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Thread: Deer Rifle

  1. #1
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    OK all you gun guys out there. If I were going to get a decent deer rifle for my dear sweet hubby for his birthday, what would you recommend, and how much would you pay for it? Probably used, and not too expensive. (Guns are like fishing poles, I know. You can never have enough of them, and the prices range widely) It will be used for Minnesota deer hunting-Not real long shots, cold weather, woods, etc.
    Also, are any of you familiar with the British 303 (Enfield I think) That is what he will be using otherwise, but he's not happy with it. Says the trigger pull is too long-(can it be shortened?) and it isn't real accurate. (Not an aim problem, he's real accurate with the other guns) I hate to put too much money into the 303 if it's not very good to begin with.

  2. #2
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    >OK all you gun guys out there. If I were going to get a decent deer rifle for my dear sweet hubby for his birthday, what would you recommend, and how much would you pay for it?

    Cash is how I'd pay for it.

    First, I'll say everyone is very personal in their opinions on cartridges and brands. If you husband has a prefernce that's a good place to start.

    My favorite deer rifle is a surplus Swedish mauser that's been sporterized in 6.5 x 55 Swedish.

    There are a few ways to look at this. Bang for the buck. Catrtidge (power, flat shooting etc.). Light weight to carry. Heavy weight for accuracy. Some of the questions are how far are you going to be shooting. Out on the plains in Wyoming the most popular deer cartridge is the .25-06. Other places it's the .270. Of course the .30-06 is always popular.

    Another issue is how good is his eyesight. I used to be a good shot with iron sights, but I can't do it anymore. I need a scope.

    My favorite deer cartridges in order of preferece (although some are about equal):

    6.5mm x 55 Swedish
    .25-06
    .260 Remington
    .257 Roberts
    .250 Savage
    6mm Remington
    .243
    7mm Mauser
    .270
    7mm 08
    .308
    .30-06
    .303

    Most of these are medium power cartridges and, IMO, are just right for deer.

    Any other centerfire rifle cartridge from .243 (6mm) up to .375 caliber will work, but most others have more recoil or are more obsolete. There are many usable cartridges available that work fine that are not in this list.

    >Probably used, and not too expensive. (Guns are like fishing poles, I know. You can never have enough of them, and the prices range widely)

    I bought a well used sporterized M93 7mm Mauser with a scope once for $100. Best buy I ever got on a deer rifle with a scope. But you don't find those kind of bargins everyday. Some of it is just shopping around. Some stores are pretty proud of their guns and some want to sell them.

    >It will be used for Minnesota deer hunting-Not real long shots, cold weather, woods, etc.

    Most any high powered rifle will do for medium range shots. From a .30-30 to a .243 to a .30-06.

    >Also, are any of you familiar with the British 303 (Enfield I think)

    I had one. I liked it a lot. Not a long range gun, but mine was very accurate. Mine had a peep site which was an improvement over typical iron sites, but it costs a bit to put a scope on one and I really needed the scope, so I traded it in. Sometimes I wish I still had it.

    >That is what he will be using otherwise, but he's not happy with it. Says the trigger pull is too long-(can it be shortened?)

    The .303 is a typical military rifle with a two stage trigger. It travels a bit with no real resistance and then it gets tight at the end. They are designed that way to be safer, but I don't think it matters much. I've never had trouble with accuracy because of the two stage part, but I do like it to be crisp once it catch at the end of the first stage and starts the second. Honing the sear can help a lot on that. I'm sure aftermarket triggers are available for the .303 but they are hard to find in the US. The British still customize them often so I'm sure someone makes them.

    >and it isn't real accurate. (Not an aim problem, he's real accurate with the other guns)

    Could be the barrel is shot out.

    >I hate to put too much money into the 303 if it's not very good to begin with.

    Sounds like it needs a barrel and an aftermarket trigger. I think the .303 is an excellent rifle. It's about the only one you can run the bolt comfortably from your shoulder without lowering the rifle. It's well built. And, of course, it's killed more elephants than any gun in history. Not because it's a good elephant gun, but because it was widespread wherever the British went. But it is a good gun. I just checked my Brownell catalog and didn't see a trigger for the .303. The .303 will be refered to as a Lee-Enfield. When you see a reference to an Enfield in a gun catalog it's likely to be a Remington Enfield instead of the British model.

