I see there are several knowledgable shooters in this forum so I ask the question: If you had to reach for a single rifle which would it be? (Whitetail and the like) Not really a gun but a caliber question, unless the type of gun is pertinent to the answer.
The caliber is easy. Since there is a possibility almost anywhere of hunting a place that you could by chance get a long shot you have to have a rifle caliber. The ultimate deer caliber would be the .308. The gun has to be a repeater for that quick follow up shot so my preference would be the Remington 760 pump. Relatively light and there are some still available.
It would be a J.C. Higgins with the FN 98 action, it would have a 22" barrel, Timney trigger, and a Burris 4x scope, chambered of course in the "Grand Daddy" of them all the 30-06. That's my favorite rifle, perfect for deer.
Picking up another today thats chambered in 270, guy even has the original case for it. Maybe the above will be correct except for caliber
You would think that would be an easy question. Many criteria to fill ie. range, type of hunting, terrain, limitations by state regs (ie. shotgun only area), prefernce for rifle action.
Now to answer your question if the range was no more than 100yds then my Marlin 1894 in 41mag. Anything else it would be my first centerfire rifle and the one I shot my first deer with a stock M1903A1 Springfield in cal .30 US Government (aka 30-06). Second runner up would be a M1903A3 or an FN FAL. Just my picks.
My current favorite whitetail rifle is a Model 70 Winchester Featherweight chambered in 7X57 Mauser. Using the 3X9 Leupold scope and 140 grain Nosler Partition handloads, it will shoot 3 shot groups too good to mention. The recoil is very manageable, the package is light, and the performance on deer is impressive. Not everyones pick, I know, but for me, it is close to perfection.
When I reach for a rifle to hunt with, it's more because of the rifle than the caliber. If I'm heading out to the high mountains or real brushy areas where there aren't any big bears, I reach for a short, light compact Ruger No.1 RSI. This one fits me perfectly, is compact (very) and light (but not too light), but balances really well and is just perfect for those situations. It's chambered for the 7x57, but I'd still reach for it if it was a 270, 280, 308, 30/06, etc... The way the rifle fits me, the way it handles and my performance with it is much more of a reason to reach for it rather than case size. The only time the tables turn (and slightly) is when I'm heading into big bear country. Again, the rifle, itself, was chosen for handling characteristics, but the cartridge was also a major consideration, though secondary.
If the rifle doesn't fit me, or if I have fuss around with it in the brush, or have to "find" the scope when the rifle hits my shoulder, that rifle probably isn't for me. That's just me, I know plenty of folks that buy rifles for caliber alone, but I have to have a certain "synergy" with the rifle before I can be successful with it.
Excellant timing of this question, i have been re-thinking my "Ideal Rifle" Which i had decided was at one time a 7mm-08
A suitable for all game here in Britain, so it would handle your white tail as well.
Firstly action it would have to be bolt, probably built on a Remington action, barrel im not fully decided yet, certinally stainless, meduim weight 20"-24".
The whole package will be around 8lb-8.5lb mark scoped.
Calibre.........I feel a Rifle chambered in 6.5-08 AI would be as close to the "Perfect" deer rifle. Excellant accuracy,proven killing power, mild recoil, flat trajectory and more than enough penetration for any thing i will come across !
Well I'm glad see I'm not the only one thats fond of that "perfect" rifle. I also expected to see rather odd calibers and again, I wasn't disappointed. I asked the question as kind of an experiment, it seems that shooters go through cycles as far as rifles and calibers. In the end, it's usually a short, semi-lightweight sporter of some exquisite design chambered in a short action of some sort. Englander hit the nail on the head as far as I'm concerned. I too want a .260 improved in a nice little carbine. Thanks for all the responses.
I can see that somebody really knows how to bring the natives to their feet. I myself when you speak of whitetail deer hunting reach for one of two rifles. I know you said ONE, but I have two sorry.
The first is a Ruger 44 magnum in a semi auto. It is very light weight and packs a big punch at short range in the hard woods. It is very quick to get up and fire off a round at the target. Since I spend so much time in the woods, this caliber is a right choice for me. Not the Perfect caliber but it works for yours truly.
The second rifle is a Featherweight Winchester in a model 70. The caliber being the same one Jack O'Conner raved about for so many years. Yes, the 270 shooting a 130 grain Nosler bullet for across the bean fields. It is deadly on whitetail and mule deer. I would rate this as the best caliber around for whitetail or any other type deer in the North America.
Lets hope there is no good single answer to this question...if there were, then we'd all have no reason to own more than one rifle.
If I were to have to rely on one rifle for the next couple of years, I'd take a .280Rem. in a 24" barrled bolt action. MNake it a medium heavy weight, running betwen 8 1/2 to 9 pounds scoped. Good iron on the barrel and a good solid (simple) scope on solid mounts. Woudn't mind if it were a Rem. 700, Wincester 70, or any other rifle that has prooven to be accurate and reliable.
