How much gun is too much?

Talk about the best guns and ammunition for deer hunting!
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How much gun is too much?

Postby Mab867 » Thu Mar 01, 2012 8:41 pm

What caliber would ya'll think is too much for deer? Am trying to learn (ha, ha...I am 45 yrs. old) about deer rifles. Southern Michigan (where I was born and raised) doesn't allow rifles for deer hunting. I really don't want a bolt action, would prefer a semi or lever action rifle. But, the biggest question is what caliber is too big? If any? I was looking at some 45-70's, a few 44 mags, but would really prefer a 30-06. I am not finding too many 30-06's with lever action or semi-auto. Thanks for any help.

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Re: How much gun is too much?

Postby kellory » Thu Mar 01, 2012 8:47 pm

rifled slugs.jpg
rifled slugs.jpg (76.76 KiB) Viewed 10044 times
I am not sure. I see the ammo for grandfather's old side by side has finially arrived. Now, anyone know where I can get a reloader to fit these? ;)
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Re: How much gun is too much?

Postby Deebz » Thu Mar 01, 2012 8:55 pm

Nice kell...

I know a lot of guys who use the 30-06... My brother's 45-70 lever action would definitely kill a deer, but I could also see where it would do a ton of collateral damage as far as meat is concerned.

I live and hunt in Illinois, so I've never been able to use a rifle to kill deer, but the 1 oz saboted slug I use in my mossberg 500 12 ga sure does the trick out to about 100 yards. My wife's uncle has gone out to South Dakota for a combo pheasant/deer hunt. He's used his M1 Garand and another rifle in .308 (I believe).

I just did a google search for 30.06 semiautomatic rifle... that might at least get you some ideas of things to be on the lookout for
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Re: How much gun is too much?

Postby gatodoc » Thu Mar 01, 2012 10:17 pm

See if you can find a savage model 99 (300 cal. works well) moderate recoil and enough power for any game in North America and enough range to use out west. I'm partial, but I love my lever action savage 300....Available online in the gun blogs and sometimes gun shops and pawn shops...

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Re: How much gun is too much?

Postby mnslayer » Fri Mar 02, 2012 4:08 am

If I could own only 1 rifle I would get a 30-06. This is not because it is the best but because the commercial ammo available for it. I would shoot 165grain for a good balance wieght and distance. then you could go lighter or heavier depending on the game you are hunting. winchester browning and remington all make a semi auto remington also makes a pump something to keep in mind because some states don't allow semi autos for deer. All three manufacturers make a good gun not sure about winchester and browning but remington is American made.
Last edited by mnslayer on Fri Mar 02, 2012 4:07 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: How much gun is too much?

Postby shaman » Fri Mar 02, 2012 5:36 am

30-06 is overkill on a deer, but that's fine. Overkill can be a good thing.

Take a look at 30-30 vs. 300 Savage vs 308 WIN vs 30-06 vs 300 WIN MAG, and you have pretty much a continuum-- same bullets, just a bigger case capacity for more powder. On the low end is 30-30. It takes deer just fine. The limitation is range. 30-30 is a 150 yard rifle at best without serious tweaking. By the time you get up to 30-06, you've got a gun that's workable out to several hundred yards and when it starts to poop out, you have the 300 WIN Mag still zipping along. Range is based on velocity (faster goes farther) and velocity is based on the amount of powder you have behind the bullet (case capacity)

Which one is too much or two little? Most folks take their deer inside 80 yards. At that range, a 300 Savage is probably the ideal rifle. However, out past 200 yards, it starts to flag. My belief is that the 300 Sav is the ideal deer rifle. For the past 8 years or so the round has been making a comeback. My favorite deer rifle is a Savage 99 in 308 WIN. At the time I bought it, it looked like the 300 Sav was going to be orphaned and I did not want trouble finding brass. I load the 308 WIN to 300 Sav levels-- light recoil, and complete devastation out of a treestand. It is a shame you weren't asking this question in the twenty years ago. The Savage99 would have been ideal for you-- a lever that came in 308 WIN and 300 SAV. Too bad they stopped making it. They're still out there though. I got mine through

30-06 is probably the best overall round for North American Game. It's a bit heavy for deer, but the deer won't complain. I frequently hunt with a 35 Whelen (30-06 case with a 35 cal bullet) The 30-06 does just as good a job on the deer as the Whelenizer.

You will find only one '06 Lever, and it's the Browning BLR and it frankly sucks in my mind-- heavy, unwieldy and expensive. Both Remington and Browning make Semi-auto 30-06. However, for deer, I would heartily recommend the Rem 7600 pump in 308 WIN or 30-06. It is very accurate, and fast cycling.

Marlin came out with the 308 Marlin Express a few years ago-- very 300 SAV-esque. It's a lever. It's got the punch. It's got everything, except the ammo is going to be hard to come by. The one thing you can say about 30-06: You go into a store anywhere in this country, and if there is rifle ammo for sale, 30-06 will be among the selections.
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Re: How much gun is too much?

