My first rifle - any suggestions?


natural marksman
March 4, 2012, 01:48 AM
Im thinking of buying a rifle in the next few months but I have no experience shooting rifles, so I don't really know what's a good rifle to get. I live in australia so it cannot be semi automatic, and I'd be using it for indoor target shooting at roughly 50 meters.

My first thought was to get a Lee Enfield No.1 Mk III* but a friend told me they were horrible to fire and ammo was not cheap. The only way to know is to give em a try but I don't have that luxury. Any suggestions would be much appreciated!

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March 4, 2012, 03:02 AM
its sounds gay but get a .22 for your first. Why??
1. they are cheap
2. Ammo is cheap
3. fun to shoot

It will teach you how to shoot, plus there are many things you can get for .22's

March 4, 2012, 03:04 AM
Yes gotta be a 22 mate. Learn good habits and skills on the little stuff then graduate bigger.

chris in va
March 4, 2012, 03:44 AM
Yeah, skip the Enfield. I tried one for the first time last weekend and it had more recoil than the Mosin, which is saying something.

22 of some flavor. I happen to be fond of a lever action, makes it a bit more fun than a bolt action.

You're only allowed to shoot at an indoor range? I'd suggest a bolt action 223 if you have a place outdoors to shoot.

March 4, 2012, 08:34 AM
A 50 meter indoor target rifle, Hmmm.....

You need a quality .22lr rifle.

March 4, 2012, 01:50 PM
I would suggest you look at CZ, Savage or Ruger. This is based on what I have seen at the club range. All good .22s

March 4, 2012, 02:24 PM
I'm not sure what brands are available down under, but a CZ bolt action or the Marlin 60 semi are excellent choices.

March 4, 2012, 05:19 PM
Get a CZ 452 before they are all gone!!!!! The new 455 is great too, but I hear that they are cheaper for CZ to produce. A 22LR or a 17HMR would be the way to go.

March 4, 2012, 10:46 PM
".22 long rifle" bolt or lever action rifle. 50 meters is perfect for that round. A .22 is deadly accurate to boot at that range. Plus you can fire 100's of rounds without the barrel heating up all the while only spending literally pennies per round. For example:
.22 LR 40 LRN (Thunderbolt) 500rds Regular Price: $22.99 Sale Price: $19.99
That's $0.04 cents a round!! U.S cents

Note: I don't have any experience with the .22 mag round or .22 short round. All I know is they are twice as much as .22 long rifle ammunition and not as readily available. So if you come across that rifle/round I would probably stay away from it.

I learned on a .22 and still warm up with a .22 to get me focused on trigger control and accuracy down range. (especially when I want to send some 7mm Rem Mag rounds down range.)

All and all a great round to learn on and there are so many weapon "flavors" for that round today that can really allow you to have a good time with it.

natural marksman
March 4, 2012, 10:50 PM
Thanks for you suggestions guys! Most brands are available here but semi automatics are severely restricted, including pump action shotguns. Gun's I can get include:
• break/bolt action rifles & shotguns
• lever action rifles and shotguns
• pump action rifles
• handguns with barrel longer than 4", magazine capacity no more than 10 rounds and caliber no larger than .38 (or 9mm)

Also I go shooting with a friend who has a .22 CZ rifle. Nice little thing but I'm getting bored of the .22, want something a little bigger. Was thinking a Remington 7600 pump action rifle in .223 Remington? I can shoot outdoor but my closest range is indoors.

Also I know this is a rifle thread but I was also looking to get a revolver and a semi auto pistol. Can anyone advise on the CZ-75 pistol? S&W revolvers are my favourite for accurcy and the Beretta 92 FS fits so comfortably in my hand

March 4, 2012, 11:07 PM
Can you get handgun caliber lever rifles? Such as the sort used for Cowboy Action Shooting? I ask because my own Rossi lever action in .357 would be a pretty good gun for indoor shooting at 50 yards as well.

natural marksman
March 5, 2012, 07:51 AM
Yes, those sorts of rifles are available here. That actually sounds like a good idea: I can have a .357 magnum revolver and a lever action using the same bullets :D

March 5, 2012, 07:58 AM
Keep it simple for your 1st rifle and go with something that's common and you can sell if you want to later - get a Ruger 10/22 and enjoy shooting it. It's a fun rifle accruate,relatively inexpensive to buy and cheap to shoot. You can keep it forever, upgrade or not if you like. Then, if you find you're into rifles, go forward from there. Good luck.

March 5, 2012, 08:02 AM
Henry makes a couple of beautiful .22 lever actions that wont break the bank. They have a tube magazine so they do .22 short, .22 long, and .22LR.
I got the H001 carbine with round barrel and it has become my favorite gun. I use open sights but i think they are tapped for scopes.
They also make an octagon barreled version. All have nice walnut stocks.
Classic looks, well made, good prices.

March 5, 2012, 08:04 AM
+1 on a .357/.38 lever revolver combo.
I wish I had that instead of my .30-30 & 9mm combo.

March 5, 2012, 01:03 PM
If you get a SMLE, I would get a No.4 Mk 1 instead of a No.1 Mk 3. The No.4's have vastly superior sights.

