We start with16 contenders for the title of Best Whitetail Round, which have been split into two divisions and seeded by SHOT Business contributing editor Christopher Cogley. We chose Mr. Cogley to help us because he is highly qualified and so I have someone to throw under the bus if necessary. His seeded selections (which you are free to take issue with, as my @$$ is covered) are:**
(1) .270 WSM -- By improving on the ballistics of the original .270, this could be the best deer round in the woods today.
(2) .270 Win. -- The standard bearer in deer cartridges. It is cheaper to shoot than the .270 WSM, but its ballistics aren't quite as good.
(3) .25-06 -- Gentler on the shoulder than the .270, but not quite as much energy or overall performance.
(4) .243 -- It's small. But light recoil helps you put shots exactly where they need to go.
(5) 6.5x55 Swedish Mauser -- With larger bullets, it can outperform the .260, but its U.S. fan base is small.
(6) .257 Roberts -- Light recoil and flat shooting, but factory loads are limited and can't match the energy or velocity of the .25-06.
(7) .257 Weatherby -- Great long range performance, but high prices make practicing with these cartridges costly.
(8) .260 Rem -- It has the light kick of a .243 and more knockdown power, but its low popularity makes ammo harder to find.