Best Deer Caliber without a Lot of Recoil

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Hunting has never been a walk in the park. For a novice, rifle recoil has been a challenging endeavor. This has led to many challenges, including a lack of accuracy when they go out for a hunting escapade. Having the best deer caliber will not only improve accuracy, but you will also be safe.  

What is Recoil, and How is it Related to a Bullet’s Accuracy?

Recoil takes us back to Newton’s 1st and 3rd laws of motion, which say that any object in motion tends to stay in the motion unless acted upon by another force.  And for every action it makes, there is an opposite and equal reaction. 

Therefore, when you fire a gun, you make the powder burn, thus creating a hot gas. This is the gas that expands, creating pressure, and as it escapes, there is resistance. The bullet is forced through the barrel at a very high speed. Due to the shell’s motion, as it runs, it creates an equal and opposite reaction as the powder gases the presses against (through the case head) the rifle’s bolt face. The opposing responses push the bolt back, locking lugs, rifle stock, and the hunter’s shoulder.

A good deer caliber should help to absorb the backward acceleration. The lesser the recoil, the more accurate and effective the shooter you will be. And “6.5-284 Norma” tops our list as the best deer caliber without a lot of recoils. 

A Review of the Best Deer Hunting Calibers without a lot of Recoil

The Best All Rounded Deer Hunting Caliber

6.5-284 Norma, 

The 6.5-284 Norma began as a precision caliber, and when the hunters discovered it, it became a household name in the hunting genre. What makes this model top our list is that its case is longer than most of the other calibers; thus it can use the heaviest 6.5 pellets with mild recoil.  When you load it with a 156 or 160-grain slug, it will give you the desired result for hunting the largest, non-dangerous game. 

Best Deer Hunting Caliber for People with Small Stature

243 Winchester

The 243 Winchester is a caliber which for long, has been a favorite for most of the deer hunters due to its compelling performances and low recoil.  When 243 Winchester cartilages made its appearance, it shot to fame because it was well-suited for shooting varmints using lighter shots and taking deer with shots in the 95-105 gr range. It became a darling for small stature people, youth, and shot softer-kicking rifle lovers. 

Best Deer Hunting Caliber for Quarter Bores

257 Roberts 

The 257 Roberts caliber is also known as 257Bob.  Lovers of this model say that the cartridge is suitable for quarter bores with mild recoil, and the energy remains below 10-foot pounds with most commercial loads. It is very effective on the deer-sized game.

Hornady offers 257 Roberts +P Superformance shots with a 117gr. SSR shots have a muzzle velocity of 2,945 fps from a barrel size of 24 inches and have a drop of 7.3 inches at 300yrds  and with 200yrd zero. But the shortcoming is that it may be hard finding the ammo unless you load your own.

Best Deer Hunting Caliber for Downrange Ballistics

260 Remington 

The 260 Remington started based on a necked-down 308 Win and was primarily used for competition shooting.  In 1997, Remington legitimized the product as a factory offering. The 260 Remington uses 264 inches or 6.5 mm bullets and not a 260 diameter bullet.  It is a mild-recoiling caliber and can drive high-ballistic shots out of short-action rifles with accurate and commendable downrange ballistics. 

 With pellets in the 1640gr weight class and average hunting distances, the 260 Remington falls roughly in the middle performance between 6.5 swedes and 6.5 Creedmoor. This isn’t a bad place to be; most American ammo makers load for the 260 Remington with good 120-140gr hunting pellets. 

Federal 260 Remington bullet using a 140gr starts at about 2,700 fps and has 1,358 ft. pounds of energy at 300 yards . It drops 8.8 inches at this distance when using a 20yrd zero. 

Most Accurate Deer Hunting Caliber 

6.5×55 Swedish 

6.5×55 Swedish has been a favorite caliber for many hunters and has been around for over 125 years where it began as a European military round. 

With the proper ammo, this caliber is quite useful and has mild recoil of less than 11-foot pounds of energy.  Today, ammo makers in the USA load 140gr load to a muzzle velocity of something more than 2,500 fps except Hornady.  This makes it very accurate.

When you tag deer with a swede, you may not likely notice the difference. The swede pushes loads slower than the 6.5 Creedmoor, and loads with the same size will drop more at 300 yards or beyond.   6.5×55 Swedish is very effective and can take any game species including deer and elephant. 

One of the shortcomings of using this model is that it lacks factory ammo options compared to other popular 6.5mm Brethren. 

Best Deer Hunting Caliber with Readily Available Ammunition

30-30 Winchester (ammo Readily Available)

It was first introduced in 1895 and is believed to have accounted for whitetail deer and black bears more than other cartridges. When a 150gr load is fired from a rifle with the same weight, the 30-06 Springfield recoil is about twice as much as the 30-30. 

If you want to improve the performance, use Hornady’s Lever evolution ammo.  It uses bullets with elastomer flexibility that will help you achieve high ballistic coefficients and flatter trajectory. The only limitation is that it is considered a wooden cartridge, meaning that it has to be loaded with aerodynamically-efficient round nose loads to be stacked in the tubular magazines of lever-action rifles safely. 


Most shooters say a 15-foot pound of free recoil energy, and a recoil velocity of less than 15 feet per second should be the maximum comfortable recoil revel.  But recoil tolerance is a personal thing and subjective and defies any mathematical analysis.  They are small-statured individuals who prefer to shoot big guns. Others who can wrestle flinch, but they are easily pushed down a barrel chambered by firearms.  

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