If I know nothing about rifles...


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Famine
October 1, 2007, 10:45 PM
...where do I start?

I'd like to learn about rifles, but I don't even know where to start. Where would be a good starting point to learn something as basic as the choice of rifles and ammo for different conditions?

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Acheron
October 1, 2007, 10:52 PM
Well, THR is a good place to start.

As far as what rifle to get, that depends a lot on what you want to do with it. Plinking, hunting, target, competition, or HD? Unfortunately there is no one rifle that can do it all. Let us know what you want to do and we'll give you some suggestions/tips.

taliv
October 1, 2007, 10:58 PM
read all the links in the sticky thread in rifle country
go to rally point and ask if someone near you would like to go to the range and show you around

jlbpa
October 1, 2007, 10:59 PM
I started with The Gunners Bible by Bill Riviere, doubleday & company, 1965

http://www.epier.com/SportingGoods/Hunting&Fishing/764385.asp

Do it the old fashion way....Spend a raining day rooting around a good library.

kludge
October 1, 2007, 11:05 PM
Take an NRA Basic Rifle Class.

http://www.nrahq.org/education/training/basictraining.asp

Famine
October 1, 2007, 11:10 PM
I'm not a hunter, but I'd like to start within the next few years. I would also like to target shoot long distances in the meantime.

I'd like a gun with a scope, maybe even one that comes together so it takes the guess work out of the equation.

I like dependable guns, ones that work out of the box and have already stood the test of time.

The bigger the better.

I can't spend more than $600.




Now even though I gave a list of requirements, I'd still like to learn about rifles. Two years ago when I asked about shotguns, someone suggested "Shotgunning, The Art and the Science." I ebayed that the next day and read it cover to cover. It was very dry, but it gave me a wealth of information. Is there anything like that for rifles?

Famine
October 1, 2007, 11:11 PM
Ahh...I see some of you have already posted links while I was posting my previous message. Thanks. I'll check them out right now.

Slugless
October 1, 2007, 11:13 PM
How about the Art of the Rifle by Jeff Cooper?

Famine
October 1, 2007, 11:14 PM
I checked out the NRA site. I don't think it's for me. It's very basic. I own a handgun and shotguns, and I know the basics. I just don't know about rifles.

Famine
October 1, 2007, 11:16 PM
Jeff Cooper

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

How about the Art of the Rifle by Jeff Cooper?
__________________
______________________________________________
"Smash 'em up! Smash 'em up!" - Phil Sheridan



This looks good. Has anyone read it? In other words, did you just Google it or have you actually read it and found it to be useful?

Famine
October 1, 2007, 11:18 PM
I started with The Gunners Bible by Bill Riviere, doubleday & company, 1965

http://www.epier.com/SportingGoods/H...ing/764385.asp

Do it the old fashion way....Spend a raining day rooting around a good library.

This book is over 40 years old. I'm not knocking it, but will it be able to give modern rifles any justice?

taliv
October 1, 2007, 11:27 PM
famine, even though big guns are lots of fun, you would be much better off starting out with a 22lr and learning marksmanship. once you can hit targets at will with the super-cheap 22 ammo, then you can move on to bigger rifles.

seriously, if you have a $600 budget, you're not going to get more than a halfway decent rifle and a very low quality scope. you'll have no money left over for ammo, which means you won't get to have much fun.

RNB65
October 1, 2007, 11:51 PM
I agree with taliv. With only $600 to spend, a great starting point with rifles would be a CZ 452 or 453 rifle, a quality .22 rimfire scope, and many thousands of rounds of .22lr ammo.

http://www.cz-usa.com/product_detail.php?id=1

jpwilly
October 1, 2007, 11:54 PM
seriously, if you have a $600 budget, you're not going to get more than a halfway decent rifle and a very low quality scope. you'll have no money left over for ammo, which means you won't get to have much fun.
No, there are plenty of good rifles and scopes that will do their job just fine for under $600 you just won't be able to impress the gun snobs with them.

Slugless
October 2, 2007, 12:10 AM
Famine,

Okay, you got me but I googled it days ago and I do own a copy. My copy is in transit, being delivered. I've been wanting it for years now.

Some reviewers say it's only suited for beginners but my experience is that one is always working on the basics. And I've been shooting rifles, off and on, for 25 years. I finally broke down and ordered Cooper's book.

I also own a "The Basics of Rifle Shooting" which I've read cover to cover, many sections several times. It's an NRA publication, my copy from 1987.

