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The $1,000 Long-Range Deer Outfit

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October 18, 2012

The $1,000 Long-Range Deer Outfit

By Dave Hurteau

This may bring some pain to those of you who have already spent $5K or even $10K in years past to get your sub-MOA, long-range deer rifle with befitting scope and comparable binocular. But the gun and glass I carried last week while hunting mule deer in Oregon cost, all together, about a grand—which in this rotten economy should bring great delight and jubilation to anyone just getting into deer hunting or, say, to the Easterner or Midwesterner planning his first deer hunting trip out west where hyperaccuracy and quality optics come in handy.

I carried a Weatherby Vanguard Series 2 Synthetic in .257 Weatherby Mag (about $490 real-world price) topped with a 4.5-14x44mm Bushnell Legend Ultra HD Scope (about $280 street price) and a Bushnell Legend Ultra HD 10x42 binocular (about $250 street price). That comes to $1,020. I’ve used guns and glass costing much more and I don’t believe any of them would have served me substantially better as a practical matter. (By the way, NRA writer Aaron Carter—a far more accomplished rifleman than I—used the same rig to take his buck at 359 yards.)

The Vanguard shot well under a minute of angle at 100 yards, as it is guaranteed to do. What more do you want? As for the Legend Ultra HD optics, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I can’t believe how good this stuff is for the price. No, it does not paint the world in a magic light that gives even your thoughts more clarity, like some of the real high-end stuff can.

But it performed admirably, is simply hard to beat for the price, and it carries the best warranty in the business. (Yes, Bushnell sponsored this hunt, but I’ve been raving about the Legend Ultra HD stuff since long before I got this invite.) Anyway, the point of all this is to declare, in case you hadn’t noticed, that we are in the golden age of good, affordable guns and glass; the fact that you can buy such a capable long-range setup (rifle, scope, and binocs) these days for about a $1,000 is a remarkable—not to mention very, very good news for average deer hunters everywhere.

Comments (20)

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from jjas wrote 1 year 26 weeks ago

I can't speak to the quality of the Weatherby rifle you used, but as far as the Bushnell Legend series of binoculars I can.....

I've never found as good a binocular for twice the price as the legend series are...period.

Bright, clear, crisp and durable.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from fishead wrote 1 year 26 weeks ago

im glad to finally see ab article that says you don't to spend your whole life savings to go hunting and be successful.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from maynardtl8 wrote 1 year 26 weeks ago

Can you find that weatherby in .243? Although, the .257 wouldnt be so bad...

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jay wrote 1 year 26 weeks ago

Nice to see the vanguard s2 receiving the love that is so much deserved.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dave Hurteau wrote 1 year 26 weeks ago

maynard,
The Vanguard Series 2 Synthetic is available in 16 calibers, including .243.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jerry A. wrote 1 year 26 weeks ago

That is a really good deal. I've always believed Weatherby ammunition was priced pretty high, but I suppose you could always buy the rifle in a standard caliber.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from steve182 wrote 1 year 26 weeks ago

I have little interest in long range hunting,...I prefer close encounters, but the outfit you have there would be perfect for a wide open western hunt if i ever do that. Good to know i can afford it if i ever want to do that( I do). Not sure i can afford the shells though.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 26 weeks ago

The thousand dollar long range deer hunting outfit? That headline had me wondering where Dave buys his hunting duds. Even Filson's isn't that expensive.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from ishawooa wrote 1 year 26 weeks ago

I have paid more, a lot more, for gear to be utilized for open country hunting in the Rockies but in reality the quality of my gear is probably not substancially better than this rig.
Honker: Have you ever priced Sitka hunting clothing? Easily could cost over a grand to wear their stuff. Nope I don't own any, I'm too much old school.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from ishawooa wrote 1 year 26 weeks ago

Jerry A.: Weatherby reloads don't cost any more than anything else once you accumulate some brass. Even though the brass is initially a bit pricey it is made by Norma so one can anticipate many more reloadings than most brands. I believe Remington still makes brass/ammo for select Weatherby calibers at a lower cost.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from SoDak hunter wrote 1 year 26 weeks ago

I spent the last 10 years hunting the open spaces in SD. It is not necessary to spend lots of money on fancy gear. Any good flat shooting rifle with a scope the shooter is comfortable with will get the job done. I have upgraded my optics over the years to the fancy european stuff but I probably look through my binoculars 100 times more than most people do in a year, they never leave my side or my neck.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from coachsjike wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

shouldn't petzal be writing this article?

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Karl Evanow wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

I agree with Dave about the Bushell Ultra HD scope and binoculars which i own a pair of them,they are as good as a costly set of Optics which i also own !

