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Thread: Factory Lead Bullet Rifle for Deer?

  1. #1
    Boolit Master DonMountain's Avatar
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    Factory Lead Bullet Rifle for Deer?

    I am looking for an ideal factory rifle that is easy to find along with the ammo for deer hunting that would be a good caliber for reloading with cast lead bullets to shoot deer. Suggestions? I have read other threads about all the best deer hunting calibers like 358 Winchester. But both the rifles and the ammo aren't available at my local gun store. WalMart.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
    Mr Peabody's Avatar
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    I'd find an -06 that was what I liked and run with it.

  3. #3
    Boolit Man
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    30-06 and 30-30 are my go to rifles for lead and deer. I also have gramps old sported 303 Brit that I will take from time to time.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    Buy a Savage or Remington, heavy barrel preferably, in 308 Win. A Leupold 4.5-14X scope will let you do everything from hunt varmints and big game, to serious load testing and accuracy shooting. This is a rifle that will work well for all types of shooting scenarios.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master

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    Don't overlook a Ruger either! The all weather American in 308 would be a very good choice. You can get 308 ammo everywhere and it uses the same cast boolits as any other .30 caliber.

    308, 30-30, 30-06, have been go-to cartridges for deer, along with the 7mm mag, and if you are going to handload for it, then what does it matter what ammo walmart has on the shelf?
    Got a .22 .32 .357 .38 .40 .41 .44 .45 .480 or .500 S&W cylinder that needs throat reaming? 9mm, 10mm/40S&W, 45 ACP pistol barrel that won't "plunk" your handloads? Shoot me a PM! Also on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cylin...56429174391912

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  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    You did not specify distance or desired action type.

    For 200 yard or less, an accurate single shot or lever gun in 44 mag can do the job just fine and you will not get a better combination of "good for reloading with cast" along with "easy to find factory ammo". A 357 is not bad but range would probably be a little less.

    If you do not want a pistol round just go with a 30-30, 308 or 30-06. They are all choices that seem to fit "good for reloading with cast" along with "easy to find factory ammo". Again potential shooting distance and desired action type would influce if a 30-30 is a good choice or not.

    In reality any 30, 35 or 44 caliber "deer gun" is "good for reloading with cast" due to the boolit and mold availability. How much value you place on "easy to find factory ammo" is very much up to you. I am happy all of my guns that do not have any factory ammo options.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    Will you parked in a stand or will you be hunting by walking through the the country. A carrying rifle can be/is quite different than a range and stand rifle. Almost any beast of a rifle works when parked and rested. A lighter rifle that carries comfortably is better for actually hunting rather than sitting. Caliber - I would start with a 308, a Savage model 16 lightweight in .308 is a good start. It could also then become a switch barrel - to a .358 or other. The Savage 16 is a simple barrel swap, but the 308 is a great start for cast or most things you do with a rifle. Factory ammo - widely available for any thing you might hunt.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master buckshotshoey's Avatar
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    In Ohio, we can not use bottle neck cartridges. 45- 70 is a great cartridge for here. It has a very wide range of power levels, from trapdoor to Ruger #1 and similar single shots. There is a relatively common Supply of factory ammo. A huge range of molds and cast bullets.

    I load mine relatively tame. Recoil is negligible (relatively that is). A typical shot where I hunt is 50 to 100 yards. I keep my max range at about 150 yards. A whitetail looks pretty small at 150 yards with no magnification! But even at trapdoor pressures, it is a thumper!

    And there is the option of using smokeless or black powder or substitute. I can't think of to many cartridges with as wide a range of possibilities.

    If you need longer ranges and can use a bottleneck cartridge, I concur with posters above. A .308 is tough to beat for a wide range of uses when making proper bullet choices.
    Last edited by buckshotshoey; 03-20-2017 at 09:27 AM.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master northmn's Avatar
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    Cast bullets have certain limitations such that some calibers may be more than needed. At one time I thought the ideal CB combo for deer would be a Winchester High Wall in 30-40 Krag as Uberti builds them.
    With cast the 30-06 is really not all that bad. Longer case neck, which is not bad in a cast bullet cartridge and bullets made for it like the Lyman 220 grain. I took deer with a 30-30 using a heavier bullet that weighed 188 grains with the alloy I was using and with a 208 grain bullet in a 303 British. They were loaded around 2000 fps and give a better trajectory than some of the straight walls. The Gould bullet out of a 45-70 was very effective with a BP load. Some claim it may be a bit much with higher velocity smokeless loads. Another caliber I have been playing with is the 38-55 which is an excellent cast bullet but not readily available. I prefer either 94's or a 336 Marlin with Ballard rifling but some have good luck with MG, however the Winchesters and Ballard 336's are less fussy with alloy and sizing. I also have an old Marlin in 35 Remington that would be an excellent cast bullet slinger.
    The 30-30 has been the biggest no-brainer for ease of use for cast. I suspect a 30-06 also would be but have not tried one. I was very pleased with the performance of my 30-30 CB loads as they seemed to perform like a Nosler. Cannot say for sure as they all went through and none were recovered. They did leave a nice hole for tracking. Made one shot at 140 steps from my tree and did not have to track, deer went straight down and was laying on its legs. Also the molds for a 30-30 are inexpensive (as are ones for the 06 really) The Lee molds made for 30-30 shoot as well as any others. They now make a good one for the 35 Remington.

