Best Deer Caliber Rifle [Archive] - Glock Talk

PDA

View Full Version : Best Deer Caliber Rifle


jp_vcu
11-06-2009, 19:25
I'm looking around for a deer rifle. I've always hunted exclusively with a shotgun, but I've gotten to where I'd like a bit more range and stopping power.

My budget (for the gun and scope) is about $500.

Anybody got any opinions on rifle calibers? Everybody around here says that I need a 7 mm magnum.

380Seecamp
11-06-2009, 19:37
I understand the 7mm Mag is great (lots of friends and relatives shoot it; I don't have one) but for deer, even the .30-06 is more than enough.

minnshooter
11-06-2009, 19:56
30.06 is hard to beat. Check into Savage rifles, they should be right in your price range. There are lots of good deer calibers. If your hunting southern deer, you could go down to a .243 but up north where I am a 25.06 is about minimum. .308 can work well too, just about anything bigger than a .243.

that1seven
11-06-2009, 23:55
what kinda deer? i know here in nebraska a .270 is plenty
i hunt wit 308 tho

havensal
11-07-2009, 07:06
I prefer the .270 Win. It's hard hitting and flat shooting. It's a very versatile caliber. :wavey:

bubba803
11-07-2009, 09:13
I used a .270 for years and loved it. You can't go wrong with a 30-06. Very versatile with a lot of different loads. I use a Marlin 30-30 now with the Hornady Leverevolution ammo. That ammo is great and really extends your range. Plus, the lever action is just so freakin' cool!

gunrunner0
11-07-2009, 18:10
I prefer the .270 Win. It's hard hitting and flat shooting. It's a very versatile caliber. :wavey:

+1 For the .270 Great Caliber

Free Radical
11-07-2009, 18:18
Another vote for the .270

msoprano
11-07-2009, 18:25
I know a lot of people don't think much of the .243, but I love it. It's easier to focus on the fundamentals and shoot well with a low recoiling round. That leads to confidence which many magnum shooters don't have in the field. Though I've only shot 7 deer with mine, I have yet to recover a bullet (100gr PowerPoints), all exits, 3 DRT. I also use a 7mm-08 and a 30-06 on occasion.

Also, the nastiest wound I've seen on a deer was caused by a .243 (95gr Ballistic Tip) on a ~80lb doe. That means nothing really, just sharing.

havensal
11-07-2009, 18:32
I sure wouldn't feel underpowered with a .243 or .308. I have taken my .300 savage out a time or two. My 25-06 does the job well also. :cool:

ryanl
11-07-2009, 18:41
.270 or 30.06
Check out the Marlin XL 7's, if you shop around you can get one for $300 or so.
I handled one today and was VERY impressed. The gun shoots better than MOA.
Fit and finish was like the accuracy, way better than what I would expect for the price.

DowntimeLA
11-08-2009, 01:38
7mm-08, no need for the magnum for deer unless your shooting 400+

Foxfire5
11-08-2009, 01:58
I like the Ruger 77 in 6.5X55.

luv2brode
11-08-2009, 12:16
i love these questions
i use a 308 now, just gave my son his first rifle for x-mas last year it was my grandpas 243 savage mdl 99 he took his first deer with it.
i used to ask my dad this same question on just about every game he hunted, he said it aint the gun its the shooter.
i saw him take elk with that 243 in northern cali.
every deer i have shot with it dropped within 5 steps
and yes i told the boy he is never allowed to part with that gun.

up1911fan
11-09-2009, 14:51
I'd say 7mm-08 as well. It's a great round.

paynter2
11-09-2009, 19:47
All of the above and dozens more. There are tons of calibers that will take a deer efficiently. I've shot deer with just about all of the above calibers - except the 7mm Mag.

Yesterday, I shot a nice 8pt at 265 paces (off hand - probably 240-250 yards) with a Remington M788 in .243 - 100 Gr PP factory load, 2-7 Nikon. I was a little back - blew the liver in half. The deer went about 75 yards before it bled out. I would prefer lungs, but at that range, off-hand, I'm satisfied.

Smaller rifles are just such a pleasure to shoot. My favorite is the 6mm Rem. But, I retired my Ruger 6mm and my M788 6mm is unfired. I don't want to shoot it now.

Try a small caliber for deer - you won't be disappointed. Don't let people tell you they are too small for deer. As a kid, I shot 4 bucks that weighed over 200# dressed (with my 6mm). All fell right now.

Edited to add - I've never shot the 6.5X55. It's my understanding that this is an excellent deer caliber. The word is that this round kills way beyond its ballistics.

