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Old March 23, 2009, 05:15 AM   #1
SilentSoul
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first deer rifle

Hello,

I have been shooting ever since.. before i was even old enough to hold a .22lr, i grew up in a family big on hunting, my grandfather was a sheriff, we were pretty close, and i learned a lot from him in my short time on this rock, barely 23 years this month

ironically, i have never actually gone hunting for anything other than small game with my treasured 10/22, i have been planning to go for some hog with my 870 express, the 19.5" smooth bore with a 3" rifled choke and remington "accutip" sabots seems like a good setup for the heavy cover to be found in florida, they shoot amazingly well through this setup, i was not too sure at first, but i can consistently nail oranges at 50 yards with open sites, very adequate, at least in my opinion

crap, im getting off topic here , i tend to ramble, back to the point...

i decided i want my own center fire bolt gun, for the purpose of getting my first deer, and all though it will spend most of its time stalking the notoriously small deer to be found here, i do plan to get more north, and find bigger targets at longer ranges, so the caliber needs to be somewhat of a compromise in one way or another i assume, cant have your cake and eat it too, right?

i dont mind recoil at all, but i dont see the point of pointing something like any .30 magnum round at a 100-150lbs deer, sure.. it will drop him in his tracks, but so would a .30-30 without the abuse to my shoulder, but at the same time, i would not feel comfortable with the same gun at longer range and bigger game, you get the idea

so, caliber is up in the air, i have no experience to go by, only what i hear locally, which is unreliable in my opinion, so i ask someone that may know first hand? what is the minimum you would take for a typical northern white tail hunt, it seems rare to take a shot at very much more than 100 yards, but what about 250/300 yards? or am i under estimating some commonly used calibers here (.30-06 for example)

as for rifles, i have narrowed it down too, a Browning x-bolt, Ruger m77 "hawkeye" and of course, the m700, i have handled and fired them all, except for the m77, they all fit me nicely.. though i would have loved to fire the m77, i think i and leaning towards it the most, it just "clicked" when i picked it up, if you know what i mean

so, that could help narrow down a caliber, by.. whatever they are chambered in, i would prefer to keep the barrel somewhat shorter, around the 22" mark would be nice, if possible..., likewise i do not want a wood stock or stainless-steel finish of any type, i am very open to other rifle suggestions, naturally, those rifles listed are just ones i know that i like, and would prefer if possible

sorry for the slightly long "question", and i apologize if it is in the wrong section, but this subject really excites me i am looking forward to some good smoked venison a la deer, that i put on the table myself, the way it should be... except with a rifle, rather than some sticks and rocks

thanks for your time!
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Old March 23, 2009, 05:57 AM   #2
VaFisher
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Looks like you have done a ton of reading on the subject before this post. If you think you want to shoot a deer wait until after that and then you will want to hunt a elk or moose. Why not go ahead and get a .30 caliper gun and get it over with or go ahead and get a smaller caliper and then by a new gun every time you want to go kill a new larger bigger deer. Then when you decide to go shoot a larger deer with a small caliper because you decided you cant afford the new gun and then pay or the hunt afterward. Then maybe yu will want to shoot a grizzly, well best of luck then.
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Old March 23, 2009, 06:28 AM   #3
troy_mclure
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go with a .30-06, its killed everything on this continent.
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Old March 23, 2009, 06:48 AM   #4
taylorce1
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I agree you can't go wrong with a .30-06, or a .308 for that matter. You can just find some 150-165 grain ammunition for FL deer. But don't discount other cartridges like .243 Win or .270 as both would be excellent choices on deer as well. Anyway have fun with you decision and let us know what you get.
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Old March 23, 2009, 07:20 AM   #5
tarpon
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Florida deer

After hunting the Florida deer for ages, you need nothing more than that Remington 870 and OO buck. Plenty of deer have fallen to that combo. The heavy cover restricts ranges and the cover also keeps times to aim short. The 12 GA OO combo will drop FL deer where they stand out to 75 yards, if you can see that far.

