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Old February 20, 2013, 09:20 PM   #26
Art Eatman
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I like rifles which weigh in at some seven pounds, give or take a pound.

So, any of several .22s for little critters. Tube-fed pump or semi-auto.

Bigger critters in mostly up-close country? Hard to beat a .243. My little Sako carbine is ready to go at seven pounds.
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Old February 20, 2013, 11:07 PM   #27
reynolds357
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I dont know about Virginia, but in Georgia You would have to either use a shotgun or muzzleloader. No rimfire rifle is legal for deer hunting, and no centerfire rifle is legal for squirrel hunting. My favorite walking around deer rifle is probably my .30-30. For squirrels, I usually use a 10-22 or Buckmark pistol.

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Old February 20, 2013, 11:30 PM   #28
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IMO, you're askin an awful lot for a rifle. Yes you can do a lot with handloading and many guys have made it work. But your sights won't be on when attempting to use a variety of loads so you got a crap ton of Kentucky windage and elevation going on. Far from ideal.

IMO you need to look at narrowing your range. Think about a small game to varmint/predators gun range or varmints/predators to deer gun range.

Your predicament is why I carry 2 guns much of the time. One long, one short. If I'm carrying a rimfire rifle I carry a centerfire handgun and vice versa.

As for guns....... Sticking with rifles I like my walking guns short and light. My main 10/22 has a 16.5" fluted sporter barrel, my .243 has an 18.5" sporter barrel, my favorite lever gun was a .30-30 with a 16" barrel. Even my 12ga has a 22" choke tube barrel instead of the traditional 26-28". While not on topic a shotgun very well might be your best bet.

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Old February 21, 2013, 04:29 AM   #29
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me too

I've pondered the Woods Rifle/Walking Rifle a bit too, and compared it to what I call the GP Rifle as well.

What has been my walking rifle for a long while has been an early Marlin .357 lever, just as the OP suggested and Grump seconded. Loaded up, its pretty serious medicine for deer, maybe hogs and black bear as well. As it gains near 300 fps or more on similarly chambered handguns, I've no doubt on the SD role. The tube holds a bunch of beans, and more if loaded w/ hot .38's. Yes, it can take small game nicely, with single loaded .38 WC (won't feed in my rifle) but mild RN will and is nearly as efficient. I'd think its about like a .36 muzzle loader when so loaded. And you can buy all that ammo over the counter, without having to load.....well you used to anyhow.

The .357 lever does give up some range to "real" rifle cartridges, and traditional sights handicap it as well. A peep helps and a little scope more so, but you give up handiness and ease of carry if you scope one. Handy it is too. Mine is the lightest centerfire in the safe.

And while Coopers Scout Rifle concept, most recently manifested as the the Ruger Scout, comes to mind as the ultimate GP rifle, and I like Scouts mind you, ....I cannot place it into the Walking Rifle role. Too heavy, too noisy, kicks to much, and the GP caliber of .308 is too much cartrige for small game. Now with some sort of 100 gr Plinker, or a round ball over a modest charge, it can be loaded down, but I wonder if it will shoot anywhere near point of aim with full power ammo. My old Marlin will shoot 125 mag JHP and 148 .38 Spl WC to the same point, pretty useful.

As a side note, a recent competitor to the trusty Marlin has been a dandy .223 Mini Mauser with 6x scope (small bell). It almost carries as easily, though a tad longer and not as flat and compact, and the optic is there at the balance point. But I get more reach and accuracy, a lot more. No recoil, but a bit noisier. Ammo is still prolific, or was. I can load it heavy with Partitions, bonded or mono-alloy bullets and have a border line deer rifle. Everybody knows what a varminter they are loaded otherwise. I have not experimented with reduced loads, though it could be done down to Hornet levels, but I do not see the need.

The need, the reason the Mini Mauser had moved into that role is ol' Mr. Coyote, who frequently pops into ( and out) of sight out of range of the lever carbine.
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Old February 21, 2013, 09:39 AM   #30
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Howabout a lever rifle in 32-20? With a headshot it would take a small 100# deer readily. With a solid bullet, cast or otherwise, would take a squirrel.

