Help Me Decide on a Rifle


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JimmerJammerMrK
September 19, 2007, 12:49 AM
My parents are antis, but I've been around guns most of my like through my buddy.

Now, in my early twenties, it's time for my first rifle. The problem is, there are a number of different things I want to accomplish with this purchase, and for now I'm only buying one gun, and hopefully spending $700 at most.

Here are the rifles I want:

1. I want to get into distance shooting, say 300-600 yards. I'd like to use a bolt action in either .308 or .30-06, and I've mostly been researching Savage.

2. A really fun plinker. I've been thinking about a .357 or .44 lever action carbine.

3. An AR. I'm in CA, so my options are somewhat limited.

The main question is, what do you think I should get first? I'm leaning toward #1, but I'd like to discuss the pros and cons of each, especially since it will be my only rifle.

I'm not worried about HD, as I'll be picking up a pump shotgun at some point.

Opinions?

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cat_IT_guy
September 19, 2007, 01:06 AM
Get a bolt action .223 and it will fill most of those categories (not an AR, obviously) pretty well. It should be plenty accurate (moreso than the vast majority of shooters out to 500yards, ammo should be fairly affordable (.223 is by far the cheapest centerfire rifle round, esp if you can buy in bulk), and a .223 is just plain fun to shoot - light on recoil, accurate, and just powerful enough.

BTW - good choice with savage. They have a great reputation, good triggers (accutrigger), and even better price tags.

Jack A. Sol
September 19, 2007, 01:11 AM
savage with a burris tactical scope. good reliable accurate combo. stick with .308.

glockman19
September 19, 2007, 01:15 AM
1. I want to get into distance shooting, say 300-600 yards. I'd like to use a bolt action in either .308 or .30-06, and I've mostly been researching Savage.
Get a Remington 700.

2. A really fun plinker. I've been thinking about a .357 or .44 lever action carbine.
Get a Marlin 1894

3. An AR. I'm in CA, so my options are somewhat limited.
Get a CA Legally configured AR.
Call Chris @ www.lanworldinc.com and he'll hook you up. Either the detachable config with monsterman grip or the Bullit Button/Prince 50 fixed mag set-up with the evil features take yopur pick.

skinewmexico
September 19, 2007, 01:46 AM
Get a Savage. Embarrass your friends with Remington's, so they have to go get them bedded, and floated, and trued and end up spending 3 times as much to shoot as well.

cpttango30
September 19, 2007, 09:13 AM
For the long range stuff I would go with the Savage LRPV or F-Class rifle. http://www.savagearms.com/2007_pressrelease.htm scroll down it is towards the bottom. It comes in the 6.5x284 Norma so If you do not handload your out with that one.

Also the 308 would be a better 300-600 yard rifle than a 30-06. Find a Ruger, Remington or Savage varmint rifle in 308 slap a good scope on time and have at it. I tell you what I have a Rem 700VLS in 223 and my next rifle is going to be a savage 12 series in either a 204 or a 22-250.

For a lever plinker look for a marlin.

I can not offer any thign about the AR in CA I left the Granoloa state long before they got that bad.

Not all remingtons need work to shoot good. the first group I shot with my 700vls was .565" 5-shot 200 yards. I now have worked it down to .411" with only some tinkering with the hand loads and adjusting the trigger.

The Annoyed Man
September 19, 2007, 10:28 AM
Get a Savage. Embarrass your friends with Remington's, so they have to go get them bedded, and floated, and trued and end up spending 3 times as much to shoot as well.Horse puckey. My Rem 700 VSF was only $30 more than my son's Savage 10FP-HS Precision. It shoots just a tad better, and has a MUCH nicer fit and finish. BOTH rifles came from the factory with floated barrels and bedded actions, and both rifles shoot .5" or better at 100 yards. The one caveat was that, out of the box, the Savage AccuTrigger was a little nicer than my Remington's; but $50 at my local gunsmith rectified that, and my Remington trigger - set to 3.5 lbs - is now nicer than my son's AccuTrigger.

