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Deer rifle help

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by chsFISH, Sep 23, 2020.

  1. chsFISH

    chsFISH Member

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    Looking at getting into deer hunting, I'm not new to shooting just hunting. Want to buy a bolt action rifle not personally tied to any brands just want to hear opinions. I want a rifle that will be reliable, accurate, and can last me awhile. In terms of caliber, I was considering 6.5 creedmoor or .308 because its a lot more readily available every where (opinions on that?). I know I can get away with less for where I will do most my hunting (SC) but in the event I go travel elsewhere to hunt slightly larger game I don't want to have to buy a whole new rifle to do so. With the research I've done I'm considering these rifles and would like some insight on which to pick; Weatherby Vanguard, Tikka T3x hunter, Browning X-bolt, Bergara B-14 hunter, and Winchester model 70. Id like to keep the rifle under $800 but will step slightly over (like some of the above) if its truly an all around better rifle.

    While Im here I'll also ask if y'all have any preferences on an optic? And I've always preferred the look of wood over synthetic, long term or in hunting applications would you push me away from wood?

    Thanks for the help
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2020
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  2. IdaD

    IdaD Member

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    I'd feel better with a 308 if you think you'll realistically end up going after something like an elk but as a deer specific gun a 6.5 CM would be great. I have synthetic and wood hunting rifles and for practical purposes I prefer synthetic although I prefer wood in terms of aesthetics. Of the guns on your list I like the Tikka and Browning a lot.

    Another option if you are already invested in AR platform rifles would be to invest in a 6.5 Grendel upper. You'd give up a little snort compared to the CM but not enough to matter on deer, especially in your neck of the woods, and it would keep you in a familiar firearm style. Check your local laws, of course.
     
  3. SavingNolanRyan

    SavingNolanRyan Member

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    This is going to be a long thread I predict. I think where you state that you might want to go for slightly larger game than deer, (it depends on how much larger). Elk, Moose, Black Bear, etc. I think the conversation starts with .270, .308, .30/06, 7mmRemMag. You have a few questions with potentially many right answers. I'll let the experts chime in on suggested rifles in your price range. Scopes, there are many choices, but I would think a Leupold 3-9x40 is a nice place to start.

    Mike
     
  4. chsFISH

    chsFISH Member

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    I kinda thought 'larger game' would be too broad but I'm not exactly sure. Just a round that doesn't box me into only the white tail in SC, while not being complete overkill I guess. I know for some big game you're just going to have to step up to a larger caliber but looking for something that will be the best all around for me.

    I do have an AR platform and that's something I will definitely look into, but I've been wanting a bolt action rifle and this is a good 'excuse' to get one I guess

    Thank You so far
     
  5. skeeterfogger

    skeeterfogger Member

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  6. SavingNolanRyan

    SavingNolanRyan Member

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    I was going to suggest getting a deer rife now and something else if and when you go to shoot larger game, but based on buying one rife now, 7mm08 could be a choice, but I think the 4 calibers I mentioned are all great for deer sized game and extending up to larger game for one rifle now for deer and ready for larger game.
     
  7. Legionnaire
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    Legionnaire Member

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    Pick the cartridge first. I was a .308 fan for years; my go-to hunting rifle was a Remington Model 7 in .308. However, one doesn't need a .308; a .243 Win is adequate for whitetail. Much as I like the .308, I don't shoot one anymore, preferring a 7mm-08 for most things. I also shoot .243 and .260 Rem. The latter is the ballistic twin to the 6.5 Creedmoor, which is my recommendation for a general purpose hunting round. I don't own one as I am too invested in older cartridges. But 6.5 Creedmoor is what I recommend to any new shooter with aspirations toward hunting. It is powerful enough for most game, recoils less than the .308, and is available in a wide variety of loadings.

    Once you settle on the cartridge, then look for a suitable launcher. That choice will be informed by the conditions under which you hunt. I like a carbine length rifle with a barrel of 18.5 to 20 inches for woods and hills, a 24-inch barrel for wide open spaces. But really, buy a rifle that looks and feels good to you.

    And you'll have to report back here--with pictures!
     
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  8. David Hoback

    David Hoback Member

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    Let me first ask, is this TRULY, for hunting alone? Or are there other aspirations with the rifle?

