HUNTING

Best Deer Rifle: Most Important Features & Top 10 Deer Rifle Reviews

Best deer rifle
Shawn Harrison
Written by Shawn Harrison

The best deer rifle is one that is not only reliable, but also offers you the best performance. Hunting big game is an activity that requires precision. Therefore, the best buyer should take into consideration the range of shooting, dependability, reliability and accuracy. These factors are determined by the features and specs of the shoulder firearm with a long barrel and a rifled bore you select.

Usually, the best choice is one that is lightweight, controllable, and has state-of-the-art design features. The list of product reviews below should provide you with comparisons between products, ideas that you can share with friends and knowledge on the best products to buy.

Most Important Features to Consider

Choosing the finest rifle for hunting deer is an investment worth making. Your immediate goal should be to buy a capable, reliable and dependable gun. It must be easy to control and comfortable to use. Therefore, your choice should be based on the following features.

Caliber

The most important factor as far as rifle loads is concerned is the caliber. Big bores and small bores vary greatly in application, range and power, making caliber a feature to consider. This is the measurement of the circular barrel’s diameter, which is often measured in thousands of an inch.

Deer rifle Caliber

Normally, calibers range from approximately .17 to .458. Your choice should be guided by the type of game, in this case, a deer. A .30 or larger should be a good choice for deer hunting. However, you should know that rifles with high calibers have additional power than low calibers. Choose a caliber with respect to the type of bullets you use, such as round or conical bullet. Low caliber bullets are easily affected by the wind compared to larger ones.

Trigger Mechanism

A convenient trigger is one that breaks effectively. Normally, the trigger is highly significant to practical accuracy. Therefore, a poor trigger can lead to flinching and wounding of your target. A good, crisp, clean trigger should be user adjustable.

It should be outstandingly safe in order to avoid unintentional trigger movement not unless you pull the trigger when you are ready. The trigger mechanism you choose should have polished engagement surfaces along with tight quality control.

Winchester M.O.A trigger

The most resourceful, versatile and reliable trigger systems that you should consider are: Browning X-Bolt trigger; Winchester M.O.A trigger; Remington model 798 trigger; Ruger LC6 trigger; & Savage AccuTrigger.

Safety & Control

These are important considerations when hunting big game, such as deer:

  • The cocking system should be comfortable to cock and de-cock.
  • The bolt head should be easy to remove; this ensures that you are the only person who can fire the gun.
  • It should have a reliable safety system, such as three-position safety, which is easy to access and allows you to load and unload with the safety engaged.

Choose a rifle that has an adjustable trigger in order to allow you more control. The trigger should have a convenient adjustment range that provides you with the desired length of pull. The stock should be ergonomically pleasing, fitted with contours alongside the barrel, on top of the pistol grip and underneath the stock for a powerful grip whether in dry or wet conditions.

Barrel Profile & Length

One of the main attractions of a good rifle is the barrel profile and length. The barrel length should be very practical, such as 22in, 24in or 26in. The overall measurement is a separate contemplation from the barrel length, which includes the pistol.

Deer rifle and deer

The barrel profile should be gently tapering at the muzzle with a clear-cut crown, such as 11° for improved accuracy. The barrel should be free floating and fluted for at least two-thirds of its length. This should help disperse heat and save weight.

Action

This is the manner in which you load and fire ammunition and eject the used cartridge. The most popular actions in use are: lever action, bolt action, slide action, single shot action and semiautomatic/ self-loading action. Lever action functions by manipulation of a hinged lever that is attached to the bottom of the receiver just behind the trigger. Bolt action functions by manual operation of a handle attached to a bolt. Slide action uses a forward pump to load and unload a firearm.

The single shot action is operated by opening a breech using some kind of release lever. Semiautomatic action uses the energy created by the discharge of a gun (simple blowback or gas operation) to load ammunition. You should choose a rifle with your desired action. This mainly depends on how experienced you are; however, each and every mentioned action is convenient for deer hunting.

Top 10 Deer Rifles on The Market

Browning X-Bolt Long-Range Hunter

Browning X-Bolt Long-Range Hunter

Weight: 7½ lbs.

Barrel Length: 26in

Design Features: 26 Nosler caliber; Matte stainless steel finish; composite carbon fiber stock; detachable magazine; magazine capacity of 3; & free-floating barrels with glass-bedded receivers.

