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Old September 21, 2022, 12:51 PM   #1
ligonierbill
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Deer camp - which rifle?

Can't go wrong with any of these, but which would you carry? Northcentral PA, flattop mountains with a mix of old timber, clearcuts, and new second growth. Shots could be 10 to 150 yards, nothing past 200 is remotely possible.

Choices:
Marlin 336 RC 20" 1948 Weaver K2.5 (post reticle) 32 Spl 170 Speer 2,254
Remington 700 22" 1987(?) Leupold 6X 250 Sav 100 Speer 2,905
Ruger 77 1977 22" 1977 Leupold 2-7X 7x57 140 Sierra 2,829

I have my emotional favorite, but I'm interested in what you folks think.
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Old September 21, 2022, 03:50 PM   #2
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Well, I'm prejudiced so I'll say go with the 7x57. I run a Winchester Featherweight in 7x57 and run the 150 gr. Nosler partition at 2800 FPS using Rl17. I plan on using it on my next elk hunt.

I haven't run that particular Sierra bullet in my 7x57 but I have run the .270 Sierra Game King on deer and antelope with excellent results. One of these days I'm going to duplicate the original loading using the now long gone Sierra 170 gr. round nose at the original speed of 2300 FPS just to see how it works on big game. I have a few to work with. Thinking maybe a cow elk hunt or something similar.
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Old September 21, 2022, 09:56 PM   #3
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Kind of terrain mentioned leads me to think on the ground hunting or as the older fellers call it Still hunting. Spontaneous reaction under such circumstances is required. Lever 336 would be a good common sense choice in your'e type hunting terrain. Bolt rifles mentioned on the other-hand are handicapped because of their assured deflection in the bush. Such high speed rifle cartridges do better when it and its shooter is perched up high with the partridges or the point of aim is steep down.
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Old September 22, 2022, 01:25 AM   #4
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The Marlin without the scope.
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Old September 22, 2022, 01:58 AM   #5
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Any would work fine.
I don't want to tell you which YOU should hunt with. I will happily tell you what I would choose for myself.

Frankly,I have not spent that much time with lever actions. It comes down to familiarity. Thats not a comment on the rifle or the cartridge. I'm at home with a bolt gun.

The notion of brush busting cartridges is an old and popular idea. I'm of the school that believes a branch will deflect any bullet. But you do you.

I've done most of my hunting with a .257 AI . I'd be happy to try a 250 Savage. My rifle has a Leupold fixed 6X by 42 mm . The rifle is fit to me so eyes closed,rifle shouldered, open the eyes I have my duplex and full field.
The 6X might not be the first choice for many in the woods,but it works fine for me. You can see the twigs and precisely place the shot.

The 250 is definitely a contender.

But I think I'd carry the 7x57. It does not need explaining.
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Old September 22, 2022, 10:44 AM   #6
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I'd be carrying the 250 Savage. Classic cartridge on a classic action.
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Old September 22, 2022, 12:17 PM   #7
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Of the rifles you listed, my choice would be the Marlin, with the scope. Although .32 Special wouldn't be my first choice...

The rifle with the 6x scope is out. Though the .250 Savage is adequate, the fixed 6x is a very poor choice for close range fast shots.

The 7x57 with a 2-7x variable is a good choice.

What I carried when I hunted in the Genessee country was a Remington 600 carbine, .308 Win, with an old JC Higgens (Weaver) 2.5x scope with the post reticle. Same gun I used in the Adirondacks for whitetail there.
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Old September 22, 2022, 01:41 PM   #8
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choices

I'd be leery of the old Weaver scope unless you've had it rebuilt/serviced recently. My luck it'd pop a seal opening morning and the deer of a lifetime would saunter by at 75 yds, .....and I wouldn't be able to see through it. I'll add I have several rifles w/ Leupold German #1 reticles, the big chunky 3 post type, and they work just fine for woods hunting.

