Help me pick a deer rifle


November 5, 2003, 02:30 PM
I'm considering a new deer rifle. I'd like to also use it for other types of game of similiar or larger size too though if I ever get the chance. I've pretty much narrowed it down to the following but would like to hear what you guys think. And they are at the extremes of the caliber selection I must admit.

1. Savage bolt action in .223 (with careful load selection, I know) or .308

2. Marlin 336 lever action in 30-30

3. Marlin 1895 lever action in 45-70

I've talked to several people about the .223 for deer. While not optimal they did say they were successful with it using the right loads.

I'm mostly a "tactical rifle" enthusiast. So I'm probably trying to satisfy that part of me with the military calibers in the bolt guns.....which I could use surplus ammo when I just want to punch paper for fun.

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November 5, 2003, 02:45 PM
Out of your choices and possible uses, I would go with the Savage bolt in .308, not in .223.

November 5, 2003, 02:49 PM
If you ever think that you may need to take a shot at greater than 150 yards, the .308 bolt is probably your best choice.

cma g21
November 5, 2003, 02:54 PM
Another vote for the .308!

November 5, 2003, 04:26 PM
The 223 may be okay if everything goes right, but how many hunts have you had where everything went just right. If you're already drawn toward military rounds, I would go with the .308. More than enough for a deer, and may make up for a shot that didn't go exactly where you wanted it to.

Me, I'd go with the 45/70, but I'm kinda weird that way.

Black Snowman
November 5, 2003, 04:35 PM
Of your choices .308 gets my vote too. I have a Century FAL that's accurate enough I'd be confidant taking a deer out to about 200 yards with it, with hunting Soft Points of course and not military ball ammo ;)

Something accurate in .308 with just about any action would my vote.

November 5, 2003, 05:01 PM
I'm going to suggest the Marlin 30-30, since most shots will be within 150 yards anyway. You can even put a scope on it.

It's the cheapest option, and then you can go buy something else for fun if you want.

November 5, 2003, 05:06 PM
KY strikes me as having a lot of trees and brush.

I'd go with the 30/30 ... nice used one, if possible.

Put rest of money into ammo and scope.

Just my two cents.


P.S. Sorry, Tallpine, Didn't mean to walk all over you. Looks like we both had the same idea at the same time. Brushing my cyber-footprints off of your back.

November 5, 2003, 05:14 PM
Ford vs. Dodge vs. Chevy

They all work, and which one is "better" is in the eye of the beholder. I have one of all the above calibers, so I really don't have a "favorite"

If you have longer shots across pastures or corn fields, the .308 is the hands-down winner. In brush situations, the .30-30 is more than adequate, and has killed more deer than any other caliber.

The .45-70 will work for anything up to grizzly bears and would be great if you ever wanted to hog hunt.

I'd shy away from the .223. Everything would have to be right, and that typically doesn't happen hunting.

November 5, 2003, 05:29 PM
Everyone of the rifles you listed would be fine except the 223. Heck my old man took a good size black bear with a Marlin 30/30 three years ago. And just for fun what about the 270 or the 30-06?

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