Best Use: Deer hunting

Description: X-Bolt long range hunter 26 Nosler caliber provides you with precision right out of the box. It has a unique design that feels and looks amazing, not only to the touch but also the performance.

This shoulder firearm with a 26in barrel minimizes bullet drop and maximizes velocity for superior performance.

The hand-chambered, free-floating, lightweight, stainless steel and fluted barrel provides you with pinpoint accuracy. You can use this weapon under wet weather conditions since its composite carbon fiber stock is fitted with Dura-Touch Armor coating for a strong grip. In addition, the detachable magazine makes it easier for you to reload as well as unload.

Related: Browning X-Bolt long range hunter is also available in the following calibers: .300 Win Mag.; 7mm Rem Mag; & 6.5 Creedmoor.

Legendary Arms Works Professional

Legendary Arms Works Professional

Weight: 7.0 lbs.

Barrel Length: 24in

Design Features: Bolt action; .300 Win Mag; tactical grey cerakote metal finish; custom one-piece aluminum trigger guard; one-inch Pachmayr decelerator recoil pad; fiberglass stock fitted with aluminum bedding blocks; 3-position safety; custom tuned Timney trigger; stainless steel, honed, fluted barrel; & removable muzzle break.

Best Use: Deer hunting; hog hunting & hunting

Description: The Professional (LAW model 704 actions) is a lightweight rifle made of state-of-the-art design. The stainless steel, honed, fluted barrel is fitted with a removable muzzle break along with a thread protector for easy and precision shooting.

This shoulder firearm with a 24in barrel is easy to carry along when deer hunting and it provides very fine accuracy. The feel as well as handling qualities of its stock design is perfect. The tactical grey cerakote metal finish provides you with ultimate protection. The fiberglass, hand laid stock fitted with aluminum bedding improves strength as well as accuracy.

Related: Legendary Arms Works Professional is also available in the following calibers: 338 Win Mag; 300 Wby Mag; 30-06 Springfield; 7mm Rem Mag; 280 Rem; 28 Nosler; 22-250 Rem and 243 Win to mention a few.

Winchester XPR

Winchester XPR

Weight: 6 lbs. 12 oz.

Barrel Length: 22in

Design Features: 243 Win caliber; detachable box magazine; nickel Teflon coated bolt; bolt unlock button; M.O.A. trigger system; Inflex technology recoil pad; matte blue finish; & black polymer stock.

Best Use: Deer hunting

Description: Winchester XPR is the best deer hunting rifle available in the 243 Win calibers. This new workhorse provides you with a brand new way of looking at bolt action shoulder firearms. This rifle is not only bolt action built, but also reliable and rugged shooting machinery for serious deer hunters. This piece is built to withstand field abuse.

The polymer stock provides you with a strong grip that is extremely important in wet environments. There is no need for your extra shells to fill your pockets because the detachable box magazine offers you storage for extra shells. The integrated M.O.A trigger system boasts a 2:1 mechanical advantage.

Remington R-25 GII

Remington R-25 GII

Weight: 7.62 lbs.

Barrel Length: 20in

Design Features: .308 Win cal.; GII technology; mossy oak break-up infinity finish; 4+1 capacity; direct impingement semi-auto action; 3 flutes underneath the barrel nut & polymer stock.

Best Use: Deer hunting & big game hunting

Description: This GII tech based machinery is engineered and modified to achieve maximum efficiency for deer hunting and big game hunting.

This modern sporting rifle offers you hair splitting accuracy and ultimate performance. Its rubber pistol grip and modular free floating, vented carbon fiber tube offers incomparable feel to the touch.

Expect more reliable cycling due to its dual ejectors; improved extractor and the efficient, lighter bolt carrier. The presence of 3 flutes just underneath its barrel nut vent gases forward in the event that the firearm suffers a case separation. Moreover, the magazine is fitted with a pronounced bevel for faster reloads.

Mossberg’s MVP Light Chassis rifle

Mossberg's MVP Light Chassis rifle

Weight: 8.5 lbs.

