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Which Is the Best Caliber for Hunting Deer, Elk and Grizzly Bear With the Same Rifle?

I’ve been reading a little and I’ve seen articles about these animals. The suggested calibers ranged between the .243 Win and the .338 Win Mag, but which one is the best for taking all of them down, without ruining the meat of a whitetail and ensuring the death of grizzly with one shot?
If you disagree there is one caliber for taking all of them down for sure without ruinign the deer’s meat, suggest two calibers.

Asked by:sigviesca


  1. M.P.M says:

    i would say the 338. win mag or 30-06

  2. Qbnsizzle says:

    Forget the .243, minimal for deer & way too small for elk and bear. .338, doable, but maybe a bit much for deer. I would think that the 30 06 would be your best choice just because you have so many choices in bullet weight. I personally don’t like the 1 rifle for all occassions.

  3. randy says:

    well, I was going to say that I take mule deer, elk and black beat with my .270, but then I see that you are talking Grizzly, so for me, I want all the caliber I can get, and if I was knowingly going after Griz, I would say .375H&H, which is a little on the strong side for deer, nice for elk, and works well for griz. In fact, Elmer keith loved using them for elk.
    shoot safe

  4. falconry2 says:

    This is where something like the 30-06 shines. You can load 165 grain bullets for deer,elk and moose, then load up 220 for the grizz. Moving up to 338 isn’t going to hurt that much more meat if you use controlled expansion or Bonded Core premium bullets. Reloading does come in handy for that,but many ammo makers are offering premium bullets. 338 is more power than you really need, but you can never be overgunned in grizzly hunting.
    I would stand by the 30-06, simply it is so pleasant to shoot compared to a 338 Mag;the more comfortable you are with your gun the better shot you are, and shot placement with a proper bullet is key.

  5. confused says:

    In my opinion a .300 Win is the caliber I use. It is large enough for the bear and elk and a well placed shot will not tear up a deer. I also use a 7mm mag for deer and elk but it does have a pretty good kick. Which ever caliber you decide to get the main thing is to shoot your gun as much as you can so well placed shot will be an ethical kill.

  6. AKpilot says:

    I would go with .375 H&H. It is a cartridge that, with proper bullet choice, is perfectly suitable for deer, moose, brown bears, elk, etc all the way up to elephants. In my experience, it leaves a slightly less devastating wound channel than a .30-06 but delivers far more kinetic energy.
    The .338 Win Mag is a very capable round, but slightly less comfortable, and less versatile.

    By the way, anybody shooting at a brown bear with a .30-06 is asking for a set of claws in their ***. Around here, .338 is considered the minimum.

    While the .375 would be my “only one rifle” choice, I usually use the .375 H&H Mag for moose, elk, bison, and brown bear and a .270 Win for deer, sheep, goats and black bear.

  7. Big Daddy! says:

    Why does everyone always think that Elmer Kieth is dead?

    .338 is overkill for anything east of the mississippi unless you want to drop a pcp addict. That round will devastate a whitetail.

    .338 is the baseline for large bears though.

    The only round I would consider for what you want is the 30/06 BUT ONLY if you load you own rounds!

    Otherwise, I wouldn’t try to spread a specific round that far.

    Best of luck!

  8. Arkel D says:

    .338 win mag.

  9. John de Witt says:

    None in that range will do. It’s madness to go after dangerous game with less than 338, and it’s hot enough to ruin a lot of meat on a deer, though picking just the right load would work. It seems counter-intuitive, but if you think on it, the way to go is up: 9.3×62 or 375 H&H (or perhaps the new 375 Ruger) would be the way to go. Those fat bullets at moderate velocities ruin less meat than smaller ones that hit fast. 35 Whelen may be your idea of adequate for the big bears, too. Out of the bunch, I’d pick 9.3×62, with 232 grain bullets for deer, 250 for elk, and 285 or more for bruin.

  10. Ryan B says:

    if you would like to Patrice a great hunting rifle i would get a teka rifle they are top of the like hunting and definitely affordable and are made by the same Company as Sacco and Beretta arms so they are top of the line definitely

  11. travis s says:

    I have used my 338 win mag for the last 17 years hunting everything from prairie dogs to elk. Granted it was only one prairie dog, but it worked as expected. I have harvested many, many deer and antelope with it. I feel it ruins less meat than a 7mm mag, perhaps even less than a 300 win mag. The slightly lower velocity results in less hydrostatic shock, and thus less blood shot meat. My brother in law hunts with a 7mm and my dad uses a 300 win. The 338 is absolutely awesome on elk. I’ve never had an elk stay on its feet, some got back up, but with a solid hit, they’ve all been knocked down. I’ve shot over 15 elk with it. I’ve never shot a bear, but I wouldn’t feel under-gunned with my 338 win mag. I feel it is truly the best all around North American cartridge if you throw bears and moose into the mix. It may be more than needed for most species, but if you can handle the recoil, why not; especially if you are limiting yourself to one gun.

  12. david t says:

    I’d say a 300 wim mag would be the best for what you are wanting. A little small for grizzly bears and a little big deer.

    A hefty side arm is always a good idea for grizzles.


  13. ishootbirds2 says:

    the 8mm Mauser (and Mauser rifles) has been popular for hunting such for the last couple decades. just use FMJ ammo if you don’t want to decimate meat (of a smaller animal like whitetail) and heavy JSP ammo when you need *********** and power (to take a bear).

  14. rotorhead says:

    My vote would be for the 30-06. Nice variety of loads available. Something lighter for deer, heavier for elk or bear.

  15. says:

    Your Best Choice for harvesting these Game Animals is the 30-06.* It has earned its name and reputation after making 15 consecutive one-shot kills on American Big Game.* The 30-06 probably never will be excelled as an all around rifle for American and some African Big Game Animals.*

  16. k3yston3king says:

    If you are new to hunting/shooting sports a .338 Winchester Magnum is going to be a bit much. Deer to grizzly bears is a wide range. Deer are easy to kill, where as grizzly bears are not. As others have suggested, I would look towards a medium bore cartridge. You could get something along the lines of a .338-06 A Square, 35 Whelen, 9.3×62, .338 Winchester Mag, .340 Weatherby, 9.3×64 Brenneke, .375 H&H(or Ruger) or any number of wildcats. These would all prove effective against grizzly bears. I have a few in this range that and have had quite a few others. Currently, I have a 9.3×62 built on a FN Mauser action that is the superb. 286gr Nosler partitions at 2400fps is good medicine for anything in NA. I’ve also got an 8mm-06 Ackley Improved built on a German Mauser and a 8mm-338 Improved on a Whitworth Mauser. I’ve had .358 Norma, .340 WBY, .375 Taylor, .35-348 Improved, among others.

  17. wholesalefishart says:

    I only get one gun? Make mine the .338. There’s top end and low end loads for anything I want to hunt in North America, and that especially includes big grizzlies.

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