Just Pick One – Just One

Ron Spomer |

So will the .257 Roberts and the .45-70 Govt. Some will shoot flatter than others, some will hit harder than others but they’ll all kill whitetails.

The same goes for bullets. From cup-and-core Power Points to Monolithic Power Core 95/5s there are many bullets that will do the job. Some will usually shoot through, leaving an exit wound and a better chance for a blood trail. Others will usually lodge against the far side skin, expending all their energy within the beast. Some will expand a lot, some less. Others might break into two or more pieces and traumatize more vital tissues. But, applied to the vital zone, the old “boiler room,” all will kill whitetails.

But only if you can shoot.

This is the big secret to finding the best rifle for whitetails. It’s not the rifle, cartridge or bullet — it’s the shooter. Yes, there are subtle differences in ammo performance, but the fact that the former world’s record typical Jordan buck was taken with a puny .25-20 Winchester, a cartridge that throws an 86-grain bullet just 1,460 fps, a 60-grain just 2,250 fps, suggests you don’t need a .300 Win. Mag. to bag a buck. It’ll work beautifully, but so will a .243 Winchester properly applied.

So do yourself a huge favor. After you pick your favorite whitetail rifle, cartridge and bullet, practice and train with it until you can hit a 10-inch paper plate every time from every possible shooting position to whichever maximum distance you can. Train to carry it, swing it into action, align it quickly and fire it smoothly without hesitation or doubt. Train until you understand almost instinctively where your shots will land at 10 yards, 50 yards, 100 yards, 243 yards, 313 yards, 500 yards and every other yard.

Know that gun, that cartridge and that ammunition. And, as that famous philosopher once advised, know thyself. Then you can be one of those deadly hunters about whom is said: “Beware the hunter with just one rifle. He probably knows how to use it.”

Practice. Train. Those are the keys.