Best Caliber for New England Deer Hunting?!

What is the Best Caliber for New England Deer Hunting?

  • .308

    Votes: 22 35.5%
  • 7mm-08

    Votes: 3 4.8%
  • 6.5 Creedmoor

    Votes: 4 6.5%
  • .243

    Votes: 4 6.5%
  • Other

    Votes: 34 54.8%

  • Total voters
    62

M60

NES Member
Rating - 100%
56   0   0
Joined
Sep 24, 2010
Messages
5,486
Likes
4,167
Location
Occupied Massachusetts
Exactly. That's about as much practice as I can take from a 12ga with slugs.
For deer hunting in Ma., I switched to 20 ga. about 15 years ago. Shot for shot, the 20ga. knocks the deer down, as well as my 12 ga. ever did. I carry a lighter shotgun, "Remington, 1100 ,lightweight, 20 ga., semi auto, with a rifled barrel. I load it with those fancy slugs from Hornady, for rifled barrels. In the opened areas around cranberry bogs, 100 yard shots are pretty common. The 20 ga, Hornady slugs have never failed to drop the deer for me, even on the run.
 

M60

NES Member
Rating - 100%
56   0   0
Joined
Sep 24, 2010
Messages
5,486
Likes
4,167
Location
Occupied Massachusetts
I cut my teeth hunting with the Sweet 16 A-5. Still have it. It will always be my favorite deer gun. I had an Ithaca featherweight in 16, never should have sold it, I still have a Winchester Model 12 pump in 16. There are many old pumps and doubles in 16. I just recently passed up buying an 870 in 16 off the Cabelas rack. Begrudgingly, and now it's gone. 16 is my favorite for game hunting overall bird or deer.

Ithaca Gun still makes a 16 pump, CZ makes a double in 16 for about $900, Browning makes pumps and the A-5 in 16 currently. Its not only in expensive English guns.

16 isn't going by by, anytime soon. They tried to replace it with the 20 gauge mag.....and failed.
I had a sweet 16 with both the bird barrel and the very rare buck barrel. Damn thing was so pretty, that I could never bring myself to take into the brush, to hunt with.
 
Last edited:

Mark from MA

NES Member
Rating - 100%
47   0   0
Joined
Jun 4, 2008
Messages
5,355
Likes
2,111
I had a sweet 16 with the both the bird barrel and the very rare buck barrel. Damn thing was so pretty, that I could never bring myself to take into the brush, to hunt with.

I get that. My dad bought an A-5 Light 20 with a 26” bird barrel. Carries like a dream. The thing had some super fancy grade 5 burl walnut even though it was a standard priced production gun. He saw that on the wall and had to have it.

I use it like once a year use it because I dont want to be the one to scratch that thing. Which is relatively dumb, but whatever. Plus now they dont make them anymore.
 

Mark from MA

NES Member
Rating - 100%
47   0   0
Joined
Jun 4, 2008
Messages
5,355
Likes
2,111
For deer hunting in Ma., I switched to 20 ga. about 15 years ago. Shot for shot, the 20ga. knocks the deer down, as well as my 12 ga. ever did. I carry a lighter shotgun, "Remington, 1100 ,lightweight, 20 ga., semi auto, with a rifled barrel. I load it with those fancy slugs from Hornady, for rifled barrels. In the opened areas around cranberry bogs, 100 yard shots are pretty common. The 20 ga, Hornady slugs have never failed to drop the deer for me, even on the run.

Same here. 20 gauge 11-87 with Hornady. Or the 20 Gauge TC encore when im in open spots.

Accurate and never had a issue taking a deer down hard with a 20.

Ive never shot a deer with a 12, went right from the sweet 16 to the 20 gauge.
I dont bother with 3” either.
 
  • Like
Reactions: M60

M60

NES Member
Rating - 100%
56   0   0
Joined
Sep 24, 2010
Messages
5,486
Likes
4,167
Location
Occupied Massachusetts
Same here. 20 gauge 11-87 with Hornady. Or the 20 Gauge TC encore when im in open spots.

Accurate and never had a issue taking a deer down hard with a 20.

Ive never shot a deer with a 12, went right from the sweet 16 to the 20 gauge.
I dont bother with 3” either.
Your right. 2 3/4" does the job just fine.
 