I agree with Taliv that it's best to start with .22 lr, go to the range, shoot lots and ask other people what they've got and what they use it for. But it's fun to have something that goes BOOM. I shot .22 as a kid but the first rifle I bought was an SKS paratrooper carbine that takes AK mags. If you can afford it, buy both (in the same action type, eg lever + lever, auto + auto, bolt + bolt, pump + pump).

It's addictive.

Famine
October 2, 2007, 12:23 AM
Thanks for the suggestions, honest, but I really don't understand why I'm told time and time again to start small.

Years ago I wanted a shotgun. I was told to start plinking with a .22 until I got good...learn how to hold the gun, etc. Instead I got a 12 gauge (870). Same day, I was hitting 8-9 of 10 skeet consistently. When I use slugs, I'm dead on.

Then I wanted to buy a handgun. Everyone said start small. Get a .22 and practice they said. Again, I didn't listen. My first handgun was a Glock 21. The first day at the range I was lucky to stay within the 1' target at 25 feet. Only days later, I was down to a quarter size at 25 feet. And a few months after that, I was down to a quarter size at 50 feet.

I understand that when a guy gets on a G&A forum and asks for a "big" gun that you instantly think "idiot." I don't know what to tell you. I don't see any point to buying a small plinker to practice when all it takes is a few rounds to hit exactly what you want. I see a lot of folks on here who have 10, 20, or 30 guns. And a lot of folks give them all the respect in the world just because they own all those guns. Can they shoot them? I'd really like to know, because I have all kinds of friends and family that own guns, and when we go out shooting, which isn't often, I typically shoot their gun better than they do, and I had never even held their gun before that day.

And if the $600 mark is too low, then go ahead and go to $1000. I just through that number out because I saw a Remington 770 for less than $400.

If this is coming off in a negative way, I'm sorry. I'm just so tired of people telling me to go small.

Andrewsky
October 2, 2007, 12:29 AM
Get a Romanian M70 AK clone. They're about $550.

You might also like an AR15. Bushmaster's website might be a good place to start.

Samuraigg
October 2, 2007, 12:46 AM
Well if you are trying to stay cheap but looking for a decent rifle, a Saiga or SKS would definitely fit the bill. Either would be well under 600 bucks with cash left over. A Saiga even has the side rail for mounting scopes, though I don't know how well it works.

Don't be discouraged by the advice to start small. Folks are just trying to help out. Starting off big will not make you a terrible shooter. I'm learning to shoot handguns with my .45 Sig, and exploring rifle shooting with my Saiga and Garand, so I'm right there with you.

jdc1244
October 2, 2007, 01:28 AM
Start small?

Heck, most of us stay with .22LR after years of rifle shooting. My CZ American .22LR and CZ Varmint .17HMR – both with Mueller 8.5 – 25x44AO scopes - will always get the bulk of my range time. As noted correctly above, rifles are about marksmanship and accuracy. I have a great time chasing that perfect group. :D

I have centerfire rifles I enjoy shooting as well but they’re just not practical for long-term bench and bag target work.

MachIVshooter
October 2, 2007, 01:30 AM
I'd like a gun with a scope, maybe even one that comes together so it takes the guess work out of the equation.

Stay away from those, unless you're talking used. The gun/scope combo packages are either a decent gun with a crappy scope (Savage) or a crappy gun with a crappy scope (Remington 710).

You should be able to find a decent used rifle with an OK scope for under $600. You'r not going to drive tacks at 500 yards with it, but it'll be good enough to put a deer down at 2 or 3 football fields distance or make some decent groups at the 100 yard mark. I've seen plenty of scoped Remington 700's, Ruger 77's, Winchester 70's, Weatherby Vanguaurds and Savages on the used rack in your pricerange. For new, that $600 will barely get the rifle. Even the Ruger 77's and Savages have crept up there. The local Big R and Sportman's Warehouse have been getting them out the door at about $550. Remington has been hovering around the $700 mark for a couple years now.

Mauserguy
October 2, 2007, 02:01 AM
I would get a good bolt action rifle in 308 or 30-06 if I were you. For between $400 and $500 you can get a good quality, though basic, hunting rifle with an adequate scope. It will serve you well as a hunting arm, and allow you hit targets consistently out to 400 yards. My suggestion would be to get one of the package deals by:

Howa 1500
Weatherby Vangard (a rebranded Howa)
Stevens (the budbet branded Savage)
or a
Mossberg

These package guns will not impress the any snobs, but they will drop a deer and blast paint cans. Have fun.
Mauserguy

bvchurch
October 2, 2007, 02:38 AM
...where do I start?

I'd like to learn about rifles, but I don't even know where to start. Where would be a good starting point to learn something as basic as the choice of rifles and ammo for different conditions?

