Chart of all Rifle Calibers In Order, And Their Power

If you’re just getting started in learning about firearms, it can be really complicated to understand all the different calibers and what each cartridge is capable of. Let’s begin with understanding what caliber actually means.

“Caliber” is the measurement of the internal width of a firearm’s barrel, and consequently the width of the bullet. A larger caliber such as .308″ means the bullet is physically wider than a bullet such as a .22″. Larger caliber bullets can cause more damage and generally weigh more, so they penetrate deeper; however, caliber only describes the size of the bullet, and provides no information as to the cartridge’s speed or power.

Next, we need to understand what exactly a “cartridge” is, and how that differs from a bullet. A “Cartridge” refers to the entire firing unit: brass case, primer, gun powder, and projectile. The word “bullet” only refers to the action projectile that is shot through the barrel and hits the target.

Now that you understand that, things will start to make sense. Let’s take an example. The .308 Winchester and the .300 PRC are both the exact same caliber. They both shoot a .308 caliber bullet. Don’t be confused by the names of cartridges. Sometimes they round things off to make a nice marketing name (such as the .300 PRC when it’s really a .308) and sometimes they use other ways to measure so they can have a nice sounding name.

Both the .308 and the .300 PRC can shoot the exact same bullet (projectile). For example, a 180 grain GMX bullet could be loaded and fired out of either cartridge. Bullet designs are mostly interchangeable between cartridges of the same caliber.

However, the .308 Winchester case is much smaller than the case of a .300 PRC. Thus, the .308 Winchester case can’t hold as much gun powder, so when it shoots the projectile, it won’t cause as much damage to the target.

Now you’re ready to see some numbers. On this chart, you’ll see the name of the cartridge, the caliber measurement for that cartridge, then an approximation of how big of an animal that cartridge could kill (much of which is highly debatable), and how much average energy the cartridge would produce at a typical hunting distance of 100 yards.

CartridgeCaliberSuitable for Hunting Animals Up To…Avg Muzzle Energy
.50 BMG0.51Anything with a pulse12600
.458 Win Mag0.458Cape Buffalo5063
.45-70 Govt0.458Elk at short range3138
.450 Bushmaster0.452Elk at short range2810
.444 Marlin0.429Grizzly Bear3067
.416 Rigby0.416Cape Buffalo5166
.416 Remington Magnum0.416Cape Buffalo5123
.416 Ruger0.416Cape Buffalo5498
.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 Legend0.357Elk 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
.30-378 Weatherby Magnum0.308Grizzly Bear4666
.300 PRC0.308Grizzly Bear4246
.300 Weatherby Magnum0.308Grizzly Bear4092
.300 RUM0.308Grizzly Bear4135
.30 Nosler0.308Grizzly Bear4111
.300 Winchester Magnum0.308Grizzly Bear3827
.300 WSM0.308Grizzly Bear3718
.30-06 Springfield0.308Elk3179
.308 Winchester0.308Elk2784
.300 Ruger (RCM)0.308Grizzly Bear2948
.300 Blackout0.308Hogs998
.30-30 Winchester0.308Elk1942
7.62 x 39mm0.308Deer1608
.28 Nosler0.284Elk3678
7mm Weatherby Magnum0.284Elk3482
7 STW0.284Elk3458
7 WSM0.284Elk3255
7mm Rem Mag0.284Elk3122
.280 Ackley Improved0.284Elk2912
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 Magnum0.264Marginal for elk3395
6.5 Weatherby RPM0.264Marginal for elk3098
6.5 PRC0.264Marginal for elk2780
.264 Winchester Magnum0.264Marginal for elk2766
6.5-284 Norma Match0.264Deer2462
.26 Nosler0.264Marginal for elk3125
.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/steel 🙂1712
.22 Creedmoor0.224Coyote1769
.224 Valkyrie0.224Coyote1519
.223 / 5.560.224Coyote1499
.22 Nosler0.224Coyote1613
.22-2500.224Coyote1654
.220 Swift0.224Coyote1766
.222 Remington0.224Coyote1165
.22 Hornet0.224Varmints680
.22 WMR0.224Varmints276
.22lr0.223Varmints133
.204 Ruger0.204Varmints1325
.17 Hornet0.172Varmints622
.17 WSM0.172Varmints398
.17 HMR0.172Varmints240

For many of you, that’s what you’re looking for. You want to know how powerful each cartridge is. But if you’re also looking for a conversion of caliber in inches to mm, the following chart should have what you’re looking for.

Caliber to MM Conversion Chart

Rifle Caliber NameCommon Metric NameBullet Diameter
.174.5mm.172″ (4.32mm)
.2045.2mm.204″ (5.2mm)
.2235.56mm.224″ (5.7mm)
.22 (lr)5.6mm.223″ (5.66mm)
.22 (not lr)5.6mm.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)

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4 Comments

  1. Jordan Emfield says:

    You have the 350 legend labeled as a 378 caliber which is the neck diameter not caliber

    1. Jim Harmer says:

      Thank you! I’ll fix that.

  2. Wes Stewart says:

    On your YouTube comparison of cartridges under 300yards you say the .350 Legend is barely enough for deer, but here you say it is ok for elk. Even if it is at short range … Really??

  3. Wes Stewart says:

    In your YouTube video on cartridges for under 300yards you describe the 350 Legend as barely enough for deer. Here you have it listed as enough for elk. Even at short range… Really??