Thursday, August 26, 2010

Best Deer Rifle

Sometimes I get asked, what's the best rifle/caliber/bullet for deer hunting?

That's easy. Deer are fairly easy to kill. A good deer is about the same size as a good goat and I've killed goats with a knife.

The plain fact of the matter is that whitetail deer have been killed with virtually every caliber known to man. Whether it's a fast stepping .22 caliber, or a massive .45 caliber, you can kill a deer with it. Ethical hunters don't want to needlessly injure a game animal, so they try to pick calibers with enough power to do the job cleanly. Certainly, the old .30-30 is a capable deer cartridge, as are any of the .30 caliber cartridges. As are the 6mm calibers, the .25 calibers, the 7mm calibers and all the rest.

Deer are fairly easy to kill, if the hunter can place the bullet in the vital organs. So, the requirement is that the ethical hunter must be able to place the bullet where it will do the proper job.

It's late August and in most places the regular gun deer season will be opening in about eight weeks. It's time to tune-up our sights and make sure that we can hit the game properly for a fast, clean kill. In short, it's time to get to the range.

After a quick session on the bench to verify your zero, get away from the bench and practice with normal shooting positions. Standing, kneeling and sitting. If you can only afford one box of ammunition, use five to zero the rifle, use 10 to practice your positions, and keep the remaining five rounds for the game fields.

I bet you won't need any more ammo than that to bring home the venison.


Termite said...

I don't like using centerfire .22s on deer. Yes, they will kill, but there isn't a lot of room for error. And they don't leave much blood trail upon exiting. They are a marksman's gun, not a beginner's deer rifle.
I set the minimum for deer at .243/6mm, with a 90-95 gr bullet.

My personal favorite that I hunt with is a CZ 550 chambered in 6.5x55 Swede. A 140gr PSP bullet at 2600fps. Zeroed 2" high at 100yds, it gives boringly predictable results from 0 to 250yds, with light recoil, and .75" groups.

Anonymous said...

For some reason I am frequently asked my opinion on big game cartridges, big game being anything larger than a goat.

I think it's because I have silvery hair and a full silvery beard and don't yet drool.

My answer is always the same. Use a cartridge similar in power to any main battle caliber from WWI or WWII.

My calibers of choice are: .30-30 Win., .30-40 Krag, .303 Brit., .30/06, 6.5x55mm Swede, 7x57mm Mauser, 8x57mm Mauser, .308 Win, 7.62x54mm Russ. All loaded with +/- 150 gr. bullets. (In no particular order.)

The reasons being all are available in commercial sporting configurations at my local gun shop, all are powerful enough for clean, one shot kills, and I own at least one rifle in each caliber with which I can consistently hit a 6" diameter circle at 100 yards under hunting conditions.

Gerry N.