The Rifle you trust


November 18, 2008, 08:31 PM
Another current thread here asked the question. What is the most dependable hunting rifle?

Predictably everyone started listing their favorite brands and models. Ok, fine, understandable. I have a different theory on what makes "The Best" and I'm interested in your opinions on the subject. Here goes.

The Best rifle is the one that you have have experienced unquestionable confidence/trust in, loaded with ammunition you have unquestionable trust & confidence in.

I used to have a Remington 700 in .243 that quite probably was a fine rifle but every hunting trip I took with it was a bad experience. One a devastatingly bad experience. While I did in fact kill several deer with it I also had a number of seemingly unexplainable apparent misses after a near perfect setup.

When a coworker expressed an interest in buying a .243 it was sold and gone in the time it took for him to write a check. I then purchased a Winchester model 70 (25wssm) saw great things with it at the range and have had nothing but great success mostly one shot "bang/flop" hunts. It is "The rifle I trust".

Thats the definition of "The Best" or "The most dependable" for me. Your turn. Fire away.

Just my (sometimes) humble opinion

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November 18, 2008, 09:13 PM
Well, my .30-30 marlin usually gets the job done. It just feels so good in my hands and shoulders well.

I bought my youngest son a mossberg atr in .270. He never could shoot it well enough to kill deer as it has a horrible trigger and he lost confidence in it. I don't like the darn thing either.

November 18, 2008, 09:24 PM
My #1 rifle is my Type 53. Someone previous to me cut it down in a very professional manner. Its extremely accurate, light and fires a round that will drop anything I may encounter. Of all my rifles, I would stake my life on it first for a real world situation when I'd be carrying a rifle.

My 500 is my go-to SD weapon. Six rounds of buckshot will stop anything within my home. This is also my deer rifle. Its reliable, compact and the controls are natural.

My SKS, AR, 10/22, 91/30, P85 and Hawkens are all "toys". I put that in quotations only because they serve no purpose other than my enjoyment. Yes, the AR would probably be my SHTF/TEOTWAWKI rifle, but I don't see Russians or zombies knocking on my door anytime soon.

November 18, 2008, 09:25 PM
You should hand him your 30-30 and get yourself a 35 Remmy... :)

November 18, 2008, 09:30 PM
In just a few seconds of thinking, my 'anything, anywhere, anytime' rifle is a sporterized '94 Swede in 6.5x55. It was cobbled when I got it; I added a scout type low powered scope and a sling.

It delivers bullets to point of aim with a nearly boring regularity. 6.5x55 will do anything I have any serious chance of doing. I have to get some pictures to post. None at the moment, sorry.

November 18, 2008, 09:33 PM
My most trusted rifle, regardless of caliber? I know it will ALWAYS shoot, consistantly accurate, and will kill whatever I ask of it, despite the overwhelming odds against it?

CZ 452 'Silhouette,' 22lr. Burris 'Mini' 4x20AO scope.

t george
November 18, 2008, 09:48 PM
both my remington 700s new and old i have a lot of confiidence in the new on a 30-06 has a pretty heavy trigger but the older one a 243 has a very light and crisp trigger but i have alot of confidence in both for hunting

November 18, 2008, 10:00 PM
Please understand that in my response, I am not bragging, and not thumping my chest. The folks here at THR who have shot with me, know how I shoot. I won't brag; they can do as they choose. In the absence of witnesses, videos work great.

I trust every rifle I own. Trust is the single criteria that I have for a rifle, that I cannot compromise. Trust, for me, comes only from successful range practice, and real world deployment the firearmin the field, and not just from the bench. Ten yards on stable concrete is not 525 yards, run it on a steep slope, with slick grass and firing behind a 4 foot wall and see your accuracy.

Here is my self-disclossure re: the test for my deer rifles with standard barrels: Set 6, 2-liter pop bottles with water at 525 yards. Now load your rifle with 6 loads of the best you have...test your trust.

