Best New Deer Hunting Guns and Gear from SHOT Show 2019
A first look at the hottest new rifles, loads, and gear for hunting deer this season
Whether you like to shoot your deer at 40 yards with a lever gun or at 400 yards with long-range, bolt-action rifle, there were some new introductions at the Shooting, Hunting, and Outdoor Trade show this year that will trip you trigger. After five days of checking out new guns, ammo, and hunting products, here’s a very first look at the items we’d be excited to chase deer with in the upcoming season.
Marlin 1894 SBL / CSBL
Handgun-caliber lever guns might not be a first choice for a dedicated deer rifle, but they have their place—particularly if you’re in a state with a straight-wall caliber restriction. Personally, I’ve killed a couple does with my own .357 lever gun. I keep my shots inside 100 yards, and none have ever taken more than a few steps. But deer-thumping performance aside, this gun is just cool. It has a 16 ½-inch barrel that blends the quick-handling and high capacity of the revolver-caliber Model 1894 with modern lines reminiscent of the 1895 SBL .45-70 (aka Guide Gun). It has a stainless-steel finish with an all-weather laminated stock, XS LeverRail for a variety of optic-mounting options, large lever loop, and a ghost ring sight. It’s available in .44 Magnum / .44 Special (SBL version) or .357 Magnum / .38 Special (CSBL), both of which have an 8-round capacity. $1,145.89 —W.B.
Winchester 350 Legend
Hunters in Ohio and other states with straight-wall rifle cartridge restrictions should really like the new .350 Legend from Winchester. I’ve heard it compared to the old .357 Maximum, and while ballistics are similar, the .350 has quite a bit more punch with velocity of 2,325 fps. and energy of 1,800 ft.-lbs at the muzzle—and it’s still carrying 903 ft.-lbs of energy at 200 yards. The .350 is based on a modified version of the .223 case with a .357-caliber bullet meaning that, unlike the rimmed .357 Maximum, it should be semi-auto friendly. Winchester played this product launch tight to the vest, and as a result, only the bolt-action XPR rifle is currently available—but I’d lay good money that ARs are in the works. Current factory loads for the .350 Legend include a 145-grain FMJ, a 150-grain Deer Season XP, a 160-grain Power Max bonded, a 180-grain Powerpoint, and a 265-grain subsonic. —W.B.
CVA’s first-ever bolt-action rifle should be a serious competitor in the sub-$600 deer gun market. It has a 4140 carbon steel barrel that’s threaded for a suppressor or muzzle brake (a thread protector is included), 70-degree bolt throw, and a detachable 4-round box magazine. The synthetic stock is fiberglass reinforced, and spacers are available to adjust length of pull, with dual studs to accept both a sling and bipod. The rifle is initially offered in short-action calibers—.308, 7mm-08, and 6.5 Creedmoor—but long-action calibers will be available next year. $566.95 —W.B.
The .45-caliber Paramount is designed to be a legitimate 300-yard muzzleloader. It sports a 26-inch, Nitrided barrel with a 1:22 twist, set on a stock with the long-range shooter in mind, adjustable for both length of pull and comb height. The gun uses Large Rifle primers in lieu of 209 shotshell primers, which provide hotter, more consistent ignition. It’s designed for “super magnum” powder charges, and 280-grain PowerBelt ELR bullets. CVA claims velocities of 2,200 fps with that combination. The gun is heavy at almost 10 pounds, but if you’re watching a late-season bean field from a box blind and need to take a long poke at a big buck, it’d be nice to have. $1,062.95 —W.B.
