My first animal killing tool....... please help me.


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460Kodiak
March 9, 2011, 09:39 PM
Ok I’m guessing this thread is going to start a lot of debate, but I need help on this one for sure. I’m looking to pick up my first bolt action rifle, and I’m having a real hard time picking between the big name manufacturers.
Here is the gist of things. I’m not a hunter, I am a pistol shooter. However, I may be taking up hunting in the near future, and I’d like to do it with a rifle.

I’m an obsessive compulsive person so when I pick up a hobby, I pursue it intensely. For this reason, I may take hunting kind of far, so I don’t know what I’ll be hunting in the future. Thus I am looking for the “one rifle” that will take any north American animal that can be legally hunted. I doubt very much that I will buy more than one bolt action rifle, so I’m considering my options carefully, and boy are there a lot of options.

I’m looking at .300 Win Mag, .300 Remington Ultra Mag, .300 WSM, or possibly even stepping it up to something like a .375 H&H. I guess the chambering isn’t that important right now, since I can research numbers and trajectories on my own, and I already have. However, I’m totally unsure what brand to look at. I’m looking to spend about $1000 maximum on the gun and scope combined. $700-$800 would definitely be better…………. But I’m not going to skimp. When I buy a gun, I go for something of quality. This rifle will probably be shot 29-49 shots a year for sighting and practice, and then the one bullet to put meat on the table. I’m looking for a nice wood stocked gun, with a bbl between 20” and 24”, and I want an American made gun. And I mean a gun made in America, not one with an American name that has been made in another country.

THE MAIN POINT. I am looking for debates, opinions, and stories as far as the quality and accuracy of a few model guns. Please share information on the Browning A and X bolt lines, Winchester model 70’s, Remington model 700, Rugers (any model since I know next to nothing about their rifles), CZ’s, and Savage.

Also, I am going to buy a new rifle not a used one (unless I find one in LNIB condition). So please don’t suggest some older model that I am going to have a horrible time trying to find. I also refuse to spend money ordering online since I insist on inspecting firearms in person before opening my wallet.

I realize this is a very open and broad topic that has many answers that fit. One final thing. Please refrain from commenting if you don’t have direct or one friend removed experiences. “A friend of a friend” stories don’t really help me, and I am capable of reading on line reviews myself. I’m looking for real experience.

Thanks all, for the help. This topic seems too huge for me to decide on without input.

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hogshead
March 9, 2011, 09:44 PM
Ruger in the fore mentioned calibers would be hard to beat.

Abel
March 9, 2011, 09:53 PM
Get a 30-06.

HOOfan_1
March 9, 2011, 09:55 PM
Well...CZ and Browning are not American made, so I guess they should be off your list

guntech59
March 9, 2011, 09:57 PM
Aren't Browning and CZ made elsewhere? (Beat me to it)

I am a big fan of Savage rifles. I particularly like the looks of the new Model 14 series.

I don't think anyone will argue with their reputation for accuracy.

Now, for a bit of unsolicited advice.....It sounds to me like you have never owned a centerfire rifle before. Start with a smaller caliber.

Your practice sessions will be MUCH cheaper!

HOOfan_1
March 9, 2011, 10:01 PM
Aren't Browning and CZ made elsewhere?


Yes, CZ is made in Czech Republic...full name is ČeskŠ zbrojovka Uherskż Brod

Brownings are made by Mirokou in Japan

longknife12
March 9, 2011, 10:01 PM
My dos centavos, if ya got the bucks, go with a pre64 mod 70!
Dan

newbuckeye
March 9, 2011, 10:01 PM
I am not sure where they are made, but a Rem 700 is another solid platform to start with, and within your price range. I hunted with one in .270 as a kid.

Naybor
March 9, 2011, 10:04 PM
Remington Model 700 would be my choice/opinion. But truly, this is like asking which is better ~ Ford or Chevy. Look at them all ~ buy what YOU like.

460Kodiak
March 9, 2011, 10:06 PM
Ahhhh. So Brownings and CZ's are not made in America. Ok I was wondering about that. Thanks for the info. As indicated by my post, I am ignorant on this topic. And already, I have learned something. Wonderful forum........

And yes Naybor, I realize this is a hard question. I'm just looking for opinions and first hand accounts. I'll read, learn, and ultimately make my own choice. I am relatively ignorant on bolt actions.