The goal, 6 shots, 6 kills. Since I handload, I know precise velocity, the precise trajectory and the precise drift for each rifle/caliber, and am confident to 525 yards, even with a constant wind. All that lacks for trust, is the on-going experience of each time that I pull the trigger, the rifle launches a booming round...followed by a wack and splat.

For what it is worth, only one rifle ever failed me in a hunt: Remington 700V in 6mm Rem. I had developed a handload that was pushing some 95 grain Nosler Partiticians at well-over 3,351 FPS. The load was AA3100, with form-fired brass, Fed 210 Bench Rest Primers. I will not detail the powder chanrge. It took a long time to trust the rifle again.

In closing, you created a great thread! It always helps to explain the why we trust. I could write a book on this topic. :)

Thanks for the thread!


.38 Special
November 18, 2008, 10:07 PM
I have a Ruger Express rifle in .30-06. It is a discontinued rifle; a "standard" caliber in dangerous game rifle configuration. It was semi-expensive for a factory rifle and obviously didn't sell all that well, but the fine Circassian walnut is very attractive, the multiple folding leaves are perfectly regulated, and the gun fits me as though it was made to measure. I can throw the rifle to my shoulder with my eyes closed, open my eyes, and find the sights perfectly aligned and on target. Accuracy is not spectacular; but I can count on 1.5 MOA in the rain, in the dark, and standing on my head.

This is the rifle I count on, and the one that leaps into my hands when I pass the gun cabinet. From a technical standpoint it is no better than other rifles in the rack, and even inferior to some, but it is still the one that I trust and that has never missed for me.

And that, gentle reader, is why I think "Best rifle for ______ " is a silly and nebulous topic.

November 18, 2008, 11:48 PM
I trust all my rifles. I sold the ones I didn't trust.

I will say this, my mini-14 is really growing on me.

Rancho Relaxo
November 18, 2008, 11:54 PM
My most trustworthy rifle is a CZ527 American in 223 Rem. It rides around in a gun rack when I am driving around the ranch. No matter what is keeps a zero and is hell on coyotes. It would be the last rifle to leave my possession willingly.

November 19, 2008, 01:02 AM
You know it is personal. My Dad worshiped his 742 30.06 woodmaster.
I on the other hand feel this way about my Savage 110's.

The Simpler the weapon the more reliable it will be. KISS

November 19, 2008, 01:11 AM

M1 Garand.

November 19, 2008, 01:15 AM
I have a rifle.. My hunting partners have named it 'Mr. Lucky'.

Nope, I never named it. They did. It's a Marlin 30AS. I've carved notches in the leather sling for my Deer and Deer taken by others that have carried it. Just something about it, It's been a lucky gun. Last day of the season type gun that you really want in your hand.

Has a person gotten a deer every time it's been carried? No. But it's always been 100% reliable. I verify the scopes on the hunting rifles before season, and it's just one of those iron sight rifles that I pull from the case, and just shoot off hand at a 10" plate at 200m. Ting! Ting! Ting!

I've ticked off more than one huntin buddy.. 'You go that way, I'll go the other way. We'll meet on the other side for lunch'. More than once I never made it half way. I don't know that it's my hunting skills. That rifle has something about it. A friend clipped a buck in the antler once. (Blacktail) His first hunt. I handed him my Marlin. We told him to sit, (here near were the first incident took place only minutes before), THAT BUCK CAME BACK. The Marlin delivered. (OK, Blacktail are curious, and often do come back to where they were disturbed from.)

I have this other one. Some here may have read that I carry an old Ruger77 in wildcat 30-338. I bought it used after a season where I shot a big Black Bear at range with hand load (rather warm) 30-06. I hit him twice where I should have with good bullets. (Witnessed) Even after a timely dive into the brush with magnum pistol in hand.. -The only animal I've hit that hard that I didn't recover. It's almost haunting. I decided I needed magnum power for those long shots after that. So I get another 500fps with the same 190gn bullet compared to the old Ot-Six. I've yet to take a Bear with it. Several Deer though. The only time it's not been reliable was on an Elk trip where it and I took a rough tumble and the scope was trashed. Otherwise, the stock is cracked at the forward end, the bluing isn't perfect, but the action is smooth, the trigger perfect at 3 pounds with not a bit of creep, (easily as good as the Timney in the old Ot-six), and every time I cycle the bolt, every time I squeeze the trigger, she performs flawlessly. I'd take this rifle into the back country any time. (and do)

I have others. Rifles and Hand guns I'll put in the same ranks. But those two stand out.


