Deer season is one of those magical times of years for those of us who enjoy it as a marker of one of the seasons of the year. There are hundreds of gear options you can consider, but one that every deer hunter will have to obtain is a firearm or bow. In this article, we will look at how to choose a firearm, and more specifically a rifle to meet your personal deer hunting needs.
When you begin this process, first you will need to be honest with yourself about three things. One is what the rifle will be used for. I know we are talking about deer hunting here, but the reality is that a lot of hunters will need their rifle to serve multiple purposes. For example, they might use their rifle for hunting whitetail deer and also for hunting elk.
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Of course one rifle will not serve every need of every hunter. A deer rifle will not likely be the same rifle you use when you hunt turkeys or squirrels. The second thing you should be honest with yourself on is your ability or desire to fire a heavy caliber rifle if you are considering one rifle say for hunting deer and moose. Finally, cost is a limiting factor for many of us. You do not need to spend an excessive amount of money on a deer rifle, but you can if you wish. Having said all of this, let’s go through the factors that will go into your decision.
The caliber of your rifle will take care of a couple of issues. First and foremost, the caliber needs to be suitable for hunting deer. Generally, the 243 caliber is considered to be the smallest caliber rifle commonly used for deer hunting. I do not want to imply here that the 243 is too small. It will handle the job just fine with plenty of muzzle velocity and knock-down power with a properly placed shot. What the 243 will not be very good at is hunting larger big game species. An option that is nice for those who want to mix in some elk hunting, or at least have the potential to do so, is the 270 caliber. It really does not add in much in the way of recoil, and it does offer significantly more knock down power than the 243. If you will be hunting moose or bear (especially brown bear or grizzly), I would suggest minimally looking at a 30-06. These great all-purpose rifles offer such a wide range of factory ammunition that you really can hunt about anything with them. Unless you are of the lightest of frames, the recoil is not so severe. The final caliber I will discuss is the 7mm magnum. This rifle will certainly do the job for deer and is also noted for its flat trajectory due to a high muzzle velocity. The trade-off is that the recoil is sharp and its knock down power is marginal for the largest of the North American big game species. It has been one of the stand-bys for those hunting species where very long shots are required (such as mountain goat hunting). In recent years some other caliber rifles have begun to supplant the popularity of the 7mm magnum.