For most deer hunts, a 30/06 bolt rifle would suffice, but there’s something to be said for having the appropriate tool for the task. For long shots, that may mean an extra-accurate rifle or a lightweight setup for lugging up a mountain. And depending on the hunting regulations, a centrefire rifle of any kind may be prohibited. So, no matter what kind of deer hunting you do, there’s a perfect rifle for you on this list.
Beanfield Sniper: Remington Sendero SF II
The Sendero is designed with a hefty 26-inch barrel to extract as much velocity as possible from flat-shooting cartridges for long, precise shots. The Sendero is a large rifle—with a scope, it will weigh 10 pounds or more—but if you have a short trek to your stand or don’t mind lugging about a big rig, it’s excellent. The precision is aided by the sturdy HS Precision stock. It’s now available in 7mm Remington Magnum, .300 Winchester Magnum, and.300 Remington Ultramagnum, however, if you look for old firearms, you could find one in the underappreciated.264 Winchester Magnum.
LUPO Bolt-Action Rifles
The LUPO is Benelli’s first bolt-action rifle. Sub-MOA accuracy, advanced ergonomics, and shooting comfort have been carefully engineered into this chassis-style hunting rifle that allows for exclusive fit and customization out of the box. Lupo is Italian for wolf and the Benelli LUPO is destined to dominate the land the way Benelli’s Super Black Eagle dominates the skies.
The LUPO is packed with innovative features—including 7 exclusive Benelli patents that add up to a hunting rifle that provides a customized fit, handles beautifully, and proudly carries a 3-shot sub-MOA guarantee.
- Precision Accuracy
- Built For Comfort
- Advanced Ergonomics and Adjustability
- Detachable Box-Type Magazine
Alpine Shooter: Sako Finnlight
The Sako Finnlight received the Editor’s Choice Award from Outdoor Life a few years ago for its outstanding accuracy and dependability, which are not always guaranteed with rifles with thin barrels and other weight-saving features. The 6-pound Finnlight isn’t as light as it seems, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less capable.
It comes in a variety of fantastic calibers—.260 Remington, .270 WSM, 6.555 SE, and 7mm Remington Mag., to name a few—but I believe it would be difficult to beat the.308 because of its moderate recoil, proven killing ability, and wide range of precise loads.
All-Purpose All-Star: Weatherby Vanguard Series 2
The Weatherby Vanguard Series 2 is at the top of the list when it comes to the greatest all-around big-game bolt pistol. The pricing, accuracy, handling, and workmanship of these guns are all excellent. After shooting me.308, one of my pals, a gun fanatic who is also a penny-pinching farmer, was so captivated that he bought four Vanguards, one for each member of his family. The improvements made by Weatherby with the introduction of the Series 2—a better trigger and stock, as well as a convenient three-position safety—took an excellent rifle and turned it into a superb one.
Vanguards exist in a variety of configurations and calibers, but the Stainless Synthetic is a no-nonsense working rifle for any sort of deer. It can withstand heavy use and bad weather, and with Weatherby’s accuracy guarantee, you can trust the rifle to help you hit your target.
Penny-Pincher: Ruger American
Since they first came out, I’ve fired at least a half-dozen different Ruger Americans, and they’re all ridiculously accurate and sell for a price that other gunmakers can’t match. Ruger has produced a rifle with a decent barrel and an innovative bedding mechanism for around $400 on the street. It also features an adjustable trigger and a three-lug action that moves smoothly from the shoulder, which many semi-custom bolt guns lack. The rifle has Weaver-style scope bases, making it even more affordable.
The rifle’s looks are perhaps its sole flaw, but that seems a little harsh given the value it otherwise offers. On the other hand, the stock seems fragile, and the rifle isn’t one that a hunter would place over the mantlepiece for aesthetic reasons. However, this might be a positive thing. Other gunmakers would undoubtedly quit up in exasperation if Ruger succeeded to make the American a thing of beauty in addition to its other merits.
One of the most accurate deer rifles is the Mauser M18. This Mauser is one of the most accurate deer rifles you’ll find for the money, with a price tag of around $700. It was released in 2018 and is tough, straightforward, and accurate. It boasts a smooth-running three-lug action in the receiver, a solid trigger, and traditional American-style stock. It’s available in the following calibers:
- .243 Win.
- .270 Win.
- .308 Win.
- 7mm Rem. Mag.
- .300 Win. Mag.
First-Timer: Outfit H&R Handi Rifle
These are the most basic guns available. And when it comes to placing a deer gun in the hands of a young or novice hunter, basic is the way to go. The operation of the H&R Handi Rifle is really easy. The action, which pivots open on a hinge, is unlocked by a tiny lever on the rear of the receiver. When the hunter is ready, he drops a cartridge in the pipe, shuts the rifle, and starts hunting. The hunter just cocks the hammer before firing the shot. There’s nothing difficult to remember or make a mistake with.
This platform is available in a variety of calibers, including the.44 Magnum, .223 Remington, and.243 Winchester, all of which are good deer rounds with low recoil, making them suitable choices for young hunters.
Slug-Zone Specialist: Savage M220 Stainless Camo
The day I used one to assist a blind hunter in Texas in killing hogs while peering over his shoulder via a special scope set high above the barrel solidified my opinion of these bolt-action slug guns. We were able to knock down numerous pigs by communicating in whispers. These weapons, like everything else made by Savage, are accurate and, in the case of the M220, come with Savage’s Accu-Trigger.
Another reason to like this pistol is that it is chambered in 20-gauge. These slugs are significantly softer than 12-gauge slugs, and no deer you kill will be any less dead as a result. The rifles come with a detachable box magazine that contains two bullets and is available in two grades: basic black with a synthetic stock or stainless and camo finish, which is more expensive.
Muzzleloading Workhorse: Thompson/Center Pro Hunter FX
Picking a “best” muzzleloader is tough because there are so many good ones on the market. T/Pro C’s Hunter FX, on the other hand, gets the nod. These rifles are well-made, simple to clean and shoot, have comfortable stocks and ergonomics, and have an established track record, making them a superb choice for black powder hunting.
The open sights on the Pro Hunter perform a good job in locations where optics are prohibited. The stock’s built-in recoil-dampening mechanism, which consists of a series of squishy strips that compress upon recoil, is also quite effective. While I’m not a big fan of weapons with finger grooves sculpted into the stock, the ones on the Pro Hunter are nice and assist position the shooting hand for a smooth trigger push. The Pro Hunter FX comes with a 26-inch barrel, a hand-removable breech plug, and a snappy trigger.
Open-Country Stalker: Nosler M48 Patrio
On the twenty-sixth with its barrel-smoking ballistics, Nosler is the new kid in town, and it has hunters stalking medium-sized animals in large terrain all aflutter. In this 6.5mm caliber, Nosler is offering a 129-grain AccuBond Longrange at 3,400 fps and a 140-grain AccuBond at 3,300 fps. It’s rare to find a more hard-hitting and efficient long-range hunting round.
However, ballistics and ammunition are only one side of the story. The M48 Patriot bolt gun, which Nosler is producing for the new round, is fantastic. Every component on the rifle is of the highest quality, and it’s clear that the M48s were developed and produced by hunters and shooters. The triggers are beautiful, the barrels are precise, the stocks are beautifully proportioned, robust, and stiff, and the action is among the best hunting actions ever built.