Help Me Buy A New Deer Rifle


September 1, 2004, 12:09 AM
I am in the market for a new deer rifle.

I have gotten rid of all of my deer guns except for an 870 I can load with slugs or buckshot (only if I had too, though, as it is a Police model with an 18" barrel).

I plan to do some stalking this year and in years to come as well as some stand hunting. I don't drive, man or dog.

I would love to get two rifles, a carbine lever in something like 44 Magnum or 30-30 and a bolt rifle for longer distance stuff. This may be what I do, but figured I'd get some opinions first.

I am looking at the Winchester Ranger Compact in 30-30 or the Trapper in 44 Magnum. Both are "bantam" sized stocks with a 16" barrel. If I got one, I would peep sight it and go. Opinions?

For my bolt rifle, I like Remington 700's in .270, 30-06 and 7mm-08. I am playing with the idea of a Model Seven on 7mm-08 (used to have one) but if I went with the lever gun too, this would be less necessary.

I keep coming back to something like a 700 in 30-06 and the Trapper in 44 Magnum. I feel like this would give me a great combo for Southern Whitetail and most other stuff I might end up shooting at in the US.

Also, would the difference in a Zeiss Conquest and a Leupold Vari-X I, II or III be very noticeable? I swear I can hardly tell the difference in optics of the different Leupolds. But, for the money of the II or III, I could mount the Zeiss.

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September 1, 2004, 12:58 AM
.30-30's are great. I recommend the 20" rifle instead of the 16" carbine because of the sight radius and balance. However, the 16" is a great brush gun.

September 1, 2004, 06:04 PM
30-30 is a great brush gun, for the longer range stuff the rem. 700 is a great choice, i'am so fond of rem. all my rifles are made by them, any of the calibers you mention would be a good choice, the 30-06 has more choices in bullet weight, the .270 is a great caliber and shoots flater then the 30-06, and the 7mm-08 also has pretty good bullet selection the shorter action means a little lighter weight and a little more accurecy.

September 1, 2004, 06:48 PM
All those calibers will cleanly take a deer at 100 yards. The 30-06 will cleanly take just about any North American big game. Where do you live/hunt?

I've gone round and round on this, bought big guns, little guns, small cannons. Out of 25 or so deer that I have shot, only 2 were at ranges over 150 yards, 1 was over a hundred, 2 might have been at 80, and the others ranged from 10-40 yards.

I use a Browning BLR in 308 with open sights (gonna get a peep someday) for my "walking in the woods deer gun." For a tree stand, I went a little bit overboard, and currently use a Remington 700P in .308 with a Leupold 3.5-10x50. It weighs a friggin' ton, but shoots 3 shots into a dime at 100 yards, and holds sub MOA out to 300 yards. Good enough for any deer I might see.

I'll probably pick up a 700 mountain gun with detachable mag in 30-06, and put a 1.75-6 Leupold on it for stand hunting, but for now the .308 works fine, it's just heavy.

I think a lot of folks get caliber crazy (been there, done that) and start "needing" such and such magmun/cannon. Deaf ears, sore shoulders, and seriously "blown to *****" carcasses are all I've really seen using these cannons. To each his own, I guess.

September 1, 2004, 07:42 PM
Badger, how's that Leupold 50mm working out for you?

I have a somewhat similar setup (well, not really).
Remington 700 ADL in .270 with a Leupold 3.5-10x50

I hope the 50mm objective isn't too big, although since I'm going to be hunting from a treestand 90% of the time I don't think it will be a problem.

September 1, 2004, 08:49 PM
I works fine. The set up is just very big and heavy.

Funny thing is, I shot last year's buck at @ 10 yards. I had this great stand. 10 feet inside the treeline, set up right in the middle of a 300 yard edge of a field. Field planted with soybeans and corn. Deer typically entered field at either corner (150 yards,each way), or came right down the "split between the beans and corn. All nice clear medium to long range shots. At 10 am I heard a noise behind me. Turned around and a does is walking very quickly right to me from inside the woods. The buck was 20 yards behind her, nose to the ground the whole way. By the time I got my gun up on him he was underneath me. I had to turn around other side of tree to shoot him. I'd have been better off with open sights on a shotgun or lever gun. :)

September 1, 2004, 09:09 PM
I need help too.

Everyone send me $10 to help me buy a new deer rifle. I promise to tell y'all all about it later.:D

September 2, 2004, 01:29 PM
Well, I found a used Trapper in 44 so I picked it up. Now I have to decide on the bolt rifle. I am thinking a 700 in 30-06 will be almost perfect. Thanks for the info. By the way, I live in central SC and hunt the upstate (more stalking, close-up shots) and the lowstate (lots of peanut and soybean/corn fields with longer shots).

