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The 10 Best Deer Rifles for Any Hunter

By Patrick Long

man deer hunting rifle

As a hunter, one of the most important pieces of hunting gear you can buy is a weapon. For those that choose a rifle, there are a lot of things to consider before you check out at the gun counter. One of the most significant factors any buyer looks at is the price, but many performance factors can make or break a rifle and are difficult to judge before shooting.

So we have put together a list of 10 extraordinary rifles that are sure to help you harvest your next buck. Sure, you can kill a deer with just about any rifle, but it is much easier to do when you know you have a reliable weapon that many other hunters also like to use. Each of these rifles has been tested time and time again and comes in a variety of caliber options so you can get exactly what you are looking for.

Deer Rifles Are Not One Size Fits All

We also know that not everyone wants the same kind of rifle. There are thousands of options out there, which is nice, but it can be tough to sift through them all and pick out some real winners. So in this list, we will have a little something for everybody.

Whether you are hunting on a budget, looking for a super nice rifle, a quality but affordable rifle, a long-range pinhole puncher, or a rifle that abides by even the strictest gun laws, we have a little something for you on this list. Let’s get started.

Low-cost Deer Rifles

Many sportsmen try to find the best quality rifles at the lowest price possible. Low-cost or budget-class rifles are the most common and popular rifles. If you want to save as much as possible, you would probably go to a local pawn shop and pick up a sub $300 used rifle that may or may not work very well. Although if you still want a new rifle, here are a couple of affordable options offered by Sportsman’s Warehouse.

Ruger American Predator

ruger american predator rifle

The Ruger American Predator is a bolt action rifle with an integral bedding block system and a free-floating barrel that ensures excellent precision. This is actually a much more accurate rifle than most people would expect at this price point. With the correct setup, you can definitely get under 1 MOA.

This rifle is made with a cold hammer-forged barrel and is equipped with a three-lug, 70 degree throw bolt. Its barrel is also threaded 5/8″-24 as a standard, so you can add a muzzle brake or even a suppressor if you like.

The Ruger American Predator also comes with a four-cartridge detachable magazine. You can commonly get this rifle chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor, but it also comes in 22-250 Remington, 223 Remington, 204 Ruger, 243 Winchester, 6mm Creedmoor, 6.5 Grendel, and 308 Winchester.

It also comes with the Ruger Marksman Adjustable trigger, offering a crisp release and a 3 to 5 pound pull weight based on the user’s preferences. Users commonly talk about this trigger and about how much they like it. For a factory trigger, it is tough to beat at this price.

It has a soft rubber buttpad to reduce perceived recoil and an ergonomic, lightweight synthetic stock. However, the stock is the most significant complaint about this rifle from users because it is known to slightly flex when experiencing torque. Even still, at this price point, this is an excellent rifle that will take down thousands of whitetails across the country in the coming seasons.

Feature Specs
Price $400-$500
Weight 6.6 lbs
Barrel Length 22 in
Overall Length 46.25 in
Length of Pull 13.75
Capacity 4 + 1
Stock Moss Green Synthetic
Most Popular Caliber 6.5 Creedmoor
Bullet Velocity (143 grain) 2,689 ft/s
Muzzle Energy 2,295 ft-lbs
Estimated MOA 0.9-1.3

Savage 110 Switchback

savage 110 switchback rifle

The Savage 110 Switchback offers an excellent price on a well-known manufacturer of reliable rifles. While it is not extremely cheap, it is a very affordable rifle that can definitely help you get the job done this fall.

It has an ergonomic stock with a fixed comb height that is very comfortable to shoot, thanks to the well-made buttpad that is adjustable. The adjustable buttpad allows you to scale this rifle down so children can use it or make it a bit longer if you have longer arms.

The Savage 110 Switchback has a threaded, 22” carbon steel barrel and a one-piece 20 MOA rail. The barrel is also thicker than your typical hunting rifle, which allows it to cool faster at the range. It is also threaded 5/8‐24 and comes with a flush-fit muzzle break.

One of the best things about this rifle is the user-adjustable AccuTrigger. According to our customers, this trigger is known to be smooth and is often the favorite aspect of this rifle.

