The Best Rifle Caliber for Deer Hunting: How Do You Decide?

If you ask 20 people what they think is the best rifle caliber for hunting deer, you'll likely get one of these three answers every time. 

I just so happen to be in the market for a new deer hunting rifle. Now that rifles have been legal for deer hunting in my home state for a couple years now, it's probably safe to say they aren't going anywhere.

Seeing as I'm new to this type of hunting, I've started from the bottom to try and figure out what sort of bolt-action rifle I want.

Recently, I asked the followers on my Facebook page what they thought the best caliber for whitetail deer was. More than 100 responses later, I think we have a clear-cut winner.

The Players

Really, based on popularity, the best deer calibers come down to the .243 Winchester, the .270 Winchester, the .30-30 Winchester and the .308 Winchester. Yes, there are many other rounds that make the grade, but these four repeated over and over again for a variety of reasons. If you are in the market like me, start your search right here.

According to my followers, the .243 shines when you want to take a deer from any range up to 300 yards while doing minimal damage to the meat.

The .270 takes the lead when it comes to shooting long range with more knockdown power.

The .30-30 is a great all around deer round, but lacks when it comes to longer-range, open-field settings.

Then the .308 does the most damage to the meat (pending shot placement), but you also get the most bang for your buck.

The Winner

However, one round kept getting more comments deer hunters than the other three, and that was the .270. It seems to be the clear-cut favorite as the top deer round available. The price point and abundance for high-quality bullets are great. This round can also be used on a variety of game animals around North America.

This caliber is available in many different rifles from just about every major manufacturer from Remington to Ruger. Effective from 500 yards or more, this just might be the best rifle cartridge out there for deer.

There are other popular deer cartridges, too, like the .30-06 Springfield or the .25-06 Remington, both of which can handle big game with solid shot placement.

What do you think? What's the best American deer rifle out there and what caliber should you chamber it in?