looking for rifle for deer hunting


May 23, 2009, 05:42 PM
im currently 13 years old,5 ft 3 inches, and 95 pounds.

i'm looking for a good hunting rifle to take deer down with, only deer not anything else. ive shot a .410 and handled it well with its recoil.

I've been looking at these calibers; .243, 257 roberts, .270, and .308. I do not handload. I've been looking at the remington 700 and the tikka t3 lite.

Any advice on what caliber would do best, what rifle/scope, and if i should use a limbsaver. Also as an added note, i will be hunting out west in places like southern idaho and utah. Thanks for any opinions/ideas!

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May 23, 2009, 05:49 PM
forgot to mention, shots will be made anywhere from 100 yards to 3-400 yards, not much further than that

May 23, 2009, 05:49 PM
5'3" is plenty big enough for a 270 or bigger that will serve you well for as long as you want. It's also beg enough that you don't need a youth rifle. You're 13 and will only grow bigger. My grandson hunts deer with a 308.

.243 will work but I suggest a larger caliber in a full sized rifle. Make sure it is not a heavy rifle. Get a 3-9x40 or similar scope of decent quality.

May 23, 2009, 05:50 PM
thanks! for anything about 270 would you suggest using a limbsaver?

May 23, 2009, 05:57 PM
A light rifle is easier to tote around hunting, but a lighter rifle recoils more. Deer rifles are usually not target guns so you don't have to light them off much except for sighting in. Yes recoil pads and other accessories will help with felt recoil.

May 23, 2009, 05:59 PM

May 23, 2009, 06:39 PM
Consider the Savage 110 series. They're very economically priced and extremely accurate out of the box. I've got a 10FP Sniper in .308 and a 112BVSS in .30-06. I wouldn't have anything else.

May 23, 2009, 06:52 PM
thanks, i will check them out. What is the kick like on it? whats the accuracy on multiple ranges you've tried with it?

May 23, 2009, 07:19 PM
+1 on the .308. It is a good all around cartridge. Recoil shouldn't be too much of a problem unless it is an extremely light rifle.

May 23, 2009, 08:03 PM
thanks, i think im decided on the .308 im only trying to decide what rifle to get now, the remington 700 seems to be good but some people say it was messed up when they got it. the tikka looked like a really great gun too, until some people said it was cheaply made and lacked quality. the savage looks good at the moment so im looking into. any opinions? thanks

May 23, 2009, 08:36 PM
Welcome idahohuner, it's good to see the younger shooters asking questions that make sense.
I always encourage people to consider buying American products to help this great country's economy.
As you probably know, there are several brands of rifles that would satisfy your needs.
Here's a link to the Marlin bolt actions, and I feel that they provide good rifles at a good price.


Good luck young man.


May 23, 2009, 08:53 PM
Shot my first deer with a 257 Roberts at age 11, but it's sort of a handloader's round now days. My grandpa handloaded for it and I still have all his reloading stuff 50 years later, and the gun and it's still a tack driver. .243 might your best bet for now; however, if you think you can handle the slight extra recoil, the .270 is a big step up in power and if you ever draw an elk tag, well, you won't need a new gun. Up to you to decide if recoil is a factor. I think you can probably handle the .270 at age 13, though. :D It really isn't that bad, not like the .30-06 or the belted magnums. I do like my .308 and it's in a class with the .270. Mine's a very light rifle and has a little kick to it, but it really isn't too bad. Lots of ammo options as everyone makes multiple loadings of .308.

The 2 rifles you're looking at are fine guns. I have a couple of remingtons and a savage 110, all very accurate hunting rifles.

May 23, 2009, 08:59 PM
thanks for the answers guys =) im gonna go the the gun store soon and compare all the guns and see which one feels best on me, then ill go from there. ill also see if i can go to a range and test out the different calibers/rifles if they have them.

May 23, 2009, 09:09 PM
My .308, a Remington stainless M7....


May 23, 2009, 09:13 PM
thats one beautiful rifle.

May 23, 2009, 09:34 PM
Any of today's modern entry level bolt actions for 3 $300 to $400 in 270 , 308 or 30-06 will provide you a very accurate dependable deer rifle capable of taking game at the ranges you propose for the rest of your life.

