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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Since it always gets a little quiet at this time of year, I'm going to try to liven things up a bit by answering a recurring question on this site. That is: What is the best rifle for deer hunting? I have never answered this question by giving a specific brand, action or caliber, usually saying something like, "whatever you shoot best." But after giving this a lot of thought, I decided to break from that traditional answer. After about 50 years of deer hunting under various conditions and terrain, and having owned about a dozen or so rifles of every type of action and in lots of calibers,and having killed lots of deer, my choice for the "best" deer rifle is ... Before I give my pick, I'd like to say that this gun will get the job done in all parts of the country where rifle hunting is allowed. The rifle and caliber I would recommend is ... I'm taking into account the cost and availablilty of ammo, recoil, over-all accuracy, handling, dependability, price/value and I'm throwing in a little eye appeal as well. Anyway, the rifle I would suggest as the best deer rifle is the Ruger77 Ultra-lite in .270 Win. This rifle/caliber combination, in my opinion, is hands down the best choice. Extremely light weight and fast handling, with adequate accuracy and power for any size deer and any reasonable range, relatively inexpensive for a box of bullets and avaible at just about every mom-and-pop's market in deer country, you just can't find a better rifle. It comes with the proven integral scope rings at a reasonable price. Do I hunt with one? Well, no. I sold mine years ago because I didn't like the tang safety that it had at the time. If that particular rifle had the 3 position Winchester-type of safety that the current model 77s have, I'd still be hunting with it I'm sure. Right now, I'm playing with some other rifles and calibers, but not because I feel they are the best in the most generalized way. Anyway, there it is, my definitive anwser to the most commonly asked question on this site. Bruce, old buddy, something makes me think you might want to jump right in here.
 
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nice tease, sound reasoning and a good choice, onehorse. want to hear something funny, well maybe not so much? people are snapping up those tang safety rugers like crazy. i have one in 06 with a laminate stock. fine rifle. shoots great and carries well.

i personally have a few favorites all in different calibers.
 

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Lots of good thoughts there onehorse. I have never owned a Ruger rifle so I can't knock them, however, with a fairly good arsenal myself, I would hands down go with a Remington model 700 in 280 cal. Very accurate, not real hard on the pocket book, and a proven rifle action for many years, and enough bullet to do the job very well, and fairly nice looking to boot, in walnut of course. You could substitute a 270, 30-06 if you like. Now if your interested in a Weatherby 270 wm Mark V I have three and am considering selling one. The 270 wm is an awsome bullet. I know I ran a bit here sorry and should list it in the clasifieds. I'm sure some nasty moderator will correct the post.:yes:
 

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Awesome post onehorse, Only comment I can make is, I love my Ruger77 Ultra-lite "Carbine" in .270 Win.
It really has been the most accurate & dependable choice of rifle for me without question.
Still to this day as soon as my arm enters the gun cabinet it goes straight for that Ruger. :smile:
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Caveat to my post:
I'm not saying that the experienced hunters should be heading down to their local gun shops with their favorite rifle in hand to trade for the Ultra-lite. This suggestion is made specifically for the new deer hunter who asks this question. I believe the Ruger in .270 will do the most for the most hunters under most circumstances for deer hunting. Now if you wanted to know my personal favorite, Hunting Man and I agree on the .280 Rem in a 700, but I have a different set of reasons for preferring that one.
 

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My Brother-in-Laws Ruger M77RL

I bought one for my Brother-in-Law back in 1984. His is in 30-06 so we carry the same cartridge. The only negitive against his Ruger is that it kicks when shooting from bench. He uses a past recoil shield and that takes the bite out. I have shot his rifle without a past shield and I find that my Win M70 Fwt in 30-06 kicks much less. I would guess that this is due to the 3/4 pound of extra weight in the Winchester. I recommend to new shooters to not buy an ultra light rifle, instead to get one that starts around 7 pounds prior to installing the scope.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I bought one for my Brother-in-Law back in 1984. His is in 30-06 so we carry the same cartridge. The only negitive against his Ruger is that it kicks when shooting from bench. He uses a past recoil shield and that takes the bite out. I have shot his rifle without a past shield and I find that my Win M70 Fwt in 30-06 kicks much less. I would guess that this is due to the 3/4 pound of extra weight in the Winchester. I recommend to new shooters to not buy an ultra light rifle, instead to get one that starts around 7 pounds prior to installing the scope.
The 30/06 will kick harder than the .270 in any rifle - especially in a light one, that's why I recommend the .270. Also, there are some really great recoil absorbing pads out there that can really tame a hard-kicking gun.
 

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I also have a 1983 Ruger M77 ultra light tang safety in 30-06. I have never shot it much due to the recoil. I recently put on a limbsaver and it made a big difference. I can still feel the recoil but I can at least get 12-15 shots through it before soreness sets in. I just starting reloading for it last year and it holds about 1" groups. If I ever draw a moose tag this will be my go to rifle with 180gr Accubonds over H4350. Otherwise it sits as a safe queen or bench shooter.
 

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i love my ruger rifle. .270 win. have the M77 in stainless with the laminate stock. very accurate. is kinda of heavy, but works well in a stand. don't feel alot of the recoil. i shoot left handed and have never owned a left-handed rifle. have become very proffeciant making my one shot count. Have a lead to pick up a used left-handed M77 in .270 stainless with a synthetic stock. hope i can get it for a price.
 

