Skip to main content

10 Best Long-Range Rifle Cartridges Ever Made

10 Best Long-Range Rifle Cartridges Ever Made

Want to test the outer limits of your shooting skill? There's more to successful long-range shooting than slapping a bipod and a big scope on your rifle. You'll need a cartridge that lives up to the high expectations demanded at ranges up to and beyond 500, 600 or even 1,000 yards.

Choosing a long-range cartridge is more complicated than selecting a round with the flattest trajectory or fastest velocity, although those do play a role. Ballistic coefficient (the measurement of how easily the bullet passes through air) is a critical part of the equation, as well. So are barrel twist and length. In fact, all the various factors work together (or against each other) to affect long-range accuracy.

Try these different loads until you find the one that thumps steel at long ranges consistently in your favorite rifle. And then stick with it.

Hornady | Remington 6mm

Hornady 6mm Remington cartridge

The 6mm uses the same bullet as the .243, but since the 6mm is made from a necked-down .257 Roberts, the case has a little more powder capacity. That results in faster speeds with the same .24 caliber bullet. Hornady' 100-grain InterLock BTSP has a muzzle velocity of 3,100 fps in 6mm, while the .243 leaves the barrel at 2,960 feet per second. Recoil is slight, but the light bullets are sensitive to wind.


Factory loads are not very common, either, at least not in loads designed for long-range accuracy, so you'll likely have to rely on hand loads for best results.



Lapua | Bench Rest Norma 6mm

Lapua long-range cartridge

The 6mm Bench Rest is quite possibly the best long-range cartridge you've never heard of.

It is, however, gaining a large following among hardcore target shooters, although it has been quite popular in Europe for some time where it has been used to win numerous target competitions.

The 6mm BR is available in a limited number of factory-loaded options, including Lapua's 90- and 105-grain bullets, both excellent long-range loads.

The drawback is that a little-known cartridge translates to a limited selection of rifles. Most are custom-made, although Savage offers three target-grade models.



Hornady | 6.5 Creedmoor

Hornady, Hornady Creedmoor

Introduced by Hornady in 2007, the 6.5 Creedmoor quickly became a favorite among a legion of shooters looking for a cartridge that could outperform other match-grade cartridges at long ranges.

Because it's relatively new, and thanks in part to the long list of more popular shooter- and hunter-tested cartridges, the 6.5 hasn't quite caught on among the masses. Yet. It's a superb long-range cartridge and a top-notch hunting round.

It's only available in a handful of rifles, including the Ruger Hawkeye, and factory-loaded ammo is limited, although more choices are becoming available every year. Hand-loaders have lots of options in .264 bullets, including Sierra's 140-grain SBT, which has a BC of .495 above 2,800 fps.



Nosler | 7mm Remington Magnum

Nosler, Nosler Trophy Grade

A popular western big-game cartridge, the 7mm Magnum doubles as an excellent tool for long-range target shooting. It was introduced in 1962 and essentially knocked the .264 Winchester Magnum several notches down on the popularity list after hunters and shooters put the 7mm Mag to the test.

The belted cartridge can be loaded for velocities up to 3,500 fps with lighter bullets, but the best long-range loads use a heavier bullet with a higher BC and velocities between 2,800 and 3,000 fps.

High-quality factory ammo is readily available in sporting goods stores and there are numerous bullet selections for reloading enthusiasts.


Hornady | .308 Winchester

Hornady .308 A-Max Ammo

Although many long-range shooters have their own favorite caliber, no other caliber is as popular as the venerable .308.

It's the number one choice for military and law enforcement snipers alike and it's a great all-purpose hunting round. High-quality match-grade ammo and various bullets are readily available, making the .308 a great round for those who want to test their favorite hunting rifle at a long-distance range. It's also a proven caliber among serious long-range shooting enthusiasts.


Barnes Vortex | .30-06 Springfield

Barnes Vortex, Barnes Vortex 30-06

The "aught-six" doesn't get a lot of respect at the long-range bench, but it should. It's certainly not as accurate as the .308 at extreme ranges, but at distances of 400, 500 or even 600 yards, it's accurate enough in the right hands with the right gun and load.

The .30-06 has stood the test of time as a capable military cartridge during World War II and as a highly effective big game cartridge after the war. It deserves long-range respect. And just as .308 shooters have a wide selection of top-shelf match-grade ammo, .30-06 enthusiasts have plenty of factory load options to choose from as well as hand-loading components.


Barnes Vortex | .300 Winchester Magnum

Barnes Vortex .300 Magnum

A powerful cartridge that shoots fast, flat and far, the .300 Win Mag is a powerful long-range caliber. It's not as popular among match shooters as the .308 or a number of other lesser-known cartridges, but it's effective, nonetheless.

Because it uses the same bullet as a .308 and .30-06, there is a large variety of bullet sizes and configurations available to handloaders in addition to plenty of high-quality factory options. Barnes' VOR-TX 180-grain TTXS load, for example, has a BC of .484 and a muzzle velocity of 2,960 fps.


