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deer rifle for the beginner

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Mooseman, Jul 16, 2010.

  1. Mooseman

    Mooseman Well-Known Member

    I'm interested in trying some deer hunting here in PA. Although I have plenty of handguns, ak type stuff, etc. I don't have anything suitable for hunting. What would be a simple, hopefully inexpensive way to dip my toe?

    I'm a bit overwhelmed by whats available out there so sorry the question is vague. I'd need to put a scope on it and it can't be semi-auto here in PA. Obviously in a caliber suitable for deer. Hopefully not an expensive set up so I'd have some ammo money to get proficient. I don't have a particular preference in action.

    What do you folks think?
  2. Matt304

    Matt304 Well-Known Member

    How about a bolt action Savage, they have a new rifle called the Edge, it's only $329 MSRP!

    Right now it is listed in the Featured section on their site: http://savagearms.com/firearms/featured/

    I think a 243 would be a great choice for a newcomer!
  3. Fremmer

    Fremmer Well-Known Member

    Buy a used bolt action .30-06.
  4. jleyring

    jleyring Well-Known Member

    I would go with a Ruger M77 270 Win. There rifles are quality and shoot very nice. Bullet is great for all deer.
  5. Abel

    Abel Well-Known Member

    The Tikka T3 in 7mm-08 would be a good starter.
  6. Matt304

    Matt304 Well-Known Member

    He wants to dip his toes, you give him a rifle that doesn't recoil much so he can become a proficient shooter. A 30-06 or even 270 is not a good choice for a new shooter. My friend in the army bought a 30-06 for his first rifle. He's pretty big, and he would flinch when he shot it. Could not shoot it and sold it within two months.

    Not a good first choice!
  7. Abel

    Abel Well-Known Member

    A 30-30 doesn't recoil that much.
  8. bgeddes

    bgeddes Well-Known Member

    Recoil sensitivity is different for everyone. If Mooseman is not bothered by big booms, the a .308, 30-06, .270 or one of the 7mm rounds is a great choice. For a lesser recoil rifle a .243 is great, although most will say the shot needs to be better placed (but any shot should be well placed).

    A Mosin-Nagant, while not pretty and new, can certainly dispatch a deer.

    Something else to consider is a good shotgun. For not a lot of money you can buy a slug gun that will be effective to 100-150 yards.

    Whatever you decide to get, look at the used market. Bargains abound, especially if someone thinks a 30-30 (or any similar gun) is no longer a good deer gun.
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2010
  9. The_Pretender

    The_Pretender Well-Known Member

    I've personally never seen anything as devastating on a deer as this.



    A roughly .75 caliber entry hole with a more than double exit hole. They don't go far. But to each his own.

    If I were to pick a rifle, I would select it by the terrain I plan on hunting. Is it open or wooded? Both?

    Since you are familiar with shooting and desire a rifle, I would suggest either .30-30, .270, .308, or .30-06. Those are pretty standard calibers.

    Lever action marlin in .30-30, you can scope it. For the rest, go with a bolt action.
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2010
  10. Mooseman

    Mooseman Well-Known Member

    thanks for all the replies so far, to clarify I'm not new to shooting just new to hunting/hunting type rifles. I'm not recoil sensitive.
  11. Pony Express

    Pony Express Well-Known Member

    Bingo. 30-06 is by far strong enough for any deer you would find here in the USA. Plus, the ammo is everywhere and you have a wide selection to chose from.
  12. blackops

    blackops Well-Known Member

    Need to know a dollar amount before anything can be suggested. For the entire setup (rifle/scope/base/rings).
  13. Dustin

    Dustin Active Member

    the lee enfield would be a great rifle to start with a nice one can be had for 200 dollars easy. (i got mine for 100 last year at the gun show and it more than accurate enough to make a clean shot on a deer at 300 yards. Hornaday make a great 303 british load, it is a 174 grain hollow point. it has plenty of power to kill deer without alot of recoil. you can buy scope mounts from b square that dont require drilling. i wouldnt want sportize one and ruin a fine piece of history, the stock iron sights are plenty good for hunting though. my .02
  14. Matt304

    Matt304 Well-Known Member

    Hey Pretender,

    All I use on deer is 20GA Core Lokt Ultras. They are insane when you look at how fast the deer go down and then see the damage. With a through lung hit, it's like the life is just sucked out of them in 20 feet worth of sprint!
  15. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Well-Known Member

    If you think you will likely be hunting off and on (or mostly on) for a lot of years, I'd just get a Remington 700 in 270-306-30-06 depending on what you find. Ammo is reasonable and the effects are all you will ever need for any kind of big game hunting in PA (including Elk). Savage makes an okay rifle.