Also..... Chevy is better.........:D.... just kidding.

SleazyRider
March 9, 2011, 10:08 PM
Allow me to save you some time and aggravation: get a Marlin XL7 in .30-06, .270, or even .25-06, with a synthetic stock. Scope it with mid-priced 3-9 powered glass, and go get your hands dirty. There's plenty of time later on for pretty rifles and scopes.

jbr
March 9, 2011, 10:09 PM
Reguardless of it's country of origin i have never heard of anyone not liking their Browning rifle. Love my Bar Safari 06. Federal 165gr. Nosler Ballistic Tips.

HOOfan_1
March 9, 2011, 10:09 PM
If you want to spend $1000 max on scope and gun. I would say you are better off spending about $600-$700 on gun and $300-$400 on scope. Savage 110 or 114 would be good for that. Or Thompson Center Venture or Icon

wow6599
March 9, 2011, 10:11 PM
$ for $, it's hard to beat a Savage..........114 American Classic.

Lazerbeans
March 9, 2011, 10:11 PM
I will also put a vote in for the Remington 700 in 30-06. Theres a reason why the 700 has been loosely referred to as the standard in bolt actions for a few decades now; they are accurate and durable. I recently brought an ADL in 30-06 which is half the money your looking to spend and its a sub-MOA rifle straight from the box. I recommended the 30-06 because you mentioned this was going to be your only rifle and you might want to hunt anything in North America. While certain calibers will do specific jobs better, there are few calibers that will do several well, and the 30-06 is one of the few. Also it will be more available than the calibers you mentioned, in case you run into a situation were you are limited on which calibers are available, such as a backwoods gun shop or whatnot.

Abel
March 9, 2011, 10:13 PM
Ruger is made in the USA.

AlexanderA
March 9, 2011, 10:43 PM
Rem. 700 in .30-06. Ammunition is availabe everywhere, in a variety of loadings. Parts for the gun are also plentiful. You can set it up any way you like. Personally, I would go for a synthetic stock.

Don357
March 9, 2011, 11:51 PM
While Ruger, Remington, and Winchester are hard to beat and do build some entry level guns that are affordable, of the ones you listed that are actually American made, I would have to say Savage. You can buy one of their upper mid-level guns for about the same price as an entry level of those others. And, If you look at Marlin (as was suggested), Mossberg, or Stevens (which is a no frills Savage) you may find a very good quality rifle and even afford some ammo to go with it. Which brings me to a caliber suggestion. Unless you plan to shoot mountain goats at 500yds+, a .30-06, .270, or a 7mm Mag should do you proud. Although, I shoot a .308 and would not hesitate to take a 300yd shot at a moose with it. My rifle is a Stevens Model 200 by the way.

And before you berate me about how unethical it would be to shoot at a moose at 300yds with a .308, think about how many people tout the virtues of deer hunting with a .223 AR!

35 Whelen
March 10, 2011, 01:07 AM
Get a 30-06.

What he said. At LEAST shoot one of the fire-breathing, eardrum-splitting, budget breaking magnums before you commit to buy. Then remember: any game animal will die with a hole in each lung, and a .308, 30-06, and other similar cartridges will do so on just about anything that walks this continent. The late Jack O'Connor did it with a .270...'cept maybe for Brown Bears.
35W

ants
March 10, 2011, 01:42 AM
I bought a Rem 700 several years ago. Box says Made in Illion NY.
I bought a Rem 770 last year, box says it was made in Kentucky.

No question that Ruger is US made.
Some Rugers are made in New Hampshire, some in Arizona.

Savage has a plant in Canada, but I think they only make 22 rifles there.
You should confirm whether Savage makes centerfire rifles in the U.S.

Didn't Winchester move its production to Belgium?
Aren't they made in the FN factory? Identical twin to the FN Scout?

Browning & CZ are european.

Kimber makes rifles in the USA.

Ed Brown makes rifles in the USA.

You didn't mention if you were interested in Mossberg.

CraigC
March 10, 2011, 01:46 AM
Firstly, forget the magnums for now. Get yourself a deer rifle, practice with it, become proficient with it and kill some critters with it. Then, if you need more for bigger critters down the road, get another rifle in a more powerful chambering. Although you can't discount standard cartridges for elk and moose. However, if you can afford to hunt elk and moose, you can certainly afford another rifle. Some folks spend more on an elk hunt than it costs to take half a dozen African plains animals.

