best ar-10 calibers

Best AR-10 Calibers: Top 9 Powerful Rounds To Try For Hunting & Competition

Surely, the best AR-10 calibers have the most amazing characteristics that can make your shooting and hunting adventures more of a great experience. If you are looking for one, it is not enough to just know what they can offer. With that said, this guide will also help you discover the best AR-10 calibers to try.

No worries, there’s one option to try with one of the best AR-10 calibers. So if you are still not able to make your pick, you can freely enjoy knowing each of the calibers to try.

In the firearms community, it is quite impossible not to hear about the AR-10 platform. It has earned overwhelming popularity and become a standard when it comes to hunting and competition. The primary reason for its high popularity in demand for the past decade and more is that it amazingly fits the needs of people seeking a reliable semi-auto rifle that has high accuracy, top-notch hitting power, and improved shooting performance at a longer range. 

Today’s model of AR-10 is available in a wide array of chamberings. That clearly means that there is more likely one option that is ideal for your shooting style and preferences. Therefore, it is hard to resist the temptation of getting yourself an AR-10 rifle. Now here comes another must-know information before jumping onto the AR-10 train: there are countless AR-10 calibers to choose from. With the number of choices out there, it will be too daunting to pick. No worries, this guide exists to help you with that. 

While it is pretty challenging to pick, let’s start with naming the best AR-10 calibers from the overwhelming options. But before taking a look at them, let’s first dive into knowing the difference between an AR-10 and AR-15

ar 10 calibers

AR-10 vs. AR-15

When it comes to the AR-10 platform, it is closely compared with AR-15. Well, AR-10 has popularity and demand first. But when there was a change in the demand, especially with the Army wanting a smaller round and lighter firearm. That is the primary reason for the booming popularity of the AR-15 as the most popular battle rifle. Still, it doesn’t change the fact that AR-10 remains an amazing rifle to try, especially for hunting and competition applications. 

Appearance-wise, it is quite tricky to differentiate the two. They look highly similar because their difference is not particularly focused on the visual. Instead, they differ in terms of caliber. For instance, AR-15s primarily utilized the iconic 5.56mm round. Meanwhile, AR-10s popularly and commonly shoot for a much larger .308 Winchester round. Interestingly, there are a lot of perks of being designed for larger rounds. 

Since AR-10s pretty much shoot with much larger rounds, they are generally more accurate, have more impact, and can significantly shoot further compared to AR-15s. Therefore, despite being the popular battle rifle, AR-15s still can’t overshine AR-10s at some point. One thing is certain; both have a fair share of the best characteristics and applications. Hence, you can’t go wrong choosing either. But the attention in this guide is centered on the AR-10—specifically on its wide variety of calibers.

So, let’s get into the topic and discover the most popular AR-10 calibers. 

ar-10 vs ar-15

Some of the Most Popular AR-10 Calibers

Truly, you will come across overwhelming AR-10 calibers in the market today. If you will look in the market yourself, here are a few of the possible calibers that you will see: 

  • .308 Winchester
  • .300 Winchester Magnum
  • .243 Winchester
  • .300 SAUM
  • .260 Remington
  • .338 Federal
  • .358 Winchester
  • .338 Lapua Magnum
  • 6.5mm Creedmoor
  • .45-70 Government
  • 6.5 Grendel
  • 6mm Creedmoor
  • 7.62x39mm
  • 7.62x51mm NATO
  • 7mm-08 Remington
  • .500 Auto Max
  • .30-06

Without a doubt, there are a huge number of choices to choose from. That said, the question leads to what are the best options and what makes one option better than others. There’s no need to feel daunted because compiled below are the best AR-10 calibers. 

9 Best AR-10 Calibers 

With all of the possible AR-10 calibers, it is quite hard to choose only one. That’s why it is much better to check out the list of the best AR-10 power-packing rounds compiled below to decide slowly on your choice. Let’s see them below. 

