Building the Ultimate Deer Rifle
I talk with consumers every day in Bergara’s Custom Rifle Shop about how to build the custom rifles of their dreams. Building the ultimate deer rifle is much like building the ultimate pair of shoes that fits all feet and provides the features and benefits everyone wants in a shoe. So, I’ve given ideas on the caliber, the scope, the stock and the action for what I believe is the ultimate deer rifle. Of course, my picks are up for debate.
The most-controversial question to ask anyone shopping for a deer rifle is what caliber he or she wants. Most hunters have one particular caliber they like to shoot. Many consumers want a big caliber for taking whitetails, and that’s fine. But generally, you don’t need a caliber big enough to take down a moose at 300 yards or more when you’re hunting whitetails.
Many hunters choose a .300 Win Mag or a .300 Remington Ultra Mag. My personal preference is a .308, a .223, or a .260, because I really prefer a short-action rifle – the way the short action feels and its lack of recoil. In my opinion, the .308 is one of the best deer calibers on the market for white-tailed and mule deer.
I’m often questioned about why I don’t pick what may be the most popular deer round – a .30-06. One of the reasons the .30-06 is so popular is that it’s been around forever and delivers the bullet about 100 feet per second (fps) faster than the .308. I just don’t believe that a mere 100 fps makes that much difference in taking a whitetail. You can get a heavier grain bullet in the .30-06 than the .308, another reason many hunters prefer the .30-06 to the .308. Too, .30-06 ammunition is more readily available anywhere in the country than the .308 ammunition.
I like the short action on a .308, because not as much movement is required to open the bolt, throw out the shell, close the bolt and insert a new round. If you’re accustomed to shooting a short-action bolt, and you go to a longer-action bolt, there’s a big change in the feel of the gun, when you go through the process of unloading and reloading by pulling the bolt back and pushing it forward.
Many hunters like to argue about the .308 versus the .30-06 caliber. But when you take a final look at these two calibers, the really deciding factor is which caliber an individual personally prefers. I believe that the .308 performs better in a white-tailed or mule deer-hunting situation than the .30-06.
But when you consider the fact that the .308 delivers about half the amount of recoil as the .30-06, you realize that the .308 is much easier to control than the .30-06. Too, the less recoil means the .308 allows you to stay on target much longer than the .30-06 does. More than likely you’ll be able to see the bullet’s impact on the animal better with a .308 than you do with a .30-06, which can help you determine when to start blood trailing, or when to back out and wait several hours, before you start blood trailing.
At Bergara Custom Rifles, we build custom rifles for our customers and use the caliber the customer prefers.
By Eric Hendricks, sales coordinator for the Bergara Custom Rifle Shop.
* With what caliber do you prefer to hunt white-tailed deer?
* Why do you like the caliber you use now for hunting deer?
* What caliber would you want built in, if you could have a Bergara custom gun built for you strictly for hunting white-tailed deer?