There is nothing wrong with a good Enfield. If you can't handle the recoil, then maybe you WOULD be better off sticking with a .22. Enfields aren't that bad at all on recoil. In my experience they have less recoil than a k98, a 1903, or a 91/30. Plus a No.4 Mk. 1 has historical significance that I'm sure you can probably appreciate, being that it was the main service rifle of the Commonwealth countries during WWII... kind of like why I enjoy shooting my M1 so much.

SMLE's are a lot of fun to shoot from sling-supported field positions. Get a good sling like an M1/M14 sling or a 1907 leather sling if you get one. If you think the .303 is too much for you, then you might want to look at something in a more intermediate caliber, like a Mauser in 6.5x55 or 7x57.

Pistol caliber rifles are definitely cheaper on ammo (at least here in the States) and are fine for close range shooting like you're talking about; but that is about all they're good for. If this is going to be your only rifle for a while, I would want something that could do a lot of other things too... like take big game, and hit man-sized targets out to 500m.

An Enfield can do all of those things... and I hear the ammo is pretty reasonably priced down there.

But if you do get a pistol caliber lever action, get a receiver mounted aperture sight, like a Williams or Lyman. That will make it a lot easier to shoot it to the limits of the rifle's accuracy. The factory buckhorn sights on those rifles leave a lot to be desired in sight radius and adjustability.

natural marksman
March 5, 2012, 06:14 PM
My main problem is that I've only shot two rifles, both were .22's. I've shot dozens of different handguns of various shapes and sized and found the ones I like. The range I shoot at has a lot of guns for sale on display, do you reckon they'd let me put a few rounds through some of them before I decide to buy one?

March 5, 2012, 06:21 PM
Keep it simple for your 1st rifle and go with something that's common and you can sell if you want to later - get a Ruger 10/22 and enjoy shooting it. It's a fun rifle accruate,relatively inexpensive to buy and cheap to shoot. You can keep it forever, upgrade or not if you like. Then, if you find you're into rifles, go forward from there. Good luck.
He can't own a semi-auto because it would insight him to perpetrate a mass shooting... :P tongue in cheek of course :)

March 6, 2012, 12:57 PM
You definitely want to get a .22 for your first rifle. The Savage MKII is a good budget choice, but if you are going to be doing target shooting, you'll want something a little more accurate. You didn't specify what kind of shooting you will be doing: prone? benchrest? position shooting?

If you are doing position shooting, you will want a rifle with a proper stock for position shooting, with a rail for a hand-stop, etc.

The Kimber 82G is a great value in a single-shot target rifle if you can find one in OZ. The CMP program in the US had a bunch they just got rid of (called 'rusty' but it was really just preservative). Also good is the Winchester 52C and the Remington 40X, but both might be out of your budget. But if you have the funds, the ultimate in accuracy is generally considered the Anschutz 54-series actions.

You will also want to consider if you are shooting open sights, you'll want some different inserts to work with. If you are going to go with a scope, make sure you get one that has adjustable parallax down to 50 yards/meters or less.

Most shops generally will NOT let you shoot their guns, particularly rifles, but maybe you'll find an exception. Really what you want to check for is that the stock fits your body and the trigger feels good (hopefully they will let you dry-fire it with a snap-cap/dry-wall anchor). The most important things are the fit of the stock to your body, and the feel of the trigger. Those are harder to change than sights/scopes.

If you can tell us more about what kind of shooting you will be doing, we can help more!

If you think the 22 is too small....well...50 meters is WAY TOO SHORT for .223. Especially indoors. When I think of .223, I think of 100 yards as a starting point and 200 yards for a challenge. There are .223 shooters making shots at 600 yards accurately and consistently.

Again, are you doing position shooting, hunting, plinking, prone shooting, benchrest? That all matters to what gun will work best for you.

March 6, 2012, 01:02 PM
If you don't go with a .22 then a .357Mag rifle and handgun combo is a really great way to go. It gives you the option of reloading with .38Spl or .357 cases with light bullets and light charges to produce low recoiling target rounds for the handgun if you run into flinching issues. Or you can load up some nice stout .357Mag rounds and reach out easily to 200 yards with not all that much holdover or indexing of the rear sight a couple of notchs to get the elevation needed.

And having ammo commonality is never a bad thing. On top of that .38/.357 gives you a round which is big enough to have pleanty of "life" to it while using smaller and lighter bullets which will keep down the cost of reloading.

March 6, 2012, 01:20 PM
Down under has a wider selection of CZ and Brno 22's than we do here. These are quality guns and worth your consideration.

March 6, 2012, 02:27 PM
If you simply find a .22 too boring, I agree with the .38/.357 rifle suggestion. It's versatile, can shoot relatively inexpensive .38spl ammo, and gives more pop than a .22. Ruger makes a bolt action .357 rifle, and it may be easier to feed a wider variety of ammo than a lever rifle.

All said, I think a .22 is more likely to teach you more. I'd recommend the CZ 452 Trainer, and start off using those terrific iron sights. Put a sling on it, and learn to use it in field positions, if that's allowed at your range.

