Beginner Rifle


December 4, 2008, 01:37 PM
I am looking for a centerfire rifle for my wife (already have .22's covered). She likes traditional looks.... so AKs and ARs are not in the bag. She's into the Old West, and doesn't like recoil.

The rifle would be a ranch-rifle/hunting rifle. I am trying to choose between two styles, and then a few models in each style.

Lever-action, probably .30-30 cal. Mossberg 464 or Marlin 336. Possibly mount a 4x scope on one of them. How is the recoil. How are the safety freatures?

Bolt-action.... maybe .243. Mossberg 100 ATR, Marlin XL7, or maybe Remington 770. Mount a 3-9x40. She doesn't really like synthetic stocks. Upside: More accurate and longer range Downside: Probably less handy than a lever-action as an all-purpose ranch rifle.

Semi-auto: Ruger mini-14 or mini-30. .223 or 7.62x39. Probably mount a 3-9x40. Upside: High cap mags. Downside: prohibitive cost. How does the safety work on the mini-14?

Which would be the safest to carry in brush in condition 1? Just looking for input and opinions.

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December 4, 2008, 02:27 PM
She's into the Old West, and doesn't like recoil.

Sounds like a Marlin 1894/1895 Lever action in .357Mag.

December 4, 2008, 02:30 PM
The Marlin 336 in .30-30 or even .35 Rem. it is over-done with safety. A compact scope is good on these, I like Burris 4x short mag or even a red dot. Lots of good used ones around. If you go the Ruger Ranch consider 6.8 spc.

All purpose is almost too broad. If all purpose is mostly within 100 yds then I like the Marlin. If over 150 the bolt, consider Stevens 200. I'd start with the one that is right for 90% of expected conditions which sounds like the Marlin. Stretching for too much versatility sometimes results in a rifle that is hardly ever "just right"

Also, I assume that by hunting you mean up to and including deer but if not the Marlin 1894c is great. I have one, but I wouldn't hunt deer with it.

December 4, 2008, 02:35 PM
I've been researching options for a low-recoil, centerfire rifle, and I too like traditional looks. I was looking only at semi-autos, though. Here's what I came across :Mini-14, mini-30, saiga rifle, SKS, m1a(I think you'll need to make it heavy to have low recoil, so this might not be a good option), m1 garand(same issue as m1a, plus you're limited to certain types of ammo), browning BAR(no, not the machine gun), and the remington and winchester lines. I believe Benelli also makes a rifle designed for low recoil. Not sure how well it works.

She doesn't really like synthetic stocks.
Wood stocks are available for al that I listed, but for the saiga it will have to be aftermarket.

You may wish to consider laminated wood, if you'll shoot in the rain.

December 4, 2008, 02:42 PM
my girlfriend and mom , both hunt with .243s

December 4, 2008, 03:21 PM
If you're not looking for something for Cowboy Action Shooting, you might consider a BLR in .243 Winchester.

This has a 20" barrel and mounting a scope is easy. (Receiver mounts are available, similar to a Marlin.)

One of the neatest things, I think, is the "tipping nose" safety. This is much better than a button on the receiver that generally is in the wrong position at the worst time.

The way it works is you tip the nose forward and it prevents the hammer from hitting the firing pin. As you cock the hammer, the nose automatically rolls back, readying the rifle for firing.

The only thing that has to be practiced is lowering the hammer carefully if you decide not to fire. Once the hammer is down at its "rest" position, you can roll the nose forward. If your thumb slips, I believe it may fire.

I've been looking at one of these for years, but I haven't bought one yet. :)

December 4, 2008, 04:03 PM
+1 for the BLR in .243 Box magazine is a great safety and convenience feature too.


December 4, 2008, 05:38 PM
For a ranch type rifle look into the CZ carbine. i'm thinking about getting one as soon as i can get the cash.

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
December 4, 2008, 05:47 PM
Definitely sounds like you want/need a levergun or pump action in .357 magnum (or possibly .44 mag or .45 Colt or even .44-40):

1. Marlin 1894


2. Rossi 1892 (LSI Puma 92, Navy Arms, or EMF)


3. Henry Big Boy


4. Winchester 94


5. Beretta 1873 Renegade


6. Beretta Gold Rush pump


7. Uberti pump

Personally I like the Rossi 92 clones (LSI Puma, Navy, or EMF), with Marlin a close 2nd place.

And while not Old West style, I too will add a +1 for the Browning BLR as a beautiful classicly-styled gun.

December 4, 2008, 07:05 PM
Box magazine is a great safety and convenience feature too.

I've had several jams before that would be impossible to clear if the magazine wasn't detachable.

Unless I dissassembled the rifle, live rounds and all :uhoh:

want/need a levergun or pump action
A pump action may not allow a "target" style offhand stance, if you keep your hand on the forearm. I suppose you could keep it off, but that will mean you can't cycle rounds as quickly, a minus for plinking.

A lever action will probably make prone shooting inconvenient.

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