The Switchback comes with a 4 round detachable magazine and is commonly chambered in 308 Winchester and 6.5 Creedmoor, although you can also get this rifle chambered in 350 Legend, 6.5 PRC, and 6mm ARC. The most significant complaint about this rifle is that it has a failure to feed on occasion. However, these issues can frequently be remedied with a different ammunition selection or cleared up after a break-in period.

Feature Specs
Price $500-$600
Weight 8.25 lbs
Barrel Length 22 in
Length of Pull Adjustable
Capacity 4 + 1
Stock Synthetic
Most Popular Caliber 6.5 Creedmoor
Bullet Velocity (143 grain) 2,638 ft/s
Muzzle Energy 2,246 ft-lbs
Estimated MOA 1.2-1.4

Reliable & Affordable Deer Rifles

The next class of rifles that hunters are often interested in are popular and reliable rifles under $1000. These rifles still cost a pretty penny, but they are a step up from the sub $500 rifles. This class of rifle is excellent for the hunter who wants to have a quality rifle that will last for decades but does not want to give up a few weeks’ pay in the process. Let’s start with one of my personal favorites, the Remington 700.

Remington Model 700 American Wilderness Rifle

remington model 700 american wilderness rifle

The Remington 700, it's the number one bolt-action of all time, and is proudly made in the U.S.A. for over 50 years. There have been more Model 700s sold than any other bolt-action rifle before or since. The legendary strength of its 3-rings-of-steel receiver paired with a hammer-forged barrel combine to yield the most popular bolt-action rifle in history.

There are also a ton of variations of this rifle. The sheer success of this rifle warranted its variations to make it all over the world and into the military. The Remington 700 is a rifle that you can depend on and be highly accurate with, just as our military has done for decades.

Specifically, The Model 700 AWR (American Wilderness Rifle) features a black Cerakote finish that protects its free-floated 5R barrel and legendary stainless steel action, forming a virtually indestructible barrier against corrosion and abuse.

It comes with a four-cartridge magazine that may or may not be detachable depending on the model; the AWR has an internal magazine with a hinged floorplate. You can find this rifle in just about any caliber, but 270 Winchester, 308 Winchester, 6.5 Creedmoor, 300 win mag, and 30-06 are all popular choices.

The Grayboe fiberglass stock is incredible on this rifle. It is often its most talked about feature. However, the X-Mark Pro externally adjustable trigger is also well-liked by users. All and all, it is tough to go wrong with this rifle. It performs in every situation, and I have personally used my model 700 on dozens of successful whitetail hunts.

Feature Specs
Price $800-$900
Weight 7.4 lbs
Barrel Length 24 in
Overall Length 44 in
Length of Pull 13.4 in
Capacity 4 + 1
Stock Brown Grayboe Fiberglass
Most Popular Caliber 270 Winchester
Bullet Velocity (140 grain) 2,911 ft/s
Muzzle Energy 2,635 ft-lbs
Estimated MOA 0.75-1.1

Tikka T3X Superlite

tikka t3x superlite

This rifle performs well for its lighter weight. It has a fluted free-float barrel and a steel recoil lug. The T3X’s synthetic stock is also a fan favorite on this rifle. You can adjust the angle of the pistol grip, and it includes a soft rubber recoil pad. The butt of the stock on this rifle is foam-filled, which helps absorb noise, recoil, and cuts down on weight. Weighing in at just 5.9 pounds, this is one of the lighter rifles on this list.

The T3x Superlite has a stainless, fluted barrel, which performs well on the range and in the woods. It comes with a three cartridge detachable magazine and is commonly chambered in 30-06 Springfield, but can also be found in .204 Ruger, .222 Remington, .223 Remington, .22-250 Remington, .243 Winchester, .25-06 Remington, 6.5 Creedmoor, .260 Remington, 6.5x55 Swede, .270 Winchester, .270 WSM, 7mm-08 Remington, 7mm Remington Magnum, .308 Winchester, .30-06 Springfield, .300 Winchester Magnum, and .300 WSM.

