What are the really accurate bolt action deer rifles?

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  • Dean Crail

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    I really like the looks of the Sig Cross for a chassis rifle but have heard that some of them have had accuracy issues. Not terrible by any means but less accurate and more ammo sensitive than other rifles in that price range.

    That is unfortunate, it's a great looking rifle otherwise. That being said the new Daniel Defence Bolt guns have also captured my interest as well. Always wanted one for no apprant reason


    Expensive but worth it IMHO if they ever make that package again
     

    two70

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    That is unfortunate, it's a great looking rifle otherwise. That being said the new Daniel Defence Bolt guns have also captured my interest as well. Always wanted one for no apprant reason


    Expensive but worth it IMHO if they ever make that package again
    The DD bolt guns have gone up in price. I remember seeing the chassis version for close $2k on GB a year ago, now they're approaching $2.5k. I kind of want one too, just not that bad.
     

    teddy12b

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    My thoughts for whatever it's worth. Yeah it's clear the OP said "deer" rifle but at what distance and under what conditions are pretty important things to consider that were left out.

    If we involve math into this discussion and look at it logically, let's say a deer has an 8" vital zone for a kill shot. A gun that shoots a 2"/2MOA group at 100 yards is more than adequate. At 200 yards that gun it's still ok because the gun is shooting a 4" group. At 300 yards that gun is now shooting a 6" group and is still ok, but we're approaching it's limit for an ethical shot.

    Good news, is that just about every rifle on the shelf in a legal caliber will have some kind of hunting ammunition that gets it close to if not better than a 1"/1MOA group at 100 yards so a 300 yard shot should be a no brainer shot on a deer if the shooter has any talent or skill whatsoever.

    As far as what gun or brand to buy which is where I think the OP really wanted to get to I'm staying away from Remington for the foreseeable future. The last one I had was good, but not great. I replaced it with a Tikka T3X CTR in 308 and that rifle has really impressed me. I'd recommend it for sure and it'll be going to competitions with me in the future. I'd also say I've seen and heard great results with Bergara's. Savage is a time tested accurate rifle that you can pick your favorite flavor of and be happy with. For me and my money though, I'd say Tikka CTR all day long for a do all rifle.

    Regarding the Sig Cross, that rifle is absolutely on my list to buy. Being a Sig, I had to make sure to wait after the recall was figured out before purchasing. Lots of great reviews out there on current production rifles and most bad reviews are from earlier on in production. I plan to buy one and if it shoots well I'll use it for the upcoming mammoth competition January '23, and likely a western hunt in fall of '23. It's a rifle that's appealing when you need lightweight, and portability. If the gun weighed 9 pounds and didn't fold in half it'd have no appeal to me.

    Daniel Defense Delta 5 rifles mentioned earlier are solid guns. At last years mammoth competition another team of guys we were squaded up with were running a regular model and a pro and they did well. The accuracy is guaranteed to 1/2" on the pro, and 3/4" on the regular but the guys told me it's the same barreled action and you can get the 1/2" pretty easily. Not to mention the lifetime warranty on the barrels and ability to swap them out. I was really looking hard for one before buying the CTR because for $1,500 gun and a $500 barrel I've got two outstanding bombproof guns. I wouldn't hesitate to buy one at the right deal.
     

    gregr

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    Haven't really checked prices lately but last time I looked Tikkas started around $650, Sakos about a grand. Those are just basic, plain jane hunting types. When you get into some of the fancy models prices get expensive fast. They all use the same basic action then add on different stocks and finishes. One of bad things about them, tho, is availability. They don't churn out hundreds a day like some manufacturers so if you don't see something you like it might be a bit until they do a run.

    ETA: just did a quick search. Cabela's has the T3x Lite in 308 for $680, eurooptics.com has the Lite on sale for $650 in multiple chamberings and the Hunter model starting at $970. So they haven't really gone up much since last I looked.
    Just FYI, neither place actually had the rifles in stock, they`re on backorder...

    Edit; My bad, I was looking solely at the Tikka Hunter in .30-06. You are correct, I am wrong.
     
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    BigRed

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    What are the really accurate bolt action deer rifles, (with factory ammo)? The thread about the Rural King American rifle got me thinking. High-end. low-end, doesn`t matter. Which are the really accurate bolt action deer rifles? And are they as good used, or do you need to buy new to get that impressive accuracy.


    The one in my hands.




