If it weren’t for these guns, you’d be better off with a bow and arrow.
- Winchester Model 76
This is really the first of the high-powered hunting rifles. While the ’76 was eclipsed by its predecessor the ’73, experts consider this the gold standard because of its sheer power. The ‘73 had been chambered for rimfire and centerfire handgun cartridges. But the ‘76 was a true deer rifle with its more powerful calibers. Teddy Roosevelt had three M-76s, and Buffalo Bill Cody swore by them. It was known as the Centennial Model because it was introduced just as the U.S. Centennial Exposition commenced in Philadelphia in 1876.
- Winchester 73
This is the gun that has its very own classic film starring the legendary Jimmy Stewart. Known as the gun that won the West, the ‘73 was manufactured between 1873 and 1919. Originally chambered for the .44-40 cartridge, it was later produced in .38-40 and .32-20. These were the popular handgun cartridges of the day, which meant that Westerners only needed one set of ammo to shoot bad guys and buffalo.
- Krag .30/40
This is the bolt-action rifle — the one that sparked a movement among hunters. It all started when the Scandinavian Krag/Jorgensen rifle was adopted by the U.S. military in 1892. This is the rifle that was in the hands of Teddy Roosevelt and his Rough Riders when they charged up San Juan Hill. After the U.S. military went with the ’03 Springfield as its official rifle, surplus Krags flooded into the United States and were cut down and customized for deer hunting.
- Winchester Model 95
OK, we’re trying not to make this all about the Winchester, but now you know why it’s a household name, even among people who’ve never picked up a gun in their lives. Teddy Roosevelt — surely the president who did more for guns and hunting than any other — used this rifle on his famous African Safari. The M1895 was also the last of the lever-action rifles to be designed by John Browning – yes, that Browning. It featured a rear locking bolt like previous designs dating back to the Winchester 1886.
- Savage Model 99
The Savage Model 99, first appearing in 1899, was the first hammer-less lever rifle. It incorporated a brand-new rotary magazine design that was unique for its time. It had a faster lock time and used pointed, spritzer-type bullets. It was available in a number of fabulous deer cartridges like the .250/3000, .300 Savage and the .308 Winchester.
- Remington Model 8 Autoloader
Just over a century ago, Remington was known simply as the “Autoloading Rifle Company.” The Browning-designed (yes, again, that Browning) Model 8 Autoloader was a game changer. It made the self-loading rifle a mainstay for deer hunters throughout America. Winchester’s late attempt at autoloaders just could not top this square-backed classic.
- Savage Model 110
Also introduced in 1899, the Savage lever rifle was way ahead of its time. With a streamlined, hammer-less profile, slick-feeding rotary magazine and innovative calibers, such as the .250/3000 and .300 Savage, the 99 is one of America’s immortal deer rifles.