What's a good starter rifle with a decent price tag?


silent knight
August 23, 2006, 03:44 PM
The only experience i have with a rifle is with a 10/22 Ruger, nice to shoot and fun but now i'm interested in getting one with a bigger, more potent caliber, for sporting and good enough for maybe one day....zombies. What would you recommend, and pls include/recommend a scope. I know that many rifles come in many variations, which has proven reliability & accuracy i.e. bolt action, rimfire etc. I'm leaning more towards bolt action so if you can suggest one, i'd appreciate it and look in to it, thank you. Oh and no AR's, i'm from CommunistCalifornia.

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August 23, 2006, 03:57 PM
They are all great starter rifles and will shoot good. I would make sure you get some good glass to go on top of the rifle. I think Howa is doing a package deal with Leupold which would be pretty good. I would think that you would have to spend about 800 bucks to get set up right.

If you are really on a budget, you might consider a Steven's 200. they are 279 right now at Turners. Add 200 for a Leupold VXI and you can get out the door for a bit over 500.

.308 is a good caliber because you have the option cheap practice (American Eagle, PMC, UMC, or surplus)

Hope this helps you out.

I should add that some folks will bring up surplus rifles as an alternative and they are right about being good starters. However, most surplus rifle weren't made to be scoped and are not as accurate as a factory rifle for the average Joe. I have seen some amazing things done with surplus rifles, but they were done by gentlemen who were experts and with ammo that did not come from a tin can of off the surplus shelf.

Stick with a currently made rifle, add a good scope and you are on your way.

Green Lantern
August 23, 2006, 04:11 PM
Well, glad I read the whole post! Read the title and "SKS" was the first thing that came to mind...buuuuut....

Owning one in Kommiefornia is "doable" as far as I know, but a potential hassle as far as what you can/can't do to one by their draconian "assault weapons" laws.

And scoping...well, a mixed bag. surplusrifle.com has what looks to be a good way to install a mount that isn't on the "shaky" receiver cover. But it takes some work, some minor modifications I think. And again with Kali law....!

Soooo....while the SKS is a rugged, fairly simple to operate/maintain, and $CHEAP$ rifle...I guess for your sitch I'm not much help. Just wanted to throw it out there though as the SKS was my first "serious" rifle! :cool:

Phantom Warrior
August 23, 2006, 04:17 PM
My first center fire rifle was a Remington 700 ADL in .308 Winchester. With a Swift (?) scope (your basic, $100 scope) it cost me $598 out the door.

Taste is taste. If you like the entry level Savage or Winchester or what have you, they are all fine rifles. But my Remington has worked perfectly and has three deer to its credit. The last one had a little help though...

I will also second the recommendation of .308 Winchester for caliber. .308 is a good, solid caliber that will handle most animals up to large deer, if you hunt. If you are planning on hunting elk or larger, a bigger cartridge is probably in order. It is also accurate and readily available. Unless you get into something more specialized than what you've mentioned so far .308 will suit you just fine and it will be cheaper than some of the more esoteric cartridge.

August 23, 2006, 04:19 PM
:neener: SKS is the best starting autoloader I can think of. All you 10/22 fans can eat that.

I'm in CA, and with an SKS I simply don't worry about all those laws, and live with the 10 round internal magazine and every other CA legal part that I bought. Take your time and have fun when you shoot! Don't need to get a belt fed automatic rifle to have fun do you?

Mausers (although surplus) are very accurate and the 8mm isn't too expensive. You want to scope a surplus rifle, that's the one to get.

B.D. Turner
August 23, 2006, 04:27 PM
I would go with a Marlin lever action 1894 in .44 magnum. It fires faster than a bolt action holds twice as many rounds or more and is affordable to feed so you get to shoot more. You can fire cast lead bullets, and .44 specials are fine for plinking. The Marlin .44 takes out whitetail deer and black bear with no problem. You can eat right up to the hole on a deer shot with the .44 this cannot be said of a .308. And last but not least it is as non military looking as you can get. You can also pair a pistol in the same caliber as the rifle and things just got real simple.

A lever action can also be reloaded before you run out of ammo.

August 23, 2006, 04:32 PM
If its in your price range the Kel Tec SU-16 is a good CA legal .223 rifle, and it takes AR mags so those GI mags you had laying around before the ban went into effect will work just fine.

Price runs from 400 for a cheap used one to around 600 for a new one. most are in the 500ish range.

They have a rail for putting a scope on, they have an integral bipod, the colapse for storage, and they are quite accurate.

And you can get an AR in komifornia, you just can't put a pistolgrip, flash hider or colapsing stock on it.

August 23, 2006, 05:33 PM
Take a look at Savage's catalog. Their bolt actions are fairly inexpensive, usually _very_ good shooters, and the accu-trigger is wonderful.

I picked up a heavy barreled savage in .17hmr a few weeks ago, and was shooting 1/3" groups at 50 yards on my first range trip with it. I'm looking at another one in .204ruger, with the long, heavy barrel. If the one my dealer has in stock had a wooden stock rather than their cheap looking plastic one, I'd have already brought it home.

August 23, 2006, 06:19 PM
I'd go with an M1 Garand

you could go with a savage scope/rifle combo for pretty cheat which would be good too.