Postby shaman » Thu Mar 08, 2012 8:54 am

I got to thinking about the root question again last night: How much gun is too much?

There is a bunch of ways to answer this. It's going to be dependent on a lot of things, and there are several inter-related factors. Let me give you an example of several types of too much.

TOO MUCH RECOIL: This is the most common excess. A deer rifle should not be painful to shoot. You should be able to take the recoil from the bench unaided. If you feel the need for a Lead Sled, you're dealing with too much gun. The effect of too much recoil is twofold. First off you develop a flinch, and that can be hard to lose down the road. Second, you shy away from the rifle and only take it out of the closet once in a while. The world is full of big magnums gathering dust and surface rust, because hunters just don't want to shoot them. A good deer rifle should be fun to shoot. Even without a flinch, if you find that you have to prepare yourself to take the shot, you're probably talking about too much recoil. In this case, if you find that a 30-06 is no fun, there are a lot of other options that will still take deer at a distance. I mentioned the 300 SAV as a good choice, but it is not the only one. If you look at a recoil chart, 30-06 is a good dividing line. The '06 was developed in the late 19th century for the average American infantryman to shoot all day, every day. If you find that is too much, you are probably recoil adverse and should not venture too far into deeper water.

TOO MUCH WEIGHT: A good deer rifle should be able to match your needs for offhand shooting. My buddy, SuperCore, found this out the hard way last season. He decided to spring for a gorgeous 300 WIN MAG. However, it was a 9.5 lb rifle. He went to take a shot at a buck at 300 yards and could not hold it steady. It was his one and only shot last season. He ended up with tag soup. On the other hand, my son, Angus loves shooting his mother's 15 lb bench rifle in 30-06. I added extra lead to the stock it so she'd have reduced recoil. It is fun to shoot from a good rest. However, it is a real pain to carry to a deer blind. It is waaay to much rifle for him in the general sense, but it does him just fine when it's just the two of us out for Yute Season in the blind and he can make a fully supported shot. What are your needs for offhand shooting? Mine are pretty minimal. Most of my hunting venues offer some type of steady rest. If I can keep it on a pie-plate at 75 yards offhand, I'm happy. However, if you get some long-barreled long action rifle that you can't keep still, you're going to have problems. A good deer rifle should be able to be shot offhand.

TOO MUCH MUZZLE BLAST: You'll find out what I mean if you ever put a muzzle break on a deer rifle. A lot of guys do this to compensate for too much recoil. Yikes! I tried 44 Magnum pistol for deer a few years ago and after a couple of trips to the range, I found I was flinching even with muffs and plugs. I gave up that project in a hurry. However, you cause it, too much blast will screw you up as much as too much recoil.

TOO MUCH STOCK: Well, it's a combination of things, not just stock length. If the comb is too high, it'll knock you on the cheek. If the stock is too long or short, you won't get a good fit and it'll knock you around. Too much drop? Too much recoil. Bottom line: a well fitting stock is important. Once you have proper fit, you can handle a lot more recoil. I went 25 years with recoil pads on a lot of my rifles, and took most of them off just a few years ago. The pads were not on their for recoil; they were on to extend the length of the stock. My body had changed over 30 years, and my clothing had changed, and it all came together that my length of pull was about 1/2 an inch shorter than when I first got into the game. Once I got that rectified, some of my rifles became much easier to shoot.
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Re: How much gun is too much?

Postby SwampLife » Thu Mar 08, 2012 12:26 pm

Good post shaman.

Recoil is big, you can't be worrying about the scope cutting your eye when you are trying to zero in on a deer, being afraid of the gun can make you a terrible shooter.

I would say a 30-06 is more than enough and if you felt the need to go smaller you always can. .308 is a sweet load for whitetails too. Also can't go wrong with the 270.
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Re: How much gun is too much?

Postby 1-GTOHunter » Sun Apr 08, 2012 4:56 pm

I have to agree with Shaman,when the recoil is too much then You've went too big on the Rifle You've chosen!A good accurate with tolerable recoil is the way to go, some thing in a .243,.30-30,7mm-08 would be nice,the 6.5 Creedmore seems like another good caliber also.I've seen too many Hunters buy a .300 or .300 Win mag and end up selling later on because of high recoil and the damage they can do on a Deer!

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Re: How much gun is too much?

Postby little_deer_aaron » Sat Jun 23, 2012 7:24 am

I Think the .30-06 is just fine for deer. Looking at the .308 vs the .30-06 they are almost identical. So if you want a semi-auto find one for the .308 there are a lot more (AR-10, M1A, FAL, Remington 750, Browning BAR, and a few others that escape me. My next Deer rifle is going to be in .308 Win. As for Lever actions, You are very limited as to the cartridges they are chambered in.
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