However, both rifles, without scopes, cost upwards of $800 and are outside of your $700 limit.

JimmerJammerMrK, I will agree with skinewmexico on one thing... Savage does make some excellent "package" rifles. For instance, a while back I was "this close" to buying a Savage 110 GXP (http://www.savagearms.com/110gxp3.htm) in .30-06 with 3-9x40mm scope already mounted. The MSRP is $584.00, but my local Bass Pro shot was selling one for $529.00. If you're in SoCal, Bass Pro JUST opened a new store in Rancho Cucamonga, and they have one planned for Bakersfield soon. I used to live in Pasadena (just moved to Texas in April '06), and I can tell you that places like Bass Pro and Cabela's will make your eyes pop out of your head. Until now, California just hasn't had anything like these stores out there.

As to caliber, .223 is inexpensive, and probably more fun to plink with than larger calibers. It can be accurate out to 600 yards, but it is far more limited than that in a hunting application. I would personally consider it unethical to try and take an animal at 600 yards with a .223. .30-06 is a venerable and flexible cartridge which is arguably nearing obsolete, but is still easily obtainable. .308 can be found anywhere and is almost as flexible as the .30-06, and is a little cheaper. If you intend to ever compete, you'll find that, unless you are hand loading, the most commonly commercially available match ammunition is in .308.

Both of the .30 caliber cartridges will thump you harder than the .223, shooting from a bolt action rifle, but they are still not beasts, and you should be able to spend a fun day at the range without getting beaten up. I admit to being personally partial to .308 although I have found .223 a lot of fun to shoot out of a friend's AR. However, if what you are looking for is a broadly flexible caliber that can be cheap enough to plink with using commercially available ammunition, accurate enough to go 1,000 yard shooting with commercially available ammunition, and powerful enough to take larger American game with commercially available ammunition, go with the .308. I keep stressing "commercially available ammunition" because you probably are not likely to get into hand loading until you've been shooting for a while and have found a caliber that you really enjoy working with. Unless you have an unlimited budget, it gets expensive to buy all the loading equipment, plus all the dies etc. for all the different calibers there are out there. Far better to narrow your preferences down to one or two calibers you really like, and then start reloading.

Welcome to the family of rifle owners. It's an endlessly fascinating hobby. Have a blast. (no pun intended)

Stover954rr
September 19, 2007, 11:18 AM
If this is your first rifle I would hold off on the distance shooting. Get a good ruger 10/22 with a heavy barrel ($300 total), you will have hours of fun for next to nothing in ammo, and you will learn a lot about shooting. Not to mention you can shoot them pretty much anywhere.

I don't think a new shooter will have much to gain from getting a 308 b/a and going out and shooting 600 yards. You will benefit much more from taking it in steps.

I started on a bolt action .22 (50-150yards), then went to a .223 (500 yards), and am in the process of building a 300 wssm bolt gun. This isn't saying that I haven't shot many guns, because I have shot a ton of guns up to the .50 cal range, these are just guns that I own.

Baron357
September 19, 2007, 11:20 AM
For $700 you can get a Saiga .223/7.62x39 ($300) to plink with and a Savage .308 ($400).

Or two Saigas, they make very accurate .308s.

woof
September 19, 2007, 11:34 AM
I'm curious - how do all these responses help you to decide? They are all over the board and you don't know any of us. I would strongly recommend that you consider where you are in getting into shooting and get the rifle most suited for that level. Yoda says - you must look inward. Unless you have been doing an awful lot of shooting with your friend for a long time, my bias is you are not ready to be thinking about 300 yards and a .308 is more than you need and costly to shoot. I won't suggest a .22 but I think you should focus on simplicity, economy and fun to shoot. Just because you have the money doesn't mean you have to buy 2 or three rifles at the same time. Get the right "starter" rifle for you then see for yourself which way you grow. I think you may have hit the nail with the Marlin .357. It shoots cheaper .38s and they are a blast, I have one. There are many other possibilities, but I think it should be a rifle you can shoot offhand. When you go plinking and can hit cans offhand reliably at 50 yards plus, then think about longer distances. The bolt action .223 is a good idea too. Ammo is cheaper and there are good deals out there. I'd go with something compact and light weight, and I'd think of it as iron sights to begin with. Among all my other biases is one that every shooter should be proficient at shooting offhand with iron sights before moving to anything else. Good luck!