Acemedic1
11-09-2009, 19:55
I hunt with 270, 300win mag, and 7mm mag just depending on range/type of terrain really. I have owned everything from 25-06 - 300win and taken deer with all of them. Just a sidenote, although ive never owned a .243 the best shot ive ever seen was a deer taken with one neck shot at over 500 yards...off hand.

mdhandyman
11-09-2009, 19:56
<TABLE class=tborder id=post14082602 cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=6 width="100%" align=center border=0><TBODY><TR vAlign=top><TD class=alt1 id=td_post_14082602 style="BORDER-RIGHT: #8c735a 1px solid">Heres mine 770 7mm remington mag.


<TABLE class=ncode_imageresizer_warning id=ncode_imageresizer_warning_7 width=600><TBODY><TR><TD class=td1 width=20>http://glocktalk.com/forums/images/statusicon/wol_error.gif</TD><TD class=td2 unselectable="on">This image has been resized. Click this bar to view the full image. The original image is sized %1%2 and weights %3.</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>http://i802.photobucket.com/albums/yy307/mdhandyman/newremington7707mmmag-1.jpg?t=1257026056 (http://i802.photobucket.com/albums/yy307/mdhandyman/newremington7707mmmag-1.jpg?t=1257026056)
<!-- / message --></TD></TR><TR><TD class=alt2 style="BORDER-RIGHT: #8c735a 1px solid; BORDER-TOP: #8c735a 0px solid; BORDER-LEFT: #8c735a 1px solid; BORDER-BOTTOM: #8c735a 1px solid"><!-- BEGIN TEMPLATE: postbit_onlinestatus -->http://glocktalk.com/forums/images/statusicon/user_online.gif <!-- END TEMPLATE: postbit_onlinestatus -->http://glocktalk.com/forums/images/buttons/report.gif (http://glocktalk.com/forums/report.php?p=14082602) </TD><TD class=alt1 style="BORDER-RIGHT: #8c735a 1px solid; BORDER-TOP: #8c735a 0px solid; BORDER-LEFT: #8c735a 0px solid; BORDER-BOTTOM: #8c735a 1px solid" align=right><!-- controls -->http://glocktalk.com/forums/images/misc/progress.gif</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>

mdhandyman
11-09-2009, 19:58
http://www.remington.com/pdfs/m770_brochure.pdf (http://www.remington.com/pdfs/m770_brochure.pdf)


Just add a sling an some ammo.

JMag
11-09-2009, 20:02
I have a .30-'06 and a 7mm Mag; both work for most any U.S. large game with the proper loads.

wheels41
11-10-2009, 12:37
Another vote for the 270. I've harvested deer as close as 50 yards out as far as 285 with it and haven't lost one yet. Nosler Ballistic Tips are great!!!

Mouth
11-16-2009, 10:28
I've shot 3 deer with my .243, all of which dropped on the spot. I never had to track any of them. 20 yards was the closest shot and 150+ yards was the longest. I love my .243 and have no need to go to anything else for my deer hunting needs.

pitt1011
11-17-2009, 20:31
Another vote for the .30-06. With the variety of loads availible, you can hunt just about any big game in North America

Big Bird
11-17-2009, 21:09
Any caliber .243 Winchester or bigger will work. Only a fool would argue against a 30-06. I have a had a long term relationship with a particular pre-64 Model 70 featherweight in .270 Winchester. But I've been cheating on her for the past three years with a custom built pre-64 M70 in .280 Remington.

This year I took my Kimber 84 Montana in 7-08 into the mountains as its a REALLY light tight shooting great handling little gun. Today I walked up two hills over 800 feet in elevation change over a very short distance and was very happy to have the 6.5lb (with scope) Kimber on my shoulder.

I've taken deer with quite a few calibers but never really found a nickles worth of difference between any on them on deer. I've probably killed 70+ whitetail in my life...easily half with the .270 Win. You shoot enough deer you'll find about half drop in their tracks. Maybe 35% will drop within 20-30 yards. BUt there will be a certain number of perfectly hit deer that insist on running for a hundred yards +/-.... This happens regardless of your caliber or how well you hit them. Its just the way things go.... Then there are the ones you hit poorly or loose....and again, if you hunt enough you will have those too. Too many factors outside your control--you aren't shooting a paper target. They sometimes move when you pull the trigger. Or you loose you grip just as the trigger breaks, or ....you name it.

Any centerfire caliber .243 (I like the Sierra 87gr game king in .243...)or better will get the job done. No need for the added expense and punishment of a magnum for deer.

Brass Nazi
11-29-2009, 14:45
The .270 win is my favorite. A .270 or 30-06 is way more rifle than is needed for whitetail but many including myself use them anyways. Just about anything with the word magnum in it is simply not needed.

The ideal whitetail rifle is chambered for something like .257 Roberts, 30-30 Winchester, 6.5X55, 260 Rem, 7-08, etc....

nighthawk23
11-29-2009, 14:56
I harvested my first deer at the age of 7 with a .243, but once I turned 16 I have been using a .270 and a bow ever since. .270 is my vote!