My advice to you is not get too tied up in the rifle as they're all excellent nowadays but if anything do more research and put more thought into your scope selection. If need be $100 less spent on the rifle if required to spend $100 more on a scope and mount is money very wisely spent

For the ranges and locations you mention I don't feel 243 is entirely adequate and as MC mantions 257 Roberts is now pretty a handloading position

May 23, 2009, 09:41 PM
You may also look at a .250 savage, plenty of gun for deer.

I think you can handle bigger guns, but they will kick more, which in turn may cause you to flinch and be less accurate.

May 23, 2009, 09:48 PM
Your choice of the .308 is an excellent 1! My favorite deer cartridge, it's available virtually anywhere, as well as being an accurate round.

1 question - are you only looking at new rifles? There are some good deals in used rifles these days, and you can really expand your knowledge with a little research. All of the bolt actions that have been mentioned are excellent quality rifles. But there's more out there!
Me, I like rifles/guns that are a little 'different'. For instance, my favorite .308 is an old Winchester Model 88 lever action with a 4x Weatherby scope. It fits me the way a rifle needs to, and hits everything I shoot it at, as long as I do my part!
The Remington pumps are good rifles too, I have 2 in 30-06. The 7600 will shoot in 3/4" at 100 yards with any 165 gr. load. I just traded for an older Model 760 and haven't had a chance to shoot it yet.

What I'm getting at here, is a lot depends on how you're looking your 1st rifle. Is it going to be strictly a tool, or do you look at it as the start to a vast collection??? :)

I know that when I was 13, I wanted a 'wall full' of rifles, as I loved to hunt, and wanted to go after game all over the world! I bought my 1st rifle at 15, an old, beat up 7mm Mauser with a foggy Weaver scope.... I spent $75 on it, which was a pretty good chunk of $$$ for me in 1976! The local gunsmith/gas station owner said the barrel was warped, but I could consistently take out crows up to 150+ yards, so I was tickled to death with it! Until! the time the scope fogged up on me, with a beautiful 10 pointer picking his way down a trail about 75-80 yards off, and I couldn't shoot because I didn't want to wound him, and wasn't confident taking the shot. I've been kicking myself for that for over 30 years, and I can still see him today.

Buy a few different boxes of shells(a good bet are any 165-168 gr loads, as every .30 caliber rifle I've owned has shot that weight better than any others!) and shoot it! If it's a new one, follow the manufacter's recommendations for breaking in the barrel - it makes a difference! Shoot different bullet weights, styles and brands. You'll eventually find a couple of loads that are more accurate in your gun, and you'll be getting good with it!
1 reason that I like my old 88, is that I trust her completely. As soon as I've made a decision to shoot, the deer falls, as if she acts on her own! Hopefully your's will treat you as well!

I know this is a lot to think about, but it's your 1st deer rifle. What ever you pick, it sounds like you're going to do a fine job with it - hunt safe and kill clean!:)

May 23, 2009, 10:44 PM
You really can't go wrong with any make of bolt action rifle. They are all pretty much the same and are rugged and reliable. Some have smoother bolts, some have nicer wood, some have plastic/composite, etc. Tikka's are accurate. Remington's are all around nice and popular as is the Winchester Model 70. The Savages are very rugged, but are very accurate. Take your pic. Check them out in person and then make your decision.

As for caliber, I recommend .308. It is a popular round that can be found anywhere, provided it isn't sold out. Also, if recoil from the .308 is too much, you can switch to a lighter load. However, you will still be making big holes and have the ablility to switch to heavier loads if your hunting should direct you in that direction.

May 24, 2009, 02:04 AM
I agree with Gbran. The 270 is a great hunting round. It's a little big for you, but you can probably manage a few shots with it, especially with lighter loads, and you can grow into it. I would stick with the big name brands since you may want to change the stock out on it as you grow.
Good hunting,

May 24, 2009, 03:05 AM
It's hard to find rifles in the caliber, but .260 remington would probably make a great deer cartridge. it has much more killing power then the .243, with lower recoil and better ballistics then 7mm-08 or .308.
I wouldnt go out of your way to find a rifle in that caliber though as I'm sure any of the .308 variants will work fine for what your doing, just something to keep in mind if you see one though.