    Any sporterized Mauser tends to make a nice deer rifle. All of the US manufacturers make a servicable deer rifle. I love my Ruger M77.

    Things I'd look for are a nice trigger pull. It should feel like breaking glass. A good bore, it should have sharp clean rifling grooves and be shiny and smooth and not pitted. A worn out barrel looks rounded on the rifling grooves. You want a scope or at least a scope mount, unless he has really good eyesight. I wouldn't get anything smaller than a .243 (6mm) and I wouldn't get anything much bigger than an 8mm (.323) unless he also wants to hunt bear or moose with it.

  3. #3
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    Duplicate.


    [This message has been edited by Michael Bush (edited October 20, 2004).]

  4. #4
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    30-30 in a winchester 94 is what I use the most of and I love it. Most folks like the '06 also.

    The trigger on his Enfield can be made better by stoning the engaement surfaces. I did mine and it helps. The problem is that it has a military two stage trigger. There is a hump in the sear that was put there to make it safer. So the pull will always be long even if you file out the extra hump. I happen to like mine very much and the trigger is not hard to get used to. The .303 is plenty powerful for anything he want to shoot. Short of elk and such it is stong enough for most critters. I have a small supply of old Remington 200gr round that make it down right potent at under 100 yards. I'll see if I can dig up the diagrams for tuning the trigger for you.

  5. #5
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    >OK all you gun guys out there. If I were going to get a decent deer rifle for my dear sweet hubby for his birthday, what would you recommend, and how much would you pay for it?

    Go to the local gun shops and ask the pros, you can filter out the BS in short order. The key questions should be:

    Is it for walking or for use in a blind?
    Meaning light or heavy rifle. If he walks a lot he may want to have a lighter rifle, if he does not, he may prefer the heavier rifle to absorb recoil.

    What caliber?
    I would recomend 243 or 7-08 if he likes lighter recoil rifles, 308 is never wrong for the short range hunting in your area out to 300 yards.

    Bolt, lever, slide, or semi-auto?
    Bolt rifles are more accurate and less troublesome.

    What manufacturer?
    Remington 700 is most peoples first pick and what I sell the most of, look for a BDL or a BDL/DM for a drop magazine. For a walking gun look for a model seven.
    Winchester 70 is a good rifle too.
    Ruger M77 is ok for a meat gun, less accurate tha the above mentioned, but a good walking gun in the stainless stalker.

    What finish and stock?
    Blue and wood is pretty and a bit less expensive. Stainless and synthetic stock is more durrable. It is a personal taste thing that you should find out before buying him a rifle, perhaps ask a friend of his if he knows what hubby would want.


    >Probably used, and not too expensive. (Guns are like fishing poles, I know. You can never have enough of them, and the prices range widely)

    You should be able to get into a good condition rifle for three hundred, maybe with a scope rings and base for four hundred with a little luck.

    >It will be used for Minnesota deer hunting-Not real long shots, cold weather, woods, etc.

    My recomendation would be a Remington 700 in 308. That still leaves you with a lot of choices in barrel length, weight, magazine or none, finish, and stock. Stainless synthetic is the best weather resistant choice.

    >Also, are any of you familiar with the British 303 (Enfield I think) That is what he will be using otherwise, but he's not happy with it. Says the trigger pull is too long-(can it be shortened?) and it isn't real accurate. (Not an aim problem, he's real accurate with the other guns) I hate to put too much money into the 303 if it's not very good to begin with.

    Throw a couple of nails in the wall and call it a wall hanger. With a little luck someone will see it and steal it not knowing any better. Sorry, I don't like old garbage. Opps, guess I am being insensitive, but I really don't have any use for them. They are hard to fit modern accessories to, there is not a good selection of ammunition, and they are uncomfortable to shoot, and usually not that accurate.

    Good luck shopping, consider taking his hunting buddy with you to act as a filter when trying to make a decision.

