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Hunt Okanogan's picture
Location: Washington state
Joined: 02/24/2011
Posts: 65
Whats your favorite gun for deer?

I am from eastern Washington state and the hunting here is done in sagebrush country that is pretty flat to broken sage/pine country that is still fairly open and very steep. Ridgetop to ridgetop shots are not uncommon. Neither are shots out to 300 pluss yards.

I have been hunting with my trusty .270 since I was 9 years old. Its a great medium sized game gun and maybe the best (mule)deer rifle out there in my opinion. I recently bought a 7mm STW. I realy like the gun even though I know it's a little over-kill for deer. I hunt a couple of arias that have deer/elk mixed in so I bought the STW thinkng of those hunts. Also someday I would like to get into long range shooting and now I have my gun.

A few other guns I realy like for deer hunting are: .280 rem, 257 roberts, 7mm rem mag. and I could go on and on but that would defeat my purpose of finding out what other people like in their deer weapons.

I think the magnum lineup of cartriges present some fabalous cartridges but also present some velocity/bloodshot problems. Obviously I like the 7mm stw since I have one. But have always thought that the 300 Win. mag was maybe the best deer/elk combo rifle out there for taking  the two at long ranges.

Let me know what you think. 

Grand Slam Challenge Winner!
Location: NE NV
Joined: 03/18/2010
Posts: 382
Here We Go Again

This question pops up every few months in one form or another but it's alway fun to respond to & read the responses.  I'll have to stick with the .30-06.  It'll kill any deer in any condition at any range that I will ever try and you can get one in any action you prefer, single shot to semi-auto.  You could pretty much say the same for your .270 or any caliber from 6.5 mm to .33.  I don't much care for the extreme long range shooting beyond say 500 yards but have seen the old '06 get it done way out there (the longest being a ranged 680 yards).

Joined: 10/23/2006
Posts: 21
Favorite gun for deer

My favorite gun for deer is my Model 700 Remington Mountain Rifle in .280 caliber.  If I know my shots will be long I use my .270 WSM.

GooseHunter Jr's picture
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Location: Colorado
Joined: 09/28/2005
Posts: 3748
While I love shooting my.338

While I love shooting my.338 Win Mag at everything, I think that my .270 would be a great gun for that.  I shot my largest deer to date a few years back with my .338 and this year I think I will give the .270 a chance to prove itself.

buffybr's picture
Location: Montana, USA
Joined: 11/15/2007
Posts: 358
Favorite Deer Rifle

I've probably answered this before, but for the last 30 or so years, my favorite rifle for deer size critters has been my .257 Ackley in a Mauser Mark X action.

I started hunting when I lived in NW Colorado and my first big game rifle was a .30-06 that I used for about 10 years for mule deer, antelope, and elk.  I killed a deer and elk each year with that rifle using 150 gr Hornadys for deer and 180 gr Sierra's for elk.

A few years after I moved to Montana, a friend showed me a .30 Gibbs cartridge and I just had to convert my plain old common .30-06 to that cool looking .30 Gibbs.  That Gibbs treated my well and became my favorite rifle for elk size critters shooting 180 gr Nosler Partitions.  About that same time I built my .257 Ackley for deer size animals.

I put a compact 6X Leupold on top of my .257 Ackley, and it shoots 115-120 gr Hornadys, Sierras, and Ballistic tips MOA at about 3000 fps.  It's been to the top of many bighorn sheep mountains, and I've used it to kill at least one deer and/or antelope each of the last 30 years.  One of those little 117 gr Sierras also dropped one of my best 6 pt bull elk in his tracks one year.

ndemiter's picture
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Location: lawrence, KS
Joined: 05/17/2007
Posts: 647
i second this opinion. there

i second this opinion. there is a reason that the 30-06 is as popular as it is.

as many calibers as are out there, the popular cartridges are the ones that are efficient and have sufficient power to knock down animals. notice you don't read a whole lot about the big bore straight walled marlins or the things like that either. the weatherby magnums have quite supperior ballistic performance with the drawback of moderate to severe recoil.

my favorite gun for deer/elk sized game is the one i can shoot the best! i have a .243 and a 30-06 i would trust in almost any situation. i do know that i will take the 30-06 for the best all around and most versatile. i can kill anything in north america with a well placed shot from the 243, the trick is getting that perfect shot oppertunity.

for chest cavity shots, anything around 25 or 27 caliber will do just fine, i think. but the 30-06 will be the first gun out of my safe every time for larger game.

hunter25's picture
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Location: Colorado western slope
Joined: 11/13/2009
Posts: 3040
For the last 6 years I have

For the last 6 years I have been using a 7mm Remington magnum with 160gr tsx bullets with good results from antelope to elk. Before that I used an old 30-06 for over 20 years. I will be trying out a .270wsm this year but honestly that old 30-06 is still my favorite hunting rifle.

