From the Ohio Hunting Regulations Webpage, new this year, the requirements for what consitutes a legal deer rifle:
Straight-walled cartridge rifles in the following calibers: New this year! All straight-walled cartridge calibers from a minimum of .357 to a maximum of .50. Shotguns and straight-walled cartridge rifles can be loaded with no more than three shells in the chamber and magazine combined.
Given those specs, what deer rifle would you choose?
Iowa just did the same. I am going with a .45-70. Probably with the Hornady ammo but if it doesn't shoot well, the 300 grain Winchester HP has always shot well, just not quite as flat as the Hornady load
Joined: Oct 2016 Posts: 3,163kellory
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I went with the .450BUSHMASTER in an AR-15 this change was overdue at least a year. (As per the discussion I had with ODNR directly, it was changed as of the 13th of may or June, and should read .350-.50 straight wall and tapered wall cartridges.) I would suggest double checking with ODNR before deciding on your choice.
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I use a Henry 45-70 with Barnes 300gr and H4198. But I use to use an 870 with Rem copper solids. The gun would shoot one hole groups at 50yrds. Shot a lot of deer with that gun. I kick myself in the ass for selling the barrel after I bought the 45-70. With today's shotgun sabot slugs it's just like shooting a high powered rifle
I hunt Ohio gun season every year and have had good success with various 45-70 rifles but this year I bought a BLR Takedown in .450 Marlin.......But for killing power and ammo availabilty I would recommend a 45-70 as your best overall choice of cartridge ......Good luck.....Hb
I have not hunted in Ohio this century, but I grew up a Buckeye, and did my first 20 years of deer hunting there. This is a good step forward. They've gone 3 years under the previous rule with no impact to the herd and no circular firing squad among the hunters. One of these days, they'll finally figure it out and do it right like KY and IN with no restrictions on centerfire rifles.
I started this thread partially out of nostalgia and partly out of curiousity.
So far, nobody has said 44 Magnum. I find that interesting.
357 Max seems like a good idea, but who's making a rifle chambered in it?
If I was going out tomorrow and looking for something off-the-shelf, I'd probably go with a 45-70. However, I'd want to pick a load that did not punish my shoulder.
You'd think the gun mfgs would have responded better to this. Ohio has had this straightwall thing cooking for years. Indiana had its flirt with PCR's and now Iowa is relaxing its rules. I'm sure the demand is there.
Here's a thought:
Indiana had the 35 Hoosier, a modified 35 Rem built to conform to Indiana's now-defunct PCR rules. As I remember, the 35 Hoosier was a 35 REM trimmed short. What kind of wildcat could be cooked up to fulfil the 35 Buckeye slot?
I hunt in Ohio every year for the last 25 years or so. Since the change to the regs I have been using a Marlin lever in .444. It kills them pretty dead. Its a lot of firepower for the 20-30 yard shots I normally have in Wayne Nat Forest. I have a ruger 44 carbine I have scoped up and I am considering using it this year. I am hoping the recent change next door in Indiana allowing all calibers will help get the regs changed soon in Ohio. Many said blood would run in the streets even with the straitwall change. Never happened. I was born and raised in Ohio and I find they have a lot of hangups and regs you dont run into in other states. I would love to hunt there with my 7mm08. Hopeful I will see the day I can. Seems most of the guys I know of that are buying rifles are buying 45-70s likely for convience of finding the rifles and ammo selection. I love shooting my .444 but its a bazzuka for what I do there.
I made a pilgrimage to Fin Feather Fur up in Ashland, OH last month. Unlike the gun stores down around Cincy, they seemed a bit more responsive to the change. What I saw were a large section of their rack filled with Henry lever actions in 45-70. I suppose that is one of the few really good alternatives in a repeating firearm.
I just find it odd that when you look at the new rule there are not a whole lot of current production rifles and chamberings that come to mind, and next to nothing from the normal big names. You'd think by now one of the mfgs with some clout would have brought out "The Buckeye Series" or some such.
I don't want to throw mud at the 357 Maximum, but I'm thinking more of a good thing might be in order. Adding another 0.1" to the round, make it rimless and call it the 35 Buckeye. Another easy one might be a stout .410-ish round in a rifled barrel and call it the .400 Buckeye. There are a bunch of actions that I'd be happy with. If I had to close my eyes and envision what I'd want in my hands on the Ohio Opener, it would probably be:
1) A Ruger All-Weather Hawkeye 2) A Remington 7600 3) A Browning BLR
I also don't want to throw mud at all the current offerings out there. My point is to expand the options.
In regards to the 44 Mag: Look, I only own 1 pistol in 44 Mag. That does not make me much of an expert. I have fought with the idea of a 44 Mag deer rifle for more than a decade. What keeps me from embracing it is the 30-30. I own a 30-30. I've hunted with it. I've taken deer with it. I'm not all that impressed. The last thing I want is something that's "just like a 30-30 out to 80 yards."
We hunt in Southern ohio hills where you cant see past 50 yards . There my ideal pick would be a lighter weight rifle that was easy to carry in and was fast handling as the deer there run up on you pretty quick. One minute your about to fall asleep a second later theres a deer coming over the ridge 20 yards from you. I dont particulary like lever actions ( although they work great) so I would pick a bolt. Semi auto would work great as well. Just not my thing. 30-30 would be a step up as far as im concerned for an appropriate rifle for there compared to my .444. I killed a lot of hogs down in FLA my first few years hunting down there. I paid $125 for my 30-30 Marlin lever 336cs and ammo was cheap and just what a guy starting up needed. But to be honest after I got a ruger M77 tanger in 30-06 In about 1989 I haven't hunted with the 30-30 since. I would hang up my .444 in a heartbeat it Ohio added just the 30-30 to the list .
The .375 Winchester has been on the ODNR list of approved straight walled cartridges prior to the 2017 change that permits any straight walled cartridge of .357 caliber minimum to .50 maximum & should work just fine.
The only issue with the .375 Winchester is the limited availability of ammunition & components & rifles chambered for it. I would love to find a reasonably priced Savage 99 in .375 Winchester for Ohio use & addition to my Ruger #1 .405 Winchester.
An RAR in .450 Bushmaster would be my ideal pick. The 16" threaded barrel with a suppressor would be the cats a$$. I built up an AR in .450 last year and it's a nice shooting accurate rifle. A bit heavy though. A local gun shop sell them set up with a CDS equipped Leupold and they do some impressive shooting out to 300 yds. Go to 4:53 on the video.
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