6 replies [Last post]
Joined: 01/26/2009
Posts: 1
help me choose a rifle please!

I am going to buy my uncle a deer hunting rifle not concerned about price he lives in Wisconsin. Any tips would be greatly appreciated. thnx so much

Location: Fort Collins, CO
Joined: 07/24/2006
Posts: 34
help me choose a rifle please!

Pretty much any caliber you want. Most states have laws around size and deer/big game calibers must be centerfire and larger than .24.

.243 is a very common deer-only rifle. Very light recoil. Probably not the best caliber for elk and larger animals. But, if you're thinking only deer, then this might be a good choice.

Then there's the group of all-purpose calibers: 7mm-08, 7mm mag, .270, .270 WSM, .30-06, 300 WM, 300 WSM, .308, .30-30, etc

Any of those will be fine for deer, elk, and probably moose. All have subtle differences in trajectories, velocities, recoil, etc. In the end, it's probably more about what you like and what you feel comfortable with, rather than any discernable difference in performance. I'm speaking in generalities for the common hunter who shoots primarily under 200 yards.

Probably the three most common actions are bolt, lever, and semi-auto. Historically, bolt actions were the most reliable and accurate. With today's machining standards, any of the actions will be fine. Pick one you like.

Brands range from very expensive (e.g., Weatherby) to very affordable (e.g., WalMart Mossberg). Remington 700 models have been a standard for years and probably represent the most common choice. Winchester used to be as popular, but the gunmaking division has changed hands several times over the past 15 years and I honestly don't know what the current status is. Savage is a less popular rifle, but very good and tends to be less expensive. Browning is popular and high quality, but may be higher priced than Remington. My friend swears by his $250 Mossberg .270 that he bought at WalMart. Ruger makes hunting rifles, Henry makes large caliber lever actions, and the list goes on.

At the ned of the day, I'd say (without data to support) that Remington, Winchester, Browning, and Savage make up the bulk of hunting rifles, with Weatherby picking up most of the hight end crowd.

Probably best to figure out what you want in a rifle. Wood or synthetic stock? Blue or stainless barrel? Preferred action? Price range?

Then, check out the online manufacturer's sites to see what models fit your needs. Go to a gun shop or two and hold them. For example: Even if you want a .270 and the shop only has a .30-06, it's going to feel the same, so try it out. You might not like the geometry of the gun, stock, etc. If you don't like the fit/feel of the .30-06, it's pretty likely that you won't like the other calibers of that model/brand either.

Finally, don't cheap out on the scope. Doesn't mean you have to get a $500+ scope, but be prepared to spend a good $200 on one that won't lose it's zero, won't fog, is good in low-light conditions, etc. Everything looks good in a dry, bright store -- try to remember that you'll be in an outdoor environment at sun-up trying to spot a brown deer against a brown background. You'll want a scope that handles moisture and outdoor elements and has enough light transmission that you can clearly see what you're looking for.

Good luck.

Don Fischer's picture
Location: Antelope, Ore
Joined: 03/24/2005
Posts: 3206
help me choose a rifle please!

Welcome to BGH.

May I suggest your asking the wrong guys about the rifle. has your uncle hunted before? I'm guessing he has. Talk to him and tell him your thinking about getting a new rifle for deer, ask his opinion on what you should get.

Most people lean toward favorite cartridges with themselves in mind. I had a lady friend years ago whos young son bought her a ring for christmas, she never wore it. He was hurt a bit over it. She got it out and showed it to me, huge thing! She wore small dainty jewlery. He had got her something that he liked! She didn't like it but didn't throw it away either.

Moral of the story, find out what your uncle likes!

Location: California
Joined: 09/06/2008
Posts: 1066
help me choose a rifle please!

Without knowing more about your uncle its hard to give you an intelligent answer. Is he a big guy, younger, older. Does he shoot a lot, does he reload? Will it be just deer or Elk and Moose etc etc? 67L48 gave you great advice when he said don't cheap out on the optics. Other than that, remington, winchester, savage and weatherby are all great choices.

Joined: 07/31/2007
Posts: 632
help me choose a rifle please!

I agree with Don. Asking him what he thinks you should get will give you some great ideas without him knowing its for him. Just say "I'm thinking of getting a new rifle, what would you get"?

Location: Mobile County, Alabama
Joined: 09/09/2007
Posts: 310
help me choose a rifle please!

Good advice so far.

For a generic answer (hunter is an average size man in good health) I would recommend a Stevens 200 (they're made by Savage) in .270 or .30-06 with the camo stock. Top it off with Weaver mounts and a Burris, Leupold, Nikon or Sightron scope.

If you want to go all out, add a good sling, a decent hard case and a good cleaning kit.

Joined: 08/27/2008
Posts: 8
help me choose a rifle please!

I agree with most of the responses here. However, for me part of the formula would be if you are going to be hunting in the open areas or in the woods. If you are hunting in the woods, then my suggestion would be a .308 or 30/30. However, if you are going to be hunting in an area where you may have the opportunity of a shot out to 150+ yards then you might want to consider a .270 or Weatherby .257 Mag. I work in a gun shop and if I had a nickle for every time someone came in and bought a rifle or shotgun based on someone else suggestion and then later bring it back to trade because it was more rifle then what they needed I would be worth a million dollars (figurative speech). It's crazy, the 300 Win Mag craze hit and everyone came and traded their .270,30-06 and so on for a .300 WIn Mag and then they brought them back stating their deer was ruined. Bad shooting too big caliber I dont know. Some were honest and said they didn't like the recoil of the 300 WM. Whatever you do, do it because you're comfortable with the price and with the performance of the caliber you chose. Have some fun with it too. There is a ton of good stuff on the internet to help make your decision. Tikka makes a fine rifle and is not real expensive. I would stay away from the Remington 710. I sell rifles and our gunsmith fixes them and I see a lot of the 710's coming back for repairs. So there is something to be said about quality of what you spend your money on. Good luck and have fun with it.