Whether it’s your first big hunt or you’re a seasoned veteran, there are few things more important than your rifle. Finding a deer-hunting rifle is easy, but finding the best deer-hunting rifle can be a challenge. As you do for any other tool, you want to carefully research each option before choosing the best rifle for the job. Each rifle is specifically designed for a particular purpose. Whether you are hunting big game on the open plain or chasing smaller animals through the woods, you’ll want the right gear for a safe, enjoyable and successful hunt. Here is a list of some of the best hunting rifles on the market today. It’s by no means all of the rifles available, and there are many great options that didn’t make this list. Look through the FAQs to better appreciate each of these finely crafted rifles, and get to know your gun and its safety features before going out on your next big hunt. If you want your rifle to last a lifetime, make sure to take proper care of your equipment.
What Makes a Great Hunting Rifle?
There are several factors to consider when looking for the best deer-hunting rifle. Obviously you’ll want one with great build quality and thoughtful engineering. Each of these rifles is designed for particular needs, so take these factors into account. First you want to choose a rifle with the right caliber. Next, take a look at the length of your barrel, and decide what type of hunting you’ll be doing and at what distance you expect to make your shot. You should also consider the action type: whether you want the long-range bolt-action, break-action or semi-automatic. There are many different tools and features to consider, but these are the biggest factors when determining which rifle will best suit your needs.
Which Caliber Do I Need For a Deer Hunting Rifle?
Finding the perfect caliber is like finding the holy grail. Many hunters, professional and amateur, have different feelings about which caliber is best suited for deer. There are many pros and cons when choosing your caliber, and over time you may find yourself favoring a particular caliber. The caliber refers to the diameter of the barrel’s interior. Most rifles on this list are larger caliber rifles. .308 Win Mag, .30-06 and 7mm are all heavy-duty rifles that have lots of recoil. You may feel they are too powerful for deer hunting, but the extra power is great for longer shots and bigger deer. You won’t want to take a .30-30 to a trophy hunt. There are many calibers available, and some hunters prefer smaller, more portable rifles with less recoil. Calibers like .243 and .270 are great for these close encounters. Whichever type you prefer there are many pros and cons, so try a few out before settling on your preferred caliber.
What Length Barrel Should I Use?
There are two factors to consider in choosing the length of your barrel. First, a longer barrel can give you more accuracy for a long-range shot. Second, a longer barrel adds both weight and length which can make your gun heavy enough to hold steady or too heavy to carry comfortably through the woods. Depending on the type of hunting you are doing, the amount you’ll be walking and the length of shot you hope to take, you’ll want to choose the right barrel size for your specific hunting style. The most common barrels are around 24 inches. These are a bit on the long side but give you some nice accuracy as you look for the perfect shot. The smallest barrel on this list is 16 inches. It’s too small for long-range shooting, but this lightweight and compact design is great for stalking or tracking deer.
What Do I Need Before I Hunt Deer?
Do you have a rifle, and are you ready to hunt? In the excitement of a new purchase, whether you have one rifle or 100 you’ll no doubt be ready to get shooting. However, there are many other factors to consider before going out. You’ll want to carefully research the rest of the gear you need, including safety gear like a hunter’s orange vest. Next you’ll want to look for local deer-season laws and the necessary tags and training you’ll need. Deer hunting can be both invigorating and dangerous, and your careful planning can make the difference between the two. There are also plenty of tools and gear available to give you a more comfortable and effective hunt. Everything from a rifle sling to binoculars to scents and calls can make the difference between a miserable or successful and comfortable hunt. Proper clothing, safety and preparation are just as important as a proper rifle and understanding of your rifle. Be sure to review all the safety features of your rifle before use.
How We Reviewed
Each of these rifles was selected based on a number of factors. First, they are all highly rated by professional reviewers. Next, they are best sellers and popular among buyers. These rifles are affordable, rugged and able to meet all your deer-hunting needs. Because of the number of factors that go into choosing a great rifle this isn’t a complete list of all the top-rated rifles, but it’s a good snapshot of some excellent-quality choices. Depending on your hunting style and caliber preferences you may or may not find the best hunting rifle for you on this list.
