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Thread: Your Deer Rifle and Optics Set Up

  1. #1
    Member Hieronymous's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Location
    St.Louis, MO

    Your Deer Rifle and Optics Set Up

    I will be deer hunting in Missouri in November (essentially my first time). The property on which I'll hunt offers moderately hilly woods and two fields with maximum ranges of between 200 and 300 yards. At present I own nothing suitable for deer and am hoping for some input.

    First, let me say, that my father in-law (with whom I'll be hunting) has taken multiple deer each season for twenty plus years with his father's Marlin 30-30. He loves to hunt, but isn't the slight bit interested in the gun itself, per se. Me, I'm hoping to ignite my interest in deer hunting as a great way to bond with my father in law, but I AM interested in the gun; researching and pondering this choice is part of the fun for me.

    Rifles: So far, I am looking at the Bergara B-14 Hunter and the Tikka T3X Lite.

    Caliber: I have thought .270 would be a classic caliber choice, but think too that this is a great opportunity to experience the 6.5 Creedmore (i'm told it's soft and flat shooting). Would both of these work well?

    Optics: No idea. I did wonder if an LPVO could work well? My thought was, perhaps I could also use it for my next AR purchase and, as I could be in a blind in the woods or in the fields, going from say 6 power to 1 could be useful? Honestly, I just haven't the experience to know.

    I confess that I lower cost rifles would be more than adequate, but I enjoy paying for a bit more quality. My rifle cost I'd say should be in the $800-$1100 range. I'd like good glass, but would like to keep the cost between $500-$800 if possible. Any makes/models I should look at? Thoughts on my two current contenders?

    What are you guys using. What's worked about your set up and what hasn't?

    Best,

    Hieronymous
    Last edited by Hieronymous; 07-22-2019 at 05:52 PM.

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Hieronymous View Post
    I will be deer hunting in Missouri in November (essentially my first time). The property on which I'll hunt offers moderately hilly woods and two fields with maximum ranges of between 200 and 300 yards. At present I own nothing suitable for deer and am hoping for some input.

    First, let me say, that my father in-law (with whom I'll be hunting) has taken multiple deer each season for twenty plus years with his father's Marlin 30-30. He loves to hunt, but isn't the slight bit interested in the gun itself, per se. Me, I'm hoping to ignite my interest in deer hunting as a great way to bond with my father in law, but I AM interested in the gun; researching and pondering this choice is part of the fun for me.

    Rifles: So far, I am looking at the Bergara B-14 Hunter and the Tikka T3X Lite.

    Caliber: I have thought .270 would be a classic caliber choice, but think too that this is a great opportunity to experience the 6.5 Creedmore (i'm told it's soft and flat shooting). Would both of these work well?

    Optics: No idea. I did wonder if an LPVO could work well? My thought was, perhaps I could also use it for my next AR purchase and, as I could be in a blind in the woods or in the fields, going from say 6 power to 1 could be useful? Honestly, I just haven't the experience to know.

    I confess that I lower cost rifles would be more than adequate, but I enjoy paying for a bit more quality. My rifle cost I'd say should be in the $800-$1100 range. I'd like good glass, but would like to keep the cost between $500-$800 if possible. Any makes/models I should look at? Thoughts on my two current contenders?

    What are you guys using. What's worked about your set up and what hasn't?

    Best,

    Hieronymous
    Both of those are solid choices. So is almost anything from the 243 on up.

    Other things to consider:
    1. You can get 308, 30-06, and 270 ammo almost anywhere for a good reason.
    2. Look for a muzzle velocity between 2,700 fps and 3,200 fps with sectional density over about 0.226. The low end of the velocity range is fine.
    3. A good 4x scope from pretty much any maker or 3-9 or 2-8-ish is a strong choice, just zero it for no farther than 200 yards. If you get a variable, keep it at the lowest power.
    4. Try to keep the overall weight around 7-8 pounds. Lighter is harder to shoot well, heavier is harder to lug around.
    5. Go to https://pistol-forum.com/showthread....fle-circa-2016 if you really want to go off of the deep end.

