Good first rifle/scope combo for deer hunting


October 15, 2010, 09:25 PM
I'm a newby to hunting deer. I have mostly hunted javalina with a 30-30 using iron sights. However, I would like to start hunting deer. What would be a good, first rifle/scope combo for deer hunting in South Texas—preferably a bolt action or semi? I'm not so much interested in caliber suggestions as I will stick to the common 270, 308 or 30-06 calibers. I mostly want rifle/scope recommendations that will keep me within a $600-$650 budget or less. I saw a Remington 700 ADL at Academy for $349 and it seemed like a good deal. I also saw a Weatherby for around the same prices. I'm open to any suggestions, keeping in mind my geography and budget. If you have any tips on what I should look for in a rifle, they are most welcome too.

Thank you very much.

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October 15, 2010, 09:29 PM
Get the Weatherby pass on the Winchester havnt heard to many good things about the rifle. I dont own one just going on what I read online.

October 15, 2010, 10:01 PM
I see you said not really interested in Calibre suggestions but I just GOTTA say you should also be looking at the 7mm.08 for the area you are in. Flat shooting, hard hitting, LIGHT RECOIL comparable or maybe even lighter recoil than your 30/30 and absolutely the best White tail deer round on the planet in my humble opinion. Deer dead from 10 to 500 yards with ease. And factory ammo is getting about as common as .270 as its popularity increases. Link here for a really nice savage scope/rifle combo.

You may be able to find better prices elsewhere that is just to give you an idea of the rifles looks.

October 15, 2010, 10:09 PM
Given your parameters the 700 ADL would be great. Choose the caliber you like, they are all going to do the same thing. Top it off with a Nikon Prostaff in 3-9x40, grab some steel rings and bases, a sling and a few boxes of ammo. That should put you right at $650 with tax.

Best of luck

For your part of the country the 25-06 or the .270 would be a fine choice. Just about any caliber could be classified as common these days. With internet ammo ordering you are not held to what the local mom and pop shop sell. I kinda like the oddball calibers, to me its more fun to kill deer with a 6.5 Grendel than a 30-06.

October 15, 2010, 10:10 PM
Well I like the way you think on the caliber part. You really can't go wrong with a Weatherby Vanguard AKA Howa. As far as a M-70 in the new Winchester they are kind of hit or miss but no more so than most other brands now days and they are a bit out of your price range.

If you are wanting to keep the price down I'd go with a Leupold VX II in 3x9. Completely skip on super cheap glass IE Simons, Tasco, Bushnell, or any of the Russian made stuff. I have a new 3x9 Redfield in my possession as we speak and go ahead and skip on that too. Lots of sizzle not much sirloin if you know what I mean.

For a low dollar rig a Weatherby Vanguard in .270 or some such with leupold 3x9 on top would be a pretty fair bet for the money. I don't like M-700's but that is just a preference thing. Hey don't over look the CZ 550 they are pretty fair piece for the money too.

Good luck and have fun with your new rifle.

And yeah Nikon is decent glass for the price range too..

October 16, 2010, 06:01 AM
If i was starting off on a budget i would go with a remmy 700 adl in 308 win, luepold one piece base and rings and maybe a bushnell elite 3-9 x 40 scope, a sling and some swivels and a couple of boxes of a standard 150 gr soft point ammunition, a cleaning rod and jag and some tetra gun cleaning solvent (to make sure the barrel is nicely shot it, that way it will last a lifetime, well quite a long time anyway).

good luck


October 16, 2010, 08:47 AM
Southern Texas for deer?

Get the Remington ADL in .270 Win. Put a Leupold scope on it (don't know whether you're hunting in brush, that might factor in on the magnification) for another $250-300 (VX II). That's about in your budget.

That'll make a killer deer gun. Those 130 grain .270's will be perfect for those Texas deer.

October 16, 2010, 02:56 PM
Thanks for all the great suggestions. I considered the 7mm-08 Remington too, since from what I've read it's a great cartridge with little recoil. However, it seems to be a bit constrained in the ammo selection. In any case, I'm strongly leaning towards a Mossberg 100 ATR in .270 Winchester. The rifle, from what I have read, including an excellent review by a fellow poster Goalie (, is nothing but solid value for the price. It's made in America, plenty accurate for deer, in a caliber that's plentiful and more than enough for deer and bigger game, and comes with scope.

The only back draw is that I don't see it in a southpaw configuration. I'm not a lefty, but I shoot rifles left handed because I'm left eye dominant.

Thanks again.

October 16, 2010, 03:37 PM
Not made in lefty configuration as of yet gallo, at least not that I could find.

October 16, 2010, 04:20 PM
Look at some of the Savage models also. They are well within your price range and they also have them in packages with scopes.

October 16, 2010, 08:51 PM
Yeah, I think I'd really take a look at a Remington or a Savage before a Mossie. Just my personal preference, I guess. I know a lot of guys w/Remingtons and Savages that shoot very well, but nobody w/a 100.

$350 for an ADL is a screamin' good deal. That's a good rifle; Remington makes a good barrel.

Lots of people love their Savages w/ the accutrigger.

Edited to add: skip the package deal w/the scope if you can, the VX II or Bushnell 3200 or Nikon Monarch are much better scopes. Don't go cheap on the scope. Try and buy a rifle alone (no package scope).

