Parents agreed to help me get a Deer rifle Some Suggestions Please


November 20, 2008, 01:23 AM
Hi, my parents have decided to help me get a deer rifle as an early Christmas present since I completed the TN hunter Safety course and expressed a desire to hunt. I found a guy who is willing to take me Thanksgiving weekend and have to find a rifle pretty quick and it will probably have to be a used one, which I don't have a problem with. They are willing to give me right around $300 max and I know I could most likely obtain a .30-30 for around this price range but would really like to obtain something with a little more power since I will be shooting in open fields on the 250 acre farm. There is also a some wooded area on the farm. Thanks for time and suggestions.

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November 20, 2008, 01:53 AM
I have to say 30-30 is your best bet...its killed more deer then any other cartridge known to man..levers are easy and accurate marlin and winchester makes good on their products, however if your hell bent and stubborn as I was when I was younger...

If you can find a used bolt action with iron sights in 270 Win for around 300 dollars.. id grab it.. preferable brand Winchester, or good ol' Remington.

I myself for cheap purposes enjoy the Mosin's and Mauser's of world war 2.. id shoulder a few and see what feels right before picking anything up.

November 20, 2008, 01:55 AM
The 200 are usually on sale for under 300 bucks and here the Marlins are right there with them.

You will have to add a scope though and that might take you over your limit.

Don't feel handicapped with a good scoped .30-30. I would not recommend taking long shots anyways. You need lots of practice to pull those off. I wise gentleman once suggested that you fire one round of practice for every yard you would like to shoot (100 rounds = 100 yards).

I think a good Marlin 336 with a scope and some Hornaday Leverevolution ammo would work great for you. That would easily kill a deer out to 150 yards or more. Marlins make dandy deer rifles and are easy to clean, reliable, and very accurate.

Keep us posted on your new rifle.

Good luck, have fun, be safe and welcome to the hunting fields.


November 20, 2008, 02:06 AM
I may be biased, but the Marlin 336 is a sure-fire first gun choice :) It was my first rifle (Ahem, the "Western Auto 200"), has medium kick, can accept a scope, the open sights are very accurate. It is .30-30.

I prefer the Lever action over a Bolt, but that's just my opinion :)

A new one will run a little more than you're budgeted, but you can find really good condition ones for $250 or so online, so that would make about 300 after shipping, FFL transfer, etc...

November 20, 2008, 04:48 AM
For $300 it isn't likely you're going to get a rifle and good scope both, which means you'll be using iron sights - which means the 30/30 has all the power and range you will be able to use. As others have said - the lever-action 30/30s (either Marlin or Winchester) are actually superb deerslayers. There is really no need to feel handicapped with a 30/30. Think of all the archers and black powder hunters who kill deer every year.:)

Option -

What are the chances that you could borrow a rifle for this year's season ? Do you know anyone who might lend you a bolt-action .243 or 6mm or 257 Roberts or 250 Savage or maybe a .270 ? That would give you more range IF the rifle had a decent scope on it.

Good Luck !


Golden Hound
November 20, 2008, 05:24 AM
There's no real need for a scope right now - with your first rifle, you don't need it. Iron sights are better to learn on IMO. The way people talk nowadays, you'd think nobody ever shot a deer before the scope was invented.

November 20, 2008, 05:59 AM
You didn't say if you have ever hunted anything or even fired a gun before. If not to both, deer may not be the best place to start. If you are proficient with a .22 and have hunted small game, then you should still think in terms of limiting the shots you take on deer to 100 yards or less and the .30-30 is fine for that. There are way too many new hunters trying to use power and scopes to make up for the lack of skill and experience, don't be one of them.

November 20, 2008, 07:55 AM
Another vote for a Marlin 336. Affordable and reliable, and should take any game in your neck of the woods.

November 20, 2008, 10:52 AM
Check the local gunshops you can usually get a used bolt action with an OK scope for $300.

November 20, 2008, 11:11 AM
^^^ What they said... Plus 30-30 ammo is way cheaper than most...


November 20, 2008, 11:54 AM
It really doesn't matter what rifle you end up with. The real important thing is practice practice practice. Reading a book such as Jeff Cooper's "The Art of the Rifle" wouldn't hurt either. TAotR is a short read and has a lot of good pictures in it.

On scopes, I recommend shooting irons. At 100 yards you are in no way disadvantaged with iron sights instead of a scope. In either case, you are severely disadvantaged if you haven't practiced. Just like shooting/hunting, a violinist doesn't expect to play well at a concert unless he/she has practiced before hand.

November 20, 2008, 12:01 PM
scan you local gun shops. Im sure you could find some good used .270 or 30-06 for what you want to spend. And if it is on the used rack, then tell the shop owner what you have and if he can work with the price. Pawn Shops usually are best to bargain with as they usually only paid 1/3 of the price on the pricetag.

