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Best Deer Caliber Rifle

Discussion in 'Hunting, Fishing & Camping' started by jp_vcu, Nov 6, 2009.

  1. jp_vcu


    Aug 18, 2009
    I'm looking around for a deer rifle. I've always hunted exclusively with a shotgun, but I've gotten to where I'd like a bit more range and stopping power.

    My budget (for the gun and scope) is about $500.

    Anybody got any opinions on rifle calibers? Everybody around here says that I need a 7 mm magnum.
  2. 380Seecamp


    Mar 10, 2007
    I understand the 7mm Mag is great (lots of friends and relatives shoot it; I don't have one) but for deer, even the .30-06 is more than enough.

  3. 30.06 is hard to beat. Check into Savage rifles, they should be right in your price range. There are lots of good deer calibers. If your hunting southern deer, you could go down to a .243 but up north where I am a 25.06 is about minimum. .308 can work well too, just about anything bigger than a .243.
  4. that1seven


    Nov 12, 2006
    Lincoln Nebraska
    what kinda deer? i know here in nebraska a .270 is plenty
    i hunt wit 308 tho
  5. havensal

    havensal Nozzle Jockey CLM

    Aug 14, 2003
    Western, NY
    I prefer the .270 Win. It's hard hitting and flat shooting. It's a very versatile caliber. :wavey:
  6. bubba803


    Nov 26, 2008
    I used a .270 for years and loved it. You can't go wrong with a 30-06. Very versatile with a lot of different loads. I use a Marlin 30-30 now with the Hornady Leverevolution ammo. That ammo is great and really extends your range. Plus, the lever action is just so freakin' cool!
  7. gunrunner0


    Apr 30, 2009
    +1 For the .270 Great Caliber
  8. Free Radical

    Free Radical Miembro Antiguo CLM

    Sep 11, 2005
    Four Corners
    Another vote for the .270
  9. msoprano


    Jun 2, 2005
    I know a lot of people don't think much of the .243, but I love it. It's easier to focus on the fundamentals and shoot well with a low recoiling round. That leads to confidence which many magnum shooters don't have in the field. Though I've only shot 7 deer with mine, I have yet to recover a bullet (100gr PowerPoints), all exits, 3 DRT. I also use a 7mm-08 and a 30-06 on occasion.

    Also, the nastiest wound I've seen on a deer was caused by a .243 (95gr Ballistic Tip) on a ~80lb doe. That means nothing really, just sharing.
  10. havensal

    havensal Nozzle Jockey CLM

    Aug 14, 2003
    Western, NY
    I sure wouldn't feel underpowered with a .243 or .308. I have taken my .300 savage out a time or two. My 25-06 does the job well also. :cool:
  11. ryanl


    Mar 2, 2008
    .270 or 30.06
    Check out the Marlin XL 7's, if you shop around you can get one for $300 or so.
    I handled one today and was VERY impressed. The gun shoots better than MOA.
    Fit and finish was like the accuracy, way better than what I would expect for the price.
  12. DowntimeLA

    DowntimeLA in da swamp

    Nov 6, 2008
    7mm-08, no need for the magnum for deer unless your shooting 400+
  13. Foxfire5


    Sep 2, 2009
    I like the Ruger 77 in 6.5X55.
  14. luv2brode


    Apr 12, 2008
    i love these questions
    i use a 308 now, just gave my son his first rifle for x-mas last year it was my grandpas 243 savage mdl 99 he took his first deer with it.
    i used to ask my dad this same question on just about every game he hunted, he said it aint the gun its the shooter.
    i saw him take elk with that 243 in northern cali.
    every deer i have shot with it dropped within 5 steps
    and yes i told the boy he is never allowed to part with that gun.
  15. up1911fan


    Mar 12, 2009
    Upper Michigan
    I'd say 7mm-08 as well. It's a great round.
  16. paynter2

    paynter2 It ain't over Millennium Member

    Apr 25, 1999
    upper mid-west
    All of the above and dozens more. There are tons of calibers that will take a deer efficiently. I've shot deer with just about all of the above calibers - except the 7mm Mag.

    Yesterday, I shot a nice 8pt at 265 paces (off hand - probably 240-250 yards) with a Remington M788 in .243 - 100 Gr PP factory load, 2-7 Nikon. I was a little back - blew the liver in half. The deer went about 75 yards before it bled out. I would prefer lungs, but at that range, off-hand, I'm satisfied.

    Smaller rifles are just such a pleasure to shoot. My favorite is the 6mm Rem. But, I retired my Ruger 6mm and my M788 6mm is unfired. I don't want to shoot it now.

    Try a small caliber for deer - you won't be disappointed. Don't let people tell you they are too small for deer. As a kid, I shot 4 bucks that weighed over 200# dressed (with my 6mm). All fell right now.

    Edited to add - I've never shot the 6.5X55. It's my understanding that this is an excellent deer caliber. The word is that this round kills way beyond its ballistics.
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2009
  17. Acemedic1


    Mar 13, 2009
    I hunt with 270, 300win mag, and 7mm mag just depending on range/type of terrain really. I have owned everything from 25-06 - 300win and taken deer with all of them. Just a sidenote, although ive never owned a .243 the best shot ive ever seen was a deer taken with one neck shot at over 500 hand.
  18. mdhandyman


    Jan 11, 2009
    Palm Bay FL.
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  19. JMag


    Feb 7, 2001
    USA:Love it or leave!
    I have a .30-'06 and a 7mm Mag; both work for most any U.S. large game with the proper loads.