Browning X-Bolt Max Long Range
I got to hunt with this rifle in 6.5 Creedmoor last year on a deer hunt in the Nebraska sandhills. I had only a limited amount of time to shoot the gun before the hunt, but was able to print sub-MOA groups with it at 300 yards in the rough camp shooting range. I bet with more range time and a wider selection of ammo, this rifle would shoot even tighter than that. If you’re thinking: “Another long range rifle, what’s the big deal?” Well, not so fast. Many of the new long-range guns run upwards of $2,000, which puts them out of reach for many shooters. Browning is changing the game with and this gun, which comes in at an MSRP of $1,200. The rifle features a new, adjustable stock that Browning makes itself. It also has a stainless fluted, heavy-sporter barrel that’s threaded for a muzzlebrake or suppressor. It’s got a nice trigger that adjusts from 3 to 5 pounds, and the rifle will be available in a variety of short- and long-action cartridges. It’s handy enough (it weighs just over eight pounds) to carry around on most deer hunts, and I had no problem hiking through the sandhills with it before eventually finding a nice buck. —Alex Robinson
Remington Model Seven Stainless HS Precision
If you’re a fan of light, handy deer rifles, pay attention to Remington’s revitalized Model Seven (it has the exact same action as the M700, it’s just a half inch shorter). Big Green partnered HS Precision on the stock, which has an aluminum bedding block. The rifle features the X-Mark Pro trigger, which you can adjust externally. It’s got a light contour, 20-inch barrel and the whole rifle weighs just six pounds. It’s chambered in short-action calibers from .243 on up .300 WSM. The product manager told me that when Remington first introduced the Model Seven in the early 1980s, they couldn’t make enough of the guns to keep up with demand. Then the Seven sort of lost momentum and got sidelined. Remington is looking to bring the Seven back to the forefront with this new introduction. MSRP: $1,149 —AR
Leupold V-X Freedom Red Dot Sight
This will be a sweet red dot sight for shotgun hunting, or for guys who deer hunt with an .223 AR. The V-X Freedom Red Dot comes in two versions: One features capped precision ¼-MOA click adjustments, and the other has an exposed BDC elevation turret that ships with measurements out to 500 yards for standard 55-grain .223 Rem. Ammunition. Though Leupold says it will send you turrets etched for your specific load. Both models feature a 1 MOA dot reticle and incorporate Leupold’s “Motion Sensor Technology.” Put your gun down, and after five minutes, the reticle goes into stand-by mode to save battery. As soon as you move the gun, the sight flicks on. There’s also a manual mode that lets you turn the sight off. Other things to love about these sights: They ship with the mount, they’re made in the U.S.A., and they come with a lifetime warranty. The MSRP is $299 for the model with ¼ MOA click adjustments and $399 for the BDC turret version. —A.R.
Berger Hybrid Hunter
Don’t worry about the elk on the box, this new offering from Federal promises to be a killer deer bullet for accurate shooting at longer ranges. Berger earned a reputation for making super-accurate bullets in the competition world. Their Hybrid is designed to blend the profile of a low-drag match bullet with a traditional hunting projectile that has a lead core and a heavy copper jacket. The Berger Hybrid is part of Federal’s larger strategy of bringing back the “fan favorites” and loading bullets from the best bullet makers in the game (Nosler, Barnes, and Hornady). The Berger Hybrid will be available in .243 Win. on up to .300 WSM. —A.R.
LaCrosse Alpha Agility
I pull on a pair of knee boots at least a couple times per week, for something, almost year around—and it’s safe to say the classic LaCrosse Alpha Burley is pretty close to standard issue for modern whitetail hunters. Of course, knee boots are heavy, and so there have been several lightweight styles on the market recently, many of which blend rubber soles with neoprene. LaCrosse’s newest knee boot, the Alpha Agility, is built along those lines, and is incredibly lightweight. It blends rubber over a 5mm neoprene core, reinforced in high-wear areas. The shoe is made with an LVX compound that LaCrosse claims provides “athletic shoe agility and comfort.” I haven’t hunted with the boots myself yet to verify that—but they seem pretty nimble. They’re available un-insulated or with 800 or 1,200 grams of insulation. MSRP is $129.95 to $149.95 —W.B.
Ontario Old Hickory Hunter
The Old Hickory has been a favorite kitchen knife in hunting camps and cabins for decades. New for 2019 is the hunting version of the classic. It has a 5.5-inch high-carbon-steel blade, polished hardwood grip, and brass compression rivets. Really, you don’t need much else in a knife. While it wouldn’t be my first choice as a field-dressing or skinning knife, it’d work for both. But mostly, I see it being right at home on the butchering table; something that will sharpen up fast and hold an edge. And at $29.95, you can buy a couple of them to keep at camp. —W.B.