I thought I would kind of post my quick story. I know I had never really been into firearms. Then I played Call of Duty and that got me some what interested into WW II firearms. Though I was still not interested completely in them. It took me a few more years, receiving the makarov, and then just eventually wanting to know more about the Mosin Nagant to get me into firearms. I guess my thing is find a weapon that you are interested in, preferably something cheap at first I guess one could say. I guessed that you knew pistols in some sense, as you did not specify that you are new to them, but find a weapon that interests and maybe go from there. I know now that I have my "collection" underway, my next weapon will probably a 22.lr based rifle, something that is easy and cheap to shoot. Of course I am not going for a Ruger 10/22 or Marlin model rifle, instead my somewhat love of the value of Russian firearms has brought me to the Toz series of weapons.

So in closing,

find a rifle that interests you for some reason, maybe choose a region of the world first then narrow it down.

Never No More
October 2, 2007, 03:14 AM
I have to concur, a Mosin Nagant at a gun show is a cheap and good way to start. Buy 500 rounds and get the manual for it (in english).

After you have taken it apart and cleaned it and put it back together.

Go out the range and have a ball.

JimmerJammerMrK
October 2, 2007, 04:07 AM
Check out this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_rifle_cartridges

Read through it. Keep in mind that it's wikipedia and not an academic source.

Danny Creasy
October 2, 2007, 07:28 AM
Famine, I would have suggested the .22 rifle route also. But, since you want to dive into the deeper end and have done so successfully before, I second what Mauserguy suggested. I have recently seen brand new rifle scope combos in the local WalMart, Dick's, K-Mart, and three local gun/pawn shops that all cost well below your price ceiling. Chamberings were .243, .270, .308, and .30-06.

And, if you really want to learn a new craft as well, then buy a reasonably priced press and set of dies and start handloading your own ammo. Some folks take to reloading and others don't. Just a thought.

Danny

Danny Creasy
October 2, 2007, 07:39 AM
You could purchase a CZ 452 American, a simple leather military type sling and a nice scope like this Weaver V-16:

http://i47.photobucket.com/albums/f169/sheffieldshootr/3pmatch-1.jpg

And, buy a case of Wolf, Aguila, Federal, or CCI .22 LR ammo. (5000 rds).

And, hopefully find some local shooters that hold CMP Sporter Matches.

And, really learn the "Art of the Rifle".

You know you are there when you can shoot a slow fire string of 100-10X like this one:

http://i47.photobucket.com/albums/f169/sheffieldshootr/CMPSporter100-10X-1.jpg

And, an overall score of 580 for all six strings combined (three rapid and three slow).

halesb
October 2, 2007, 07:46 AM
Jeff Cooper

"Art of the Rifle" is a great book, it has a lot of info in a readable format. He talks mostly about marksmanship, shooting positions, trigger control, etc. He only talked about the Scout Rifle in the last chapter. Some folks would probably say the book isn't sexy enough, but the info can be applied to a wide range of rifles.

As to a rifle, get a .308 bolt gun of any flavor, Remington, Ruger, Savage, etc. and put a good 3x9 on it, and start shooting !

Neo-Luddite
October 2, 2007, 07:54 AM
Get an AR-15. Seriously, for the money they will be readily adaptable to your stated purpose. The big downside is the cost of ammo right now and .223 being somewhat light (and not legal for) hunting in many places.

My standard line is get an M-1 Garand--and it would easily fill your needs for power in spades. A scout type rail can be fitted to it for your scope. You could get everything from the CMP (-the scope) including really great ammo.
It can be used to take down most North American game except the really big boys.

I would argue however, that the AR is a more versatile platform. In any case, you can learn to shoot either. The big thing that most people are worried about when offering advice (on THR especially) is safety. Go to a CMP shooting clinic and try out an M-1 and (likely) an AR. The people will be helpful as rifle instruction is what the organization is about.

Ash
October 2, 2007, 07:55 AM
Okay, don't worry about the package-rifle route. The scope isn't very good, but it is good enough to get started. A Savage 110 with scope will set you back somewhere in the $360 range. The trick, there, is that leaves you $240 for ammo.

Of course, if your amount to spend is only on the rifle and that you have a budget for ammo, then you can discard the scope and get a Nikon Monarch 3-9x40 for around $200. Then you would have an excellent rifle and an excellent scope. You'd have $60 left over for several boxes of ammo.