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Joined
Jul 19, 2010
Messages
886
Likes
210
Location
Berkshires, MA - in the woods
After giving this a lot of thought, the .243 is my choice because it is a great rifle for both whitetail and coyote.
I really should buy one.
That said, I have taken all my deer with a 30-06, shotgun, muzzleloader, .44 Mag handgun, or my go-to rifle - a .300 WBY
 

Mark from MA

NES Member
Rating - 100%
47   0   0
Joined
Jun 4, 2008
Messages
5,355
Likes
2,111
After giving this a lot of thought, the .243 is my choice because it is a great rifle for both whitetail and coyote.
I really should buy one.
That said, I have taken all my deer with a 30-06, shotgun, muzzleloader, .44 Mag handgun, or my go-to rifle - a .300 WBY
For deer and smaller....I'm with you on this 243 or 6mm thing......

I'm not recoil sensitive, but when my 11 year old son dropped 120# dressed doe in its tracks with a .243 at 250 yards. I kinda thought why would you need anything bigger and deal with recoil, meat loss, and just plain overkill. Instead, you can watch your hit right thru the scope and know what happens.

And you really should buy one...LOL
 
Rating - 100%
1   0   0
Joined
Nov 8, 2005
Messages
24,993
Likes
3,542
For deer and smaller....I'm with you on this 243 or 6mm thing......

I'm not recoil sensitive, but when my 11 year old son dropped 120# dressed doe in its tracks with a .243 at 250 yards. I kinda thought why would you need anything bigger and deal with recoil, meat loss, and just plain overkill. Instead, you can watch your hit right thru the scope and know what happens.

And you really should buy one...LOL
Some articles:





ON A DIFFERENT NOTE:
What do people like for 2 3/4 12ga slugs? Right now, Winchester or Remington, but open to ideas. Probably going to hit Walmart for whatever they have.
 

whacko

NES Member
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Joined
Jul 26, 2012
Messages
10,430
Likes
6,551
What do people like for 2 3/4 12ga slugs? Right now, Winchester or Remington, but open to ideas. Probably going to hit Walmart for whatever they have.
I've found that different brands of slugs are more or less accurate depending on the gun. My old a5 buck special likes Winchester and hated federals and remington. My wife's Mossberg 500 did well with Remington slugger.

Foster (rifled) slugs are generally inexpensive. Try a few different types till you find one that groups best.
 
Rating - 100%
1   0   0
Joined
Nov 8, 2005
Messages
24,993
Likes
3,542
I just found another box of Super-X! 1600 FPS for 1 oz, wow, I am impressed.

I grabbed exactly the same box before heading out last, and opened it to find some old Remington 00 buckshot shells in there. I was not happy, and should have known better to label properly when storing them. Good to have both.
 

Mark from MA

NES Member
Rating - 100%
47   0   0
Joined
Jun 4, 2008
Messages
5,355
Likes
2,111
I've found that different brands of slugs are more or less accurate depending on the gun. My old a5 buck special likes Winchester and hated federals and remington. My wife's Mossberg 500 did well with Remington slugger.

Foster (rifled) slugs are generally inexpensive. Try a few different types till you find one that groups best.
I like Brenneke's and so did my Browning A-5 sweet 16 buck barrel.

Federals were probably the worst if remember right.
 

rocket500

NES Member
Rating - 100%
46   0   0
Joined
Jul 9, 2012
Messages
2,869
Likes
779
My dad has killed 100+ deer with his .243 Weatherby Vanguard. It’s an old one. It has a pre lawyer era trigger that is a pound and change pull. It is a tack driver. He’s almost never had a deer make it more than a few feet from where it was shot. He’s patient and only takes clean shots.

I myself am a big 6.5 Creedmoor fan. Plenty of power for deer sized game and less recoil than a .308. Not that I care about recoil for deer hunting but shooting long strings off a bench you notice it.

In MA I shoot a Savage 220 bolt action shotgun. It’s a dandy of a gun. Really a rifle even though it shoots shotgun shells.
 

HorizontalHunter

NES Member
Rating - 100%
4   0   0
Joined
Jun 23, 2009
Messages
5,066
Likes
3,092
Location
Western Massachusetts
Regardless of caliber, within reason of course, shot placement is always king.

Bob


Brachial Plexus: Drop A Deer In Its Tracks
by Industry News


Author: D&DH Editor Dan Schmidt / Source: Deer & Deer Hunting | Whitetail Deer Hunting Tips


A bullet to the brachial plexus will drop a deer in its tracks every time.
Perfect shot placement of a shot is what all hunters should seek. If you want to know how drop a deer in its tracks, you should familiarize yourself with the physiological term brachial plexus. Once you know what this is, you might look at deer and deer hunting (and shot placement) in a completely different fashion.

To drop that deer in its tracks, know that brachial plexus is the scientific name for the network of veins, nerves, tendons and muscles that encompass the shoulder and scapula (or “shoulder blade”). Seasoned deer hunters know that a bullet that’s shot through the scapula damages the brachial plexus, which is part of the central nervous system, and renders the animal almost instantaneously immobile.

