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Old February 15, 2014, 11:55 PM   #1
CCCLVII
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Hunting in brush heavy areas?

I have done lots of hunting all over the USA (even once in Alaska) It seems every where I go people talk about talking long shots. Here in Idaho most of the state is Mountainous and there is not a lot of tall brush.

Any way there is places in Idaho where a 80 yard shot is a long shot and being able to take aim very quickly and shoot accurate enough is more important than the ability to shoot long 400 yards shots.

Long story short I have the opportunity to hunt deer in such a place. The thing is all of my hunting rifles are scoped with medium to high power scopes. I do not want to swap out scopes so I am looking at a new gun.

What would you recommend for deer at 25-75 yards that is light and easy to carry and can be put on target quickly. While the laws allow any bullet that is centerfire and .25+ caliber id rather not use a 25ACP Not 100% sure on the caliber there may not be a limit. I hear that tracking a wounded animal in such terrain is very very hard.

The guy that is taking me uses a 45-70 Govt Ruger #3. He says a 45-70, 450 marlin, 12ga slug gun or something along those lines work well. He does warn against heavy guns because we will be doing a lot of walking through brush.

Any way I have many months till the hunt so I will have lots of time to play with the idea before hand. I am excited.
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Old February 16, 2014, 12:11 AM   #2
Wyosmith
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I also hunting in the Selway for several years. A "long shot" was 40-50 yards. I killed one elk at about 3 yards.

Hard hunting in that area. Lots of elk, but really tough to get a shot.
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Old February 16, 2014, 12:20 AM   #3
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Lever-gun country. .35 Remington would do the trick nicely.
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Old February 16, 2014, 12:21 AM   #4
CCCLVII
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The guy I am going with also recommends buying a wolf tag and carrying a side arm just in case. I think I have that one figured out already.
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Old February 16, 2014, 12:28 AM   #5
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Is that area near the montana boarder? I hunt in an area of Idaho much like that. Unless you are hunting in the power lines or your yard a long shot is about 65-85 yards. You have to be quick. Other than hunting in my back yard (I use a 357 magnum there) I use a 45-70 Marlin. I think any of the suggestions so far would be right on. I would not worry alot about the wolves. Its the rare moose and inland grizzlys that are scary.
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Last edited by Deja vu; February 16, 2014 at 12:36 AM.
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Old February 16, 2014, 01:45 AM   #6
alex0535
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Quote:
Lever-gun country. .35 Remington would do the trick nicely.
I agree with this. Iron sights, red dot if you like them. That is normal hunting here. The .35 Remington has always been viewed as a great lever action for brush hunting for quite some time now, lots of deer have fallen from it. I don't know how the brush in Idaho compares to here, but it is thick here. I would wager that most of the deer harvested from the woods around here are taken at a range of less than 30 yards, the .35 does great up close like this, and even beyond 75 with a clear path.

Be prepared for ranges closer than 25, around here between 3-30 yards is pretty typical for the woods around here. If the wind is right and you controlled your scent well enough its amazing how close they will get some of the time.
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Old February 16, 2014, 09:40 AM   #7
Jack O'Conner
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I hunt an area within Maryland that is shotgun and muzzle loader only. My 50 caliber CVA in-line muzzle loader has a Bushnell 1.5X-4.5X scope that I bought off eBay for less than $70. Great scope.

TR
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Old February 16, 2014, 10:29 AM   #8
jmr40
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I often hunt in areas where shots could be close enough to leave powder burns on an animal. I use the same rifle that I'd use in an area where I'd expect 400 yard shots.

There is no such thing as being too close for optics to be a disadvantage over irons. Any scope with 2X or 3X on the low end of a variable is fine for 10 yard and under shots. If your scopes start at 4X you may be at somewhat of a disadvantage at shots inside 5-10 yards. Any scope is a huge advantage at seeing your target in poor light, far better than irons or dots and that is exactly when most shooting happens.

Any cartridge that is adequate at 400 yards is just as adequate at 4 yards, but the opposite is rarely true. I don't believe in the myth of the typical close range brush gun.