Combined with a respectable optic, this rifle is perfect for the hunter that frequently goes on long trips or moves around alot while hunting. This is a great rifle for hunting out west, where you may need to cover miles each day. In this case, you would want a lightweight but durable and accurate rifle over your shoulder, and the Tikka T3X Superlite is just that.

Feature Specs
Price $800-$900
Weight 5.9 lbs
Barrel Length 22.4 in
Overall Length 46 in
Length of Pull 13.75 in
Capacity 3 + 1
Stock Black Synthetic Modular
Most Popular Caliber 30-06 Springfield
Bullet Velocity (150 grain) 2,700 ft/s
Muzzle Energy 2,428 ft-lbs
Estimated MOA 0.7-1.1

High-Performance Deer Rifles

If you really want some of the best rifles out there, you can expect to spend thousands. Although a sub $2000 rifle will do the trick for just about any application. A lot of the time, you get what you pay for when it comes to rifles. However, that does not mean that every high-performance rifle costs an arm and a leg. Here are two reasonably priced top-tier rifles that you could confidently take into a competition or a once-in-a-lifetime hunt.

Weatherby MeatEater Special

weatherby meateater special rifle

MeatEater joined forces with Weatherby to design this limited-edition rifle to be one of the best hunting rifles on the market in its class. It is accurate, lightweight, durable, affordable, and ready for the next adventure. The MeatEater features an engraved hinged floor plate and speaks to the ethos of taking your own game for consumption. This rifle looks and shoots like a custom rifle at an affordable price, built to last a lifetime of adventures.

At first glance, the Weatherby MeatEater is fantastic looking. The truth is, it’s fantastic all around. The pattern on this gun is nice to look at, but the stock itself is also good. It is durable and comes with a comfortable buttpad that mitigates recoil.

The action on these rifles is exceptionally smooth. It uses a simple two-lug, 90-degree throw blot. The fluted free-floating barrel is threaded ½ x 28 standard and is made of tungsten with a full cerakote coating. It has an internal magazine with a five cartridge capacity.

The MeatEater special is a highly precise, lightweight, durable rifle that is chambered in high calibers ideal for hunting in the big woods. You can get this rifle chambered for 6.5 Creedmoor, 7mm Remington Magnum, .308 Winchester, .300 Winchester, .300 Weatherby, and 6.5-300 Weatherby. It’s guaranteed to shoot with sub-MOA precision and comes with an adjustable, match-quality two-stage trigger. It’s a good-looking rifle at a reasonable price with moderate recoil.

Feature Specs
Price $900-$950
Weight 7 lbs
Barrel Length 24 in
Overall Length 46.5 in
Length of Pull 13.5 in
Capacity 5 + 1
Stock Composite Molded
Most Popular Caliber 308 Winchester
Bullet Velocity (150 grain) 2,820 ft/s
Muzzle Energy 2,648 ft-lbs
Estimated MOA 0.75 - 1

Bergara Premier HMR Pro

bergara premier hmr pro

Think of the Premier Series as an extension of the Custom Series, but with standardized features for greater efficiencies in parts production and assembly - providing near custom performance at prices that are affordable to serious shooters.

Bergara's Premium 416 stainless steel barrels receive a proprietary honing process at their barrel-making facility in Bergara, Spain. Then, at the Bergara USA factory, the barrel receives a Cerakote finish and is coupled with our proprietary Bergara Premier action, featuring a nonrotating gas shield, coned bolt nose, and sliding plate extractor. This action is designed as a two-lug system that features a separate floating bolt head to ensure contact with the lug abutments in the action.

It also features a cone-shaped bolt nose for smooth feeding of the cartridge, and a spring-loaded sliding plate extractor located in the front of the lower locking lug. The one-piece bolt body is stainless steel with a pad at the rear to accept the threaded-in bolt handle. The bolt head, the non-rotating gas shield, the bolt handle, and bolt shroud are fully Nitrided for extreme durability, as well as its self-lubricating properties.

