Deer Rifle and Cartridge Discussion

Something we do at Foremost is talk about different favorite deer rifles and cartridges. Even as a professional outdoor writer I don't think I'll ever find the perfect one but its fun to speculate, so what's your favorite?

22-250 and 30-06 would have to be my two favorite loads

I think I've killed a deer with every well known cartridge so I really don't have one favorite. The most effective have been the 30-06, 325 WSM, 350 Rem Mag, and the 45-70 the 45-70 getting the highest rating. Most of my hunting is in Louisiana and most shots are around 50 yards. You can, of course set up a longer shot, but I usually find myself bowhunting with a rifle at close range. I use a heavier cartridge not so much for deer, but the extremely large wild hogs in the area. A 12 gauge shotgun with buckshot also works very well so I purchased a Brno Combination gun O/U that shoots a 30-06 and a 12 ga load of buckshot.

Options are endless...... History would say by far the best are 30-06 bolt or pump and 30/30 lever. Been around for over 100 years and will be around well after all the SHORT, SUPER SHORT MAGS are replaced by the hyper short mags. My fav 12ga H&R Ultra Slug with 3" fed sabots. But like I said options are endless and any reason to get a new toy is a good one.

You got that right Jay...I took deer number one with a 30-30 in 1968, I took deer number 137 with a 30-06. The 45-70 with the 325 grain Hornady flextip bullets is the most effective. Like Bambi vs Godzilla. It is doubtful the short magnum will go away any time soon due to the fact that recoil is much less, with all the power still at hand. It kinda defies the law of physics but its true. A 325 WSM with a 220 grain bullet, feels like a 30-06 with a 165 grain bullet in the recoil department. It just hits a lot harder, you have to see for yourself side by side to believe it.<br /><br />What I don't want is a deer to go more than a few steps. The results are DRT (Dead Right There) with the 3 cartridges mentioned. With the 30-06 you might get a few steps out of them if you use the wrong bullet but make a good shot.<br /><br />Beware of some of the plastic tip bullets on deer as some have a tendency to not expand at all giving the "Plastic Pass Through." If the exit hole looks like the size of a quarter, you just got one. If it looks the size of your fist that's a good bullet stick with it. Then if you have a lot of confidence in what you are using stick with it, no matter what it is.

On standard bullets: In 308 and 30-06 class cartridges, Winchester Power Points (and the slightly thinner jacketed Soft Points) may be the best all around deer bullet for normal range deer hunting 50 to 300 yards. The Remington Corloct is in the same league but leaves a bit to be desired as an accurate Factory Load. The Original Nosler Ballistic Tip is the only Plastic tip bullet I use, great in a Federal Factory Load.<br /><br />There is no need to deer hunt with bullets designed for elk hunting; almost all of the bullets I mentioned go right through a deer. You will get complete penetration 95% of the time with a bullet weight of 165 grains or higher. Even a 243 or a 30-30 will shoot through a deer 85% of the time.<br />Trying to make a Varmit gun into a deer rifle is the wrong thing to do, this includes the 22 Hornet, 223, and 22-250. Of course they will kill a deer, some are legal in some states, but soon you will discover they are not deer cartridges. This will occur when a 200 pound 10 point walks out and you botch him with a good shot.<br /><br />Big big rifles such as the 444 Marlin or 45-70 as well as Muzzleloader sabot bullets, the Hornady bullets are the way to go on deer. Yes they have plastic tips but they make a big hole. <br />

 My son's .243 easily put down a big buck. Its all about accuracy.  A .22 to the brain is good enough. I think really the higher power rifle's and ammo really are only necessary when hunting larger game or predator game.

yeah i put 22-250 just because i didn't read to well, i just enjoy that round a lot


.450 Bushmaster. Super accurate out to 200 yards using factory Hornady load. Haven't tried the new Remington stuff but will probably be reloading by the time deer season's in session again. Didn't get any deer last year due to lack of hunting locations available to me but have some new spots scouted. One has a huge herd come through 2 times a day with some very nice sized bucks. Took out a coyote in his tracks on my private range/hunting grounds a few months back. The Hornady load fragments a bit much so I'm going to try to find some solid coppers like Barnes on handloads.

don't you think that's a bit much for a deer round? i mean that round is guaranteed to do one shot kills on heavy large game out to 200 yards.

No different than using a sabot in a shotgun shell or large caliber muzzleloader. Think someone mentioned the 45-70 above as well. 44 magnum seems to be popular too.