As time has gone by, the FL deer have gotten smarter and stay in the heavier cover.

The other thing to consider is that Florida is heavily populated and it is a safety issue to use short range cartridges.

I have hunted Florida with a 12 GA, 243, 308 and still find the 12 GA the most useful. My personal deer gun is a Win Mod 12 2-3/4 30" full choke. I am partial to full choke for OO buck. Hard hitting.
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Old March 23, 2009, 08:08 AM   #6
guntotin_fool
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ARRRRRGGGHHHH!!!! I feel like charlie brown fighting the kite eating tree sometimes. Yup, sure, he's gonna shoot deer so hand him an 06. Did ANYONE read the post?


The 06 is a great round but it's over powered and too much recoil for what he needs.

I would suggest any cartridge that falls from a 243 to a 7-08. Far less recoil far more pleasant to shoot, will kill any game animal you are likely to try. Ruger has both the .257 Roberts and the 6.5x55 swede chambered and both are near perfect for your listed needs. Remington lists the .243, .260, & 7-08 both choices would be near perfect
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Old March 23, 2009, 08:09 AM   #7
fisherman66
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I've been shooting Rugers for some time and I always go back to the original M77 with the tang safety. You can find them used for a very good price.

As far as cartridge, anything from 6.5x55 up to 30-06 should do without forcing you to deal with more recoil than necessary; however if you've been shooting a slug gun as you say, recoil doesn't seem to be a problem.

If I were you, I'd find a used M77 in 270 or anything else in the above spread and take the money you saved to buy a high quality scope. That should last you a lifetime.
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Old March 23, 2009, 08:20 AM   #8
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Right on bro I hope you get what your looking for but I think I READ correctly and 100-150 pound deer? I took a quick peak at the xbolts I would get something like 270, 280, 308, 7mm those would give you your distance with out the over kill of a 30 06 or 300 win mag, In the end those calibers all do the same damage though, just enter and exit. I use a 6.5x5.5 swedish mauser thats been through ww2 but its since been spoterized and such. Its also a very flat shooter. I do suggest how ever picking a larger caliber oppose to the smaller-medium for other game such as elk, moose, bear. I have a 300 win mag, 6.5x5.5 mauser, 45-70 lever action marlin. all of which im able to hunt bear moose or elk with (obvoiusly with the muaser Ill have to use its max loads for elk and moose but not for black bear), which I suggest because bear hunting is just too much fun to pass up, alot more exciting than deer+ alot more meat. I do alot of farm land hunting so I have actually only harvest one deer with a rifle. The other 7 have been with my compound bow, or my crossbow. You want to get as much out of your rifle as possible and not just limitting it to one game, that way you dont have to purchase another if you get invited to go elk moose or bear hunting. Saying that the 270, 280, 308, 7mm will be able to harvest elk moose and bear but its just nicer to have a bit bigger chunk of lead. Im rambling now but! with those catridges your going to be shooting their max loads. where if you get a 300 30 06 or something you can go all the way down to a 150 grain and then say next week you go bear hunting you can switch to a 220 grain load. alot of versatility their.catch my drift? any who good luck Im sure you will be happy with what ever you choose!

Last edited by OLNfan; March 23, 2009 at 08:38 AM.
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Old March 23, 2009, 08:37 AM   #9
hogdogs
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In Florida, I like the short lever action carbine in .30-30...
I would buy a beer for anyone that shows me a clean killed deer from 75 with buck shot.
I would stop at 40 yards unless I plan to track blood trails for hours to a spoiling deer. Slugs, on the other hand are packing a heck of alot of thump at the 70-100 yard range. 20 or 12 but not with buck.
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Old March 23, 2009, 08:37 AM   #10
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Be different and get one of the finest calibers there is. The 6.5x55 Swede. Ruger, CZ & TIKKA make rifles in this loading. It can handle just about any game in the lower 48. Low recoil and very accurate.
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Old March 23, 2009, 08:49 AM   #11
skydiver3346
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Choice of gun?

