5 Best Rifle Calibers for Youth Hunters

by Braxton Taylor

At the larger end of the spectrum, the 6.5 Creedmoor features a great recoil-to-power ratio that keeps shoulders bruise-free while ensuring a quick, clean kill. Brody Henderson was brought up under the old-school large caliber model, but these days he’s gravitated towards smaller but still effective cartridges.

“As a young deer hunter, I used everything from a 16-gauge shotgun loaded with slugs to a .30-30 to a .30-06. These days, there are better choices for youth hunters,” he said.

He argued that the 6.5 Creedmoor is a great long-range cartridge that produces mild recoil while maintaining the necessary energy to kill big game animals.

“With today’s selection of premium bullets, there’s no need to go with a bigger caliber, and the 6.5 Creedmoor considerably outperforms the smaller .243 Winchester,” Henderson said.

A decade of field work has proven the 6.5 as an effective big-game cartridge, but it only produces about 13 ft.-lbs. of recoil energy, give or take a few pounds depending on rifle weight and load charge. But its 140-grain bullet still packs a punch, traveling about 2750 feet-per-second (fps) and producing about 2,350 ft.-lbs. of energy at the muzzle.

A .30-06 Springfield, by contrast, produces about 18 ft.-lbs. of recoil while only generating 2,821 ft.-lbs. of energy at the muzzle with a 150-grain bullet.

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