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Help me pick a deer rifle for my wife

Discussion in 'Hunting, Fishing & Camping' started by havensal, Oct 11, 2010.

  1. havensal

    havensal Nozzle Jockey CLM

    Aug 14, 2003
    Western, NY
    My wife is looking to take up deer hunting. :supergrin:
    She spent the weekend the .222. She likes it a lot.
    She took a few shots with my .300 Sav. but didn't like the recoil.
    The rifle she was shooting (old savage 340, I think) is a little long and heavy for her, so I need to get something that fits better.
    I don't like the idea of a .222 for deer. I want her to use something a little bigger.
    I think a .243 would have about the same recoil as my .300 Sav.
    I am kinda at a loss where to go from here. I have a couple of options.
    I was thinking about a lever action in either .357 or .44. That should have enough to take down a deer with room to spare.
    I also thought about a youth model with a sissy pad.
    I showed her the H&R Superlight Handi-rifle, but she doesn't like the breakdown action much.
    I just want to get her something that is big enough for deer but she will like and enjoy shooting.

    Any suggestions? :dunno:
  2. Natty


    Jan 28, 2006
    The .243 in an autoloader like the BAR will have minimal recoil.

    Many ammo companies now make reduced recoil loads for different deer rounds.

    A PAST or other recoil pad may also help reduce recoil for her.

  3. grecco


    Sep 12, 2004
    philadelphia pa
    243 or 7mm-08 are mild calibers.
  4. smoke


    Jan 11, 2000
    Most anything adequate for deer is going to have recoil equal to or greater than the .300 Savage. .243, 7mm-08, 30-30, etc. If you're on the cheap, I'd say go with a .44 Mag lever gun. Otherwise, I'd say get her an AR in 6.8.
  5. The rifle needs weight and the loads need to be reduced. Remington offers reduced recoil loads for most calibers. Check your local laws and see if a 223 is legal? If not my recommendation would be the 243 or 25.06. You can always get a recoil reducer placed the in the stock and barrel can be ported but will increase noise. A good aftermarket recoil pad and keep in mind while hunting she will most likely be wearing a heavy coat which will cut down on the recoil plus with a deer in sight she won't realize the recoil. On the bench you can buy a pad or place a towel between her and the gun when shooting off the bench. Lastly a lever action in a pistol caliber like the 45 colt would be ideal as well. Esox357.
  6. dbarry

    dbarry Silver Member

    Feb 15, 2010
    the Buckeye state
    Since you are looking at lever actions, 30-30 has probably taken more deer than any other cartridge and the recoil is mild. Loaded down w/ trail boss and it probably kicks the same as my 223. 243 is excellent choice too.
  7. rhino673


    Feb 7, 2010
    I've always thought the 243 didn't have a lot of kick.
  8. pennlineman


    Feb 16, 2009
    Try the Marlin 336 in .30-30. My Uncle killed piles of dear with one here in SW Pa. Low recoil, good penetration, something to keep in mind for a new hunter. Nothing exciting about it, it just works.
  9. K.Kiser


    Jan 23, 2010
    Shreveport, La.
    Pick a suitable caliber out of respect for the animal, and let her get used to it - simple as that... I would have to be beaten with a cane to accept a .22 centerfire as a RELIABLE deer round especially in the hands of a new shooter instead of a seasoned pro's ability to poise, point, and pop... A 30-30 with a decent recoil is a pleasant shooting arm, and something like a .243 or 6mm Rem with a nice recoil pad isn't obtrusive at all unless it just plays with her mind... My Great aunt who is 5' 0" and 95 lbs. in her youngers years hunted for decades with whatever My great uncle wasn't using on a given day, and this ranged anywhwere from a .243 to a .300 H&H magnum and this was in the days of crappy recoil pads... She wasn't overly tough physically speaking, but She didn't let it get into her head... An animal doesn't deserve a substandard caliber in the hands of an inexperienced shooter, and I think She will easily acclimate to a suitable cartridge with some more exposure to it ... If She picks a small gun with a cute little kick, it will lose it's luster when She eventually see's what suffering it can cause... Just a little more recoil tolerance, and She'll be much happier will some clean kills under her belt...
  10. Jdog


    Sep 10, 2007
    wasatch range
    I've killed many deer with my winchester 30-30 also. It does kick because of it's weight. I think the .243 in a bolt action would be less scary for her.


