What's the lightest and smallest "deer rifle"?

Discussion in 'The Hunting & Fishing Forum' started by warpig, Feb 24, 2003.

  1. warpig

    warpig Guest

    Rich in Lincoln
    Member
    Posts: 18
    (3/12/02 1:05:37 pm)
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    What's the lightest and smallest rifle that is capable of taking deer sized game (CA deer)?

    I am looking to build or purchase a new rifle for my wife (she’s only 4’11”). She’s using a .303 Enfield that I altered (18” barrel, custom stock w/11” pull, compact scope… a total of 8 lbs.) and it’s a little too big and heavy for her.

    I know that light = recoil, so I’m thinking a ported .243 in a Remington model 7 with some kind of custom stock. I know that Remington makes a model 700 in titanium, but not a model 7.

    So…please post some ideas in models, calibers, stocks and configuration that you have found to be the lightest and smallest. I’m not against modifying or building something custom.




    Hangfire
    Member
    Posts: 27
    (3/12/02 2:16:23 pm)
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    Rich,
    You might look at the Browning A-bolt microhunter. It weighs in at 6lbs.-4oz. and has a shorter length of pull for smaller shooters. You can get it in .243. Don't know what you are looking to spend, but I think Kimber makes one even lighter.

    LIKTOSHOOT
    *TFF Senior Staff*
    Posts: 4166
    (3/12/02 3:14:58 pm)
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    Take a look at the new line of "Ruger" compact rifles, several calibers. 16 or 18" barrels...can`t remember. Just like the 77/44 in size and lightweight. Regards LTS
    T.F.F.

    oldguide32
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 45
    (3/14/02 7:28:55 pm)
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    I went through this with the two youngest boys and ended up with a Ruger 77 in 6mm Rem. Still think it the best choice. My .243 is a Savage model 99 but the Rem 6mm is superior for deer in every way. We cut an inch off the rifle stock and saved the wood. When the youngest turned 15 he was over 6'2" so we had a gunsmith reattach the wood and it is as good as new. I see an occasional model 77 in the classified ads for around $300 with scope. You won't be disappointed in the 6mm. People around here hunt elk with them.

    AntiqueDr
    *TFF Senior Staff*
    Posts: 2305
    (3/15/02 9:14:29 am)
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    ezSupporter
    Re: What's the lightest and smallest "deer rifle"?
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    The Kimber 84's are not particularly lightweight.

    Remington 700 Titanium in .260, weighs under 6 pounds. Go lighter with something from Ultra-Light Arms you'd shave another half-pound but add another $1000.


    We Buy Guns! 1 - 100, Antique or Modern!
    www.apaxenterprises.com
    Kimber and Wilson Combat Master Dealer

    Rich in Lincoln
    Member
    Posts: 20
    (3/15/02 12:58:22 pm)
    Reply | Edit | Del What's the lightest and smallest "deer rifle"?
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    Ya, I have always liked .260s. A Remington 700 in Titanium shortened to a child’s proportions; 16”-18” barrel & shortening the pull on the composite stock (an interesting job in it self), and going with a titanium Nikon scope (kind of a sacrilege since I’m a Leica dealer), would be a sweet combo! Hell, I’d like to tote that combo in the high country! BUT MAN THAT’S A PRITY PENY! Oh well, when you think about how many years she’s going to use it and the fact she’s not going to have a few dozen rifles like her husband, that’s not bad.
    I know what the suggested retail is but does anybody know what the market value of a 700 in titanium?
    -Rich


    AntiqueDr
    *TFF Senior Staff*
    Posts: 2309
    (3/15/02 4:14:30 pm)
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    ezSupporter
    Re: What's the lightest and smallest "deer rifle"
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    I've sold a bunch of them at $960.00, new. Sold a used '06 for $800.


    We Buy Guns! 1 - 100, Antique or Modern!
    www.apaxenterprises.com
    Kimber and Wilson Combat Master Dealer

    LIKTOSHOOT
    *TFF Senior Staff*
    Posts: 4209
    (3/15/02 4:43:33 pm)
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    Ruger MarkII Compact Rifle ***New This Year***2002

    Blued/Walnut, about $469.00
    Stainless/Laminate, about $515.00

    Calibers: .223/243/260/308
    Barrel.....16 1/2" No sights, rings included.
    T.F.F.

    kdub01
    *TFF Senior Staff*
    Posts: 371
    (3/15/02 11:30:21 pm)
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    Any rifle that weighs 6 lbs or less that shoots a 140 grain slug at 2700 fps or faster is gonna generate recoil that will be felt by a small statured person.

    The .257 Roberts, .260 Remington, 6.5x55 Swede, 7-08 Remington are all great calibers for youths, ladies and grown men.

    I'd put them in rifles weighing in around 7 - 7 1/2 lbs and watch the glow of satisfaction from the shooter!

    jer2003
    Member
    Posts: 13
    (4/14/02 3:39:24 pm)
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    I have both .243 and 6 MM which I gave my son when he was 12. The .243 is a M70 FW which I bought with graduation money after college in 1957.
    The 6MM is a Rem 660 which has a 20" barrel and of course a short action.