May 24, 2009, 03:58 AM
i have a remmy model 7 in 7mm08. it is fitted with a bushnell 3-9 x 40 trophy. it is a great rifle. I use 120 gr sierra prohunter and the recoil is very light and manageable and it is a really deadly deer round. But once you step up to 145 gr plus in a light rifle the recoil is qhite noticeable. As you grow the rifle will be really adaptable and will be able to use loads upto 175gr. 7mm08 is a great round.


May 24, 2009, 07:10 AM
I sight my .30-06 in at 3 inches high at 100yards for a 300yard zero. The kill zone on a deer is about 6 inches, so aiming at the bottom of the kill zone between 1 and 300 yards will put you where you want to be. The .270 is a flatter shooting round, the .308 is about the same. 400y is not an easy shot without a good support, especially if the deer is moving.

When I say the bottom of the kill zone, I am talking about a heart shot, if your a little high... you take out the lungs :)

May 24, 2009, 10:08 AM
I strongly suggest that asking "which calibre" on a forum of this nature is of very limited value.

First question in return is "what calibres have you used so far?" If you haven't tried any of the suggested calibres, then you have little idea what your tolerance for recoil is.

You've also not said which variety of deer you're looking at chasing.

My suggestion is that you organise to spend some time shooting at targets ( whether informally or at a range doesn't matter.) to determine what you can handle comfortably. You also need to determine what style and size gunsrtock fits you, as this has a significant effect upon your ability to shoot quickly, well, and absorb recoil. A further note is that shooting rifles with significant recoil is something that most of us have to learn. It's a mental thing, but coaching helps.

To sum up.
- Try out the options.
- Choose a make that fits you.
- Consider getting the molst powerful calibre that you can shoot comfortably and accurately.
- Fit a Limbsaver or similar.
- Get better advice than that available from anonymous people on an internet website. It may be marginally better than that from gun-store salesmen, but not by much.

Regards.......... Peter

May 24, 2009, 10:34 AM
thanks guys, im definantly gonna try out all sorts of calibers and models if i can at the range. the .308 recoil might be bad, but with a limbsaver i don't think it will be more than i can handle. thanks for all the advice!

May 24, 2009, 10:35 AM
Forgot to note, like you said, i will be shooting whitetail deer.

May 24, 2009, 03:43 PM
Try to find friends or family members and shoot as many different guns as you can.

I'd suggest a Marlin XS7 in 7mm-08 with a decent $200 3x9 scope. If the recoil is a bit much, you can shoot using managed recoil loads until you get a bit bigger.

May 24, 2009, 05:32 PM
Welcome to THR!

All of the calibers you list are fine deer cartridges. I strongly suggest you get some help from some-one locally who can show you how a rifle is supposed to fit. Many Americans understand proper fit poorly, and use over-long stocks. (My LOP is only 12 5/8", and I'm 3" taller and 50% heavier.)

I would suggest that slightly short LOP is easier to work with than too-long: a youth length stock may be ideal for you, especially since you can usually easily add an extension/recoil pad later.


May 24, 2009, 07:44 PM
If you will be hunting alone, grizzly should be a concern for the mountain areas when choosing a caliber. I was shooting a 12 guage and a 30-06 when I was 13 and I'm not a huge guy. Still only 180 at 5'11" and 60 years old.

May 24, 2009, 07:52 PM
thanks for the thought, where i will be hunting has no bears, only mountain lions, but they stay hidden and don't come out for the most part

May 24, 2009, 08:46 PM
Welcome to THR idaho. Another vote for 7mm-08.

May 25, 2009, 04:06 AM
i would say the best bit of advice i can give would be to find a mentor and hunt with them for a while.

May 25, 2009, 09:00 AM
Idaho, you might take a look at the Weatherby Vanguard. They offer a package with two stocks. A youth size & a full size. As you outgrow the one you have a full size ready to go.

May 25, 2009, 09:14 AM
7mm-08 or 25-06 are both easy on your shoulder and shoot flat

May 25, 2009, 09:15 AM
a stevens 200 is an affordable accurate reliable rifle

May 25, 2009, 10:02 AM
thanks for all the helpful input guys! I think i can handle a full adult sized rifle, but when i go to the gun store i'll check it out and see. I'm also going to look into the 7mm-08 because a lot of people have recomended it. I'm pretty set on the tikka t3 either lite or varmint because they look like such accurate rifles. Thanks for the help on making my decision :D

May 25, 2009, 10:36 AM
i've been looking at the 7mm-08 and i have some questions. Since i don't reload, and i have heard the 7mm-08 has a limited number of grain/bullet variances, do bullets i can buy off the shelf have a good combo for deer hunting? If so, what is it? Also, what is the recoil on the 7mm-08 like? Thanks!

