View Full Version : just getting back to deer hunting (20yrs)

September 25, 2007, 07:08 PM
It has been awhile since I hunted and used a 12 ga then. I am planning on hunting where rifles are allowed and I would like to know what would be a nice all around gun. I will be shooting in pretty heavy forest and brush. Probably from a blind (on the ground for now) I was thinking a winchester model 70 in .308? does that sound right?

September 25, 2007, 07:49 PM
Sounds good to me. You're on the right track.

A low powered scope, preferably forward mounted, will help in the brush.

September 25, 2007, 07:55 PM
That will certainly do the job. Open sights? If forest/brush are heavy enough a scope may be more hindrance than help in sighting on your target, particularly if you get to high a magnification. 1.5 - 4 power variable should be good, in my opinion. You might also consider a lever action, such as the Marlin 336 in .35 Remington (my preference), although newer ones have the :barf: cross-bolt safety. Or a Remington pump or semi-auto by Remington or Browning.

Boris Bush
September 25, 2007, 08:03 PM
I have no clue why you wouldn't just stick with the 12 gauge slug gun. Byall means use what you want to, but you are familiar with the shotgun.

I tried a few times to use a rifle in the thick stuff. I learned my lesson well. I only use my rifles for open areas.

Remember, just because you can use a rifle, that does NOT mean you HAVE to use a rifle.

BTW, I kill the majority of my deer in rifle zones in the thick stuff where deer retreat to after a few vollies of rifle fire.

.308 is great, but at the short ranges you will hunt the Slug has far more power.

September 25, 2007, 08:05 PM
I was thinking a winchester model 70 in .308? does that sound right?

Sounds good to me. But traditional "brush guns" for heavily wooded areas are leverguns in .30-30 win, .35 Rem, .45-70 govt, .444 marlin, .44 magnum, or even .348 win, .356 win, .300 savage, or .250-3000 savage. Or, as mentioned, a slug shotgun.

The .308 will work perfectly well however - just with a tad bit more recoil than the brush guns like the .30-30. Good luck and report back after the hunt! :)

September 26, 2007, 07:36 AM
I am a lefty, I have grown up working a right hand bolt but for a lever action I am sure I would need a lefty. How about high mounts for a scope, so I could use both scope and iron sights?

September 26, 2007, 08:17 AM
NO, I wouldn't! You want to have ONE primary sighting device, and if it's a scope, it's a scope. And you want that primary sighting device to maximize its usefulness to you. To do this, it needs to be as LOW as possible, because you may get a shot really close in (under 30 yards), and if your scope is zeroed for say, 150, and your scope is 4 inches above the line of sight, then you will shoot 3.5-4" low at a really close in animal. Couple this with *any* error in your hold, and you just might miss those vitals. Plus, having a high scope messes up your cheek weld, which could make you have a bad shot.

The best way to use your irons as a backup (in case you drop and break your scope in the field, let's say), is to use a good quick-release mount system. Then if you think your scope is off or broken, pull it off completely and run with your iron sights.

But the scope is just plain better in my view, in all conditions, whether close or far shots, provided you can dial it down to a very low power (1-2x), and so you don't need or want a dual sight system.

September 26, 2007, 07:42 PM
I know that most people will disagree with me, but I like sight-through mounts. You have to get good quality mounts though. The cheaper models don't hold the scope firmly enough to hold zero. I have sight-through mounts on both of my centerfire rifles and one of my .22's. Two years ago, I took a nice young boar only because I had access to my iron sights. He walked right under my tree stand and I couldn't get a good sight picture with the scope.

Late edit: - I must also say that I hunt in Florida where VERY short range shots can be common. If I hunted in more open territory, I would follow along with everyone else and go with low-mounts on my scopes.

September 26, 2007, 08:29 PM
I think you've already got the ideal combo. A bolt-action .308 with variable power scope (I like 2-7 compact models) will offer the versatility to take deer in brush and on power lines and fields should the opportunity arise. I use a Rem. 700 Mtn in 7mm-08. I've taken deer as close as ten yards and as far out as 300. Light, easy to carry and little recoil.

September 26, 2007, 09:18 PM
You might consider the new Marlin lever in 308? That is if you like lever action rifles. Interesting new caliber. Great all around gun. But your Model 70 is an excellent choice. If you are buying stick to the 270 through 308 range of calbers (including the -06). My personal deer rifle is a Remington Model 700 in 270 win. But of late, I have been just using a revolver for my deer hunting.

The 2-7x or 3-9x variables are excellent. Keep the scope set around 4x and crank it up when the need arises.

September 26, 2007, 10:03 PM
Doyle, I'm another who likes the see through scope mounts. For slow fire I use the scope and for short range rapid fire the iron sights line up faster if I'm looking through the virtual tube made by the scope mounts.

