Getting a Premium rifle,scope combo for my son.


February 10, 2012, 06:54 AM
My Father in law and I have set a budget of $3,000.00 more or less to get my son a Rifle with Optics.My son is 14 and 6ft. 200lbs so were thinking about a good Mag round.Ive heard "read about"Sako's,Weatherby sub-moa ect..He has mastered the 30-30 first gun after .22,shoot's the .308 superbly so now we want him to get to a Magnum rd.No it's not Magitis we just feel he should be able to handel and know what ever recoil handling properties that come with the family of Belted-Mag's.His birthday is still quite a few month's off.any in-put would be appreciated.

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February 10, 2012, 07:47 AM
Don't know what "Magnum" you have in mind, but it can run the scale from a mild step up from the .308...... to rattle your teeth. :(

I would pick carefully, based on his perception of recoil and his ability to handle it. Personally, I wouldn't "push it" and just buy the lad a nice rifle/scope combo that doesn't generate more than 28-30 lb. ft of recoil.

Let him enjoy that for a few more years (if not a lifetime) and then let him buy his OWN magnum when he feels a need for it.

Just bumping him a "right of passage" might be doing him a disservice, but he's your boy and you know him the best.

February 10, 2012, 08:45 AM
Good thought since we already have a wide variety of gun's and caliber's to pick from.Just figured alot of you guy's have been in this position yourselve's and might have had some suggestion's.thank's Beak

February 10, 2012, 09:11 AM
Have to agree, drop the magnum mind set! Your son is big... but he's young so don't force this macho concept on him. With your price point, besure to look at Coopers, they make a great "guaranteed" sub MOA rifle!!

February 10, 2012, 09:32 AM
Are you planning a trip to Africa? If not then I too would drop the magnum idea. I would lean more towards a 6mm Varmint caliber first, since it appears from the cartridges you have listed that there is a hole there. With you budget you can go with a semi custom over a box stock mass production rifle.

Cooper Montana Varminter (

February 10, 2012, 09:35 AM
Do you load your own ammo? If so, consider a Cooper in .338-06. Very roughly speaking the .338-06 gives you the energy of a .300WM, the trajectory of a .30-06, recoil between the two, and a bigger hole. Factory ammo is available but expensive.

A Cooper in .338-06 is my dream rifle and is within your budget.

February 10, 2012, 09:48 AM
I have no problem spending $3000 or more on a rifle and scope. I just wouldn't give one to a 14yr old. Most 14yr olds are not responsible enough to handle a $3000 rifle, let alone own and use one. Nor would I buy a 14yr old a belted magnum, no matter how big he is. Handling recoil is 99% mental. He's 14 years old, he hasn't "mastered" anything. I'm 37, been shooting and hunting all my life, have bought and sold over 100 guns, shoot 2000-3000rds a month and I've mastered nothing but the art of killing time.

If you go through with it, get him something he can use, rather than the biggest and baddest. Give him something he can grow with and really get attached to. I would go no larger than the .30-06 class of cartridges. Hell, get him a really nice Cooper .22LR that he can spend the rest of his life hunting squirrels with. It'd be money a lot better spent than a .300Whackenboomer that gathers dust because he's afraid to shoot it.

February 10, 2012, 10:03 AM
Somebody woke up on the wrong side of the bed. The guy is proud of how well his son shoots and wants to encourage/reward him by buying him a nice rifle. His choice. Can we just answer the guy's question without preaching or peeing all over his son's shooting ability?

February 10, 2012, 10:20 AM
Not preaching or peeing. He's free to to as he wishes with my advice, which is very well intended. My intent, which you are questioning, is to prevent them from buying a 14yr old too much rifle and discouraging his interest in using it. It was worth at least what he paid for it. Sorry but he did say in another thread that the rifle was "like new" three months ago. :rolleyes:

November 1st, 2011:
So I haven't yet, my gun only has 15 round's through it though so it's still like brand new waiting for my son to get his first deer with his father in law this year

February 10, 2012, 10:29 AM
if your primary interest is hunting, then getting him a magnum may be cool. he can dream about going out west and shooting something big with it. and he'll only shoot it a few times per year anyway so cost of ammo isn't that much of an issue.

if your primary interest is proficiency in shooting and a general purpose nice rifle, then the most important criteria is availability of reasonably-priced ammo so he can actually shoot it a lot.

if you want to get him something really really cool, that is impressively magnum, but cheap to shoot and good for hunting, he needs a 12-bore:

February 10, 2012, 10:35 AM
If you want a belted magnum, I'd look at the .300 Winchester Magnum. The armed forces are now using that as one of their standard sniper calibers, and it can be used for everything from deer hunting to elk, bear, etc.