1. .243 Winchester

The .243 Winchester is considered among the most popular cartridges for AR-10 rifles. Since it is highly popular, it has great availability, so you won’t likely have a problem finding it online or on gun store shelves. While it is not the top pick for AR-10 caliber in terms of hitting power or long-range accuracy, it shines for a different purpose. In fact, it makes a very nice caliber for shooters looking for a light caliber to shoot. 

Greatly, the best selling point of the .243 Winchester is it being light to shoot. That means that it has a decreased recoil. You can shoot it and won’t even feel a significant kick, so you can enjoy your shooting experience more. You will surely have a nice deer hunting experience if you try this caliber. Notably, this one is a flat caliber with low recoil. Hence, no wonder it is quite popular despite having too many options to compete with. 

2. .260 Remington

Interestingly, the .260 Remington is significantly similar to the .308 Winchester. This caliber is great for having excellent long-range ballistics, together with the added benefit of reduced recoil advantage. That’s why it is also a comfortable caliber to shoot. While it is light to shoot, you have to be careful with over-penetration. For this reason, you need to be extra mindful and cautious about using it for self-defense purposes. But it can be a great caliber for hunters. 

3. 7.62x51mm NATO

Originally, the AR-10 was chambered in 7.62x51mm NATO. The ammo is plentiful and similarly shoots with a .308 Winchester round. It has almost identical ballistics. With the performance you can expect with 7.62x51mm NATO, you can find it an incredible hunting caliber. It can take down even larger hunting targets. So if you need a power-pack caliber for that purpose, you won’t be disappointed trying this. 

ar-10 calibers

4. .338 Federal

What’s interesting about the .338 Federal is that it is actually just a .308 Winchester that has been designed necked up to accept a .338 bullet. Of course, there are pros and cons that come with the design. For starters, the pros include ending up with a bigger bullet for your hunting target. In fact, many hunters like the .338 Federal for hunting bigger targets, such as moose, elk, bears, and caribou. 

Since the .338 Federal can handle big hunting targets, it is no surprise that it can efficiently and easily takedown hogs and deer. You can have a wide range of hunting targets with this caliber, so it makes sense that the advantage comes with a more pricey cost than others. In comparison with the .308 Winchester, you will see that the .338 Federal can have significantly more bullet drop and diminished range. 

While the .338 Federal is great for a wide array of hunting, it is, unfortunately, not the best choice if you want your AR-10 to shoot targets at longer ranges. Needless to say, it can still impress with its capacity and range in hunting. 

5. .300 Winchester

The .300 Winchester is fantastic as it has impressive power. That is why it makes a good pick for a short-action turn bolt rifle. Naturally, it fits well with AR 10s. Like other AR 10 calibers, it is also a good option for hard-hitting big, hunting game adventures. It will always make a good selection if you are searching for a trustworthy round for hunting.  

6. 7mm-08 Remington

Typically, bolt-action rifles shoot the 7mm-08 Remington. As for the AR-10, you might experience difficulty in finding the right rifle that will prove that the 7mm-08 Remington is great for hunting. If you find one, there is a high chance that you will end up with a rifle with interesting performance, such as a very flat trajectory, less recoil, and a high degree of accuracy. 

With the impressive performance of the 7mm-08 Remington, it deserves to be on the list. It can handle a lot of possible hunting targets, such as black bears, deer, elk, moose, and many more. Definitely, finding an AR-10 rifle that can prove this caliber is great is surely the real challenge. 

7. .308 Winchester

The .308 Winchester is the most classic choice for AR-10. In fact, it is the most common caliber that an AR-10 chambered in. The primary reason it is the most classic and the most prevalent caliber is that it rocks in terms of quality and performance. Aside from that, it is also among the most in-demand hunting cartridges in the world. 

What’s more, the .308 Winchester has a wide market because it is widely used by hunters, shooters, and even snipers and occasional shooters. When used for hunting, the caliber can help you easily take down and hunt black bears, deer, wild dogs, elk, and many more possible hunting targets. 

