• Enhancing your Hunting Experience: Suppressors improve your hunting trips by eliminating the need for bulky ear protection while keeping your hearing safe. 
  • Yes, they’re legal: Hunting with suppressors is legal in 41 states across the country. 
  • Caliber Guide for Suppressed Hunting: We break down the best hunting calibers for suppressors, tailored for small, medium, and large game animals. 
  • Top Picks for Deer and Elk Hunting: Get insights on the best calibers for deer hunting, elk hunts, and other hunting scenarios. 
  • Optimal Choices for Long Range and Close Proximity: Find out the ideal calibers for long-range hunting over 500 yards and the best options for scenarios under 100 yards.

Best Hunting Calibers for Suppressors

Hunting is a great American pastime, and it’s made even better when you add a silencer to your hunting loadout.  

Wearing hot, bulky, uncomfortable hearing protection while out in nature is a hassle and takes you out of the element. This leads many hunters to ditch ear pro altogether, which later results in irreparable hearing damage and tinnitus. 


Getting a suppressor for your rifle allows you to leave the ear pro at home without blowing out your ear drums when it's finally time to take your shot.  

Suppressors are legal for hunting in nearly every state, and they're easy to get with the help of our team. 

Dozens of cartridges can do the job on most game animals in America. In this blog, we will break down the best calibers for hunting suppressed and why you should consider them for your next trek into the wilderness. 

Table of Contents

Hunting Calibers 

A hunting caliber should provide suitable terminal ballistics to ensure first-round knockdown power on the designated game animal, making clean, ethical shots should be a priority when hunting. Ideally, these calibers would also have low to mild recoil, and exceptional accuracy to your desired hunting range. 

It has been the topic of conversation at gun shops and around campfires for decades, which hunting rifle calibers are the best? 30 caliber rounds are the most commonly used cartridges and are among the best calibers for hunting. Classics like the .30-06, 30-30, and .308 have been putting meat on the table for over a century. 

Hunters are now adopting more modern calibers for their terminal ballistics, long-range capabilities, and their use with suppressors.

Hunting Caliber Chart 

To help simplify the calibers you should consider for your suppressed hunting rifle, we decided to look at which types of animals you’re hunting first. The chart below is broken into three categories: small, medium, and large game animals, and we've listed our favorite calibers for suppression for each.

NOTE: If a caliber is listed for a larger animal, it's safe to assume it would suffice for hunting smaller animals, but you might have more fur damage and meat loss. This list is not comprehensive; there are other appropriate calibers for hunting with silencers, but this chart should give you an idea of which calibers we think are ideal for suppressed hunting on various game animals.    


Game Size 

Types of Animals 

Suppressed Calibers 


Rabbit, Squirrel, Prairie Dog, Groundhog, Woodchuck, Etc. 

  •  .17HMR
    • A very small bullet, and small powder charge, but very fast and accurate. 
  •  .22LR
    • Small powder charge paired with a wide variety of projectiles makes .22LR one of the best calibers for suppressed hunting, you probably already have one in your safe. 
  •  .22WMR
    • If you want a little more “Oomph” than the 22LR, the .22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire has you covered. 


Coyote, Feral Hog, Deer, Antelope, Sheep, Etc.  

  • .223 Rem/5.56Nato
    • Incredibly common ammo, good hunting bullets, tons of suppressor compatibility. 
  • 6ARC
    • Bigger, heavier, bullet than 5.56, but still a moderate powder charge. Works in some 5.56 silencers and all 30cal cans. 
  • 300BLK
    • Supersonic and subsonic expanding bullets for supreme quiet hunting. 
  • 6.5 Creedmoor
    • Excellent accuracy and energy on target and uses an efficient design to help stay quiet while shooting suppressed. 


Elk, Moose, Bear, Bison/Buffalo, Etc. 