Lots of rifles available from nearly every rifle manufacturer. I was in Sportsman's Warehouse earlier this week, and noticed .300 Winchester available from all of the commericial ammunition manufacturers in a variety of bullet weights.

Another good choice is the Winchester Short Magnum (WSM) which gives nearly identical performance to the Winchester Magnum in a smaller case. The only problem I've seen is that the ammunition manufacturers are just coming up to speed with providing a wide choice of bullet weights in that caliber.

An extremely good round is the 7mm magnum. It is a .338 necked down to 7mm. Not as many varities of bullets available for it as the .300 hundred, so it is not quite as flexible unless you reload.

Weatherby makes a .300, but then you're buying either Weatherby ammunition or brass and that's extra money.

The key to the whole thing is the riflescope. It is easier to shoot an inexpensive rifle with an expensive scope than an expensive rifle with a cheap scope.

Scopes need to be defined by what you want to do with the rifle. Hunt or target shooting - or a mixture of both. What is the anticipated nearest target and what is the anticipated furthest target? Target or sniper scopes are larger and heavier as the scope will have large objectives for better performance in low light and large turrets to rapidly dial in windage and elevation. Hunting scopes are smaller so they can be easily carried.

For the money, and general use, it would be difficult to surpass the Leica 3.5 - 14. Leica glass is every bit as good as Zeiss Hensoldt and Schmidt & Bender, and the Leica mechanical construction is robust. At $1500 that would give you $1500 for the rifle - and you should be able to get a really good bolt action for $1500.

You have to consider that you can upgrade a rifle. Bed the action and barrel if needed, put in a new trigger, change the stock, change the barrel. You cannot upgrade a scope. It is what it is going to be for its entire life the day you buy it. The only way you improve the scope is by buying a different scope.

A Savage Long Range Hunter with the adjustable cheek weld, muzzle brake, and AccuTrigger in .300 Winchester Magnum or .300 WSM (around $800 new) and a Leica 3.5 - 14 scope ($1450) and you have $800 left for ammunition - now that, would be really hard to beat for nearly any type of use.

February 10, 2012, 10:46 AM
Do you hand load? If so getting a magnum round is no problem. You can load them to near 308 levels for reduced recoil when the magnum power is not needed. As he gets older, or needs the extra velocity you can always load, or buy full power loads.

For one rifle to hunt anything, anywhere for the rest of my life and with that budget I'd buy a stainless/synthetic Kimber in 300 WSM. They are light enough to carry up and down the steepest mountains. Accurate enough for anyone. I really like the 300 WSM a lot better than the belted magnums. They work in short actions reducing rifle weight about 1/2 lb in the Kimber line. They give you about 99% of a 300 win mags velocity with only about 90% of the recoil, work better in shorter barrels, and are proving to be extremely accurate. The new 1000 yard benchrest record was recently set with one.

February 10, 2012, 10:50 AM
I know others will probably disagree but my choice would be a er shaw mk VII in 257 weatherby with a stainless helical fluted barrel in a nice laminate stock with a leupold vx3 scope from their custom shop and spend the rest on ammo

February 10, 2012, 12:04 PM
What is the young lad trying to shoot/kill???

February 10, 2012, 12:16 PM
I'd think a nice M14 would be a good present, timeless and a bit of a jack of all trades. A great American rifle with some history would be a fantastic hand me down family rifle.