The two-position safety is part of the trigger assembly, which in the HMR Pro rifle is a TriggerTech Frictionless Release Technology trigger. One great feature of this combination allows the bolt handle not to lock in the closed position, which in turn allows the rifle to be unloaded while in the safe position. The HMR Pro offers three barrel lengths, 20", 24", and 26". It also features a full-length Integrated mini-chassis for repeatable bedding and supports a fully free-floated barrel.

Feature Specs
Price $1,600
Weight 9.6 lbs
Barrel Length 24 in
Overall Length 41 in
Length of Pull 13.5 in
Capacity 5 + 1
Stock Synthetic/Mini-Chassis Black w/Gray Specs
Most Popular Caliber 6.5 Creedmoor
Bullet Velocity (140 grain) 2,675 ft/s
Muzzle Energy 2,224 ft-lbs
Estimated MOA 0.4 - 1

Best Deer Rifles for Long Ranges

If you plan on shooting deer at over 300 yards, you need to plan for it. That means you can not take just any old rifle out there with you. Most hunters rarely, if ever, shoot a whitetail over 200 yards away. So if you plan on hunting from a distance for whitetail, or possibly mule deer, then you need a purpose built rifle. Sportsmans has just the rifle for you, two of them actually.

Browning X-Bolt Western Hunter

browning x-bolt western hunter rifle

The stock of the browning X-Bolt Western Hunter is made of synthetic composite material that is finished in A-TACS AU camo, AU meaning Arid Urban camo. The most attractive feature of this stock is its adjustable comb. Simply by removing four screws, you can adjust the height of the comb to one of five positions.

The X-Bolt has a three lug bolt with a 60 degree throw. It also features a free floating barreled action and also has a top-tange thumb safety. The trigger is a fan favorite because of its three level design that creates a smooth and easy to use 3.5 pound trigger which is adjustable.

This rifle has a three cartridge detachable magazine, which is less than the normal four cartridge capacity we are used to on this list, but with the accuracy of this rifle those extra two bullets are not typically needed anyway. You can get this rifle in 6.5 Creedmoor, 6.5 PRC, .270 Win., 7mm Rem. Mag., .28 Nosler, .300 Win. Mag., .300 Rem. Ultra Mag, and .300 PRC.

This is a powerful rifle that can give you the accuracy that you need to shoot longer ranges. This rifle is perfect for the hunter that wants an accurate and quality rifle that is still sub $1000. It has plenty of room for adjustability, and with the right ammo you can get some scary good MOA’s.

Feature Specs
Price $900-$1,000
Weight 6.8 lbs
Barrel Length 26 in
Overall Length 46.75 in
Length of Pull 13.6 in
Capacity 3 + 1
Stock Adjustable Comb
Most Popular Caliber 300 Win Mag
Bullet Velocity (150 grain) 3,27t ft/s
Muzzle Energy 3,572 ft-lbs
Estimated MOA 0.6 - 1

Ruger Hawkeye Long-Range

ruger hawkeye long range rifle

The Ruger Hawkeye Long Range, is built for just that, long range shooting. Whether that is at a paper target or at a whitetail across a field, the Ruger Hawkeye is purpose built. This is a great rifle that is known to shoot far and reliably, when you combine it with the 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge, you can reliably shoot as far as you can see.

The 5R 22 inch cold hammer-forged stainless steel barrel is free floating and comes threaded on the ⅝-24 standard. This rifle also comes out of the box with a 30 port muzzle break. The stock is made of laminated hardwood as well as an epoxy finish. It also comes in this nice brown speckled color instead of the seemingly standard black. The buttpad of this rifle is also nice, it mitigates a fair amount of recoil and is comfortable to shoulder.

The Hawkeye’s LC6 trigger features smooth, crisp performance right out of the box for increased accuracy on the range or in the field. This rifle has a five cartridge detachable magazine. It is commonly chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor but can also be found in 6.5 PRC, 308 Winchester, 204 Ruger, and 300 Win Mag.