  • .308 Win 
    • The longtime go-to pick for North American hunters, tons of great silencer options. 
  •  8.6BLK
    • Developed specifically for hunting, subsonic and supersonic. Amazing performance with silencers 
  •  300WinMag
    • Great terminal ballistics and rated for use in most 30-caliber silencers. 
  •  45-70 Govt.
    • Ole reliable, the quintessential bison rifle, available in subsonic and supersonic loads. 

Best Caliber for Deer Hunting 

Hunting for deer is the most common type of hunting in America; whether you're chasing trophy whitetails up north or tracking down muleys out west, using the right caliber will make you a more effective hunter.  

Any of the calibers listed in the medium or large game categories above are recommended calibers for deer hunting: 

  • .223 Rem/5.56Nato
  • 6ARC
  • 300BLK
  • 6.5 Creedmoor
  • .308 Winchester
  • 8.6 BLK
  • 300 WinMag
  • 45-70 Govt.

Our pick for the best deer hunting caliber is 300BLK. 300 Blackout is incredibly effective on deer out to a few hundred yards, has low recoil, and is excellent for shooting suppressed. 300BLK is optimized for short barrels, allowing you to build a compact, lightweight, silenced hunting rifle to fill your deer tags this year. 

Best Caliber for Elk Hunting 

Elk are incredibly large and durable animals that require a powerful round and good shot placement to be hunted ethically. Because of the nature of elk hunts, you're usually shooting at least a few hundred yards, so a caliber with strong performance at range is vital.  

Our favorite picks for the best elk hunting calibers are .308 Winchester and 8.6BLK. These rounds have incredible long-range characteristics and are available with expanding projectiles to dispatch an elk quickly with a quality shot.  

They also both have great suppressor support, with various silencers available to work with the .308 and .338 diameter projects.   

Best Long Range Hunting Caliber 

We will define long-range hunting as anything beyond 500 yards, and as such, a fast-moving bullet with good energy on target is required. 

For medium-sized game, 6ARC is an excellent long-range hunting option. The 6mm projectiles use a high ballistic coefficient, meaning that they maintain their speed well, so they pack a punch even out beyond 500 yards.  

Some 5.56 silencers, such as the CAT WB, Otter Creek Polonium, and AAC Ranger 5, can accommodate 6ARC and sound excellent thanks to its moderate powder charge.  

For large game, 300 Winchester Magnum is the way to go. 300WinMag carries 1000 ft/lbs of energy out to 1000 yards; that's more than 5.56 has at 100 yards. The WinMag will make quick work of any animal in North America and can do it effectively at range.

Best Hunting Caliber for Under 100 Yards 

In many parts of the country, most hunters nearly never shoot beyond 100 yards due to the terrain they're hunting in.  

A short, light, quiet rifle is the ticket to a successful hunt for these close-range scenarios. Our pick for the best hunting caliber for under 100 yards is 8.6 Blackout. 8.6BLK allows you to use heavy subsonic bullets out of a short-barreled rifle platform and maintain your stealthiness.  

8.6BLK could take medium or large-sized animals under 100 yards with subsonic bullets from a suppressed hunting rifle. 

Best Hunting Caliber for 300 Yards 

About 80% of hunting shots occur within 300 yards, so choosing the right caliber for the job is critical.  

6.5 Creedmoor provides outstanding performance within 300 yards and can stretch out further if your first opportunity didn't quite work out. 

The 6.5 Creedmoor is beginning to be considered one of the best calibers for hunting due to being low recoiling and highly accurate, and the round sounds great when paired with a dedicated 6.5mm silencer like the Q Jumbo Shrimp or when used in .308 suppressors. 



Suppressed hunting offers a significant improvement to the traditional hunting experience. 

Using suppressors, hunters enjoy a quieter environment, reducing the risk of hearing damage and increasing their immersion in nature. 

Suppressors also improve accuracy and reduce recoil to make you a more effective shooter when the animal you're hunting steps into view. 

We've highlighted a range of suitable calibers for various game sizes and distances, demonstrating that effective hunting can be achieved without compromising on stealth or hearing safety. Whether targeting small game or tracking large animals, the right suppressed caliber ensures a more humane, ethical, and e