I'm not impressed with where Remington has been going the last few years with all the third world imports. Never really cared for Savage's centerfires either. I do hear lots of good things about the new Winchesters, regardless of where they are made. Ruger makes a good rifle and IMHO, their reputation for inaccuracy is undeserved.

ants
March 10, 2011, 01:50 AM
You must be a rookie. Never shot a big magnum before, have you?

Better shoot a bunch of big magnums before you choose one.
I happen to love them. I'll bet you don't.

If you absolutely MUST get a big magnum, get a 300 Win Mag so you can find ammo.

29 to 49 rounds to sight in and practice?
I bet you don't even make it HALF WAY before you give up.
But maybe you're a recoil junkie like me. Maybe you'll like it.
I shoot them for fun, not hunting. I hunt with 30-06 and 270.
I've actually had the scope cut my eyebrow with a big Weatherby.
The experience is not like you're dreaming it to be.

Anyway, what's wrong with 30-06? That's my first choice.

Or if you absolutely MUST have a magnum, what about 7mm Rem Mag?
Ammo is everywhere, and it will definitely kill anything in North America DRT.
Shoots flat, too. And that bullet goes a looooong distance.

HM2PAC
March 10, 2011, 05:43 AM
My personal vote goes to the Savage. However, the important thing is that you find a rifle that you like.

One great thing about the Savage is that you can get one in a manageable caliber that you can learn to shoot with, and then if you want to switch to a magnum, buy a new barrel and swap it out yourself.

snake284
March 10, 2011, 06:13 AM
If I were you, I'd buy me a good Savage, Remington, or Ruger bolt gun of some variety in .338 Winchester Magnum. I normally would not suggest a magnum for a first rifle, but you sound very insistant on this being your only catch all rifle and you say you will undertake this intensely.

If you were a more mild mannered person, I would suggest a .308 or possibly a 30-06 or .270 Win. Then I'd tell you to learn to hunt with one of these milder rifles, and once you master the necessary skills, if you wanted you could sell this rifle and buy a larger one such as the .338 Win Mag.

The reason I say .338 is because it is capable of taking any North American game animal but it's not ridiculously large. It is capable of sure kills on even larger animals than a 300 mag. would be, because of the available bullet weights. It's not as abusive as a .375 H&H or even something like a .358 Norma.

One thing about the idea of buying a standard caliber rifle like a 270 or 30-06 and moving up later is that you could learn hunting skills without becoming skidish with a hard recoiling rilfe and then in time you could move up to something even bigger than the .338 without ill effects. But I warn you, even the .338 can be recoil abusive so to speak. Any large bore belted magnum is going to punish your shoulder. The ..308 Win., .270 Win., or the 30-06 while they have moderate recoil, you can learn not to flinch easier with them. But I would almost guaranty you that if you start out with even a .300 mag. you will develop a flinch which can be a pain to cure. In fact, for a first rifle, I might even recommend a good 7x57 Mauser or 7mm-08 Rem. or even a .260 Remington. These will take deer and maybe elk at reasonable range. But you can get used to shooting and not develop a flinch. Believe me, it's hard to shake it and a flinch will definitely affect accuracy. Anyway, that's my .02.

vaherder
March 10, 2011, 07:02 AM
Winchester Model 70 is currenly produced in SC.

American Rifleman did a comparison of a current Model 70 to pre 64 Model 70's
and the current Model 70 was just as accurate and in some respects better then pre 64.

I have a current Model 70 in .308 and a buddy has pre 64 in the same caliber.
Mine is little more accurate and just as well built as the pre 64.


VA herder

BikerRN
March 10, 2011, 07:06 AM
My $0.02, for what it's worth.

You admit to not being a hunter or a rifle shooter, yet you want to buy one of the harder kicking rifles on the market to start with?

First thing I would do is get a Ruger 10/22 and shoot the bejesus out of it. You can mount a scope on it if you desire. I have a red dot optic on mine currently to supplement my AR Training. The little 10/22 will get you a lot of trigger time. That teaches you how to breath, control your trigger press, and learn what a sight picture looks like.

