Recommendations for deer rifle



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Offline larspawn

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Recommendations for deer rifle
« on: April 13, 2012, 04:07:47 AM »
What say you?  Thinking of taking the plunge but dont know 9mm, 308,45, 357, 50?
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Offline Lambchops

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Re: Recommendations for deer rifle
« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2012, 04:39:58 AM »
 oops, nevermind.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2012, 06:37:36 AM by Lambchops »
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Offline Nomadic Pirate

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Re: Recommendations for deer rifle
« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2012, 06:31:10 AM »
I think the .45 is the best compromise
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Offline etamme

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Re: Recommendations for deer rifle
« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2012, 08:16:43 AM »
30-06, just kidding.  I bought my recluse with the possibility of deer in mind.  I think I would get it tuned if I were going to do that though.  I do think that a .45 is probably "better" (more fpe delivered), but I cant get this image out of my mind of the bullet having the trajectory of an artillery shell - so I went with the .357.

I kind of think of airgun hunting like archery, in that it happens at a close range.  So I guess it depends if that holds true for you and your possible deer hunts.  If it does,  I'd say .357, or .45.  Both will get the job done.  .45 will give you more flexibility for hunting larger game, whereas the .357 will get you more flexibility for medium/predator hunting.  There is also a wide variety of bullets available for .357.  That may be true for .45 too, but I am not familiar with it.

Just my $.02, but I think you will be fine with either of those.

-Eric
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Offline Bobbo

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Re: Recommendations for deer rifle
« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2012, 11:23:34 AM »
A 230gr .45acp FMJ out of a 1911 is nominally 820 fps for 348 fpe. What kind of velocity/energy does the .45 air rifle generate?
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Offline melloroadman

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Re: Recommendations for deer rifle
« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2012, 12:43:24 PM »
It depends on the rifle . But here is a link .Marvin
https://xp-airguns.com/Ranger.html

Offline Rescue35

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Re: Recommendations for deer rifle
« Reply #6 on: April 13, 2012, 09:29:17 PM »
I took my 8 point last year with the Dragon Slayer .50. If I where going to buy a current production gun with the intent of hunting deer I would get the Sam Yang .45.
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Offline badredbird

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Re: Recommendations for deer rifle
« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2012, 07:40:26 PM »
ive taken several deer with the 357, stock its shot placement, but the 45 has alittle more punch, i just had mine tuned , id go with the 45 if your thinking just deer , but you could use a 357 with a 158 grain speer plinker hollowpoint, , works nice on deer out to about 60in an untuned gun, , will generally get s another 100fps out of them , but he also makes that trigger real nicefrom like 12 pounds to about 4
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Offline Jeremy1982

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Re: Recommendations for deer rifle
« Reply #8 on: April 16, 2012, 08:13:06 PM »
I agree...shot placement!you can do the job with the 357. 45 cal or 50 if your putting the bullet where it needs to be.Ive seen deer get away from 30-30'S.. 12 gauges..and more.then Ive also seen deer taken with 22 rimfires so....
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Offline cfxlongshot

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Re: Recommendations for deer rifle
« Reply #9 on: April 16, 2012, 10:32:33 PM »
badredbird where did you place your shots when you took those deer?  Were you able to take a heart/lung shot?  I have always thought that a good bullet could do it I just think that we airgunners tend to sell our guns slightly short.
Have a mouse huntin', Grackle bustin' good day!

Offline Butcher45

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Re: Recommendations for deer rifle
« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2012, 01:00:07 AM »
XP Ranger in .45, or a tuned SamYang 909/909S .45

Avoid hollowpoints for big game......go with the long-proven large meplat slugs of medium, to medium-heavy weight that most handgun hunters use.

Going smaller in caliber for big game makes no sense.....trajectory/penetration with either of the above guns in .45 is not an issue taking heart/lung shots out to 60+yards, the animal will die a little quicker, the run (they almost always run) will be shorter, and the chances of getting a good bloodtrail /recovery goes way-up.