Curt Blunt
February 10, 2012, 01:00 PM
The boy would pretty much have to enlist to get an M14. Don't get me wrong, the M14 was my service rifle (yes, I'm old) and I dearly loved it and have an M1A in the safe.
In my opinion, dad should take junior to well stocked gun store and find the rifle that fits him. I also fail to see the logic in wanting a belted magnum. I should think you'd be more interested in having the kid hit the target. So, maybe another .308 since ammo is cheap enough to practice more if you don't handload. Or a .270 or maybe a used custom in 6.5-06 if you do reload.

February 10, 2012, 01:48 PM
I faced a similar dilemma with my sons. The oldest is left handed, which is a challenge. I started him off with a Remington 7600 pump in .270. I thought he would really like this since he was really good with a BPS shotgun. Bottom line, he was never comfortable with it. So we traded it in on a left-hand Ruger Mark II stainless laminated with a Leopold 3-9X40, also in .270. He loves this gun and it fits very well with the hunting we do.

The next son is much more of a hunting fool and wanted to hunt big game when he was younger than the first. I found a Weatherby Vanguard youth in 7MM-08 that came with two stocks in the box. He used the shorter one, and beat the crap out of it, for the first year, and I handloaded some really mild rounds for him to practice with. Now at 14 he is using the longer stock and full-power loads with no problems.

It sounds like your son is not going to need a shorter stock! Given your budget, and assuming your son wants this gun to hunt, you could do worse than a Cooper Model 56 in 7MM mag. and a Leupold VXIII

February 10, 2012, 01:54 PM
I set my 14yr old up this year with his 1rst deer rifle and he killed a 90lb doe at 130yrds, a 150lb 6pt buck at 210yrds, and a 60lb doe at 60yrds. the rifle is a Remington 70 XTR 308 which is a decent rifle but I belive the Swarovski Z3 3-10X42 scope I put on it was more important to his success. this was his 1rst year deer hunting and rifle shooting.

February 10, 2012, 01:56 PM
I'm a sucker for a Weatherby, so....

Weatherby Mark V Deluxe in .257 Wby Mag

February 10, 2012, 02:10 PM
My recommendation would depend very much on the role... if you want it for hunting, what type of big game? If for a sniper rifle/2A purpose rifle, what ranges are you contemplating using it at? If it's for some sort of competition shooting, what type? Or do you not really have a specific purpose, but are just wealthy enough to be able to buy him a $3,000 rifle just so he can learn what it's like to shoot a belted magnum?

February 10, 2012, 02:11 PM
Im going to answer your question the best and shortest way I know how but it will not be the answer you are looking for.

If it were me and I were going to spend the big bucks on a premium-esque rifle, I would want it to be my "forever" rifle. The rifle I would use the most and was versatile for a wide range of hunting.

For me that round is the 7x57 Mauser and that rifle is the Ruger No. 1. This combo is not for everyone but for a premium forever rifle you can just go ahead and excuse magnum calibers unless it is a 17 HMR (Hornady Magnum Rimfire).

I would go towards the more premium CZ rifles and a nice Leupold scope.

February 10, 2012, 07:22 PM
.325 WSM would be a fun cartridge for him. Sure was for me.

matt 7mm
February 10, 2012, 07:59 PM
my first centerfire rifle was was a rem 700 243 after reading all the gun mags as a teenager i decided i needed a 375h&h for that someday hunting trip because the 375 will take anything on the planet.after a couple of years of huntin woodchucks with the h&h i figured maybe i should step down a little so i traded that for a 338win mag then after a couple of years of wood chuck huntin with the 338 i figured i didnt realy need that either and i wanted a lefty so when i finaly got to go on n elk hunt i traded the 338 for a left handed 300win mag(this was before thw short mags were around) i still have the the mean time i actualy USED the 243 enough to wear out a barrel i had it rebarreled and still shoot it more than any other rifle i own.

February 10, 2012, 08:20 PM
If I had that kind of a budget, I'd be looking at a Kimber. Either an 84L Classic select or the Mountain ascent model, both in .280 AI.

That still leaves a big scope budget, and I'd go with either a Leupold VX-III or Bushnell Elite 6500. You'll still have money left over for ammo (or reloading equipment for that .280 AI).

Why? Well, for one, it's a Kimber. They're well made, accurate, attractive and light weight (especially the mountain ascent at 5 lbs, 5 oz) .280 AI will kill anything in the lower 48 no problem.