You could also spend $160 for a Burris Full Field II, 3-9 and have $100 left over for ammo. I strongly disagree that you cannot get a really good rifle and an excellent scope for less than $600. As a matter of fact, you can. The Monarchs are excellent scopes, better than many Leupolds. If the sale on Monarchs is over, you can still get the excellent Burris FFII's. It is still a fine, durable scope and one you'd be proud to own.

Ash

Slugless
October 2, 2007, 08:06 AM
Why are people suggesting to start with a .22? It's like the Karate Kid, get the basics down by Wax on, Wax off. A .22 will teach you lots for cheap, that's how I learned Kentucky windage for instance.

But if you were blasting skeet so fast - wow - and progressed well with handguns, you may be enough of a natural. With a natural I don't hesitate to tell them to get a boomer but I still always recommend their second gun be a .22. Not that they listen to me about that...but is sure is fun to teach a natural.

(Speaking of karate, the easiest guy to teach pistol was a guy who was serious about Kung Fu.)

Bigger bore boom w/ scope I suggest .308 or .30-06. I can shoot more .308 from a fatigue standpoint but .30-06 is more whump in the gut.

For $600 go used for more bang for your buck. So to speak. Good makes & models already mentioned.

Twud
October 2, 2007, 08:17 AM
I think I'd go with a Savage combo. You can always upgrade the scope later on. I'd start with a 223, cheap ammo low recoil and a ball to shoot.
As to learning about rifles, I woud subscribe to two or three of the major magazines like, Guns and Ammo, American Rifleman or Rifle and read them thoroughly.
If your budget is now $1,000 I'd buy a Remington 700 and a Leupold VXII 3-9 scope.
Tight groups,
Mark

BeJaRa
October 2, 2007, 08:22 AM
the big advantage of a 22 rifle is not just that it is cheap to shoot, but you actually get to learn good techiques with it. If all you shoot is high power rifle you will have a very high chance of learning some type of bad technique. Go to the range and really watch the rifle shooters. there are many good ones, but there are twice as many that "flinch" and jerk the trigger. Becoming an accomplished rifleman, in my opinion, takes every bit as much dicipline as it takes to master any given form of martial art. And a 22 rifle allows you to pretty much take the "rifle" out of the equation and lets you work on your technique

jlbpa
October 2, 2007, 08:41 AM
Yep the book is old and some of us are a lot older. But nothing much has changed lately since the advent of smokeless powder. What was available then is all you really need now. It's what everybody still wants now anyway
What if I said I had a savage 99 new in box from 1965 who wants it? I'd get a few thousand replys. Same goes for a marlin 39 new in box from 1965 or a new in box winchester model 70 box from 1961.

Famine
October 2, 2007, 09:33 AM
(Speaking of karate, the easiest guy to teach pistol was a guy who was serious about Kung Fu.)

I practice Judo; does that count?



Thanks for the continued advice. I'm seeing a lot of possibilities now. Here's a real basic question...how many yards out should a quality rifle shoot, say, if I was hunting deer? I see a big difference in the distance in some of the rifles I've been Googleing.

Ash
October 2, 2007, 09:36 AM
If you are a humane shooter, I would never shoot beyond 300 yards, and, personally, I keep mine within 150 yards in south Mississippi. I can shoot farther than that, of course, but we have deer aplenty here and there's no point in taking a chance the deer can be lost. Others will disagree but I can't think of any good excuse to risk wounding an animal and making it suffer for 3 or 4 days.

Ash

Legionnaire
October 2, 2007, 11:35 AM
Where to start? Two books:

The Art of the Rifle, by Jeff Cooper
The Rifles, the Cartridges, and the Game, by Clay Harvey (out of print, but available used on Amazon.com)

Then pick up an accurate .22LR and shoot it a lot! I'll second the recommendation of a CZ 452. I'd avoid the Ruger 10/22 or any other semi-auto for a first rifle. Stick to a bolt action, and make every shot count.

jlbpa
October 2, 2007, 12:40 PM
sheffieldshootr ...... Nice rifle you have there! What is the diameter the white circle and the inner black ring. I want see if me and my .22 can do that. If not then I'll try my savage 22-250. If I can do it with the 22-250 then I'll have a good excuse to go buy a cz .22

Thanks

Slugless
October 2, 2007, 12:46 PM
Judo does count, body awareness, center of gravity, all that really helps. Did you learn judo before you learned skeet? By the end of the afternoon my kung fu friend was giving me tips on how to hold my lower spine and on visualization. His dojo teaches local cops on point shooting, too.

Ash says 300 yards. Personally I agree, although I know one man who's a fantastic shot, great equipment & handloads who will occasionally take a 400 yard shot.

Heard one guy bragging about half mile shots on deer. Either he was full of dung (most likely) or he's a cruel man. Or both.