Offline larspawn

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Re: Recommendations for deer rifle
« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2012, 01:25:58 AM »
Sound like a Sam Yang 909. What's differencein "s"?  Any other recommendations? 
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Offline Plekto

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Re: Recommendations for deer rifle
« Reply #12 on: April 17, 2012, 04:46:32 AM »
While you can kill a smaller deer with an air rifle, larger deer and big game are best done with a real firearm.  I'd personally recommend a 30-30 as a lever-action carbine is lightweight and effective.  The issue with airguns is that unless it's a repeater, quick follow-up shots are very difficult and a missed shot will always result in it running quite a ways.   Remember that the biggest air rifles have about the same ft-lbs as a .22 Magnum - though better long-range ballistics due to the larger mass involved.

Let's say something special like a Quackenbush or Barnes or other high-power 50 cal or larger model might be hot-rodded to about as effective at longer ranges as a .22 Hornet.~650-700 ft-lbs)  That's still really pushing it and most serious hunters still wouldn't recommend such a small round.

Offline Butcher45

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Re: Recommendations for deer rifle
« Reply #13 on: April 17, 2012, 05:57:27 AM »
Remember that the biggest air rifles have about the same ft-lbs as a .22 Magnum - though better long-range ballistics due to the larger mass involved.

The biggest tuned production bigbore airguns maybe......but you cannot compare the killing power of a .22Mag to that of a .45caliber at 50 yards using the same energy.  The .45 is clearly superior.  I'd like to see the 250fpe .22Mag that can do this to a 600page book with just one shot.




Let's say something special like a Quackenbush or Barnes or other high-power 50 cal or larger model might be hot-rodded to about as effective at longer ranges as a .22 Hornet.~650-700 ft-lbs)  That's still really pushing it and most serious hunters still wouldn't recommend such a small round.


Again...can't compare a .22 to a .45 carrying the same amount of energy.  There is a world of difference between the two when it comes to penetration and wound channel. 

Plus, "longer ranges" for bigbore airguns are identical to large caliber handguns, and (generally speaking) bigbore airgun rifles are far easier to shoot accurately at long range than handguns.  It's fairly easy for a bigbore airgunner to place his boolit precisely on that crease behind the shoulder, or at least within two inches of it under field conditions (well, most of them anyway),  whereas the "average" handgun hunter is happy to hit anywhere within a pie plate sized area under the very same circumstances.

Comparing the higher-powered domestic bigbore airguns to the standard .45Colt, the tuned production bigbore airguns to the .44Special/.45ACP, and in the case of XP Airguns "The Fifty-Eight" the .44Magnum would be a much more valid comparison (XP-Airguns already come "hot-rodded" out of the box). 
There are plenty of serious hunters that are A-OK with the .45Colt, and .44Magnum for big game hunting, and the .45ACP has all the power needed for broadside heart/lung shots on deer of any size within handgun (and airgun) ranges.  I wouldn't shoot anything much larger than a deer with a .45ACP, though.  MAYBE big hogs, but I'd rather have .45Colt power for them. 

As for having only one shot.......I LOVE that part.  Just like hunting with any single shot gun........don't shoot when you THINK you CAN hit it......shoot when you KNOW you CAN'T MISS it.  That's why I prefer single shots.......I make sure it's right before pulling the trigger (after having learned a valuable lesson or two early on). 


Offline Nomadic Pirate

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Re: Recommendations for deer rifle
« Reply #14 on: April 17, 2012, 06:25:19 AM »
Well put Chris.

....Ho yeah, my favorite movie as a kid was "The Deer Hunter" took one bullet only for his hunts :)
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Offline Rescue35

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Re: Recommendations for deer rifle
« Reply #15 on: April 17, 2012, 09:28:12 AM »
This last season,

With one .495 roundball I took my deer (~200lbs) at 30 yards and he ran about 50 yards afterword with a stock Dragon Slayer. Look up my post in the hunting gate for more specifics.

Two people missed w/3 shots each using 30/30s.