After that I'd move up to a .243 or .270, although being in Alaska, if I understand your location correctly, will limit it's usefulness. For you it's still about trigger time and an introduction to recoil. Then I'd move up to the .308 or 30-06. While not optimal, the 30-06 will take most game animals in North America. I say most because there is no way in all that is holy would I use it for Alaskan bear or moose if I had a choice.

Now you can start looking at the .300's, .375's, and .338's. As for the make, I'm partial to Ruger for most rifles, although Savage is a real bargain too. Remington, while they have one heck of a reputation that was founded in the past, I find the most bang for my dollar with Ruger or Savage.

BikerRN

460Kodiak
March 10, 2011, 11:52 AM
Ok, Iíve read a number of these responses to my OP and I can see I need to clarify a few things, and just plain tell a few people to go away.

First, I want to take a second to thank those of you who actually read, comprehended, and actually thought about the OP before responding. The intent of the thread was to help me decide on a brand and possibly on a model line of rifle, LIKE I STATED IN THE OP. Several of you have done this, and Iím grateful. It was not an invitation to people to start shouting out calibers at me. I can read about, and investigate different cartridge ballistics on my own. I do appreciate those of you who gave me your opinions and suggestions on caliber as well as make. Thatís the input I need.

Next, I stated that I am not a riffle shooter. This means that I do not shoot riffles on a regular basis or as a recreation. I just donít enjoy it that much. I DID NOT SAY that I havenít shot any riffles at all. It is foolish to assume that because I donít know much about bolt action riffles that I know nothing about riffles in general. I guess I need to be more clear.

ďSleazyRiderĒ, your post is arrogant and unhelpful. For you to simply direct someone to buy something is not an appropriate thing to do, in any thread of this type. Offering helpful advice and personal experience with the aforementioned products is appropriate. Iím looking for advice, not orders.

ďantsĒ, much of your post is based on wrong assumptions. Iím not a ďrookieĒ to riffle shooting, but I donít know much about what makes one bolt action manufacturer better than another. I am also not ďdreaming about the experience.Ē This gun will be a tool for providing meat, not a magnum caliber wet dream. I just want the best possible chance to drop an animal in its tracks in a quality firearm. Iíll decide on the chambering myself.

To all who express a genuine concern that I am going to scare myself with a magnum caliber riffle, I thank you for your concern. Let me state this. I have fired a 30-06 a few times, and a .300 WSM several times. I realize that something like a .300 RUM will kick more, and a .375 H&H or higher will kick a lot more, but recoil does not bother me a bit. I stated Iím a hand gunner, and my favorite chambering is the S&W 460 magnum. I shoot that gun with full power loads a lot, and it doesnít bother me a bit. The first gun I ever shot was a .44 magnum, and I decided to get the 460 magnum because the .44 didnít make a big enough bang, and I love the versatility of that gun. Iíve also shot a fair number of 3.5Ē turkey loads out of my buddyís 12 gauge. The point is, recoil in the calibers I listed in the OP is not a big deal to me. Iím 6í3, 210 lbs. of bone muscle, and a tad bit of insulation, with a barrel chest. I can handle large guns. Iím not saying something like a .458 Win Mag isnít going to hurt, but I just donít care if it does. Itís called having a pain threshold! Iím not calling anyone a sissy or anything, or thumping my chest like a gorilla, recoil and kick just isnít much of a factor to me with the chamberings Iím considering. Before everyone jumps on that one, .458 is not a caliber Iím considering because I have no use for it. I also realize that magnum pistol calibers and magnum riffle calibers is an apples and oranges comparison, but Iím just saying, recoil doesnít bother me, nor does it make me flinch enough to really affect my shots. I flinch when a gun is pointed in the wrong direction, not when itís in my hands.

ďSnake284Ē, yup, .338 Win Mag is another chambering Iím looking at. That one may fit my needs.

ďBikerRNĒ, nope, you are incorrect about my location. I donít live in Alaska. However, there are plenty of frozen hinterlands with grizzly populations in the lower 48. While I have no interest in hunting grizzlies, moose would be something Iím interested in. Since they cohabitate, I would want a riffle capable of putting one down if need be, but would still carry my 460 revolver as a back up. Elk hunts a couple miles outside my town are a reality.