If you're dead-set on a belted mag, there's always the 8400 Super America:

It is an average weight rifle, though (7-1/2 lbs)

February 10, 2012, 09:44 PM
Lucky lad to have such generous mentors in the family. I've got a few bucks set aside and thinking about a custom gun however, at near 70, I wonder of I'll get all the use out of it I'd hope to. Much unlike the potential years of service a youngster will get out of a spendy set up. I've looked at the Cooper's (as mentioned earlier) and really like em. I do agree with the remark about spending THAT much money on the kid. I'd seriously look at something alittle less expensive and in a non mag caliber. However, a 7MM Mag will handle anything on the No. American continent. Some pretty nice Wxby's can be put together well under 3K.

February 10, 2012, 10:10 PM

Have you considered a Winchester M70 Super Grade in .30-06 Sprg? Handloaded to 3,150 fps, with 165 grain projectiles, it rivals the .300 Win Mag to 500 yards. This rifle can be had for about $1,050.00 (in my area). That leave a good bit of funds for a very nice scope, rings, base, case, and considerable reloading supplies. I have one of the new Super Grades, and it is quite the gem! It is very accurate. Here is a link:


February 10, 2012, 10:23 PM
Buy him a Sako Bavarian in either .308 or 30/06. Fit it with a Zeiss Conquest 3.5-10x44mm scope. Your son will have a centerfire rifle that will last for life & one he will never want to trade.

February 10, 2012, 10:24 PM
Another thing to consider...if you want to give him a really "lasting" gift, would be to buy him a reasonably priced (but accurate rifle/scope combo) THEN spend the rest of the money on reloading equipment.

Nearly every young person I have exposed to reloading...took a great interest in it. If he had his own reloading set up (supplies) he would learn another aspect of shooting that many folks miss out on.

Too, being of such a young age...he has a whole lifetime of benefit ahead of him. It is also...something that Dad, Son and other family members can participate in together.

Unless the Lad is Materialistic, he will enjoy a reasonably priced rifle just fine, but will LOVE the time spent with Dad...reloading and then shooting his own creations.

Just a thought.


February 11, 2012, 03:44 AM
My son has litterally mastered that win 30-30 and a bolt 308 carbine"it's my fin laws I believe a remington.Sako and Cooper are the one's we are leaning to not even a Mag Rd. Were thinking a 6.5x55 since I have heard nothing but praise for them and I was wanting to buy an old 6.5x55 swede anyway.My son and fin law both got Buck's at or camp in Tionesta this year.Also he is an amazing shot!He is left handed but shoot's Rt.handed go figure?He is a Big Boy for his age.Plus we already have a 7RM,300 Win Mag,30-06,270 Never counted I'm more into Mil-surp's But between the two of us not including pistol's from Muzzel loader's to 220 swift there isn't much missing caliber wise.He just sold a 264 win mag so were down one and we don't have a 50BMG cal.thank's for all the time you guy's I'll let you know what happen's.Now come's Premium Optics.Thanks Beak

February 11, 2012, 03:50 AM
We also Re-Load every thing we shoot I'm still learning but my fin law has been doing it since before I was born.So I have acess to a special re-loading room anytime I can get there.But being disabled I can't stand or sit fo to long at one time.Thank's agian all you guy's!

February 11, 2012, 04:13 AM
Cooper Arms Model 56 (

Lloyd Smale
February 11, 2012, 08:22 AM
youll get plenty of posts warning not to buy a magum from guys that just cant handle them or arent willing to put in the time to master them. A 7mag or even a 300 mag surely doesnt kick so much it actually hurts a grown man. It may startle an inexperienced shooter but certianly isnt going to cause bodily injury. Ive shot truck loads of deer with both mags and non mags and do i think there nessisary. Probably not but in some hunting situations they defineately have advantages. I chuckle at guys that will go run and hide from a 7mag but will recomend someone buy a 270 or 06. The differnce in recoil between those three is pretty minor and if you can shoot one of them you can surely shoot any of the three. What would I buy. If it were my money higher end reminton or a winchester save about 600 bucks for a good scope and you could buy a good gun and have about 1500 bucks left over. Maybe buy him a loading outfit or something else.

