In a recent post, I gave my pick for the the "best" deer rifle, the Ruger Ultra-light in .270 Win., the gun/cal. combo that I think would get the job done for most deer hunters, most of the time, under most hunting conditions. In that post, I said that this particular rifle was not my personal favorite. There it is, and here's why:
My favorite is the Remington 700 Mountain Rifle in .280 Rem. for the following reasons.
1. This rifle has never failed under many different situations from temps in the 90s all the way down to single digits.
2. It's slim, and fits me perfectly. (I'm 140-ish and have small hands, but even with gloves, this gun always fits and feels right.)
3. It's very light-weight and great to carry even in rough terrain. I guess the name says it all.
4. It's very accurate; will do 1 inch groups and holds it's point of impact year after year.
5. Because it is fast-handling, it performs wonderfully at both short range in tight cover and also gets "way-out-there" when necessary.
6. It has been extremely effective for any big game animal that I might encounter here in Montana. I have killed relatively small antelope as well as much larger bull elk with this gun with no trouble. What's really nice about this is that if I am hunting the smaller animals (like pronghorns) and a nice big old 200+ pound muley gets up or, if I am hunting deer, and bull elk happens to show, I never feel under-gunned. Over the years, I have killed dozens of deer, antelope and elk with this rifle and 140 grain bullets.
Below is a pic of a bull I knocked right off it's feet at right around 400 yards with my Mountain Rifle. I took a prone shot from atop the sage flat above the tree-lined creek.
Do I think this is the best big game rifle for everyone? Well, no. As a matter of fact, lately, I've been playing with the WSMs in .270 amd .300, but more out of curiousity than necessity. But if you hunt under the same kind of conditions that I do and have the same needs, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better rifle and caliber than the Remington 700 Mountain Rifle in .280.
So, now, what's YOUR favorite and why?