Your logic is sound regarding a 10/22, but I already own a Remington Nylon 66 that I inherited. Iíve shot it extensively, and am thus quite familiar with technique and sight picture when shooting riffles. Iíve also owned a 24Ē barreled AR with a 12x24x42mm scope on it. I regularly shot 2.0-2.5Ē groups with it at 200 yards(not the greatest, I know, but accuracy good enough to kill a deer). I sold that gun because I realized varmint and long range target shooting were not really things I enjoyed. So scope shooting is familiar to me as well, though I know I would need to learn the bullet drop on what ever chambering I do pick. Every gun is different.

Like I said, thanks to those of you who paid attention to the intent of the thread and provided me with your experience on the different manufactures.

Sorry for the length of this post.

Wylie1
March 10, 2011, 11:57 AM
If you're looking at the tightest end of the budget rifles although I am not sure if they are made in the U.S. I'd take a look at the Marlin XS7 or XL7 in .308.

Art Eatman
March 10, 2011, 12:19 PM
Okay, everybody take a helping of Calm Down. 460K, if you don't like a comment, just ignore it.

Back to the subject: What's likely far more important than brand is how a rifle fits your body. Length of pull can be adjusted. Cast-off and angle of comb is more difficult. So: Mount a rifle to your shoulder with a firm cheek weld and with your eyes closed. When you open your eyes you should be looking right through the sights or directly down the line of the barrel--without moving your head. (Just as with a shotgun.)

"If it don't fit, don't force it; fix it." :D

As far as cartridge, the venerable '06 will do horrible things to any legal critter in the lower 48. And elsewhere, generally. :) It works better with 24" to 26" barrels, though.

By and large, brand seems nearly irrelevant. As far as comments here over the last several years, there are fewer negative remarks from the Savage owners than from other brands. FWIW. You can find bragging comments about most all brands.

KodiakBeer
March 10, 2011, 12:22 PM
Ditto on the 30.06. Even here in Alaska you're on pretty safe ground with a 30.06.

Brand? Pick the one that feels best.

Savages are known to have good tunable triggers, but aren't real pretty.

Remington is always a good choice.

Rugers are solid, probably not as accurate as the two above, but rugged and practical.

CZ's are just splendid...

Just go to the store, handle them all and pick the one that "feels" right for you.

michael5446
March 10, 2011, 12:47 PM
ruger or browning x bolt - - i personally would go with the ruger, have a ruger 77 tried the x bolt, just liked the feel and trigger better on the ruger... i would go shopping and test several of each to see what feels best, select caliber based on what you want to hunt.....

Pistol Ranch
March 10, 2011, 01:43 PM
My vote is for a Winchester Mod. 70. Made in America. New model or Pre-64.
Caliber 30-06..You can find ammo everywhere and cheap..If you are obsessive/compulsive you will begin to reload..The '06 can be loaded with bullets ranging from 110 to 220 grains.
Hard to beat that wide range for killin prarie dogs to moose:scrutiny:

P.R.

460Kodiak
March 10, 2011, 01:52 PM
Sorry Art. I didn’t mean to rant. Assumptions and arrogance in gun forums just makes me irritable. You are right though, I need to ignore posts like that and just move on to ones that are actually helpful. Speaking of that, your comment about Savages and the fact that they get fewer complaints than other brands is very helpful. Hmmm…… I do like the AccuTrigger too........

ants
March 10, 2011, 02:16 PM
Kodiak, please accept my humble apologies for misunderstanding the direction of the question. I stand humbly corrected. You seem to be perfectly able to select your cartridge, and I honor that.

OK, for best rifle made in the U.S. given the choices that interest you. Here's my feedback, having owned several.

[And don't forget Art's advice about fit.]

The Ruger has a Mauser type action that's solid, truly solid. If the trigger sucks, there are a few replacements available but you add more to the cost of the package. The trigger is my least favorite part of both my Rugers.

Winchester 70 fits me well, action works perfectly for me, safety is superb. Probably the best safety on the market. Easy to load the mag box, easy to remove the bolt, easy all around. Their stock happens to fit me well. This is a good choice.

