3. Thompson/Center Encore Pro Hunter
Did we save the best for last? We’ll let you decide.
Variations of the Thompson interchangeable format have been fueling successful deer hunts for years. The only reason we hesitated to put this break-open single shot pistol in the #1 or #2 spot is that it uses rifle cartridges (it is convertible to a rifle stock, after all).
In its pistol configuration, the Encore Pro Hunter comes chambered in .223 or .308 ammunition (we prefer the .308 for large game). Thompson/Center firearms are well-known for accuracy, which is an important quality in a single shot.
If you wanted to be a stickler for the rules, you could deduct points for being using rifle ammunition and/or for the fact that it doesn’t use handgun-specific ammunition.
Still, if pure hunting enjoyment is guiding your decision, the Encore Pro Hunter is an excellent choice.