A typical lever action zeroed at 100 yards is still going to be 2-4" above or below the line of sight at ranges between 50-125 yards where almost all shots are taken. My Kimber 308 scoped is over a pound lighter than my levers in 30-30's, 35's and 44's are unscoped and the bullet is never more than 1/2" above or below the line of sight from 50-125 yards. That is how you shoot through OPENINGS in brush. There is no such thing as a round that can shoot THROUGH brush without being deflected.

The arched trajectory of typical brush rounds is less of a disadvantage on longer shots in the open. You can always hold high and drop rounds in out in the open and in good light. You can't do that in thick brush. This is where laser flat trajectory and pinpoint accuracy aid in putting bullets through small openings. Optics help you see twigs and limbs between you and the target so you know where to aim to avoid them.

The perfect brush gun is a lightweight, scoped bolt gun that shoots flat and hits hard. With a mid powered 2-7X or 3-9X scope it is versatile for any hunting situation from 4-400 yards. Mine are on the expensive end, but there are 6 lb options such as the new Ruger American, TC Venture, Tikka, and several Savages that are priced considerably less than lever guns.

My brush guns.

Winchester EW, McMillan Edge stock, Leupold 2.5-8X36 scope, 7 1/4 lbs.



Kimber 84M, Leupold 2.5-8X36 scope, 5 lbs 15oz.

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Old February 16, 2014, 11:12 AM   #9
JD0x0
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.30-30 or .308 in a short life rifle, depending on the size of game you may encounter.

Quoted for because I agree completely.
Quote:
A typical lever action zeroed at 100 yards is still going to be 2-4" above or below the line of sight at ranges between 50-125 yards where almost all shots are taken. My Kimber 308 scoped is over a pound lighter than my levers in 30-30's, 35's and 44's are unscoped and the bullet is never more than 1/2" above or below the line of sight from 50-125 yards. That is how you shoot through OPENINGS in brush. There is no such thing as a round that can shoot THROUGH brush without being deflected.

The arched trajectory of typical brush rounds is less of a disadvantage on longer shots in the open. You can always hold high and drop rounds in out in the open and in good light. You can't do that in thick brush. This is where laser flat trajectory and pinpoint accuracy aid in putting bullets through small openings. Optics help you see twigs and limbs between you and the target so you know where to aim to avoid them.

The perfect brush gun is a lightweight, scoped bolt gun that shoots flat and hits hard.
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Old February 16, 2014, 11:35 AM   #10
mete
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Yes , I've had 44 mag and 45-70 bullets deflect so there's no brush busting round.
A 45-70 , with 1-4 scope if you need one or a 44mag revolver with irons works well for me .
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Old February 16, 2014, 11:37 AM   #11
Sure Shot Mc Gee
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If you have a spare rifle with open barrel sights. Something you can readily remove its scope from. Use that for one reason only. {Your use to it.} Or this is my preference and is one of the slickest remedies for hunting in the brush that I ever ran across. Remington 750 (semi-auto carbine w/ 18-1/2" barrel) I've hunted for years with the older model 742 carbine. Their is nothing that could slip, slide, or run past me in the brush or seldom dodge a shot across an open field either. No scope. Just plain factory installed barrel sights. If I seen it. No doubt it was about to have its worse day ever. Why just the carbines muzzle blast alone is enough to scare anything half to death. So here's my advice. Stay away from those old Grandpa's lever rifles. Buy something up to date that has only a >single Safety Button to push and nothing else< complicating your shot. Remington's short barreled carbines in either the semi-auto or the pump version. FWIW: Only rifles I know of too get a quick accurate shot off before the animal enters the next section of county land. That you very well may see happen carrying some other weapon afield
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Old February 16, 2014, 12:44 PM   #12
buck460XVR
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My favorite rifle for hunting in such scenarios is my 77/44 with a 2X7 Nikon. Extremely accurate out to 100 yards or so and pushes a 240 gr bullet @ about 1750FPS and with a JSP has no problem making a hole on both sides of a good size deer even when shot in the shoulder. The 77/44 carbine is very light and easy to maneuver and the bolt action carbine accepts a scope better than most levers.
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Old February 16, 2014, 12:56 PM   #13
JD0x0
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FWIW, I once shot into some short grass, and just from the bullet spinning, it deflected almost 30 degrees, to the right, from the original shot angle, within a couple of INCHES of contacting the grass. You could literally see how much the bullet was curving, where it left an impression in the grass. Never take a shot thinking you can get through any brush/cover without serious deflection with ANY cartridge/caliber, it's not an ethical way to hunt.
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Old February 16, 2014, 01:06 PM   #14
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Quote:
Lever-gun country. .35 Remington would do the trick nicely.
I to agree with the 35 Remington.
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Old February 16, 2014, 03:07 PM   #15
skywag
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A scope is just a hinderance in brush. So is a hammer. So is weight.

