Poor College kid needs a Rifle


January 9, 2011, 05:49 PM
hi all I've been lurking around on here for a few months now and decided i need to get me a rifle since i live so close to a range, and i don't particularly enjoy having to borrow a gun to go shooting. I'm 19 and in college i have about a 200-300 dollar budget. just want a good fun to shoot rifle that shoots a reletivily cheap type of ammo.
Thanks for the help.

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January 9, 2011, 05:51 PM
Ruger 10/22

January 9, 2011, 05:55 PM
Ruger 10/22 is great but if you want more boom try a Mosin Nagant.

January 9, 2011, 05:57 PM

January 9, 2011, 05:57 PM
Knowing what I know now, I would recommend the awesome .22 LR. I make this suggestion because I have found that the cost of ammo for virtually any other caliber, other then the .22 will quickly eclipse the cost of the rifle. You will be shooting quarters or 35 cents each shot. They add up quickly. If you are next to a range (lucky you), you might want to go frequently and shoot a lot! and not want to worry about each shot interfering with your off-study money!

Now then it comes down to what type of .22 rifle?!

Do you want to become a rifleman, mastering the positions; standing, sitting, and lying down? (I would go this route, personally) This would take out the lever and go with an autoloader type

January 9, 2011, 05:58 PM
Haha, who could have guessed that answer.

January 9, 2011, 06:01 PM
wow speedy responses thanks i like the ruger i was also looking at the marlin model 60 though i have to admit i would kinda prefer lever action or bolt action to semi but that's just a preference and i enjoy shooting any kind of gun. :)

January 9, 2011, 06:02 PM
I second (or third) the .22 long rifle. The cost of bulk ammo is cheap and that means you can shoot a lot. Which means good practice and that counts for a lot. There are lots of good used .22's out there. Drop by your local gun shop and see what's in the used rack?

Also, haunt GunBroker.com and AuctionArms.com and see what prices are doing? Keep going back and forth as you narrow it down. In a month or so, you will have a real good grasp of a fair price for the models you are interested in.

I would buy a full sized rifle, even in .22 There are quite a few out there. Ruger M77/22 for instance. CZ, Marlin, Winchester, even Weatherby made a nice .22 Mostly see what comes to shoulder well. If the rifling is strong and the bore is shiny and all the pieces are there, you are likely good as gold :)

January 9, 2011, 06:05 PM
Savage mkII can be had in you budget for a very accurate bolt gun

January 9, 2011, 06:07 PM
Any of the .22 LR rifles would fit the bill for what your asking for. As mentioned the Mosin Nagants for more boom.

January 9, 2011, 06:09 PM
when i go to the range with my .38, I leave having spent no less than $40
when I go to the range with my .22, I leave having spent no more than $15 and that's with the $8 range entry fee

I recommend the ruger 10/22. I have one and it's awesome

January 9, 2011, 06:17 PM
get yourself a good 22 LR. one that feels right to you. marlin's 795 can be had for about 125. that leaves lots of money for ammo. the ruger 10 22 may be your best bet in the long run though.
have fun.

Arkansas Paul
January 9, 2011, 06:21 PM
I know all about being a broke college student my friend. I would suggest a .22 for sure. Even on a college budget you could afford to shoot regularly. Personally I would suggest a Marlin model 60. With a budget of $300 you could buy the rifle, a scope, a case and plenty of ammo.

Happy shooting and welcome to THR.

Shadow 7D
January 9, 2011, 06:50 PM
Sorry buddy, you don't need a gun, you want a gun....

I would suggest a pellet or .22, affordable, if you look around you can find one used for about 100.

January 9, 2011, 06:59 PM
MOSIN NAGANT 91/30 and a 880 rd crate of surplus ammo ......would be a darn good start!

January 9, 2011, 07:24 PM
A 22 long rifle will give you the most bang for your bucks. If you are looking for centerfire you might give the Stevens 200 in 223 remington a thought.

January 9, 2011, 07:28 PM
you can find a nice henry lever .22 for under 300 if you look around and do your gun homework

January 9, 2011, 07:31 PM
.22 like ruger 10/22 or a Mosin. The Mosin is pretty cheap for a big caliber rifle.

January 9, 2011, 07:32 PM
Best rifle I've purchased, correction, only rifle I've purchased (yet) was a Ruger 10/22 used from the local gun shop for $170 dollars about 5 months ago. Sadly I've only put about 1000 rounds through it yet, and I live on 40 acres! I need to shoot more. Anyways, getting off topic. Ruger 10/22 is a great rifle.

January 9, 2011, 07:36 PM
Marlin model 60, they're awesome.

