Best Ammunition For Hunting, Best Bullets for Hunting

What ammo should you use for hunting? As you might guess, that is a bit of a loaded question. The correct answer depends on what you are hunting, where, in […]

best hunting ammo best hunting ammunition hornadyWhat ammo should you use for hunting?
As you might guess, that is a bit of a loaded question. The correct answer depends on what you are hunting, where, in what conditions, with what firearm, along with a variety of other considerations. However, we can make some generalizations that will help you select the best hunting ammo for you. One thing we know for certain… Ethical hunting means don’t use Match, OTM, Full Metal Jacket (FMJ), Practice or Range ammo for hunting!
For the examples below, lets assume we are talking about deer hunting. Although the logic applies equally to any sort of hunting.

Best ammo for Deer hunting

best hunting ammoHere are some common deer hunting ammo options that are tuned to be effective against deer:

Energy Transfer
I generally look for hunting ammo with expanding or frangible bullets since barrier penetration is not likely to be a consideration. Look for a modern bullet design that will expend it’s energy IN the deer instead of just punching a hole and carrying some of it’s energy OUT the other side of the deer.

best hunting ammo best hunting ammunitionBullet Integrity
Depending on what you are hunting, you may want a bullet that expands, but does not fragment (medium game, like deer), or a varmint or frangible bullet that practically disintegrates on impact (smaller game like coyotes).

Expansion Characteristics
Many modern hunting ammunition bullets are designed to expand fully within certain velocity parameters. Be sure that you select hunting ammunition that, when fired from YOUR gun will stay within the velocity parameters for effective expansion for the full range that you plan to hunt. For example, if a bullet only reliably expands at 2,000 FPS or greater, your maximum shooting lane distance while hunting will be 500 yards, but the bullet velocity drops below 2,000 FPS at 300 yards, then that bullet might not be the best option for a 400 or 500 yard shot as you would not expect full expansion.

Flight Characteristics:
Look for projectiles with a higher ballistic coefficient and sectional density. Higher BC & SD bullets will generally fly straighter (less drop, less wind deflection).

best hunting ammo best hunting ammunition G2 Rip

This is NOT hunting ammo!

Other Considerations:

  • If you hunt in an area where there are restrictions on the use of bullets that contain lead, then you might need to consider hunting ammunition with a 100% copper bullet like the Barnes TSX.
  • If you hunt with a lever action rifle then you need to be sure you only select rounds with soft or wide/blunt points so that the tip of one bullet doesn’t set off the primer of the bullet in front of it in the tubular magazine under recoil or if the gun is dropped.
  • If you hunt with a very shorter barreled gun than is normal for the cartridge then you will likely need a round with fast burning powder so that it develops sufficient velocity in the shot barrel.

Practice like you hunt:
And most important… Zero your sight using the hunting ammo you will hunt with and only shoot at a deer within a range that you have tested, so you know where the bullet will hit. If you use different kinds of ammo for different tasks, then I recommend you record DOPE data for each one.

Where to buy hunting ammo:

Fortunately in most places in the USA it is still relatively easy to find commercial hunting ammo at local gun stores, big box stores, outdoor stores, or via online ordering. We recommend one of the oldest and most established shooting stores in the US, Brownells (link), as they have good selection and generally reasonable prices.

Originally posted 2015-10-28 18:12:10. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

About Jeff

Jeff is the Editor in Chief of Gear Report and a National Shooting Sports Foundation Media member. He reports on the outdoor industry, reviews gear for camping, hiking, shooting, hunting, paddling, backpacking and other active pursuits. A USAF veteran, Jeff earned a MBA in Marketing and Health Services. He specializes in consultative selling and internet marketing. As the VP of BD & Marketing, Jeff provides sales and marketing leadership to MGECOM, Inc. and helps acquire new clients in need of solutions for online merchants in need of Affiliate Marketing program management. Jeff founded and manages Cress Sales & Marketing LLC, offering online sales and marketing consulting and services to online merchants and service providers.