Kind of Blued
November 19, 2008, 04:48 AM

I've owned freakin' hammers less trustworthy than my AK-47.

November 19, 2008, 10:47 AM
My POF AR is my most trusted. I went for a while without cleaning it, just for a test, many rounds later, it was working fine. No malfunctions. And it is VERY accurate.

November 19, 2008, 11:05 AM
The rifle I "trust" most is my Dad's old (now mine) Win 94 in 32 Win Spl. The "trust" part of it is kind of a symbiotic thing though. I longed for that rifle since I was old enough for my eyes to focus on it, and was allowed to handle it often, under Dad's tutelage. When I was 7, Santa, in his great wisdom, got me a Daisy Spittin' Immage (Mod 94) BB gun for Christmas. The guns were identical in dimension. Over the next 7 or so years, I unquestionably put somewhere in the neighborhood of a half million bbs through it. That's a lot of carrying, shouldering, and cycling, and snap-shooting... and the developement of muscular memory. When I transitioned to the Real Deal, everything but weight and recoil was the same.
43 years later, the rifle still comes to shoulder, on target, seamlessly and almost unconciously. I trust the rifle, and I trust me with it.

February 11, 2009, 04:31 PM
My Mossberg ATR-100 in .30-06.

February 11, 2009, 04:36 PM
My most trusted rifles are these two:
MK14 SEI Mod 1 ( and Norinco T56SHTF (

February 11, 2009, 05:37 PM
Depends on the target and conditions.

Different answers driven by different variables.

Travis Bickle
February 11, 2009, 05:44 PM
What is the most dependable hunting rifle?

Manual action.

Because each round is manually fed into the chamber and extracted, a manual action is unaffected by ammo of varying power and much less vulnerable to feeding malfunctions then a semiautomatic action.

There are semiautomatic actions that are very good, to be sure, but even those can't compare to the reliability of a manual action. Even the legendary AK can't compare to most manual actions in the reliability department.

The main advantage of a semiautomatic action over a manual action is that it gives you a higher rate of fire and quicker follow-ups. However, this is the last thing you need to worry about in most hunting rifles. If you miss your first shot, Bambi isn't going to stick around long enough for you to take a second shot even if you are using a semiauto.

February 11, 2009, 05:47 PM first reach for rifle if I want to put a bullet where I want it?

my custom 98 in 308. I know, for a fact, with most factory ammo, put whatever bullet where I want inside of 300 yards.

why 300 yards?

I live in the Texas piney woods...most pipeline and wireline right-of-ways are about that long around here. I am sure I could touch out farther than that, just never needed to. makes one mighty fine Tannerite ignition device. :)

second would be my Model 94 in 30-30.


Frightener 88
February 11, 2009, 05:49 PM
DSA FAL w/18" barrel

February 11, 2009, 05:49 PM
My Remington BDL in .270 that wears the same cheap tasco scope I put on it back in '87 when I got the gun new as a gift and was too young and broke to afford better glass. Never a miss, never a lost deer, has never lost zero. Something just feels right about it and it works.

I have other nice rifles with much nicer scopes, etc. but that BDL is "the one". So many times I have thought about getting rid of that scope and putting a nice Leupold or something on it, but I am almost too firm a believer in "if it ain't broke don't fix it", so it has stayed in it's original form all these years. It's weird but I don't want to jinx it by screwing with it. I do that with other guns.

February 11, 2009, 06:11 PM
i hunt yotys and the rifle that does the killen isnt my AR.or mini14,rem700,or any of my 22s or 17hmr its dads old trusty rem 222 mohawk 600 refit for 223. best little dog killer that ever killed a dog. THANKS pops

February 11, 2009, 08:57 PM
I have my two "go to" rifles.