    Given your criteria, I think you are best served with a Tikka T3. It’s a great super smooth action with a great trigger. (Especially after someone like me does a trigger job.) As for cartridge, either of your choices will work very nicely. It solely a hunting rifle, flip a coin on it. But if you will be engaging distance of any kind & looking for target accuracy, go 6.5
     
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  9. Legionnaire
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    Legionnaire Member

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    Oh, and welcome to THR!
     
  10. MacAR

    MacAR Member

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    For what you're wanting, I'd pick either the 25-06 or .270 as my cartridge (I have one of each in Ruger M77's). Both are quite capable of anything from hog to moose. As far as the gun, a very good friend owns a Weatherby Vanguard in 25-06. He loves it, and I do too. It's quite accurate and very pretty to boot. Another friend owns a Tikka, albeit in .243; I've handled and shot it and wouldn't hesitate to own it. Matter of fact, I'm considering a smaller caliber deer rifle myself and I'm looking hard at the .243 in either a Ruger M77 (used of course) or a Tikka. The choice of course is yours.

    Mac
     
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  11. .308 Norma

    .308 Norma Member

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    I like Leupold, and 3X9 is plenty. However, my custom built Montana Rifle Company 308 Norma Magnum (my retirement rifle) wears a 3X9 Weaver because I compared it side by side to a 3X9 Leupold, and it was clearer.

    My custom 308 Norma Magnum is bead-blasted stainless with a granite-grey synthetic stock because that's the way I ordered it. I could go on and on about how stainless doesn't rust as easily, and how because it's bead-blasted (rough), it doesn't reflect like a mirror like a deeply-blued rifle does, and how wood stocks warp and change shape (which changes the point of impact) every time the humidity changes. And I could also tell you how synthetic stocks absorb recoil better than wood stocks, and don't get scratched or dented as easily.
    But while some or all of that may be true, the fact is I like the looks of bead-blasted stainless rifles with synthetic stocks. They look more "business-like" to me. And while I enjoy looking at fancy, deeply blued rifles with rich walnut stocks, my rifles, in fact all of my guns, are first and foremost tools - some that I hope I never have to use, and some that I use on a weekly basis.:)
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2020
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  12. FLIGHT762

    FLIGHT762 Member

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    Pick whatever caliber you wish to use and then buy a Tikka T3X lite. I've owned a lot of different hunting rifles over the years. The Tikka produces an accurate rifle at a very reasonable cost. Tikka has become a popular rifle in the competition circles and aftermarket vendors are making a number of accessories.

    My L/H T3 in 270 win. has become my favorite hunting rifle. It's not fancy, but it shoots really well.
     
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  13. 98s1lightning

    98s1lightning Member

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    I'd HIGHLY recommend a Browning A-Bolt II (hinged mag plate AND detachable mag) in 308.

    You can find them on gunbroker used for $500-$600

    You can't go wrong with a 308, but they kick a little. If your going to have one rifle that ammo is easy to get I would grab one.
     
  14. godale

    godale Member

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    Not an expert but go and shoulder anything before you buy and see if you like the feel of it
     
  15. South Prairie Jim

    South Prairie Jim Member

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  16. 1RedSoxFan

    1RedSoxFan Member

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    Winchester model 70 featherweight. .308 winchester. Leupold vx-3i 3.5-10. you'll find the rifle for around $850 and the scope for under $300.

    More than you indicated you are willing to spend, but in the end you'll have a rifle for a lifetime. The "rifleman's rifle"

    They are now building them to pre 1964 specs with the mauser style controlled feed.
     
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  17. rust collector
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    rust collector Contributing Member

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    There are no poor choices among those you listed. Many moons ago, I picked up a Tikka T3 lite stainless in 308, and have never been disappointed. Creedmoor wasn't hatched then, and is too close to my beloved 6.5x55s for me to consider now, but is a fine option.
     
  18. gotboostvr

    gotboostvr Member

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    The best advice is to go for them in a gun store/show and see how they all fit you. Features like detachable mags or hinged floor plates, tang or wing safety, bolt lock or not are all personal preference and there's no right or wrong. Same with how the rifle fits you personally. There's a bunch of subjective elements to picking one out that's best done in person. It's similar to asking US what's YOUR favorite color. Plus, it's not that cheap anymore.

