THE BEST MULE DEER RIFLE CALIBER
What is the best mule deer rifle caliber? It’s been the subject of years and years of debate and discussion by trophy mule deer hunters that are hunting the elusive mule deer bucks that inhabit the wide open spaces of the Arizona Strip and Kaibab Plateau where 500 plus yard shots can be required to be successful.
Is there a big game rifle caliber out there that shoots flat, hits hard, and can fire bullets both light enough and heavy enough to successfully dispatch the trophy mule deer bucks that are found on the Arizona Strip and Kaibab Plateau? Can this rifle and it’s ammo be found easily in most gun shops and sporting goods stores? Can this rifle and ammo be had without having to go through the time consuming and sometimes frustrating process of reloading ammunition or having to order a hard to find custom rifle that may cost thousands of dollars?
THE BEST MULE DEER RIFLE CALIBER
Look no further for the perfect answer to all of the above questions: The .300 Remington Ultra Magnum. This hunting rifle caliber is perfectly capable of meeting all of the above requirements with factory rifles and factory ammo that can be easily found in most of todays gun shops and sporting good stores. What makes this caliber stand out in our eyes is what is stated in the previous sentence. You can get incredible long range performance and accuracy in this caliber from all factory rifles and factory ammo.
Let’s take a look at one of our personal .300 Remington Ultra Mag. rifles and how it’s set up.
We ended up choosing a Remington Sendero PSS rifle in an all black finish with an H-S Precision synthetic stock. This rifle features a 26 inch heavy bull barrel and a crisp 2 pound trigger. This rifle is completely stock the way that it came off the stores shelf except for the trigger that was lightened up by one of our local gunsmiths. The only drawback to this mule deer rifle is that it is extremely heavy. It can get heavy to pack all day in rough terrain while hunting trophy Kaibab bucks and trophy Arizona strip bucks but that extra weight is well worth it for the stability and steadiness that it offers when shooting at extremely long ranges.
For a scope we chose a Leupold 6 x 18 -40mm VXII scope with tactical turrets that allow us to quickly dial this rifle in for ranges out to 1,000 yards. A Pivoting Harris bipod completes the setup. All of these items can be easily found in just about any gun shop or sporting goods store.
For ammo we shoot Remington Extended Range factory ammo with the 150 grain Swift Scirocco bullets. With these factory loads our long range mule deer rifle chronographs at exactly 3,500 feet per second at the muzzle. That is extremely impressive performance for an all factory rifle and ammo setup. The accuracy that this setup also produces is second to none. It definitely is loud and you will feel the recoil but it isn’t anything that is unmanageable with some practice.
The .300 Remington Ultra Mag. can handle bullets up to 250 grains with great speed and accuracy which makes it ideal for the giant mule deer bucks that are found on the Arizona Strip and Kaibab Plateau. The .300 Remington Ultra Mag. is the caliber that currently holds one of the long range distance records for harvest shots that we have have personally witnessed while guiding clients in the field.
During one of the late season bull elk hunts in Arizona, we were fortunate enough to be guiding a great father-son team that both carried .300 Remington Ultra Mags. Before this particular hunt took place one of the furthest harvest shots that we had personally witnessed was 600 yards plus and again it was with a .300 Remington Ultra Magnum.
To be honest, we were all a little skeptical when we were talking to these guys during the hunt as they kept reassuring us that they were very accurate out to 1,000 yards with their rifles. We have had a lot of big game hunters come into camp talking a great big game of how they can shoot and hit things a mile away only to end up totally bombing easy shots at big game at ranges under 300 yards. Both of them shot great groups at 100 yards when we checked their rifles before the hunt but shooting at big game in the field and shooting off a bench at close range are a night and day difference to say the least. We took their 1,000 yard confidence in their weapons with a grain of salt and concentrated on finding them some good bulls.
A good looking bull that we decided to shoot appeared on day 6 of the 7 day elk hunt and the stalk was underway. The bull was feeding with a couple of other bulls on a distant hillside and halfway through the stalk it became apparent that the terrain was not going to allow us to get very close for a shot. The closest we could get to the elk without losing a visual on them was 746 yards. Any closer and the elk were lost to us in an ocean of cedars. Our hunter promptly said that he felt comfortable and confident with the extreme range so we quickly set up for the shot.
The bipod came out, our client dialed the turrets on his scope to 746 yards, and we waited for the bull to turn broadside. After a few minutes the bull finally turned and he turned the first shot loose. Perfect hit. We told him to hit him again so he fired another round. Another perfect hit. The bull was just getting ready to go down when he fired again. Make that 3 perfect hits now. At 746 yards. Off a bipod. In the field. At a live animal. Damn.
At that range and in the cold weather we were able to watch all 3 of the bullet’s vapor trails fly through the air and land perfectly into the bull’s vitals. We would have called big time BS on this had I not been there to see it. Upon inspecting the bull we found that two of the shots were complete pass throughs and one bullet was perfectly mushroomed just under the skin on the opposite side of the bull.
Give the .300 Remington Ultra Mag. some serious thought if you are in the market for a new long range hunting rifle for your Arizona Strip or Kaibab Mule Deer Hunts.
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