Art Eatman
September 2, 2004, 03:27 PM
IMO, for anything within 300 yards or so, a 7mm08 will do as well as an '06. And I've been messin' with the '06 for a long, long time.

I don't know if it's the stock fit or what, but my 700 Ti in 7mm08 is no worse for recoil off the bench than my '06, yet the Ti totals out some three pounds lighter. The bullets are within 10 grains, and MV is within a hundred or so ft/sec. Dangfino. (I'm not saying go shell out the bucks for a Ti, but my old legs appreciate all the help they can get. :) )


September 2, 2004, 03:40 PM
I've handled a number of ultra short carbines in 30-30 and 44 mag... they just don't 'feel' right to me like shouldering a full length 20 inch lever gun.

I prefer Marlin over Winchester lever guns in general, but both are well made.

I don't understand peep sights on an up-close lever gun... if it's not meant for a 100+ yard shot, buckhorns are fine.

September 2, 2004, 03:43 PM
on a more serious note, its been my experience, that any of the cartridges based on the 7.62 X 51 round are more than ok for deer, at any practical range. .243, .260, 7mm/08, .308, or .358 all do a fine job on deer, black bear, and any other game in that size range. I am very partial to Mannlicher style full stocked carbines. Remington's Custom Shop, and Ruger make exellent examples. Handy, light weight, and nice looking too.

September 2, 2004, 03:46 PM
I want to get one eventually because I have a good middle-of-the-road gun... a 7mm Rem Mag. It's TOO good on mostly everything, which means that I can't really justify a new rifle. Plus, I would rather have the lighter recoil, lighter weight and extra shot for deer hunting. It would also give me the excuse to get something BIGGER for bear (like a .338).

Little Loudmouth
September 2, 2004, 04:17 PM
I'd reccommend a Remington 788 carbine in .308. Good little guns, those.

September 2, 2004, 07:09 PM
I have a 788 chambered in .243. Good gun, but I HATE the safety. Mine is about 20 years old, I don't know if they've changed over the years but it has a big blocky safety that easily gets knocked to FIRE while going through brush. I'm buying a different gun for my son because I don't want him using that safety.


September 2, 2004, 07:29 PM
my dad has a 788, nice little gun but if you ever needa trigger for it good luck finding one. I haven't had any luck.

September 2, 2004, 07:38 PM
Trigger discipline is my safety.

September 2, 2004, 08:31 PM
Trigger discipline is my safety.You can say that all you want, but I don't want to be busting through thick brush and come out the other side and see that somewhere in the middle of the thicket the safety came off. Too much that can hang up and catch the trigger.

And I DEFINITELY don't want my son accidentally walking through a thicket with the safety off.

September 2, 2004, 08:38 PM
Yeah, I understand, both about the brush and your son... If a gun is going to have a safety, it should be a reliable one.

I just prefer guns without them.

September 2, 2004, 11:09 PM

IMO - Get you a model 700 remington in 270 Win. for a bolt action rifle! Factory ammo is always available and reloading even expands that!

Art Eatman
September 3, 2004, 09:53 AM
I was raised to never trust a safety. No matter what I "know", I still have the negative feeling about a safety. So, I just leave the bolt handle up until I'm ready or nearly ready to shoot.

Another point about the '06 cartridge. It's a bit overbore, and doesn't do nearly as well when barrels are shortened down around 20". Unless one needs 180-grain bullets or heavier, in a short-barrelled rifle I'd just as soon have a .308. IMO, the '06 is best with a 24" or 26" barrel.


September 3, 2004, 10:24 AM
788 is a great rifle, have 2 in .223 and 22-250, both are tack drivers, if you can find one in good shape, rem. stopped making them long time ago, my first hunting rifle when i was 13 was a 788 in .308 my dad bought me, it had 181/2 inch barrel, did not expirence any trouble with the safety but yes it is kinda big, wish i still had it, when my parents diorviced my mom sold it.:(

September 3, 2004, 03:59 PM
No matter what else I buy, I keep coming back to the 700 in 30.06 and a levergun in .30-30 for deer. I prefer the Marlins myself.

September 3, 2004, 05:02 PM
Well, I am almost convinced I am going to get another 7mm-08. Now I just need to decide what gun to get it in. I am partial to Winchester myself but haven't messed with the "new" Pre-64 stuff they are putting out. I hear a lot of good about them. Can anyone give me info on them?

These are the two I am now looking at.

Remington 700 Mountain Rifle (

Winchester 70 Classic Featherweight (

September 3, 2004, 05:11 PM
both rifles are top of the line, i like the remington because i think it is better looking but it is just a matter of taste, one thing that might help you decide is the rem. 700 action is the choice of the marine and army sniper programs.