Barrel Length: 18.5in

Design Features: .308 Win caliber; Patented MVP bolt design; MDT LSS light chassis aluminum stock; standard AR magazines; 18.5in barrel wove with muzzle break (Silencer Co Saker Trifecta); patented LBA trigger system (adjustable); Picatinny rail; an oversized bolt handle; optional MRAD reticle with rings; optional Vortex viper HS-T 4x zoom; and adjustable bipod.

Best Use: Deer hunting

Description: Mossberg MVP light chassis .308 Win caliber rifle has a sleek as well as powerful design. It is fitted with a medium bull barrel that is free-floating for superior accuracy and performance. With the multiple mounting holes you can use rail accessory.

The MDT LSS light chassis aluminum stock is adjustable; a feature that lessens snagging as far as height adjustment is concerned. This model features powerful optics for durable, repeatable and precise elevation.

Related: Mossberg MVP light chassis is also available in .223 REM caliber.

Nosler M48 Patriot

NOSLER M48 PATRIOT

Weight: 7 lbs.

Barrel Length: 26in

Design Features: 28 Nosler caliber; custom action; cerakote all-weather finish; guaranteed M.O.A. accuracy; hand-tuned trigger pull; two-position rocker safety; hinged floor plate; glass & aluminum pillar bedding; aramid fiber reinforced composite stock; & stainless match-grade barrel.

Best Use: Hunting & deer hunting

Description: Nosler M48 Patriot offers you exceptional performance along with robust dependability. This state-of-the-art shooting machinery is equipped for any weather conditions. The composite stock design is incorporated with aluminum bedding chassis and aramid fibers for lightweight and durability.

Wet conditions will not warp or swell the stock; a feature that ensures you have consistent shot placement. Unlike most models you can find in the market, Nosler M48 Patriot is contoured to be compatible with any standard two-piece scope base.

Also, with the recommended Nosler ammunition, you will always achieve M.O.A. accuracy. The NIC industry cerakote finish on all external metal surfaces protects the rifle against wear and rust.

Ruger M77 Hawkeye FTW Predator

Ruger M77 Hawkeye FTW Predator

Weight: 8.12 lbs.

Barrel Length: 24in

Design Features: 204 Ruger caliber; Hawkeye matte stainless finish; two-stage, adjustable trigger; green mountain laminate stock; magazine capacity of 4; 12.75in to 14.25in length of pull; a twist of 1:8in RH; non-rotating, Mauser-type controlled round feed extractor; medium contour forged barrel; hinged solid-steel floorplate; patented integral scope mounts; & three-position safety.

Best Use: Deer hunting & predator hunting

Description: Ruger M77 Hawkeye FTW predator is a uniquely designed long-range shooting machine that you should definitely use in deer hunting. It features a controlled, Mauser-type, non-rotating round feed extractor along with a fixed blade-type ejector for successful ejection of empty cases.

The hinged solid-steel floorplate allows you to unload effortlessly without chambering the cartridges. Accidental dumping of cartridges is prevented by the patented latch and engraved Ruger logo. The three-position safety allows you to load, unload and lock the bolt with the safety engaged. The medium contour forged barrel makes cleaning easy and offers longevity and accuracy.

Related: Ruger M77 Hawkeye FTW predator is also available in the following calibers: 223 Rem; 6.5 Creedmoor; 308 Win & 22-250 Rem.

Sauer 404 Elegance

Sauer 404 Elegance

Weight: 7 lbs.

Barrel Length: 22in

Design Features: .243 caliber; MagLock magazine safety; SAUER universal key; SAUER universal mount; infinitely adjustable trigger blade along with 8mm adjustment range; SAUER Quattro trigger; jeweled bolt body; 6-lug bolt; twin ejectors; replaceable bolt head; ergonomic manual cocking slide; aviation-grade high-alloy aluminum receiver; and ERGO LUX stock in Grade 5 figured walnut.

Best Use: Deer hunting

Description: SAUER 404 elegance is assuredly stylish, masterful and serene. Its superiority is matched with the sumptuous grade 5-walnut stock that provides you with an enduringly beautiful bolt-action masterpiece of artistic perfection.

The manual cocking system offers more safety. The user-friendly metal cocking slide on the bolt cover allows you to cock and de-cock conveniently. When the bolt is not completely closed, the rifle will not fire because of the automatic firing pin safety. The SAUER Quattro trigger offers you more control. The position of your shooting finger on the trigger determines the pull and hit.