    Expect your father-in-law to give you a ration of shit about whatever you choose. It's the way of the world for old deer hunters and fathers-in-law, and it only gets worse when they're the same person.


    Okie John
    ďThe reliability of the 30-06 on most of the worldís non-dangerous game is so well established as to be beyond intelligent dispute.Ē Finn Aagaard
    "Don't fuck with it" seems to prevent the vast majority of reported issues." BehindBlueI's

  3. #3
    Site Supporter
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Canton GA
    I am new to hunting but have been going to Wyoming last few years for Antelope and Mule Deer. We are DIY hunters on public land and we walk long distances into the area, all day, and back out at night until everyone gets their tag filled or we have to back to work. Rough terrain. My deer setup is a Kimber Montana 280 Ackley Improved (AI) with Talley rings and Leupold VX6 2-12 scope. I found the rifle and scope used so I got a great deal - very light but that is exactly what I wanted. I used it for a Mule deer last year and two other hunters borrowed it to harvest a very large mule deer and a large antelope - all with one shot kills. I am very pleased with 280 AI but that is a unique factory cartridge - 270 would be just as good and easier to find.

    I have a Tikka T3 Lite (model prior to T3X) in 3006 that is a very nice rifle - a Tikka T3 in 3006, 308, or 270 would be an excellent choice. I would suggest a Leupold 3-9x40 scope with the CDS dial (allows you to "dial" in your range). I would suggest Talley rings. The attached picture is my Tikka T3 3006 with an older Leupold VX3 2-8x36 (before they offered CDS) with a Limbsaver recoil pad. I suspect you could hunt anything in North America with that assuming you use the right projectiles for the dangerous game.


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    Last edited by ranger; 07-22-2019 at 07:13 PM.

  4. #4
    Site Supporter
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Bellingham WA
    Iím currently running a Steyr ProHunter Mountain in 270 Winchester with a Leupold 2-7x optic. Itís a fine setup.

    However, Iím going to move to a Sauer 100 in 6.5 Creedmoor, likely with the same optic.

    Any non-magnum (you donít need a magnum for what you described) in the 6.5 to 35 caliber range will do. It depends on what you like, or what you find a deal on - I got the Steyr for about a 60% discount when they were closing them out after one of the many Steyr distributor changes.

    In re 308 is everywhere. Thatís what I thought too before the BHO ammo shortages. I couldnít find any 308, but I found 270 everywhere I went. Besides, reading OíConner is just more fun when you own a 270!
    Semper Paratus,

    Steve

  5. #5
    Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    SATX
    My set up is a CZ 550 Premium in .270 Win with Leupold VX2, 3-9x40 in Warne rings. That's been my only hunting rifle since 2003. There's a reason .270 is still around and has gained the reputation it has for whitetails.

    Having said all that, I'm with Okie John. There are many rifles / calibers out there that will do what you need...sometimes I wonder if we have too many choices. My simple advice is to try as many rifle caliber combos as you can and just pick one. If you get something that isn't pleasant to shoot, it's less likely you'll practice with it.

  6. #6
    Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2019
    Location
    WV USA
    First post.

    An old African ďGreat White HunterĒ said something to the effect that you should like your rifle and be comfortable shooting empty adult beverage containers off of an anthill if an impromptu shooting match breaks out.

    There is nothing wrong with the rifles or cartridges you listed, Iím more prone to use the 98 Mauser, Winchester 70, or Ruger 77 rifles. Which is advice from the Department of Redundancy Department since they are all Mauser derivatives. I like the .308 cartridge but have been seeing Creedmore ammo made off shore at decent prices.

    I was using a Ruger M77 ďInternationalĒ in .308 with a Leupold 1-4x scope before anyone put together L, P, V, and O as a scope description. Not a 500 yard rig but more than adequate to keep up with your FILís 30-30.

    The bottom line is find a rifle that speaks to you and then shoot it till youíre in a relationship.