My first rifle was a national match M1A, thank you student loans....

August 23, 2006, 06:44 PM
marlin 30-30 lever action $350

August 23, 2006, 06:51 PM
Good starter rifles with decent price tags line the new and used racks of nearly every gun store in the United States. A .308 bolt rifle with a decent scope is an excellent choice. Remington 700, Ruger M77, Winchester M 70, Weatherby Vanguard, Browning A Bolt, CZ in various models, all top shelf. Sako on top of the top shelf. Savage is darn good too for the money, same same Stevens and Tikka has a following too. Milsurps are fun too and cost effective for the budget minded.

By looking at lots and lots of rifles you can get an idea of how different stock makers dimensions feel to you (fit is very important for comfort in recoil and accurate field shooting), how the bolt feels, where the safety is located and how it works, how the magazine is set up (blind box, hinged floorplate, removable box) and how you like that aspect of the rifle, see different styles of recoil/butt pads, different scope mounting systems, different open sights if that is important to you and generally learn a hell of a lot about what you think you really prefer. I think that hanging around gun shops and looking at lots of rifles is the only way to buy another rifle, especially if you're just getting started. For scopes, Leupold, Bushnell Elite, Nikon Monarch, Burris Signature, Sightron SII and on up are in my decent scope category. IMHO a good rule of thumb is to spend about the same on glass as you do on a rifle until you get in the $1000 plus on a rifle territory. A good mounting system (rings and bases) should not be overlooked either.

For what little it is worth, I think getting a rifle and scope you really like in any adequate chambering is a lot more important than fretting over what round the rifle will shoot. There is such a huge selection of chamberings available today with often minimal differences in actual performance that what chambering the rifle in is often secondary. I think in terms of light centerfire, medium centerfire, heavy centerfire and African. Light being the .22 rounds up through maybe .243, medium starting at .243 and going through the many .30 calibers and heavy going up to the stuff that is .375 H&H or approximates .375 performance. African to me is .375 and above.

For paper punching and zombie duty, anything in the light or medium centerfires will get it done. Popular choices for the best round will abound and you will be able to read a lot of folks suggestions as to what you should buy. My suggestion is to buy a rifle that you like and that fits you well.

August 23, 2006, 07:31 PM
And you can get an AR in komifornia, you just can't put a pistolgrip, flash hider or colapsing stock on it.

Are you serious? The Laws are that ridiculous in California?

What does a pistol grip, flash hider and collapsable buttstock do for someone who wants to kill people. Do these things make a weapon more effective at killing? No.

Damn liberals and their pointless (cater-to-the-misinformed) political bull****.

Since the Assault weapons ban came into effect in California has the violent crime rate and murder with a firearm rate gone down? No.

August 23, 2006, 07:39 PM
the Savage package rifles, are good for beginners, and all the way to the end of your time here. they are accurate, tough, come in lots of calibers, and you can change out the bbl your self, if you ever shoot it out, or want a diff bbl based on the same cartridge, such as , 270, 30.06 8mm06 338.06 etc.
If you like beauty and wood, go with a cz. super accuracy and that adjustable trigger is the best trigger out there rght now, even better thatn the Savage Accutrigger.

August 24, 2006, 01:55 AM
ECV has a good point about the Stevens: they're very affordable, and get good word of mouth around here. Click the search button and type in "Stevens 200" to get more info on those.

I would disagree with ECV as to caliber though: if you don't have specific intent to hunt, why not get it in .223? That way you have more and cheaper surplus and bulk ammo to play with, but can still get great accuracy with quality or handloaded ammo.


August 24, 2006, 07:04 AM
terrierman hit it...go to a pawn-shop and see what they got on the rack...find a decent-shaped rifle in 308 and have some fun. Find a decent scope and go to town.

I would suggest a Savage for the same reasons spoken about above...but ultimately, you need to pick what fits you the best, not what someone suggests.

For instance, my next purchase will be a Browning A-bolt...simply the way they shoulder up either on the bench or free-hand, on me at least, just feels natural...I don't have to TRY to fit around the rifle...its just there where it needs to be.

You will just need to do the shopping...of course, that can be pretty fun in and of itself. :)


Simple Man
August 24, 2006, 08:05 AM
If you want to shoot a very nice rifle and have fun doing it as well as being easy on the pocket book then check out a CZ 527 in .223. The .223 is cheap to shoot, has good range and is good enough to kill varmints and up to small deer. The CZ 527 has got to be the best valued rifle in that price range.

August 25, 2006, 10:20 PM
I agree with the SKS fans. Lots of cheap Serb-Yugoslav models coming in at the moment. Even with the recent price raises, 7.62X39 is still a good bargain for a centerfire rifle cartridge.

August 25, 2006, 10:49 PM
I would have to agree with the lever action. They make the best beginner guns to me, but that is what I started with so I am kinda partial. I started with a 30-30...now i still have it and a 444Marlin to with it. God, I love that gun.

May 26, 2007, 10:18 PM
I own one and if I had to par back to one rifle that would be the one I would keep. Shoots well and combined with skill is a good hunting rifle. I think if you needed to defend yourself it would work just fine. Of course I watched too many western movies as a kid.

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