Hard to beat a .30-30 for brushy areas and up to 150 yards. If shooting further more often, you might want to consider a .308 (which can do anything reasonable from close range out to long range).
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Old March 23, 2009, 09:27 AM   #12
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The only gun of which you mention that I have any experience with is the Ruger. Generally, they are not known for accuracy. Some people have had "luck" with em but in general, a $300 Stevens 200 will out shoot em. So will the other you mentioned.

For caliber the 30-06 and the .308 just lacks "style" in my eyes. My favorite is the 7mm-08 and the 6.5's hold my attention. The down side? Ammo is harder to find but still readily available most places.
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Old March 23, 2009, 10:40 AM   #13
Art Eatman
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My Florida hunting has been in the Appalachicola River bottoms. Swampy and jungly. Two ways to hunt: Either in a stand at the edge of a clearing whre there are travel paths, or sneaky-snaking and easing along and standing for a while. Some call this "still hunting".

Not much in the way of long range shots, so somewhere along a .243 to 7mm08 would work fine, or any other cartridge in that general range.

I don't really like short barrels very much, in part on account of the noise. That said, my pet .243 is a 19" carbine. Seven pounds, total, with sling, scope and ammo. It's been sub-MOA since I bought it in 1971-ish.

My 7mm08, I sorta splurged. A Rem 700 Titanium. 6.5 pounds, "fully dressed". Good trigger, sub-MOA. The recoil is not at all onerous.

I'd definitely want a scope. A fixed 4X is plenty good, since field of view is the big deal. And with few shots beyond a hundred yards or so on something as big as a deer or hog, you don't need "prairie dog precision". But a lot of critter movement is at first light and then late, at dusk. Iron sights at those times of day don't work all that well.

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Old March 23, 2009, 10:49 AM   #14
Brian Pfleuger
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You don't need "power" to hunt deer.

It's hard to beat something in 25-06. It entirely adequate for everything up to and including elk, maybe bigger. No punishing recoil, plenty of power.
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Old March 23, 2009, 10:54 AM   #15
ZeroJunk
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A 30/06 is a little much for deer, especially Florida size. A 270 is a great deer cartridge for longer ranges. But, a 7MM08 is a fantastic choice because you can get a nice compact short action. And, if you want to hunt something bigger you can still load heavier bullets.
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Old March 23, 2009, 10:57 AM   #16
fisherman66
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Quote:
The only gun of which you mention that I have any experience with is the Ruger. Generally, they are not known for accuracy. Some people have had "luck" with em but in general, a $300 Stevens 200 will out shoot em. So will the other you mentioned.
Tell me what kind of accuracy you need for medium game hunting please. The M77 I've used for years is a MOA shooter and my #1 RSI is 1.5" @ 100 yards with a very low power scope on top. My buddy's Savage is a 2" shooter, but he's not an internet guy where every rifle magically becomes a MOA shooter. Accuracy is so overrated for hunting. Fit, balance and reliability are the hallmarks of a hunting rig. You have to try to find a modern rifle that won't shoot minute of deer vitals out to 300 yards, but only a handful of hunters shoot past that distance (internet hunters aside).
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Old March 23, 2009, 11:07 AM   #17
a7mmnut
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Soul:

You do seem quite knowledgeable for a starter rifle. Why don't you try the T/C Encore in one of the middle calibers? Their quality and accuracy is legendary, plus you can always trade or buy up or down to other shotgun, rifle, and muzzleloading barrels. They make quite a nice travel pack as well.



