What is your favorite deer rifle/cartridge combination? The answers to this oft-asked question sometimes depend on where one is in the world at the time.
To prime the pump, so to speak, I’ll ante with my answer, which also has changed over time. During my decades of hunting deer, I have gone through distinct phases.
In the beginning over a half-century ago, the answer was Argentine Mauser in 7.65x53mm. Then it was a .30/40 Krag, followed by .30/30 WCF.
After that, there was a period of time when I shot all kinds of things with the .243 Winchester, and that phase was followed by a period with various 7mm rigs – 7mm-08 Remington, .280 Remington and 7mm Remington Magnum.
Following a short stint with the .257 Weatherby and .257 Roberts, I was into .30-06 Springfield, followed by the .300 Winchester Magnum. For a while, I shot deer with the .300 Weatherby Magnum.
In recent times, I find myself using the various .30s – with the determining factor being the likely distance of the shot. For woods types of hunting, I still occasionally use a .30/30, a .30-06 when it is likely to be an “average” shot, with one of the .300 magnums employed if the shot is likely to be longish.
Overall recently, however, I find myself using the .308 Winchester a whole bunch. Handy rifles, good performance – that kind of thing.
Most of the rifles have been bolt-action with some kind of scope, although in the long ago, I used open barrel sights and aperture sights with success. But there have been some single-shots and semi-autos from time to time, including some AR rigs.
That’s the nice thing about deer hunting. A really wide range of rifles, sights and cartridges CAN work well. So, in the end, the choice is a personal one.
Which triggers the question: What is your favorite deer hunting rig, and why. Let me know and I’ll use that data to create a report for a future issue of SAFARI Magazine.
It should be interesting to see what some of the most popular rigs are among the SCI membership. Among our ranks are some of the most serious deer hunters in the world.
Post your favorite deer rifle to Instagram using #FavoriteDeerRifle.