Minnesota Outdoorsman - Minnesota Fishing and Hunting Reports
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By Brad Smith (October 2017)

Now this is one big deer. 

Duluth, Minnesota has a lot of deer. They have so many deer in fact that once a year, the city opens up to a public deer hunt to help reduce the population within city limits.

One hunter partaking in this city hunt, Leif Birnbaum, was positioned in a treestand in a purposefully unnamed neighborhood. Then, all of a sudden, a cow-sized buck came walking right into his range and Birnbaum let his arrow fly.

"I couldn't believe how big it was," Birnbaum said in an interview with the Duluth News Tribune. "I'd never seen a deer on the ground that big. It was the biggest body I'd ever seen. We just stood there thinking, 'How are we going to get it out of here?'"

After field dressing out to 260 pounds, this deer could have easily topped 300 pounds on the hoof. Birnbaum does not plan to get his big deer mounted. As he stated, he didn't think the antlers were particularly big. It was just the size of the body that made this deer so special.

With that being said, the hunter does plan to get a European mount made instead.

Goodness gracious, what a land-cow!



ByJohn Mcadams

Some guns have reputations that, for some reason, far outweigh their actual performance in the field.

There are many truly great guns specifically designed and marketed for hunting that are absolutely outstanding choices to take afield. However, there are also a number of highly overrated guns that don't live up to their glorified reputations in reality. Yet, somehow they still maintain a very devoted following.

Some of these overrated guns used to be great, but are now only popular among certain segments of the hunting and shooting populations due to their their past reputations or due to a certain amount of nostalgia or romanticism among their respective fan clubs. Others are great pieces for a gun collection or for taking to the shooting range, but aren't the best choices for a hunting gun.

In any case, virtually all of these rifles (I did not include any handguns or shotguns on the list) are extremely popular among certain segments of the hunting and shooting communities and their inclusion on this list will be considered almost sacrilegious by the respective fan clubs for each gun.

Don't take anything I say in this article personally. If I think your favorite rifle is overrated, I'm not attacking you personally. If that particular firearm works well for you and you like it, then by all means keep using it and don't worry about what I think. 

Also, keep in mind that this is an article on the most overrated guns for hunting, not the most overrated guns for collectors, or the most overrated guns for shooting enthusiasts. Additionally, I'm not saying that any of the entries on this list are bad guns or that they don't work well in certain applications.

I am saying that the actual performance by these guns does not measure up to the hype that surrounds them (or their price tag in some instances). In almost every case, there are many other guns currently available that would be better suited for use as a hunting gun than any of the overrated guns on this list.

Scroll through to learn all about the most overrated guns for hunting, and why they aren't the best choices for most hunters.

Pre-1964 Winchester Model 70

When it was first introduced in 1936, the Winchester Model 70 was an instant hit among American sportsmen. It didn't take long for the rifle to develop a well-deserved reputation for reliability and accuracy and it quickly became the standard against which other rifles were judged.

Unfortunately, Winchester made a number of modifications to the iconic Model 70 rifle in 1964 to make it cheaper and easier to manufacture. Though many changes were made, the primary difference was that rifles produced after 1964 no longer had a Mauser-style "controlled round feed" bolt.

This change, combined with a general decline in the overall quality of craftsmanship, made the newer model rifle very unpopular among shooters and it was widely panned by critics as inferior to the Pre-1964 Model 70. As a result, Pre-64 Model 70s are in high demand among collectors and shooters all over the world and fetch fantastic (and some would say unreasonable) prices on the current firearms market.

Fortunately, FN Herstal began producing the latest version of the Winchester Model 70 in 2007 and the rifle is currently produced in most of the popular centerfire rifle cartridges these days like the .243 Winchester, .270 Winchester, 270 WSM, 30-06 Springfield, .300 Win Mag, and .375 H&H Magnum (just to name a few).

This incarnation of the legendary rifle was a dramatic improvement in quality over the other Post-1964 Model 70s and once again featured controlled round feeding. Among many other improvements, these new rifles feature outstanding triggers, great barrels, and excellent bedding jobs. Not surprisingly, they are quickly becoming known for incredible accuracy and reliability deserving of the good Winchester Model 70 name.

Look, I get it: people love the Pre-1964 Model 70 and there are a lot of reasons why it's still an awesome rifle.

However, with a great utilitarian option available for hunters in the current production Model 70s, most of the value in a Pre-1964 Model 70 is derived from its value as a collector's item (especially if you have a particularly rare specimen, such as one chambered in .300 Savage, .35 Remington, or .458 Win Mag).

If you're a gun collector or just someone who loves old rifles, then the Pre-1964 Model 70 is perfect for you and there's nothing wrong with owning or hunting with one. On the other hand, if you just want a high-quality hunting rifle, then there's virtually nothing the Pre-1964 Model 70 can do that current production Model 70s can do (and maybe even do better) at a fraction of the price.

Post-2007 Marlin 1895

most overrated guns for hunting marlin 1895
Marlin Firearms

A cousin to the venerable Marlin 336, the big-bore Marlin 1895 chambered in .444 Marlin or .45-70 Government is commonly used by hunters pursuing large, tough game in North America. Nicknamed the "guide gun," the Model 1895 was especially well-liked among those who might have to deal with an angry brown bear, grizzly bear or moose at close range.

For many years, Marlin made great rifles suitable for deer hunting, brown bear hunting, and almost everything in between.

However, Remington Arms acquired Marlin Firearms in 2007 and the quality control on their rifles (especially on the Model 1895) noticeably slipped. Shooters started complaining of problems with the wood on the stock, unreliable feeding and just generally poor quality work in general.

Though Remington claims to have fixed their quality control issues, the jury is still out on current production Marlin rifles at this point. Unfortunately, Remington has had its fair share of problems in recent years with the Remington Model 700 recall and the recent decision by the company to file for bankruptcy.

The older Marlin Model 1895 rifles are still fantastic for hunters wanting a good quality and hard-hitting, lever-action hunting rifle, but be cautious about buying one made after 2007.