your favorite deer rifle/caliber?


October 13, 2008, 09:42 PM
So it's almost that time again (season starts less than two months here in VA), so.....what is your top choice in caliber for taking Bambi?

This is NOT a thread arguing objectively about the "best" deer caliber. That can vary greatly based on hunting location, size of deer in the region, and various shooter preferences. Rather, what is the gun/caliber you're most likely to take out of the safe when deer season rolls around?

I'm going to be using my Remington 700 SPS Varmint in .308 Winchester. Yeah its a a big heavy piece, but accuracy is spectacular and I'm very comfortable shooting it. My roommate is using a 700 ADL in .30-06, and two of our hunting buddies use a 700 ADL in .243 Win and a Savage in .25-06.

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October 13, 2008, 09:49 PM
All the calibers you mentioned are GREAT rounds for deer, I live in california and hunt up in the sierra's we have got decent sized deer my father swears by his win mod 70. in 243 he has taken a lot of deer with it but i also have seen him shoot them and they get up skip off leave a bloody mess and still can't track the darn thing "this season actually about 2 weeks ago". MY preference for hunting in my area is my ruger m77 mkII in 30-06. 30-06 is a very versatile round some days I switch it up and hunt for bear so I like my rifle to be capable of doing both jobs. A new rifle will be replacing it for the end of season sps varmint in 308 as well.

October 13, 2008, 09:53 PM
I use a 700 BDL .25-06 topped with a Leupold 4.5-14 VX-III.

October 13, 2008, 09:54 PM
My favorite rifle for deer and others is 280 Rem.

October 13, 2008, 10:02 PM
I have gone through many deer rifles and have enjoyed hunting with most of them but the one I keep returning to is my Ruger No1 in 7mm Magnum. All of my hunting is done here in Colorado and I usually have an elk tag to fill also. The 7mm splits the difference very well. I like the shorter rifle with a longer barrel concept that the single shot offers and most of all it's a beautiful rifle.


t george
October 13, 2008, 10:04 PM
i like my 30 06 rem 700 first and then my 243 rem 700 2nd BUT IT ALL DEPENDS ON WHAT PART OF THE WORLD I HAPPEN TO BE HUNTING

October 13, 2008, 10:07 PM
Military mauser rifle in 8mm using Winchester 170gr factory ammo.

October 13, 2008, 10:23 PM
There are a bunch of really good deer rifle calibers but my "go to" rifle caliber happens to be the .243.


.... my favorite deer swatter is unquestionably my .44 Super Blackhawk.


October 13, 2008, 10:24 PM
I have a 1917 Enfield in .30-06 that has been sporterized. It is easy to carry and accurate. The best part is I don't cry when I scratch it.

October 13, 2008, 10:25 PM
Remington Model Seven in .308. Mine sits in an H.S. Precision stock and wears a Leupold 2-7X compact scope. Also have the same setup in .243 that my kids use.

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
October 13, 2008, 10:34 PM
Haven't really settled on a favorite just yet. Gimme a few years (10-15 or so) to kill a deer with each of them and then I'll let you know. For now, it'd probably be my Rossi single shot in .243 win or my sporterized Swede 94 Mauser in 6.5x55mm, since I sold my .25-'06.

MY favorite deer killer is a bow and arrow, though. More exciting and challenging, and the season is a lot longer.

My favorite rifle for deer and others is 280 Rem.

Nice chambering - what rifle?

October 13, 2008, 10:45 PM
My favorite deer rifle is a 98 Mauser G33/40 action with a P.O. Ackley barrel on a Fajen stock built by my Grandfather. Its chambered in 7x57 Mauser. I have a Nikon 3x9 Pro-Staff mounted on it.

I have killed the majority of my deer with it. Nothing runs away.

October 13, 2008, 10:46 PM
ruger M77 (mid to late 70's model), 243 and 7x57

October 13, 2008, 10:47 PM
This year for hunting it will be all .308, my own hand loads in two different rifles.
Bushmaster AR-10


October 13, 2008, 10:48 PM
Browning BLR in .308. Great guns. Followed by the ole Marlin 336 30-30

October 13, 2008, 11:07 PM
Started shooting a 270 Winchester in 1956 and fell in love with it. Have approx. 30 other center fire rifles but I keep the 270 at the front of the rack.

October 14, 2008, 12:12 AM
Used to be my Ruger in 30-06 but the last couple of years its been my CZ 527 carbine in 7.62x39.

October 14, 2008, 12:25 AM
1. browning a-bolt in .30-06
2. marlin 30-30
3. nef handi in .243

October 14, 2008, 01:38 AM
Rem. model 7400 in .270. I also like 243, 35 Rem and the 30-30 win. but the 270 has always been my favorite.

