This picture is of a Ruger M77 Gunsite Scout Rifle chambered in .308Win. The gun is the left handed black 16.5" model with the Burris Scout Scope, Harris Bipod and Galco Safari Ching Sling.
Dave56678, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

5 Classic Deer Rifles That Have Proven Timeless

Your grandfather's generation used some of the best deer hunting rifles ever made. These five classic deer rifles have a near-perfect blend of form and functionality. The power and reliability of these accurate rifles like the Winchester Model 70 or the German-made Mauser M98 are hard to beat even under today's standards.

They were the best hunting guns put to market in those times, and they jumped off the store shelves during North American deer seasons.

And if your grandpa owned one of these lever guns or bolt actions and passed it down to you, consider yourself lucky. While they may not all be worth a lot today, they can still take down big game just as well as last century. These five rifles are timeless and will likely always have a place in modern deer hunting. Check them out!

Marlin Model 336

classic deer rifle

Boris Barowski, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Chances are your grandpa or one of his hunting buddies used an original Marlin 336 lever rifle during their deer hunting days. The 336 is one of the most reliable and accurate lever-action sporting rifles ever. Since its introduction in 1948, the company has produced more than 6 million Model 336s.

The rifle has several variations, but it's most commonly chambered for .30-30 Winchester and .35 Remington ammo cartridges. The 336 is still the go-to deer gun for many whitetail hunters.

Ruger M77

classic deer rifle

Rhk111, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Ruger M77 is a rifle for hunters who want something consistent and don't need all the bells and whistles. When I was growing up, my grandfather had an M77, and he told me stories about how this gun was unbreakable no matter what conditions he was in.

The original Model 70 had a Mauser-style extractor that ensured a reliable feed, a crucial feature to big-game hunters. Other critical components of the Model 70 include three-way wing-tip safety and seriously dead-on accuracy. Pre-1964 Model 70's were chambered for the .257 Roberts, a popular cartridge for whitetail hunters. It's a timeless design that's just as effective now in the hands of deer hunters as it was when it was first released more than 70 years ago.

Weatherby Mark V

classic deer rifle

John Torcasio, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

When thinking of classic rifles that have stood the test of time, there aren't many names quite as iconic as Weatherby. Word has it, Roy Weatherby noticed they could make improvements to the Mauser, another classic and iconic rifle, and thus created the Mark V.

Nearly seven decades later, the Mark V has become such a staple for deer hunting that Weatherby still uses its incredible, smooth action on all their new rifles.

Winchester Model 1894

classic deer rifle

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The Winchester Model 1894, commonly referred to as the Winchester Model 94, is one of the most popular deer hunting rifles.

Historians have referred to it as "The Ultimate Lever Action Gun." This rifle was light, comfortable, fast-shooting, and highly effective with follow-up shots at short distances. While this rifle is not ideal for all deer hunters, it can still be a powerful weapon for those who pursue wild game in dense forests.

Mauser Model 98

No classic deer rifle has had quite the influence on the entire industry as the Mauser Model 98. The German-made Mauser Model 98 was a devastating bolt-action rifle on the battlefields of WWI and WWII. American soldiers who fired captured Mauser M98s quickly realized the rifle's accuracy and reliability translated to hunting.

This rifle outweighed bolt guns of the time because it could take a beating and shoot straight in about any condition. The Mauser M98 was adapted into "sporter" models, which are hard to come by. But even without the modifications for sport shooting, the Mauser M98 is a highly effective deer rifle.

Today, the innovation and technology from the Mauser Model 98 are reflected in modern rifles, even from competitors. If you can't beat 'em,' join 'em.'

This article was originally published on February 17, 2021.