Have you ever downsized your deer rifle choice?

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by Saddlebag Preacher, Oct 15, 2017.

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  1. Saddlebag Preacher

    Saddlebag Preacher Member

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    I usually hunt a particular field on my property that is far from the road and next to a neighbor's hunting "meca". He has deer feeding plots all over his acreage and every year the whole family tags out. So I set up in a blind with my .35 Marlin 336 with a scope. I have had on and off success for a few years, but my shots are usually 90-150 yards away.

    Well, I've seen a big buck in one area this year, and decided to set up a camera on a trail that I use for my ATV or tractor to go from one field to the next, through a patch of woods. My neighbor's sons have put up a couple of tree stands on their side of the property line near where I've always hunted and I really don't want to be that close.

    I was really surprised when I checked the pics and found this buck, a couple of smaller ones and some does heavily using this trail. The thing is where the camera is, there is a nice cleared area right in the middle of this patch of woods, no more than 30 yards across. I see a nice spot to put up my ground blind off to the side in a brushy area. but it will be too close for the scope.

    So I've decided to use my older Rossi 92 carbine with the Hornady .45 Colt Leverevolution rounds.
    I ordered 3 boxes and had 2 in the safe. This will be the first time in years I haven't used a scope, and never have used the .45 for deer. Our modern gun season doesn't start here until mid November, so I've got plenty of time to sight it in.

    Anyone else ever downsize your rifle choice? PICT0018.JPG PICT0029.JPG
     
  2. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

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    Yes, I decided I like 243 better than 308 years ago for deer. Last season, I hunted exclusively with 223, and got 2.
     
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  3. darkcloud

    darkcloud Member

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    Yep. From 30-06 to 7mm-08 to 257 Roberts. Love that Roberts!
     
  4. Old Dog

    Old Dog Member

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    Yep. Grew up in SE Michigan, the gospel was .30-06 or .30-30, but the more I hunted (especially in Michigan's UP), I learned the .270 was a totally viable round for BIG whitetail.
     
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  5. JeffG

    JeffG Member

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    I have downsized my rifle choice, but came right back to the general specs of my original gun. One of the biggest reasons was the sighting system. I really don't like hunting without a good scope, unless it's a muzzle loader. Picking a hole in the brush, or trophy judging is made way easier. I tried a lightweight 308 Ruger rifle one year, it recoiled like crazy.
     
  6. LoonWulf
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    LoonWulf Contributing Member

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    I go both ways depending on the day and location.

    If im hunting an area i dont want to track, i NEED the meat, or ive never hunted the area, ill take a larger rifle.

    If im going somewhere familiar, and/or just want to enjoy some time out ill usually take a smaller gun.

    Smallest being my 6.5 Grendel. Ive got a pretty good spread of rifles between that and my 7mags to pick from so its mostly just preference of the day.

    Oh if low noise is a requirement ill drop down to a pcc, or my 6x47.
     
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  7. ms6852

    ms6852 Member

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    Depends on where I hunt. I usually use a 30-06 but I will use a 125gr bullet or a 150gr or a 165gr depending on size and distance. My biggest deer was with the 125 grainer. I will use a 30-30 in brush country and have taken deer twice with my AR using 75gr Hornady bullets. But I am an old timer stuck in the past and will continue to hunt with my 30-06 as I have done the past 52 years.
     
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  8. BigBore44

    BigBore44 Member

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    Yes I have. My first “deer rifle” was a Win. 70 in 30-06. Not once did I ever harvest a deer past 100 yards. My second deer rifle was a 45-70. Then a 444. And now I use my Marlin 1894 in 44 mag. It’s more than enough for deer at the distances I hunt. I still occasionally hunt with the other rifles. But purely for nostalgic reasons.
     
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  9. Jack B.

    Jack B. Member

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    Take the scope off your Marlin. That .35 would be perfect at that range. I hunted with a Marlin 336 in .35 caliber without a scope for years.
     
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  10. stownsend

    stownsend Member

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    I downsized a few years ago from a 300 Win Mag to a 7mm-08. I mostly hunt in South Dakota and although the 300 did great it was certainly too much gun. I am just as confident with the 7mm as I was with the big mag. The bonus is that ammunition is so much cheaper I can get more practice in with the smaller gun. win-win!
     
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  11. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    I don't think I've ever met a hunter who didn't downsize as they got older/smarter.
     