First in a Winchester 121Y. It's the rifle I learned to shoot on and the most accurate .22 I have ever owned. I have plenty of bottle caps with holes in them from 75-100 yards to prove that where it gets pointed, it hits.

Second is my Marlin 30-30. I hand that rifle to every friend of mine that I have ever heard gripe about how inaccurate .30-30's are. I have never not had someone ask to buy that rifle off of me after putting 5 rounds through it.

February 11, 2009, 08:57 PM
I trust everything I own. I have no tolerance for finicky or inaccurately rifles period. If it bobbles or doesn't print well I get rid of it before I get attached. I wish I had access to a 525 yard range like the gentleman posted earlier, sounds like a nice challenge. 200 yards is the farthest I have to shoot anymore but all the rifles get rung out sighted in and shot often. Good idea for a thread. Bill

February 11, 2009, 09:00 PM
I picked up a 1903a3 and it is my go to rifle when I need a job done. Sadly I cant hunt with it in Indiana but it is the rifle I would trust come rain or high water.

February 11, 2009, 09:09 PM
I have to say my Winchester 94 in 357 Magnum. regardless of what type of ammo, wieght of the round, etc.... I can hit dead on out to 100 or so. If I had to grab and go right now, or if I had to give everything up except one rifle... this would be it.

Now, I have had my M1A Scout for only a couple months and it is growing on me quickly. Fun, reasonably accurate, seemingly durable without a single reliability issue in in the few hundred of rounds I have downrange...

February 11, 2009, 09:09 PM
My winchester model 70 in .243 win. That thing is a tackdriver, and there is absolutely no recoil. An absolute joy to shoot. It really makes a mess out of the coyotes I've been shooting with it lately but I can't bring myself to use anything else. My grandpa "sold" it to me when I was 11 or so for $5, dies included. I wouldn't trade that gun for the world.

February 11, 2009, 09:44 PM
Model 70 in .270. I haven't killed any pop bottles at 525 yards but I have killed a lot of deer and elk at 525 feet...................

Wesson Smith
February 11, 2009, 11:45 PM
My offering will have to be my Browning X-Bolt in .25-06.

Wesson Smith
February 11, 2009, 11:49 PM
Second is my Marlin 30-30. I hand that rifle to every friend of mine that I have ever heard gripe about how inaccurate .30-30's are. I have never not had someone ask to buy that rifle off of me after putting 5 rounds through it.
And I've found that that rifle really shines with the Hornady LeverEvolution factory loads.

February 11, 2009, 11:59 PM
I trust my Mosin M44.
Even though its not a long range hunting rifle its accurate enough to 100yrds.

February 12, 2009, 12:02 AM
I trust my 91/30.
I can still hit a 2x4 at 200 every time.
It's great, and has never ever failed in any way.

knocking on wood.....

February 12, 2009, 12:02 AM
My savage 116 in .30-06. Never Failed me

February 12, 2009, 05:59 AM
The one I trust the most right now is my M700 LTR in .223. I can shoot any of 3 different bullet weights in it and know within 1 inch of where they will be at 100 yds.

For longer shots or wind the mildot Mark 4 makes it a bit easier to estimate range, and then holdover, left right, etc. The HS stock I put it in, makes it more robust and balanced. The 12-14 ounce trigger in it takes a long time to break. But it definitely, keeps you focused on pulling, not jerking or snap shooting.

It's the only rifle that I keep set up, how I it set up, it's the "go to"

February 12, 2009, 06:41 AM
I use several guns for hunting, but out of a bunch there is just 3 I take with me these days. When hunting moose with a dog in front of me, I use my Rem 700 375 H&H. Reason: its cut down to be as short and light as possible. It got a Docter red dot, and the package works every time. When sitting on a spot waiting for the game to come I use my CZ 375 H&H, cause it got a much better accuracy and makes me feel safe about shooting at 300m. I got a Docter 2,5-10 illuminated on this.

