John's Journal...

America's Greatest Deer Rifles with Steve Barnett

A Couple of Top-Quality Guns

Click to enlargeEditor's Note: Certain deer rifles set the standard by which sportsmen judge all other rifles. Although artisans first crafted many of these highly-prized rifles years ago, often you'll find that they've withstood the test of time and that hunters still hunt with them today. These fine rifles have appreciated in value over the years. To select the 10-greatest deer rifles ever made, I’ve interviewed Steve Barnett, owner of Steve Barnett Fine GunsClick to enlarge in West Point, Mississippi, and a contributing editor to the "Blue Book of Gun Values." Barnett has purchased guns since 1985, and in recent years he's become one of the most-noted gun traders in the nation. Barnett sells thousands of guns each year via his Web sites: and Barnett specializes in sporting guns, including shotguns and rifles, and chooses deer rifles as his favorite rifles.

I love to hunt, and I love quality guns. When a quality gun maker produces a really-good rifle that finds popularity with the American deer-hunting public, if the company's smart enough to continue manufacturing the rifle according to the same standards and tolerances as when it's been first introduced, the company oftentimes can continue producing the rifle for many years as its popularity grows steadily. Here's my picks for the 10-greatest deer-hunting rifles ever.

1)  Winchester Model 70, pre-1964 - Known as the rifleClick to enlargeman's rifle, the Winchester Model 70 pre-1964 has made its mark as an American classic. Dependable and relatively trouble-free, this rifle has set the standard by which most sportsmen judge deer rifles. The two most-popular calibers include the .270 and the .30-06. First introduced in 1937, this rifle was produced until 1963. After 1963, Winchester couldn't continue mass-producing this rifle and compete in the marketplace, while maintaining the rifle's quality. When Winchester changed from hand-checkering to Click to enlargemachine-checkering and reduced the bolt size from a long extractor to a short extractor to compete in the marketplace, many people believed the gun was compromised. Today these guns, pre-1964, in either the .270 or .30-06 calibers, will sell from approximately $1,800 to over $6,000.

2)  Remington Model 700, also in the .270 and .30-06 calibers - Remington introduced the Model 700 in 1962 and still produces it today. Amazingly, this gun holds its value. The older Model 700s don't have any-more monetary value than the new Model 700s you can purchase off the shelf today. However, the out-of-production Model 700s in rare calibers are the exception to this rule. Of the modern guns in production today, I have to say the Remington 700 is one of the most popular of all deer rifles. The quality and workmanship of the Model 700 haven't changed since Remington first introduced this rifle, and it doesn't need changing. It's reliable, you can obtain ammunition for it anywhere in the country, and - for the most part - it's trouble-free.

To learn more, you can contact: Steve Barnett's Fine Guns, 127 Commerce Street, West Point, Mississippi 39773, PH: (662) 494-0779 or visit

Tomorrow: Seven More Great Deer Rifles

Check back each day this week for more about "America's Greatest Deer Rifles with Steve Barnett"

Day 1: A Couple of Top-Quality Guns
Day 2: Seven More Great Deer Rifles
Day 3: Two More Top-Quality Deer Rifles
Day 4: Three More Top Deer Rifles
Day 5: Steve Barnett’s Six Picks for the Best Deer Rifles


Entry 432, Day 1