How to pick the best ammo for every big-game species


Controlled-expansion bullets are best for large, tough game such as bears (Credit: Marina Spinks)


When making your decision, consider the velocity of your cartridge, the size of the game you’ll be hunting, your anticipated shooting distance and how well a particular bullet shoots through your rifle. Keep in mind that, generally speaking, the higher the impact velocity, the harder your bullet must be to control the expansion. The more a bullet expands, the wider the wound channel and the shallower the penetration.

Smaller, thin-skinned game, such as deer, are easily handled with softer, wide-mushrooming cup-and-core bullets, as penetration is less of a concern. On larger game, such as elk, moose and bears, consider a controlled-expansion bullet designed for increased penetration.


You don’t have to use the same bullet in every hunting scenario—instead, always match your bullet to the game and conditions you’ll be hunting. Above all else, however, the most important detail to remember is that bullet placement trumps every other variable. It doesn’t matter how a bullet is constructed, or what materials it’s made of, if you don’t put it where it belongs.