One person fired 5 times with a .270 and hit the 120lbs Doe 3 times before it went down. The only meat we got off that deer was off the rump.
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Offline plasticman

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Re: Recommendations for deer rifle
« Reply #16 on: April 17, 2012, 10:21:26 AM »
If I could only own one airgun, it would be a .45.   With bullet choices from 125-550 grains, you can hunt anything from medium to large game.   Now, which .45 is a whole different discussion.   
Let's just say there aren't many that can shoot a 550 grain and make 700+fpe.  One for sure.   Only seen 1 airgun deer kill posted on a forum over 150 yards, same gun maker.   Same .45 rifle killed 730 lb elk last year.   
Now, soon that maker will offer a .358/.357 rifle that will make over 400fpe with a 250 grain and it will have a even lighter small bullet weight, down below 80 grains.
The choice of bullets goes 2 ways.  Flat nose like Butcher likes and hollow points.   Hollow points don't work without speed and a lot of big bores don't have enough speed to make them open properly.   If it won't shoot over 700 fps, use the flat nose.   Velocity translates directly to distance, so a rifle with higher velocity will have a longer effective kill range, too.   I know guys that have used a .308 air rifle to kill deer.  They shoot head shots with 125-150 grains and are inside 50 yards.

Offline Butcher45

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Re: Recommendations for deer rifle
« Reply #17 on: April 17, 2012, 05:11:53 PM »
This last season,

With one .495 roundball I took my deer (~200lbs) at 30 yards and he ran about 50 yards afterword with a stock Dragon Slayer. Look up my post in the hunting gate for more specifics.

I'm pretty convinced that the average run for a double-lunged deer is about 50 yards no matter what it is shot with.  Took a guy out to the ranch to shoot a doe with his .270....with a (quartering towards?) shot he jellified (wasted) the entirety of the meat on that shoulder by obliterating the shoulder bone, took out the heart and got at least one lung and probably both of them.  The deer ran about 50 yards just as it would had I shot it with my 270fpe tuned 909.

Two people missed w/3 shots each using 30/30s.

Oh yeah.....airgunners are much better shots, too hehehe!


One person fired 5 times with a .270 and hit the 120lbs Doe 3 times before it went down. The only meat we got off that deer was off the rump.

The extreme energy of the .270 can work against you if the deer doesn't go straight-down because it activates the adrenalin making them run-off like their tail is on fire.  It can also hinder bleeding as a result of the platelets in the blood being activated to prevent blood loss.


The choice of bullets goes 2 ways.  Flat nose like Butcher likes and hollow points.   Hollow points don't work without speed and a lot of big bores don't have enough speed to make them open properly.   If it won't shoot over 700 fps, use the flat nose.   Velocity translates directly to distance, so a rifle with higher velocity will have a longer effective kill range, too.   I know guys that have used a .308 air rifle to kill deer.  They shoot head shots with 125-150 grains and are inside 50 yards.

Handgun hunters get a lot more velocity than we do, and still prefer large meplat solid slugs by a wide margin.  Why?  They kill better, with more consistency that's why. 

Even if the hollowpoint opens up (I've seen them open at around 735fps in completely saturated phone books, and in deer at 950fps), penetration and consistency is often sacrificed.  A hollowpoint is a gamble (especially heavy, poorly designed hollowpoints), whereas a heavy slug with a large meplat is about as consistent as consistent can get.  Large meplat solids are much better at defeating bone, and consistently produce an exit wound for easier tracking.

Hollowpoints are great for small game/varmints, though.  Doesn't really matter when they fail on stuff that small. 

I won't debate the HP vs large meplat solid on big game thing any further unless it is in the form of a link......I could (and have been known to) argue that one all day.

Offline Butcher45

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Re: Recommendations for deer rifle
« Reply #18 on: April 17, 2012, 05:13:49 PM »
Oh yeah......XP Airguns is the best thing running BY FAR.  Taking over the game.

Offline badredbird

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Re: Recommendations for deer rifle
« Reply #19 on: April 18, 2012, 06:43:00 PM »
i took 2 with the heart lung , but i shot several thru the liver which if offered i like the best , they go a bit but definitley bleed out on the liver , you will find it, id only take a shot no more than sixty with an untuned another ten yards with a tune , i zero  in at sixty so i have good idea , i use speer plinker 158grain hollowpoints 38 cal they shoot work great also the 148 grain , they punch thru ribs and bone well
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909 tuned  dragon claw tuned  357 recluse tuned  steroid 392   stock 392p   steroid 342   stock 342  1958 20 cal blue streak 1973 20 cal blue streak  22 cal disco   25 cal maurader   25 cal sumatra  25 cal sumatra carbine   stock polished brass 342  extreme bigbore hunter 457

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