    DEP

  10. #10
    Boolit Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    I don't know your level of experience, where you are located or what type of terrain you hunt in. But east of the Mississippi, if you want a rifle you can buy ammo for at Walmart, and which is a stellar lead-bullet caliber for hunting, the .44 Magnum is mighty hard to beat. While a .30-'06 can be used effectively to hunt with cast bullets, doing so requires a bit more attention to details than with the larger calibers. The .44 Magnum is useable in places like Ohio or Indiana which restrict boittlenecked calibers, and with flatnosed bullets of standard-weight for the caliber, in full charge loads, needs no tricks or voodoo to be effective.
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  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    My Rem. .308 loves cast 160's at velocities around 1900 fps which is more than adequate for deer out to 150 yards and slightly beyond. One of my local Walmarts routinely has Rem. and Sav. 308's in the cabinets for sale well under $400. I couldn't pass up a Rem. 770 .308 with scope there on sale (20% off) at $240 for me to turn it into a "cast only" rifle a couple years back. The factory scope was garbage but even with it, the rifle was MOA with cast 160's.
    An 06 is wonderful for cast as well but it is hard to beat the price of all the 308 brass I find laying around.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master NoAngel's Avatar
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    Pretty much anything 35 caliber.
    A 358 Win in a bolt action or a 35 rem in a lever gun. Both work extremely well on deer and both are peas in a pod with cast.
    I'm reminded of the immortal words of Socrates who said...."I drank what!?!?!?"

  13. #13
    Boolit Master



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    If you are here in Missouri, a 30-30 makes sense, especially with cast bullets. The long case neck is begging for a cast bullet.
    "Had his shooting been as good as his running, he might have given a better account of himself."
    James. C. Henderson

  14. #14
    Boolit Bub
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    Quote Originally Posted by NoAngel View Post
    Pretty much anything 35 caliber.
    A 358 Win in a bolt action or a 35 rem in a lever gun. Both work extremely well on deer and both are peas in a pod with cast.
    Yep. Doesnt get better than a 35 Rem with 200gr RNFPs cast from WWs. Smashed bone from deer to bear everywhere in the eastern US for decades

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    I have hunted deer for a lot of years in Missouri, and a .30-30 is awful hard to beat with your criteria. If you are planning to sit on the edge of a large field, a .308 or .30-06 might be better. Its that whole easily found factory ammo while still being effective on deer with cast that narrows my suggestions to .30 caliber.

    Robert

  16. #16
    PAPERPATCH MASTER


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    Quite afew years back I stumbled on the .338/06 and have never regretted it for CB or `J` loads.Robert

  17. #17
    Boolit Master DonMountain's Avatar
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    The whole story is I am "helping" my grandson that is staying on our farm to attend college near here. And he is interested in deer hunting in our soybean fields but doesn't have anything appropriate for deer hunting. He is real interested in my lead bullet casting and shooting and the fact that I seem to shoot a few deer each year with lead bullets. So, now he wants a rifle to shoot deer with either factory ammo or reloads with J and lead bullets. Most of my rifles are not appropriate for what he wants because I bought the odd calibers 50 years ago. And most of them I can't buy factory ammo for anymore. I killed three deer this year with a 32-40 with cast lead bullets. But I haven't seen any ammo for it at WalMart. So I wouldn't suggest one of those to him. I see very few 30-30's for sale any more also. 308's I see a lot of.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master DonMountain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NoAngel View Post
    Pretty much anything 35 caliber.
    A 358 Win in a bolt action or a 35 rem in a lever gun. Both work extremely well on deer and both are peas in a pod with cast.
    I like a 35 caliber also. Who makes an inexpensive rifle for these two cartridges?

  19. #19
    Boolit Master

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    357,44 mag 45 Long colt, will all work in a rifle for deer at the closer ranges, 308 will do well as will the 7.62X39 for cast only loads. The big plus to the 7.62X39 is its powder capacity is close for cast bullets. the old timers that were meant for hunting 38-55, 40-65, 45-70 are all very good for cast bullets and deer hunting.

  20. #20
    Boolit Bub
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    Quote Originally Posted by DonMountain View Post
    I like a 35 caliber also. Who makes an inexpensive rifle for these two cartridges?
    You mighy find an older single shot NEF in .358 or a contender in .35 Rem

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check