Hunt Okanogan's picture
Location: Washington state
Joined: 02/24/2011
Posts: 65
best deer guns

Great responses guys!

I have to say, if nobody ever developed a rifle other than the 30-06 and 30-30 we would still have two of the best deer guns for their respective conditions. I have killed deer with both and they're both great guns. 30-30 in heavy brush with shots under 200yds or so and the 30-06 out to (and beyond) 300yds.

I've taken to the 270 as my all time favorite. Since I was in grade school I have been reading the Jack O'connor books and maybe thats why I love the 270. I have a buddy that shoots a 280 and though similar to the 270, it is a ballistic "step-up".

I'm glad I didn't get a bunch of those "I shoot deer at 1,000 yars with my 300 RUM" posts! I agree some people may have the practice (training) to shoot that far, but if you havn't had the practice and dumped a couple grand into your optics please refrain from attempting that. I know this long range hunting deal has gotten big lately but to me it leads to a lot of needlesly injured animals. Besides, anyone can get within a 1,000 yards of a creature. A good hunter can stalk within a decent range.

I live and hunt in open country where I could shoot 1,000 all day long if I wanted to but most of my deer have been taken under 200 yds. I did make one (actualy 3) shot(s) a few years back that killed a nice muley out at 442 yds. And for me that was my limit I felt to make a clean kill. Some guys may thumb their nose at that but take it for what it is....a rem 700 270 with a leupold 14x scope....it's a long shot! I try to keep them under 300 and I consider myself a good shooter. So go hunting, don't just fling lead and pray. Just my opinion. You can do what you want.

I would love to put some rounds through the 257 AI some day too.


groovy mike's picture
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Joined: 03/19/2009
Posts: 2544
375 H&H

I have shot at deer with a 30-06.  Even hit one.  It ran away. 

I've given up on those puny calibers (that ought to get some replies!).

Seriously there is nothing wrong with the 30-06 or even that little 270.  But I am more of an Elmer Keith fan than Jack OConner.  I'd rather hit an animal with a large slow moving projectile than a fast little one (thus avoiding all of your blooshot concerns from high velocity impacts).When I was planning my African Hunt a decade ago I began to hunt everything with my 375 H&H Win M70.  The first deer I hit with it I took high behind the shoulders and he did a spectacular full roll over.  I was hooked. 

I've taken every deer I have hunted since with the 375 H&H. 

Topgun 30-06's picture
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Location: Allegan, MI
Joined: 12/11/2010
Posts: 693
Good post

Good post Okanogan!  I couldn't agree more with everything you said in your post and I have used a pre 64 Model 70 30-06 with handloaded 150 grain Hornady BTSPs with great success for quite some time now and my longest mulie was at 311 yards and I couldn't get any closer because of the terrain.  The 06 is more than enough gun for everything up through elk and moose, IF you put the proper bullet in the boilerroom and that's always the key!  I have to laugh when I here the name Elmer Keith mentioned.  He was a "good old boy" that liked to lob the heavy bullets at his targets and was always in an argument with the Professor and great writer Jack O'Connor with his faster, lighter bullet theory.  I was really disgusted with Elmer when I finally read his book and he talked about shooting at animals hundreds of yards away with his open sighted 44 mag handgun---absolutely disgusting to say the least!!!

Critter's picture
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!Moderator
Location: Western Colorado
Joined: 03/26/2009
Posts: 4413
For me it all depends on what

For me it all depends on what I pull out of the safe and walk out the door with.  The only caliber of rifle that is in my safe that I haven't taken a deer with is the .22.  The last few years I have put the rifles away for deer and have taken out one of my pistols.  My favorite there is the Thompson Center Contender 7-30 Waters.  I have taken deer with that pistol out to 200 yards.  Now if I had to pick a rifle I would take my Ruger 77 in 7mm and then the next one would end up being my .340 Weatherby which I pack on all of my elk hunts anymore.  My biggest problem is that they are all a favorite of mine and all will get the job done.  It is just that some are a little bit newer than some of the others. 

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