My daughter is about ready for her first deer rifle, but I’am not quite sure which direction I should go. All of my other kids have a Marlin 336 in 30-30. For here in East Texas most of our shots are no more then 100 yards, and she will not want anything with recoil. With these east Texas deer, we are talking maybe 125 – 150 pounds.
I would like to stay away from calibers like the 270, 280 and the 30-06, they have too much recoil. On the flip side the coin, I don’t care for shooting deer with the 6mm or 243 either. The smallest diameter caliber I would go with would maybe the 257 Roberts.
A few of my first options:
Ruger Mini-30 in 7.62X39 – semi-auto, 30 caliber bullet and effective out to our average range of 100 yards. The semi-automatic action will help cut down on recoil, but I’am not real sure of the accuracy. The 7.62X39 does not kick to start with, and the action of the Ruger Mini-30 will just help reduce it that much more.
Marlin 336 in 30-30 – since we have several 30-30s in the family already, ammo will not be a problem. In the past 100 plus years the 30-30 has proven time and time gain to be effective on deer sized game. Mossberg recently came out with a lever action rifle, but I like the idea of having all of the rifles made by the same company. Its nothing against Mossberg, but I have already invested a lot of money into Marlin.
Remington model 7 in 308 Winchester – bolt action accuracy with the effective stopping power of the 308. I first saw the Remington model 7 last hunting season, my nephew used his model 7 to take a couple of East Texas whitetail deer. That 308 and Remington 150 grain Core-Lokt was very effective, to say the least.
A couple of years ago my Remington model 700 started shooting funny. 1 round would hit to the right, the next round would then hit straight up from zero – both rounds would be around 18 – 24 inches from zero. At first I thought it was the scope – so I replaced the scope and the problem was still there. I tried different types of ammo, and the problem was still there.
One day I noticed that stock had warped and was touching the barrel. When the rifle was new the barrel was floated, so that you could slide a dollar bill between the stock and the barrel. But now, the dollar would not slide under the stock at all.
Fast forward about two years – and during that time I have not taken a single deer. A buddy of mine is over at my house, who just happens to work on firearms. I tell him about my rifles problems – and he tells he that he has a spare stock and a spare target trigger. So my buddy takes my rifle with him.
A couple of weeks later I get my rifle back, but it needs to be sighted in before its used for hunting. This past weekend I take the rifle to the camp and fire off a couple of rounds – and its hitting dead center just like it was years ago.
This morning I took my Remington model 700 in 7mm express / 280 out on a hunting trip. It was not until I held that rifle again, that I realized how much I missed that rifle and how well it shoots.
My Remington 700 BDL Mountain rifle is 16 years old. In the past 16 years I have taken more East Texas whitetail deer then I can count. The first deer was a small 4 point sometime around 1994 or 1995. The next few were some spikes and does in the following years. In 2000 I went through a rather nasty divorce and did not do much of anything for a few years.