  7. #7
    Old man yelling at cloud OlongJohnson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Quote Originally Posted by ranger View Post
    I am new to hunting but have been going to Wyoming last few years for Antelope and Mule Deer. We are DIY hunters on public land and we walk long distances into the area, all day, and back out at night until everyone gets their tag filled or we have to back to work. Rough terrain. My deer setup is a Kimber Montana 280 Ackley Improved (AI) with Talley rings and Leupold VX6 2-12 scope. I found the rifle and scope used so I got a great deal - very light but that is exactly what I wanted. I used it for a Mule deer last year and two other hunters borrowed it to harvest a very large mule deer and a large antelope - all with one shot kills. I am very pleased with 280 AI but that is a unique factory cartridge - 270 would be just as good and easier to find.

    I have a Tikka T3 Lite (model prior to T3X) in 3006 that is a very nice rifle - a Tikka T3 in 3006, 308, or 270 would be an excellent choice. I would suggest a Leupold 3-9x40 scope with the CDS dial (allows you to "dial" in your range). I would suggest Talley rings. The attached picture is my Tikka T3 3006 with an older Leupold VX3 2-8x36 (before they offered CDS) with a Limbsaver recoil pad. I suspect you could hunt anything in North America with that assuming you use the right projectiles for the dangerous game.


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    Pretty much all that.

    Not a fan of the Talleys, though. If you want to remove the mounts from the gun, you have to disturb the scope's relationship to the rings, so you're back at the start when you put it back together. I have another post on Warne rings somewhere around here; search and check it out. The Leupold 2.5x8-32 VX-3i is popular on deer guns for a reason.

    6.5 CM has become a great choice for whitetails and similar.

    I usually suggest Howa as a not-as-light alternative to Tikka that's well made and accurate, but lately I've been working on solving the stock problem just setting up a basic .223 and have realized they are likely to involve significantly more work than a Tikka, making the Tikka a better choice for most people.
    .
    -----------------------------------------
    Not another dime.

  8. #8
    Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    DFW, TX
    I got a lightly used Remington 700 Walmart special in .308 with some kind of big honking Vortex scope on it and a Magpul stock for cheap at a local gun shop.

    Itís a utility piece and I didnít put a lot of thought into it. Iím sure there are better choices. Whatever, Iím not worried about getting kilt in the woodz and it shoots straight, so itís fine.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  9. #9
    Site Supporter cornstalker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Rocky Mountains, but not high
    Having had both a Tikka and Bergara, I would go with Bergara hands down. The Finnish Tikka is an outstanding rifle made by Sako, can't go wrong with it. The synthetic stock models feel as cheap as any Savage. I now have two Bergaras, and they leave me wondering why anyone would pay to have a custom rifle built unless it was for PRS competition or something. The way the rifling in the barrel is honed, it does not require additional lapping or even traditional break-in. My .22-250 shot a 1.6" group at 402 yards with my first attempt at a handload. My 7mm Rem mag shot a .286" at 100 with a starting load. Last Friday I shot a ladder at 300 and had .516" of vertical for three shots with three different powder charges .4 grains apart. Both of my Bergaras handily exceed my expectations for a factory rifle.

    Yes the .270 and 6.5 Creedmoor are both great choices for deer at the ranges that you have mentioned. Ammo for both is available in abundance. You can effectively handload for both without any undue drama.

    For a scope, I would go with at least a 3-9, if for no other reason than to make it easier to sight in the rifle properly at 100 yards. Vortex Viper and up, Leupold VX3 and up, and if you can catch one of the sales, Meopta makes fine scopes. Cabelas Alaskan Guide series are made by Meopta and are outstanding scopes. Even better if you can catch them on sale. The MeoPro Optika6 2.5-15 can be had for around $500.

  10. #10
    Deer Rifle #1: Marlin 1894C with a Vortex Red Dot.
    Deer/Elk Rifle #2: 18" Ruger M77Mk2 .308 with a Leupold 1.75 to 5.
    I was into 10mm Auto before it sold out and went mainstream.

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