Rifle Caliber Chart With Detailing Guide & How They Can Affect Your Shooting Explained

Rifle Calibers
Rifle Calibers

A rifle’s caliber is the diameter of its barrel, measured in inches or millimeters. Rifles are sometimes referred to by caliber and sometimes by the specific cartridge(s) that they can take. This article provides an overview of rifle calibers and how rifle calibers can affect your shooting And Finally the Chart of all Rifle Calibers In Order.

Introduction to Rifle Calibers

Although obviously, a cartridge has to be smaller than the inside of the barrel to pass through it, cartridges often have a name that combines their manufacturer and the caliber weapon that takes it.

Firearms and cartridges to fit them can be made in conjunction, or firearms can be made to fit available caliber bullets.


Often a manufacturer will release a new size cartridge and a firearm with a new caliber to match. But this doesn’t always go as expected.

For example, in 1990, Smith & Wesson and Winchester introduced the .40 S&W cartridge, but Glock was able to beat them to the punch by developing and releasing a pistol to fire it (the Glock 22) and a compact version of the same pistol (the Glock 23) before the Smith & Wesson Model 4006 pistol came to market, a little later in the year.

Caliber refers to the diameter of the bullet and can be measured in millimeters (metric system), inches (imperial system) or 100ths of an inch (American system).

Rifle calibers can be designated in inches or millimeters.

Measurements in inches usually show a decimal to the hundredths or thousandths place (.22 or .338), but sometimes the decimal point is omitted (22).

Measurements in millimeters may have a whole number (9 mm) or include tenths (6.5 mm).

Some metric measurements follow the diameter of the bullet (width) with the length, with an x in between (7.62 x 51). When the length is given, mm may not be included.

In metric measurements, the decimal is never omitted. Because cartridges are measured in a variety of ways, equivalently named cartridges as far as caliber are not always interchangeable.

Rimfire rifles are made in a limited number of calibers: .17, .22 and 5mm.

Centerfire cartridges are a different story.

Cartridges for centerfire rifles can range from .17 caliber to .950. Given the small size of the diameter of rifles barrels, it is not surprising that there are cartridges with incremental differences, for example, .220, .221, .222, .223, .224, and .225 are all available calibers. In fact, even though you may hear of a few calibers more than others, there are actually many, many choices.

Rimfire and Centerfire Rifle Calibers

Various calibers cartridges may be sorted by purpose on account of the range, recoil, size bullet it can handle, trajectory, and how it can be fired (singl, from a magazine, from an ammunition belt, etc.).

However, this does not eliminate controversy and arguments about which cartridge (and which caliber cartridge) is best for various purposes.

  • Some of the most popular caliber cartridges are the .22LR (Long Rifle), which is used for small game, target shooting, and plinking;
  • .308 Winchester (aka 7.62×51 mm NATO), which is used by military snipers, big game hunting, and law enforcement sharpshooting;
  • 5.56x45mm NATO adapted from the .223 Remington and used in assault rifles.

As you can see there are many types of Rifle calibers.

In fact, so many rifle calibers that you can easily become confused! The best thing to do is do your research and find out which rifle caliber is best for you then find the perfect rifle for you.