Remington stock also fits me well. Now, a Rem 700 has more aftermarket parts than any other bolt rifle I know, hands down. For cheap money I replaced the trigger (and the plastic trigger guard on the ADL model, although the BDL trigger guard is steel and needs no attention). Scope mounts are found everywhere. Even replacement stocks are less expensive and there are hundreds of choices, but the factory composite stock happens to be perfectly good and really doesn't need anything (comes with an excellent recoil pad). Furthermore, every gunsmith and gunsmithing book in America has a ton of information on the 700. Parts, accessories, whatnot are available on the internet cheap and easy. For you up in Alaska, these are important points. Questionable quality? Not in any of the 700 rifles I own, including one I bought a couple years ago. This is probably the bolt rifle I would most recommend to you. And available in virtually every caliber in the book.

Savage Accutriggers in the Model 111 (or 114) are among the best factory trigger you can find, other than a Weatherby Mk V. This is a VERY well made rifle. The 111 (that's the long action) is only available in 300 Win Mag, no other big magnum calibers. The 114 has some other caliber options. Check on caliber, they may or may not make all the calibers that interest you.

My newest bolt rifle is made in Japan, a Weatherby Vanguard. Without scope it cost me $349 plus tax at WalMart. And it is very, very well made. It is the Howa 1500 with Weatherby nameplate. However, the bolt channel is too small for a bore guide (Yes, you want to learn about bore guides) and I don't like the trigger at all, but only one source makes replacements and I'm not going to spend that much money on it.



By the way, some folks may raise the question of the controlled-feed vs push-feed controversy. Go look it up to educate yourself. In 50 years of hunting, I find that it makes no difference to me either way. Maybe some people just like to find things to argue about.



Bottom line, Rem 700. But also Savage 111 or 114. Both manufacturers also make stainless, which Savage calls the WeatherWarrior series.

j2crows
March 10, 2011, 02:55 PM
You certainly can't go wrong with a Remington or Savage. However, I have to admit there aren't many American rifles I don't like. As stated before, swing several up to your shoulder. Your body will tell you when you've found the, 'best' rifle make for you. Oh, and I really like the 300 Win or 7mm Mag. Good Luck.

RSVP2RIP
March 10, 2011, 06:06 PM
You didn't mention Weatherby? If your not opposed to used the US made MkV can be had for well under $1000. Of those not on the list a MkV is one of the slickest American made rifles in production. Although it does cost more, it is a simple design, and has the shortest bolt throw of any turn bolt. And yes, I do own a Fibermark in .338 Winchester. Accurate as all get out for a 338. The longest shot I ever took was at a deer at 12 yards. It was also the only shot at game I took with it. I thought of rebarreling it in .264 Winchester but now it just collects dust in the cabinet because I've mooved on to other things.

steven58
March 10, 2011, 06:51 PM
In my experience, the best "bang for the buck" in your price range has traditionally been a Savage. They are probably the most consistently accurate rifle out of the box. Their latest offerings are the best ones yet. I have owned 3 Savages and am building no. 4.
http://www.budsgunshop.com/catalog/product_info.php/cPath/36_62/products_id/78513

As a no frills accurate bullet launching platform you can't beat Savage. the only negative is the aesthetics are a little non traditional and may not appeal to everyone.

If you want more "heirloom quality" and traditional beauty to wrap around that platform go with the Winchester model 70. The new ones I've seen rival the fabled "pre-1964" models and are generally just a hair more accurate as well. http://www.budsgunshop.com/catalog/product_info.php/cPath/36_61/products_id/57520 I have shot pre 64s and the newest version of the model 70 as well. Several of my friends own these and love them.

I have heard very nice reports on the Thompson Center Venture. It seems to offer excellent features, a good quality 5R barrel and a 1 moa accuracy guarantee all for $450.00 http://www.budsgunshop.com/catalog/product_info.php/cPath/36_440/products_id/58295 A friend owns one and loves it. I have not shot it.

Downside to TC is it's new so there are fewer aftermarket accessories made for it.

As to Caliber, There are many, they are all compromises of one kind or another and there are fans of just about every one. And, they are all correct. There are fans of flat shooters, big bullets and of cartridge availability, to name just a few reasons to like a cartridge.

