About Rifles for Big Game North America

The purpose of this chart is to provide the big game hunter with a comprehensive selection of widely available rifle calibers and loads for individual North American big game species. Obsolete rifle cartridges, limited availability proprietary cartridges and those which have not gone into wide use have been omitted. Bullet weight and construction favor heavy-for-caliber loads with high cross-sectional densities and ballistic coefficients.

Consideration was given to popular rifle calibers, the distances at which game is typically taken, the anatomy of the trophy and the energy needed to penetrate into the vital organs to make a clean kill. Selections were made using a combination of practical experience, ballistics reference tables and published works by recognized subject matter experts.

View our North American Game Guide Chart

About Rifles for African Game

The variety of game available for big game hunting is vast, and being under-gunned can put a hunter at a significant disadvantage. Consequently, this chart omits all .25, .270 and 284 (7mm) cartridges. Any obsolete rifle cartridge, limited availability proprietary cartridges and those which have not gone into wide use have also been omitted.

Replacement ammunition can be hard to come by in Africa, and relying on common rifle calibers is prudent. Each of these would work on small to medium-sized game, but could be inadequate on larger species. In addition, many countries have minimum rifle caliber restrictions for dangerous game.

Bullet weights and construction favor heavy-for-caliber loads with high cross-sectional densities and ballistic coefficients that work across a variety of game animals. Consideration was given to the distances at which game is typically taken, the anatomy of the trophy and the energy needed to penetrate into the vital organs to make a clean kill. Selections were made using a combination of practical experience, ballistics reference tables and published works by recognized subject matter experts.


View our African Game Guide Chart

About Shotguns for Upland, Waterfowl and Small Game Hunting

Having a reliable and consistent shotgun is important for any successful hunt, particularly for fast-moving upland birds where lightweight and fast-shooting shotguns are required for smooth swing through, steady leads and accurate shooting.

The right type of ammunition can also make a big difference; however selecting the right shotshell for the job is not always as simple as you’d think. Shot patterns are varied, making it hard to select the correct load. If you know the right combinations of pellet size, shot material, payload and velocity for what you’re hunting, this will help significantly.

Another factor is choke, where improved cylinder chokes are ideal for quail, dove, ducks and other upland game at relatively close ranges, and modified choke is a good choice for all-round use and dove hunting, windy day pheasants and waterfowl hunting with steel shot. Full choke is preferable for turkey, squirrel and other game shot at 40 + yards. Don’t forget to consider the choke’s pattern spread when considering which type to use.

View our Upland Game Guide Chart

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