    Aug 2, 2009
    South Florida
    I agree with the calibers/guns mentioned below. I own a 7mm-08, great little gun, I also own a 300 Savage, more kick and very heavy gun, I also own a 30-30 and especially with a good recoil butt pad, this is a great gun and probably the cheapest out of the 3 mentioned.
  12. Remington makes reduced recoil ammo for the .30-30.
  13. fmfdocglock


    Jan 6, 2009
    .223 qnd .243 are too light for deer, IMO.

    The minimum would be a .270.

    I like my 30-30 because of the light recoil.
  14. Grinchster


    Aug 25, 2010
    Palmetto State
    I like the answers given especially having enough respect for the animal to be humane in making a clean quick kill.

    What I am about to say will shock most here, but I hunt with a 300 Win Mag. a Browning BAR Safari grade that has a Boss on the end.

    Even though it is considered overkill, it is very effective on any game in North America. Also is a very flat shooting gun that is good for hunting bean fields that I feel confident in 400 yard shots, (which I practice to know where my bullet will hit at 400 yards)

    The suprising thing is how sweet the gun shoots. And it is all because of the boss system. (Ballistic Optimizing Shooting System)

    I let my 14 year old son shoot it and even though he was very timid, the first words out of his moutn was (CAN I SHOOT IT AGAIN)

    Even though it is extremely loud, the boss reduces the recoil about 35% which makes it a sweet shooter.

    Hope this helps, Grinchster:wow:
  15. mattyk6


    Sep 30, 2001
    A buddy just bought a BAR 270 with a BOSS for his wife, they both love it. It was right around $11-1200 with no scope.
  16. ebm1973

    ebm1973 CLM

    Dec 22, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    I suggest a 6.5 x 55.

    Recoil is very low, and this round is flat shooting with excellent penetration (high sectional density). It's more than adequate for deer and has much killing power for the size.

    Here's a Winchester Model 70 Featherweight in a 6.5 x 55:

    Controlled Feed as well! :cool:

    Chuck Hawks likes the round:

    6.5 Cartridge:
    6.5 Rifles:
    Recoil table:
    Sectional Density table:
    Killing Power table:
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2010
  17. K.Kiser


    Jan 23, 2010
    Shreveport, La.
    The six-five Swede is just one of those all-around beauties of the rifle world that proved everything it had to prove and then some before most of our Grandparents were born.. It's case design was way ahead of it's time along with the 7x57 Mauser... My Father built a 6.5 Swede for a customer from a Mauser 98 action in a Sporter style, and we all fell in love with it like a new puppy... That thing would relentlessly punch sub 1/2" groups at 100 yards with only a little reload work and 140 grain true hunting bullets... It stole our hearts, awesome cartridge that should be in the hall of fame... It's mild enough for beginners, but some of the most knowledgeable and experienced rifleman alive still use it...
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2010
  18. ebm1973

    ebm1973 CLM

    Dec 22, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    K.Kiser, that's a great combination! Check out this 6.5 Swede based on a 1896 Swedish Mauser action. This is pretty high end custom work from Al Biesen, so if money were no object...


    But to answer the OP...

    I'd probably go for the Win 70 in 6.5 x 55 SE, or one of the other rifles in 6.5 Swede that Chuck Hawks cites in the link I posted.
  19. K.Kiser


    Jan 23, 2010
    Shreveport, La.
    I couldn't argue with that, even if I were in a bad mood...
  20. bigdogmurph

    bigdogmurph Lifetime Member

    Feb 19, 2010
    hardy va.
    7mm-08, mine loves hornady light magnums. was built by my uncle Tukkie( Truman Wilson) rem.700 action with Hart barrel. with the cheap scope I have on it shoots 1" groups at 100yrds.