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Hunter’s Handbook is the official student “how-to” information pipeline of the International Hunter Education Association. As the experts in teaching safe, ethical and successful hunting, we are here to provide tips, tools, and great video content as well as offer you a place that you can learn more about your love and favorite past-time—hunting.  Spend some time with us.  New content is added monthly, and we are excited to share our expertise with you.  We wish you a lifetime of safe and memorable experiences in the outdoors.

Hornady: Ammo for deer Hunters

Hornady: Ammo for Deer Hunters

Hornady Answers Questions About Deer Hunting Ammo Choices

By Joe Arterburn

Ask a deer hunter about his or her favorite ammunition and you’ll get nearly as many different answers as there are deer hunters. Well, not that many, but opinions vary widely.

For advice, I went to the source, the literal source of top-quality ammunition—Hornady Manufacturing. Here’s what I found out from Hornady’s Neil Davies.

 

What calibers or range of calibers should deer hunters consider?

Most hunters want a round that is fairly versatile and not necessarily pigeon-holed into one specific velocity range (distance). Bear in mind, some of what we all espouse is based on personal opinion and preference of one caliber over another, but I recommend anything based off the .308 Winchester cartridge case, or similar, with a controlled-expansion 6mm or larger bullet as the starting point for white-tailed deer. This includes cartridges like the venerable .243 Winchester, 7mm-08, the .308 Winchester itself, as well as a newcomer that has set the world on fire, the 6.5 Creedmoor. From there, cartridge options start to vary and provide different levels of performance. Bearing in mind we’re talking about possible shots from 100 to 400 yards, which is considered conventional range, the .243 Winchester is on the low end of the spectrum and .300 Rem Mag on the upper end.

 

What about bullets and bullet performance should deer hunters know?

There are many good bullet choices for deer hunters. In the Hornady line, it’s tough not to recommend the tried-and-true InterLock and the SST, short for “Super Shock Tip.” You don’t need deep penetration for deer as they’re considered thin-skinned animals. The InterLock and the SST are both controlled-expansion bullets that retain as much weight as possible thanks to a mechanical jacket-to-core InterLock that keeps the bullet together. Just make sure you are using a hunting bullet designed for controlled expansion on deer-sized animals, not a match bullet and not a varmint bullet.

 

What characteristics should deer hunters look for in ammunition?

Deer hunters should look for ammunition that is, obviously, in the right caliber for their gun. Aside from that, do research and look for bullets that are ideal for deer and deer-sized animals. You need accuracy, proper fit and feeding function in your gun and, of course, affordability helps too. Next, spend time shooting! Keep in mind, accuracy is the sum total of the capabilities of the bullet, ammunition, rifle and shooter. All Hornady bullets and ammunition are held to extremely tight accuracy standards but sometimes a shooter needs to try various bullet weights as some may simply shoot better in different guns.

 

What are traditional deer-hunting calibers and ammunition and are they still a good choice?

It’s tough to beat the 30-06, but how much fun would the world be with just one caliber? There are lots of great deer-hunting calibers, and advancements in propellant and bullet design have really breathed new life into some of the great classics. For instance, Hornady Superformance ammunition will increase the capabilities of every rifle by 100 to 200 feet per second or better.

 

Is there deer-hunting ammunition new to the market?

Hornady’s American Whitetail ammunition is specifically tailored to whitetail deer hunters. These are topped with Hornady InterLock bullets and are loaded to conventional velocity with high levels of accuracy and performance. And we’ve just introduced the popular 6.5 Creedmoor caliber to the American Whitetail line. That is a real winner.