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
November 20, 2008, 12:15 PM
Does this $300 have to cover optics also, or just rifle only? Cannot advise until I know that. Or, are you going to use iron sights?

November 20, 2008, 07:43 PM
i just had my local shop order me an marlin xl7 looks good i cant wait its in .30-06 no iron sights so i gotta get a scope

im getting this to use for longer range shots than my .30-30 wich i love its taken lots of deer and is a good gun

November 20, 2008, 09:10 PM
I love the Marlin 30-30 but in your case I'd probably check the used rack for a good Savage in .243.

November 20, 2008, 09:16 PM
There's no real need for a scope right now - with your first rifle, you don't need it. Iron sights are better to learn on IMO. The way people talk nowadays, you'd think nobody ever shot a deer before the scope was invented.

I have to agree entirely. When I hunted - i honestly hated using scopes. If I was in a stand where i had a supported position, that's one thing - but you don't always have the time to properly prepare. When you're first starting out your nerves get pretty raw the first time you draw down on a deer - and the scope just magnifies all those subtle twitches and movements. You see the crosshairs bouncing a little bit - and it just destroys your confidence to take the shot. That leads you to be more nervous, and thus even less steady.

I think it also depends a lot on where you're hunting, and what kind of techniques you're using. If you're in a stand all day where you have quick/easy access to sticks or whatnot, it's not so bad. If you do a lot of walking trying to stir something up - a scope is a bad idea.

November 20, 2008, 09:16 PM
to be patient. I know that is the last thing that you want to hear right now but it is good advice. Since you only have a week to get ready you are forced to buy what is available and you really don't have time to get proficient with anything at this point. Your best bet at this point is to borrow a gun from a family member or friend. If this is not an option and you simply must go hunting then I think the 33-30 is a decent choice at least for the short term.
To answer your original question though, you are lucky in that there are several bargain rifles available that are in your price range. I am a big fan of Savage rifles and if by chance you should find a used one in your price range, buy it. As to new rifles your choices are:

1) Stevens 200 This basically a no frills Savage and is available in some very good caliber choices for you including 270, 243, 25-06, a favorite and the 308. Price is going to be around $275. You would still need a scope. These are very accurate aand that is why they are number one on my list.

2) Mossberg 100 ATR- This looks like a pretty good rifle for the money and I have seen them at Wal-mart. Available in all the standard caliber like 243,270 308 and of course 30-06. Right around $275 witout scope and $325 with a cheap scope.

3) Marlin XL7- Availability is not great on these right now and your caliber choices are pretty limited. The price is right around $340 without a scope. I don't like to be the first guy on the block with the new toy. Not high on my list but that is just my opinion.

4) New England Firearms Handi-Rifle or H&R single shot. You can get these in lots of different calibers and configurations. They have a good rep for accuracy. The best part is the price, new they start at just over $200. You can find these used in great shape for around $160 bucks. At those prices you can afford a decent scope like a nikon pro-staf or buckmaster.

If you can be patient, look around for a good used rifle that you like or choose a new rifle that you want. If the $300 will cover either of those choices buy it. Then save up for a good scope or, drop a hint to your grand parents and others that you are saving toward the scope. Cash for Christmas saves them the hassle of shopping.

November 20, 2008, 09:17 PM
i say 30 30 lever too. Good all around gun. ammo will be cheaper to practice with. Honestly you dont need a scope. my dad has an old 303 british with peep sights that can keep them all in a dinner plate at 300 yards, with crappy ammo. Not remarkable, but considering the platform and trigger men i am be quite happy with it. Im just trying to show that you should be just fine with open sights. + best to learn on them also, then work into another gun if you like, when budget allows.

November 20, 2008, 09:24 PM
I would stay away from a 30-30, get something bigger like a 270 or 30-06 or even 308. Then at least a few years down the road you wont have to upgrade when you want to start long distance shooting. Also if you only have 300 bucks, spend it all on rifle only, a good scope costs way more than 300 bucks anyhow and a junk scope will only cause you grief. I started out with a 30-30 and hated it, got a winchester 88 308 for 400 bucks and it was a huge improvement. I know there will prob be 100 guys trashing me and saying how good the 30-30 is and how many deer they have killed but its a perfect bush gun only in my opinion. An old 303 is cheap and accurate for the money too.

November 20, 2008, 09:30 PM
Press your folks to go ahead and spend the $$$$$ on a Remington 700 ADL or BDL in .270, with a nice wood stock. :) You will be more satisfied with it other than a 30.30 lever action. JMOHO:D

November 20, 2008, 09:31 PM
Look for a used Savage in .243, good all around caliber, accurate and fairly cheap. Spend all on the gun, get a nice scope later.

November 20, 2008, 09:41 PM
Marlin 336W 30-30...