October 14, 2008, 05:43 AM
Winchester Model 70 Sporter Varmint 26" barrel in .243.
Ammo is reloads with 100gr. Nosler Partitions and IMR4350

Quickdraw Limpsalot
October 14, 2008, 05:56 AM
Same ol' answer for me:

Marlin 336 in .35 Remington.

October 14, 2008, 09:04 AM
Either a Marlin .30-30
or a Ruger .44 carbine

October 14, 2008, 11:29 AM
Sporterized M38 Swede in 6.5x55, Leupold 6x scope, and a Boyds thumbhole stock. Handload 140 grain Barnes X bullets. Killer combo.

October 14, 2008, 11:33 AM
Harder to find than most other calibers. Low recoil, accurate and is just as deadly on game as cartridges that pack a lot more muzzle energy.

October 14, 2008, 11:52 AM
Last year it was Model 70 Coyote in .308.

This year we are in brush and wife is using Marlin 336 .30-30 and I will have my 1894 .44 mag.

October 14, 2008, 12:24 PM
1.Model 94 pre-64 30-30 with lyman receiver sight
2.Mauser 30-06 w/K4 Weaver

October 14, 2008, 01:22 PM
BLR in 308 is my go to gun. If the weather is inclement it's my SKS.

October 14, 2008, 04:44 PM
Being as I have elk and bear as well as deer tags, the old butt ugly rem 700 adl in 7mm rem mag is the one that always seems to go when its time to fill the freezer, kills them all with 150 gr spitzers nicely.

October 14, 2008, 05:35 PM
"kills them all with 150 gr spitzers nicely."

Good to hear someone else likes the 150-grainers in the 7 mag. !


The Deer Hunter
October 14, 2008, 06:09 PM
Remington 700 in .30-06.

The Deer Hunter
October 14, 2008, 06:11 PM
Remington 700 in .30-06.

October 14, 2008, 06:12 PM
Winchester 94 in .30-30, 1967(no safey or angle eject :)). If it is raining or snowing I take my sks, but above all I like my bow.


October 14, 2008, 06:13 PM
This depends so much on where you are. If in the dense woods of the Alleghenies - Marlin 336, .35 Rem.

October 14, 2008, 06:48 PM
Living In Ohio,and since you said rifle,not bow or shotgun:Mine happens to be a .50 ML.(.45cal 250 gr at 18-1900,not impressive..but it's adequate)
Hunting in "rifle" states,my 7 mag is what I use.

The Deer Hunter
October 14, 2008, 07:00 PM
but above all I like my bow.

What caliber is a arrow? I think mine is 28" ;)

james rogers
October 14, 2008, 07:48 PM
I have a model 91 7.65 mauser bubba job that I have a strange need to drop Bambi with this year. Next up my 7.7 Arisaka or my #4 enfield in 45/70. Then maybe my 280 remington.

Chuck R.
October 14, 2008, 07:51 PM
Steyr Mannlicher MOD M in .270 Win with a Swarovski 2.2-9X.


Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
October 14, 2008, 07:55 PM
What caliber is a arrow? I think mine is 28"

How about 0.281" :

:) :)

October 14, 2008, 07:57 PM
PTR 91 in .308 winchester, or Tikka T3 in 30-06

October 14, 2008, 08:07 PM
What caliber is a arrow? I think mine is 28"
Oh, I don't know, but those the 1'' cutting radius helps :D

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
October 14, 2008, 08:09 PM
Yeah, well my broadhead caliber is 2.75", which is 3.77 TIMES the bore size of a 12 gauge:


October 14, 2008, 08:31 PM
1. Weatherby Mark V 7 mag
2. Mauser 3000 30-06 Leupold 3.5X10X50

For long 250 to 300 yard shots Weatherby Mark V 300 mag

October 14, 2008, 09:36 PM
I have shot many deer with many rifle cartridges, ranging from the .30 US carbine up to the .375 H&H. However, the most deer have been shot with the 06 (somewhere around 20). Why? For me, this cartridge offers a choice of bullets suitable for open range hunting (150-165 grain bullets) to those required for hunting overgrown thickets (220 grain). Additionally, with all these bullets the 06 delivers adequate performance without severe recoil.

October 14, 2008, 09:48 PM
for the farm it's a Vanguard in 270 with Leupold 3x9x50 & 130 gr Hornady sst. for the thick stuff or still hunting a custom mini-30 with Cor-Bon 150 gr. they both work very well in the given situation.