Eskimo Jim
September 3, 2004, 06:32 PM
I've got a Ruger 77 Mark II in 30-06 that I like a lot because it came with open sights and rings when I want to mount a scope. It hasn't taken a deer yet but it has taken a Russian Boar.

I would have opted for the Winchester model 70 if I had found one with open sights.

A 30-06 is a very versatile cartridge and you can find it pretty much anywhere. That would cover you for North America. If you get off the continent, then you can probably afford a larger caliber for safari.

Good luck.


September 3, 2004, 09:27 PM
Forgot about the Savage... that new accutrigger they have is AWESOME and Savages are extremely accurate for the money.

September 3, 2004, 09:46 PM

I noticed you have a Remington Ti, I heard some spotty stuff on this back and forth but nothing I trusted. Can you tell me how you like the Ti? I am really interested how it groups, I know it has a light contour barrel so 5 shot rapid fire groups is note its strong suit, but seriously how do you like it? It is on the short list of interesting next rifles. I really want to semi retire my ol 33/40 mauser after this deer season as the wood is just to nice to pack around in rough country, and the Ti is intersting, but I am waffling all over between this and a carbon/stainless steel version.

Art Eatman
September 4, 2004, 12:07 AM
The Ti? I double-ell Love it!

I get three-shot groups of one MOA with a Weaver V3, which with my old eyes is superb! (I rarely bother with five-shot groups anymore, particularly from a hunting rifle.)

After I first sighted it in, I then decided to lighten the trigger pull. I discovered during disassembly that the stock screws weren't really tight. After reassembly and torquing the stock screws properly, my next group had the same point of impact as before. Go figure!

I get the same POI with handloads as with factory.

With the 22" barrel it balances well; maybe a skosh muzzle-biased, which is great.

6-1/4 pounds with scope, sling and four rounds. What's not to like?

:), Art

September 4, 2004, 12:28 AM
After fiddling with my new 700 I was hoping for a little more accurate. My old mauser was giving me just a little over .5 MOA, but it has a heavier contour barrel.

I had a Remington 7mm short mag in my mind. Actually I had a custom 284 in my mind but I am exploring other options to avoid the custom. I figured in a short mag I could load it down most of the time and have the 2850 FPS with a 140 grain nolser that I want, but would have the option of hot rod loads if I ever needed to.

Yeah I didn't miss the wieght savings, I just wonder what the Saum would be like in that light rifle.

Your rifle sounds like it is giving much closer to what I had expected in the accuracy department, than what I had read, what I read they couldn't get below 1.5-2 MOA and I figured something was dead wrong. Wonder if they needed to torque the stock screws?

Is the bolt Titanium also? How do you lap the lugs and true the action on one of these?

Thanks for letting me be a pest but your one of a very few people I have run into who owns one of the Ti's.

Art Eatman
September 4, 2004, 09:37 AM
Yeah, they're pricey little devils--and I see they've gone up $50--but I'm indulging my old tired legs...

The bolt is stainless. gives such specs as are available at the Remington website.

The way I look at it, for all practical purposes for most deer hunting, the package's only advantage is weight. In a stand that's unimportant, but I've always been a walking hunter.

I've just never seen the need for more than an '06 unless you're really trying to play Ma Bell in elk country. I've never figured on magnum power as a substitute for proper shot placement...

I've always been a long-barrel proponent, based on ballistics--particularly for the '06. And I've hunted a fair amount of time in the thick, thorny brush around Uvalde, Texas, as well as the open country there. The lack of "short-gun" and "handiness" never bothered me. If I only hunted in thick, brushy stuff or jungly areas like the Appalachicola River bottoms of Florida, I'd probably think differently.

:), Art

September 4, 2004, 10:50 AM
Art, what caliber is your Rem. Ti? I guess I have grown out of the "short barrel" snydrom as well. They are too loud and many times you give up "too much" jimmyp

September 4, 2004, 11:27 AM
Actually I am not looking for magnum performance at all, hence my 2850fps with a 140 gr bullet. I am looking for 280 or 284 level. The problem is the 7mm-08 is what is being currently chambered, there are a couple 280's and the 284 for all purposes is dead. And the next stop is magnums.

I do like a light short rifle, I hunt the Bitteroots in Northern Idao exclusively and it is thick straigh up and down country. My current rifle is a 20" barrel in a 7x57, I could stretch 2", and none of the factory contours really ring my bell.

