With nearly 800 votes cast, I have no choice but to call the winners for the first round of Division 1 matchups, and I have to tell you I’m sorely disappointed. This round should have been rife with upsets. What is this persistent fascination with the utterly outdated Model 94, a barrel-light pipsqueak chambered in cowboy-action rounds unsuited for deer by today’s standards? By the way, the Savage 99, always touted as a great brush gun, is in truth a thick-wristed, long-barreled slow-cycler that’s too clunky to the shoulder for thick-woods hunting, although I’ll admit those are mute points when you can’t find ammo for most of the chamberings. And I suppose you’ll go chalk with the 336 in Division II as well. Am I right? That overweight second cousin to the obsolete 94….
Okay enough of that. Check the date. Seriously, I own one of each. So the perfectly reasonable winners are the Winchester Model 94, Savage 99, Remington Model Seven (in upset fashion), and Marlin Model 308MXLR.
Now to Division II. Here are the rankings:
1. Marlin 336: Marlin’s family of classic lever actions have been busting bucks for generations, and the hugely popular 336 has long been the shining sibling.
2. Remington Model 7600: A classic utilitarian, work-horse of a brush gun. You won’t find a more popular rifle in today’s north-woods deer camps.
3. Browning BLR: With the addition of the many new WSM options, the BLR might well surpass the classic lever actions in the deer woods. Some day.
4. Henry .30-30 (Steel with Round Barrel): A well-built, nicely-priced American made gun from the company that introduced the lever-action rifle about 150 years ago. A solid, smooth performer.
5. Remington Model 750 Woodsmaster: Although not yet time-tested, the 750 shows great promise as a new and more reliable version of the early classic Woodsmaster autoloaders.
6. Savage Model 11 Lightweight Hunter: With Savage’s excellent AccuTrigger and superb reputation for accuracy and value, this 5-1/2-pounder is a heck of a bolt gun for the brush.
7. Kimber Model 84M: The qualities that make the Kimber a fantastic mountain rifle also make it a great woods gun. But it ain’t cheap.
8. Remington Model R-15 450 Bushmaster: The styling is bound to turn off some traditional big-woods hunters, but at 7-1/2 pounds, with an 18-inch barrel, and big-bore wallop, this is a quick-pointing, legitimate brush gun.
Check out the bracket [(you can click here to print out a larger copy if you want to fill it out)](/files/editor_files/Bracket Division 2.pdf). Then vote for your preferred brush rifle in each matchup below. We’ll follow up with the winners and the Elite Eight contests in a few days.
Sweet Sixteen Whitetail Brush Rifles Tournament: Division II