Ky Larry
January 9, 2011, 07:36 PM
Check the used bins and racks at your local gun stores for a good used .22lr. Nothing else will give you more bang for your buck and feed your addiction.

I remember years ago trying to decide what to do. It was 3 days before my next V.A. check and I had a $5.00 bill. My choices were a few groceries or a box of .357 ammo. I think I got the ammo and ate peanut butter and crackers. AH, the days of being a starving student.:cool:

January 9, 2011, 07:57 PM


Did you read the $200-$300 limit??????/

January 9, 2011, 07:59 PM
Yep, good used .22.

January 9, 2011, 08:54 PM
used marlin 60 in 22lr, hit some pawn shops and you can find them at 50-100 dollars otd(dont pass a glenfiled 60 as its a marlin with a different name). brand new bolt action marlin xs7 in 308 for around 300. but then you need rings and scope. and that pushes you out of the range. stick with a 22 for awhile.

January 9, 2011, 09:11 PM
I have to agree 10/22 or a savage. If you want to hunt with it go with a maveric 88 in 12 gauge (i know its a shotgun but hey) or the mosin 7.62 x54R great proven round out of a cheap dependable weapon.

January 9, 2011, 09:15 PM
A Savage Mark II .22LR, or a Marlin 981-T .22LR would serve the purpose of target shooting on a budget. Either rifle would cost between $150.00 and $200.00 out the door. At about $1.50 per box of 50 rounds of .22LR, even a college student can afford a weekly range trip. Welcome to THR!


General Geoff
January 9, 2011, 09:15 PM
Mosin Nagant. For when you absolutely, positively, must set your target on fire while shooting it (http://www.shadowflareindustries.com/images/cryptcon/2009/night_shooting/DSCF6274.JPG). :D

January 9, 2011, 09:23 PM
O i almost forgot another choice try a single shot combo rifle from rossi. At academy they start at 119 for a 22 12 ga combo ad 70 bucks a barrel you can have a good base if you get the 7mm 08 or 243 extra

January 9, 2011, 10:30 PM
Savage Mk II. Even the base model that sells for $160 or so will literally drive thumbtacks @ 50 yards. Absolutely fantastic rifle for the price.

January 9, 2011, 10:34 PM
Ruger 10/22

January 9, 2011, 11:12 PM
Given your parameters, a .22LR (IMO) would be your best bet.
You live near Houston, so there are most likely plenty of gun shops and shows in your area. You should be able to find a used rifle you like for under $200.00. Ruger, Savage, Marlin and all the others mentioned are well made firearms. Pick the action and style that fits and buy it.
If you haven't had formal firearm safety instruction yet, I recommend that you set aside a little of the $300.00 to get some. Your local gun shop and/or the NRA would be happy to help.

Have fun, be safe.

January 10, 2011, 12:15 AM
So the top choices so far are the ruger 10/22, the marlin model 60, the savage MkII, and the mosin nagant.
As far as gun safety goes i have had training my grandpa wouldn't let me hold a gun until i could do it safely so a formal/informal class was arranged.

January 10, 2011, 06:55 AM
Hmmm, this is the kind of question that's going to get lots of different answers, but really, you need to answer a few questions yourself to focus the replies.

Do you think you might want to hunt with this rifle, and if so, hunt what? That will give you sense of the caliber you need.
Do you want this rifle to have a home defense role as well? If so, are we talking about an urban area, a wooded area or open country?
Do you have an interest in guns that will likely result in getting other rifles later? The first of several guns might be a different pick than the only gun you ever plan to own.
Lots of good suggestions have already been given. To add my two cents...

Among .22LR rifles, people like the Ruger 10/22, but personally I have always had great luck with Marlins. Within your budget you can have your choice of wood or synthetic stock, semi-auto or bolt action, clip or tube magazine, blue or stainless finish and still have money left over for a brick of quality ammunition.
Among centerfire rifles, you could do a lot worse than a Stevens 200 in whatever caliber best suits your hunting needs, or in .223, .308, or .30-06 if you want to be able to use surplus ammunition.
If you're interested in collecting historic rifles, you could get a Mosin-Nagant in one of the shorter carbine versions or the long 91/30. In fact you could get two, one a hand-selected collector's piece with all the accessories and one with a damaged stock or some other cosmetic defect that you could then sporterize as a hunting rifle or transform into a scout-type tactical rifle in the future. That would still fall within your budget with a can or surplus ammo to boot.
Let us know what you decide.



