Lightweight short action deer rifle

CBH Australia

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MSR's are illegal for big game in Pennsy so my vote is for a Model 7 in .243. It'll double as a groundhog gun.

So would a model 7 in 7mm-08, I'm sure it's plenty big enough for groundhog, ok so I have a Bias.
I'm thinking .243 probably would be ok for groundhog and might make a good varmint cartridge in the right rig.
I read your lot use .243 on White Tail and Mule Deer with great success.
My wife's Weatherby Girls Hunt 2 is made on a Howa 1500 action with a Bell and Carson stock . I think there might be a youth model same thing different colour. it's a nice light carry rifle.
 

375Fox

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So would a model 7 in 7mm-08, I'm sure it's plenty big enough for groundhog, ok so I have a Bias.
I'm thinking .243 probably would be ok for groundhog and might make a good varmint cartridge in the right rig.
I read your lot use .243 on White Tail and Mule Deer with great success.
My wife's Weatherby Girls Hunt 2 is made on a Howa 1500 action with a Bell and Carson stock . I think there might be a youth model same thing different colour. it's a nice light carry rifle.
One thing to consider with a 243 for deer is it’s a great cartridge for a good shot, but unfortunately a lot of people will shoot at running deer and that’s where a 243 becomes a small cartridge. It becomes an even smaller cartridge for bear hunting in the same situation. I think that’s why he’s asking for a 6.5+ in the original post.
 

Wheels

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458 B&M. Short action. Short barrel.

You never know when a Pitt Panther or a Nittany Lion will show up.

Besides, no one wants a wimpy gun.

:A Outta:
 

jduckhunter

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May I suggest the Ruger Hawkeye Hunter in 308 Win. Stainless steel with walnut stock, 20" barrel and comes in at about 7 pounds. I bought one this past spring and have already hunted quite a bit with it and I have to say it has been an overperformer.
 

Areaonereal

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Look for a post 64 Winchester 88 in 308. 150 grain and you are good to go.
 

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I hear you. It's hard to part with a rifle that has many memories and personal history!
2020 was the 25th anniversary with that rifle. I shot a whitetail and black bear with it!
 

Ridgewalker

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I have had a Kimber Montana for years built in Oregon In 243. No clue how many deer, antelope, coyotes, marmots and jackrabbits it has taken. With my handloads it will stay under 3/4” at 100 m for 3 shots, then starts to open as it heats up. I call it my “walking varminter” because it is so easy to carry in the mountains of Colorado.

Most PA hunters I’ve met use a lever, or pump gun such as Savage 99, Winny 94, Marlin 336, Remy 7600, etc. But I suspect you’d be very happy with a light weight short action bolt rifle too.

Best of luck finding what works the best for you!
 

Art Lambart II

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So, you need a short handy rifle for shots under 100 yards, in thick cover and not a lot of 2nd shot opportunities. Most of the replies have focused on short action rifles with short barrels in calibers that work best in long barrels. The issue is not the caliber recommendations but the barrel length of those recommended rifles. So how can you combine a 22 or 24 inch barrel with a 308 or one of its derivatives and still have a short handy rifle? Simple, eliminate the action. IMHO the best rifle for your needs is a Ruger #1 in 30-06 or better yet my beloved 35 Whelen. I have used my Ruger #1 in 06 for over 25 years in the exact situation you have described, and I have never found anything better for fast close-range work on non-dangerous game. I also like the T/C Encore for this type of situation, but it is slower to reload than the Ruger #1. Another benefit of the Ruger #1 or the Encore is the ability to use standard or even magnum length rounds and still have a short, handy rifle. I’m 5’-9” tall and with my 24” 300WM barrel on my Encore I can hold the rifle by the pistol grip, with my arm full extended by my side and the muzzle never comes close to the ground. If you are looking for a short, fast handling rifle for close range hunting a single shot rifle is hard to beat.
 

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Hawkeye 16.5 inch barrel Compact. Available in 308.
 

CAustin

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I have both a Kimber mountain ascent and a Kimber hunter. Both are great guns. You can always just buy a Kimber hunter and cut some barrel off.