Certainly, you will never go wrong choosing this caliber. The .308 Winchester is a classic standard, after all. 

8. 6.5 Grendel

Even though the 6.5 Grendel is not as powerful and accurate as the .308 Winchester, it is still undoubtedly a good AR 10 caliber with its quality and performance. Plus, it is not completely inferior to the .308 Winchester since it has about 2-3x less recoil. With that said, it is much more comfortable to shoot for a better hunting and competition shooting experience.

Aside from comfort when shooting, the 6.5 Grendel is a much better choice if you need a caliber that will let you fire more accurately. Its lower recoil advantage plays a great role in its top-notch accuracy since a lower recoil significantly improves your shot placement. While you can hunt many targets using this AR 10 caliber, you must know that it is more suitable for small hunting games rather than big. 

So if you are interested in big hunting games, you should find something bigger. Needless to say, it will be a no-brainer choice for small hunting adventures and competition. 

9. 6.5mm Creedmoor

Aside from comfort when shooting, the 6.5 Grendel is a much better choice if you need a caliber that will let you fire more accurately. Its lower recoil advantage plays a great role in its top-notch accuracy since a lower recoil significantly improves your shot placement. While you can hunt many targets using this AR 10 caliber, you must know that it is more suitable for small hunting games rather than big. 

So if you are interested in big hunting games, you should find something bigger. It is a matter of suitability that will let you take advantage of what the 6.5 Grendel can offer. 

ar 10

9 Best AR-10 Calibers To Try

Surely, the best AR-10 calibers have the most amazing characteristics that can make your shooting and hunting adventures more of a great experience. If you are looking for one, it is not enough to just know what they can offer. With that said, this guide will also help you discover the best AR-10 calibers to try. 

No worries, there’s one option to try with one of the best AR-10 calibers. So if you are still not able to make your pick, you can freely enjoy knowing each of the calibers to try. 

1. Remington Core-Lokt .243 Winchester 100 Grain Centerfire Rifle Ammo

Remington Core-Lokt .243 Winchester 100 Grain Centerfire Rifle Ammo

The Remington Core-Lokt .243 Winchester has remained the standard for hunting adventures for several decades. With that said, with just a few uses of this cartridge, you will quickly see why it has been a leader in the market today. What’s more exciting to know about this cartridge is that it is always available and not too pricey. 

Moreover, this ammo utilizes one of the most proven effective hunting bullets that is ever developed: the original controlled-expansion bullet design. Featuring a progressively tapered copper jacket locked in a solid lead core, this .243 Winchester ammo provides the ideal controlled expansion and high-weight retention for a better hunting experience. 

Another noteworthy detail that makes the Remington Core-Lokt .243 Winchester worth buying is that it is only made from premium materials, such as powders, brass cases, and primers. So while you can’t rely on it in extremely long shots, you can still find it reliable in any hunting environment. 

2. Barnes VOR-TX Centerfire Rifle Ammo

Barnes VOR-TX Centerfire Rifle Ammo

Amazingly, the Barnes VOR-TX Centerfire Rifle Ammo has a wide array of available cartridges, including .260 Remington, .308 Winchester, .223 Remington, .243 Winchester, .30-06 Springfield, and many more. That is why it makes sense that it has various prices. In terms of performance, you can expect it to give you combined terminal performance, all-copper accuracy, and hand-loaded precision. More than that, the ammo also has lower fouling, lower pressure, and greater velocity—great advantages for hunting. 

In terms of construction, the ammo features all copper build. That is a lighter construction compared to other materials, such as lead. Since it is lightweight, it has better advantages, including higher velocities, less recoil, and flatter trajectories. The light construction surely plays a vital role that you can imagine because it also influences nearly 100% weight retention and brings surer, deeper penetration. As a result, you can expect sharp-edged petals that are advantageous for hunting. 

Compared to the Remington Core-Lokt .243 Winchester 100 Grain Centerfire Rifle Ammo, this one is reliable on longer shots since it can cause deadly effects on hunting targets. So, if you need a .260 Remington that is comfortable to shoot and excels in long-range, this might be a great choice. 