browningguy
September 19, 2007, 11:40 AM
Actually a bolt action .223 will be fine out to 600 yards, just shoot the 69 grain or heavier loads. Either way something like the Savage 10FP, Predator Hunter or similar will work fine. Something with a medium to heavy barrel in either .223 or .308 will do what you want.

rjohnson4405
September 19, 2007, 12:08 PM
Consider a Puma lever action. I have a stainless in 357, nice rifle. I've played with the Marlin and mine's a little lighter and does not feel to be of any less quality. http://www.legacysports.com/ has them. With a 16" barrel it is shorter than my mossy 500 with 18" barrel making it ideal for HD in California if you can't get the shotgun soon enough. Play with 'em all before you buy and good luck. :D

Baron357
September 19, 2007, 12:17 PM
They are all over the board and you don't know any of us.

Ummm woof that is kind of the point of an Internet forum, everyone giving different opinions and options. Being his first rifle does not necessarily mean he has no experience, like the OP said he has been shooting for a while.

If you have never shot before then yes get a .22, if you have experience and want something more fun then .223, 7.62x39, .308 or .30-06 in a semi-auto or in a bolt action is perfectly acceptable.

Eyesac
September 19, 2007, 12:45 PM
I don't think there's anything wrong with getting a .30 cal rifle for a first rifle.:scrutiny: Many a young lads first rifle's were deer rifles. It sounds like you want a couple of other rifles as well, so I'd just pick which ever one you want more and buy it first. I'd go w/ the lever personally, just because they're cheap and don't require any scope (or any other accessory for that matter) to have fun with. Yeah, buy a lever.

Il Duca
September 19, 2007, 01:08 PM
Savage is an excellent choice, one of their varmint models with the heavy bbl should run $500 or so. CZ is also a nice choice. Alot of quality and extras for a real decent price. My caliber choice would be 6.5x55. A very inherently accurate cartridge, and should you ever decide to hunt deer or anything, very adequate.

JimmerJammerMrK
September 19, 2007, 01:31 PM
'm curious - how do all these responses help you to decide?
Many of the people on this board have owned one or all of the rifles I am consider. How would that not help me?

If you have never shot before then yes get a .22, if you have experience and want something more fun then .223, 7.62x39, .308 or .30-06 in a semi-auto or in a bolt action is perfectly acceptable.
I've been shooting .22 and .22 WMR since I was 10 or so. It's fun and all, but I'll definitely be buying a centerfire.

Baron357
September 19, 2007, 01:51 PM
I've been shooting .22 and .22 WMR since I was 10 or so. It's fun and all, but I'll definitely be buying a centerfire.

My advice like I kind of said before is Saiga and Savage. I would stick with .223, 7.62x39, or .308 myself.

Saiga in .223 (more accurate) or 7.62x39 (cheaper and more power)
Savage in .223 (cheaper) or .308 (more power and more money)

New Mini-14 or 30 maybe a good choice too although I do not like Ruger for political reasons the new Minis are pretty good and fun.

Rifleman 173
November 19, 2007, 04:24 AM
There is NO problem that pops up that a man with an AK, a pistol and a knife can not take care of. For most situations, a good AK will fit the needs of the average shooter. Just mount a scope to it and practice a lot with it until you're comfortable with it. You'll love it.

berettashotgun
November 19, 2007, 09:59 AM
Get something and get it fast. Price ammo and buy accordingly.
BUY a 22 for starters, Remington 597's have a rebate and 10/22's are decent priced. Get something and get it fast.but price shop first........................

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