New Deer Rifle

I was talking with my in-laws yesterday about the possibility of a deer hunt this year, mostly so I can have a freezer full of venison steaks, and the topic of approved Indiana calibers for deer came up.  The list of approved Indiana deer hunting equipment can be found here if you’d like to read the whole list.  The short summary is “.357 Magnum and up in rifles, but no rifle calibers, and .243 and up in pistols, plus slug barreled shotguns”.  It’s weird and nonsensical, but it’s the law for better or for worse.

So while perusing the list, I noticed a cartridge that was on the “approved” list to be used from a rifle: .458 SOCOM.  I thought to myself, “self, if you wanted to hunt deer in Indiana in true high-speed low drag operator style, you’d buy yourself an upper in .458 SOCOM and slap it on the excellent lower from the Daniel Defense DDXV, that’s what you’d do.”  So I went out to the googles and immediately was rewarded with this upper from Rock River for about $700.  I also found a complete rifle on GunBroker for about $900, so that’d be interesting.

Honestly, this is so much me just kicking ideas around, but there’s a part of me that really wants to hunt deer with a black AR15.  And who says they don’t use these rifles for hunting?


  1. “.357 Magnum and up in rifles, but no rifle calibers, and .243 and up in pistols, plus slug barreled shotguns”.

    Wait. What?

  2. It means just that: I can use a lever gun chambered for pistol caliber catridges (and .458 SOCOM) such as .357, .44, or .45 Colt. I can also use a handgun chambered for both those revolver rounds or a handgun in a common rifle chambering, such as a TC Encore in .270. But I can’t use a rifle in .270 Winchester.

    I can also use shotguns with slugs, including a .410 slug gun. Because that makes sense.

  3. I’m with ya man. I’ve been kicking around the same idea all summer. There’s just so much upside. You get a badass .458 SOCOM rifle, a freezer full of deer meat and you get to hang out in the woods for a few hours.

  4. Wait. What?

    Whitetail were actually hunted to extinction in Indiana in the early 20th Century and had to be re-introduced. When they let people hunt them again, they made them do it with one hand tied behind their back to give the deer a chance. Now the deer have spread like hoofed rats and do $40,000,000+ damage to windshields and corn crops in this state EVERY YEAR and we still have to hunt them with one hand tied behind our backs.

    “Pistol caliber” rifles are okay, provided they meet the following criteria:
    a) fire a bullet of .357 diameter or larger;
    b) have a minimum case length of 1.16 inches; and
    c) have a maximum case length of 1.625 inches.

  5. I wonder if someone told them they should allow “straight-wall cartridges.”
    In Illinois it’s shotgun slugs, muzzleloaders, and revolvers of sufficient caliber only. Illinois has a handgun-only season, but it’s so late that the deer are bedded as much as possible, hiding from the weather. Only humans are dumb enough to be out walking or sitting in trees in Illinois in January. 🙂

  6. Ah.

    My MN upbringing put me in the wrong frame of mind for that sentence but I get it now. Well, sort of anyway. 25ACP for deer seems a bit light to me.

  7. If you have the scratch (which is always the question), I say more power to you. Just be sure to bring along someone with something in the 50-200mm range to properly document an individual hunting with an evil black rifle, which, obviously, has never occurred before…

  8. Those rules sound about right for a place that historically must have been shotguns only, but has had the rules updated to include more firearms. Here in Minnesota, in the shotguns only part of the state, we can use handguns for deer, but not rifles with pistol cartridges.

    Minnesota changed the firearm rules for big game a couple of years ago for the part of the state that allows rifles. Previously it had been .24 caliber or larger, with a minimum case length, and .30carbine was specifically excluded. Now the rule is .22 caliber or larger centerfire, with no case length rule. That means that if someone is foolish enough to try to shoot a deer with a .25acp it would appear to be legal, as long as an expanding bullet is used.

    I think it is best if the DNR and the Legislature leave the choice of firearms and ammunition up to the hunters. The fewer legal restrictions, the better.

  9. “get to hang out in the woods for a few hours.”


    I hust had to see that in print again.

    “get to hang out in the woods for a few hours.”

    hehe. OK back to your regularly scheduled programing.

  10. I fail to see how a rifle with a .308 Winchester or .30-30 is somehow less sporting than a rifle in .480 Ruger and .500 S&W Magnum.

    Man more gun regs written by people who know nothing of guns.

  11. You read my mind! When they changed the rule to allow pistol caliber carbines, my first thought was a lever gun in .44 Magnum or .357 Magnum. But then I too got to thinking about the political hay to be made hunting with an AR. After doing some research, I found that there really aren’t many uppers to be had in a caliber that’s both legal and common. I don’t want to spend an arm and a leg on ammo. I considered 10mm, but I could only find one company that made uppers in it. So for now, I’m back to planning on a lever gun in .44 or .357.

    Anyway. from all I’ve heard about the rifle-caliber ban, it’s about safety, not sport. The thinking is supposedly that rifle cartridges carry farther and so are more dangerous. Indiana is pretty densely populated.

  12. Except those RR uppers in .458 have a backlog, and the current wait is about a year…Next season?

  13. I was just thinking, if you could get an H&K MP-5/10 in semi-auto only, that would be legal for deer now. But you’d have to be a Manly Teutonic Operator for that!

  14. Not sure if 10x25mm is quite long enough to meet the requirements.

    Certainly it has the get-up-and-go to do the job.

    You could always go .450 Bushmaster.

  15. Looks like you’re right, Weer’d. I could swear that 10mm was specifically listed as being allowed in the IN hunting guide the first year they allowed pistol caliber carbines. Bummer!

  16. So how about my Swiss Vetterli? 41 caliber (10.4 mm) rimfire, short and only slightly bottlenecked, dates from slightly after the Civil War. Solid lead unjacketed bullet, trajectory like a rainbow after the first 150 yards, and really kind of cool to watch work. Things go clickity-clak at an impressive rate.

    Of course, the 25 year old Italian made ammo is about 5 bucks a pop, but 2 or 3 sighters and another 1 or 2 in the field, not so bad.

  17. “a) fire a bullet of .357 diameter or larger;
    b) have a minimum case length of 1.16 inches; and
    c) have a maximum case length of 1.625 inches.”

    Hrmm…. a WSSM case is 1.670 inches, if you blew one out to .358 and knocked .050 off the case mouth while resetting the shoulder…..

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