I bought a Ruger compact .243 that has a short LOP and short barrel for a kid. I’ve hunted with it a few times. For half the price of the Kimber, the Ruger is half the value, or less. I won’t buy another one.

an R8 is a more compact gun, then you don’t have to keep adding to your gun cabinet, just add some barrels.
 

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In a lever for the thick woods a browning blr is short, light, fast and handy, so is a Winchester m94 or a marlin .44 mag, I hunt in heavy northern swamps and thick bush and find my ruger rsi #1 to be very handy, you rarely get a second chance anyways, my other favorite is a Thompson center contender in 30/30 with a low power lighted reticle scope, very lightweight, small package, 12” barre, good luck in your search
 

CAustin

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an R8 is a more compact gun, then you don’t have to keep adding to your gun cabinet, just add some barrels.
Priced an R8 lately?
 

Tra3

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Priced an R8 lately?
An R8 is less than the 2 Kimbers and the sako .375 H&H that I bought and now don’t use after getting the R8. I appreciate the learning curve of the other rifles, but wish I had just got the R8.

The Kimbers are exceedingly accurate, but the light barrels tend to walk after they warm. A Kimber Adirondack will get you about as light a rifle as possible. It would be a great choice.
 

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I have a Ruger American Predator 18" barrel in the Winchester 350 Legend caliber. It's my "thick woods" gun. It has about a 150 yd. effective range. I shoot Hornady American Whitetail 170 gr SP ammo.

The gun is inexpensive, lightweight, very low recoil, fun to shoot and accurate. The ammo is likewise inexpensive.

Have a Leupold 3x9x 40 scope atop.
 

Lee M

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So, you need a short handy rifle for shots under 100 yards, in thick cover and not a lot of 2nd shot opportunities. Most of the replies have focused on short action rifles with short barrels in calibers that work best in long barrels. The issue is not the caliber recommendations but the barrel length of those recommended rifles. So how can you combine a 22 or 24 inch barrel with a 308 or one of its derivatives and still have a short handy rifle? Simple, eliminate the action. IMHO the best rifle for your needs is a Ruger #1 in 30-06 or better yet my beloved 35 Whelen. I have used my Ruger #1 in 06 for over 25 years in the exact situation you have described, and I have never found anything better for fast close-range work on non-dangerous game. I also like the T/C Encore for this type of situation, but it is slower to reload than the Ruger #1. Another benefit of the Ruger #1 or the Encore is the ability to use standard or even magnum length rounds and still have a short, handy rifle. I’m 5’-9” tall and with my 24” 300WM barrel on my Encore I can hold the rifle by the pistol grip, with my arm full extended by my side and the muzzle never comes close to the ground. If you are looking for a short, fast handling rifle for close range hunting a single shot rifle is hard to beat.

I’ve done a lot of research and short action calibers like the .308 or 7mm08 seem to do great with barrels in the 20” range. No need for a 24” tube on these short actions for hunting as there is minimal velocity and energy loss or bullet drop at the <200 yd ranges I’m focusing on. I’m not really interested in a single shot, although they do meet the handy criteria. There are second and on occasion third shot opportunities as terrain varies in my area. Three of my four PA bear needed a quick second shot. They bust out of thick cover during drives and if your a stander having a second shot is very helpful.

The Ruger #1 is a very nice gun. My uncle has one and I’ve killed deer with it years ago when home on leave from the military. They are Beautiful, handy and weigh in around 7 lbs. I’m looking for something closer to 5 lbs bare and fully equipped with mounts and scope around 6.5 lbs. A 35 Whelen or an 06 would surely thump you on a 5 lb gun with a 20” or less barrel. Midwest has a 5 lb kimber I’m considering (see first reply in this thread) and described it as snappy with hotter .308’s. Give me a beautiful wood stock and a full size gun in 35 Whelen and I’m in. Great caliber.
 
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dougfinn

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I have a Winchester model 92 trapper in .44 mag. 16” barrel makes it light and compact and the .44 mag has a mpbr of approx 150 yds. I’ve shot blackmail deer with the .44 and it kills them quickly and has limited meat damage.
 

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