Else a TC contender in a holster in a scoped rimfire chambering, and a 243 or 30-30 in a short rifle.

Makes you wonder sometimes, there are so many cartridges available these days that no single cartridge seems to meet all needs.
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Old February 21, 2013, 11:14 AM   #31
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Blazer Bergstutzen (o/u double rifle w/ one small & one large barrel) in 22. Hornet and 30-06 (US) or 5.6x52R and 8x57ISR (Europe).
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Old February 21, 2013, 11:21 AM   #32
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Quote:
With a headshot it would take a small 100# deer readily.
The .32 centerfires are perhaps my favorite cartridges for woods bummin and I'd like to have a levergun in such chambering. Great for small game up to coyotes, in a rifle format close range deer may be in the realm. But if your chosen cartridge, what ever it may be, is only powerful enough for consistent kills with head shots than you need more for general hunting. In case of emergency is one thing, shots of opportunity may be another but general hunting no way. And with tight seasons and controls for deer hunting in most jurisdictions, you either pack a deer gun if they're on the menu or you don't.

Now keep in mind, I'm not saying a .32-20 in a lever gun isn't enough for deer. Many have fallen to it but I have no personal experience. But if you only think it's good enough for small deer and only with head shots than you plain and simply don't use it for em.
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Old February 21, 2013, 11:45 AM   #33
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Kinda having a brain fart here and if the OP or someone else would kindly explain something to me.....

The OP questioned about one gun for small game to deer and carrying a load or loads which would work for all things. Why? I can definitely understand wanting and using versatile guns and cartridges for woods bummin but with short and set seasons on big game, woods bummin just doesn't include deer or many other big game. Not like I'm out for a general stroll thru the woods and have the legal ability for shots of opportunity on deer. Coyote yes, maybe hogs if ya got em, varmints OK, small game I'll buy due to long seasons, but Deer?

Deer season is deer season and then you have everything else and there is no need to pack a gun for deer most of the time IMO.

Any of you live in an area/jurisdiction where deer or other game is on the list when woods bummin?
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Old February 21, 2013, 12:02 PM   #34
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Quote:
Any of you live in an area/jurisdiction where deer or other game is on the list when woods bummin?
Well I suppose it could be here in Alabama since we have a two and a half month long gun deer season. Farmers working their land often see deer. I have seen many deer riding my 4 wheeler. I know a fellow who squirrel hunts during deer season. For him one of those combination guns would be good if he also wanted to kill a deer.

But for me, if I am in the woods during deer season, I am usually deer hunting, not just "bummin". I have seen and killed coyote while deer hunting but I just used my '06 on them. In one case my muzzleloader.

Outside of deer season if I am woods bummin, I would carry my Marlin Golden 39A Mountie.

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Old February 21, 2013, 02:55 PM   #35
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I have seen many deer riding my 4 wheeler.
Thats what you get when you leave the keys in the ignition. Deer will steal your ride every time.

Finding a gun thats good for everything from squirrels to deer is gonna be tough. I like the idea the other poster gave of carrying a handgun and a rifle. Deer season carry the rifle and a handgun for small game. Small game hunting, carry a 22 with a large bore handgun you shoot really well.

But if I am deer hunting I don't want to make any extra noise that might spook off deer. So a light weight rifle is what I will be toting. The squirrels and coyotes are safe for the time being.
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Old February 21, 2013, 03:23 PM   #36
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Savage 24, .30-30 over 12ga
This seems to fill the "walking rifle" niche perfectly!
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Old February 21, 2013, 04:05 PM   #37
Win73
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Quote:
Thats what you get when you leave the keys in the ignition. Deer will steal your ride every time.
I just thought that without fingers on their hooves they wouldn't be able to turn the key on.
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Old February 21, 2013, 05:48 PM   #38
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I just thought that without fingers on their hooves they wouldn't be able to turn the key on.
No, No, they put on white gloves and have fingers just like Bullwinkle J. Moose.
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Old February 21, 2013, 06:25 PM   #39
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There are some good points made about the need for a rifle like I described in the OP in a world of draconian hunting seasons and regulations. This mental exercise started in a world without such limitations, or if you like, one in which those rules go unenforced. However, in reality of course, game laws would prevent such a situation from occurring in Virginia, unless we start seeing northward migration of the destructive wild hog populations. Of course, one could argue that black bear could be added to the top end of the list in place of deer because of the need for self-defense.