I would have to go with Combat Diver on the 41 mag. Its big enought for anything where I hunt, and most of the country is fairly brushy. Not much open over 75-100 yds. Also my standard field gun is a ruger 41mag, so at least the ammo would be interchangeable, and if nothing else have a bunch of shot shells made up ifin I need, dont know how there gonna work in the rifle still waiting for mine. They keep telling me sometime in MAY.
The perfect rifle/ calibre? If you gave me ten minutes to grab my rifle and head for the hills what would I grab? Ammo availablity is my first concern. If I know my only real concern is to provide food I will without reservation grab my Pattern 1858 Enfield rifle musket in .577. You laugh eh?! It is accurate enough to make head shots on squirrels and rabitts at 30 yards and powerfull enough to anchor anythig on 4 feed this side of the Rockies. All I need is a can of powder, a tin of caps and some lead. I can put it all together while sitting round the camp fire and be ready to hunt in the morning.
Lets go with a requirement to defend self and kin from bad guys. I'll grab my 2A1 in .308. Its not pretty and it's heavy but it's 100% reliable shoots inside of three inches at 100 yards (my requirment for practicall accuracy) and .308 is availlable everywhere.
If I am just planning a week of sport hunting I will grab my Kimber converted 1896 Swedish Mauser in 6.5x55mm with its 4x Nikon Scope. I have fit it into an old 96 walnut stock reconfigured into a straight grip manlicher style stock. It's pretty, it shoots 1.5 inch groups, it is very comfortable to shoot from any possition and the 6.5x55mm cartridge is my absolute favourite smokeless rifle round. It will do for any game on the continent (mabey not really big bear) without resorting to extreme loads.
Well, that's my opinion. Remember what opinions are like so after all is said and done you alone will have to decide.
For a handloader, the 270 WSM loaded to pressures and velocities suitabe to the game and hunting conditions. More power than the '06 for big stuff, trajectory of a 25-06, and a legitimate varmint rifle with 90 gr Sierras - all in a 308 length action. All of the WSMs download beautifully, and 130 gr PSPs slowed to 3100 fps duplicate the 270 Win at the same recoil.
If you are flying somewhere and need to buy ammo when you get there, 270 Win will still get it done.
I have grown fond of the .308 over the last few years, but if I had to choose one caliber as a final choice, good for everything, do-it-all caliber, for me, it would have to be the .30-06. I like it in a bolt action. I have a pre-64 Model 70 that is my favorite, but as far as ease of care, reliability and ruggedness I'd have to pick my Ruger All Weather M77 Mk II with the Leupold 2X-7X that I used to take my last Elk.
Which would I grab for "whitetall and the like", it would be my Remington Model Seven 243. Have used it on ground hog, changed ammo type, and shot whitetail deer. It's not too long, nor heavy. Anything over deer size, I'd have to step up some calibers.
30-06 in a nice bolt action. Or... maybe a good old 30-30 Model 94. Or... maybe...... Jeez, what a question!! I would probably pick a Mauser 98 in 8x57 or 30-06. At least I could take the bolt apart and clean the rifle without having to send it to some unheard of place "for servicing".
Bullet weights from 100gr-195grs and everything in between:
120gr Hornady 3265fps-2840fpe
139gr Hornady 3125fps-3013fpe
140gr Spire Point 3100fps-2986fpe
160gr Sierra SPBT 2885fps-2955fpe
175gr Speer Grand Slam 2700fps-2832fpe
Come on you can't beat those ballistics,no way,no how and in a lever to boot.Light,handy and fast follow up shots.284 Winchester stands as the one true king of the mid bores!From ground hog to moose and everything in between!
Out of my "limited" rack of rifles, I'd grab my Model 70 in .270 Weatherby. It's awful open country here and it shoots flat enough to hit point blank at any distance you should be shooting. With good bullets it has all that is needed for the largest of deer and won't blow an up an antelope. I've never used it for Elk, but I'm sure it would be up to the task with the proper projectile. Being that I'm partial to the M70, my second choice would be a .280 in an early Winlite with the factory McMillan stock. It's easier to carry if the terrain is more up and down and shoots tiny groups. If I where back home in the woods,in Minnesota, it would be the Savage Scout in .308 hands down unless I could con my dad out of his Ruger .44 auto carbine. That Ruger will flatten any deer, of any size, out to 100yds or so. There is no perfect rifle for every situation.
As far as handguns go, I'd grab my XP-100 in .284 Winchester. This is a caliber that should have recieved more attention than it ever did. The .284 is the original "short magnum" 2950fps with a 120gr Ballistic Tip for Whitetail or antelope. 2800fps with a 130gr Barnes X for the Mule Deer. Those velocities are from a 14" barrel.
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