White tail vs. mule deer make a difference on caliber. I bought a Browning A-bolt in 30-06 & a vari-x III thinking I'd start eating mule deer or the occasional elk. $1000 at the time. Never did it though. Now it's a zombie head shot gun.

kaizer
October 2, 2007, 12:47 PM
given the budget I think you could buy yourself a nice bolt action gun or AR and really learn to use the iron. There is no shame in shooting iron and you would be surprised how well and how accurate some people can shoot them at distance. Then once you get your feet you can purchase a scope and take it to the next level. In my opinion, if you want to shoot long range you are going to need a good or great rifle to do it effectively.

If it were me, I would save more and try to buy a really nice rifle for between 800 and 1000.

If you just want to blast some stuff in the meantime, buy a $200 sks and go have a ball.

Famine
October 2, 2007, 12:57 PM
Where to start? Two books:

The Art of the Rifle, by Jeff Cooper
The Rifles, the Cartridges, and the Game, by Clay Harvey (out of print, but available used on Amazon.com)

I'll go ahead and order The Art of the Rifle today since more than one person has suggested it. Thanks. I'll follow-up with the second book once I get into the first book. I tend to like books better than surfing the net. I read a bit online, and although it is useful info, I like reading a book by a autor who knows best.

Danny Creasy
October 2, 2007, 01:36 PM
jlbpa, that is an official CMP Sporter target and the group pictured was fired form the sitting position at 50 yards. The white center of the target is the 10 ring and its inner circle is the X ring. The X ring is about the same size as a quarter (25 cent coin).

Famine
October 2, 2007, 01:49 PM
As I read other websites and this forum, the Rem 700 and Savage 110 keep coming up over and over. As a matter of fact, the recent thread about a guy's first hunting rifle asks about those two in particular.

I might just go to the local gun shop to see them in person.

41magsnub
October 2, 2007, 02:02 PM
No, there are plenty of good rifles and scopes that will do their job just fine for under $600 you just won't be able to impress the gun snobs with them.

Best words spoken here thus far...

davera
October 2, 2007, 03:02 PM
If you are not in a hurry, then spend some time in search ... and search other gunboards like TFL. Get acquainted some of the name brands and what peoples opinions are. If sporting bolt actions are your thing then you'll see Remington 700 etc. a lot, Winchester 70, Savage 110, and others. When you get a sense of models and calibers that interest you, visit some gun shows, and shops and pawn shops. Handle the rifles. Since you are already a shotgun shooter, you can probably recognize quality. Good quality rifles, well cared for last a long time. You could end up with a nice used Remmy 700 and a decent scope where a new one would exceed your budget.

Famine
October 2, 2007, 06:58 PM
I went to my local shop, which is huge. Well, they have neither the Rem 700 or Savage 110. What the heck?

The Annoyed Man
October 2, 2007, 08:04 PM
If you can't spend more than $600.00, and you would like a "package gun" that comes with a scope, I would highly recommend Savage. They have several package deals. Here is a link to a sample of what they offer (http://savagearms.com/10gxp3.htm). With these package deals from Savage, you get a basic wood stock - not very pretty, but perfectly usable. You get a fully floated barrel, which almost anybody here will tell you will vastly improve accuracy. You get Savage's EXCELLENT AccuTrigger®. You get a basic variable power scope. And, you can pick from an assortment of popular and effective calibers. The package I've linked here is $584 in non-magnum calibers, and $607 in the magnum calibers, so it comes in right around your price point. If I were in the market for a general use rifle and I didn't want to spend a fortune, I would give this a good look.

Have fun shopping.

Legionnaire
October 2, 2007, 08:29 PM
Do your research first, and decide on what cartridge and rifle you want.

AFTER you've done that, hunt around a bit for a second hand rifle with a good scope already mounted. I recently picked up a 1990-ish Remington 700 BDL in .30-06 with a nice Redfield 3-9X scope for $450. Here's an example of what I'm talking about on Gunbroker.com: http://gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.asp?Item=81560117

New guns are great, but you can find very good deals on second hand bolt action rifles, typically from guys who thought they'd get into hunting and then didn't.

The Annoyed Man
October 3, 2007, 08:23 PM
Used guns are OK too, like Legionnaire said, but you have to be careful and knowledgeable about what you buy. Also, you won't get any kind of warrantee.

I bought my Ruger M77 MkII All Weather in .308 that way, and it has been a reliable rifle. I think I paid $390 for it with a scope mounted. It's as ugly as a mud fence, but you couldn't ask for a more solidly built rifle, and it shoots reasonably well.

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