Chuck, the thought of a Winchester Model 70 in .308 makes me shudder. I've had one for fifteen or so years that is my perpetual project. Every now and then I'll dust it off and try to figure out how to make it shoot with modest precision. :(

September 27, 2007, 03:20 AM
You said from a blind and in the thick woods so my question to you is what are the expected ranges?

Here in NE Fl. we spend most of our time in thick stuff. While it is possible to set up to where you can take 200 yard shots the vast majority of what is available is under 50 yards. Of the dozen deer and few dozen hogs we've taken in the last few years I can say for certian that the longest shot was a hog taken at about 70 yards by my wife. And with the exception of one deer I shot at about 40 yards and one hog she shot at about the same distence every other animal has been closer than 25 yards, a number of the hogs so close that we could have speared them.

We hunt from portable stands or when after hogs, which is most of the time, we slip into the wind on the ground. Actually get a few deer this way if you pay attention.

And we are MEAT hunters. And that's a good thing here in Florida as antlers are a afterthought on our deer. You guys further north would just laugh at them.

So my wife shoots either a .243 single shot or a rifled 20 ga single shot once the deer season closes. The 70 yard shot on the hog she took with the 20 ga.

I shoot a OLD, and yes I hate the new 336 safety too, Marlun 336 in .35 Rem. Barrel is cut down to 19 inches and stock is shortened a inch or so.

All of these are scoped, if you want to call it that, with Red Dot sights. There are a lot of advantages to them, and at least a couple of drawbacks.

Drawbacks: If you need to check his head for points, like in areas with 3 point or better rules, you don't have any magnification. And if hes out there much over 100 yards then the coverage of even the 5 minute dots provides a rather corse sight picture.

Positives: Fast sight aquisition. Very easy to shoot with both eyes open, especially if you mount them forward as someone else suggested. This to helpes with seeing in the thick stuff. Great in low light!

If you have not tried one find someone who has a setup and try it.

Lastly...........caliber. Yes the .243 works. But it does a lot of damage to meat if you are not careful with the shot. Lots of bloodshot meat. That situation would be worse with bigger high velocity rounds. The old .35, with it's slow moving relatively heavy bullet, makes a nice hole but does not cause near the meat damage if you hit worng.

Hope this helps.

And all that said I have a 25-06 Rem. 700 with a 2-7 Leupold. It was my first rifle. It's 37 years old and will still shoot close to a inch. Taken a pile of deer and hogs with it.............but in the last few years it stays home almost all the time.

September 27, 2007, 06:53 AM
I am still toying around with the idea of hunting, I am a very good shot, when it comes to targets, have taken a few deer when I did hunt. I am now trying to figure out what is the best caliber. A friend said .30-06, I thought .308 or .243. My shots wouldn't be much over 40yds max, possibly 60 if I hunt the edge of the woods. I would like to get a kind of all around rifle for woodchucks to whitetail, although I don't want to destroy the meat on the deer. If I do get back into it, I am sure my shooting areas would expand to longer distances but for now the property near my cabin is pretty thick stuff. Thanks for the help, the wife is just seeing dollar signs every time I check this thread! LOL

September 27, 2007, 09:35 AM
How about high mounts for a scope, so I could use both scope and iron sights?

You don't want to do that. People trying to use a scope mounted up too high are one of the main reasons those same people claim that scopes are slow. A quality scope that is set up correctly for the user on the rifle is fast. Faster that iron sights or apertures.

What do I mean by set up correctly? After the scope is mounted on the rifle you should close your eyes. Then mount the rifle to your shoulder. Without adjusting any part of your body open your eyes. If you don't have full field of view in the scope then something is wrong and needs to be adusted. Either the eye relief is wrong - the scope is mounted too far forward or too far back, or the height is wrong. On the eye relief you should try this with your hunting clothes on because that will change the length of pull and that will change where you need the scope positioned. A forward mounted "scout" scope will take care of the eye relief issue. Keep both eyes open when using a scope, especially the lower power scopes at closer ranges. I shot a mule deer at about 10 yards with a rifle that had a 4x scope on it. The view of the deer through the scope was a gray colored blob but with both eyes open I could put the cross hair on the center of his rib cage without any problems. If your eyes and hands are cross dominant you may have a problem with keeping both eyes open.

Good advice above on lower powered scopes. Fixed up to 4x, variable with a bottom end no more than 3 and preferably lower. The difference in weight between most 2x-7x and most 3x-9x is amazing when they are mounted on a rifle.

Triple J
September 30, 2007, 08:31 AM
I agree with the guys on the use of the shot gun @ those ranges. But if you are looking for a all around varmint / deer rifle the guys around our area get a 243, 25/06, or a 257 Roberts they are great deer rifles and with the right ammo ( hollow points/ ballistic tipped ) the are devistating woodchuck machines. As far as a scope 3-9x40 would work for both deer and varmint.