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Author Topic: Best Whitetail Deer Caliber  (Read 6605 times)

Offline bohicajuan

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Best Whitetail Deer Caliber
« on: July 26, 2013, 04:29:44 PM »
Okay, time for another Q and A on your favorite whitetail caliber (you can say shotgun or handgun if you want)

In the 30+ years I've hunted whitetails, I've gone from big calibers like .444 Marlin and .30-06 to now, where I prefer the 7mm-08 and .243.

We always hear "Use enough gun" the big question is..."What's enough gun?
Is there such a thing as too much gun? Not enough gun?

My mindset has always been, that if it's legal in your state and you can hit where you aim with it. Use it.

There are no right or wrong answers and all opinions are welcomed. Speak up. Lets hear what you gots ta' say!  :) O0
« Last Edit: July 26, 2013, 04:31:31 PM by bohicajuan »
To you gutless cowards and scumbags, who are trying to lie and rewrite history. To those out to commit genocide on the Southern people with your destruction of Confederate monuments and your attacks on Southern heritage and pride. Be happy for now. Because someday when that civil war you wanted starts. I will find you. And I will kill you.

Offline John Andrews

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Re: Best Whitetail Deer Caliber
« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2013, 10:06:37 PM »
.270 for whitetails and pretty good for all deer. I usually used a .30/06 for mulies.
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Offline occ

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Re: Best Whitetail Deer Caliber
« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2013, 11:21:12 PM »
The last 9 deer I have killed have been dropped neatly with a .50 inline muzzle loader. In Ohio we are limited to shotguns, pistols and muzzle loaders. I have a Smith 629 Classic but haven't used it on deer yet as I really enjoy the Omega and a little Knight. I shoot a Hornaday XTP and get great results out of wither rifle.
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Offline MOSPARKY

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Re: Best Whitetail Deer Caliber
« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2013, 12:38:06 AM »
OK, I've never connected during gun season. Sometimes bad luck, sometimes passing an easy kill so a kid could score his first kill.
 Personal opinion... 50 BMG might be a tad over kill, and I have reservations about 22 cal and under. If you are competent with a 223 it's a great round. If not, a marginal hit could mean a lost deer. It all comes down to knowing the ammo and your limitations. 30 carbine will work great out to 100 yds but after that it starts getting marginal. I have every confidence That my 17 HMR will drill the brain pan at 100 yards, but not only is it illegal, it's the only kill shot for that caliber on game that size.
 For me 243 is about the lower limit for a body shot. I know it's not much bigger than 223 but the bullets perform much differently.
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Offline John Andrews

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Re: Best Whitetail Deer Caliber
« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2013, 09:45:00 AM »
I dropped a whitetail buck with one .243 round, shot him centered straight on in the middle of the white spot on his throat. at about 200 yards distance.  The bullet broke his neck and he was still alive but paralyzed. Hence, I consider the .243 just a tad light for deer.

I have killed more deer with 12 GA shotgun slugs than rifle bullets.
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Offline bohicajuan

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Re: Best Whitetail Deer Caliber
« Reply #5 on: July 29, 2013, 08:08:29 PM »
I'm sorry guys! I completely FORGOT about blackpowder! MY BAD! :tickedoff :tickedoff :tickedoff :tickedoff :tickedoff

I don't have a problem with someone using a .50BMG as long as it's legal and he can hit his target. It might not be legal in many states and that's why I added the proviso that it must be legal where you hunt. Same holds true for most non-center fire .22s.

Maybe there are some states that allow rim fires to hunt deer with, but I don't know of any. As I said in a previous post, one of my mentors growing up killed a boat load of deer with a .22-250. Not what I would normally consider the most efficient caliber for whitetail, but you can't argue with success, and man, was he successful.

At one time the 5.56(.223) was not legal here for deer. Today it is. I think most criticism comes not so much from the caliber, but from the rifle that fires it.

The bottom line, the biggest headache I have today is that people try and overcompensate with poor marksmanship training and hunter skill, by thinking if the have a large enough caliber weapon it will bowl over the deer.

