Input For New Deer Rifle

bigsky2

Member
Mar 9, 2011
102
2
I am looking to buy a new deer rifle for mule deer hunting. I want something that shoots flat so I will be fairly comfortable shooting out to 500 yards if needed. It also needs to be light enough to pack around all day. Budget is $1500 (includes scope). Let's hear your suggestions.
 

Hilltop

Veteran member
Feb 25, 2014
3,150
636
Eastern Nebraska
I am comfortable to 500 yards with my 30-06 and Leupold VX3. I have about $1500 invested in my setup. There are flatter cartridges on the market for sure but the difference in drop needs to be accounted for with all of them out at 500 yards. I have owned and liked the 7mm Mag but the cost and availability of ammunition drove me back to my old trusty 30-06. My current one is a Ruger. This will be a lengthy thread as there are a ton of opinions on posts like this... It will really boil down to your comfort.
 

libidilatimmy

Veteran member
Oct 22, 2013
1,140
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Wyoming
Some things to consider would be: Is this gun going to be just for Deer? Do you reload? In the areas you hunt, is there combo hunts where you could possible be hunting Deer/Elk at the same time? Are you looking for a particular manufacturer?

For just a deer rifle, I'd go with something in the 25-06, 270, 280, 30-06 range with a scope that has a BDC style reticle in it. I personally use the 25-06 for this due to it's flat trajectory, but dead is dead and I've yet to see a deer that could tell the difference between calibers. :)
 

Colorado Cowboy

Veteran member
Jun 8, 2011
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Dolores, Colorado
Some things to consider would be: Is this gun going to be just for Deer? Do you reload? In the areas you hunt, is there combo hunts where you could possible be hunting Deer/Elk at the same time? Are you looking for a particular manufacturer?

For just a deer rifle, I'd go with something in the 25-06, 270, 280, 30-06 range with a scope that has a BDC style reticle in it. I personally use the 25-06 for this due to it's flat trajectory, but dead is dead and I've yet to see a deer that could tell the difference between calibers. :)
You are spot on on all points. I personally think you should first choose a caliber, then a rifle. I have shot a 25-05 Ruger M77 for 40 years and it does the job very well. If you don't already, you should seriously consider reloading as this allows you to get optimum performance, no matter what caliber you choose.
 

jasent

New Member
Jun 18, 2014
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Deer Park, WA
You are spot on on all points. I personally think you should first choose a caliber, then a rifle. I have shot a 25-05 Ruger M77 for 40 years and it does the job very well. If you don't already, you should seriously consider reloading as this allows you to get optimum performance, no matter what caliber you choose.
I also agree, choose a caliber then a rifle. With that said its hard to go wrong with a 300win mag. :cool:
 

xtreme

Very Active Member
Feb 25, 2011
857
1
Searcy, Arkansas 72143
I can't find any reason not to go with 25-06, and if feel the need to hunt elk once in a while it will be more that adequate. I use Browning and Savage brand rifles. My Browning has the BOSS system, it works. Be careful when adding the scope. I like vx-3 also. I use a z-5 and that was a little too much and the cost of a z-3 might be too much. Like others have said, the bdc will work well for you.
 

Mr Drysdale

Active Member
Mar 24, 2013
248
52
My next rifle will be a Tikka T-3 in 7mm Rem Mag topped with a Leupold VX3. That being said, I now deer hunt with a Model Seven in 260 caliber with a Nikon Prostaff that has been more than adequate. Go somewhere you can put your hands on several different rifles. You are sure to fall in love with one. With your budget you can get a nice set up.
 

mnhunter

Active Member
Aug 23, 2011
226
0
Andover, Minnesota
If I was in your shoes. I would go with the Tikka T3, replace the factory stock with the B&C Medalist (much better fell, handles recoil better, and has an aluminum bedding block, put on some Talley lightweight rings, and throw on a leupold 3.5-10x40 (with the CDS dial or B&C reticle) and call it a day. I have this exact setup with the Zeiss 3.5-10x40 conquest with the ballistic reticle in 7mm Mag, and it is a great rifle, and it weights about 7.5 lbs ready to hunt.

Here is a pic before I switch to the Zeiss glass (it was too good of a deal to pass up.
Tikka T3 (BC Stock)(U).jpg
 

Musket Man

Veteran member
Jul 20, 2011
6,457
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colfax, wa
Find a pre 64 Winchester 270 and put a Leupold VXII scope on it:D

For a new gun I would seriously consider a new model 70 in 270 WSM and put a Ziess Terra scope on it.
 

BowHunterJake

New Member
Jun 9, 2014
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I really like these threads. I especially love the suggestions.