3. Winchester USA Target FMJ Centerfire Rifle Ammo

Winchester USA Target FMJ Centerfire Rifle Ammo

Available in a 7.62x51mm NATO cartridge, this pick delivers incredible performance ammunition that is best for high-volume shooting. Good thing it is available at an affordable price. Ideally, it is the ideal ammo highly suitable for semi-auto rifles and carbines, including AR-10, AR-15, and AK-47 variants. Also, it is well-compatible with bolt-action rifles. 

Loaded with premium components, the Winchester USA Target FMJ Centerfire Rifle Ammo ensures highly reliable functionality. Hence, it makes a great all-around choice for different shooting applications, such as self-defense situations, shooting practice, stockpiling for emergencies, and tactical firearms training. That is why you can trust that it will also be great for other applications, including hunting, competition, and more.  

4. Federal 338 200GR SP Power-Shok Ammunition 

Federal 338 200GR SP Power-Shok Ammunition

The Federal 338 200GR SP Power-Shok Ammunition is the right caliber companion that will let you handle any hunting situation. Not too much to say, but you can rock your hunting adventures with this ammo. What’s more amazing is that you can do that without costing your arms and legs. In fact, it is meant to deliver consistent and proven performance for hunting. Thus, you can definitely achieve your desired hunting results. 

Moreover, this is a good quality standard hunting bullet that stands out in a wide array of calibers. Hence, it is no wonder why it is a fantastic all-around choice for medium to large hunting games. With its overall quality and meant for applications, you can trust that this won’t ever disappoint you. 

5. Remington Core-Lokt .300 Winchester Magnum 180 Grain Centerfire Rifle Ammo

Remington Core-Lokt .300 Winchester Magnum 180 Grain Centerfire Rifle Ammo

Like the .243 Winchester caliber, this .300 Winchester from Remington also makes impressive hunting ammunition. You can count on this ammunition to help you with your hunting adventures, giving you the results you want and like. Its effectiveness is also backed up by a controlled-expansion bullet design, which is surely ideal for the said application. 

Since this caliber is also from Remington, it is no surprise that it follows the standard design that gives the best advantage for hunting. That means this .300 Winchester caliber has a progressively tapered copper jacket locked to a solid core that delivers the ideal and quick controlled expansion and high weight retention after impact. 

All in all, if you want ammo that is created from premium materials without having a pricey tag, this will make an obvious choice. 

6. Hornady Precision Hunter Rifle Ammo

Hornady Precision Hunter Rifle Ammo

The Hornady Precision Hunter Rifle Ammo is available in different cartridges, including 7mm-08 Remington, 6.5 Creedmoor, .308 Winchester, .30-06 Springfield, .25-06 Remington, and many more. So, if you are searching for the right ammo that is available in different calibers, this is a good choice. What makes it distinct from others is that it can deliver match-grade accuracy with a high-tech, expanding hunting bullet—the Extremely Low Drag eXpanding bullets advantage (ELD-X). 

Interestingly, the ELD-X bullets feature extremely high ballistic coefficients, a boat tail design, and secant ogives that promote the combined exceedingly streamlined and aerodynamic shape. These characteristics give advantages, such as reduced air drag, minimized bullet drop, and wind drift. Meanwhile, Hornady created a Heat Shield tip that effectively counters the effect of heat deformation. Thanks to that, the Precision Hunter Rifle Ammo can provide consistent ultimate accuracy. 

Additionally, the ELD-X Rifle Bullets exhibit a combined thin jacket at the tip for an initiative expansion and an impressive thicker jacket at the base for great control for deep penetration and optimum weight retention. One thing is certain; the Hornady Precision Hunter Rifle Ammo is specifically created to impress with hunting adventures. After all, you can expect it to deliver consistent ignition beyond a wide range of extreme temperatures and devastating terminal performance beyond 400 yards. That sounds amazing, right?  

