Insight on first rifle?


January 6, 2010, 02:04 PM
Hey gang. I'm hoping to get a little insight into what to look for in a rifle.

I have a couple wingmaster shotguns, a Ruger Mk III .22 pistol and a Rem 541S .22 rifle.

I'm looking at getting something like a .223 bolt-action rifle for the following uses:

Varmit hunting (coyote...never done it before, just birds and rabbits so far)

Javelina hunting (this year will be my first)

Something fun to shoot when out shooting my other guns. Informal shooting...not really punching paper, more like setting out clay targets or reactive targets in the desert.

I'm leaning toward .223 bolt because from what I understand it's a common round, easy to get and cheap for a centerfire round. Low recoil for a centerfire round (it will help if my wife likes to shoot it when we are out just having fun). Accurate enough.

The hunting will likely involve quite a bit of hiking through the desert and up and down some hills/small mountains.

So here's my questions:

How long of a barrel should I be looking at? How much does this matter?

Heavy bull barrel or standard barrel for lighter weight?

Any idea of an optimal weight gun to hoof around the desert and mountains with? (I'm a scrawny 6'0" 150lbs)

Anything I should consider on the type of stock or just go by what feels good?

What should I look for in a scope for this gun? Will $150-200 buy some decent enough?

I figure wood/syn and blue/stainless are kinda a personal preference thing, so I'm not too worried about getting opinions on budget may dictate that anyway.

I've done some searching and it seems many think that the savage bolt guns with the accu-trigger might be the best bang for the buck.

I'm at the point of my research where I need to go handle some guns and see what feels good in my hands, etc but I would appreciate a little insight from those more knowledgable than myself.



If you enjoyed reading about "Insight on first rifle?" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
January 6, 2010, 03:24 PM
Take a look at the Rem M700 Tactical in .223! It has a heavy 20" barrel, and a rubber cased Hogue stock.

I personally have the M700 SPS Varmint in .223 and it is impeccably accurate with 45 and 50 grain rounds. My own M700 SPS Tactical is in .308 Win. In terms of height/weight, that isn't the consideration. Strength and endurance varies greatly even in two people the same height/weight. The greater consideration is how does the rifle feel as you steady to pull the trigger?

The SPS Varmint doesn't "feel" good to me. The stock is slick. I applied some skateboard tape to the grip, and now it holds well without slipping in my grip. In terms of feel, the M700 SPS Tactical is like a glove due to the rubberized Hogue stock. It is available in .223.

In terms of a scope, a variable 3-9, or 4.5-14 is hard to beat. The shorter 20 inch barrel in a .223 will cost you about 150 FPS. You won't miss it if you have an accurate barrel. As I see it, the true critical part is having a great scope mounting system so the zero is held flawlessly.

There are tons of scopes and scope mounts on the market, but few can exceed Leupolds without spending a whole lot more money. A lot of fellas also like the Nikon scopes.

Let us know what you find that feels good.


January 6, 2010, 11:26 PM
You do not need a long barrel to get satisfactory performance/accuracy from a .223 when you step up to higher performance rounds like 22-250 then length will make a difference. Since you will not be shooting a high number of rounds in a short time like prairie dog hunting you will not need a super heavy barrel.

I have a Remington police special in .223 which has a bull barrel and a CZ 527 carbine (in 7.62 x 39) for comparison. Seriously consider the CZ in .223

Art Eatman
January 7, 2010, 12:40 AM
Dentite, the Savage is probably as good a choice as any, considering that budget is a factor. Been lots of positive comments about the accu-trigger. Me, I pretty much recommend staying with a sporter weight version. Whatever is the standard barrel length is just fine. Heavy barrelled versions get sorta tiring when you go walking hunting.

My coyote/prairie dog gun is a Ruger 77 Mk II light sporter, and it works just fine on the little critters out to 300 yards, and doesn't seem to "walk around" much when it heats up--although I don't get all in a hurry, and take breaks for cool-down. :)

The best aiming point on a pigalena is around the eye/ear vicinity. They don't have much neck, and so behind the head you're into eating meat. The nice thing about hunting them is that when you spot them at a distance, you can work the wind and ease up really close. The little piglets sure do squeal when you run in and grab one. :D

January 7, 2010, 10:14 AM
Thanks for the taking the time to reply guys, I do appreciate it.

Great info.

I'll continue my search and when I get it narrowed down I'll report back.


March 1, 2010, 08:53 PM
Hey gang,

Thanks for the advice. I ended up getting the Savage American Classic Model 14 chambered in .223.

I really like the classic look...all my long guns are polished blue/walnut (I have a couple Rem Wingmasters and a Rem 541S).

The scope is a Leupold VX-II 3-9x40 and the mounts are Talley Lightweights with the integrated bases/rings.

Lapped the rings using the Wheeler kit. I really like the concept of the Talleys...very simple to mount and look pretty clean on the gun if maybe a little blocky.

I've only put about 40 rounds downrange so far but it's great so far.

A few photos:

The old binos were laying on the bench so I threw them in too...they were my grandfathers.

March 1, 2010, 08:58 PM
The correct answer is a MN 91/30! Rifle is $70 a can of 440 rounds is $90. Best buy anywhere you look.

Murphys Law
March 1, 2010, 09:41 PM
Very Nice! Good choices on the rifle and scope! I didn't realize the Savage classic had such nice wood.

March 3, 2010, 01:15 PM
Thanks Murphys Law...I like the looks of the rifle as well. The wood is nice and is the checkering and finish seem to be well done. There are a couple minor chips at the border of the checkering on one side of the rifle but you really have to look close to see it.


If you enjoyed reading about "Insight on first rifle?" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!