That leaves the two bolt rifles. I like the early tang safety, red butt Rugers, so I'd go with it, but either are capable. Regards scopes, again, I have no reservations about 6X in the woods. While not ideal for jump shooting, it works for me for everything else.....picking holes through the brush to slip bullets to the deer, point counts on deer management areas and the extra bit of magnification is useful if on ROWS or other open areas. I've mounted several Leuopld fixed 6X scopes on my deer rifles, either the tidy 6x36 version when trying to keep weight down, or the bigger 6x42 for rifles that don't get carried so far. My rifles with 3x9 variables normally get set at 6x and left.
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Old September 22, 2022, 04:00 PM   #9
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I am fond of the 7x57 and personally would use the Ruger M77.
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Old September 22, 2022, 05:50 PM   #10
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Interesting replies. Thank you all. My "emotion" choice would have been the Marlin, since it's even older than me. But yeah, I don't know when that old Weaver has last seen a snowy 28 degree morning. So I'll take the Ruger. Oldest caliber, older than that Newton upstart (I like it, too), but I also favor the tang safety and the very Mauser-like bolt.

One surprise is the support for the 6x in the woods. I'm a recent convert after crawling around Namibia last year with my variable on 6. I know that is not the common wisdom, but that will likely be my setting this season.
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Old September 22, 2022, 06:26 PM   #11
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Sounds like you have the exact same setup as I do, Ruger 77 7X57, 2-7X scope. It has never failed to bring down an animal I shot with it, and I never felt like I needed more power in scope or cartridge.
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Old September 22, 2022, 10:10 PM   #12
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Dance with the one you love. 1955 Marlin Texan 35 Remington, factory irons, 130 yards. The shots you pass will be more than made up for by the ones you get to take.

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Old September 23, 2022, 12:12 AM   #13
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Quote:
I'd be leery of the old Weaver scope unless you've had it rebuilt/serviced recently. My luck it'd pop a seal opening morning and the deer of a lifetime would saunter by at 75 yds, .....and I wouldn't be able to see through it.
Your luck might be worse than mine, I've never had a fogging problem with any of my old scopes, including the ones that I've had apart and are no longer nitrogen filled.

I think the trick is what we used to do in Adirondack deer camp, leave the rifle outside. So it stays cold.

Unless you breath on the lens, its usually a change in temperature condensing moisture inside the scope that fogs it up. Sealed, scope, nitrogent purged, no moisture to speak of, temp changes have no effect.

Old scope, (maybe) bad seals, or one that's been opened to the air at some point, so ambient air moisture inside the scope, leave it cold.

Leaving the (winter lubed or unlubed) rifles outside also meant that they didn't sweat and bead water in them.

Seemed to work well enough back then, will probably still work today, I think.
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Old September 24, 2022, 06:46 AM   #14
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While i haven't shot a 32 Special, i can comment on the other 2 cartridges.

Last years opening day in central PA.
Rifle was my Stevens 200, rebarreled in 250 Savage 24".
Bullet was 100gr Nosler Ballistic Tip over RL17.
Took 2 deer. Neither much over 50 yards.
On the buck, i hit a branch between me & him. Bullet hit high & back. Didn't recover that day. Friends mom found him next morning under her treestand. Bullet hole was oblonged from the bullet tumbling after hitting the branch.

Doe made a couple of 20 yard circles before falling.

In my opinion, and experience, the added velocity afforded the 257 Roberts is much more effective.

I built my daughter a custom Mauser in 7X57 Mauser. ( i'm sure there is a special place in the afterlife for me putting a purple Boyds AT-One stock on a Mauser!) She's shooting the 120gr Ballistic Tip over RL17.
Very effective deer cartridge!
Furthest one has made it so far is 20 yards.
Light recoil. Plus can be loaded with heavier bullets if you like.

So, of the 3 you have, i'd go with the 7X57 Mauser.
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Old September 24, 2022, 03:13 PM   #15
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Quote:
I'd be leery of the old Weaver scope unless you've had it rebuilt/serviced recently.
Many of the issues with the old Weavers have to do with the mounts available in the 60s and 70s. Some mounts were designed so that you had to remove the ocular lens to get the scope into the rings. Not knowing any better, people would unscrew the ocular bell, put the scope into the rings, then put the ocular bell back on. Then they blamed the scope when it fogged at deer camp.