February 11, 2012, 08:46 AM
With a 14 year old, regardless of his size, I'd go the other direction. By that I mean a smaller caliber, relatively light shooting rifle that would allow/prompt/discipline him to really master handling and trigger control. A 7MM-08 or .243 would be perfect.

February 11, 2012, 09:14 AM
Have you considered a Winchester M70 Super Grade in .30-06 Sprg? Handloaded to 3,150 fps, with 165 grain projectiles, it rivals the .300 Win Mag to 500 yards.

I like the rifle choice, but would like to know more about this load. That is almost 250 fps faster than any of my loading manuls show, and better than most of the 300 win mag loads for a 165 gr bullet.

February 11, 2012, 12:00 PM

Agreed, it is well over what contemporary manuals indicate. The contemporary manuals appear to be about a 10% reduction over the older manuals. The load I reference is specifically for modern day bolt-actions.

I don't recall the load off the top of my head. I read it in a hunting magazine some time back, and it has been discussed here at THR. I think Art Eatman also knows the load, and should be able to clarify. In the meantime, I'll look about and see if I can relocate the recipe.

Edit to add thread link:

This one is fairly close, using IMR 4350:

Edit to add kink: (About half-way down page)


February 11, 2012, 02:00 PM
My manuals show 60 Gr of IMR 4350 to be max load, but to expect 2900 fps, not 3100 as the guy who posted that claims. I use that same load but at 58.5 gr and am getting about 2800 fps. from a 22" barrel. I suppose another 1.5 gr and a 26-28" barrel might break 3000 fps, but I have my doubts about 3100.

At any rate a 30-06 is an excellent choice. In an earlier post I suggested a 300 WSM because the OP specifically said a magnum round was OK for him and his son. If you're handloading anyway I think it is a lot easier and safer to download the magnum to 308 levels than try to hotrod a 30-06 to near magnum levels. You will get the magnum to perform like a 308, but will never quite reach the power levels while trying to load hot.

February 11, 2012, 02:04 PM
My son has litterally mastered that win 30-30...
In three months??? Sounds like you need to buy an Anschutz and prep him for the Olympics! :rolleyes:

I hate to keep pegging this and I know you're proud of your boy but to say that he has mastered a rifle in three months is something of an insult to those of us who have dedicated our lives to shooting and hunting.

February 11, 2012, 02:21 PM

I understand. But, the velocity I am referencing is from a 26" barrel, not 22". I was firing a Weatherby Mark V, 9-lug design, with a 26" barrel.

I did go back and check my specific load. However, I am not going to post the specific load I used, as it exceeds current reload manuals. I will say that my load exceeded 60 grains of 4350. It absolutely is doable.


February 11, 2012, 02:40 PM
Wasn't it Keith's contention that smallish men could handle recoil best?
Well, it was. He worked as a shooter/proofer at the proving grounds for some time.

February 11, 2012, 05:54 PM
I like the Kimber idea as well.

Not too long ago I saw a Dakota 76 with Leupold scope in 7mm-08 go for 3200. If you could sink your teeth into one of these at that price that would definitely be a no brainer.

February 11, 2012, 06:45 PM
I like the Coopers but I don't know if I'd spend that much money on a hunting rifle. I might spring for a Winchester 70 or Remington 700 instead. But, I wouldn't mind a Cooper and for someone younger then me that would get a lifetime out of it it's a good rifle.

For cartridge I'd probably choose something like a .270 which doesn't punish you much and can be used to shoot about anything in the US. I had a 7mm Rem Mag and hated it, to much kick. I sold it and kept a .300 Mag. The .308 fits nicely here too or a .30-06.

But I see no use for a magnum in normal everyday use.