Travispitt
11-30-2009, 01:38
four bucks in four years with a .223wssm
it's one sweet shooting gun.

TangoFoxtrot
12-04-2009, 18:53
.270, .308, .30-30, 7mm Mag., .30-06. There all great calibers, there are many variables you have to answer before you can decide.

mitchshrader
12-04-2009, 19:13
if you're going to own one rifle, get a .30-06 and zero it for 200 yards and quit.

People have been saying that 3 or 4 generations now, and it ain't a lie yet.

JMag
12-04-2009, 23:29
if you're going to own one rifle, get a .30-06 and zero it for 200 yards and quit.

People have been saying that 3 or 4 generations now, and it ain't a lie yet.

Amen...some just like to complicate such things.

:supergrin:

ajstrider
12-05-2009, 05:24
There a at least a hundred answers to this. If it is truly only going to be a whitetail deer rifle, I would suggest finding a rifle that doesn't put out more than about 17 foot pounds of recoil. It will be a whole lot more enjoyable to shoot and it will build confidence up in your shooting ability, which is great when that big deer steps out of the woods all the way across that field. The calibers that fall into this category that I like and are quite popular for deer...

270 Winchester
.308 Winchester (30-06 is just above the 17 foot pound recoil threshold I have set)
7mm-08 (hard to beat this one for deer, it recoils very little, around 13 ft lbs, but puts out a nice 7mm bullet and is pretty darn flat shooting if you look at ballistics)
.260 (cartridge is sort of dying off, which is sad, because it is a great for deer)
25-06
243 (don't let anyone trash talk this one, it has killed a ton and ton of deer all over this country)

If I had to choose one of those, I would go with the 7mm-08. There may not be a huge selection of factory ammo out there, but every round is designed with a purpose and you can find one for about anything you want to hunt with it. There is a good selection of rifles chambered in it too.

As far as rifle choices go...

Remington 770 kit that includes a scope is quite a popular rifle and I think it will fit right into your budget. It is available in several calibers I have listed above and several more powerful calibers.

The new T/C Venture is a real tack driver of a rifle, but unfortunately it sells right at 500 dollars here and doesn't have a scope with it. It is only chambered in long action rounds for right now, so the only caliber above that could be found in it is the .270 Winchester. If you could expand your budget a little bit, this is the rifle that I would get. I read that it will be released in short action calibers early 2010.

Good luck and I hope that my posting will be beneficial to you.

TattooedGlock
12-06-2009, 06:50
I use a 45-70 for everything except small predetors and I love it.

bandmasterjf
12-13-2009, 13:48
There is no magic caliber. There's not a single gun/caliber posted that wouldn't do the job for you. If you consider things like range, ammo price, availability, and recoil, you've got to narrow the field considerably. I'll give you my top 4 in order considering those and other issues.

270Win All over the best choice IMHO. The recoil is manageable, there are lots of different bullets to choose from, and pretty much any place you walk into that carries riffle ammo will have it. Past 300 yards it actually shoots flatter and has more energy than the 30-06.

308 Close to the 270 with a bigger hole. No real reason to have it below the 270. Ballistically they are very close. With less powder than the 270 and similar sized bullets the 308 should theoretically have less recoil. Bullet selection, availability and price will be comparable to the 270.

243 Little brother to the 308. Recoil on the 243 is pretty mild yet it's got plenty power to take a deer out to 300+ yards. Again ammo availability and price is comparable to the 308. You are limited to 115 gr. bullets with most places toping out at 100gr. You can however go all the way down to 45gr. with it, making for a great coyote or varmint round. My only concern with the 243 would be a really big deer up North. But then again lots of elk are taken with it.

30-06 Very good round and a bigger hole than the 270 and 243, but at 200 yards is the deer going to know the difference in the hole? Probably not. The -06 can shoot a 180gr. monster and take any big game in the Continental US or drop down and be used for yotes if you don't want to keep the hides on them. Only two drawbacks for the 30-06 and to be honest, they really aren't a big deal. Recoil is going to be a bit stiffer than the 270, is going to be considerably more than the 308 and is going to feel like a Sherman tank compared to the 243. If you ever want to take your girlfriend, wife or daughter the 06 may not be a good plan. The other "drawback" is that past 300 yards the 06 looses energy faster than the 270 and doesn't shoot as flat. If your like the vast majority of hunters and will never shoot past 200 yards, this really isn't an issue, but if your going to shoot 500-600 yards you may want to go with the 270.

As for your $500 limit. If you want a good gun/scope combination this really limits you, but it's very doable.