Arkansas Paul
October 16, 2010, 09:52 PM
I think you're right on with the caliber ideas. I would go with something common as well if it was my first rifle.
I have the Weatherby Vangaurd in .30-06 and love it. You would be well served with the Remington as well. That would leave you $250-$300 for a scope. The Bushnell Elite 3200 would fit the bill nicely in that price range. I put a Leupold Rifleman on mine and would go with the 3200 if I had it to do again.

October 17, 2010, 01:45 AM
Any south paws using a right handbolt rifle? How does that work and is it a deal breaker?

October 17, 2010, 01:58 AM
I shoot either hand. Some lefties find right hand bolts actually easier. They use their forearm hand to operate the bolt which is how I do it when shooting left handed as well. It's all in the practice gallo. However you can do it to achieve proficiency with the weapon. Some can do it with right handed weapons, some can't. My advise would try a friends out and see if you could be comfortable with that or not. If not, Savage has a very nice line of left handed weapons at very reasonable prices well within the budget you stated leaving enough for a really nice Nikon scope!

October 17, 2010, 10:33 AM
Some good advice here except for this line:

Get the Weatherby pass on the Winchester havnt heard to many good things about the rifle. I dont own one just going on what I read online.

Surprised no one else challenged it. And it's coming from someone who's only deer rifle is a High Point .40 Carbine. I'm not one to get into pissing matches, but... gallo, maybe consider the sources before accepting what you read.

Russ Jackson
October 17, 2010, 10:36 AM
Look at the Marlin XL7 series of rifles. Considered one of the best values on the market today. You will hard pressed to find a better shooter for the money. I could not be happier with mine...Russ

October 17, 2010, 11:02 AM
Look at the Marlin XL7 series of rifles.

I was going to recommend the same thing with a Nikon ProStaff scope.

October 17, 2010, 11:03 AM
I agree about the Winchester vs the Weatherby. The Weatherby is made in Japan, if that means anything to you. I was in the same boat as you about a year ago and I settled on a Savage. I am more than pleased with my choice. I also have an older Remington Model 600 and it's a tackdriver. Don't overlook used rifles if on a budget. Any older Remington in decent shape is hard to beat. I also am right handed but shoot left handed because I am left eye dominant. My new Savage is a right handed rifle b/c I carry it that way and I can shoot right handed if I have to. If I have time to rest and shoot at a long distance I'll switch over and shoot left handed. If I'm target shooting I shoot left handed. It works out fine for me.
I got the .308 by the way. Its hard to mess up with a .308. Real hard.

October 17, 2010, 07:01 PM
7mm08 top round

October 19, 2010, 10:59 PM
If the shots are 200 yards or less, I'd stick with the 30/30 and treat yourself to some nice new glass up top. I'm of course ignorant as to Texas deer ranges but the 30/30 is often maligned (round here it's the "deer woundin 30/30) but is a great short range rifle for deer sized game.

I've got a Rem. 700BDL in -06 that can't be used in Iowa (thank you politicians who don't hunt) for much of anything. It is a good shooter FWIW and you've got a lot of other great suggestions here as well.

Best of luck and enjoy.

October 20, 2010, 01:05 AM
Another vote for the .308. Jump on that remington.. It's an EXCELLENT deal. You'll have enough left over to put NICE glass on it, and it's relatively cheap to shoot, with no recoil, flat shooting, and remington makes a FINE factory barrel. I have seen many new remingtons shoot sub-moa out of the box.

October 26, 2010, 10:57 AM
I hunt in texas and own Rems and Winchesters. I prefer the Winchester model 70 in the .270 for any and all deer and hogs. Deadly, fast, flat, far shooting and higher SD than 30.06s with less recoil. The new winchesters are great IMO but to each his own. I shoot a Extreme weather SS. I used to like Leupolds but had a bad experience with them. Now I go with Zeiss Conquest scopes.

Art Eatman
October 26, 2010, 11:36 AM
Whatever rifle fits you best, within your budget. Mount the rifle to your shoulder with your eyes closed and get a good cheek weld. When you open your eyes, you should be looking right through the sights/scope, or straight along the barrel. (Same sort of deal as with a shotgun.)

Most any fixed 4X scope will allow horrible things to happen to Bambi, all the way out into Ma Bell country. Weaver bases work as well as any.

For all that I've messed with the '06 for over a half-century, you can figure that the 7mm08 is just a .308 with ten grains weight less bullet. Not enough to care about, and that 140-grain bullet will kill any deer in south Texas.

October 26, 2010, 11:44 AM
howbout you save the money on a rifle and

(assuming you have a marlin 336) put the money towards a nice(er) scope and mount, then buy a bunch of ammo, find what your rifle likes, then learn your rifle, become one with the ballistics and use the 30-30 to do work on deer like so many hunters before us

people assume the 30-30 is weak but it will do its job if you put the bullet where it needs to go out to 300 yards no just gotta adjust for range
anything past 300 and you had better be a damn good shot before you think thats a good idea

October 28, 2010, 06:37 PM
I would recommend Howa rifle / scope combo.

October 29, 2010, 12:17 AM
I would second Russ, I just bought a Marlin XS-7 in 308 and a Nice Vortex 4-12 scope for 510. I paid 360 out the door for the rifle and 150ish for the scope. So far it has been a great shooting gun. There are several member on her who have written some good reviews about the new marlin bolt actions, and you can get them in all the calibers you are looking at. The XL is the long action like the 270 or 30-06 and the XS is the short action like the 308 or 7mm08

Good luck with whatever you get and show pics when you get it.

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