    Cartridge wise, I'd go 6.5 for less recoil and plenty of killing power. Leopold scopes are nice and hard to go wrong with as are Vortex. Ignore the lure of "cheap" 308win, cause it won't shoot well out of your rifle. It's OK for blasting at 100yrd through an old FN FAL, not practicing at 250yrds with a nice bolt gun. Plus it's not that cheap anymore.
     
  19. .308 Norma

    .308 Norma Member

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    Not trying to be a wise guy here, but if my 5'1" wife (with arms to match) had to like the "feel" of a rifle, or for that matter a shotgun before she bought it, she probably wouldn't have very many long guns. Shopping for a rifle or shotgun is not exactly the same as shopping for handguns, particularly if you're a small, or very tall person.;)
    I'm 5'10" with a fairly long (for my height) torso and arms. And most factory rifles and shotguns fit me pretty well. On the other hand, my 5'1" wife has had to have every rifle and shotgun she's ever bought, or had given to her, cut down to fit her. That's one of the main reasons she's been looking at one of those Ruger "American Rimfire" 22 LRs pretty hard lately. The model she's looking at has a synthetic, modular stock that she can shorten and change the height of the cheekpiece herself.:)
     
  20. chsFISH

    chsFISH Member

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    I plan on trying to get my hands on one before I buy one but a lot of places don't have them in stock immediately around me but say they can get them so Im trying to narrow down that list as much as possible first and just want to get as much info as possible before making that purchase.

    I think I will end up going with 6.5 creedmoor as I was leaning that way and a lot of people are backing that up

    I really like the tikka super lite but don't like the 24" barrel as a lot of my hunting is out of stands/blinds (am I over thinking that?) and I saw somewhere that the barrel would get hot quickly and lose accuracy after 5-7 shots. Any truth to that?

    Im also still very interested in the others as well but the only a few have 22" barrels so if thats a deal breaker it narrows my search down
     
  21. gotboostvr

    gotboostvr Member

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    Out of a stand/blind I don't think it matters very much. It's not like you're stalking through scrub brush and thorny vines doing drives. For that, I prefer a pistol cause there's a slim chance I'm taking a shot anyways.

    Heck, if you don't have a long hike to your stand I'd skip the superlite and just go with one of the plain models and put that money towards nicer glass.

    @308 Norma makes a good point, if you're of a large or small build, you may need to look at outfitting it with a different stock right out of the gate. I'm 6'4" 215lbs and most stocks just barely fit me tolerably. An extra thick recoil pad is usually all it takes to shore it up for me thankfully. In which case, you only need to worry about the individual features, not so much the fitment.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2020
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  22. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    Tikka T3, not Superlight in blue for around $600, SS for around $750. The standard rifle is already light enough. I kind'a like SS, but it isn't worth $150 more to me. With most other rifles the difference between SS and blue is much closer.

    The better 308 loads exceed what they were getting from 30-06 just a few years ago by a sizeable amount, no reason to think you'll need a 30-06. Even if you compare the best modern 30-06 loads the same bullet fired from a 308 will impact at 400 yards with about the same speed and energy it would if fired from a 30-06 at 450 yards.

    The 6.5 CM will kill the same game as a 270. It fires a 140-150 gr bullet a little slower at the muzzle than a 270 with the same weighs. But will out penetrate the 270 at any range. And because of the better aerodynamics of the 6.5 bullets will close the velocity gap as ranges increase. By the time you get to 200-300 yards they are a virtual tie.

    I'm torn between 308 and 6.5 CM. Enough so that I have one of each. If I were primarily hunting game bigger than deer I MIGHT give a slight edge to 308. But as a primarily deer rifle with lots of range time thrown in 6.5 CM is the clear winner. And it is still adequate for deer, elk, and bear.
     
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  23. Legionnaire
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    Legionnaire Member

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    IMHO, a 6.5 Creedmoor will take anything you don't need a .300 Win Mag or more for.
     
  24. IdaD

    IdaD Member

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    That begs the question...what do you think you need a 300 Win mag for?
     
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  25. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

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    The best deer rifle I have ever owned is a Ruger American in 6.5 CM with a Vortex 4-12 x copperhead scope. It shoots better than 1" at 100 yards. Total cost with scope around $600. I would hunt anything in the lower 48 with it.
     
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