I wouldn't make the mistake of spending $450 on a gun then putting $50 crap glass on top. I would take a look at the Marlin XL 7, Savage, Stevens, and Mossberg ATR 100. I'd also look at the H&R/NEF guns. I've got 3 and they are all tack drivers. All are good shooting no nonsense utility guns. I'd get a good set of rings, that's going to cost you $50+ and I would top it off with a good scope, Nikon, Leupold and Burris would be a good place to start.

There's no point in buying a good gun and putting cheap glass on it.

vafish
12-13-2009, 16:39
There is no magic caliber. There's not a single gun/caliber posted that wouldn't do the job for you. If you consider things like range, ammo price, availability, and recoil, you've got to narrow the field considerably. I'll give you my top 4 in order considering those and other issues.

270Win All over the best choice IMHO. The recoil is manageable, there are lots of different bullets to choose from, and pretty much any place you walk into that carries riffle ammo will have it. Past 300 yards it actually shoots flatter and has more energy than the 30-06.

308 Close to the 270 with a bigger hole. No real reason to have it below the 270. Ballistically they are very close. With less powder than the 270 and similar sized bullets the 308 should theoretically have less recoil. Bullet selection, availability and price will be comparable to the 270.

243 Little brother to the 308. Recoil on the 243 is pretty mild yet it's got plenty power to take a deer out to 300+ yards. Again ammo availability and price is comparable to the 308. You are limited to 115 gr. bullets with most places toping out at 100gr. You can however go all the way down to 45gr. with it, making for a great coyote or varmint round. My only concern with the 243 would be a really big deer up North. But then again lots of elk are taken with it.

30-06 Very good round and a bigger hole than the 270 and 243, but at 200 yards is the deer going to know the difference in the hole? Probably not. The -06 can shoot a 180gr. monster and take any big game in the Continental US or drop down and be used for yotes if you don't want to keep the hides on them. Only two drawbacks for the 30-06 and to be honest, they really aren't a big deal. Recoil is going to be a bit stiffer than the 270, is going to be considerably more than the 308 and is going to feel like a Sherman tank compared to the 243. If you ever want to take your girlfriend, wife or daughter the 06 may not be a good plan. The other "drawback" is that past 300 yards the 06 looses energy faster than the 270 and doesn't shoot as flat. If your like the vast majority of hunters and will never shoot past 200 yards, this really isn't an issue, but if your going to shoot 500-600 yards you may want to go with the 270.

As for your $500 limit. If you want a good gun/scope combination this really limits you, but it's very doable.

I wouldn't make the mistake of spending $450 on a gun then putting $50 crap glass on top. I would take a look at the Marlin XL 7, Savage, Stevens, and Mossberg ATR 100. I'd also look at the H&R/NEF guns. I've got 3 and they are all tack drivers. All are good shooting no nonsense utility guns. I'd get a good set of rings, that's going to cost you $50+ and I would top it off with a good scope, Nikon, Leupold and Burris would be a good place to start.

There's no point in buying a good gun and putting cheap glass on it.

Good advice, only thing I would disagree with is the recoil on the .30-06. While the .30-06 is the upper limit of my recoil tolerance, there is a very simple solution. Remington has some "Managed Recoil" ammunition that makes the .30-06 recoil like a .30-30.

With the MR ammo the .30-06 is the most versatile round on the planet. From .22 Sabot Accelerator rounds to 220 gr round nose suitable for even the big bears it can hunt anything in North America.

gruntmedik
12-13-2009, 17:05
If your expected range is less than 200 yds, a scoped Marlin 30-30 will come in well below $500.

I have killed deer with a 270, .308, and 45-70. All are still dead.

I have a 30-30 and .44 Mag I have yet to take a deer with, but not for lack of trying. :supergrin:

HollowPoint .45
12-15-2009, 20:18
For average hunting situations .30-06.

If you want to set up and cover the corn/bean field I'll second the 7mm Mag.

Heck, if you are wanting to get really serious about long range hunting, step up to the 300 or 7mm Ultra Mag.

DoubleDog
12-18-2009, 07:25
I know a lot of people don't think much of the .243, but I love it. It's easier to focus on the fundamentals and shoot well with a low recoiling round. That leads to confidence which many magnum shooters don't have in the field. Though I've only shot 7 deer with mine, I have yet to recover a bullet (100gr PowerPoints), all exits, 3 DRT. I also use a 7mm-08 and a 30-06 on occasion.

Also, the nastiest wound I've seen on a deer was caused by a .243 (95gr Ballistic Tip) on a ~80lb doe. That means nothing really, just sharing.

I second this...I took 2 deer this year with my .243, and both were one shot only, with 100 grn Win X's...

.243 is an excellent white tail round...

DD~

EL COLONEL
12-18-2009, 14:42
30-06 with an expanding 150gr bullet would be my choice............:supergrin: