This five part series is meant to help make shopping for your Indiana deer rifle a little easier. We will discuss the rifle, optics, and ammo for each setup, why they work, and how they would best be used in the field.
Today: The Brush Gun
The Rifle – Marlin 336C – 30/30 – $549
The 30/30 is one of the most iconic hunting cartridges in American history, and who doesn’t feel like John Wayne working a lever action? It’s a natural choice for hunters who do the majority of their hunting in tangles and swamps. Modern ammunition has extended the effective range of the 30/30 considerably, but traditional rounds still excel inside 100 yards. The term “brush gun” is a bit of a misnomer, as all rounds, yes even heavy rounds like those from a 30/30, are prone to deflection. But for getting around and firing in tight quarters the compact design of the lever gun is highly desirable, and the ballistics of the 30/30 lend itself to those same close quarters. You’ll still want to wait for an open shot window to take an ethical and effective shot, but the appeal of the 30/30 for hunting in the junk can’t be overstated.
The Optic – Aimpoint 9000SC – $493
Magnification can work against you in areas where deer can be on top of you quickly because of cover. These type of conditions are perfect for a compact red dot. Red dot scopes allow you to keep both eyes open, to help with tracking deer through cover when you might lose them with a magnified optic, especially if the magnification is turned too high or the deer is too close. Aimpoint has been the standard in red dot technology for decades, so there’s no need to look for other options. Simple choose the best from the start. It’s worth it.
The Ammo – Remington Core-Lokt – 170 gr soft point – muzzle/100 yd – 2200/1895 – $19
I mentioned earlier that more modern ammo has made the 30/30 more effective at longer distances, but we aren’t building this gun to stretch it out. The soft point design helps with rapid expansion, and as an added bonus, keeps one round from setting off another in the tubular magazine. I’ve found these rounds to be perfectly accurate out to and beyond the 100-yard mark, perfect for that tight condition rifle.
A rifle that works in tight quarters, an optic specifically designed to stay on target when action is fast, and a reliable ammunition that hunters have trusted for years. A lot of things can happen hunting deer, and when the deer are right on top of you the opportunity doesn’t always exist to correct before your shot window passes. This setup maximizes efficiency, without adding unnecessary complicating factors. If you’re hunting timber with laydowns, swamps, pine thickets, or dense undergrowth, give this type of setup serious consideration.