How to Choose the Best Hunting Rifle for Deer Season

When it comes to being a successful hunter and punching your deer tag during the season, there are few things more important than making sure you have the right hunting rifle. Whether you are brand new to hunting and just got your hunting license or a seasoned outdoorsman, finding a rifle that fits you, your hunting style, and the game you are pursuing is absolutely critical for success!

There are a lot of different things to consider when it comes to choosing the best possible hunting rifle that will aid you in killing that next deer, and everyone will have different needs and desires. With that being said, here are five different things to consider when looking for that next deer hunting rifle.

How to choose the best hunting rifle for deer season

  1. Do Plenty of Research on Different Guns

Buying a new deer hunting rifle can be a big investment for many people, so it is best to do plenty of research on different rifles that interest you and read as many reviews as you can find. Pick out a few different models that you would like to look at in person, and then read up on them before ever going to a store to look. 

You can use resources such as manufacturer websites, online forums, and online store reviews. Knowledgeable friends or local gunsmiths can also be a wealth of information. Ask around for opinions and feedback. Who knows? You might even be able to get some buddies to go shooting with you and try out some of their different guns first hand. But no matter what, research as much as possible before ever heading to a gun store!

  1. Select an Appropriate Deer Rifle Cartridge

During your research, you should also be considering what rifle cartridge that you will want to be shooting. Every gun is designed to shoot a specific caliber, and some gun models will only be available in a limited selection of different calibers. For deer hunting, you don’t want to use something too small and run the risk of only wounding an animal, and likewise, you wouldn’t want to use something too big that will be overpowered. 

For those that are brand new to hunting and looking for something basic for deer hunts, consider the most popular rifle cartridges such as the .308 Winchester, .30-06 Springfield, .30-30 Winchester, and the .270 Winchester. All of these are extremely popular deer calibers and ammo can usually be found just about anywhere!

  1. Choose a Rifle Action

The action of a rifle refers to the way a gun shoots, unloads fired cartridges, and loads new cartridges into the chamber. A few different popular actions to consider for deer hunting are single shots, bolt actions, and lever-action rifles. You will want to choose an action that will be easy for you to use and develop confidence in, and for that reason, these three are the most popular amongst deer hunters. 

If you do not know what type of action you would want, try to spend some hands-on time with each different one and see what fits you best. This is another area where research and recommendations could come in very handy when trying to make an educated decision.

  1. Consider Different Materials

Deer hunting rifles come in a large variety of price points, which will give you plenty of different options. You should be aware, however, that these different price points will largely affect the different materials that a rifle is made out of. It is very important to know what sets a good rifle apart from cheap junk that only costs a few dollars less. 

The majority of hunting rifles will have either stainless steel or carbon steel barrel. Carbon steel is cheaper, but more prone to rust than its counterpart. If you keep up on your rifle cleaning, however, this shouldn’t ever be a problem. 

When it comes to a rifle stock, most options out there are either wood, fiberglass, or plastic composite. All are great if you take care of them, although wood does tend to be a bit heavier. Avoid cheap plastic stocks that are not reinforced if you can manage that, as accuracy will suffer a lot more compared to wood, fiberglass, or quality plastic composite stock. 

Lastly, consider the different materials in terms of weight. Do you plan on carrying your rifle over large distances? Or will you be mostly sitting in a deer stand and only carrying it for short periods of time? Consider the overall weight of the gun and its materials and try and choose one that best suits your needs. 

  1. Plan and Budget for Optics

No rifle is complete without a rifle scope, and too many hunters find themselves spending all of their money on a rifle without budgeting for a quality scope. You should think ahead and make plans for optics so that you are not stuck with a rifle that you cannot use, or worse, a quality rifle with a cheap rifle scope that is not accurate. 

Many veteran hunters will recommend spending around 50 to 100 percent of what you spent on the rifle on the actual scope. Why so much? Because without a quality scope, your rifle will not be able to perform to its best capabilities. There is no sense in spending a ton of money on a quality rifle, only to severely limit it with a terrible scope. 

Final Thoughts on Choosing the Best Hunting Rifle for Deer Season

Choosing the best deer hunting rifle can be a little challenging at first, but it can also be a very rewarding endeavor after researching, testing, and finally finding that perfect gun. While there are plenty of different things to consider before ever actually buying a deer rifle, just remember to have fun during the entire process and choose what you feel is the best fit for you and your needs!

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