For deer hunting I use my Super Vepr 308 with a silencer. The silencer is the reason why I use it. Iv discovered that if there is more than one deere coming, they dont mind the blast coming from it. I dont know if its the silenced blast or if it is the automatic that does it. Cause when I use a bolt action they are over the hills when I shift for 2. round.

All in all, my favorite hunting rifle is the one that is reliable. It have to take a fall on rocky ground and still be fit for being used. And when Im walking arround in the bush all sort of **** gets into the rifle, I would not drag a rifle that would get stuck just because of some dirt and frozen water. Accuracy is not that important to me as long as it stays within 1.5" at 100m.

February 12, 2009, 07:14 AM
My "animal magnet" is my Tikka T3 Lite Hunter in 270 Win. It is topped off with an old Swarovski 3x9x36. I have shot more animals with this rifle then all my other rifles. If I was forced to give up all my big game rifles but one, this is the keeper.

Friendly, Don't Fire!
February 12, 2009, 07:29 AM
If it's to vaporize a varmint, it is unquestionably my bolt-action 22-250.

For short-range work on coyotes, or for defensive purposes (excluding pistols) I would have to say it is my Bushmaster.

February 12, 2009, 09:01 AM
Ruger Mini 14. Trust it to function and go bang every time.

Sako .222 Mag. Trust it to put the bullet in exactly the right spot every time.

Ruger Redhawk. Trust it to deliver every time.

Colt 1911 .45. Trust it to work every time.

Springfield 1911 .45. Trust it to work every time.

I have a few more that are almost there. ;)

February 13, 2009, 03:49 AM
Ruger M77 30.06 my dad gave me when i was 12 years old. So far I haven't had to track a deer/elk/bear more than 40 or 50 yds. Been packing my ruger all weather 300 wm the last couple years works fine but I can't say it kills anything any better than the old 06.

February 13, 2009, 04:53 AM
I have a Rem 700 FS in 7mm Mag and hunted Alaska with it for 4 years and it was the one. Unfortunately I was hunting Elk with it in Arizona and it failed to cock on opening and I was unable to repair it on that hunt. When I got home I took the bolt apart and cleaned it and it works now, but I don't trust it anymore. Right now my rifle of choice is a Sako Forrester in 30.06.

February 13, 2009, 07:40 AM
Threads like this are always entertaining to read. Seeing the photos that some of the respondents add to their posts is also fun. I can't help but notice the majority of the posts to these type threads involve bolt action guns. But, let's face it. There are a lot of really dependable guns on the market today and of all types. We probably should be grateful we have so many good ones to choose from. After all, it gives us more excuses to buy additional guns.

February 13, 2009, 11:58 AM
It's what works for you. A couple have mentioned Win 94s. I had one in 30-30 given to me. While it was plenty reliable, I just hated it. I could never hit anything with it and I discovered I really don't like lever actions. Some hunting buddy loves his old Savage.

What I use a BAR, 7mmMag. I trust it. It has done its job well and knocked down many a critter. Not the most accurate rifle I own, but plenty accurate enough. But the one I'm in love with is my father's old Model 70 .270. If I could have only one, that would be the one.

February 13, 2009, 07:41 PM
Savage 116 fsak with 22 inch compact fluted barrel in .30-06 w/ Tasco 3x9 glass. I have killed a lot of game with this rifle.

But honestly after many years of hunting I always take a 'back up' rifle to camp. Often that was a Marlin .30-30 or a Remington 870 pump 12 ga shotgun with a slug barrel. Think I'd be happy to take my Brno Kar98k in 8mm as a back up OR as a primary. That's one hell of a rifle.

Honestly, ANY one of these could be a primary... many times I've hunted with them only the 8mm remains 'unblooded'.

February 13, 2009, 08:30 PM
my savage 110 in .30-06 has never failed me, neither has my 2.5x weaver (el paso) k2.5 scope it wears.

February 13, 2009, 09:26 PM
Saiga .223. It's never jammed, never malfunctioned.

February 13, 2009, 09:39 PM
Remington 700VS .308 with Leupold 4-12 Vari-X II. My current rifle, and a previous 700VS .308 I sold in a fit of extreme stupidity, have never let me down. My first VS killed 17 deer with 17 rounds of ammunition. Hopefully the new VS will be 1/10th the rifle my old VS was.