If you are quite interested in this rifle ammo for 7mm-08 Remington caliber, you can always try it since it will never disappoint to be an ideal hunting companion. 

7. Winchester Super-X Power-Point Centerfire Rifle Ammo

Winchester Super-X Power-Point Centerfire Rifle Ammo

Available in .308 Winchester caliber, the Super-X Power-Point Centerfire Rifle Ammo has been proven to be highly functional and reliable in all types of environmental conditions. As well as providing lethal terminal performance in big games, you can find it truly all-around ammo. With just a few uses, you can easily see the advantage it can offer when hunting. 

In terms of construction, this rifle ammo is made using precision manufacturing processes combined with high-quality materials, including reloadable brass cases, high-quality primers, and powders. That kind of build provides reliable ignition and consistent accuracy. Additionally, the exposed lead-tip, Power-Point bullet is formed with a copper jacket that features strategically placed notches that initiate quick and uniform expansion. Thus, providing massive energy release. 

Besides the massive energy release, this Winchester Super-X Power-Point Centerfire Rifle Ammo can offer control expansion and retain weight perks for deep penetration power. With that said, you can take down your hunting targets better. While it is available at a low and reasonable price, it can get the job done in helping you earn your best hunting trophy. 

8. Nosler 120 GR Ballistic Tip 6.5 Grendel Ammunition 

Nosler 120 GR Ballistic Tip 6.5 Grendel Ammunition

Featuring a 6.5 Grendel caliber, the Nosler 120 GR Ballistic Tip 6.5 Grendel Ammunition is another great option that won’t let you down. In fact, it is considered well-built since it is loaded with highly accurate and reliable Nosler Ballistic Tip hunting bullets. These bullets are designed with a heavily jacketed base that acts as an innovative platform for large-diameter mushrooms. 

Aside from that, the Nosler Ballistic Tip hunting bullets also come with a boat-tail design that improves long-range accuracy for devastating performance when it comes to all practical velocities. That is why you can ensure this caliber’s maximum effectiveness in terms of hunting hogs, antelope, and deer. 

All in all, this Nosler 120 GR Ballistic Tip 6.5 Grendel Ammunition can surely impress you with how it can step up the accuracy, consistency, and down-range punch for a clean kill in all hunting situations. For that wonderful offer, this 6.5 Grendel ammo is certainly worth trying. 

9. Sierra Bullets Inc. Gamechanger 6.5mm Creedmoor Ammo

Sierra Bullets Inc. Gamechanger 6.5mm Creedmoor Ammo

For many years, Sierra Bullets Inc. has been proven to be a top-of-the-line brand that offers great projectiles for shooters and hunters alike. What’s incredible about Sierra is that it took the next step in delivering game-changing ammo options, featuring a complete lineup of hunting ammo. Of course, its Gamechanger 6.5mm Creedmoor Ammo is part of its top products, and it is no exception when it comes to quality and standards. 

Specifically, the Gamechanger 6.5mm Creedmoor Ammo is a highly popular and in-demand rifle round that can offer an increased capability and advantage to take the hunting experience and results to the next level. Besides that, that ammo also brings enhanced game-dropping capability. What’s more amazing is that it is designed as a deep penetrating round combining specially crafted loads. Really, Sierra has been attentive to detail which makes the ammo a real advantage for hunting applications. 

You can expect high value for your money for this ammo because it can work exactly as intended: deliver power-packing perks when hunting. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Want to learn more about the best AR-10 calibers? If that’s the case, you explore this FAQs section to discover more relevant information about them and other related topics. 

Are AR-10s heavier than AR-15s?

Generally, AR-15s can weigh between 6 – 7.5 pounds when unloaded, while the AR-10s can weigh around 7 – 8 pounds. With that said, AR-10s are obviously heavier, but it is not quick to notice since the weight difference is not that much. Appearance-wise, you can see that the AR-10s seemingly duplicated some of the parts of the AR-15s, including the bolt carrier group, upper receiver, and lower receiver. The most distinctive difference is that AR-10s have extended lower receivers as needed since they are meant to accommodate the larger rounds.