My suggestion is if you want a cartridge that is reasonably flat shooting to at least 600 yds.(but not so overbore that it burns out your barrel in 5,000 rounds), that hits hard enough to kill any game animal on this continent including the big bears (with proper bullet selection of course), that has manageable recoil, has a variety of bullet weights and types to handle all varieties of big game and match target shooting and is available in a pinch at any Walmart the answer is 30-06 Winchester.

YMMV

35 Whelen
March 10, 2011, 06:58 PM
By and large, brand seems nearly irrelevant.

What he said. Any company that's been in business of making bolt action rifles as long as Remington, Winchester, Ruger, Savage, etc. have, must be making a decent product or they wouldn't still be around.
My apologies too for recommending a caliber. But, asking what make bolt rifle is best on a hunting forum, is much like asking what automobile is best on a car forum. Like Art said, try a few of 'em out, or at least shoulder a few and see how they fit!
35W

Monster Zero
March 10, 2011, 07:08 PM
From your screenname it sounds like you might be "way up north"...

If you are I don't have any free advice about choice of caliber.

If you're in the lower 48 go with a good ol' ought-six or a .308 for your first centerfire rifle. The new Savage models look really sweet to me with the new trigger and stuff. Get a good .22 at the same time and then go enjoy lots and lots of shooting.

marksman13
March 10, 2011, 07:29 PM
Of the models you list I have owned all but a Winchester Model 70. That said, the only one I still own is a Browning A Bolt. Not made in the USA, but they are good quality guns.

Next on my list to own again is a Remington 700. I have always liked the 700 platform. All of mine have been extremely accurate.

Behind that would be a CZ. Only problem I had with mine was the weight. It was a little on the heavy side, but it was dead nuts accurate.

I recommended the Savage for your needs because they are great rifles that will fit your budget. The Accu-triggers are awesome. I don't particularly like the look of their wood stocked rifles but beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Every Ruger I have owned had heavy triggers, but were made like tanks and shot well. They may be the best looking rifles on the market in my opinion.

Whatever rifle you pick I would get it chambered in .308 Win or 30-06 depending on what game you are planning to hunt. Between the two I prefer the .308 Win.

Just my two cents.

terryknight
March 10, 2011, 08:45 PM
I don't have experience with all the manufactures, but ruger, remington savage, winchester, marlin are all about equal to me. I prefer Remington I also prefer Ford it's what I like you need to find what you like. As ants said there is a large aftermarket for Remingtons compared to the others. They are available in just about any caliber. I also like the way they look.

Whether or not your want it I'll give you my advice on caliber 30-06. Easier on your wallet and your shoulder

Al Thompson
March 10, 2011, 09:04 PM
.460, if I was looking for the "one and only", elk, mulies, moose, bear gun, it would be a M70 Winchester in .338 Winchester Magnum. For two rifles, it would be the M70 Winchester in .30-06 and .375 H&H, which I have. :)

Scope would be a 2.5x8 Leupold, which I have (X2) for the previously mentioned M70s. :D

Just to give you an idea of my background in coming to that conclusion, I've hunted Africa, Europe, North America (SE) and Canada.

sappyg
March 10, 2011, 09:31 PM
Since the poll says something about buying and American made bolt action i'll pick the FN/Winchester. It's smooth... very clean feel and doable trigger.

i'm not so caught up in the caliber thing so I'll leave that to the OP. It doesn't matter so much as long as he can hit what he is looking at anyway.

460Kodiak
March 10, 2011, 09:37 PM
Ahhhh….. Thank you all for the recommendations, and I apologize for the earlier rant. I was suffering from new THR member frustration. But I do notice that the post after my rant have included advice on manufacturer choice as well as caliber suggestions, and that is great. I have already gotten many good suggestions, and I will heed all of them.

Ants, I am sorry for getting snippy with you. And I thank you for your second post. It is loaded with useful information, and I will take it all into account before making a final choice.

Al Thompson., I'm starting to lean toward .338 Win Mag. It does seem to meet my requirements and needs.

I do have a question of clarification. Winchester is owned by FNH of Belgium, but built in America, correct?

I need to look into Weatherby.....

So I've noticed that no one has commented on the .300 RUM as a caliber to choose. I like the idea of power level ammo. Any thoughts? Is the ammo hard to find?

35 Whelen
March 10, 2011, 09:49 PM
So I've noticed that no one has commented on the .300 RUM as a caliber to choose. I like the idea of power level ammo. Any thoughts? Is the ammo hard to find?

