• December 19, 2014

Choosing the right deer hunting rifle

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Posted: Saturday, December 21, 2013 4:49 pm

As long as choices of rifles suitable for big game have been available, there has been an ongoing debate among hunters as to which one is best.

The most common of these rifle calibers are the .243, .270, 300 mag., 7mm mag., 30-30, 30-06, and .308.

To simplify this old debate, all of these rifles can work well for hunting large game, (specifically whitetail deer) especially when used in the proper landscape settings and target distances for which they are designed to produce the best performance.

Generally speaking, the smaller of these calibers in the list, from the .243 to the 7mm mag., (higher velocity rounds) are best suited to longer-range, well-placed shots, while the larger calibers in the list, from the 30-30 to the .308, are lower velocity rounds, best suited to shorter-range and slightly less specifically-placed shots.

Because of their qualities of flat-shooting, low recoil, and accuracy, the smaller caliber rifles make for a good choice, up to a shot range even greater than 150 yards.

On the other hand, the larger caliber rifles produce higher recoil, with accuracy limited to shorter distances, but they offer greater power and knock-down potential, up to a maximum range of 100-150 yards.

Of course there are other factors to consider, such as iron sights versus optic sights. Generally, iron sights are best suited for closer shots, and optic sights are best suited for long-range shots.

Also, the specific choice of round is another consideration. Generally, lighter, low-grain rounds are more accurate, while heavier, high-grain rounds offer more power.

Finally, the specific action of the rifle (bolt-action, lever-action, pump-action, semi-automatic, etc.) is also a choice to consider.

Any combination of these available choices must be made based upon a hunter’s particular abilities, scenario, and personal preference.

Personally, for my typical whitetail hunting scenario, in a heavily-wooded area, my Marlin 30-30 lever-action rifle, equipped with a Simmons 3-9 X 32 variable scope and loaded with Remington 150-grain, soft-point ammunition, has worked out very well.

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