May 25, 2009, 10:47 AM
My favorite whitetail rifle is a 7mm-08 with 140 grain bullet. Nothing better IMO. The recoil is mild, my 12 year old nephew handles it just fine.

My favorite off the shelf load is the Federal Premium Vital-Shok Ammunition 7mm-08 Remington 140 Grain Barnes Triple-Shock X-Bullet (http://www.midwayusa.com/eproductpage.exe/showproduct?saleitemid=943779).

Check this out ----> 7mm-08 (http://www.budsgunshop.com/catalog/advanced_cat_search.php?cated=40&manufacturers_id=&ITATR_list[1]=&ITATR_list[2]=394&ITATR_list[3]=&ITATR_list[4]=&ITATR_list[5]=&ITATR_list[6]=&ITATR_list[7]=&ITATR_list[8]=&ITATR_list[9]=&ITATR_list[0]=)

May 25, 2009, 10:55 AM
There's enough variety in 7-08 out there for about anything you'd wanna do with it. It is lighter on your shoulder and carries as much punch with a better ballistic coefficient (will shoot a little flatter and carry a little more velocity out farther) as its .308 parent. I like the .308, though, but I mean, if I couldn't have found my M7 in anything, but 7-08, I'd have gotten the 7-08. I really like the 7mm bullet size for the excellent BCs and sectional densities, yet carry more weight than the .264" stuff (.260 Remington). I own a 7mm Remington Magnum and had a 7x57 Mauser for a while. So, look around at your local ammo sources for what you can get in 7-08. No doubt, you can get more variety in .308, I mean, if you can find .308 anywhere right now. At this time, for political reasons, there is a shortage of especially military caliber ammunition. 7-08 is a very capable caliber and IS a little softer shooting than .308 in a lighter gun.

I handload and appreciate the variety of 7mm bullets for reloading, too, as good as in 30 caliber now days. That wasn't always the case in my lifetime, but it is now days. A 7-08 will do anything the .308 or the 270 can do from deer to elk with an appropriate bullet. Most calibers are that way, though. What can a 7 mag do that a .30-06 or .308 can't? Nothing. Might give you 50 yards more point blank range before you have to bother with hold over, but that's about it. What can the .270 do that a .280 Remington, a .308, a 6.5x55mm Swede, an 8x57, a 7x57.....well, you get the point. They're all good calibers and all kill the same game just as dead. The only reason .308 and .30-06 are so popular is that they are/were military rounds. The firearms manufacturers, over the years, have always had to come up with "something better" for gun sales and that's why there are so danged many caliber choices around. Some are long gone, some are fading as I type this, but the military calibers will remain available in great variety. That's one reason that .308 is such a good choice over the similar calibers based on its case. .308, in the form of the 7.62x51 NATO is still in use by the military and ain't going away. It's still used in light machine guns and mini guns. The coast guard qualifies with an M60 on our range from time to time and leaves me a lot of brass on the ground. :D They sure tear the heck out of the 200 yard target boards that we have to repair/replace, but I do appreciate the brass.

May 25, 2009, 01:21 PM
+1 for a Savage, accutrigger is nice. Tikka would be good too. If you can handle the recoil I would recommend a 30-06. If you want to have one gun for every kind of hunting in north America that is the one to get. Factory loadings have a very broad selection from varmint rounds to dangerous game rounds and every thing in between. If you decide to handload as you get older the options really open up.

May 25, 2009, 04:50 PM
ouch, i'm not sure if thats current prices, but that is some expensive brass,$41 for a box of 20. Besides the price, you guys have convinced me to get the 7mm-08 lol. I'm not at my dads house right now, but when i go to his house and we check out guns I'll look at the selection of 7mm-08 ammo. Thanks for the input!

May 25, 2009, 05:29 PM
just bored, so i'm checking out ammo online. Is the 140gr nosler partition a good hunting round? Any opinions are welcome =)

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
May 25, 2009, 05:51 PM
You've left out BY FAR the most important thing we need to know to make a rifle recommendation - the BUDGET, and is that buying used, or new only? And do you have a separate budget for optics, and if so how much?