Just my .02,

Redneck with a 40
February 13, 2009, 09:40 PM
My most trusted rifle is my SKS, no doubt. It always goes bang and is minute of felon accurate at 100 yards. Actually, it will consistently do 3" groups.:)

February 13, 2009, 09:42 PM
I have a sporterized 1903 I got from Art Eatman I'm pretty happy with. :) I have a Montana 1999-actioned .35 Whelen that I hope will be my "one gun" that I could use to take virtually any big game, once I have a chance to get it set up with good glass.

I guess, in the end, I only trust mechanical devices so much. If I had to reach for something to defend myself from anything smaller than an elephant in my home, under virtually any conditions, I guess I'll have to confess and say that ultimately I'd trust my Mossberg 500 more than anything else. I'd really prefer something else for multiple ninjas, distance shots, or Cape Buffalo, but you put a good slug in that joker, and you can run from anything it can't stop. And when the inevitable malfunctions happen (yup, had 'em in Glocks, 1911s, M16s, and even revolvers), you just give a mighty tug on that fore-end, rack with vigor, and send another 430 grains of lead downrange.


February 13, 2009, 10:45 PM
Hunting rifles I've never ever had a malfunction with in the heat, in the snow and ice, at sea level, at high elevation.

Ruger 77, Custom chambered in 30-338
Sporterized 1903A3, 30-06
Marlin 30as, 30-30


February 14, 2009, 01:30 AM
94 ranger 30-30.. point and click

February 14, 2009, 01:44 AM
I own plenty of rifles, but if I could only keep one, it would propably be the one that has cost me the least, my egyption made maadi ak47. iron site 4" grouping at 100 yards (i know, not impressive but im no marksmen) and there is nothing i can do to this rifle to make it not go boom when its told to. plus plenty of take down power.

February 14, 2009, 02:24 AM
Saiga 308-1 that I almost sold (and would have been mistaken to do so with).

Extremely reliable, can carry a scope or not, and now that I've actually started shooting rifles seriously, I can make hits through it's iron sights with a pretty good amount of accuracy.

Not the most accurate rifle I could own, not the nicest, but it will get the job done.

February 14, 2009, 02:37 AM
120 mm smooth bore depleted urrainem round. my biggest problem is it wont fit in the garage

February 14, 2009, 02:39 AM
marlin .45-70 enough power for anything and fast shots ive taken more than 1 bear with it and wouldnt hesitate to carry it anywhere

February 14, 2009, 07:22 AM
Ruger 77 MK-2 or Hawkeye

ogie dogie
February 14, 2009, 07:32 AM
Savage,116,30-06,also being ss it,s easy to maintain.

February 14, 2009, 02:14 PM
I have a several that I can trust, just depends on the situation.

For a serious hunt, I'd go with my Model 70 sporter magnum in 300 win Mag.

The next choice is the M1 Garand, have never had a critter get away once I opened up on it, this also would be the first one I'd grab for an unknown situation.

Then there is the AR15, reliable, acurrate, just the caliber is small.

Other notables, Mausers, most anything designed by the Russian Military.

CSA 357
February 14, 2009, 02:19 PM
B 78 browning 45-70 3x9 nikon, its a deers worst nightmare!

February 14, 2009, 03:09 PM
I have already listed my big game choice; here is my favorite all around.

Remington Model 7 Custom Shop in 233.

Sorry about the pics, they were not meant for posting.

February 14, 2009, 03:21 PM
For accuracy the Remington 700 is a nice pick but in a 5.56 (or 223) range, the Sig Sauer 556 is the one for me. A little pricy now-a-days but a dead on rifle.
Now a "drop it in the muddy water, pick it and shoot it" type rifle you can"t beat an AK. I understand that some people are using them for small to medium game.

February 14, 2009, 03:25 PM
All my rifles work. They're all accurate enough for the job they get used for. I wouldn't trust any of them with my checkbook though.

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