October 14, 2008, 10:04 PM
Tree Stand/Woods: .535 Gr patched lead roundball and 90 Gr fffg in a Hawken replica for up close and personal hunting. Still more effective than it has a right to be.

Beanfield > 100 yards: .270 Win and Nosler partitions over IMR 4831. It just shoots flatter than an '06 or .308 Win.

Jeff F
October 14, 2008, 10:10 PM
Past few years its been an Enfield in .303 British.

October 14, 2008, 10:25 PM
.243 Winchester with 100 grain Speer Grand Slam bullets will swive any deer of any size, without excessive meat destruction. What you practice with will become your best deer rifle. A .223 Remington, if legal for deer in your state, with a 60 grain Nosler Partition bullet will swive any deer living or sick. p.s. "swive" is an an archaic term unlikely to be found in any modern dictionary. If you watch the latest "BEOWULF" video, you'll grasp it's meaning. Otherwise, consider these bullets EXTREMELY adequate for deer-hunting. cliffy

October 15, 2008, 06:20 PM
I use a Remington Model 700 LSS in .260 Remington with a Nikon silver ProStaff 3-9X-40 scope. The cartridge of choice is the following hand load:
Case: R-P
Primer: WLR
Powder: 43.0 grains of IMR 4831
Bullet: 6.5 MM 140 grain Nosler Partitian

This load will consistantly group between 5/16" to 3/4" at 100 yards from a Lead Sled in this rifle. I can get about 2" groupings over sticks from field positions. I wobble a lot.

My backup is a Remington Model Seven with Nikon 3-9X - 40 scope (Talley quick connect rings) in .260 Remington, sighted in with Federal 140 grain factory loads.

I really love the three of them.

B.D. Turner
October 15, 2008, 06:22 PM
Remington 710 .30/06

Mr. 16 gauge
October 15, 2008, 06:26 PM
1.) Sporterized Swedish M96 in 6.5x55

2.) Winchester M94 in .30/30

XD-40 Shooter
October 15, 2008, 08:12 PM
For strictly deer hunting, I'd take a Remmy 700 in .308. But since I would want the capability to take bigger game, like Elk, I'd end up with a Remmy 700
in 30-06.:D

October 15, 2008, 08:38 PM
The Truly Great deer calibers are:

.250-3000 Savage
.300 Savage
.257 Roberts
6.5x55 Swedish Mauser
7x57 Mauser
8x57 Mauser
.30-30 Winchester
.32 Winchester Special
.35 Remington

Some very good cartridges that enjoy very good reputations on deer are:

.25-06 Remington
.270 Winchester
.280 Remington
.30-06 Springfield

Some good cartridges that have good reputations on deer are:

.260 Remington
7-08 Remington
.308 Winchester

I'm fine with any of the above. The one in bold type I already own.
The one I use on any given day depends on how I feel, where I'm going, and I'll put 3 in the truck incase I change my mind.

The Ol’ man said, “Son, don’t brag to me about the long shot you made! Brag to me about how close you got!”

41 magnum fan
October 15, 2008, 08:41 PM
My favorite is the 45/70.I also like to hunt with the 257 Roberts and the 260 Remington.

October 15, 2008, 09:57 PM
With other options available, my favorite is my Marlin 16.5" 336 in 35 Rem.

Nostalgic in my old age, in the dense woods up here the 336 just feels right. In the open farm country I like my 308.

Now if I can find some time to hunt...:)

October 15, 2008, 10:25 PM
Ruger M77 .270 3x9 leupold

October 15, 2008, 10:26 PM
probably the 7mm-08. just like that cartridge.

October 15, 2008, 10:58 PM
For Deer?? my 7mm-08 is just great... But I also have a .280 Rem.

October 16, 2008, 04:13 AM
I'm pretty well satisfied with .32 Win Spl

October 16, 2008, 10:17 AM
Toss-up...My sentimental favorite is my dad's old 722 Remington .257 Roberts. But as for my own gun safe, It has to be my wife's Remington 141 pump in .35 rem.

October 17, 2008, 04:28 PM
First choice: Savage 99 chambered in .358 Winchester. Second choice: Ruger 77 International chambered in .308 Winchester. Lot's of other choices too! :)

October 17, 2008, 04:33 PM
My favorite deer rifle would have to be my Steven Model 200 in 300 Win Mag. A powerhouse, and I usually don't have to track them.

October 17, 2008, 08:40 PM
280 Rem.

October 17, 2008, 08:58 PM
Some of you may think Im crazy but for deer I like my rem700 vssf .223. I have yet to track a deer more than 100 yards. I used a .243 one year and ruined a whole shoulder. With my.223 I don't lose any meat and it will drop them flat. Most of my shots have been 300 yards or less, but nothing under 150.