Old Time Hunter
March 6, 2012, 02:30 PM
Yes gotta be a 22 mate. Learn good habits and skills on the little stuff then graduate bigger.
Absolutely the correct advice.

March 6, 2012, 03:21 PM
Also consider that you will learn a lot more shooting a brick of 22 than one box of .223 and it will cost you the same amount. And if you ever want to do competition, the rules probably require a .22 if you are doing indoor rifle competition.

March 7, 2012, 02:25 PM
Have you considered something in a 300 whisper or aac blackout? you could use subsonic for indoors and have the option of super sonic for outdoor use.

It's 30 caliber in a 223 case.

natural marksman
March 8, 2012, 12:17 AM
I do indoor target shooting from the bench rest position, that's basically all I can do at the range. I got about AU$3,000 in the bank. Wasn't dreaming of spending that much lol but I'll have plenty of options. Also me and my friend go shooting together with his .22 and we take it in turns sharing that rifle.

March 8, 2012, 01:03 AM
I have several rifles and the .22 lr gets shot the most, also in handguns. I have a .22mag and it's a joy to shoot. Everything .22lr does the mag does just a little bit better but it costs more to shoot so I don't plink with it's a critter getter.

I have a .357 lever gun/revolver combo and it's my do everything gun unless I grab a 30/30.

natural marksman
March 8, 2012, 06:27 AM
I'll start looking for a good .22 LR rifle/revolver combo. Maybe a few months down the track I'll get the .357 magnum rifle/revolver combo

Thanks for all input everyone :D

March 8, 2012, 07:42 AM
Are you doing benchrest or are you just shooting off the bench? (cause there is a difference).

I just started competing in benchrest smallbore and I'm using a Remington 40X that's been tricked out. Its very accurate at 50 yards (average 0.257" 5-shot groups). If you are doing actual benchrest, then a 40X or Anschutz will serve you well. With your budget, get yourself a nice Anschutz position rifle with the 54-series action and you can do both position and benchrest with it.

March 8, 2012, 08:37 AM
I would say any of the popular rimfire cal. bullets would be good for indoor target shooting.
+1 for the lever action, because of no semi-autos.
Can you have a revolver type action rifle down under?

March 8, 2012, 10:31 AM
SMLEs are gems, hoping to add one to my collection soon. However, you cannot go wrong with a Mosin Nagant M91/30. Most are extemely cheap, surplus ammo is cheap AND fun, the weapon is extremely easy to fieldstrip and maintain, and recoil is not nearly what some folks build it up to be. I'd recommend a M91/30 to any beginner, as it gives you the feel of a real, powerful weapon while not being overwhelming in any aspect that's excellent for hunting or general target shooting, without watering down any part of the experiene the way a .22 does! Plus, once you decide to go out beyond 50 yards and really start trying at some distance, you'll already be covered with the M91/30 (or SMLE), unlike the .22. A Mosin Nagant or Lee-Enfield are the best choices to go with. Is indoor the only range experience you plan on having, or will you be moving up to outdoors shooting??

natural marksman
March 8, 2012, 03:53 PM
Bench rest & shooting from a bench - what's the difference I'm not sure :S

There is an outdoor long range shooting range somewhere in Sydney that I could take a trip to every now and then. Also I've never seen a revolver action rifle except in a display collection, which means it would have been permanently gutted for display - I hate what the anti-gun losers did to guns :'(

Also, if semi autos weren't so restricted I'd get an M1 Carbine and a Desert Eagle chambered in .30 Carbine, nice combo hehehe :)

March 8, 2012, 04:37 PM
A 357/38 levergun. Not much kick to learn good habits in the .38 and lets you graduate up to the venerable .357 when you're ready. Also firing .38 helps to defray the cost of plinking... assuming availibility in Australia? Don't go rossi tho. I know the lure of cheaper is magnetic, but get a .357 from a quality lever gun manufacturer.

March 8, 2012, 07:47 PM
Congrats on picking a .22 rifle :).

Bench rest & shooting from a bench - what's the difference I'm not sure :S

"Benchrest" includes everthing up to shooting free recoil, massively heavy rifles in very precise (and expensive :eek:) rests. These folks are chasing very small groups.

Shooting from a bench could just mean sitting or even standing at a bench and shooting offhand (with a rifle designed to shoot offhand - not really doable with a dedicated bench gun). I plink cans "from a bench" like this often.

There's a lot of room to stretch either term.

There are a lot of .22 variants out there for a good reason. Every platform you could imagine is available. You just have narrow it down to what is legal for you and what works best for your intended use and budget (:uhoh:).

Tuj has given some really good advice already.

ETA: I forgot about the pistol. The Browning Buckmark and the Ruger MK pistols are far and away the most popular .22 pistols I know of. They are both affordable, work well, and are accurate. They are easy to work on and have a lot of aftermarket parts available for them. Your 4" barrel length will limit factory model choices, but an aftermarket barrel or a cut/recrown performed here should import OK I'd hope. Factory models with threaded muzzles are usually at least less than 4.5".

There are, of course, Olympic model target pistols as well...

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