    You will see a lot of Marlin 336's (30-30 or 35 Rem) and Winchester 94's (lever action) in the woods. You will also see a fair number of Remington 760's, 7600's and the newer 750's (all pump action) and certainly popular in PA.

    You're very lucky in PA with all the State Game Lands even though deer can sometimes seem scarce. It didn't used to be like that. Deer herds are increasing based on what I have been hearing and reading.
  16. Nautilus

    Nautilus Well-Known Member

    Lots of options... it's more a personal decision than anything. There is no special combination that is perfect for anyone, deer are relatively easy to kill and most popular centerfire cartridges will do the job, your ability with the rifle is far more important.

    I would recommend keeping it simple...

    Decent used or inexpensive new bolt gun in a standard caliber... .243, .308, 30-06, .270...etc

    Lever action 30-30 (Marlin 336, Win 94, even the Mossberg 464... pick your poison they all will get the job done)

    A 12ga or 20ga shotgun, rifled barrel and quality sabot slugs.

    Picking a popular caliber and action will mean you'll have lots of options on the used rifle racks and also normally mean you can practice with the ammo you'll use to hunt without breaking the bank. Going with a less popular caliber normally means the price of ammo goes up.

    My own personal Bias is for a Marlin 336 in 30-30 with a low power scope or any number of good quality inexpensive bolt guns in 30-06.
  17. Maverick223

    Maverick223 Well-Known Member

    I really like the .30-30Win., .45-70Govt., .260Rem., 7mm-08Rem., .280Rem., and .30-06 for deer. The .260 and .280 are pretty much unobtainium in a factory rifle, so the .30-30, .45-70, 7mm-08, and .30-06 are the only real choices. The .30-30 and .45-70 are short range punkin' chunkers available in a handy lever action, while the 7mm-08 and .30-06 are fairly flat shooters that are more suited to a bolt gun. If you reload I like the .45-70 or 7mm-08 a little better, if you want something more readily available in the local WW the .30-30 or .30-06 is the ticket. The lever gun of choice is a Marlin (either 336 or 1895) as is the budget friendly bolt gun (the XS-7 or XL-7). If you decide a lever is the best choice, you may want to look for a used rifle as they tend to cost a bit more.

  18. jlbpa

    jlbpa Well-Known Member

    My rifle for deer hunting is a 30-30 with a williams peep sight. Great setup! However, I've seen several nice deer out of comfort range for my setup I could have shot if I had been carrying a 30-06 or a 270 with a scope. Consequently, my preference for hunting if I wanted to take advantage of most situations and have the fire power for it I'd go for a 30-06 or 270 or perhaps 25-06. And a nice scope. Then I'd get out there and learn to hit my target at ranges from 10 yards to 200 hundred. Lately, I've heard deer aren't as easy to come by in Pennsylvania as they use to be. If the intent is to harvest one get the gun that can handle the most opportunities.......that'd be a 30-06 or a 270
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2010
  19. dbb1776

    dbb1776 Well-Known Member

    100 dollar mosin.
  20. Fremmer

    Fremmer Well-Known Member

    Actually, I'd change my answer: buy a used rifle in .30-06, .270, or .308. As long as it fits you well and you like the rifle, any of those calibers will clobber deer. See if you can find a rifle that has a decent scope on it, too, and save yourself even more cash. If you can get a gently used bolt action rifle with a good scope for 3 or 4 hundred dollars, you'll be set.

    I wouldn't buy a mosin or some other gun like that. Get a dedicated bolt action hunting rifle that's made for hunting and that you can easily mount a scope on. And it won't kick like a mule and roar like a dragon, either. Although I kind of dig the dragon roar.... :D
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2010

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