Weatherby | .300 Magnum

Weatherby Magnum

Developed in 1944 as an exclusive cartridge for Weatherby's own guns, the .300 Weatherby Magnum has been a staple among big game hunters around the world. It's also serves as a great long-range cartridge.

The Weatherby is a bit faster than the .300 Win Mag and carries a little more energy downrange. The only drawback to Weatherby's high-quality ammo is its price. The company's 180-grain Accubond load has an MSRP of $90. Luckily, a number of manufacturers offer similar loads for lower prices. Hand-loaders can also save on cost by making their own loads tailored to specialized specifications.


Winchester | .338 Lapua Magnum

Winchester Lapua .338

The origin of the .338 Lapua ought to be enough to convince you that this is a damn fine long-range cartridge for both hunting and target shooting.

Developed in 1983 for military snipers, the .338 Lapua underwent extensive testing before it ever saw action, but it quickly became a favorite among American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. Dozens of other militaries and law enforcement agencies now use the .338 Lapua.

A word to the wise: the better long-range cartridges are in the neighborhood of 250 grains. Yes, they can wallop your shoulder, but many of the match-grade rifles are heavy enough to significantly dampen recoil. Winchester's 250-grain Match bullets have a BC of .587 and a muzzle velocity of 2,900 fps.


Hornady | .375 Ruger Magnum

Hornady Ruger 375 Magnum

"Big-bore" and "long-range" may not necessarily belong in the same sentence, but the Ruger .375 Magnum is arguably the best choice for long-range accuracy when talking about big-bore cartridges. 375-Ruger-250-Gr.-GMX-Superformance/ lead-free, 250-grain GMX Superformance has a reasonably strong BC of .430 and a muzzle velocity of 2,900 fps while still producing an impressively flat long-range trajectory for such a heavy bullet.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Make Your Own Tackle Box with Plano Edge Flex

Make Your Own Tackle Box with Plano Edge Flex

Plano's Charlie Davis and In-Fisherman's Rob Neumann talk about the new Plano Edge Flex as part of the 2020 ICAST New Fishing Gear Guide.

Minn Kota Raptor

Minn Kota Raptor

Associate Brand Manager Adam Knowles, from Minn Kota, talks with Rob Neuman from In-Fisherman, about the all-new Raptor shallow water anchor.

Daiwa Tatula Swimbait Rods

Daiwa Tatula Swimbait Rods

No matter what your bass catching goal is, Daiwa's Tatula line of rods is perfect for every job according to MLF Bass Pro Tour veteran Cody Meyer. Here's why.

Daiwa Tatula 300 Baitcaster

Daiwa Tatula 300 Baitcaster

The new Tatula reel is perfect when an angler is on the water fishing big baits for big bass!

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Anglers can find catfish in practically any freshwater system in the South, but some waters really stand out for monsters.The South's Best Waters for Trophy Catfish Catfish

The South's Best Waters for Trophy Catfish

John N. Felsher - August 21, 2020

Anglers can find catfish in practically any freshwater system in the South, but some waters...

Sight Savvy: Different styles of bow sights each have their strengths—and weaknesses.How to Pick the Right Bow Sight for You Bows

How to Pick the Right Bow Sight for You

Tony Hansen - August 25, 2020

Sight Savvy: Different styles of bow sights each have their strengths—and weaknesses.

More adjustability and improved balance make these nine compounds even easier to shoot.The Best Compound Bows for 2020 Bows

The Best Compound Bows for 2020

Jace Bauserman - August 24, 2020

More adjustability and improved balance make these nine compounds even easier to shoot.

Almost anyone can catch a bunch of small catfish. Hooking a true monster requires a different level of preparation, skill and effort.A Time for Giant Catfish Catfish

A Time for Giant Catfish

John N. Felsher - August 24, 2020

Almost anyone can catch a bunch of small catfish. Hooking a true monster requires a different...

See More Trending Articles

More Ammo

Whatever your hunting philosophy, there's a capable deer bullet that fits your needs.Best Deer Bullets Anywhere Ammo

Best Deer Bullets Anywhere

Joseph von Benedikt - January 23, 2019

Whatever your hunting philosophy, there's a capable deer bullet that fits your needs.

How much emphasis should you place on a bullet's BC?Bullet Ballistic Coefficient: When It Matters for Hunters Ammo

Bullet Ballistic Coefficient: When It Matters for Hunters

Richard Mann - March 23, 2020

How much emphasis should you place on a bullet's BC?

 Hornady is serious about making sure any friction heat does not melt or deform the bullet tip inFirst Look: Hornady ELD-X Bullet Ammo

First Look: Hornady ELD-X Bullet

John Geiger - November 13, 2015

Hornady is serious about making sure any friction heat does not melt or deform the bullet tip...

Extra rounds close at hand can save your hunt. There are better options than your pockets.The Importance of Ammo Maintenance Ammo

The Importance of Ammo Maintenance

Richard Mann - December 18, 2019

Extra rounds close at hand can save your hunt. There are better options than your pockets.

See More Ammo

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Game & Fish App

Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now