February 12, 2012, 05:18 AM
Craigc,Maybe "mastered" was a little to much for your class of shooting.But when my fin law saw how he was shooting, he or I for that fact couldn't believe it and gave him the 308 bolt carbine with a scope and did just as well.Maybe it's because he's a south-paw but shoot's righty I really don't know.He has been shooting .22's for yrs.With the 30-30 he put 3 of 5 shots in the red and 2 darn near touching at 100 sight's in my yard.We have yet to take him to a long range since most are only 200yrds. around here. Respectfully,Beak

February 12, 2012, 10:35 AM
Beak50...I believe you. My 13 year old is pushing me. I have been shooting competitively and for fun plus plenty of hunting mixed in for over 30 years. My kid is a natural. Of course he has had an excellent teacher. ;) :D

It is hard to teach wind dopage and how to read heat mirages, get a real feel for it...especially when shooting 600-1000 yards...but the kid is a whiz.

If your son is responsible I still think a Cooper.....which it truly functional any caliber....would be something he would appreciate and eventually give to his kids someday. I know my son was overwhelmed when I presented him with his first Cooper recently.

February 12, 2012, 11:04 AM
well done for wanting to do this.

I don't really buy into the magnum concept.

How about a fairly decent rifle i remmy 700, a ruger m77 or something like that and a really good scope, a ziess, swarofski or schmit and bender with really good mounts.

the rifle, if correctly broken in will shoot sub moa for donkeys years. the glass will be the difference.


February 13, 2012, 07:29 AM
Just get your son a Sako 85 IMHO the Quality, Consistency and Accuracy of the Sako's is better then the Cooper and Kimber. I have heard of a number of Coopers and Kimber that have had to be returned to the factory multipul times to get defects fixed also the Accuracy Guarantee of the Sako's is alot better then the other 2. I would look at the Sako FinnLight in 6.5x55, 260 if you just want to hunt deer, antelope ect, if you want to step up to Elk ect then go a FinnLight in 30-06 or if you want a magnum then have a look at the .300WSM (I wouldn't own another belted magnum if the short mags are avalible). Most of the calibers mentioned beside the 30-06 are IMO best served by handloading.

Now scopes have a look at the Zeiss Conquest, Meopta Meopro or Meostar, Minox ZA3 or ZA5, Sightron S11 BigSky or S111 line of scopes.

Brian Williams
February 13, 2012, 08:24 AM
How about a Cooper 21 in 221 Fireball, with the Varmint extreme setup, get a SWAROVSKI Z6/Z6i 2-12x50

February 18, 2012, 11:40 AM
Just get your son a Sako 85 IMHO the Quality, Consistency and Accuracy of the Sako's is better then the Cooper and Kimber. I have heard of a number of Coopers and Kimber that have had to be returned to the factory multipul times to get defects fixed also the Accuracy Guarantee of the Sako's is alot better then the other 2. I would look at the Sako FinnLight in 6.5x55, 260 if you just want to hunt deer, antelope ect, if you want to step up to Elk ect then go a FinnLight in 30-06 or if you want a magnum then have a look at the .300WSM (I wouldn't own another belted magnum if the short mags are avalible). Most of the calibers mentioned beside the 30-06 are IMO best served by handloading.

I had issues with a Sako and a Tikka. Eventually made the switch to I have 5 of them now. Zero issues. I have a friend who owns 8 and his father owns 24. Out of the 37 rifles only one has had a issue (a rimfire) that was quickly rectified. Everyone's mileage...and experiences may vary. ;) :D

As far as the accuracy guarantee.....

Sako guarantees any of their rifles, including the A7 to shoot 5 shots within a 1" circle (roughly one MOA) at 100 meters with hand-loaded match grade ammo.

Cooper rimfires are guaranteed to shoot 1/4" groups at 50 yards with match grade ammo. Cooper centerfires are guaranteed to shoot 1/2" groups at 100 yards with hand-loaded match grade ammo. *5 shot groups for the 22LR, 3 shot groups for all others.

I hand load for all my Coopers and sub 1/4 MOA groups are achievable.

February 20, 2012, 10:45 PM
I love my Sako 85 Hunter with Leupold VX-3L 4.5-14x50. Belted magnums may not be much fun at the bench, but an experienced big young lad had ought to be able to handle a 7mm Mag in the offhand position. As he gets older, the 7mm will serve him through nearly any hunting experience he's likely to enjoy. 7mm also has serves as a nice long range target platform for him if he finds he prefers the target shooting aspect.

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