All Rifle Caliber chart In Order

CartridgeCaliberAvg Muzzle Energy
.50 BMG0.51Anything with a pulse12600
.458 Win Mag0.458Cape Buffalo5063
.460 Weatherby Magnum0.458Thick-skinned big game7380
.45-70 Govt0.458Elk at short range3138
.450 Nitro Express0.458Hunting dangerous game4909
.450 Bushmaster0.452Elk at short range2810
.444 Marlin0.429Grizzly Bear3067
.416 Rigby0.416Cape Buffalo5166
.416 Remington Magnum0.416Cape Buffalo5123
.416 Ruger0.416Cape Buffalo5498
.450/400 Nitro Express0.405Cape Buffalo3732
.378 Weatherby Magnum0.375Cape Buffalo6004
.375 Ruger0.375Cape Buffalo4780
.375 H&H Magnum0.375Cape Buffalo4560
9.3 x 62mm Mauser0.366Grizzly Bear4017
.35 Whelen0.358Grizzly Bear3932
.350 Legend0.357Deer at short range1907
.338-378 Weatherby Magnum0.338Grizzly Bear5035
.33 Nosler0.338Grizzly Bear4799
.338 Lapua Magnum0.338Grizzly Bear4851
.338 RUM0.338Grizzly Bear4694
.340 Weatherby Magnum0.338Grizzly Bear4674
.338 Win Mag0.338Grizzly Bear4164
.338 Federal0.338Grizzly Bear3340
.325 WSM0.323Grizzly Bear3596
.303 British0.312Black bear2440
.30-378 Weatherby Magnum0.308Grizzly Bear4666
.30-40Krag0.308Moose at shorter range2030
.300 PRC0.308Grizzly Bear4246
.300 Weatherby Magnum0.308Grizzly Bear4092
.300 RUM0.308Grizzly Bear4135
.30 Nosler0.308Grizzly Bear4111
.30 carbine0.308Deer1990
.300 Winchester Magnum0.308Grizzly Bear3827
.300 WSM0.308Grizzly Bear3718
.30-06 Springfield0.308Grizzly Bear3179
.308 Winchester0.308Elk2784
.300 Ruger (RCM)0.308Grizzly Bear2948
.300 Blackout0.308Hogs998
.30-30 Winchester0.308Elk1942
7.62 x 39mm0.308Deer1608
.28 Nosler0.284Grizzly Bear3678
7mm Weatherby Magnum0.284Grizzly Bear3482
7 STW0.284Grizzly Bear3458
7 WSM0.284Elk3255
7mm Rem Mag0.284Elk3122
.280 Ackley Improved0.284Elk2952
7 SAUM0.284Elk3004
.280 Remington0.284Elk2873
7mm-08 Remington0.284Elk2528
7mm Mauser0.284Elk2330
.27 Nosler0.277Elk3513
6.8 Western0.277Elk3011
.270 WSM0.277Elk3072
.270 Weatherby Magnum0.277Elk3176
.270 Winchester0.277Elk2862
6.8 Remington SPC0.277Deer1624
6.5-300 Weatherby Magnum0.264Elk3395
6.5 Weatherby RPM0.264Elk3098
6.5 PRC0.264Elk2780
.264 Winchester Magnum0.264Elk2766
6.5-284 Norma Match0.264Deer2462
.26 Nosler0.264Elk3125
.260 Remington0.264Deer2273
6.5 Creedmoor0.264Deer2231
6.5 x 55 Swedish Mauser0.264Deer1983
6.5 Grendel0.264Deer1447
.257 Weatherby Magnum0.257Deer2675
.25-06 Remington0.257Deer2201
6mm Creedmoor0.243Deer2125
.240 Weatherby Magnum0.243Deer2099
.243 Winchester0.243Deer1958
6mm Remington0.243Deer1953
6mm BR0.243Paper/steel1712
.22 Creedmoor0.224Coyote1769
.224 Valkyrie0.224Coyote1519
.223 / 5.560.224Coyote1499
.22 Nosler0.224Coyote1613
.220 Swift0.224Coyote1766
.222 Remington0.224Varmints1165
.22 Hornet0.224Varmints680
.22 WMR0.224Varmints276
.204 Ruger0.204Varmints1325
.17 Hornet0.172Varmints622
.17 WSM0.172Varmints398
.17 HMR0.172Varmints240

Rifle Caliber to MM Conversion Chart

Rifle Caliber NameCommon Metric NameBullet Diameter
.174.5mm.172″ (4.32mm)
.2045.2mm.204″ (5.2mm)
.22 (lr)5.6mm.223″ (5.66mm)
.22 (not lr)5.6mm.224″ (5.7mm)
.2235.56mm.224″ (5.7mm)
.2436mm.243″ (6.17mm)
.2576.53mm.257″ (6.53mm)
.2606.5mm.264″ (6.71mm)
.2706.8mm.277″ (7.04mm)
.2807mm.284″ (7.21mm)
.307.62mm.308″ (7.82mm)
.3258mm3.23″ (8.2mm)
.338.6mm.338″ (8.59mm)
.3669.3mm.366″ (9.3mm)
.3759.5mm.375″ (9.53mm)
.41610.6mm.416″ (10.57mm)
.5013mm.51″ (12.95mm)

Cartridges for Dangerous Game

In descending order of popularity the following calibers have been the most frequently chosen.

  • 375 H & H
  • 458 Win
  • 416 Rem Mag
  • 470 Nitro Express
  • 416 Rigby
  • 404 Jeffery
  • 500 Nitro Express
  • 450/400 Nitro Express

The 375H & H, 458Win and 416Rem are obviously the most frequently used because both cartridges and rifles are readily available at affordable prices.

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