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Deer hunting as a sport is quite different from any other form of shooting. It requires a lot of planning, and the satisfaction that you get with the proper execution of a shot is unparalleled. The skills and experience of the hunter are of prime importance in deer hunting. However, even a seasoned hunter cannot do much without a high-quality rifle. Therefore, in this article, we shall help you find the best rifle for deer hunting.
Best Time For Deer Hunting
You should plan when to go deer hunting quite strategically. It has been observed that deer come out to feed only during the sunset or sunrise period. Most expert hunters prefer going out for deer hunting when the moon is just beginning to rise. They believe that you have a chance only till the moon reaches its peak overhead height.
Sunrise is not considered apt for hunting. This is despite the fact that deer are out in the open because there is a lot of movement in the herd at this time.
The time just after this early morning phase can be exploited. That’s because things start to slow down within the herd and the deer move to the interiors of the woods. Hunters can use baits to target them while they move back. Using plants like orchard grass, red clover, and chicory is a common practice. Many people also use nuts like acorns and chestnuts for attracting deer.
Top 8 Best Rifles For Deer Hunting 2021
1. Magpul Hunter 700 LA Stock Adjustable Rifle
The Magpul Hunter 700 LA Stock Adjustable Rifle is a professional hunting rifle that is very light on the shoulder and does not have a forceful recoil. The rifle can give as much terminal velocity to the bullet as is required for creating the best possible impact on the subject. The rifle is compatible with a lot of accessories like scopes. Moreover, it has a polymer construction that provides enhanced strength and durability.
It is easy to carry this rifle on the shoulders as it has an adjustable length along and a sling with many stud screws at various points. You can use a variety of detachable magazines with this rifle. It is designed in a way that provides ergonomic stability to the hunter while they are preparing for a shot. Overall, it is a lightweight rifle that is suitable for hunting expeditions that involve a lot of walking in order to get the perfect shot.CHECK THE PRICE HERE!
2. Wilson Combat .308 Super Sniper
The Wilson Combat .308 Super Sniper is another great rifle for hunting deer in a wide and open range. Hunters have been using this combat rifle for decades now, and have praised its reliability and accuracy. It has a unique design with a flat top billet and a low-placed receiver.
The snipe also has a tactical match grade barrel in the center of the rifle. The barrel elevates on pressing a lever, which helps in getting more accuracy during long-range shots.
You can use all traditional and commonly used deer calibers with the Wilson Combat .308 Super Sniper, but the .308 caliber size is best suited for deer hunting. Usually, calibers from the 20s are good enough, but the accuracy of this rifle with a .308 is quite impressive. In all, it is a good professional hunting rifle that is hailed by many as the best rifle for deer hunting.CHECK THE PRICE HERE!
3. RUGER® AMERICAN RIFLE HUNTER
The RUGER® American Rifle Hunter provides a great combination of accuracy and easy handling. RUGER® is known for creating reliable guns that are also customizable. This enables hunters to use it in the best possible way and with fine results.
The RUGER® American Rifle Hunter has enormous firepower. A good and well-placed shot is enough for taking down a deer. The rifle comes with a low-magnification scope that does not add much weight to the body.
The scope can be detached and one can install a high-magnification scope in its place, too. The only issue with this rifle is that it has a limited magazine capacity. Otherwise, it’s great for deer hunting and can be used easily by beginners too.CHECK THE PRICE HERE!
4. WILSON COMBAT® AR-15 Super Sniper
The WILSON COMBAT® AR-15 Super Sniper is yet another classic rifle from the warehouses of WILSON COMBAT®. The gun has a super-light recoil and ejects bullets with great velocity. With a long barrel of about 20-inches, the rifle surpasses several other popular options, making it one of the best rifles for deer hunting.
The design and engineering of this rifle have been designed to provide maximum accuracy up to a distance of 500 yards. Premium quality stainless steel has been used in making the barrels, and the rifle can last several decades with proper maintenance. The feel of pulling the trigger is surreal, and the bullet leaves the barrel with a lightning-fast speed. In all, it is one of the most trusted rifles for deer hunting available in the market today.CHECK THE PRICE HERE!
