These rifles in .450 Bushmaster will increase your range this season.
If you are like me and grew up in the Midwest, you probably love the hunting here, but hate the outdated regulations when it comes to legal firearms for deer. I grew up in Zone 3, aka: "the shotgun zone" here in Michigan and have always traditionally hunted with a Remington 870 shotgun.
One of the frustrating things about living in a shotgun state is the limitations in range offered by many slug guns. Fortunately, things have become easier in recent years as many states have begun allowing "straight wall cartridge" rifle cartridges like handgun chamberings like .44 Magnum, or newer rounds like the .350 Legend to be used in deer season. However, it can be argued that no round is more popular in Michigan, Iowa, Indiana or Ohio than .450 Bushmaster. It is a heavy, fast, and hard-hitting round that knocks deer down quickly and is an ideal choice for ammo reloading enthusiasts too.
Famous hunter and shooter Jeff Cooper is largely credited with the idea behind this large bore round which uses a .284 Winchester as a parent case. Cooper wanted a big bore rifle that would outperform the .223 Remington and deliver a large round like the famous .44 Magnum at a distance.
The resulting .450 Bushmaster was originally called ".45 Professional. It is basically a .45 caliber bullet capable of speeds of up to 2,100 fps, even with heavy 250-grain Hornady bullets. On most big game animals, this round is lethal. For the average whitetail deer, it drops most of them with just one shot. If accuracy to 200 yards and less time blood trailing sounds intriguing, check out our list of the top .450 Bushmaster rifles on the market today.
Ruger American Rifle Ranch
This is arguably one of the most popular bolt-action rifles in Michigan right now because of the solid price point, reliability, and availability. This gun features an FDE synthetic stock fitted with a generous rubber buttpad to tame the recoil of this powerful rifle cartridge. The cold hammer-forged barrel is already threaded. Speaking of which, the barrel length is 16.12 inches. Thanks to that short barrel, the overall length is only about 36 inches, making it feel closer to a carbine style rifle in length. Perfect for brushy areas. The trigger pull can be adjusted, and the bolt has a 70-degree throw on it. This rifle has a capcity of 3+1 rounds, which perfectly fits into most state's guidelines. Odds are you will not need a follow-up. This rifle is a tack driver and will drop most big bucks in their tracks with just a single shot. This rifle comes fitted with a factory-installed rail waiting for the optic of your choice. Ruger somehow managed to keep the weight of this rifle a feather light 5.5 pounds, making it a true joy to lug deep into the deer woods.
Savage Arms Apex 110 Apex Hunter XP
The Savage 110 bolt-action rifle platform is a classic that has been enjoyed by countless hunters for decades. Now hunters who never had a chance to use a centerfire rifle before have a chance to see what all the fuss is about. The Apex Hunter XP package is a great deal because this rifle comes with a 3-9x40mm Vortex Crossfire II scope already mounted and bore-sighted. Just head to the range and start sighting it in. This rifle features a 22-inch barrel length with a 1:24 rate of twist for superior accuracy. The detachable box magazine holds three rounds. The other great thing about this rifle is how adjustable it is. Savage incorporated their awesome AccuFit and AccuTrigger systems into this rifle. That means you can adjust the length of pull, comb height and trigger pull to best suit your needs without a visit to an expensive gunsmith. After many years of having a .450 on my wishlist, I used this rifle to harvest a Michigan 8-pointer at 100 yards using 250-grain Hornady FTX bullets during the 2020 season.
Mossberg Patriot Synthetic
Maybe you have been wanting to pick up a straight-wall cartridge rifle for a while, but the price has been scaring you away. Mossberg offers their Patriot platform chambered in .450 Bushmaster for just $359. Now you have no excuse to not go out and extend your range this season. The Patriot has a simple matte blued finish and a 20-inch barrel that is already threaded. The barrel has a 1:24 rate of twist to provide great accuracy at longer distances. No longer will you have to watch that buck across that cornfield walk out of range and out of sight forever. This rifle has a synthetic stock which helps drop the weight down to 6.5 pounds. The overall length is just a hair over 40 inches making for a compact package. It has weaver style bases for mounting a scope. There is a lot to like about this rifle in a very affordable package.
