Choosing the best hunting caliber for your bolt action rifle is a very personal decision, determined by different factors. Does a perfect recipe exist?
There are certainly coordinates to help you find the right hunting caliber and make your hunting day with your rifle an unforgettable experience.
Selective hunt has reopened in many countries, and finally hunters can also go back to immersing themselves in their passion! Nothing is left but to prepare a backpack, lace up your boots, pick up your bolt action rifle… and get into nature.
A dip in the landscape be it in the mountains or the hills, to pass hours in wait and intense emotion, among the scent of the greenery and the awakening of nature that, you know, in Spring is a sight to see.
Selective hunt controllers have been waiting for nothing else and those of you that are selective hunters can confirm.
Selective hunting is in great demand at a time like this, in which the excessive presence of wild animals in the country, even close to the city, is in need of being controlled.
The first ingredient for choosing a suitable hunting caliber for your bolt action rifle is a profound knowledge of ballistics.
This choice is influenced by numerous factors: the type of hunt, the wild animal to be taken, the environment and hunting scenario, the bullet used for that caliber, the characteristics of the rounds and of your bolt.
Selective hunting of ungulates is practiced either as stalking or hunting from hide.
Hunting techniques that thrill many, many hunters and combine in-depth knowledge, nerves of steel and moments of waiting, before going into action with maximum precision.
Compared to hunting wild boar, in which those who hunt with a smooth-bore firearm prefer a semiautomatic shotgun slug and an over-and-under slug and those who prefer rifled guns choose semi-automatic rifles, in the selective hunting of ungulates, the use of a manual repeating rifle is preferred.
What is the criteria for choosing the hunting caliber of a bolt action rifle for the selective hunt of ungulates?
For starters, the hunter, based on his or her needs, will have to evaluate whether to choose a so-called all-round caliber and therefore usable on all game, changing only the type of bullet and calibration, or to prefer a specific caliber for the individual species
The important thing is to make a conscious choice that guarantees maximum effectiveness.
The main criteria for the choice of hunting caliber are energy and shot distance. One could say that a fast caliber guarantees greater target energy even with a lighter ogive.
Another important factor to consider is the grazing light, or the capability to maintain really tense trajectories, preserving speed even at considerable distances and in the presence of lateral wind.
This is an essential ballistic characteristic in some types of hunt, like chamois hunting or of other alpine animals, in which you could arrive to shoot from 300 to 400 meters.
Hunters today are surely fortunate to be able to use helpful instruments to calculate the shot trajectory, like rangefinders and ballistic turrets, always more precise and sophisticated.
After having decided which hunting caliber to use, every hunter will have to focus on the best choice of ogive, because this will determine the ability of the bullet to effectively deliver the shot energy provided by the caliber.
The keyword is destination. Which wild animal and in what hunting scenario?
With daring poetic license, we could say: “When in Rome, do as the hunters do.”
In big game hunting of African wildlife, for all the antelopes up to eland, calibers from 7 mm to various 30 are recommended, and it’s even better if magnum, or the European 8×68, while in general Italian ungulates have a lower resistance and dangerousness.
The choice of bullet must be made based on the characteristics of the game.
For example, a SOFT POINT bullet for high-speed sliding calibers will be preferred with medium-small game.
In Europe, we tend to use more expansive projectiles.
For hunting roe deer with a bolt action rifle, low calibers are used, such as the .222 Rem in Europe, .243 Win, .240 Wby, .270 Win, fast, precise, and with minimum recoil or a .308 Win guarantees great efficiency even at long distances, while for stubborn species like wild boar, we advise to choose a hunting caliber from 7mm and up and 30 calibers.
Very important and non-negligible in the choice of the hunting caliber and ogive is your bolt action’s barrel twist rate.
There are different types, but the most widespread is the traditional one, like in the Franchi Horizon.
The family of Horizon bolt action rifles offers a wide array of configurations, with a wood or polymer stock, available starting this year even with a detachable magazine in the Black Synt models, with a gray finish and in a camo version, in all of the main calibers: .223 Rem, .243 Win, .270 Win, .308 Win, .30-06 Springfield, .6,5 Creedmoor and .300 Win Mag.
Each barrel twist rate determines a certain speed, that is it guarantees a complete turn of the bullet in a specific distance of the barrel.
A barrel twist rate of 8 will be faster than one of 11, because it will produce a complete turn of the bullet in 8 inches of barrel.
Depending on the game you want to hunt, it will be necessary to choose faster barrel twist rates capable of stabilizing heavy bullets or slower ones for lighter ammunition.
Choosing the best-suited hunting caliber is like choosing a well-fitting outfit that will determine the success of the hunting action.
So, we need to take the time necessary, make all the necessary judgments, and understand which one is best for us!