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Deer hunting is an important part of living off the grid. Unless you have a place to keep a steer and plenty of hay and grain to feed him, you’ve got to have a good source of healthy meat for your family. Hunting deer and other game is the best way to keep your freezer full, and it is also a good way to keep the deer population healthy.
Let’s talk about that deer population for just a minute. Who doesn’t love the beautiful sight of a doe and her fawns on a misty morning? And who can deny the magnificent power a big, handsome buck conveys? Deer are some of God’s finest creations.
Unfortunately, folks have forgotten the fact that deer are meant to be food for predators, and that has led to overpopulation and disease. Deer starve if they don’t have enough to eat, so do the species a favor and use them as the good Lord intended. The best tasting deer are younger does and smaller bucks.
A big, handsome buck with a good looking rack is a nice trophy. However, if you can, avoid shooting the best-looking specimens unless you really have to. Here’s why: big bucks have proven themselves. They are healthy breeders, and they help keep the population stable. If you’re living off the grid, you want a healthy deer population to pick from, and shooting the best bucks in the area is a dumb idea. Shoot a “spike” or “forkie,” and let grandpa enjoy his retirement.
Now that we’ve discussed some of the philosophy of deer hunting, let’s get down to brass cartridges. Here are just a few good .270 rifles, perfect for carrying longer distances and sized right for even smaller hunters. Let’s go get some deer.
Browning BAR Mark II Lightweight Stalker
Browning’s BAR Mark II Lightweight Stalker is a dependable deer rifle with some solid technology behind it. First, it’s a good choice for smaller folks. Once your kids are old enough to shoot, they will enjoy the light recoil as well as the proven accuracy this Browning provides. This is a short- to medium-range semi-automatic rifle with a gas-operated autoloader, so you’re going to spend a bit more on it than you would a more basic gun. You can find a new Browning BAR Mark II Lightweight Stalker for just under $1,200.00
Kimber Classic 84L
The Kimber Classic 84L is a bolt-action deer rifle that weighs a little more than six pounds. Most deer rifles weigh closer to eight pounds, so if you plan to spend the day trekking through the woods in search of a deer or two, you’ll definitely appreciate the 25% weight reduction. This nice little deer rifle has classic good looks – it has a walnut stock and a twenty-four-inch match grade barrel. It is also equipped with a three position wing safety. It holds five rounds, which makes it a good choice for younger or less experienced hunters who might need an extra shot or two to bring down their deer. Last, but definitely not least, it has a light recoil, thanks to the 1 inch Pachmayr decelerator pad.
Priced at just under $1,200.00 brand new, the Kimber Classic 84L is just as much of an investment as the Browning Lightweight Stalker. Deciding between the two styles is tough, but for my money, I’ll go for the Kimber for off-the-grid living, since it is a bolt-action rifle instead of a gas-operated autoloader. While I wouldn’t expect the Browning autoloader to fail, I would rather play it safe and go for a high quality deer rifle I can easily maintain myself with simple tools and a little know how.
While these are just two examples of brand new deer rifles in the .270 range, there are a lot of great deer rifles out there. So do your homework and, if you decide to buy a used rifle to save a bit of money, be sure to inspect it carefully before you hand over the cash. If you are not familiar with guns, bring someone who has more knowledge than you when you shop to avoid making a poor decision. While you will pay more for a high-quality rifle, it is a good idea to get the best you can afford. You’ll be able to hunt with it for life and pass it on to the next generation.