February 05, 2013
By Jason Herbert
One of the great things about whitetail hunting is that deer don't discriminate. They don't care what a hunter does for a living or how much money he makes. Whitetails don't slow down for an elderly hunter or stand still for a novice. Whitetail hunting is the great leveling field — we are all just hunters trying to fill our tags.
Since the introduction of firearms to our continent in early American history, guns have helped boost seasonal deer kill numbers. But while the playing field is the same for every deer hunter, the prices of guns today are not. From the CVA Wolf muzzleloader ($328) to the Sako Tecomate ($1,375), there are quite a few different guns for different folks. As hunters evolve and go through different stages of life, their firearm wants and needs change, too.
We've compiled a list of some of the best whitetail guns for every hunter's budget with a muzzleloader, slug gun and rifle for every price point.
Entry Level: Remington 870 Express Deer
The standard gun for generations of slug shooters, the Remington 870
is as versatile as the day is long. With a fully rifled slug barrel and Monte Carlo stock, the 870 Express Deer
is a standard in many deer camps. Equipped with traditional iron sights, scope mounts can also be added to upgrade the sighting system. Chambered in 12- or 20-gauge, there's an 870 for every hunter.
Entry Level: CVA Wolf Muzzleloader
With a stainless steel barrel and Realtree Hardwoods Green HD
composite stock, the CVA Wolf
looks like a high-dollar muzzleloader but comes at a fraction of the cost.
Lightweight and sturdy, the Wolf has an ambidextrous stock, reversible hammer spur and quick release breech plug, making it appealing to all hunters. CVA has a solid reputation for quality guns at a fair price. A one-piece scope mount makes the Wolf optic-ready and appetizing for the willing hunter.
Entry Level: Mossberg ATR Long Action Scoped
has long been known for functional firearms at an affordable price. Available in .270 or .30-06, the ATR rifle
is a great bargain. Weighing in at a solid 7.75 pounds, this rifle sports a 22-inch fluted barrel and a 3-9x40mm scope. Black walnut, camouflaged or black synthetic stocks and a fully adjustable trigger make this a user friendly and affordable deer rifle.
High Level: T/C Pro Hunter XT
has a well-deserved reputation for making high-quality, versatile rifles. The Pro Hunter XT
is no exception. The Pro Hunter features the same swing hammer design, precision barrel and engraved receiver as its cousin, the Pro Hunter rifle. The speed breech design allows the hunter to quickly and easily remove the breech while three gas compression rings on the plug eliminate 95 percent of harmful blowback residue. FlexTech recoil reduction technology and a 28-inch fluted barrel make this rifle a smooth shooter.
Mid Level: Ruger American
is famous for making high-quality handguns and rimfire rifles, they also produce wonderful centerfires. This alloy steel gun with a black composite stock is a perfect deer-slaying rifle for a budget. Available in versatile buck-stopping calibers like .243, .270, .30-06 and .308, there's an American for everyone. With a 22-inch barrel and weighing in at just over 6 pounds, all this gun needs is a scope to be field ready.
High Level: Sako Tecomate
has one job, and they do it well — making bolt-action rifles. The A7 series is sort of a hybrid rifle, balancing functionality with superior performance. The company boasts of 'match grade performance with a price never before seen on a match grade rifle. ' A machined aluminum bedding system firmly joins the Bell and Carson Medalist composite stock with Sako's flat bottomed receiver to create a very precise shooting platform. With its stainless finish and available in .270 or .300 calibers, this beautiful hunting rifle is well deserved.
Price: [imo-slideshow gallery=101],375
Mid Level: Savage 220 Slug Gun
has a well-deserved reputation for high-quality rifles. The 220 Slug Gun
is making quite an impact with shotgun deer hunters as well. This gun is designed with one purpose — killing deer. With a camouflaged composite stock and 22-inch rifled stainless barrel, this 20-gauge is perfect for long-range slug hunting. With the lighter load 20-gauge slug and a modest 7 pounds, this gun will be ready for a accurate follow up shot, if necessary.
High Level: Browning Silver Rifled Deer Stalker
A slight variation on the legendary humpback design makes this gun classically unique. Browning
has taken their famous autoloader and modified it for discriminating deer hunters. Chambered in a 3-inch 12-gauge with a fully rifled barrel and a composite stock/forearm, this gun weighs in at a solid 7.75 pounds. A cantilever scope mount allows for easy mounting of a high-quality optic. This makes the Silver Rifled Deer Stalker a hard-hitting, slug-shooting machine.
Price: [imo-slideshow gallery=101],279
Mid Level: Traditions Vortek StrikeFire
has redefined muzzleloading with its hammerless Vortek StrikerFire
muzzleloader. Simply slide the striker forward until it locks and the gun is ready to shoot.
This fully coated Realtree Xtra StrikeFire even comes with a 3-9x40mm matching scope. A light 6.25 pounds, fully rifled 28-inch barrel, and Cerakote protective finish make this gun perfect for the whitetail hunter who expects field performance. Other features include a two-stage, clean-breaking trigger, removable butt pad and the option to shoot loose or pre-measured pellet powder. This thing comes ready to kill.