January 10, 2011, 08:55 AM
Hunting is pretty unlikely in the near future no license and no where to hunt at.
I do intend to by many more rifles after college and don't need it for defense.
at this point a 22 is my top choice, now the question is which one? the Ruger 10/22 has great reviews along with the Savage Mk II but the Marlin Model 60 is sold a lot cheaper and just about every where.

January 10, 2011, 09:09 AM
Trav, I've heard good things about all 3. You personally said you might rather go with a bolt so I would say look into the Savage. But if you are considering an autoloader more now after all these posts then you might want to check out this link. It is less expensive than the 10/22, I've heard good things about it, and it comes with a red dot sight (to make shooting more fun)


January 10, 2011, 09:48 AM
i would recommend the following rifles...

1. savage mark-II (bolt action) or ruger 1022 (semiauto action)
2. mosin nagant m44.
3. hi-point 995TS

January 10, 2011, 10:41 AM
What's wrong with finding a used stevens .223 or a savage edge? either of those can be had for around $300, and 223 ammo is dirt cheap right now (especially wolf) He'll have a rifle that he can actually do something with at ranges past 100yds. New, these rifles hover right around the $300 mark, so I'm sure you can find a used one for less. Sure, you'll need to put some money into optics, but if you get a .22lr, you'll have to anyway. I believe the Savage edge comes with a burris 3-9x32 scope.

January 10, 2011, 11:04 AM
My vote is for the CZ452 Trainer (http://cz-usa.com/products/view/cz-452-special-military-training-rifle/) .22LR. $315 from Whittaker's. (http://www.whittakerguns.com/)

Do a search and you'll find the CZ452 platform to be a highly-regarded bolt .22LR, and the trainer/lux variants have fantastic iron sights to boot, so you can use it with or without a scope. Get it, some quick release rings, a decent scope, and a military sling, and you'd have a near-perfect setup, IMO.

January 10, 2011, 11:10 AM
I would recommend a Marlin model 60 in autoloader. It is a very accurate rifle for what it is. That said a bolt action prevents the spray and pray habit.

January 10, 2011, 12:09 PM
Speaking of Buds Gun Shop, I have no experience buying from them personally but often use their site to research options. This link (http://www.budsgunshop.com/catalog/index.php/cPath/323)takes you to all of their Marlin offerings right now, including ELEVEN different models of Marlin .22LR rifles under $250, starting at $140 for the clip-fed 795 semi-auto with a synthetic stock.

January 10, 2011, 12:54 PM
SKS if you want something that has some power.

10/22 if you just want a plinker.

January 10, 2011, 01:04 PM
You said a .22 was your top choice. The next question is, do you have a preference for what type of action you are interested in? Semi-auto, bolt, lever action, or pump? All have pros and cons to one degree or another. If you know what style you like the most it will really help narrow it down.

January 10, 2011, 02:18 PM
I prefer lever and bolt actions but like i said in a previous post it's not that big of a deal. Mostly i just want a fun plinker until i have enough money to get started in hunting and collecting.

January 10, 2011, 02:28 PM

Did you read the $200-$300 limit??????/
I got a used Wasr 10/63 as my first AK for $250. So yes, I did read it.

I got a Ruger 10/22 when i was 12 years old as my first real firearm. I bought an Eabco M1 carbine kit with Tech Sights for it about a year ago. Its a great rifle and it is my favorite rifle, I wouldnt trade it for a gun worth 20 times as much. So i would reccomend that with this as well: https://www.eabco.com/m1_carbine_ruger_1022_tribute.htm

Its awesome

January 10, 2011, 02:46 PM
Autoloaders are fun and the 10/22 is a good one. But there are a lot of used others out there. Maybe I'm a broken record, but a college student on a tight budget is a prime candidate for a nice used rifle. There are two advantages; 1.) it will likely come equiped with stuff like scopes, triggers or stocks that will cost extra - 2.) it will retain the value you paid for it. A new gun of any kind will take a "value" hit the day you unpack it and put the first round through it.

Also, the previous owner may toss in extras like ammo, or a shooting pad, sling, what ever? See what sort of deal you can do? Once you are out of school and making the big $$, you can buy anything you want. Fun and skill building are what's up for grabs right now.

January 10, 2011, 03:24 PM
Going the used route, where would be a good place to look for a used gun?

January 10, 2011, 03:33 PM
As stated above, I give a thumbs up for Bud's. I happen to live about 7 miles away from them and they are top-notch. Their website is also highly recommended. I also will give a nod to the Savage Edge or Axis. They are cheap rifles and will shoot with higher end guns. Bud's recently had a sale on them for $250 brand new for every caliber. Not sure what their price is now but I'd say it's still under $300. I'd go with a .223, .243, or .270.. depending on how big of a punch you want.