That is why the high-shoulder shot has always been a recommended aiming target among gun-hunters. The shoulder blade, at its widest section, is about a 3-inch circle — a large target for a gun-hunter — that offers a wide room for error. Bullets kill deer via trauma. A shot that misses high will hit the spinal column; a shot that misses low will take out the heart; and a rearward shot will take out the lungs.

Read more:
Brachial Plexus: Drop a Deer in Its Tracks - Fin and Field Blog
 

Mark from MA

NES Member
Rating - 100%
47   0   0
Joined
Jun 4, 2008
Messages
5,355
Likes
2,111
I believe in the Brachial Plexus for just about any deer size RIFLE round including .243.

I would never shoot a deer with a Shotgun slug in the shoulder blade, especially at longer ranges over 50 yards, I've seen it happen, and I've seen it not penetrate the scapula,or high shoulder area, and tracked deer wounded, that have never been found. More than once. I treat a shotgun slug similar to that of an arrow, with exception that I can shoot the neck or base of the neck, or front on chest...where you wouldn't with an arrow. But broadside with a shotgun, I'm still going for behind the shoulder, lungs or heart intersection.

I'm not saying it can't be done, it certainly can work, especially with energy at close range........but I've been on enough bad tracking nightmares with three legged broken shoulder deer to know otherwise. Most all of these have been on larger big bucks that no one wanted to lose. For shitty 100 pound doe, yeah...your probably going to drop it in its tracks.
 

HorizontalHunter

NES Member
Rating - 100%
4   0   0
Joined
Jun 23, 2009
Messages
5,066
Likes
3,092
Location
Western Massachusetts
Agreed.

Rifle for sure.

Shotgun saboted round for sure, SB slugger depends.

Archery gear foolish.

I am always amazed at how many hunters don’t know about that shot.

IMO it is the best shot if you have it. I have a hard time getting around so I am extremely careful about my shots and pass a lot of deer. I have no desire to chase a deer all over the mountainside. Been there done that.

Bob
 

Mark from MA

NES Member
Rating - 100%
47   0   0
Joined
Jun 4, 2008
Messages
5,355
Likes
2,111
Agreed.

Rifle for sure.

Shotgun saboted round for sure, SB slugger depends.

Archery gear foolish.

I am always amazed at how many hunters don’t know about that shot.

IMO it is the best shot if you have it. I have a hard time getting around so I am extremely careful about my shots and pass a lot of deer. I have no desire to chase a deer all over the mountainside. Been there done that.

Bob
With a RIFLE, especially a .243 or smaller pill, you want to hit some shoulder and transfer energy and shock. If you shoot it clean thru the lungs without hitting much, its not like a broadhead or a slug, its an awful small hole and won't leave much of a blood trail.
 

Mark from MA

NES Member
Rating - 100%
47   0   0
Joined
Jun 4, 2008
Messages
5,355
Likes
2,111
My dad has killed 100+ deer with his .243 Weatherby Vanguard. It’s an old one. It has a pre lawyer era trigger that is a pound and change pull. It is a tack driver. He’s almost never had a deer make it more than a few feet from where it was shot. He’s patient and only takes clean shots.

I myself am a big 6.5 Creedmoor fan. Plenty of power for deer sized game and less recoil than a .308. Not that I care about recoil for deer hunting but shooting long strings off a bench you notice it.

In MA I shoot a Savage 220 bolt action shotgun. It’s a dandy of a gun. Really a rifle even though it shoots shotgun shells.
Everyone I know talks about the 220 as accurate. If I didn't have the T/C as my long range option, I'd get one.
 

hminsky

NES Life Member
NES Member
Rating - 100%
60   0   0
Joined
Dec 2, 2005
Messages
7,485
Likes
3,081
My slugs cost me about .80 cents a bang. Smooth bore......remmy sluggers.

But yes.....after 5-10 practice shots I'm done.
I don't hunt but I have the Knoxx recoil reducing stock on Remington 870 it is like night and day, I can shoot anything out of it without pain, including magnum slugs, as opposed to a regular 12 GA stock which I admit I'm a wimp I won't shoot at all if I can help it.
 

whacko

NES Member
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Joined
Jul 26, 2012
Messages
10,430
Likes
6,551
I don't hunt but I have the Knoxx recoil reducing stock on Remington 870 it is like night and day, I can shoot anything out of it without pain, including magnum slugs, as opposed to a regular 12 GA stock which I admit I'm a wimp I won't shoot at all if I can help it.
Never felt a thing when putting a slug into a deer. Only hurts when I check zero before the season.
 
Top Bottom