243 has long been a favorite for petite women and youth. I've been hunting whitetails with mine since I was 80 pounds soaking wet at age 12, and it still gets the job done some 20 odd years later. Most models are relatively compact and lightweight and boast minimal recoil - but they still have plenty of stopping power to ethically put a big buck on the ground. These rifles are versatile, accurate, flat-shooting, and affordable to fire. While many male hunters will upgrade to a more powerful caliber once they hit puberty, the .243 is perfectly capable of being your lifelong deer rifle. But if you're looking for a gun that can go from the whitetail woods to big-game backcountry, you might want to look elsewhere. Deer and antelope are about the limit for this caliber.

6.5 Creedmoor

With a cult-like following of die-hard loyalists, the 6.5 Creedmoor doesn't require a hard sell. More powerful than the .243 Winchester, this caliber can take down deer as well as big game such as elk. It still boasts mild recoil that won't leave you banged up and boasts flat trajectory as well as better long-range performance. Some manufacturers offer compact models that are easier for women to manage in the field, and there is a wide range of ammo options that won't break the bank available for this caliber. Grown men fawn over this do it all rifle, so it's certainly more than sufficient for any female hunter.

.270 Winchester

An longstanding top choice of many whitetail hunters for nearly a century is the .270 Winchester. The recoil is manageable for most women, especially in a high-stakes hunting scenario when kick is the last thing on your mind. It has a reputation for being incredibly accurate, flat-shooting, effective at long distances, and available in a wide range of models. The .270 Winchester is a great caliber for deer hunting, and with the correct load, it can also drop big game.

7mm-08 Remington

With a bit more knockdown power than the .243 Winchester, the 7mm-08 Remington is another excellent choice for an all-around hunting rifle. Typically just a bit heavier to haul than a .243, the 7mm-08 Remington is still relatively lightweight and creates minimal felt recoil that most women can tolerate. The caliber boasts a wide range of ammo options for tailored performance to your chosen game, from predators to mid size game to larger animals. It's accurate, flat-shooting, and versatile. Naysayers complain the caliber isn't well suited for shots beyond 150 yards, but this distance is sufficient for many deer hunters.

.25-06 Remington

Another great option that can be outfitted for varmints, whitetails, and elk is the .25-06 Remington. It's flat-shooting, incredibly reliable, and capable of long-range performance - although the recoil for these shots might be a bit much for some women. Although not quite as popular as other deer calibers, the .25-05 Remington is an excellent choice for ladies looking for a versatile rifle that won't weigh them down too much.

.260 Remington

With mild recoil, plenty of takedown power, flat trajectory, and versatility for everything from predators to deer to big game, the .260 Remington is another under the radar caliber that's been time tested for whitetail hunting. Ammo can be a bit more expensive than other options on this list, but the .260 Remington is still a great choice to consider when it comes time to splurge.

Choosing the Right Deer Rifle

Everyone has their own opinions on what will be most effective and comfortable, but it's ultimately up to your personal preferences. With a general budget in mind, head to a gun shop or outdoor retailer where you can get your hands on a few different models and see what feels best. Keep your capabilities, goals, and hunting setup in mind as you shop, and take advantage of the opportunity to take test drives if possible. It's great to get input from your hunting buddies and the experts, but remember you'll be the one toting the gun into the woods and pulling the trigger. Make a wise investment in a deer rifle you can enjoy shooting for years to come. Happy hunting!

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What's the Best Deer Hunting Caliber for Women?