There have been a lot of good suggestions so far! I really like the idea of a single-shot 20 gauge set up to shoot both rifled slugs and varmint loads, any of the leverguns with appropriate handloads, or a single-shot rifle like a 22 Hornet or 223. I'm thinking iron-sights only, probably peep sights. :-)
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Old February 21, 2013, 07:15 PM   #40
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I see deer off my farm tractor all the time. They pay it absolutely no attention. I almost ran over several does earlier this year. If I see a big enough buck, I will grab the mini 30, open the window, then throw him up on the plow and haul him off to my processing shed.
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Old February 21, 2013, 09:05 PM   #41
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@old grump - my answer was vague,however, the notion of a perfect rifle for everything from squirrels to deer is pretty wide open. if you do a lot of walking in the woods, squirrel season is a lot longer than deer season and provides way more opportunity for shooting. Not that a .357 won't put down a squirrel (sarcasm), but will waste most of the useful hide/meat. To each his own

To the OP, My answer would still be a shotgun. When hunting squirrels, stoke it with pellets. If it were deer season I would keep it filled with slugs. If I came across a squirrel while hunting deer, I would simply, swap out for for a different load ... If I didn't care about the deer.

If I were to to lean a different direction from my first, reply (based off your request) it would be that savage 24 that petahw posted. It's great to dream on the Internet and living a place where we have so much choice.
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Old February 21, 2013, 09:25 PM   #42
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I have killed Squirrels and Mule Deer with my marlin 357 magnum.

Head shots on squirrels if you want to save money (some times its easier said than done)
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Old February 21, 2013, 11:08 PM   #43
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This is my 30-30 topper with a 16 1/2 inch bbl. A 165 TC gas checked at 1600 fps makes whitetails go dead down on the spot. If you don't reload, use Fed or Rem 150 factory loads. A Lee 113 soft lead over 6 grs. of Bullesye makes a fine small game/garden pest gun. It might weigh 5 1/5 lbs. Sight is a Bushnell TRS 25 red dot.
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Old February 22, 2013, 03:17 AM   #44
mrt949
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Savage 24 series .Pick any combo .
Owned most of them over the years.
22lr/20, 22mag /20, 222 /20 .best woods gun other than a tc contender .
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Old February 22, 2013, 08:40 AM   #45
specs
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Maybe a Thompson Contender with a choice of different barrels for different purposes. It's sorta a rifle.
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Old February 22, 2013, 04:32 PM   #46
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Your idea of a .357 levergun is perfect. I've got one and it does a lot things nicely. Just make sure the gun will cycle both .38 special and .357 mags and you have something for everything. I don't know how big the black bears are in your country, but the .357 is more potent than some give it credit for. A similar levergun in .44mag/special is also a great choice. For me, a "walking around rifle" needs to be light and handy and the levergun works.
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Old February 22, 2013, 05:46 PM   #47
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Bolt Action .223 or 7.62x39

Look at Savage's website. If you want to take squirrels and whitetail I recommend their 7.62x39 bolt action. It can drop a deer, but won't destroy a squirrel completely. A .223 will drop a deer if you can really hit a vital area or maybe get it in the brain, and is an excellent varmint cartridge. Also a 22 hornet isn't a bad idea, Savage Arms makes excellent 22 hornet bolt actions. Let us know what you decide on!
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Old February 22, 2013, 06:22 PM   #48
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"walking rifle" has got to be lever action.

Winchester '94
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Old February 23, 2013, 10:42 PM   #49
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M77 Ruger in 22mag
REM 7600 pump 223-270
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Old February 23, 2013, 11:47 PM   #50
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My 'Perfect walking rifle' is either a Ruger M77 in 6mm Remington, or an USGI M1 Carbine in .30 carbine. It would depend upon how seious I was in shooting something while wandering around.
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