That's a lot of horse hockey! I've seen deer lost that were shot with 7mm Remington Mags and .300 Winchester mags, because the shooter felt he had to play the macho role, by showing up with a weapon that he wasn't qualified to handle. Pi** Poor Performance comes from Pi** Poor Planning.

I have nothing against large caliber rifles being used, as long as the guy knows when, where and how to use it.


There's no excuse today for anybody who calls himself a hunter, to not be proficient with his rifle regardless of caliber. Practice, practice, practice and then practice some more.

If in doubt, don't take the shot. You can always get the deer later.
« Last Edit: July 29, 2013, 08:11:06 PM by bohicajuan »
To you gutless cowards and scumbags, who are trying to lie and rewrite history. To those out to commit genocide on the Southern people with your destruction of Confederate monuments and your attacks on Southern heritage and pride. Be happy for now. Because someday when that civil war you wanted starts. I will find you. And I will kill you.

Offline John Andrews

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Re: Best Whitetail Deer Caliber
« Reply #6 on: July 30, 2013, 07:13:15 PM »
As per BP, I used to shoot squirrels with a borrowed 58 cal. reproduction Springfield. I used 500gr lead cast maxi balls. Yes, they were all head shots with open sights. I didn't have any problem getting my legal limit of six.

We used Crisco for lube and yes, it made a real mess. Cleaning the rifle after the hunt was a lot of scrubbing and work. 

Another thing that worked good was during one of my bowhunting trips to northern MN. Within my immediate hunting area was a very testy and aggressive big old cinnamon boar bear. I saw him chase two gals and their children out of a berry patch and into their cars where I was hunting. It happened while I carried a .38 with hot handloads but wasn't considered the best bear round, of course.

So, I uncased my trusty old Stevens 12GA double and loaded up with one barrel stoked with a cutload and the other barrel with a slug and went looking for the brown devil.

I wasn't disappointed that day almost  ran right into him in a small clearing when I rounded a berry bush. He rose up on his hind legs and eyeballed my from about 3 or 4 yards distance and then dropped down and pretended to run right past me at a distance of a yard or so.

Make no mistake, bears are very fast!  :shock: As he charged I aimed and was swinging with him as I pulled the trigger. When the gun fired, I could have touched the bear's neck with the gun muzzle. A favorite bear trick is to fake running past you very close and then step in on you, as he did.

The shot didn't knock him over but his neck and head twisted as he plowed on the ground for several yards past me, dead before he hit the ground.

Examination after the bear died revealed he was killed by the cutload. I fired only one barrel and didn't have time for trigger selection. The cutload completely severed his spinal cord and blew up 3 neck bones.

That bear hide resides in my home. 



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Offline bohicajuan

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Re: Best Whitetail Deer Caliber
« Reply #7 on: August 05, 2013, 08:37:12 PM »
Way to go John! O0 O0 O0 O0 O0 O0 O0 O0 O0 O0 O0 O0 O0 O0 O0 O0
To you gutless cowards and scumbags, who are trying to lie and rewrite history. To those out to commit genocide on the Southern people with your destruction of Confederate monuments and your attacks on Southern heritage and pride. Be happy for now. Because someday when that civil war you wanted starts. I will find you. And I will kill you.

Offline John Andrews

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Re: Best Whitetail Deer Caliber
« Reply #8 on: August 06, 2013, 09:12:48 AM »
 :) Thanks, bo! I was traditional bow hunting that old boar until I realized he didn't play fair. That old Stevens double dropped its share of deer, also. At 35 yards to the target, the slug holes overlapped. That old smoothbore shotgun shoots slugs like a double rifle.
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Offline Big58cal

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Re: Best Whitetail Deer Caliber
« Reply #9 on: August 06, 2013, 08:32:57 PM »
The best deer caliber is the one you can shoot the best.  ;)
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In all seriousness, the Marlin is a great rifle, too. I own a Model 60, one of the best rifles ever made.
Brownings are nice, but in terms of quality AND accuarcy AND ruggedness, it's hard to beat the Marlin.
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