5. BENELLI U.S.A. – M1014 12 Gauge
The BENELLI U.S.A. – M1014 12 Gauge serves as a benchmark for all other shotguns that are commonly used for deer hunting. While shotguns are generally very accurate, this one does not even require you to be very close to the subject. While you cannot get a 500-yard range with this shotgun, it is still possible to shoot a deer accurately with this one from quite a distance.
Being a shotgun, the barrel length is about 18.5-inches, while the total length of this rifle is 40 inches. It is easy to carry the BENELLI U.S.A. – M1014 12 Gauge because it is lightweight, and is most suitable for when a hunter has to cover quite a distance to get the perfect shot.
Thin-barrel rifles are usually considered useless by hunters because they do not provide a good amount of accuracy and precision. One needs to be in close proximity to the subject for getting the perfect shot. However, the BENELLI U.S.A. – M1014 12 Gauge rifle, with its thin barrel, has defied all odds and emerged as one of the most reliable rifles for deer hunting today.
The shogun is safe for beginners, and you can shoot back-to-back without worrying about jerking and forceful recoils. It is certainly a premium shotgun for deer hunting.CHECK THE PRICE HERE!
6. GEISSELE AUTOMATICS LLC – SUPER DUTY RIFLE 16 5.56MM
The Geissele Automatics LLC- Super Duty Rifle 16 5.56mm is made with advanced weapon technology invented exclusively by Geissele Automatics. The barrel of this rifle has been made with premium quality materials like stainless steel. These materials improve the durability of the rifle, making it suitable for usage in extreme conditions.
Apart from the advanced materials and technology, the trigger of this high-quality rifle still has a traditional design. However, the crispness in every shot that you get after pulling the trigger is unparalleled.
The corrosion resistance that is offered by the superficial coating over the barrels is quite extraordinary. It prevents the paint and materials used in the barrel from wearing out for several years. The rifle also has extended upper rails that improve the stability during long-range shots.
The accuracy of the shot is not affected regardless of how many rounds you shoot or how hot the barrel gets. The ejection remains tight no matter what. This applies to calibers supported by the Geissele Automatics LLC- Super Duty Rifle.CHECK THE PRICE HERE!
7. BROWNELLS – COMPETITOR PLUS™ RIFLE SLING
The BROWNELLS – COMPETITOR PLUS™ RIFLE SLING is another great rifle for deer hunting that is not just preferred by hunters for its shooting efficiency but also for its attractive design. The rifle has a leather butt along with other features that are a result of its superior craftsmanship.
To ensure the safety of the user, the rifle has thick steel hooks fitted at various points. The leather used in this rifle is absolutely pure, and around 9 to10-ounces of it is present. Although the leather is quite flexible, it gives a lot of stability to the rifle in general.
Some of the hooks have also been hammered into the leather to increase its durability. With the impressive authenticity of all materials used for making the rifle, this rifle will serve you for many more years than any traditional deer hunting rifle.
Since the manufacturers offer you an exceptional level of quality, the prices of this rifle are on the higher side in almost all countries. However, after using the rifle for several years, many users suggest that it is the best one for deer hunting and worth every penny.CHECK THE PRICE HERE!
8. BRN-10® RETRO RIFLE 308/7.62 20IN BARREL
The BRN-10® RETRO RIFLE 308/7.62 20IN BARREL a reliable rifle for deer hunting. Since the weight makes it unfit for carrying over long distances, it is not the most popular one among hunters.
However, the precision in each shot with this rifle is absolutely unmatched and supersedes all the other rifles we have discussed until now. Using a scope makes the rifle heavy, but the combination of this equipment will give you the best results possible.
The BRN-10® RETRO RIFLE 308/7.62 20IN BARREL is just like any other rifle in size. The materials used in making the barrel and the butt of the rifle account for its weight. Many hunters are more than willing to lift and carry the rifle along because they need the kind of accuracy that this rifle provides during a hunting expedition.
The BRN-10® RETRO RIFLE 308/7.62 20IN BARREL is resistant to any sort of damage and lasts very long. Moreover, you can use a variety of caliber sizes with it during a hunting session. The design of this rifle is so revolutionary that it has been incorporated by several other industry leaders too.CHECK THE PRICE HERE!
Factors To Consider
1. Type Of Mechanical Action
The manner in which a rifle operates is crucial in determining its success in deer hunting. Every rifle has some common parts like a barrel, bolt, chamber, etc. However, how all these components complement each other and work in tandem to eject the bullet is what determines the final accuracy and output.