How far can an AR-10 shoot accurately?

When it comes to effectiveness in range, AR-10s can usually shoot accurately for about 600 yards—this is when they don’t have a powerful scope attached. If compared with AR-15s, they are a little more accurate since AR-15s have an effective range between 525 and 600 yards.

On the other hand, AR-10s can have an increased effective range of around 1000 yards when a good quality powerful scope is attached to them. Ultimately, the actual result will still depend on skills, but it is undeniable that using the right firearm and shooting accessories deliver the best results. 

What are the largest AR-10 calibers?

Technically speaking, AR-10s are really meant to accommodate large calibers. Because of that, you can look forward to the fact that there are a number of larger calibers if you search for the best AR-10 caliber. These large calibers include 6.5mm Creedmoor, 7mm-08 Remington, .338 Federal, and many more. 

Why is .308 Winchester the best?

The .308 Winchester is among the best AR 10 calibers for several good reasons. For starters, it can guarantee effective performance for different applications, such as tactical training, big game hunting, and long-range target shooting. Amazingly, it surely stands out for being ideally suited for hunting medium to large-sized games, even if there are several great calibers out there. 

Basically, the .308 Winchester caliber is the go-to and classic choice for hunters who want an incredibly effective and popular deer hunting cartridge. 

Is an AR-10 good for self-defense?

Even though AR-10s are great, it doesn’t mean they are perfect. Hence, it is quite obvious that they have flaws. With that said, you can expect that an AR-10 will not be that great for self-defense and home protection applications. The primary reason for that is AR-10s are generally shot in large calibers that are considered too big for most home defensive and self-defense purposes. 

What is the AR-10 best used for?

Remarkably, the AR-10 shines the most in hunting and excels in a long-distance shooting. Due to having heavier ammunition and a flatter trajectory performance, the AR-10 gains a better and longer effective range—it can go somewhere between 600 and 1,000 yards, depending on the skills and proficiency of the shooter. Compared to the AR-15, it is a far better choice for hunting and long-range target shooting.

Is the AR-10 good for hunting?

The AR-10 is not just good for hunting applications. In fact, it makes an outstanding choice for hunting due to its tactical designs. AR-10 is pretty much a modern hunting rifle. The AR-10 style that shoots using a .308 Winchester can take down even large hunting targets as long as the proper shot placement is done within the effective range. 

Is the AR-10 a good sniper rifle?

If you are searching for a superb sniper shooting experience in a lightweight firearm, the AR-10 makes an impressive option for a sniper rifle. Besides shooters and hunters, it is also used by snipers. 

Are AR-10s worth it?

Given the reputation of AR-10s, having one is definitely worth the money if you need a firearm that stands out in long shots and hunting adventures. Typically, an AR-10 can deliver top-notch accuracy and extra power, which are great perks for both applications. Ultimately, you can’t be disappointed with having a great AR-10. 

Final Thoughts 

At this point, with everything AR-10s can offer, it seems that it is not too much to say that they are fantastic weapons that offer great value for your money. You can have one and enjoy shooting and hunting with it, especially if you use the best AR-10 calibers. Hopefully, you can find this guide helpful because it is meant to be one. This guide is to help you easily find the best AR-10 caliber without feeling too overwhelmed or daunted by the number of options.  

For a clearer guide, there are certainly more suitable AR-10 calibers for specific purposes than others. Take the classic .308 Winchester, for instance. It can be a great companion for training and self-defense. Meanwhile, the 7mm-08 Remington is one of the most suitable bets for hunting as it can handle it all and won’t fall short of your expectations in terms of its help with power and recoil. Lastly, the 6.5mm Creedmoor caliber can impress with competition-grade accuracy. 

Really, there are great AR-10 calibers in this guide, so hopefully, you can find what’s best for you. For more guides like this, check out the Survival Gear Shack website to see more. 

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