Nowadays, a deer hunter has a lot of rifles to choose from, but a trip down memory lane turns up just as many quality bolt guns and lever actions that have stood the test of time. In the last 100 to 125 years deer hunters have had a lot of great rifle models to handle, and we’ve all been trying to define which were the best of all time.
Guns like the Savage 99, Winchester Model 94, Remington Model 700, Marlin 336, Ruger Model 77 and others are all deserving of inclusion and are often at the top of such lists. Perhaps even more challenging is picking out a handful that were or remain the most underrated deer rifles of all time. These are the solid performers, yet now out of favor or not as recognized as they should be. Here are our thoughts on the most underrated deer rifles of all time. Let the arguments begin.
- Benelli shotguns remain among the best in class and are a favorite of waterfowlers and wingshooters. Law enforcement agencies the world over depend on their handguns, so when Benelli introduced the semi-auto R1 around 2003, the rifle was met with great enthusiasm. Available in .30-06, .300 Win Mag and .338 Win Mag, the gun’s recoil dampening features help it shoot like a .270. And while the company has no doubt sold plenty of the rifle (Benelli doesn’t release sales figures), like many semi-auto rifles, including Browning’s famed BAR, you just don’t see many in deer camp. This is a great rifle, with a modern look and is available at a price you’d expect from a company with Benelli’s pedigree, so maybe it will just take a little longer for it to receive the warm reception the company’s other offerings get from sportsmen. A quick look at chat forums on the gun reveal a host of generally positive, yet still reserved reviews, given the rifle’s brief history.