Feature Specs
Price $1,250
Weight 7.2 lbs
Barrel Length 22 in
Overall Length 43.75 in
Length of Pull 12.75 - 14.25 in
Capacity 5 + 1
Stock Speckled Black/Brown Laminate
Most Popular Caliber 6.5 Creedmoor
Bullet Velocity (120 grain) 3,101 ft/s
Muzzle Energy 2,562 ft-lbs
Estimated MOA 0.7 - 1.1

Deer Rifles for States With Strict Gun Laws

Reinforcing the fact that not every rifle is viable for every hunter, many hunters live in states that do not allow cartridges that are not straight walled. So to accommodate those hunters that are more focused on the 350 legend, here are two rifles that we often have in 350 legend and that will not violate any magazine restrictions either.

Savage Arms 110 Apex Hunter

savage arms 110 apex hunter rifle

The Savage 110 is one of the oldest continuously manufactured American-made rifles on the market, and for good reason. This rifle has evolved over the years to meet customer demands, and it has done so nicely. This is a lightweight rifle that has an amazing AccuTrigger, which is pleasing to use.

The 110 Apex Hunter XP pairs a Model 110 rifle with a 3-9x40mm Vortex Crossfire II scope that comes mounted and bore sighted. The Vortex Crossfire II’s Dead-Hold BDC reticle makes it easy to place accurate shots at extended range, and the optic is securely mounted to a one-piece EGW 0 MOA rail.

The platform provides accuracy and adjustability like no other package rifle thanks to the Savage AccuTrigger, thread-in headspacing, floating bolt head and precision button rifled barrel. Plus, its length-of-pull can be easily adjusted to fit any hunter for better comfort and consistency.

While you are not going to be shooting extremely far with this rifle, it is fairly accurate for a 350 Legend. It does the job for killing whitetail within 200 yards, and is a go to for hunters in states that require a cartridge like the 350 Legend.

Feature Specs
Price $600-$650
Weight 7.43 lbs
Barrel Length 18 in
Overall Length 38.25 in
Length of Pull 13.75 in
Capacity 4 + 1
Stock Sporter
Most Popular Caliber 350 Legend
Bullet Velocity (150 grain) 2,222 ft/s
Muzzle Energy 1,640 ft-lbs
Estimated MOA 1.3 - 1.8

Ruger American Go Wild

Ruger American Go Wild Rifle

The Ruger American is one of the best budget rifles out there, and it just so happens to come in 350 Legend if you need it. 350 Legend is not known for its long range capabilities, but out of this rifle, you can easily hit some reasonable groups out to 300 yards. Within 100 yards, this rifle is sub MOA and very fun to use.

The 22 inch barrel on this rifle is coated with bronze cerakote, and is threaded ⅝ x 24. It also includes a muzzle break which makes shooting this rifle a lot more pleasant. You also get a Picatinny rail on this cold hammer-forged barrel that allows you to mount the scope of your choice.

The stock features Rugers Go Wild Brush camo, which can help it blend in a bit more than a plain wood or black stock. The finish on this stock is also nice, and feels like a quality product. It also has a fairly standard buttpad that absorbs a bit of recoil but is nothing special.

The Ruger American Go Wild also features AR-style five cartridge magazines. This is uncharacteristic for hunting rifles, but this change was brought forth to make the rifle perform better in higher temperatures; something flush rotary magazines tend to struggle with.

Feature Specs
Price $600
Weight 6.8 lbs
Barrel Length 22 in
Overall Length 43.75 in
Length of Pull 13.75 in
Capacity 5 + 1
Stock Go Wild Camo I-M Brush Synthetic
Most Popular Caliber 350 Legend
Bullet Velocity (170 grain) 2,185 ft/s
Muzzle Energy 1,802 ft-lbs
Estimated MOA 0.8 - 1.5

Which One Is Right for You?

While I can not tell you exactly which rifle would be best for you to add to cart, hopefully you found a few on this list that will perform how you want it to. All of these rifles are fairly accurate, with some of them getting under 0.5 MOA with the right loads. Once you get past the budget rifles, the built quality of these rifles becomes increasingly impressive. The size and capacity of all these rifles is fairly comparable, so and many of them are available in over a dozen calibers.

Before you buy a new rifle, just ask yourself what class of rifle you are really looking for. Whatever it is you are looking for, I recommend referring to the headings of this article to find the rifles that work best for each category. Nonetheless, any rifle on this list is a great option for many hunters.