As for caliber, any will do - take your pick. I like the .257 Robts best among your choices, .270 win close 2nd place.

But without knowing more, a Remington Model Seven in .257 Bob or .260 Rem is probably the perfect all-purpose & deer rifle. 7mm-08 close behind.

And YES, you want a good recoil pad, either factory or aftermarket, installed. The less recoil the easier it is to avoid & eliminate flinch.

Tim, your link doesn't work.

Which 140 nosler partition? 6.5mm? .277? 7mm? And out of what caliber, and what barrel length? It's arguably overkill for thin-skinned game (deer), espec. in a 6.5 caliber - could be "too much" penetration and not enough expansion.

Oh yes, the LOP is very important. You *may* need a youth stock with a 12" or 12.5" LOP at your age. Or if you are taller/longer-armed, then you might get by with a short-ish "standard", at around 13 or 13.5".

Might look at the Remington Model Seven "Youth" - but again, need to know the budget - those are $700 new just for rifle.

May 25, 2009, 06:21 PM
If you will notice from my previous post, i was looking at 7mm-08. I know i did not make that clear.

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
May 25, 2009, 06:54 PM
What's your budget for the rifle? Does that budget include scope? Are you willing to buy used, or new only?

May 25, 2009, 07:16 PM
no idea on budget, my dads buying it. If its around $500, thats good. I need to talk to my dad about the budget first though.

May 25, 2009, 07:21 PM
Figure on a couple hundred just for the optics, or more, but you can get a Bushnell Trophy or a Weaver KV for under 200 and a Leupold VX1 is in that price range, maybe a little more than 200. This is an acceptable level of scope quality. Don't go buying 50 dollar junk at Walmart for optics.

May 25, 2009, 09:45 PM
Nikon makes great affordable optics, very high quality.

May 26, 2009, 02:19 PM
When it comes down to choosing a caliber everyone has there own prefence. Idaho.. choose one that you can shoot accuratly all the time not just once something that wont kick the daylights out of you.another long gun thompson center eather contender or encor. most of the time your only going to get one shot and with pratice you can shoot one just as fast as a bolt gun. that way you can buy another barrel if you decide to shoot another caliber as you get older. i now have a 30-06 pro hunter and love it. another thought is avalibility of ammo why buy something that your going to have truble finding ammo. like said before choose something that you can control and shoot accurately shot placement is every thing. (1983 grad Minico High Rupert ID)(Texas transplant 19 years strong)

May 26, 2009, 07:30 PM
One thing to consider is whether you'll eventually chase elk or whatnot. Something smaller like a 25-06 would complement nicely with a bigger elk gun later, whereas a 270 or 308 would provide you with less of an excuse for a bigger rifle next time. :)

Like we need an excuse, though.

I have a Tikka in .270. Great gun, hunts out of the box. Definitely requires a replacement recoil pad, as the "Lite" model kicks harder than you'd expect. I have a few Remington's too. Heavier unless you buy the mountain versions, and then the barrel is a lot harder to control when you're tired. And the triggers always need work. But the aftermarket parts are endless so you can customize it to your satisfaction. And the aforementioned Marlin is great for the money. I don't have a Savage, so I won't comment on those.

If you get a Tikka, I wouldn't worry about long or short action. Same length action all around, and my pick there given your description would be the 25-06.

And given that you're in Idaho (me too), you're going to be going up and down a lot, so weight will matter. That's where a smaller cartridge will really shine; 25-06 or 7mm08 or 260 or 6.5 swede will be great for deer, and you can get a lighter rifle without punishing yourself with recoil.

May 26, 2009, 08:17 PM
thanks. And man you tell the truth about hills, we own some property thats perfect for deer hunting, but it's veeeeery hilly haha:evil:

June 1, 2009, 03:10 PM
God bless you young hunter.Of your caliber interests, any will do do well on deer. but I will reccommend a 30-30 lever action, because it carries well in the field, and will get you a deer, if you practice and know your distance limitations. A man's got to know his limitation. That's being wise.

June 1, 2009, 09:10 PM
Go to a gun show. Find an old Savage model 99 in 300 Savage, 308, or 250/3000 Savage and have a ball.