At first I thought, “this thing could use a better name.” But then I repeated it to myself a few times. Gut Daddy. Gut Daddy. It grew on me. Long and short, this is one of those small companies with a really simple, but really good, product idea. Fairly often, while field-dressing deer, I ask someone to “hold that leg right there.” Thing is, I’m often field-dressing by myself. The Gut Daddy secures a deer (or hog or similarly sized critter) in a convenient position by the front legs for field-dressing, no assistance required, while a set of hooks hold the rib cage open for easy access to the business at hand. After use, it packages up into a hard-sided case for compact storage. At just over 9 pounds it’s not something I’m going to carry with me deep into the woods, but it is handy to keep at camp, behind the truck seat, or in the toolbox of your ATV, and each system includes a skinning knife, gutting knife, and bone saw. $129.99 —W.B.
Summit Ground Blinds
The Viper is the flagship of Summit’s new line of ground blinds, and it’s available in both three- and four-person versions. It’s loaded with a bunch of subtle features that—if you do a bunch of ground blind hunting—are pretty nice, including a panel-style swing-open door, called the Hush Silent Hatch, that allows for quiet entry, and TruView fabric window panels, which allow you to see out, but don’t allow critters to see in. The panels have a sliding system to adjust shooting windows to your liking. If smashing a ground blind into a case has ever caused you to utter a cuss word, you’ll appreciate the carrying sling for this blind, which snaps into place within seconds. Once the blind is set, the sling can then be hung on the inside, where it provides five large pockets for rangefinders and other gear. The blind retails for $299.99 for the three-person model, and $329.99 for the four-person. —W.B. _
Moultrie Mobile XV-7000i and XA-7000i
Moultrie’s newest wireless cameras combine the modem and camera into one unit. The two cameras run on either AT&T or Verizon service with pay-by-the month $10 data plans (no contract required). The cameras are 20 megapixels with 80-foot detection and flash range and 1080p video capability. They’re powered by 12 AA batteries, and the controls of the camera can be accessed and changed remotely via the Moultrie Mobile system. Maybe best of all, the cameras retail for just $179.99, making them pretty good bargains in the world of wireless cameras. —W.B.
ALPS Outdoors Contender X
I carried the new Contender X from ALPS this past deer season, and it is an excellent pack—particularly for those all-day sits during the rut, when you need enough room to stash lunch and a few extra layers. The pack isn’t overly heavy at just under five pounds, but it has 1,853 cubic inches of space, which is plenty enough to carry everything I need without the undue bulk of a full-sized framed pack. It has a U-shaped top zipper pocket that allows you to access the pack from your stand without unzipping the entire compartment, a pocket for a hydration system and hose ports on both sides of the pack, and a rain cover. The hip pockets are perfect for carrying essentials like a rangefinder and headlamp, and the molded suspension system is rigid enough for hauling meat out of the woods if needed. The pack could serve you outside the deer woods, too. It wouldn’t be my first choice for hauling an elk quarter—but it’s beefy enough to work in a pinch. $199 —W.B.
Under Armour Revenant
Let’s go through this parka from the inside out. First there’s a scent-control liner, then 100 grams of primaloft, then a Gore membrane, another 100 grams of insulation, and finally a wool-blend outer face. The point? This baby is designed to be warm and quiet. Other features include insulated pockets (so your electronics won’t die in the cold), a two-way zipper, and removable hood. The pants that go with this parka have full-length zippers and suspenders included. All of this innovation gets pricey. MSRP is $320 for the parka and $300 for the pants (though you’ll likely find this combo for much cheaper online). —A.R.
TrueTimber Wolfthorn Parka
Here’s a cheaper alternative. TrueTimber has quickly made a name for itself as a camo pattern maker, but the company also makes its own clothes. You won’t find a super high-tech, over-engineered hunting suit in the TrueTimber line, but you will find quality, affordable gear that the average guy (myself included) would be happy to hunt in. This parka has a water resistant “true suede” outer layer, which is nice and quiet and it features a berber-type fleece insulation on the inside. There are plenty of pockets on this bad boy and its available in Strata or Kanati patterns. MSRP: $130 —A.R.