By your question, I assume you don't handload. I live near a town of 100,000 here in Texas and I don't recall ever seeing 300 RUM ammunition. Midway USA sells it but their cheapest, loaded with the ordinary 150 gr. Core-Lokt is $34 and goes on up to $80+. To my knowledge, the 300 RUM is chambered only by Remington, so that immediately limits you to one manufacturer.
Are you looking at the 300 RUM for a specific reason? I'm sorry I don't have any direct experience with this caliber. I personally don't see any need in a caliber such as this as my father and I have killed our share of large NM bulls with our 35 Whelens and dead is dead. If I were to ever want a 300 magnum, I'd without hesitation go the 300 Win Mag route because every major rifle manufacturer chambers it, ammunition is much more popular, plentiful, and less expensive, and I cannot imagine anything the 300 RUM can do that the 300 Win Mag can't do at almost the same range.

35W

460Kodiak
March 10, 2011, 10:08 PM
No I have not yet picked up handloading, though I plan to in the next two years at some point. I guess that does make factory power level ammo nothing more than a novelty.

marksman13
March 10, 2011, 10:10 PM
I think the issue with 300 RUM is mostly availability coupled with the fact that most folks don't feel the need for a cartridge with that kind of horsepower/recoil. All a matter of personal preference really.

Honestly not sure how long the power level ammo will be around. Seems like one of those gimmicky kind of marketing schemes that comes along every 10 years or so. Most folks that buy a 300 RUM buy one because they feel the need for something stouter than a 30-06, so there isn't much sense in stepping down in power. Hard to beat for versatility, but how many people actually make use of that versatility? I'm not sure.

Weatherby's never felt good in my hands. Even the nice ones felt kind of cheap. Didn't say they were, and not saying there is anything wrong with them, just saying they feel cheap.

What are your priorities really in a rifle? If you could rank them in order where would accuracy, reliability, fit/finish, and cost fall in line?

For me it looks like this.

1.) Accuracy
2.) Reliability
3.) Fit and Finish
4.) Cost

Most of the manufacturers you listed will be pretty darn close to each other in 3 of these 4 areas when they are put side by side. It comes down to which gun you pick up and don't want to put down.

460Kodiak
March 10, 2011, 10:18 PM
I'd say the order you have listed is the order I'd go with for priorities. Though accuracy and reliability being tied. I do want an heirloom to pass on, and I will slop over on the price a bit to get what I want.

marksman13
March 10, 2011, 10:31 PM
And to be honest, reliability may not be as big of an issue since you are looking for a bolt action. Not as many things that can make a bolt action fail as there are on semi-autos. I still think Savage is your best bet for a rifle and scope combo around a grand. A good Nikon Buckmaster or Burris scope and you will be pleased I think. I forget what Savage called it exactly, but I think it's called an American Classic, and it sounds a lot like what you are looking for. I had one in my possession to zero for a buddy and I was very impressed with it.

460Kodiak
March 10, 2011, 11:14 PM
I'll check them out. Based on the responses I've gotten, Savage ia a brand I'm going to look at more closely.

Al Thompson
March 11, 2011, 09:25 AM
Winchester is built here - in SC. :) IMHO, the .338 has a lot going for it in terms of versatility. You'll be a bit overgunned for whitetail and a bit undergunned for Grizzly. But the ammo is reasonably available, especially as compared to boutique cartridge like the .300 RUM. If I wanted more than a .30-06, I'd move up in diameter as well. Hence the .338.

Savage is an excellent rifle as well and (IMHO) is probably the leader for an off the rack tack driver. I like the CRF actions on the M70 and CZ better from a "uber" reliability aspect.

TGReaper
March 11, 2011, 11:45 AM
I have and use rifles from Ruger,Tikka,and Winchester.I do not personally care for Remington or Savage,no real reason I just don't care for them.
My favorites are the Winchesters, I have them in .264WM,.270,.30-06,30-30and the pick of the litter my Mod.70 Super Express in .375 H&H .
If I was to restrict myself to one rifle it would be this one the rifle can not be faulted and the cartridge is arguably one of the best in the world.
I hand load for it so it works well for anything a person might ever want to hunt.
Enjoy your search,and when you find it ,your rifle.
TGR

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