June 1, 2009, 11:25 PM

Based on your location, I'd think there is a strong possibility you'd eventually want to hunt mule deer and maybe elk. For this reason, I'd consider 7mm-08/.270 as a minimum. I'd look at getting a 7mm-08, .270, .308 or 30-06 and shoot Remington managed recoil ammunition for a few years, being mindful to not shoot at any deer greater than 200 yards or so away (which you probably shouldn't be doing anyway, without a lot of practice). Buy an adult sized rifle from a common manufacturer (for ease of finding aftermarket parts) and throw a youth stock with a good quality recoil pad on it sized to fit your LOP (lenght of pull). Now you have a rifle you can grow with and which will be useful for multiple kinds of big game. As you get older and larger, put the adult stock back on and start using standard powered ammunition. Oh, and budget $200 minimum for a decent scope. You can't hit what you can't see!

I hunt whitetail with a 7mm-08 and it drops them like the Hammer of Thor! I generally use 140gr Remington Corelokts, but for shooting at longer ranges I'd probably look into the Hornady 139gr light magnums. The Nosler Partition is designed for heavier muscled and thicker boned animals like elk and would probably be somewhat inferior to a standard soft point or ballistic tip for smaller, lighter game like whitetail (too much penetration, less expansion). On the other hand, a Nosler Partition or Barnes TSX would be a good choice for elk, moose and maybe larger mule deer.

June 3, 2009, 03:37 PM
I recently got my first deer gun about 2 months ago (now I have 2)

I went with a .270 because where i hunt you can get some pretty long range shots and the .270 is a very flat shooting bullet and I know it will still pack a punch when it gets there. the recoil is very mild on a .270 its not very bad at all in my opinion However my rifle has a fairly nice recoil pad on it already that came with it when i bought it. It is a mossberg 100 atr. If your hunting deer with a .270 you'll probably be using 130 grain bullets and they arent bad at all on the shoulder if you tuck it in and practice with it you wont even notice it after a while. If your still a little bit small id get a .243 or a .270 they are great cailbers. I am probably getting myself a .243 next to compliment my .270

The other gun I just bought was .30-06, Its a little over kill for around here in texas where i live but I really liked the stock on it I bought it used its a savage I havent shot it yet so i cant say how the recoil is on it, I plan on using this rifle for a hog gun and a truck gun as its a little bit beat up but i am sure it will still shoot dandy.

As for optics check out nikon scopes they are very nice and not too expensive.

Art Eatman
June 3, 2009, 04:52 PM
Regardless of cartridge and brand/model of rifle, the fit to a person's body is very important. The deal is to mount the rifle to your shoulder with your eyes closed. Your cheek should have a proper "weld" on the comb of the stock. When you open your eyes and without moving your head, you should be looking through the sights or scope--or directly down a line which is aligned with the bore.

If a stock is too long, it's easy enough to shorten it. If too short, a spacer can be added. For many rifles, the primary difference is in the height of the comb, for which modification is a bit more difficult.

As far as a scope for deer hunting, my own opinion is that "need" is met by using a decent quality of four-power scope. It's not as though one needs the precision of more magnification, as when shooting prairie dogs at 300 yards or more. Variables are indeed nice, but they're an item of "want". And I note that my 3x9s have spent years on 3X when hunting and maybe a few hours on 9X when sighting in or load testing.

June 3, 2009, 04:57 PM
thanks for the info, this summer the gun shows coming to town! were gonna go down and check out all sorts of different rifles and see which one feels best, then possibly purchase a rifle if its what we're looking for. I can't wait!:cool:

June 3, 2009, 06:55 PM
+1 for 7mm-08. A very versatile round that can grow with you, flat shooting and goes from varmints to elk, not as muck kick as a .308. The other calibers you mention are also great deer cartridges, but the .243 will limit itself as a varmint to deer round... the 7mm-08 and the .270 will take you up to caribou and elk if you do your part

+1 for Savage (Stevens if you want to save some bucks).

June 15, 2009, 08:14 PM
A Tikka T3 Hunter in 7mm-08 and put a Limbsaver on it. Very little recoil to start with and even less noticable with a Limbsaver. Not an expensive rifle and a great caliber for out to 400 yards.

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