    One last thing, guns are not like shirts, you just don't take them back because you don't like them. When returning a firearm you will lose money, at best you will just get store credit for the amount you spent if you can talk the dealer into it, but don't count on it. Once it leaves the store the dealer does not know what has happened to the firearm and will not be responsible for misuse or abuse. A new rifle, once papered out is not a new rifle when it comes back and is treated as used wether fired or not, just like buying a car. Be sure what you are buying is right the first time.
    http://www.remington.com/firearms/ce...centerfire.htm

    And stay away from the 710, cheaply made, low quality.


    [This message has been edited by BULLSEYE BILL (edited October 21, 2004).]

  6. #6
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    30.06 Is a good cartridge. Good for deer and could be used on heavier game. I don't hunt with a rifle any more but still have my favorite. A Marlin lever action in a Remington 35. cal. This is what you usually see in movies as a saddle gun. Not too bulky for a blind or a stand, fast and light. The slower bullet is less likely to be affected by brush.

    That's my opinion,

    dickm

  7. #7
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    I hit the wrong response, I was wanting to respond to ChellesBees. So ChellesBees I guess you can look at the new post for my reply.
    Have a great week

    Earl White

  8. #8
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    There are two schools on deer rifles. Small bore and big bore. I subscribe to the small bore school and agree with Mr. Bush above. Anyone of those rifles would be fine. I prefer the .25.06 and the 270. Since your husband is hunting whiteails and is using a .303 that tells me he is used to yardages under 150. So any of the lever actions would do as well. I see lever actions for under $250 all the time unless it is a collectible model. I also see the bolt actions under $300 as well. Most of the time someone is hard up for cash and will sell them for 50% of their value or less.

  9. #9
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    I have always liked the M77 Ruger (bolt gun). I have never owned one, but the ones I have shot I liked. I own a Reminton model 700, I like it. The Winchester model 70 is a good gun also. (all these are bolt guns) For a cheaper alternitive there are various Savages out there. IMHO they are buyer friendly, but you get what you pay for. Lack of consistency. Kind of the Dodge of rifles. OOPS, did I say that?
    Marlin and Winchester have several nice lever guns out there. Lever guns are good for the traditionalist and I like them in some ways, but I can fire my bolt-action as fast as any lever gun, especially the first time, which is usually all it takes.
    As far as caliber, I would vote for the 7mm Rem. Mag. It would be versatile in any circumstance. If he can shoot a .303 he can handle some recoil. My next bet would be the venerable .30-06, mainly for the fact that you can buy ammo at any mom and pop store. Probably a more versatile round than the 7mm. when you consider the fact that you might win the lottery and get to hunt in Alaska someday. (Of course you could afford a different gun then, but I would stick with what I was familiar with)
    If he is a recoil wimp, like me, .243s are nice as long as you use 100 grain bullets and stay away from the 87s. That would also be good if any woman or young person wanted to use the gun. .270 Win. would fit the happy medium in this instance.
    In case of a lever gun afficianado, don't and I mean don't, buy a 30.30. If you can take the kick of a "thutty-thutty" you can stand a .35 Whelen or better. I have tracked an awful lot of deer, hit by a .30-30, and not found them. From the pictures I have seen of the "Big Woods" I would probably pick the ought-six in a bolt gun, or the .45-70 in a lever gun (even though I'm a recoil wimp) The bolt gun if I had some nice stands to hunt from, the lever gun if I walked alot.

  10. #10
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    I wholeheartedly agree with Michael B. about the Swede (6.5x55mm). If you get a good sporter with its barrel still in good shape, they are superb deer rifles without the punishing recoil of other calibers. Put that on the top of your shopping list. Sporterized Swede rifles shouldn't have problems in the cold, as those actions were designed by people operating in the same climate as you.

    I don't know the particulars of deer hunting in the Minnesota woods, but you could save a bundle by going from a standard Mauser-style bolt action rifle to a single shot, like New England Firearms produces. THEN spend more on the glass (scope) than you did on the rifle. If your husband's eyes are anything like mine (I am in my mid-50s), his days of great shooting with open sights are likely over. And my eye doc -- who is also a shooter -- says stay tuned for big (and sudden) changes in vision in the coming decade -- thanks Doc!