November 20, 2008, 09:50 PM
I've got a 30-06, a 7x57, a 7x64 and a 30-30 that i hunt with...... I'll be taking the 30-30 on the first morning just cause it feels Sooooooooo good and will do what needs to be done.

November 20, 2008, 09:52 PM
I would stay away from a 30-30, get something bigger like a 270 or 30-06 or even 308. Then at least a few years down the road you wont have to upgrade when you want to start long distance shooting. Also if you only have 300 bucks, spend it all on rifle only, a good scope costs way more than 300 bucks anyhow and a junk scope will only cause you grief. I started out with a 30-30 and hated it, got a winchester 88 308 for 400 bucks and it was a huge improvement. I know there will prob be 100 guys trashing me and saying how good the 30-30 is and how many deer they have killed but its a perfect bush gun only in my opinion. An old 303 is cheap and accurate for the money too.

I think I saw a savage in .308 with iron sights on Bud's not long ago. Decent price too.
I too would suggest the .308 for sheer versatility and availability of ammo.
Chuck Hawks makes a great argument for the .308 as the "bread and butter" round here :

November 20, 2008, 10:03 PM
7.62x54R in a mosin has power and is way under your limit.$100 for the gun $50 for a 300rd case of ammo total $150 then you can save up and have your parents give you $150 towards another rifle like a 30-30 down the road or if you want to make long shots a 30-06 7mm rem mag etc... I would also suggest savage for a bolt gun because that is what I got when I started hunting a few years back.
With a mosin you could probably make 200 yard shots with practice.

November 20, 2008, 10:28 PM
Congrats Almond. Please come back later and tell us what you did and how it went. I don't know how long TN gun season is but if it's only a short period it'd be great to borrow someone's rifle for the season. If it's a longer season, buy... but I agree that your options will be narrowed this late in the day.

On the other hand... I did some hunting and even got me an 8 point buck. But frankly I decided I just didn't have the desire long-term. Borrowing a gun might let you know whether deer hunting's really something you wanna invest in.

Jerry D
November 20, 2008, 10:42 PM
If you have access to a Lee Enfield that would be my suggestion.

The .303 British is plenty powerful - it still has 1000 ft/lbs of energy at 400 yrds and standard muzzle velocities are about 2600 fps... It is also a .30 cal so its similar to say a .30-06 and .308. It is a little more umph compared to a .30-30 however its less then a .308/.30-06

They sell for only 100-300 MAX. 300 for a really good shape one...

The come standard with iron sights however mounting a scope is quite difficult.

November 20, 2008, 10:58 PM
jerry good point

you can look into a sporterized one or a mil spec one has them for like 150

check used a sporterized one is around the same [price

also look into sporterized 1903 springfields which are .30-06 you may be able to find a decent mauser which will do fine either sporterized or regular

November 21, 2008, 12:19 AM
you can get a brand new Stevens, Mossberg,or Marlin xl7, bolt gun, for that price, and maybe with a scope on it allready. Anything from 243 to 30.06 , out to 300 yds, will drop them hot and fast, as long as you can make the shot.

I just read some previous posts, and it looks like another dude above, picked my exact same rifles.
Great minds think alike...

November 21, 2008, 01:58 AM
Ok well I went out and did a little bit of browsing today and saw a few what I think good deals. I saw a Marlin 336AW I think? It had a Bushnell scope it was an old rifle but the bolt, receiver and bore were immaculate as far as I could tell. The price was $239 on this and was negotiable since it was at a pawnshop I have done a good bit of business at. The second rifle I saw was another Marlin 336W I think in 35 remington. I am curious as to the advantages of this round over a plain .30-30. It was iron sights only and was in very nice condition as well I think the price was $289. I also saw a Carl Gustfah(spelled wrong) sporterized by Kimber they said in 6.5x55 it was a little worn with no scope for $289 also. I have to have a rifle by Thanksgiving weekend so I kinda have to get something in the next week. I do have alot of time under my belt shooting rifles so whatever I get I will be taking out to the range and becoming familiar with it. Just for general info I am 19 and this will be the first rifle ever given to me as I got into shooting on my own, a rifle as a gift from my parents was never expected. They are not anti gun but always kinda let me support my own hobby. I am excited about getting the choice of going out and finding the gift but I also don't want to rush into any decisions. I am thinking iron sights might be the way to go since I am not very familiar with scopes. Thanks for all your suggestions so far. Josh

November 21, 2008, 06:04 AM
If the shot over 150 yards is pretty rare I'd definitely go with the 30-30.
Lever actions are best used by people with a little more experience - sounds like you probably have enough of that to use one safely.

November 21, 2008, 06:07 AM
Get the sporterized Kimber they said in 6.5x55. Then go over to Wal Mart and pick up and 4X tasco or simmons scope. Next year buy a really good scope.