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  12. Armored farmer

    Armored farmer Member

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    I am envious of all you guys that can use centerfire rifles to hunt deer. Slugs, muzzleloaders, and handguns only during firearm season in Illinois.
    But yes, I'm planning to downsize my rifle this year. I'm going from my I'll faithful .54 20161201_114706.jpg

    To my .45 flintlock.
    20160318_175511.jpg
     
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  13. Armored farmer

    Armored farmer Member

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    I don't have much use for "line hunters". Not very neighborly.
     
  14. Patocazador

    Patocazador Member

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    I had one rifle that I used for 30 years but it met with a terminal accident. Since then I take whatever rifle (or shotgun) suits me at the time. There are many calibers that are very good at killing deer so I use several.
    BTW, I have killed several deer at 30 yards or less while using a scoped rifle. I'd stay with the "one who brung you."
     
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  15. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    I started my deer hunting life with a .257 Roberts which I inherited early on from my Grandpa. Lots of memories in that old rifle and it will do the job from 0 to over 300 yards, no reason to use anything else. .257 Roberts, especially handloaded to 3150 fps with a 100 grain game king or 3050 fps with a Hornady Interlock is about as good as medium game hunting gets. BUT, I obtained a nice stainless Remington M7 in .308 that I really like. It's compact and the 2x10x40 Weaver I have on it is versatile, from mountain canyons to my box blind in the woods, it can do it all. I see no reason to "downsize" even though I have other rifles, some of which are smaller in power. The M7 is my go to.

    I'm about the rifle more'n the caliber. I don't give a NIT what caliber I'm using so long as it'll do the job and it's in a rifle I like. I still have the old .257, have a 7mm Remington Magnum, have shot a doe with my Rossi 92 in .357 magnum. I have an SKS I semi-sporterized that I've shot 2 deer with, one using a low power scope, one with irons. I now have a 3x9x40 on it that I use with a green laser for night hunting pigs. I don't like using iron sights and I can shoot iron sights about as good as anyone around, been doing it since I learned to head shoot squirrel with my .22 over 50 years ago. But, scopes are just better in the dark woods at dawn or dusk and better for old eyes that can't focus anymore. After I get my cataract surgery, I'll not be able to focus (I'm sure) as well since artificial lenses don't focus, so the optics will be my way of life. :D They were anyway, though, just better than using irons. I even prefer a low power scope for still hunting those quick jump and run shots. I can get on the animal faster with a single sight plane, not having to line up iron sights, just put the crosshair on 'em and bang. :D

    Hunt with what ya want, but personally, I don't think a .30-06 is out of place on whitetail, let alone a smaller caliber or a larger caliber. Just choose what ya want. My rifles serve me well and I've grown to like the little .308....a lot. :D
     
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  16. Axis II

    Axis II Member

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    it depends on the situation for me. I hunt a lot of public land during gun season and went 45-70 for the bang flop so im not tracking or have a deer running with others around. If im on private i use a 44mag carbine.
     
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  17. entropy

    entropy Member

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    Depends on the activity; on stand, I use a .223 Savage Axis; stillhunting or driving (Which I hate doing) I use either one of my Mosins or my WIn. 94. As for your choice, the .45 LC will work fine in your situation.

    I agree. A guy bought 20 acres from my Father in law, the line ran through the swamp we often hunted. He set up deer crop patches on the edge of the swamp, and stands on them, then got hoppin' mad when we shot any buck under Boone & Crockett book size. :confused: My son hunted with him for 2 years, and he indoctrinated him into that mindset. He's finally come back around, but the yahoos he hunts with now can't shoot worth beans, that's how he ended up getting 12 deer one year. :cool: My father in law sold off his last good hunting 40 last summer, to another neighbor who had a really nice permanant stand sitting over it,and pulled many deer out of it. The instant he bought it, we asked permission and were denied. :mad: My FIL died this summer, we're hoping my niece and her husband buy the remaining 40 (mostly wooded) acres the house is on.
     