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Colin Summers wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

Could yall do a similar post like this for waterfowl? Im trying to get into duck hunting and the more money I could save the better

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from OCD wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

A challenge: find a left hand rifle with similar performance and price. Drives me crazy the S2's aren't made in a lefty version.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sarge01 wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

My $1000.00 long range outfit is simular to yours. A Weatherby Vanguard Deluxe in .257 Weatherby topped with a Nikon Buckmaster 4 X 12 X 50 scope and a pair of Nikon Monarch 10 X 42 Binos. I purchased these items several years ago so I have about $1100.00 in them almost my magical $1000.00 long range deer rifle.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from scratchgolf72 wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

i dont think i would trust my hunt out west with a cheap bushnell scope...i only use leupold.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from missedit wrote 1 year 22 weeks ago

I liked the set up not bad for a grand!!!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Marine ATC wrote 1 year 21 weeks ago

Gotta go with Savage. I've had such good luck with my Savage 111 7mm Mag. Putting a Vortex Viper 6.5-20x44 scope on it before my next Elk hunt. Maybe the 7 Mag is a bit much for deer.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from fishead wrote 1 year 26 weeks ago

im glad to finally see ab article that says you don't to spend your whole life savings to go hunting and be successful.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from ishawooa wrote 1 year 26 weeks ago

Jerry A.: Weatherby reloads don't cost any more than anything else once you accumulate some brass. Even though the brass is initially a bit pricey it is made by Norma so one can anticipate many more reloadings than most brands. I believe Remington still makes brass/ammo for select Weatherby calibers at a lower cost.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from SoDak hunter wrote 1 year 26 weeks ago

I spent the last 10 years hunting the open spaces in SD. It is not necessary to spend lots of money on fancy gear. Any good flat shooting rifle with a scope the shooter is comfortable with will get the job done. I have upgraded my optics over the years to the fancy european stuff but I probably look through my binoculars 100 times more than most people do in a year, they never leave my side or my neck.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from jjas wrote 1 year 26 weeks ago

I can't speak to the quality of the Weatherby rifle you used, but as far as the Bushnell Legend series of binoculars I can.....

I've never found as good a binocular for twice the price as the legend series are...period.

Bright, clear, crisp and durable.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dave Hurteau wrote 1 year 26 weeks ago

maynard,
The Vanguard Series 2 Synthetic is available in 16 calibers, including .243.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jerry A. wrote 1 year 26 weeks ago

That is a really good deal. I've always believed Weatherby ammunition was priced pretty high, but I suppose you could always buy the rifle in a standard caliber.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Karl Evanow wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

I agree with Dave about the Bushell Ultra HD scope and binoculars which i own a pair of them,they are as good as a costly set of Optics which i also own !

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sarge01 wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

My $1000.00 long range outfit is simular to yours. A Weatherby Vanguard Deluxe in .257 Weatherby topped with a Nikon Buckmaster 4 X 12 X 50 scope and a pair of Nikon Monarch 10 X 42 Binos. I purchased these items several years ago so I have about $1100.00 in them almost my magical $1000.00 long range deer rifle.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from maynardtl8 wrote 1 year 26 weeks ago

Can you find that weatherby in .243? Although, the .257 wouldnt be so bad...

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jay wrote 1 year 26 weeks ago

Nice to see the vanguard s2 receiving the love that is so much deserved.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from steve182 wrote 1 year 26 weeks ago

I have little interest in long range hunting,...I prefer close encounters, but the outfit you have there would be perfect for a wide open western hunt if i ever do that. Good to know i can afford it if i ever want to do that( I do). Not sure i can afford the shells though.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 26 weeks ago

The thousand dollar long range deer hunting outfit? That headline had me wondering where Dave buys his hunting duds. Even Filson's isn't that expensive.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from ishawooa wrote 1 year 26 weeks ago

I have paid more, a lot more, for gear to be utilized for open country hunting in the Rockies but in reality the quality of my gear is probably not substancially better than this rig.
Honker: Have you ever priced Sitka hunting clothing? Easily could cost over a grand to wear their stuff. Nope I don't own any, I'm too much old school.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Colin Summers wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

Could yall do a similar post like this for waterfowl? Im trying to get into duck hunting and the more money I could save the better

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from OCD wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

A challenge: find a left hand rifle with similar performance and price. Drives me crazy the S2's aren't made in a lefty version.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from missedit wrote 1 year 22 weeks ago

I liked the set up not bad for a grand!!!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Marine ATC wrote 1 year 21 weeks ago

Gotta go with Savage. I've had such good luck with my Savage 111 7mm Mag. Putting a Vortex Viper 6.5-20x44 scope on it before my next Elk hunt. Maybe the 7 Mag is a bit much for deer.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from coachsjike wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

shouldn't petzal be writing this article?

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from scratchgolf72 wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

i dont think i would trust my hunt out west with a cheap bushnell scope...i only use leupold.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report

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