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I am new to this site and don't want to over step my boundries....but if you have read some of my posts then you will probably know what I am going to type next. IMO, the hands down best rifle for any hunting is the Weatherby Sporter chambered in the .257 magnum. It is a little pricey on ammo but that does not matter to me when I compare the ballistics, accuracy, ease of handling, the Weatherby stock. This Calilber is fast, flat, accurate. and has more than sufficient energy to humanley bring down your trophy at any reasonable distance. It is light on recoil for a magnum cartridge and it is very pleasing to the eye with a Rose wood tip on a walnut stock and fore end. You can load it down to a lighter bullet for varmit and you can load it up to a 117gr. or 120gr. Barnes bullet to take very good care of your larger game
 

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this is always a good topic to discuss. have had this discussion on several of the other forums i'm one. The one thing that i have noticed, is the location or areas of the country of people posting. has alot to do with favorite calibers. ( just my observation). When i was guiding down here in florida. i saw more guys hunting with the old reliable 30-30. 2 to 1 over all over rifles. i had picked up a new Marlin 30-30 in stainless, that rifle coupled with the Hornady leverevolutions, just changes to whole persona of that rifle and caliber. I have no problem stretching my shots out to 200 yds. this is just my opinion. now when i go to my lease in georgia, i tote my .270 as the primary rifle, but in the truck for back-up incase i drop my ruger, is the Marlin. and i have all the confidence to take shots with that 30-30 that i would take with my .270 . most of my shots are under 150 yds.
 

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Good point made here


this is always a good topic to discuss. have had this discussion on several of the other forums i'm one. The one thing that i have noticed, is the location or areas of the country of people posting. has alot to do with favorite calibers. ( just my observation). When i was guiding down here in florida. i saw more guys hunting with the old reliable 30-30. 2 to 1 over all over rifles. i had picked up a new Marlin 30-30 in stainless, that rifle coupled with the Hornady leverevolutions, just changes to whole persona of that rifle and caliber. I have no problem stretching my shots out to 200 yds. this is just my opinion. now when i go to my lease in georgia, i tote my .270 as the primary rifle, but in the truck for back-up incase i drop my ruger, is the Marlin. and i have all the confidence to take shots with that 30-30 that i would take with my .270 . most of my shots are under 150 yds.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I have no arguments with you Weatherby owners, and as for the post on the guys using 30/30s (and likely calibers) in Florida, well, that caliber has probably accounted for more game in the pot than any other - maybe even ALL others combined. But just to redefine my post - I proposing a rifle and caliber that will get the job done as universally as possible. That would include affordability which puts the Weatherby a little beyond some people's resources. And the 30/30, as venerable as it may be, would be hard pressed to reach out to some of the very common, well over 200 yard, shots that a hunter in our western states may encounter.
 

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I have no arguments with you Weatherby owners, and as for the post on the guys using 30/30s (and likely calibers) in Florida, well, that caliber has probably accounted for more game in the pot than any other - maybe even ALL others combined. But just to redefine my post - I proposing a rifle and caliber that will get the job done as universally as possible. That would include affordability which puts the Weatherby a little beyond some people's resources. And the 30/30, as venerable as it may be, would be hard pressed to reach out to some of the very common, well over 200 yard, shots that a hunter in our western states may encounter.
ok. sorry. would have to go with the .270 then.
 

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Bolt actions, the new standard!!!!

This is fun, I would suggest that a bolt action rifle in a non-magnum caliber is the new recommended standard rifle. For someone new to deer hunting I think that a bolt rifle which has a clean trigger, quality barrel, and good scope(~150 dollar range) equips them for life. Or until they feel the need to upgrade to something more expensive(notice I didn't say better). I have recommended several people buy the new Marlin XL7, I think that this rifle fits the requirements. I will report in to the group after I go with one of the guys to the range that bought one. If someone knows a better <300 dollar bolt action rifle please share what it is.
 

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I would choose the .270.Kemster,I am left handed also,just a suggestion,don't buy the left hand gun.I bought a left hand rifle and a left hand 870.I sold them both.The problem is the safety.We are used to shooting right hand guns,they safety is opposite.So if your rabbit hunting for example and you jump one,taking the safety off becomes a problem if you need to shoot quick because you have used right handed guns you will still try to take the safety off the same way you have done it for years.Its the same with most rifles.Just a thought to save you some time and money,left hand guns don't work for me.
 

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Best rifle for deer hunting?

Hunting in the East where the shot distances can be limited I would vote for the Marlin 336 in 35 Rem with LE ammo.

Hunting in the West where the distances are extended I would go with a .25-06 or .270 bolt action. (Browning X-bolt, Marlin XL7, Savage Weather Warrior)

If I only had 1 choice I would go with a .270 bolt as it offers up the flexibility to do it all.
 

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I can't comment on the Ruger as idon't own one or know anyone who has. I will say the T/C ICON CLASSIC 270 Win. is hard to overlook. Add a Nikon Monarch 4x12x42 scope, Rem. 130 Gr. Psp's, and you have a sweeeeeet shooter with plenty of power!
 
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