-7-

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Old March 23, 2009, 11:08 AM   #18
fisherman66
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Killkenny, I want to apologize for responding with cutting remarks. I strongly believe in what I wrote, but I didn't mean to make it personal. I'm leaving my remarks for posterity, but please understand I didn't mean to attack you.
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Old March 23, 2009, 11:34 AM   #19
Hamour
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Any body that hunts in the South these days is just as likely to see a pig instead of a deer. If you want to kill the pigs as well as the deer I would stay with the .270 or 30-06. A 400lb Florida deer is not going to happen, a 350 to 400 lb hog is a real possibility and hunters should be armed for them.
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Old March 23, 2009, 11:46 AM   #20
fisherman66
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Any body that hunts in the South these days is just as likely to see a pig instead of a deer. If you want to kill the pigs as well as the deer I would stay with the .270 or 30-06. A 400lb Florida deer is not going to happen, a 350 to 400 lb hog is a real possibility and hunters should be armed for them.
Sectional Density and proper bullet construction allows for many rounds that were once considered less than ideal to be used for big feral pigs. The 6.5x55 is a great example of that and has been used to kill animals much larger than 400lbs in Europe for many years. The 7x57 has accounted for a tremendous amount of elephants.
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Old March 23, 2009, 11:55 AM   #21
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I'd choose

a. 7mm-08

b. 6.5 x 55/.260

c. .270

in that order.
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Old March 23, 2009, 01:27 PM   #22
hogdogs
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Hamour, The 400 pounder does exist but it is quite a stretch to say "real possibility"... Rear rarity is much more like it. And you will likely have been in a freshly harvested peanut field or in an orange grove of dropping fruit after dark to find them or you will have spent a good while in the swamp working in deep... Hog hunted for 5 years thus far and a 200-250 pounder is a real good hog that we see 1-in-5 at best...
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Old March 23, 2009, 01:46 PM   #23
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Of the rifles you mention I'd lean toward the M700 the SPS Stainless would be good for the swamp.
My preference in bolt action is the Winchester M 70. Check one of those out if you have the chance.

As several people have mentioned, You might consider something other than a bolt action. A Marlin 336 in 30-30 is a heck of a good choice for short quick shots. The Remington 760 pump comes in a variety of calibers and would also be a good choice.

What ever caliber floats your boat will do fine. I'd go with the .243, unless I found a great deal on a rifle in another sub-.30 round.
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Old March 23, 2009, 01:57 PM   #24
Hamour
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If you look at all of the old military cartridges from the turn of the century until the .308 WW, you will find that they all will work well with the proper bullets. 6.5 x 55, 7mm mauser, 30-06, .270, 8mm mauser etc. The reason I said the .270 or 30-06 is the OP was asking in a manner that suggested a new commer to the rifle ranks. I figured any standard load in the .270 or 30-06 would be easy to aquire and work great for his intended targets. Sorry if any one favorite cartridge got shorted.

All the old military cartridges shoot dang near equal ballistics out to 250yds or so and in accurate rifles will kill all animals here in the South. .270 and 30-06 just have ease of bullet aquisition at any small town.

As far as 350 to 400 lb hogs being rare, this is a true statement. I have personaly killed two in that range and seen several others killed. One in Louisiana and one in east Texas. The big boys are where you find them. Any river bottom associated with grain production has the potential to produce monster hogs. Or a cattle producing area that feeds with growth hormone treated feed. Mr. piggy gets some of that and he will get big.

So while rare, not unheared of and weapon/bullet decisions should reflect this.

I used to shoot my Texas deer with a Colt CAR-15 and Speer 70gr bullets. They did great on deer in the woods for 20 years, but when the hogs started appearing I went back to my 30-06 and .308 rifles. I dont ever want to be undergunned at the wrong time.

Peace to all whose favorite cartridge did not get mentioned by me!
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Old March 23, 2009, 03:21 PM   #25
fisherman66
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Quote:
Peace to all whose favorite cartridge did not get mentioned by me!
The point was bullet construction and SD matter more than cartridge selection after a certain point....say above the quarter bore mark. I don't have a favorite cartridge, just like I don't have a favorite child. I love them all equally.
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