    I have chronographed both. My .243 gets 3150 fps with a 100 gr bullet ahead of 45 gr 4350 and 3220 using 46 gr of 4350. I use the 45 gr load, even though I didn't find the 46 gr load excessive in my rifle. It has to be hot, however. I admit my rifle is a "fast" one, and not every .243 will get even close to those velocities. I have not found it difficult to get slightly over 3000 fps with 100 gr bullets in any .243 I have "fooled with."

    The problem with the 6MM is the short action which is standard in most factory rifles chambered for it. The short action prevents the bullets from being seated out so as to get the maximum potential from the cartridge.
    I had much difficulty getting 3000 fps from the 6MM using 100 gr bullets. Finally I found a load with Norma 204 that would give almost exactly 3000 fps. I then decided to use the 90 gr bullets.

    Accordingly, in the short action rifles, I don't believe the 6MM is equal to the shorter .243 which allows the bullets to be loaded out farther. I recognize that the 2 inches of barrel would be equal to about 100 fps.

    I would recommend a light .243 when considering recoil and killing power on deer. I have killed quite a few, and have used 300WM, 7MM Rem Mag, .270, and the .243. The .243 with my loads has given the most one shot in the tracks kills of all the cartridges. I think it is a result of bullet design and ease of accurate shooting.
    Personally, I would not get less than a 22 inch barrel if reasonably possible. The reason is that the short barrels will "blow the ears off a brass monkey" as Jack O'Conner used to say.

    While the .260 and similar cartridges give a bit more capability on game larger than deer, I believe the recoil in a light rifle like you want would be more than would be conducive to learning to shoot well.

    I have a friend who was an assistent to a PWH, and also did a lot of culling himself in Africa. In fact he just left there about a year ago and is looking at Australia and New Zealand to find a place to hunt "all the time."
    He has killled over 4000 head of big game. He began to use a .22 Hornet for game deer size and smaller, using the Barnes X bullet. It works for him, but he is a superb shot and experienced. I would never recommend such a cartridge for deer here in the US considering the conditions under which we hunt.

    I continue to think the .243 is as good as you can get unless you shoot in excess of 400 yards. I have killed two antelope with my .243 in excess of 500 yards, and one at 400. That is not typical. In addition, factory loads are closer to 2900 fps with 100 gr bullets, and that puts the .243 in a much lower class than with my handloads.

    Jerry





    jer2003
    Member
    Posts: 14
    (4/14/02 3:43:43 pm)
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    P.S.
    Don't get a light handy rifle and then mount a large scope on it. I would stick with a fixed power 4X. Something lke a 3 - 10 X would not be handy. If you must get a variable, get a small one of HIGH QUALITY such as a 2x5, or at most a 2x7.

    Jerry

    the real fredneck
    V.I.P. Member
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    (4/25/02 6:16:09 pm)
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    Rich remember a lot of the "felt" recoil can be lessened by altering loads

    anchored
    Member
    Posts: 24
    (8/2/02 2:28:01 pm)
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    I've got an old Stevens .25 rimfire singleshot - I've seen 'em at gunshows for less than $100 - weighs next to nothing, recoil about like a .22 mag, and actually legal for whitetail here in w.va. (I havent used it for that, i'm a 30-30 person)
    As a dreamer of dreams and a travelling man, I have chalked up many a mile; read dozens of books about heroes and crooks, and I've learned much from both of their styles.
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    hotload
    Member
    Posts: 33
    (8/6/02 8:54:13 pm)
    Reply | Edit | Del small rifles
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    Hi Rich,
    I read a article in Shooting Times some time ago where they were comparing , I believe around 5 or 6, of the lightweight rifles. I dont remember all of them but I do know that the lightweight Ruger was their pick. I know the mod. 7, Win mod 70 featherweight, and I believe the new Weatherby ultralight was in the bunch. The only setback that I know of with the Rugers is the triggers. But that can be solved with an aftermarket trigger.
    GOOD LUCK AND GOOD SHOOTING !!!!!!!!!!!!

    Rich in Lincoln
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 172
    (8/8/02 1:35:13 am)
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    Dang! A renewal of my old post! Coool! Thank for the suggestions!
    I have thought about calibers that would be adequate for the dog sized deer in CA and I believe anything that fits CA’s definition ( .25 cal center fire or better) would work great. Did I just say .25 cal or better? Ten years ago I read that in the CA’s regulations and I wondered why the little .243 was not good enough for CA. I have to take the time to pull out the regulations to say what it is now because I know a few guys that shoot .243’s. Hmmm.
    I picked up a new ultra light Ruger the last time I was in Reno and I loved it! I showed my wife a picture of it and she wants it in SS w/ laminated stock (it’s amazing how she can handle a pretty gun better than an ugly one…Go figure!)

    Tank’s again.
    -Rich



    jeeper1
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 329
    (8/8/02 9:57:29 am)
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    For many years I used a T/C Contender 30-30 super 14 with a flash hider welded on with a shoulder stock. About 4lbs. No sling or scope.
    16.5 inch barrel and 30.5 inches overall length so it was legal.
    The Curio and Relic Firearms Forum
    To err is human. But to really screw things up you just about have to have a computer.

    JackRyann
    Member
    Posts: 37
    (10/29/02 1:21:45 am)
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    A .22 short.
    Grill it and kill it! Or some thing like that.
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