Bergara B-14 HMR
If you live in the southern part of Michigan like I do, odds are you have experienced the frustration of watching the buck of a lifetime walk out of sight hundreds of yards away across the open cornfields we have down here. That is where the Bergara comes in. It can easily reach out 200 yards or more if you need it to. This rifle is not cheap, but this rifle offers a fully adjustable cheek piece and spacers to adjust the length of pull. The free-floating 20-inch barrel has a 1:24 rate of twist. It is fitted with Remington 700-style bases for a long-range optic. This gun has a slightly higher capacity than many other .450 Bushmasters on the market, holding 4+1 rounds. Bergara says they guarantee 1.0 MOA groups at 100 yards using factory match grade ammo for those who want to settle for nothing less than the best
Henry Single Shot
If you have watched any videos of deer hunting with .450 Bushmaster online, you have likely seen that few hunters need more than one shot with one. This round makes most deer crumple where they stand. With that in mind, a single shot is not a bad idea here if you are looking for simplicity. Henry may be well-known for their lever actions, but they make a single shot .450 Bushmaster too. This rifle has a classic hunting rifle look with the walnut stock and blued finish. This rifle has a 22-inch barrel and is fully ambidextrous. It is also a safe gun thanks to a rebounding external hammer system. This gun comes with a simple bead front sight and a semi-buckhorn rear for the hunter looking for a simple design that offers more of a challenge.
Windham Weaponry 450 Thumper
While bolt-action .450 Bushmaster rifles have become all the rage in the Midwest, semi-auto rifles chambered in this round have become quite popular too. A gun like this will allow you to put a serious hurt on a sounder of feral hogs without a ton of follow-up shots. The Windham Weaponry 450 Thumper is a great choice. This rifle features a forged 7075 T6 aircraft-grade aluminum receiver, top picatinny rail, and uses a gas impingement system to cycle those big rounds fast. The 16-inch chrome lined barrel has a 1:24 rate of twist and has a flash suppressor. This rifle holds 5+1 rounds. It has a black anodized hardcoat finish. For a big bore sporting rifle, they also kept the weight down to a surprising 7.2 pounds. For deer, hogs or other big game, this rifle is sure to do the job well.
CVA Scout V2 Takedown
For the hunter looking for a lot of bang for their buck (pun intended), the CVA Scout is worth a look. This single shot rifle comes fitted with a Konus 3-9x40mm scope right out of the box. The stainless steel barrel is 25 inches long and is fluted with a 1:24 rate of twist for excellent accuracy. It also has a muzzle brake and a CrushZone pad to help tame the recoil. That would make this a solid rifle to have a younger hunter use during the youth season. The biggest bonus this rifle offers is the fact that it is a takedown model. That means easy storage in compact places. If you were looking for a new brush plane gun in a larger bore, the Scout rifle may be just the ticket. For $500, there is a lot to like about this package.
Christensen Arms Ridgeline
For those looking for a rifle that they can use beyond the cornfields and swamps of the Midwest whitetail woods, the Ridgeline is one of the best on the market. This rifle features a carbon fiber composite stock that helps drop the weight to 6.8 pounds. That means you could take this one on a backcountry, out-of-state adventure hunting for bear or elk. The free floating 20-inch stainless barrel has a 1:16 rate of twist and features a radial muzzle brake. The match grade trigger is adjustable between 2.5-3.5 pounds. The bolt is twin lug and is spiral fluted with an M16-style extractor. This rifle has a 3+1 capacity and the receiver has an enlarged ejection port for better cycling. If you are looking for a high-grade hunting rifle that can be used for anything, the Christensen Arms Ridgeline is the way to go.