Whitetail Deer standing in autumn day

Help a Beginner Choose Their First Deer Rifle, Pt. 2

Consider the Hunter’s Comfort Level and Environment

New hunters who want to choose their first deer hunting rifle are wise to do so with help from an expert. Most big game hunting seasons in 2021 have completed, but time marches on and more beginners will be joining the hunt next year. Every committed hunter starts as a first-timer and will rely on experienced hunters, outfitters, and guides to help them learn the ropes and acquire the best equipment for their needs.

In part one of this topic, we discussed the importance of choosing a deer rifle that fits the hunter. The right fit and balance will help new hunters establish good habits as they learn to hunt. We also covered the different types of actions that work best for new hunters.

Deer Hunting Rifles Caliber and Ammo Types

A deer hunting rifle caliber that shoots 130 to 165-grain bullets accurately at 250 yards is ideal for whitetail hunting in North America. You want to consider the hunting terrain and how far you expect to be from your targets.

.270 and 7mm-08 cartridges can be appropriate for new hunters because of their light kick and smooth shooting. If your hunter can handle heavier recoil, the .308, .30-06, and 7mm Remington Magnum ammunition may be preferable. The 6.5 Creedmoor hit the market in 2008 and is perfect for long-range target shooting. Deer hunters have adopted the ammo for its low recoil and flat long-range shots.

Find ammunition that is readily available where your hunter wants to shoot. Affordability is another factor of concern for many hunters, and more common ammo types are typically subject to less price fluctuation. 

Understand your hunting terrain and choose ammo accordingly. Open fields and long-range shots demand lighter ammunition and flatter shots. If you expect to hunt in deep woods or areas with lots of peaks and valleys, you don’t have to worry as much about bullet drop, making heavier ammunition a better option.

Other Considerations

In part 1, we discussed the gun’s fit and action. We covered caliber and ammo types in this article. In a future post, we will outline your choices for a deer rifle’s finish and what kinds of scopes you should consider.

Beginners help keep the sport and tradition of deer hunting alive. For those in a position to help them, your advice could determine whether hunting is a short-term hobby or a lifelong passion.

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