Related: SAUER 404 elegance is also available in the following calibers: 6.5×55; .270; .308 Win; 6.5 Creedmoor; 7mm Rem. Mag; .300 Win Mag; .338 Win Mag; .375 H&H Mag; .404 Jeffery; 10.3x60R & 9.3×62.

Savage Model 16 FCSS Weather Warrior In .338 Federal

Savage Model 16 FCSS Weather Warrior In .338 Federal

Weight: 7 lbs.

Barrel Length: 22in

Design Features: .338 Federal caliber; AccuTrigger adjustable trigger; sling swivel studs; black synthetic stock; 22in barrel with target crown; two-round detachable magazine; bolt action & stainless steel.

Best Use: Deer hunting

Description: FCSS Weather Warrior is the best rifle for deer hunting because it is engineered specifically to hunt big game. The design is rugged and made of high-quality material, which makes this piece the perfect hunting gear under any conditions.

The perfect union of ammunition, scope and gun transforms the enormous potential of the FCSS Weather Warrior into consistent accuracy. The 22in barrel with target crown, AccuTrigger adjustable trigger and the detachable magazine improve precision and performance when aiming and shooting.

Alpine Shooter

Alpine Shooter Sako Finnlight

Weight: 7 lbs.

Barrel Length: 22in

Design Features: lightweight; graduated grooves on the metal trigger blade; standard single stage trigger; controlled round bolt design; fluted barrel; synthetic stock & excellent barrel profile and length.

Best Use: Deer hunting

Description: Alpine Shooter Sako Finnlight is a uniquely designed rifle that is made for shooting big game. Its action has a non-reflective, satin stainless steel finish. You should have no problems with the operation because each and every part of the rifle is correctly fitted for improved performance.

The barrel profile along with its length will definitely impress you. The 22in barrel is practical and it provides you with the desired velocity and efficiency. Generally, this piece offers you better accuracy, handling, trigger, stock and value.Description: 

Did You Find The Right Rifle?

The features and product reviews discussed in this article should help you find your desired product. According to the features discussed earlier in this article, a good deer gun can only be reliable, dependable, and accurate if the following features are observed: Caliber, trigger mechanism, safety & control, barrel profile & length and action.

Find the right rifle

We discussed the ten most recommended rifles for deer shooting and each review includes comprehensive details that should help you decide on the type of rifle you want. These reviews should help you compare products and decide the one that best suits your needs.

In the end, we believe that we managed to include all the necessary features and most important reviews. Do you think we have missed anything? If so, please let us know in comments.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Shawn Harrison
Shawn Harrison

Shawn Harrison is our expert in hunting. He was born in Alaska, so hunting was his hobby since high school. Later, Shawn took a Hunter Training at Alaska Department of Fish and Game to structure his knowledge and now he is open to share his knowledge with our readers. Shawn is taking ‘Safety First’ approach on all of his trips, especially is some people are going hunting for the first time.

  • Dennis Hughes

    Remington R-25 is famous for its quality and reliability. This model has some updated elements. The rifle has high shooting characteristics, excellent accuracy, is quite simple to operate and easy.
    The weapon is really nice to hold in hands. All metal parts have a matte, no glare coating, and the parts exposed to the powder gasses are chrome plated. Wooden parts made of beech and walnut, very aesthetic.
    Overall, this model is one of the best variants for a inexperienced hunters, like I was 6 years ago 🙂

    • Shawn Harrison

      The Remington R-25 is indeed a reliable rifle. Besides, it is a Remington. One of the best features that makes this really stable is the matte portion and very durable wood parts.

  • Dominick Jannes

    Sauer 404 is a modern rifle for modern hunters (as the manufacturer says). It is saturated with technology, but its main advantages are related to security, which was given maximum attention. In version Synchro XT, immediately throws into the eyes the shape of the buttstock. As comfortable, that does not slide in hands even under a heavy rain. There is a split for the toe for a more comfortable grip and aiming. And also, Sauer 404 allows the hunter to use all the available calibers in one gun. The transition from standard to Magnum is not a problem.

    • Shawn Harrison

      One of the common misconceptions of budding hunters is to invest in just one rifle. My recommendation is to find the rifle that complements your needs, and don’t be afraid to outgrow your rifle because it is part of the process of becoming a better hunter.

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