Your first consideration should be caliber. Again, it takes a certain caliber to do the job of precision rifle shooting. As a rule, we recommend a minimum of .30 caliber for a rifle round. Again, this is our rule; there are plenty of long range shooters shooting calibers that are smaller than .30 caliber (examples: 6.5mm Creedmoor, .243 Winchester, .270 Winchester, lots of wildcats, etc. ). We have a different agenda than most long range shooters; we are thinking also of ammunition and component availability as well.
Some common long range calibers that are .30 caliber and up are:
- .30-06 Springfield
- .308 Winchester
- .300 Winchester Magnum
- .338 Winchester Magnum
- .338 Lapua Magnum
Overwhelmingly, we recommend .308 Winchester. It’s a fantastic and time proven round that is used by armies and law enforcement all around the world. Specifically, we like .308 Winchester because:
- It is widely available
- Compared to other .30 caliber rounds, it is more prevalent and more affordable
- It is still in use of military and police units
- The selection of rifles that shoot .308 Winchester is vast
- It has excellent ballistics to 800 yards and fairly good ballistics to 1000 yards
- It is an excellent all around rifle caliber
- Brass and bullets are widely available
The point is, we are not simply long range shooting in a vacuum. We are preparing for the worst, and thus we need to have a round that does more than just sport perfect ballistics. Sure, a .338 Remingon Ultra Magnum has better ballistics and develops more terminal energy into its target, but where do you get that round in the apocalypse? In fact, even though .50 BMG, .408 Chey-Tac and .416 Barrett are all ballistically superior rounds to the humble .308. They are also an order of magnitude more expensive and hardly available at all – right now – when everything is up and running!