    783A4808-AE51-4B94-822E-73C9F561C654.jpeg
     

    gregr

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    This is not going to be a popular opinion but people are way too hung up on accuracy for most hunting rifles. Unless you're hunting argali where shots may well be over 500 yards, plan on shooting cross canyon at elk or are on some other hunt where long range shots are likely, a sub moa rifle is not necessary. A 2" moa rifle is plenty accurate enough for deer size game out to 300 yards and is likely on par with the accuracy of high end rifles of 20-30+ years ago. Also, tiny groups shot from a bench with a match bullet/load are of no importance if a rifle will not shoot hunting bullets well in the field.

    There is more to a good rifle than just accuracy. Most of the budget rifles are capable of very good accuracy, where they usually fail is in shootability. They, pretty much universally, have cheap, flimsy stocks that handle recoil poorly. Many also have rough actions that cause delays or even bind up when you try to cycle the action quickly for a follow up shot. Some have feeding issues that exacerbate the problems with a rough action.

    In answer to your questions and keeping in mind the other factors I mentioned, Savage(excluding Axis models), Winchester and Mossberg make accurate budget rifles with decent to good stocks and actions. Tikka, Steyr, Bergara, Browning, Winchester, Weatherby Vanguard, Savage and Ruger Hawkeye would be my mid priced choices. If I were betting on a random rifle from each brand to shoot the best groups, I'd probably bet on the Tikka. The upper tier would include Sakos, Benellis, higher end Brownings, Bergaras, Daniel Defense etc. That being said, if I'm reaching into my safe for a rifle to take on an important/serious/expensive hunt then my Kimber is what I'm taking out. It is not the most accurate rifle I own from the bench but it is the one I shoot the best in the field.

    Used rifles, especially those made in the last 10 years or so, are also good options and, IMO, where good deals are typically found. IMO, benign neglect is to be preferred over a mirror clean and polished bore when looking for a used rifle. The biggest issue with some used guns is that they can become collectors items which drives up the price.
    Quite the contrary, your post is spot on, and it should be more thoroughly discussed. Whether due to marketing or just ignorance on the subject, I, and I believe many others have wrongly believed that if a 3-shot group at 100 yards couldn`t be covered up with a quarter that something was wrong with the rifle, scope, shooter, or all three. And you`re right again about a rifle shooting 2" groups at 100 yards being more than adequate for deer hunting in Indiana. So long as we may routinely make the most humane kill possible while deer hunting, that rifle is plenty good enough.

    I`ll just say this; I have this sickness that gnaws at my psyche if I don`t have a rifle that is well sub MOA. Bad thing is, as a great buddy of mine says, "accuracy costs".
     

    Mgderf

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    My deer hunting has been limited to sub 200 yards for many, many years, due mainly to foliage and topography.
    That said, I have several candidates that would fit the description of the O.P.' s request, and most are under $500 rifles.
    Mossberg Patriot is more than enough rifle to kill a deer humanely.
    The T/C Compass or Venture are both serviceable rifles for those distances.
    I've not tried them, but the 7.7x58 Jap (Arisaka) or the .303 British (Enfield) will suffice.
    Howa makes a nice little bolt gun in their 1500 and it uses Weatherby actions.

    The "deer gun" choices in Indiana, at least on private land, are incredible.
    On public land, I'll use a .44mag lever gun.
     

    bwframe

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    Little FYI about the Sig Cross that you gents might want to investigate.

    I did some research a while back, when there was one for sale in the classifieds. What I found was that people love them or they hate them.

    Some folks guns shot great, other's did not. Seems as if there is a least a few out there that struggle for accuracy.

    Maybe you'll find better or more updated info, but don't just shop thinking that the Sig name is all you need to know about it. :twocents:
     

    two70

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    Quite the contrary, your post is spot on, and it should be more thoroughly discussed. Whether due to marketing or just ignorance on the subject, I, and I believe many others have wrongly believed that if a 3-shot group at 100 yards couldn`t be covered up with a quarter that something was wrong with the rifle, scope, shooter, or all three. And you`re right again about a rifle shooting 2" groups at 100 yards being more than adequate for deer hunting in Indiana. So long as we may routinely make the most humane kill possible while deer hunting, that rifle is plenty good enough.

    I`ll just say this; I have this sickness that gnaws at my psyche if I don`t have a rifle that is well sub MOA. Bad thing is, as a great buddy of mine says, "accuracy costs".
    To be perfectly honest, the thrill of shooting small groups from the bench is mostly lost on me. I do 80% of my shooting from shooting sticks and in field positions, only shooting from the bench when sighting in or testing loads. The only time I ever shoot groups with centerfires is when I'm testing a new load and even then I'm just looking for a satisfactory load for the bullet I've chosen not the smallest possible groups. I'm more concerned with the placement of the first shot from a cold bore than I am the proximity of the next 2-4 shots. If/when I need 2-4 more shots, the problem is with the loose nut behind the buttstock, not the rifle.