This is a truly great rifle. 30-30 and 35 Rem level are good guns but the 6.5X55 is a much better cartridge.
It will be a gun you can be proud of for years to come.

November 21, 2008, 08:48 AM
250 acres isn't that big. I hunted on a 120 acre farm, lots of brush, nothing too long for shots. Was also required to use a slug gun, that reduces your range. Always a lot of deer hanging in the garage by the end of season.

I would recommend either a .30-30 with iron sights or something in a single shot (stick with cheap calibers at this point, you need to shoot 60-100 rounds to get a feel for the gun) and get a halfway decent scope. (Figure $200 for gun and $100 for scope).

I would recommend away from the milsurp side of things. If you had months to make sure you have a good milsurp that is one thing, but this is a week. That means you need to get the rifle, put a few boxes through it, make sure you can hit a pie plate 100% of the time at your max yardage and go from there.

Gear doesn't make you a better hunter. My uncle, who always fills his limit, uses a $300 used shotgun, wears sweat pants under some camo pants and a wool jacket. I took my first deer with a $100 used Shotgun.

Don't over think the gear at this point.

.30-30, single shot in ,.30-30, .270, .308, .30-06. Irons is they have 'em, scope if you can swing it.

November 21, 2008, 08:56 AM
If your pawn shop was close to me I would go over now and buy both Marlins and maybe the 6.5 as well if sound. The .35 Rem is popular now and will bring a premium. But 289 is good. The one at 239 sounds like a steal if you are certain you were able to give it a thorough inspection and didn't miss anything.

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
November 21, 2008, 09:07 AM
Does the swede have iron sights? If not, then that's out due to budget (adding scope). Get the Marlin in .30-30 win, and get thee to the range pronto to verifying that the scope is not broken and sighted in. If you can't sight it in quickly, then trash the scope and sight it in with iron sights.

November 21, 2008, 09:14 AM
I would suggest borrowing a rifle, shooting it a bit, and heading for the woods.

Take your time and buy something you really want in the spring and then shoot. Lots of folks buy "deer rifles" this time of the year and then sell them off come January/February. But you can get some good buys with the Marlin 336 rifle in the $300 area. 35 Rem is a very good hunting caliber with a slight edge over the 30-30 win.

November 21, 2008, 11:25 AM
Hi Josh! (I'm gutter from TGO, BTW)

Plenty of good suggestions in here so far, so I'm not really going to echo them. But have you thought about hunting with your AK? It might alarm some of the Fudds, but it's perfectly capable of dropping a deer with soft-point ammo.

I'm not suggesting that you just forego the gift rifle; but if you could use the AK for your upcoming excursion, then you don't have the hurry-up time constraint on picking up another rifle, and could take a little more time or maybe save up a little more cash on top of the gift allowance.

Also, while I don't consider myself a hardcore, steely-eyed deer slayer, I'd be willing to help you out locally, if you want to go out sometime.

November 21, 2008, 12:07 PM
hell if you want to go milsurp then get yourself a 8mm mauser. You can find a decent capture K98 for under 300. Or you can find a Yugo 24/47 for $150 that has matching numbers. The 8 x 57 packs a mean punch. If you wanted to mount a scope a trip to your gunsmith is all it takes. Bolts are easly modified to clear the scope. Check out the thread in Rifle country that says "another bubba with pics" to get a feel of what you would be looking at.

November 21, 2008, 12:09 PM
I agree with Premium. Get the 6.5 if it has irons, yyou will be happier in the long run. If it doesn't get the 336.

November 22, 2008, 09:57 PM
Well I went back for the 336AW with the Bushnell scope and it was gone so I got really a nice 336 I could tell it was a older one but I didn't think it was as old as it is. It is almost like new condition IMO it has two little blemishes on the bluing other than that I can't tell that it has been used other than shooting it at the range some. The wood is absolutely beautiful IMO. I got on google and found out it was made in 1969 and I am stunned at how nice someone kept it over the years I'd say its never been hunted with but it will be soon. Anyways I got it for 270 with tax TN background check and everything. So how do think I did? PS I will try to get some pictures up in a few days.

November 22, 2008, 10:27 PM
I would say you did well, especially if it is in fact from the late 60's. Some things were just made better back then and hunting rifles are one of those things in my opinion. Congrats, shoot the hell out of it.

Rifleman 173
November 22, 2008, 11:42 PM
Swedish Mauser in 6.5 X 55. Good rifle. Dependable. Shoots long distances and is very accurate. Later on you can mount a scope on it.

November 23, 2008, 06:14 AM
Sounds like you did well. I also have an old Marlin 336 without the cross bolt safety (I don't like those safeties much).
I love mine. Eventhough I don't hunt anymore it's the gun I generally take with me in the truck when I'm going out into the woods for something.

November 23, 2008, 09:43 AM

Sounds like a good find. For the woods in Middle Tennessee, the Marlin is an excellent choice.

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