January 10, 2011, 03:56 PM
Oh dear, I may have to get a 10/22 just so I can get one of those M1 carbine kits. That does look like fun!

January 10, 2011, 04:18 PM

Did you read the $200-$300 limit??????/

SKS would work well as a substitute. I agree with the others on a .22 first though. Cheap, fun, and you'll shoot more, which means you'll shoot better.

January 10, 2011, 04:49 PM
don't over look the .17 hmr... i just bought one and love it... i got a savage 93r17 and the gun is a far better shooter than i am...IMO a 10/22 is great gun and everyone should have one...but i like my savage way more than any 10/22 i have ever held.....rounds are 12.99 for 50

January 10, 2011, 05:51 PM
Going the used route, where would be a good place to look for a used gun?
Right here on The High Road Classifieds!

January 10, 2011, 06:03 PM
+1 for the classifieds. there is always something listed that makes me want to hurt the bank account a little.

i cast another vote for a good .22 rifle as there is always a spot in everyones gun cabinet for one as they offer so much practicality and versatility.

i also have an SKS that I love to shoot and i can usually find ammo for 4-5 bucks for 20 rounds.

Dr T
January 10, 2011, 06:24 PM
I would get a bolt action 22 lr. A used Remington 582 or 583 should drive tacks, but so will the little Savage bolt actions.

As to cost, you can get 550 round bulk packs for $20. That works out to about $.03 per shot.

January 10, 2011, 06:53 PM
If you could stretch your budget just a little farther to $400, the Savage Mk II FVT will keep you challenged for a lifetime. It has a bull barrel, Accu Trigger, and Williams peep sights which are head and shoulders above the Ruger 10/22 sights. The Savage is for my 6 year old, I bought a CZ 452 for my step-son when he was 13, solid rifle purchased new for $330. The stock even has a decent figure for a $300 .22, shoots better than he can. The CZ is full size rifle designed for cheap training, to mimic CZ's large caliber rifles. The Ruger and Savage comparatively are smaller.

I lucked out and my first rifle was an Anschutz 1416, my brother and sister received Ruger 10/22's with Williams sights. The 10/22's are good rifles but the bluing and materials used are pretty cheap, both my sister's and brother's rifle needed constant attention to prevent rust. On the plus side the aftermarket for 10/22 upgrades and parts is outstanding.

Good luck on your search, Savage, Ruger, and CZ are all good choices for beginners.

Jon Coppenbarger
January 10, 2011, 07:24 PM

January 10, 2011, 08:59 PM
I'm in the .22 lr crowd as well. I love my 10/22, but a bolt action gives you the option to shoot shorts and longs with no fuss. There are times when using CBs can be handy, especially when taking out pests. Also, I like the idea of the Rossi/NEF combo guns. Good luck!

January 11, 2011, 02:32 AM
22 is perfect, just found an old marlin bolt gun in grat shape on the used rack for $120. put a cheap bushnell rimfire scope and you are golt for well under $200 big ones.

January 11, 2011, 04:34 AM
Marlin M60

January 11, 2011, 01:07 PM
For your situation the already well pounded in option for getting a .22 is the obvious one.

As to which action to get may I offer a suggestion? Look around at what sort of competitions are held in the local clubs that have .22 classes. Plinking is great for fun and practice but the fun really begins when you test yourself by putting up your skills against a clock or score card.

Locally we shoot club level Speed Steel matches that are low pressure but great fun. These matches have a class for .22 carbine. It's not that demanding on absolute accuracy but it does put a lot of pressure on you to establish a sight picture on a gopher sized steel plate at handgun distances and put a shot on each target as quick as you can. Another local event in the same club is smallbore (basically the rimfire sizes of .17hmr, .22LR and .22WMR) metallic silhouette. This event is far more a case of accuracy within a reasonable time limit to shoot each line of targets. But again, it'll give you an adrenaline rush that is similar to hunting small game for later if the opportunity presents itself. It also shapes you up for shooting under a bit of pressure. And just as great as shooting for it's own sake you get to meet and talk with a bunch of like minded folks and spend a whole day smiling. And that is never a bad thing.

What this boils down to is that it may shape your final purchase towards one style or the other. Semis are obviously needed for the speed steel CQB style of shooting. And while a semi won't prevent you shooting the Metallic Silhouette events I seem to see lots of evidence that semis can't group as tightly as a bolt action if the guns are the same sort of cost.

I'm like you and love the lever action style. If you can find one used that shoots tacks and it's in your budget it may be the best of both worlds. Fast enough to enjoy at a rimfire speed event, and enough like a locked bolt to do well at an accuracy event. I'm just not aware of any that satisfy this aspect without costing the world.