    Now days, what was considered to be the Holy Grail of accuracy can be had fairly inexpensively(if you're willing to forego other amenities) but we always want more and so the bar moves. Those extra quarters and tenths of an inch really do cost though.
     

    DadSmith

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    My deer hunting has been limited to sub 200 yards for many, many years, due mainly to foliage and topography.
    That said, I have several candidates that would fit the description of the O.P.' s request, and most are under $500 rifles.
    Mossberg Patriot is more than enough rifle to kill a deer humanely.
    The T/C Compass or Venture are both serviceable rifles for those distances.
    I've not tried them, but the 7.7x58 Jap (Arisaka) or the .303 British (Enfield) will suffice.
    Howa makes a nice little bolt gun in their 1500 and it uses Weatherby actions.

    The "deer gun" choices in Indiana, at least on private land, are incredible.
    On public land, I'll use a .44mag lever gun.
    My hunting area it's 30-50yds and if they go on the hill next to me it opens up to around 75yds.
    I've got a lot of trees where I hunt and it was logged out several years ago. Now it's got thousands of saplings all over which is great camouflage for deer.
    That why I like the 2-7x rifle scopes and the LPVO's for the 1-8x for short range work.
     

    gregr

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    My hunting area it's 30-50yds and if they go on the hill next to me it opens up to around 75yds.
    I've got a lot of trees where I hunt and it was logged out several years ago. Now it's got thousands of saplings all over which is great camouflage for deer.
    That why I like the 2-7x rifle scopes and the LPVO's for the 1-8x for short range work.
    I have had access to a couple areas, (field edges), where I`ve seen good bucks anywhere from 116 to 185 yards out. To be sure. most of the deer I`ve killed have been within 80 yards, but the few really good bucks I`ve seen farther out made me crazy.
     

    Mgderf

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    I have had access to a couple areas, (field edges), where I`ve seen good bucks anywhere from 116 to 185 yards out. To be sure. most of the deer I`ve killed have been within 80 yards, but the few really good bucks I`ve seen farther out made me crazy.
    Any one of the rifles I listed up thread would accomplish those distances with ease.
     

    bman1221

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    What are the really accurate bolt action deer rifles, (with factory ammo)? The thread about the Rural King American rifle got me thinking. High-end. low-end, doesn`t matter. Which are the really accurate bolt action deer rifles? And are they as good used, or do you need to buy new to get that impressive accuracy.
    I have a Ruger American 6.5cm I did put a boyd stock on but have taken a dozen white tails from 125 -275 ds all dropped where they were no trialing...did get a Sig Cross for the weight but have not tested sufficiently to use yet
     

    teddy12b

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    Maybe you'll find better or more updated info, but don't just shop thinking that the Sig name is all you need to know about it. :twocents:
    The Sig name is actually what gives me pause anymore. That's why I want to make sure the gun has been out a few years before I go buying one.
     

    two70

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    My deer hunting has been limited to sub 200 yards for many, many years, due mainly to foliage and topography.
    That said, I have several candidates that would fit the description of the O.P.' s request, and most are under $500 rifles.
    Mossberg Patriot is more than enough rifle to kill a deer humanely.
    The T/C Compass or Venture are both serviceable rifles for those distances.
    I've not tried them, but the 7.7x58 Jap (Arisaka) or the .303 British (Enfield) will suffice.
    Howa makes a nice little bolt gun in their 1500 and it uses Weatherby actions.
    That's not quite accurate, Howa is its own brand with its own action which Weatherby branded as their Vanguard line. From my limited experience Vanguards seem to be a little nicer in fit and finish than Howas.
     

    nipprdog

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    Quite the contrary, your post is spot on, and it should be more thoroughly discussed. Whether due to marketing or just ignorance on the subject, I, and I believe many others have wrongly believed that if a 3-shot group at 100 yards couldn`t be covered up with a quarter that something was wrong with the rifle, scope, shooter, or all three. And you`re right again about a rifle shooting 2" groups at 100 yards being more than adequate for deer hunting in Indiana. So long as we may routinely make the most humane kill possible while deer hunting, that rifle is plenty good enough.

    I`ll just say this; I have this sickness that gnaws at my psyche if I don`t have a rifle that is well sub MOA. Bad thing is, as a great buddy of mine says, "accuracy costs".
    how long between shots? 30-06 generates a lot of heat that could be affecting the accuracy
     
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    DadSmith

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    hoe long between shots? 30-06 generates a lot of heat that could be affecting the accuracy
    Yep my deer rifles are shot in for that one cold barrel shot. I usually put a box through it to get some fouling and the storage oil in the barrel out of it as well.
     
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