What’s your go to deer rifle?
We’re not pulling any punches here. We’ve assembled a list of the best deer guns made today for every type of hunting, whether you’re chasing whitetails in a cedar swamp or scouting miles of open prairie for mule deer.
Yes, a basic synthetic-stocked .30/06 bolt gun will serve just fine for the majority of deer hunts, but there’s something to be said for having the right tool for the right job. Sometimes that means an extra-accurate rifle for making long shots, or a lightweight rig for hauling up a mountain. And sometimes hunting regs won’t allow a centerfire rifle of any type. So for whatever type of deer hunting you do, you’ll find a perfect gun on this list.
1. Beanfield Sniper
Remington Sendero SF II
With a heavy 26-inch barrel, the Sendero is built to squeeze as much velocity as possible out of flat-shooting cartridges for long, accurate shots. The rifle is heavy—with a scope, it is going to weigh 10 pounds or more—but if you’ve got a short hike to your stand or don’t mind humping a beefy rig, the Sendero is ideal. The rigid HS Precision stock helps with accuracy. Currently it’s offered in 7mm Rem. Mag., .300 Win. Mag., and .300 Rem. Ultramag., though if you search for used guns, you might find one in the underappreciated .264 Win. ($1,465; remington.com)
2. Timber Classic
Lever guns endure not from some misguided sense of nostalgia, but because they strike a balance between portability, balance, handling, and firepower like no other deer rifle. The “thuddy-thuddy” remains a top deer cartridge, but I’ve always gravitated to the .35 Rem., which packs greater oomph. Either way, however, you won’t go wrong. Topped with a low-magnification scope or a peep sight, the Marlin is ideal for hunting dark timber or from within the confines of a small blind. With moderate recoil and a magazine capacity that most bolt guns can only dream of, it is a potent rifle. ($610; marlinfirearms.com)