As you find a little more money here and there I would suggest that a great second rifle, given your love of the levers, would be a lever gun in one of the handgun calibers or in .30-30. Figure out which you would like to go with and slowly pick up the stuff needed to reload in that caliber along with a cheap used single stage press. If you can find one Lyman has made their cast iron 6 position rotary press for literally decades now. I've got one and the best part is that I can put three pairs of rifle dies in it and leave them all set up. It's nice to be able to leave the dies set so they don't need to be re-adjusted each time. So far the reloads for .30-30 have been running me around 70 cents each for jacketed bullets. But I found a source for cast lead bullets that will cut this cost down to more like 45 cents each. And if/when I finally get into casting my own the cost will drop to around 20 to 25 cents each for just primer and powder. With a single stage press and hand primer along with a loading block you can easily load 200 to 250 rounds in an evening. And if you aren't shooting a semi auto this SHOULD last you quite a while as long as you use it as a "treat" between your time spent shooting the .22.

Another great reason for getting into a club in your area and participate in the regular shooting events is the ability to network with the other folks. You will likely even find someone that would take you under their wing and let you come over and reload using their equipment but with your supplies.

And another option for shooting big bore cheaply to go with your .22 would be black powder. Again, if you get into casting your own balls from clean up lead scavenged from the club ranges when they clean out their indoor bullet traps you can basically cast them for the cost of a mold and oven. The rest of the stuff for lube and patches can be hand made from cast off bed linen and cheap local craft stores and supermarkets. And if you go flintlock instead of percussion you don't even need to buy caps!

But that's for later depending on which route you want to go. For now check out the local club activities and get yourself a .22 that is versitile and fits in with the sort of style of shooting you think you want to go for.

January 11, 2011, 01:19 PM
Marlin 60, Marlin 795, or a Savage 64. Personally, I do not see the reason to buy a 10/22 unless you will be spending lots of money on upgrades. The marlins and the Savage are in my opinion better out of the box than a Ruger 10/22. As other people have said, if you're looking for a bigger gun definitely check out a Mosin Nagant, one can be had for under $100 and some are still quite accurate

January 11, 2011, 01:40 PM
another +1 for the .22LR or Mosin-Nagant.

I've got a newish Savage 64, semi-auto .22LR. Out the door, $140, with a brick of Federal bulk ammo. I've also got an olderish Savage (model unknown) bolt action .22. For less than $20 you can shoot all day at the range, and not even feel it the next day.

Last month, Dunhams had round receiver M91/30's on sale for $99.00. True, 7.62x54r is much more expensive than .22LR, but the boom can be heard from the next county over. :p That in and of itself is worth it.

Shop around for Mosin-Nagants, they can be had for a pittance. I got my M-44 from a C&R dealer in Florida, shipped to my FFL in Michigan, grand total of $180, $30 of which was FFL transfer fee.. Gotta love a gun that blasts a two foot ball of fire out the muzzle!

January 11, 2011, 01:42 PM
I've pretty much decided to go with the marlin 795 for now because it's got great reviews and is just so dang cheap. I would like to thank all of y'all for the insight I've also decided to do an Appleseed event once i get familiar with my rifle.
Thanks again for all the help.


January 11, 2011, 02:03 PM
Marlin model 60. A bit more and my first choice would be a CZ 452 if you can find one. Oops! Didn't see you had already decided before I posted. A good choice that I'm sure you will be very happy with.

January 29, 2011, 11:12 PM
I've pretty much decided to go with the marlin 795 for now because it's got great reviews and is just so dang cheap. I would like to thank all of y'all for the insight I've also decided to do an Appleseed event once i get familiar with my rifle.
Thanks again for all the help.


Good choice I just got one too I got the ATI Dragonov (spelling?) stock. Looks awesome takes some cutting to fit it. and got a machine shop to make me some longer mags. Trust me the 10/22 isn't nearly as good out of the box, I've spent over 400 bucks even with the bull barel its not as accurate haha.

January 29, 2011, 11:13 PM
Oh if you want better open sights look up techsights or much cheaper firesights

January 30, 2011, 03:44 AM
I'd say a Mosin-Nagant. You can pick one up for 70$ bucks, and then use the other 330$ to buy 1800 rounds of ammo (no exaggeration) :)

Most Milsurps will run for pretty cheap, your best bet is a Mauser 98 copy, Mosin Nagant, or Lee-Enfield. Only problem is that the Enfield's .303 ammo is pretty pricey, but they have modern production stuff coming out now.

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