Based on the mechanics, the rifle action can be of several different types. Knowing these types of rifle actions is important, and it is a factor that you should consider before you finally select a rifle for deer shooting.
All different kinds of rifle actions have shown great results for hunters. There is no particular rifle that is best for deer hunting, and there is no doubt that the traditional and conventional rifles are still as good as they were several decades back. However, the need and skill of the hunter are crucial in determining the kind of rifle action that will be most suitable for them in hunting deer.
Traditional Bolt Action Deer Rifle
The oldest and the most commonly found mechanism in deer rifles is the bolt action. Thousands of hunters still trust the bolt-action rifles for their simple design that makes them easy to use quickly in any situation.
The length and size of the barrel and the materials used in making the rifle determine the ease with which one can handle the bolt-action rifles. In general, by changing the length and size of the barrel, manufacturers can improve the accuracy and reliability of these guns.
Since it has a very simple design, you can use almost any kind of caliber to chamber a bolt-action rifle. Moreover, the bolt-action rifles manufactured these days have a provision of quick follow-up shots, such that one can fire 3-5 rounds back-to-back.
Lever Action Rifles For Deer Hunting
Lever-action rifles have become popular because they have been used extensively in different sports. These rifles can be chambered in lower velocity rounds and can accommodate heavy bullets.
If you want to shoot within a 200-yard distance, lever-action rifles are your best bet. Several deer hunters prefer lever-action rifles because of the accuracy of these rifles within a set distance.
During active deer hunting, lever-action rifles help in making life easier for the hunter as they are lighter and quick to the shoulder. These guns offer a little more capacity, and you can use several kinds of ammunition with these lever-action rifles.
Semi-automatic Rifle For Deer Hunting
The trend of using semi-automatic rifles for deer hunting is relatively new. Even though the likes of the AR15 and AR10 were developed by Armalite Company in 1956, the use of semi-automatic rifles for deer hunting started much later. However, today many professional hunters and those who go into the woods for leisure carry a semi-automatic rifle only. These rifles are easy to carry, they can be used in a variety of chambers, the number of detachable magazines that you can use with them is very high, and they are very accurate, too. You can rely on semi-automatic rifles for a shot as much as you do for a bolt gun.
2. Caliber Sizes
You get a wide range of options for calibers in the 20s because they are the most widely legalized calibers all across the United States of America. You can use a .22 caliber size wherever deer hunting has been legalized. Besides the .22 size rifles, you can use a .223, 0.24, and a 6 mm rifle as well.
All these calibrations that are higher than the minimum .22 level are better for deer hunting they offer a very light recoil and the bullet velocity is also quite good. The calibers have larger casings, and the kinetic energy of the bullet released from the rifle is conserved for a longer distance.
The .25-06 Remington rifle has a great caliber size. It provides an exceptional flat-shooting option to the hunter. Moreover, since it has a range of available calibrations, the user gets to choose between several caliber sizes before they get ready for the perfect shot.
Increasing Calibers In Deer Hunting
Many experts believe that going up to a .30 caliber size for deer hunting is not a good idea. While we agree that the discussion around caliber size for deer hunting can be done without the mention of higher caliber sizes, the .30 caliber size has given great results to some hunters too.
Only a few hunters prefer using a caliber size in the 30s for hunting deer. However, they claim that the number of deer that they have shot down with a 30 caliber rifle is much more than any of the 20s rifles that we have discussed.
The old 0.30 mm rifles made by Winchester in 1895 are still one of the finest rifles for deer hunting. These are close-range guns with good accuracy. Caliber sizes up to the .308 have been great for this purpose. Certainly, the 30s caliber sizes have much more to offer than one expects.
3. Bullet Design
When a hunter shoots their shot, the only purpose is to kill. The lethal effectiveness of any shot is dependent on the bullet itself. Several bullet designs are available these days. However, depending on the subject or the animal that you are shooting, different bullet designs are useful.
You will have to choose a bullet in the caliber in which your rifle is already chambered. Always look at the terminal performance and accurate data of a particular bullet design before you finalize it for your hunting expedition.
For deer hunting, lighter bullets are always preferred. However, the lightest ones on the spectrum usually lose a lot of kinetic energy through the air, and this can affect their lethal effectiveness. You can choose bullets that are slightly heavier than these. They have a great terminal performance and are usually the most lethal option in the case of deer.