October 17, 2008, 09:49 PM
I used a .243 one year and ruined a whole shoulder
Well mattrobbins, I would say that your choice of bullets leaves a bit to be desired. The 243 is quite a bit better cartridge for deer than the 223. You probably used a varmint designed bullet in the 243 and they will blood shoot a deer if taking a shoulder shot. With the proper bullet designed for larger game, clean kills are the norm with the 243. I am not a fan of the 223 for deer. They are even more susceptible to blowing up with the varmint loads. Now I don't know what bullet you are using in the 223, but would say the fact that you are shooting deer at longer range and/or taking neck shots are the reason you are successful with the 223. In some states, it's not legal to use a 223, nothing smaller than 243. I know a few use the 223 in Texas on their smaller deer and it's legal but I would rather have a 243 any day.

Welcome to THR mattrobbins, we do welcome your input.


October 17, 2008, 10:08 PM
Remington Model Seven 7mm-08

October 17, 2008, 11:13 PM
NCsmitty I realize that a .223 is not legal in many states but it has done what I need it to do. My shots are not neck shots. I use a nozzler partition bullets for my .243 and .223. I am very confident in my bullet placement and range my gun is capable of. I would not use my .223 for larger game but for deer in Montana it is plenty.

Thanks for the welcome.

October 18, 2008, 12:31 AM
Ruger M77MkII all weather in .260rem.

October 18, 2008, 01:11 AM
I'm using the same Winchester Model 70 in .30-06 that I've used all my life. We've had it in the family since 1951.

November 19, 2008, 10:44 PM
My favorite Gun is my 300 savage

November 20, 2008, 12:18 PM
I prefer .30 caliber guns. I currently have a .308 that has not let me down yet. We are 10 for 10 right now. Behind the shoulder shots leave a mess that is easy to find. And if you have to track the amimal it would take Ray Charles to loose the blood trail. Never had one run more that 40 yards.

November 20, 2008, 12:21 PM
Being from Minnesota, we're stuck on 30-06, and I still love it.

November 20, 2008, 02:09 PM
As i live and hunt in PA, I use a Marlin 336 chambered in .30-30. I love that gun. Granted the .30-30 isn't the distance performer .204 is, but when hunting Pa it's hard to find a shot much further than 120 yds, at which distance the .30-30 is more than deadly enough

November 20, 2008, 03:07 PM
30-06 if there is any chance of longer shots
30-30 or 45-70 for 1-150 or less in a short lever gun

My compromise this year is a Rem 7600 carbine in 30-06... If I end up liking it alot it will become my main deer rifle, if not it will become a back up, spare or loaner rifle. There is no question of the accuracy even with the 18" barrel, it shoots better than I can...


November 20, 2008, 08:05 PM
My personal favorite deer gun is my Remington 7400 in .270. Have taken many deer over the years. I also really like my 700 in 7mm rem mag and my super black hawk in .44 mag.

November 20, 2008, 08:05 PM

November 20, 2008, 08:17 PM
8mm Mauser

November 20, 2008, 08:30 PM
Swedish "potato chucker" . . . . 9.3x57 Mauser . . . It's 286 grains of big medicine on deer, elk, antelope, and other such critters. I love this round.

(Still have a soft spot for the 35 Rem having carried one for 20 years.)

November 25, 2008, 10:58 PM
get a browning stainless stalker rifle in a 7mm rem mag and a leopold vx III scope it tops every rifle out there

November 26, 2008, 08:28 AM
Well, they're all my favorites.

I like my Weatherby 7mm Remington Mag, my Marlin 336 .30-30; still developing a load for the Marlin XL7 in .30-06.

That 7 Mag drops deer like Thor's Hammer when I hit them in the front shoulder.

November 26, 2008, 10:51 AM
I picked up a 1938 Mosin, looks like the perfect brush deer rifle to me. Ammo is cheap.

November 26, 2008, 12:10 PM
30-06 Springfield

November 26, 2008, 12:49 PM
pre-64 model 70 in .270

November 26, 2008, 12:56 PM
model 700 in .270 win
marlin 336 in 30-30

November 26, 2008, 01:05 PM
My first choice: REMINGTON 700 ADL in .270 :D

November 26, 2008, 01:37 PM
7mm 08 and don't look back although i mistakenly gotten a Rem 700 ADL .243 cal youth bec price was cheaper and ammo more available.

November 26, 2008, 09:35 PM
Rem 700 in 260, hands down.

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