I had a Remington 700 action in mind, chambered in 284 Win, with a 21" Krieger barrel in a #4 heavy sporter contour. What got me to the 284 over the other cartridges is how well this cartridge works in short barrels, all the other 7mm's start losing velocity quickly with the short tubes. My gunsmith always starts off reasoning with me before I fund custom projects, and if I can buy something real close makes real good agruements why I shouldn't go the custom route, or a least put me through the mental exercise. I haven't even convinced myself I am going to be happy with the loss of the CRF function, over the ol mauser, when and if I switch.

I buy a fair amout of guns and replacing this ol mauser has been the hardest gun purchasing decision I have probably ever made. I been packing that 7x57 for about 20 years, its never failed me ever. Every deer I have shoot in the last 18 yrs was with that rifle, and the gun that replaces it really needs to shine or the whole replacement process will be for naught and I will grab the mauser.

The Ti has a lot gong for it and why it sparked my interest, my issue is it will be like losing and old friend, and this for me is as hard or harder than replacing my carry gun, I need a lot of confidence in the new platform.

Thanks for your input.

September 4, 2004, 02:38 PM
Well, I don't know near as much about this stuff as ya'll do, of that I am sure. However, I do know that Titanium, while lighter than steel is only really stronger than aluminum. It isn't stronger than steel. So, for someone like me, who shoots a lot, I would rather have an all-steel gun if for nothing else, it would limit the things I can blame my shortcomings on. ;)

Plus, I am 27 and in decent shape so I don't mind dragging a 10 pound rifle through this nice triple canopy jungle called South Carolina. :p

September 4, 2004, 03:23 PM
I believe Art has a 7mm-08.

Art Eatman
September 4, 2004, 03:32 PM
Yup. 7mm08.

Yeah, a mile or two with a nine- to ten-pound rifle is not really that big a deal. Twelve or fifteen miles, though, in upping-and-downing mountain country can give you a serious case of shoulder sag by the time you get back to camp. :) Makes you appreciate a quart of water and a couple of cold beers, though. Oh, and a chair. :D


September 9, 2004, 03:27 PM
I got the Mountain Rifle with the Nikon 4x40 yesterday. I am taking it to the range this weekend to sight it in. I will give a review afterwards. Thanks for all of the help!

September 9, 2004, 06:08 PM
Sulaco, I think you'll be real happy with that Remington. I've developed an itch for a 7-08 myself and was thinking of getting it in the Win featherweight, but I do like the looks of the mountain rifle. Look foreward to your report on how it shoots.

September 9, 2004, 09:29 PM
Gunrunner, in the end, my decision was made on how practical the rifle would be for me. What I mean is, in my opinion, both are excellent rifles and will do what I want and then some. Both are nice looking and fairly light, as well as handy in overall size. However, the Remington, while equal the Winchester, is lighter, has a matte finish to the steel and wood, has a detachable magazine and a raised cheekpiece to name a few things.

September 9, 2004, 09:37 PM
Excellent choice (I have a 700 Mountain in .30-06, as well).

I find that with the factory-loaded Core-Lokt stuff at Wally World, mine gets about 1.5" groups. The barrel gets awful hot, though. :)

September 9, 2004, 09:54 PM
The Mountain rifle is really handy. I think the .280 chambering would be great for whitetail. I've looked at it a number of times and think that with the laminated stock and light weight, it works better thatn the model 7o

If you intend to use the bolt rifle for bigger game, you may want to move to the 30-06 or 7mm mag. If not the 7mm-08 or .280 would be great, and can be loaded more heavily for larger game when necessary, but won't shoot as flat as the 30-06 or 7m mmag (or 300 mag, etc.). The two cartridges you are looking at are both reasonably easy shooting with pretty good power.

Probably can't go wrong either way.

September 10, 2004, 08:04 PM
What about the Tikka T-3? I just bought one for the wife. It is the lite stainless in .308, with a Nikon Prostaff 3x9 40. Awesome trigger, and the smoothest bolt action. Only negative to the gun, is Beretta wants a fortune for extra mags.($80). With the scope, it weights a little over 6 3/4 lbs. And in .308(7.62 nato), plenty of mil surplus ammo, CHEAP to practice and plink with! 500 rounds shipped for about $80 bucks! Charlie

September 10, 2004, 08:58 PM
I am not of fan of magazines on hunting rifles in general, and magazines on bolt action rifles in particular.

This leaves me cold on some CZ models, Tikkas, the DM Remingtons etc.

My preference is a "STEEL" floorplate, nothing to get lost, nothing hanging off the bottom when its on the bench.

Doesn't mean I don't like mag rifles but I reserve that for semi's.

My $.02 which probably disagrees with a lot folks.

September 10, 2004, 09:54 PM
I know what you mean about magazines. I haven't been a big fan of them in the past, but I got used to them on another rifle and now I am partial to them. At least this one fits flush, like a trapdoor does.

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