    As you already know, different personality hunters like different action-rifles. Some hunters want an auto so they have that instant follow-up shot. Most of us cut our teeth on the bolt action deer rifles, so we follow along with what we are familiar with. Yet, when I stopped to really analyze the shots that have presented themselves to me over the years, I didn't have time for a 2nd shot (or I didn't need a 2nd shot because the hit was solid) most of the time. So I made the transition to a single-shot gun last year and have been happy about it. And the Russians (Baikal is the company nambe) make (and worldwide sell a ton of ) a single shot rifle IZM-18MH that is even cheaper new than the New England HandiRifle, and it comes in all the standard deer calibers. See EAA.corp.com. Again, it's a cold-climate design that has the minimum number of moving parts to lock up on the deer stand.

    I agree with the gentleman above that fixing the existing Enfield will likely be more frustrating and more costly than starting over with a rifle (or a slug gun if the ranges are really close in the Minnesota woods) that is purpose bought for deer hunting. I love military surplus guns, and I have (past tense) deer-hunted with them. but I don't like that 2-stage trigger, either.

    Here's my suggestion -- many areas of the USA have local trader magazines that you can find in your 7-11s every week. If your area has one, see what used deer rifles are offered for sale near you, and what caliber and action they favor. Watch for a pattern of what sells in a week or two, and what is advertised week after week after week, never moving. In the Shenandoah Valley, the good stuff that works in our hunting conditions moves fast.

    Good luck. And good on you for getting your husband something he will really treasure. I wish all my female relations had read your post. Your effort is truly admirable.

  11. #11
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    I personally prefer the 30-06 in pump action. I've used mine for years in northern minnesota, as well as on caribou in alaska. I also recommend a flip down scope mount for those really close shots when a scope is worthless. Our local Gander Mtn store, had a nice used remington gamemaster 06 pump for $ 240 2 weeks ago. Would make a nice weapon for deer hunting. PP

  12. #12
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    Thanks everybody!
    30-06 seems to be the gun of choice in this area, followed by the 30-30. Those are the two that I am most familiar with. We have a local Gander Mtn. but I don't trust sales people unless I have an idea what I am looking for to begin with.
    My hubby's new (only) hunting buddy is our 13 year old son, out for the first time this year. He is using Grandpa's shotgun with a slug barrel. Hubby has used this gun, and also a Muzzle Loader he build himself. We debated the Muzzle Loader, but with others hunting the same woods, having more than one shot at a time might be nice. We also discussed hunting with the .357, but aren't sure he wants to hunt with the handgun.
    After both kids took gun safety this year, we figured we would have to add a few more guns to the cabinet.

  13. #13
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    I use a 300 win mag. I reload the rounds myself. It is a great gun and can take care of any north American game animal. It is only a little bigger than a 30-06 and has a greater 'reaching' area. I use 180 grain bullet with 76 grains of reloader 22 which pushes the bullet along a little over 3000 feet per second. What that means it is very flat shooting out to about 250-300 yards. Nice for elk, moose, deer, etc.
    My gun is made by Ruger it is called MKII rifle. I also have a 35 Remington lever action made by marlin model 336. Can take deer out to about 150 yards. That is also a very nice gun.
    I hope this helps you a little.
    Dan

  14. #14
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    I would never presume to buy a rifle for someone without their input. Make a date out of the purchase find a reputable dealer in your area, preferably one who deals in new and used guns and does repairs. Take your husband to this dealer as a surprise and let him help pick itout you both will be happier with the end result and you still get credit for the gift without the headache of figuring out all the options. If the dealer has a range sometimes demonstrations and tryouts can be arranged. Stocks can be changed or altered and optics can be added or changed for the best combo. good luck.

  15. #15
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    Wink

    scsasdsa. That is a great point. I have a Rem 7400 semi auto in .270 sitting in the safe. It wass the first gift my soon to be wife gave me. She asked my hunting partner to pick a gun out with her. he picked one he wanted. I hate Semi Auto's and would only own a bolt action or pump. I took it hunting that year and killed two deer with it. it has not been used since. But I take it every trip for her to see

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