Savage 99E .308 WIN, hammerless, lightweight, high power, action stronger than all the classic lever actions.
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Old February 16, 2014, 03:18 PM   #16
FrankenMauser
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.444 Marlin ....
Handi Rifle with a 2-7x scope
Or a proper Marlin lever action.

Depending on the variant, the Marlin 444 models were available with 18.5", 22" and 24" barrels. My preference would be the 444P ("Oufitter") with its 18.5" barrel. The 22" models are still pretty easy to carry. But the 24" versions feel just a bit too long for my tastes.

It is going back into production this year (22" bbl), so a brand new one could be an option. However, the production run isn't scheduled until June. So, even if you wanted to take a chance on Remington's first time making them in-house, and you ordered one now, it would still likely be at least August/September before you got your hands on the rifle - leaving little time to become familiar with it.


The cartridge is more than what's needed for deer, but that's half the point of a brush gun... Bring more than you need, so you don't have to track the animal through that nasty scrub.
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Old February 16, 2014, 04:57 PM   #17
fisherman66
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35 Whelen with a 2-7x33 V2 would work well.
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Old February 16, 2014, 08:38 PM   #18
603Country
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For years I hunted with a 35 Remington. Inside 150 yards that'll do the job as well as anything you can buy. 200 grain Remington CorLokts.
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Old February 16, 2014, 09:43 PM   #19
Mobuck
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I've never felt handicapped using a 30/06 at short range.
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Old February 16, 2014, 10:39 PM   #20
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My short(er) range/brush gun is a Ruger Hawkeye in .358 Winchester, with a Leupold 3x9 Rifleman. Shooting 250 grain bullets, it had plenty of power, and shoots decently flat out to 200-250 yards. Worked well so far on Elk and speed goats.
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Old February 16, 2014, 11:53 PM   #21
Buzzcook
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I used a Winchester 94 .30-30 in thick brush. It worked just fine. If your eyes are still good iron sights will do fine as well. If not I like the low powered weaver.

Black bear don't need the heavy hammer rounds like the .444 and .450.

If you opt for a bolt action, look at the Savage 11 light weight hunter in .260.
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Old February 17, 2014, 12:15 AM   #22
bacardisteve
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My brush gun is a dpms lr308 with a 16"bbl and a nikon monarch 1-4x scope. I have killed deer with it from 10-300yds and am happy with its perfomance. The only downside is it weighs in at 10lbs scoped.
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Old February 17, 2014, 12:25 AM   #23
Stiofan
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My brush gun is my old Marlin 45-70, I'm a .270 win fan otherwise. It's a good caliber for not only deer, but it's a great elk round. Doesn't hurt if you come across the odd griz either.
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Old February 17, 2014, 01:16 AM   #24
Brotherbadger
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Quote:
Lever-gun country. .35 Remington would do the trick nicely.
Agreed. Mine is a 30-30, but the old man uses a 35 remington and loves it. Great cartridge.
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Old February 17, 2014, 09:12 AM   #25
jersurf101
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The Remington 7 is a good rifle in brush. I have one in .308 and it is a great brush gun.

I think it would be hard to beat a 45-70 lever action.
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