Here is mine:

Caliber: 270 WSM if you hand load and/or don't mind the ammo costs; 270 win or 7mm-08 if you are recoil sensitive; 7mm Rem Mag for the most effective (and modest) 500m deer gun.

Rifle: $600 Tikka T3 (because Remington has lost some much QA/QC)

Scope: $600 ( http://mobile.eurooptic.com/zeiss-conquest-35-10x44-rapid-z-600-reticle-hunting-turrets-matte-black-5214209971.aspx) Zeiss Conquest (new or old version) with Rapid Z 600 reticle.

Quality rings + base: $200 (I would probably spend a little more and go with Murphy titanium - which I plan to on my Remington ti clone 280Rem)

It is important to remember, no matter what gun and what caliber, there is a significant amount of calculation that goes into a solid 500m shot. Think temp/pressure/altitude/wind/angle/BC etc. Even the new 26 Nosler requires accurate "dope" and wind reading.

Good luck. Please post you decision when you make it.
 

CrossCreeks

Veteran member
Mar 6, 2014
1,023
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Dover, Tennessee
I have hunted Mule Deer a lot in Wyoming and Colorado, I have used several calibers, I have settled on the 25-06 Browning A-bolt and love it. A bunch of good calibers have been mentioned, pick one and do a lot of shooting at long ranges. Good luck
 

mnhunter

Active Member
Aug 23, 2011
226
0
Andover, Minnesota
Find a pre 64 Winchester 270 and put a Leupold VXII scope on it:D

For a new gun I would seriously consider a new model 70 in 270 WSM and put a Ziess Terra scope on it.
I love these rifles, the only reason I didn't reccomend one is the OP was looking for lightweight, and that action is not so light.

Thank being said, I lugged mine in 300WSM for spring bear this year. It wasn't the lightest rifle to lug up the MTN, but it more than did its job!
 

bigsky2

Member
Mar 9, 2011
102
2
I don't reload, I have always had a friend do it for me in the past but he recently passed away. I would like to take it up someday, but I would like to get a new rifle soon. A friend of mine has a Tikka t3 Lite so I will have to shoot it and see what I think. Several of you have mentioned a 25-06, is the ammunition hard to come by? Availability of ammunition is more important to me than how much the cost of it is.
 

Colorado Cowboy

Veteran member
Jun 8, 2011
6,649
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Dolores, Colorado
I havn't bought any factory stuff in years, but was in my local Wally World yesterday and they had a fairly good supply and I was told in 2 weeks that would be getting their fall supply.

I can't recommend more strongly that you get into reloading. When I first started (when I was about 18, over 50 years ago), the main driver was cost as it was way cheaper than factory stuff. It still is cheaper, but today everything has changed a lot from then. Many different powders and bullets allow the handloader to customized their loads to match each rifle and get the most efficiency and accuracy out of you rifle/caliber combination that is almost impossible to get from most factory ammo.

There are enough of us here on this site to help and give you advice if you decide to get started.
 

Hilltop

Veteran member
Feb 25, 2014
3,150
636
Eastern Nebraska
I don't reload, I have always had a friend do it for me in the past but he recently passed away. I would like to take it up someday, but I would like to get a new rifle soon. A friend of mine has a Tikka t3 Lite so I will have to shoot it and see what I think. Several of you have mentioned a 25-06, is the ammunition hard to come by? Availability of ammunition is more important to me than how much the cost of it is.
30-06, and 270 ammo will be the easiest to find. 25-06 ammo is usually attainable but you will typically have less selection. Every WalMart that sells ammo will always have 30-06 and 270 ammo available... That is one main reason I made the switch back to the 30-06. I do however get my ammo from a little shop in Grand Island through mail order- they are right next to the Hornady Factory so they always have what I want. If you are proactive and plan well, you will never have ammo issues. If you are the type that buys ammo the night before season, you will likely have issues with a 25-06 or other less common calibers. The 25-06 is a kick a$$ load though for deer, and antelope. I do think it is a little light for elk past 300 yards. It is very flat and easy on recoil. If I were buying a rifle for deer only, I would strongly consider it. If I were buying a rifle for all western big game, I would buy a 30-06 and never look back.
 

libidilatimmy

Veteran member
Oct 22, 2013
1,140
0
Wyoming
Something else I'd suggest is to set a maximum price for the rifle itself leaving you as much room as possible to purchase high quality glass and mount systems. Too often I've seen friends go by an $800 rifle and top it with a $300 scope/base/ring combo which doesn't make sense in my eyes since a hunting rifle is useless without a reliable optic on top of it.