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Best Deer-Hunting Rifles
Remington Model 700 Sendero SF II
Made for accuracy, this bolt-action 7mm rifle is an excellent choice for long-range kill shots. It has an ambidextrous grip and can be equipped with a bipod for additional accuracy and support. With a 26-inch barrel it’s the longest rifle on this list. The fluted barrel helps with heat dissipation, and the sleek look gives you no-nonsense power and performance. For a calm, steady hunter who likes to line up the perfect long-range shot, this is a great rifle.
This stylish rifle has a beautiful European walnut stock and hand-rubbed oil finish. It’s another bolt-action, accurate rifle. The adjustable trigger ensures you get a clean shot, and you won’t have to worry about tugging the trigger or any delay in action. With a powerful .30-06 you’ll be thankful for the comfortable recoil pad. The bolt body is also fluted which gives you smooth action and eliminates resistance. It only has a 24-inch barrel, but it’s significantly less expensive than the Remington Model 700 Sendero SF II. It’s a great rifle for a balance between long range, lightweight and budget-friendly hunting.
Ruger American Rifle Magnum
One of the more inexpensive rifles, the Ruger American Rifle Magnum is a straightforward choice. Its .300 Win Mag won’t sacrifice any power for affordability, and the single-column magazine gives you a 3-round capacity. It comes with a scope rail so you can add a scope for greater accuracy. It has a more modern look and can also come with .338 Win Mag.
H&R Synthetic Handi-Rifle
The least-expensive rifle, the Handi-Rifle is one of the only small-caliber rifles on this list. The .22 Hornet gives this rifle far less recoil and weight than other, larger-caliber choices. Because of this it’s a great rifle for young hunters. The 22-inch barrel is still long enough for mid-range shots, and the overall length of 38 inches is good for easy carrying. Of course it won’t have the stopping power of a high-powered rifle, so you’ll want to line up the perfect shot. If you’re a casual hunter looking for a great deal or if your teenager is looking to join your next hunt, this is a great choice.
Tikka T3 Hunter
This rifle has an incredible amount of customization. While the .308 is a popular choice, you can choose anything from .243 Win, 7mm Rem Mag or .30-06. You can also purchase a variety of barrel lengths for this versatile rifle. This rifle has a wide and angled ejection port which is convenient for feeding and ejecting cartridges correctly every time. The stock is specifically designed to lower the noise so you’ll be able to take your time. If a .308 gives you too much recoil, you’ll enjoy the comfortable recoil pad. This particular option comes with a slightly shorter barrel which is great for a compact, stalking design. If you prefer a longer barrel, there are several options available. It’s a great rifle for the avid hunter if you know the exact caliber and barrel length you prefer.
Sako 85 Finnlight
This durable, high-quality rifle is designed to be used in a variety of climates and is compact enough for long treks, tired arms or younger hunters. It’s got plenty of power with .308 Win Mag. The fluted barrel helps cool it much faster and also gives it less weight. The stock is comfortable and efficient. The overall look is a bit plain, but the subtle style creates a sturdy, no-nonsense feel. It’s great for someone looking for an affordable, lightweight rifle that still provides a powerful and accurate shot.
DPMS GII AP4
This award-winning rifle has a tremendous number of features and high-quality craftsmanship. It won the Golden Bullseye Award from the NRA which means you can trust it’s an excellent product. It’s designed to be compact, lightweight, durable and accurate. This tactical rifle isn’t as long-range as some of the other more traditional deer-hunting selections. However, it’s designed for efficiency and has an extraction system that avoids ejection malfunctions. The magazine is beveled which is easy to change and comfortable to hold. Its heavy-duty construction includes an upper and lower that is forged. The steel feed ramp has excellent ammunition-feeding functionality. If you are looking for a professionally designed rifle with excellent features and a lightweight package, this is a great choice for you.
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Now that you’ve reviewed some of the best deer-hunting rifle options on the market, carefully consider the type of hunting you most enjoy. Whether you are looking for a long-range mule deer hunt on the plains or stalking elusive whitetails through the woods, there are many options when it comes to deer hunting. Once you have decided the type of hunting, you need to consider which options will best suit your style. A long-barreled, accurate model works well for a smooth, careful kill shot. On the other hand, if you need to hike long distances and have low visibility, other options may prove to be better choices. Whichever model you choose, any rifle on this list will give you a durable, accurate choice for deer hunting.