5 large guns for hunting deer in the deep woods
In the hearts of all devoted deer hunters, there is the belief that the biggest males live in the deep woods. There is no real definition of “deep woods”. It varies from coast to coast. It could be a corner of the back 40, or near the old property, or miles in a public hunting ground, just above the next ridge. But get to the deep woods always requires effort; it means a steep climb or crossing the river or crawling through clearcuts.
A deep woods hunt is special because it is reminiscent of ancient deer hunters and requires additional planning and consideration. So it makes perfect sense that this also requires a special rifle. Just as we have deer rifles dedicated to the open plains, high mountains and senderos of Texas, we also have deep wood deer thumpers – practical, usually repeating rifles chambered for the big so called scrub towers. Here are my five favorites.
1. Marlin 336 in .444 Marlin
In 1964, Marlin introduced a centerfire rifle cartridge with his name on the punch. It was designed to work in their famous Model 336 lever action rifle and used a .429 caliber bullet. It was called the .444 Marlin but could have been called the .44 Double Magnum because it was essentially a longer version of the large caliber revolver cartridge that Detective Callahan would make famous a few years later. The .444 Marlin was introduced at a time when the much older and now more popular .45 / 70 was not available in lever pistols.
The combination was successful and deer hunters relied on it to hammer big white tails, as it would push a 300 grain hollow point bullet at around 2000 fps. Just before Marlin closed in 2020, they gifted a 150-year anniversary rifle in .444 Marlin. It is engraved and inlaid and fitted with a fine piece of walnut. Look enough and you may find one or one of the older .444. Hornady now offers a Superformance load than a 265 grain bullet at nearly 2400 fps. No male of the deep woods can resist this.
2. Remington 7600 in 0.35 Whelen
When it comes to deer in the deep woods, one of the most famous rifles used to hunt them is the Remington Model 7600. Legendary for their abilities to go deep into the great woods and root out monsters from Virginia , the Benoit brothers relied on the famous shotgun. Known originally as Model 760 and later as Model 6, Model 7600 is no longer available; he disappeared with Remington in 2020. But there are plenty of opportunities.
The 7600 has been offered in a wide range of cartridges, but when it comes to deep-wood deer hunters, perhaps the most iconic is the .35 Whelen. A .30 / 06 cartridge neck to accept a 0.358 caliber bullet, the Whelen is suitable for any game in North America. Hornady has a 200 grain load at an incredible 2900 fps. Quick handling, quick cycle and incredibly powerful, the 7600 in .35 Whelen could be the deadliest deep antler deer rifle of all time.
3. Winchester 88 in .358 Winchester
In 1955, Winchester introduced the Model 88, which was an incredibly modern version of the lever action rifle. It was lean and balanced and extremely pleasing to the eye. It was as lightning-fast on a bicycle, and oriental lever-pistol enthusiasts were drawn to it. The .358 Winchester cartridge is only a .308 Winchester collared .358 caliber; it’s like a short version of the .35 Whelen. He quickly established himself with deer hunters, and many have sworn he was killing big bucks like never before.
Unfortunately, the last 88 was made in 1973 and production of 88 in .358 Winchester ceased in 62. Although in 1965, an additional 473 88 in .358 were assembled and shipped to Canada. The 88 models chambered in .358 rarely appear on the second-hand market because their owners love them more than their children. If you find one, mortgage the house and buy it quickly. Then load it up with the Buffalo Bore 225 grain load and spend a lot of money.
4.CZ 550FS 9.3 × 62 Mauser
CZ’s current American Model 557 is a finely crafted bolt-action mechanism with a hammer-forged barrel wrapped in a Turkish walnut stock. But not so long ago, CZ’s flagship rifle was the Model 550, and the full stock model, with beautiful wood that extended to a steel cap at the muzzle, was also graceful. that hard-working stag guns have a right to be. As with all CZs, the 550FS had built-in scope bases, but it also had excellent open sights and the extreme drop of the butt allows your eyes to find these sights instantly.
A few of these magnificent creations were chambered for the 9.3 x 62mm Mauser, a cartridge capable of slaughtering all game on Earth. No deer in the woods, deep or otherwise, can withstand Nosler’s AccuBond 250 grain at 2550 fps. A 9.3 × 62 full-stock CZ 550 rifle might not help you find this deepwood murderer, but you’re sure to be the coolest kid on the campfire.
5. Browning BLR Lightweight 81 Inox Takedown in .30 / 06
There is no cartridge more attributed to the loss of big money than the Springfield .30/06. He captured the hearts of American soldiers in both world wars and continues to be the big game cartridge on which all others are judged. What determined deep-wood deer hunters have always needed was a lightweight .30 / 06, lever-action, quick-handling, and scoped-compatible. In the end, Browning gave them what they wanted with the BLR Lightweight 81 Stainless. But this rifle came with a little something extra; it was a teardown.
Imagine racing deep into the dark wood with all your camping and hunting gear and a lever action rifle chambered for the legendary .30/06. Then imagine using this rifle to shoot a white tail monster. Then, after all the butchering is done, you can break that rifle off and pack it with all your venison. This is the appeal of this rifle and cartridge combination. Browning still makes the BLR Lightweight 81, but you’ll have to browse gun shows and the internet to find the popular teardown version.