what caliber for a lever gun for deer shooting in dense pine woodland


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Evening all, looking for some advice and thoughts on a caliber for a lever action rifle for close (max 75yds) deer gun. i love my henry .22lr lever gun with open sights for close rabbiting and would love the same kind of thing for some new land that consists of some dense pine woods. this place is old and untouched for 70 years, using a conventional bolt gun with a scope (already have a .243 and .270) is just not practical when i can only see on average 30yds safe enough to take a shot between trees into the bank behind, a few old access tracks have 75yds safe shots into the bank behind but that's it. what do you guys think on caliber?


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.30-30, if you want to stay with the Winchester or Marlin.

But if you just like lever guns, and want more versatility, the quick handling of the Marlin but the accuracy and reach of a bolt action, look at a Savage 99 or Browning BLR.
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Love lever guns in that scenario. A good old 30.30 would do the job however i did have a liking for the Browning BLR in 308.
The trigger was average at best but the detachable magazine and the ability to shoot pointed projectiles made it a winner.



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I was indeed thinking 30-30. I took a walk there yesterday with a 243 and it appears to be roe that are abundant and I have been told a large group of fallow move through the plot a few times a year. I have seen the odd red in the adjoining field so I think red may be there at some time also.

Harry mac

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45-70. Marlin 1895, mounted with a 6x42, or even a 4x32 launching a 405grn cast bullet at about 1600 fps gets you deer legal and puts deer down rapid with absolute minimum carcass damage.


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A browning M1895 in 30-06??
Otherwise, a 30-30 would be fine. A 150 loaded properly, over 2300 fps, will get you your 1700+ ft/lbs. (silly law :rolleyes:)

alberta boy

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Any of the above , but I'm biased towards the Marlins in any caliber . They're easier to scope , you never know , and there are a lot of after market accessories , sights , triggers and other cool things , available . The larger calibers work great , I have an 1895 in 45/70 , but the 30/30 , properly fed , will cleanly take any of the species that you've mentioned . Just don't try and stretch the range to much and you'll be fine . I've seen a few Moose , Elk and large Black Bears dropped by 30/30's over the years . I'm not advocating it as a large game rifle , but inside of 150 yards and in the hands of a good shot , you'd be surprised what the 30/30 can do . Handle as many different makes as you can and pick the one that fits you best . When the shooting is close and fast a properly fitting rifle is more important than a few grains in bullet weight or a couple of FPS either way . Keep us posted........ and welcome to the crusty old fart club lol .


Greener Jim

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45-70 all day long. Great calibre and perfect for anything in the UK with ease.

That been said, there is nothing stopping you getting a CZ527 or Sako Vixen and rebarreling it to one of the big bore AR15 calibres :)

Happy new year by the way
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For woods I love my 3030, only fired a 45/70 once but never hunted with it, have taken fallow red and roe with it, fast in the hand, perfect balance for carryin in hand.
As to some loads being borderline, never had a deer complain and never met anyone who can prove the speed of a shot after it's been fired.


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Any caliber marlin 30/45 cal
or blr in 270 possibly a bit unpleasant to shoot?
30/30 is very popular here for pigs and deer. Reds and fallow.

Greener Jim

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I hope so, it's my 2015 project but with my own wildcat :) that's if the wildcat offers owt new. If not it'll be 8mm Whisper which would be a great round in the UK.


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happy new year to you all! thanks for all the reply's here, i think 30-30 is the one for me then as looks as if all the reloading components are easily available (easily as can be expected at this time) a quick look in my lee modern reloading manual and sierra bullets manual looks like a 170gr flat nose bullet pushed by Ramshot TAC (i like Ramshot powder and its easy for me to get) can push it up to 2180fps and if i can get that kind of speed id be looking at 1790ft-lbs of energy or around there. do you think that the licencing dept are going to grant this for all deer species as they require a minimum of 1700ft-lbs? the home office guide on firearms licensing law doesn't even mention the 30-30 caliber, nothing really close to it as far as i can see.