These are the best rifles for Michigan deer.
There are few states more seeped in hunting traditions than Michigan. Opening day of the regular firearms season is practically a holiday in some parts of the state. Hundreds of thousands of hunters take to the woods each deer hunting season in hopes of bagging one of the state’s elusive big bucks.
In years past, deer hunters were limited in their pursuit of whitetail deer in the southern part of the state because of antiquated laws that only allowed the use of shotguns and muzzleloaders. In recent years, the Michigan DNR has begun allowing centerfire straight-walled cartridge deer rifles that extend range to greater distances.
With that in mind, we’re rounding up our top choices for hunting rifles for the Great Lakes state. We’ve included a selection for all three zones here, so hunters are sure to find something that will put venison in the freezer season after season.
This bolt-action rifle is a solid choice for firearms deer season no matter what part of the state you hunt thanks to the variety of chambering options available. Hunters in Zone 3 will appreciate this gun being available in .350 Legend while hunters in more northerly zones will appreciate classic deer rounds like .270, .308 Win Mag, or .30-06 Springfield. Winchester offers suppressor-ready options and a variety of barrel and stock finishes. No matter what you’re looking for, there’s bound to be an XPR that fits your needs. They also sell combo packages with bore-sighted scopes already mounted. Winchester has kept the weight down under seven pounds for most of these rifles and with a price point in the $600 range, they are extremely affordable on just about any budget.
At just over $400, this rifle is a great budget option available in a variety of chamberings from classic .243 Winchester to .350 Legend. For only about $40 more, you can get one of Savage’s XP packages that includes a 3-9x40mm scope that comes bore-sighted from the factory. These rifles feature a carbon steel barrel and receiver. The synthetic stock helps keep the weight right around seven pounds and will stand up to some of the brushier areas of southern Michigan.
Ruger American Rifle
Arguably the most popular rifle for big game hunting in Michigan right now, the American Rifle is available in a plethora of chambering options from classic deer rounds like .270 Winchester for the northern part of the state and the mighty .450 Bushmaster for the southern half. Ruger offers these bolt-actions in standard and compact variants. Go with the standard if you want better ballistics and accuracy. Go with the compact Ranch version if you want a lighter, easier to handle package. Although even the standard versions of these rifles come in at just a hair over six pounds. These rifles offer a three-lug bolt with a 70-degree throw for smoother cycling and excellent ergonomics in the stock. Most fall in the $600-$650 range.
Mossberg Patriot Hunting
Another quality rifle that is available for an affordable price. Mossberg offers this rifle in calibers that will cover every zone in Michigan. They also offer finishes and stocks to suit any hunter’s tastes. Like traditional? Go with a classic walnut stock. Want light and easy to handle for the youngsters in the Liberty Hunt? Go with the synthetic options, which come in just a hair over 6.5 pounds. There is also a youth model with spacers that can help the rifle grow as your child does. These rifles feature a trigger that can be adjusted from two to seven pounds. They also offer combo packages with a Vortex Crossfire II 3-9×40 optic already mounted.
Henry Steel Side Gate
You cannot go wrong with a classic name like Henry rifles for Michigan hunting. Their lever-action rifles are a design that stands the test of time. The great thing about Henry is they offer a few more caliber options that are harder to find in other platforms. For instance, these rifles are available in popular handgun cartridges like .44 Magnum, and .357 Magnum. They also sell several varieties chambered in .45-70 Gov which is legal for use throughout the state. Not only are Henry rifles well-made, they age extremely well. These are guns you can pass on to your children and grandchildren someday.
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