I still have a few 1970s and 1980s era Weavers on rifles I own.
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Old September 24, 2022, 05:17 PM   #16
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If looking for the most efficient tool, #3, #2 and #1 in that order. But all would work.
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Old September 25, 2022, 12:04 PM   #17
Red Devil
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ligonierbill View Post
Can't go wrong with any of these, but which would you carry? Northcentral PA, flattop mountains with a mix of old timber, clearcuts, and new second growth. Shots could be 10 to 150 yards, nothing past 200 is remotely possible.

Choices:
Marlin 336 RC 20" 1948 Weaver K2.5 (post reticle) 32 Spl 170 Speer 2,254
Remington 700 22" 1987(?) Leupold 6X 250 Sav 100 Speer 2,905
Ruger 77 1977 22" 1977 Leupold 2-7X 7x57 140 Sierra 2,829

I have my emotional favorite, but I'm interested in what you folks think.
My Louisiana woods are similar, and favor a .270/150 gr. at ~ 2800 fps w/ a low-power variable.

... so, the 7x57mm Mauser.




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Old September 25, 2022, 01:29 PM   #18
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I'd take the top 2 on your list. It's always good to have a spare but one is more of a shorter range and the other a longer range rifle...

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Old September 25, 2022, 02:03 PM   #19
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I n.eed something better than any of these.

A Pre-64 Winchester Model 70 in .270 Winchester.

Old Leupold 2X7.

My forever deer rifle.

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Old September 25, 2022, 03:30 PM   #20
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Central PA from Eastern PA

Go with the Mauser 7x57.
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Old September 25, 2022, 03:54 PM   #21
Paul B.
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"Kind of terrain mentioned leads me to think on the ground hunting or as the older fellers call it Still hunting. Spontaneous reaction under such circumstances is required. Lever 336 would be a good common sense choice in your'e type hunting terrain. Bolt rifles mentioned on the other-hand are handicapped because of their assured deflection in the bush. Such high speed rifle cartridges do better when it and its shooter is perched up high with the partridges or the point of aim is steep down."

I'm not so sure I agree with you. A few of my early hunts were done with a 30-30 but switched to a 30-06 a few years later when I had the money to buy one. Most of that hunting was done up in the Northwest corner of the state of California which is covered by thick brush, tall trees and wide open clear cuts. I mostly hunted the brush and the 30-06 worked just fine. I've hunted California's rain forest, normal type ground and wide open spaces. At no time did I ever find a bolt action rifle be a handicap when jumping a deer.

If I were to hunt that area today (fat chance) I'd probably take my Ruger 77 RSI for the good weather days and my Remington 660 for the bad weather times. It's a custom with synthetic stock. Both rifles are chambered to the .308 Win.

On what the OP said, I chose the Ruger M77 in 7x57 Mauser because it's a darn good cartridge. It'll work at the shorter ranges and reach out and touch something to at least 300 yards of more, depending on the OP's shooting ability. These days, most of my rifles have variable scopes but on the hunt after a kill, I've noticed that the scopes were set on either the lowest setting, (2 or 3X) rather than some larger number. Most of my rifles have 3x9 scoped with one a 2x7. I've never had a problem taking game with the scopes set that way, whether the animal was a 6 feet or 530 yards. Personally I prefer to keep shot at 250 yards or less but do practice for the times when I can't get closer.
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Old September 25, 2022, 08:40 PM   #22
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I would select the following: C, A, then B.

I hunt in MI and I'm familiar with the first two actions and have a bias with B.
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Old September 25, 2022, 11:45 PM   #23
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I'm partial to 7mm, having a 280 and a 7mmRM. The 7x57, with 139-140 handloads is a killer.
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Old September 28, 2022, 02:30 PM   #24
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rem 700 SA in 7mm08, 139-140gr bullets at 2800 fps for me.
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Old September 28, 2022, 03:44 PM   #25
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Just curious, does the Marlin have a sling??

do the others??
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