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  18. MTNSTRYDER

    MTNSTRYDER Member

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    I sold my 45/70 guild gun and 3 other guns and a motorcycle to order a bighorn armory 460s&w spike driver trapper model 90.I wanted it as a sort of one gun to do it all.In thery it should fire a 45 cal. 200grain bullit at close to 30/06 speed for 200 yards and fire heavier bullits for stopping power plus 45 long and 454 to macth my revolvers.
    I got it 7 days ago It shoots to point of aim at 56 yards with all caliber’s and weights but won’t feed any of them.It truly needs lots of breaking in very rough action but also very tight and strong and hits where I aim.
    I,m sort of happy with it I’m sure my butter smoothe 30/30 win.did’nt start that way when it was new 50 years ago.I will keep working with it until I’m sure I will keep It then watch for a new post “ One Gun To Rule THEM All"
     
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  19. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Moderator Emeritus

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    I regularly alternated between my '06 and my .243. It depended on the type of country where I would be hunting. Some of it was high probability for longer distances, so I'd take the '06. If I were sneaky-snaking in brushy areas, I'd use the .243 carbine.
     
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  20. Mn Fats

    Mn Fats Member

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    2 spots I hunt whitetail have ranges out to 400 yards max. Started with 30-30, switched to .270 win, then oddly to .300 win mag and finally permanently settled on .308 win. My morning spot has a max of 50 yards and I brought the above mentioned cals with to that spot until recently deciding to just take my 7.5" Ruger SBH. Downsize in cartridge and weight.
     
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  21. hq

    hq Member

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    I wouldn't really say downsized, more like specialized. Whenever I'm in a blind, treestand or other stationary hunting spot, I bring a .308 semiauto. Very accurate, 300yd+ of effective range and with hot 150-180gr loads it can take anything up to a moose. It's just way too heavy to lug around in a moving hunt, in which case it'll either be 7.62x39 or .44Mag carbine, depending on how dense the woods are. The two guns that don't see much use anymore are .243Win bolt rifle and slug shotgun. Nothing wrong with either, personal preferences have just changed and it's reflected in what I usually grab from the safe when I head to the woods.

    Some actual downsizing has happened, though. I've given a bunch of guns to my kids over the years.
     
  22. Picher

    Picher Member

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    At 16 yrs old, I made up a Savage 110, 30-06, with a Bishop stock and 2.5X Weaver. I used it for woodchuck/deer hunting, but never shot a deer with it. Then, I decided to downsize, selling the '06, and buying a .22-250 mostly for varmint hunting, but did shoot a couple of deer with it, using 55 grain solid-based Noslers. Next, I bought a new 30-06 and shot several deer with it, but shots were pretty long, so gave that rifle to my son and bought a Rem 700, .270, which still serves me well. Last year, I happened to be carrying my .243 Win, Tikka T3 Lite and shot a fork-horn at 200 yards, but really wanted to shoot one with my new, customized Rem 700 CDL, .270. Downsized, upsized, and sideways...they all seem to work if you're careful in placing the shot. This year, shot an 860 lb. bull moose with the "new" .270 CDL at 290 yards, using Nosler Accubond handloads. It only went 15 yards after the shot. John and Moose.jpg
     
  23. Saddlebag Preacher

    Saddlebag Preacher Member

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    ^^^^^^That is a great picture:):)
     
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  24. Saddlebag Preacher

    Saddlebag Preacher Member

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    Armored farmer,

    My dad was a vet and hunted on Ft. Knox for years. All he was allowed to use was a Shotgun ans Slugs. He was able to most years bring home a deer. He was into the meat (like I) and some were small and some were large, and mixed buck or doe. I though about using my shotgun this year, but opted for the carbine, it's lighter.


    Jack B,

    I thought about taking the scope off, that's how I killed my first deer with it, but my eyes are getting sorry for long distances and I have it zeroed so I was looking at my other rifle as an option. I think it will do OK. I've seen reports from Indiana where they can use only handgun caliber rifles for deer and .357, .44 mag and .45 seem to do good for woods. Thanks for the reply though.

    This was my saddle gun for years until now, my old mare is gone. I'll be using it this year for that new woods stand i'll have.
    Rifle.jpg
     
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  25. IKE

    IKE Member

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    Many moons ago I started deer hunting with a lever 30-30 and did well then I went to a bolt 30-06 and hunted with it for a few years and I also did well with it but I got tired of the recoil and I sent it down the road.

    After selling the 30-06 I bought a bolt 7mm-08 and that is the caliber that I've stayed with for many years.

    I reload for the 7mm-08 and use Sierra 120 gr. Pro-Hunters over a near max charge of Varget, the load is very accurate and performs really well on deer.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2017
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