Is there a one-size-fits-all rifle for women? It's an interesting question, especially if you're searching for the best deer hunting calibers for women. With typically smaller frames, some women can have difficulty shouldering the same guns that big, burly men carry into the whitetail woods. Aside from higher-priced, custom-made rifles, a few fit both men and women quite well. While any deer rifle fit for a man can still do the job for a woman, a few models offer a better overall fit for many women. There might not be one caliber that's right for every woman, but one of these top picks will suit all your deer hunting needs.
While recoil will be a prominent factor for women scouring outfitters for the perfect rifle caliber, hunters should consider a few universal rifle caliber qualities. We'll go over each of them below. 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, head to a gun shop or outdoor retailer to 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.
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 put a big buck on the ground ethically. 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 can be 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.
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 and big game such as elk. It still boasts mild recoil that won't leave you banged up and boasts a flat trajectory and better long-range performance. Some manufacturers offer compact models that are easier for women to manage in the field, and a wide range of ammo options won't break the bank for this caliber. Grown men fawn over this do-it-all rifle, so it's certainly more than sufficient for any female hunter.
A 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 the 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 many models. The .270 Winchester is an excellent caliber for deer hunting, and with the correct load, it can also drop big game. It's hard to go wrong with a caliber that offers such long-range accuracy & power with so little recoil. Women may enjoy shooting with this caliber.
With 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.
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 women looking for a versatile rifle that won't weigh them down too much.
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. Consider it a similar version of the .270-good punch, good range, good accuracy, and mild recoil.
This article was originally published on December 9, 2021.
READ MORE: 6 BEST HUNTING WADERS FOR WOMEN
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