If you are new to deer hunting, try several varieties of bullet designs in the beginning. It will help you get a better idea of the shooting environment and the kind of bullets your rifle works best with. Take some time in making this assessment as it will be beneficial for you whenever you go out to hunt.
One cannot finish the discussion about the important aspects of hunting without mentioning rifle optics and optical equipment like a scope. A scope is the most important equipment for judging the distance and finalizing the shot placement.
The scope needs to match the rifle and the bullet design perfectly. Moreover, the scope should also be suitable for the prey, which is the deer in this case.
To select a good scope for your rifle, you should first assess the kind of magnification and the probable distance in which you will be shooting. If you do not plan to go very close to the deer, you will need a scope with higher magnification.
While higher magnification is always useful for the hunter, these scopes also add a lot of weight to the rifle. In all, the decision regarding the selection of scope has to be made very thoughtfully.
What’s your pick?
So, in this article, we told you about the best rifles for deer hunting. Before you think of purchasing a rifle, enquire about the laws regarding deer hunting in your locality.
The unlawful purchase of rifles and using them to hunt deer can land you in jail. If any sort of license is required to practice deer hunting, get all the formalities over with before you purchase a rifle.
When it finally comes to buying a rifle, you should consider all factors that we have discussed before making a decision. Don’t buy a rifle just because it is a popular choice; buy one that suits your needs. An adjustable rifle that fits your plans will always help you get the desired results.
FAQs on Rifles For Deer Hunting
Q1. What Should I Look For In A Deer Rifle?
We have already discussed many crucial factors that one should consider before buying a rifle for deer hunting. The most important factors are the caliber size and bullet design. The caliber size should be such that it fits the rifle perfectly and the bullet comes out through the barrel in the least time possible.
Moreover, the materials used in making the bullet should be pure and sturdy, so that the impact of the bullet at the terminal stage is maximum. These are just some of the factors that you should keep in mind while selecting a rifle for deer hunting. Other important features are subject to your skill and availability of resources.
Q2. Do Hunting Rifles Have A Bullet Drop?
The bullet drop feature is highly desirable for hunting animals like deer. However, you’ll get to see it mostly in games. With this feature, the bullet can travel below the vertical height that it would ideally achieve when a perfect projectile path is followed. Once you pull the trigger, the bullet will start in a projectile manner and then traverse downwards.
It is suitable for hunting deer because they run fast and you require a low-lying bullet impact to make the shot as lethal as possible. However, bullet drop features are rarely present in hunting rifles. This is because the accuracy of the shot could be hampered when the bullet drop feature is used in conjunction with a high-quality scope.
Q3. Can Pistols Kill A Deer?
Pistols and handguns can be great for hunting deer in a huge range. However, to use a handgun for this purpose, you will need to go very close to the subject before you can shoot a shot. A 44 magnum pistol can be a great option, as it is not very light and doesn’t lose terminal momentum.
Further, it is not as heavy as a .50, which is certainly not needed for an animal like a deer. Some people also use a 357 Magnum but it ejects a light bullet, and may not have the right accuracy and lethal effectiveness.
Q4. What’s The Smallest Caliber For Deer Hunting?
The 243 Winchester is the smallest caliber that can be used to hunt deer. Moreover, it is also the minimum calibration that is permitted by law in several states. Other small-caliber options include the 270 Winchester and the 280 Remington. When there is a shortage of ammo, these guns can be used for accurate results.
Q5. How Many Rounds Can You Have In Your Gun While Deer Hunting?
In states where deer hunting is legal, there is no limit on the magazine capacity that your rifle can have. Hunters can use a variety of rifles with different sizes as well. So, you can take a 10, 20, 30-round rifle along for deer hunting.
However, as per experts, five rounds are usually more than enough for this purpose. The only restriction is regarding the type of gun that you can use in a particular area. There are several states that have banned the use of rifles for deer hunting. Here, you can only use shotguns for killing a deer.
Michael Castaneda is a 45-year old war veteran from Michigan with a deep interest in guns. After the war, Michael took a pledge to never touch a gun except for the purpose of self-defense. He created Machine Gun Books to guide people on self-defense and providing information on guns and accessories.