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Best deer rifle?

Easy enuf answer-- the Winchester your uncle left you in his will. In my case, a deluxe grade Model 71 .348 Win rifle- not the 20" barrel carbine- sling with QD's, solid red pre-war style pad-- and 5 full boxes of 300 grain Silvertips- Can't buy one today- saw a Japanese made Browning copy once at Cabela's- went outside and before I got into my S-10, I folded my hands, looked up towards the clouds above me and said "Thank You, Uncle Raymond- Thank You"-

20 rds. per box- 19 dead deer- and they don't move when you put one in their "boiler room" either- they just sorta shudder, then collapse. I only take standing shots and the last 15 deer I shot average distance- 40 yards--

I also hunt a shotgun zone- I use my Browning A-5 12 with the 24" Buck barrel and rifle style sights- and Brenekke slugs- same deal as with the M71--

I should add that I have 20-20 uncorrected vision and use open sights all the time- never have had a scope fog up on me either- Sundance
 

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I've hunted deer since 1960 with about every kind of action and many calibers in various conditions from cedar swamps to long-range tote road conditions.

My best recommendation (backed up by a Maine IF&W poll of SUCCESSFUL deer hunters) is that a bolt-action 30-06 is probably the best all-around deer rig. I'd add a 3-9X scope, and stainless steel barreled action with a great synthetic stock.

A scope will help to thread a bullet through trees in the forest, provide the best sighting situation in most weather that I care to hunt in, and assure antlers when necessary.

My favorite deer rifle is a Remington SS 700 BDL in a stiff HS Precision stock with a Leupold VXII 3-9x scope. The Remington stock design is one of the best for quick mounting and recoil taming. The safety location seems very natural to me also, but I've owned several over many years. The newer Remington triggers aren't as good feeling to me, but okay.

Why a bolt-action? Well, the first shot is the one that counts. With practice, the second shot can also be quick, but the chances for a hit on the second shot are probably only about 50% of the first. After that, the probability drops exponentially.

Bolt guns are more reliable than most actions, for firing in inclement conditions, for feeding, for ammo tolerance (chambering/extraction), and for ease of maintenance. Stainless rifles are a boon to deer hunters!!!!! They won't rust under most conditions and will hold their value about forever!!

After you buy a rifle, make sure it's set up to mount/point naturally with your eyes closed, then opened. PRACTICE mounting, flicking the safety off, dry firing, and working the action QUICKLY after the shot and while in firing position.
 

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If I remember correctly, in Wa. it had to be at least .30 cal. and above 150 gr. for deer. But that's probably changed by now....My bro in law uses a .44 S&W for elk, not sure where he goes tho...

Back in my youth I hunted both sides of the state...30-30 for the west, 30-40 for the east....
Oddly, that would eliminate all the 7mms, which are suitable for elk. (7-08, .280, 7mm mag, etc)
 

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me, I'm a fan of the .280 - though I've taken deer with .308 and .338 too. (I've also varmint hunted with .22wmr, .223, .280, .308, and .338winmag)

If you do your part, just about any rifle / round will work. (did I mention the .280? it is a great round!)
I also like the .280, but factory ammo can be difficult to find at times. I recently scored two boxes at an out of the way gun shop. They were out of almost every other caliber, had a one box limit, but sold me both boxes..
 

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The best deer rifle will depend on where and how you hunt. Tree stand in the Midwest or east? Spot and stalk in the west? You end up with a short list of requirements and go from there.

in reality, the answer comes down to the one you can shoot accurately and will have with you.

that’s it. If you can put the round where it needs to be, it’s the best. It’s tough to avoid the Ford vs Chevy discussions, but in the end they don’t really matter.

the bulk of my hunting is done with bolt action rifles. I will use an AR on coyotes and javelina. I use a bow for elk.
 
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