Frank Bates’ top 22 deer rifles

Rifles have come a long way since pioneer days. Today, this modernized weapon is the top choice of many hunters who seek white-tailed deer east of the Rocky Mountains, mule deer west of the Rockies and black-tailed deer along the West Coast. Whether it’s stand hunting, still hunting, deer drive hunting, spot and stalk hunting or dog hunting, rifles are used to keep deer populations in check and feed families.

Check out this article Top 10 Best Bolt Action Deer/Big Game Hunting Rifles. The author does a good job covering some of the most popular, commercially-produced bolt-action deer hunting rifles of our time, but I think there are quite a few he overlooked.

Below is a list of the 10 rifles mentioned by the author, plus 12 more that I think should be in a list of the top 20 or 25:

  • Savage Model 110 – Well-deserved reputation for strength and accuracy, thanks in part to the barrel locknut.
  • Winchester Model 70 – Simple, adjustable trigger; a new version was introduced in 2007.
  • Browning A-Bolt – Features include glass-bedding, 60-degree bolt throw and ergonomically-designed bolt knob.
  • Remington Model 700 – Possibly the most popular American bolt-action rifle of all time, despite trigger safety problems.
  • Ruger Model 77 – Includes non-detachable box magazine with hinged floorplate and integral scope mounts.
  • Sako 85 – Slick action with a fairly short bolt-throw, which can add up to quick follow-up shots.
  • Tikka T3 – Criticized for “manufacturing shortcuts,” but praised for smoothness.
  • Weatherby Mark V – Adjustable trigger, non-detachable box magazine with hinged floorplate and side-mounted thumb safety.
  • Weatherby Vanguard – Built to be a less expensive option for those who wanted the Weatherby name but couldn’t afford the Mark V; guaranteed accuracy.
  • Marlin X7 Series Rifles – Relatively new on the scene; uses a barrel locknut.
  • Others include the Winchester Stealth 308, Steyr Mannlicher, Remington VSFS 22 250, Winchester 300 Win Short Mag, Winchester Model 70 Super Shadow, Remington Model 7 Magnum, Remington 300 Ultramag Sendero, Browning Stainless Stalker 300 Win Mag, Mossberg 100 ATR, Ruger American Rifle, Weatherby Vanguard Series 2 and Konus 4×32 Riflescope.

Do you hunt with one of the rifles listed above? If so, what’s your opinion of it? What other rifles have you used? Are there certain rifles you would recommend to others for deer hunting? I’d love to hear from you.


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