General purpose rifle


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Hunter125
November 30, 2012, 10:34 PM
I have been looking at rifles for a while, something for an all around rifle until I can start to diversify my collection some more. This would be my first centerfire rifle.

I had been thinking a bolt action, possibly a .308, but lately I've been reading a lot about lever actions and am now thinking a lever in .357 or .30-30 might be contenders.

My ranges probably won't be more than 200-300 yards except possibly the occassional test of ability.

Purposes would be mostly plinking, possibly the occassional coyote, though I'd probably get a dedicated varmint gun if I were going to get serious about it. And home defense. I live in slug country for deer, so my only option for a deer gun is pistol caliber.

I already own a GP 100, the others would be brand new calibers. I don't reload yet, though I'm hoping to get into it in the near future.

What would you guys suggest? If I did go lever action, which would you suggest?

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RPRNY
November 30, 2012, 10:46 PM
This is a shocker coming from me but based on your criteria, accuracy to 200 -300 yds, plinker, predator rifle and HD : AR15 in 223 / 5.56 and, value for money, the S&W M+P Sport. You can't use a rifle for deer anyway and the AR fits every other criteria. Plus, they are so soft shooting, it's remarkable.

.333 Nitro Express
November 30, 2012, 10:50 PM
Given what you say, a pistol-caliber lever action would probably be the rifle out of which you'd get the most use and the most enjoyment. A Winchester or Marlin in .375 or .44 Mag would fit the bill for all that you say, and do so more economically than a rifle caliber.

A .308 for self-defense (especially in Illinois!) is not something I'd recommend--and frankly, I'd say the same about most rifle calibers above .223.

If you like that sort of platform, you can always go with an AR, which would do pretty much all the things you require of this rifle--but I have zero experience with it, so someone else may be better suited to comment on it.

(Edit: and sure enough, while I was typing the last paragraph, RPRNY beat me to it.) :)

USAF_Vet
November 30, 2012, 10:52 PM
If you go with a lever action, my personal favorite is the Henry Big Boy in .38/.357

For general plinking, .38 would be my choice. 'Yotes would drop from a .357, and they can still reach out to 200 yards from a rifle. There are better coyote guns, but for an all around general purpose rifle, the .38/.357 lever gun is hard to beat. They are super durable and reliable as anything I've ever seen. Lots of fun, and if you are a reloader, your options are abundant.

I'm not a fan of the 30/30 cartridge, but if you are, I'd recommend a Henry lever gun there, too.

Bolt actions, I'm a fan of Savage. Their 110 with accutrigger in .308 is a fantastic gun. I'd say better than the venerable Remington 700.

Sock Puppet
November 30, 2012, 11:22 PM
I tend to agree with RPRNY on this.

nastynatesfish
November 30, 2012, 11:27 PM
I'm leaning towards a 243 or a 7-08. Both will shoot out past your ranges to grow with you. Decent glass and a nice stock to be comfortable and be good to go. If it gotta be a pistol round then I'd go 44mag

lefteyedom
November 30, 2012, 11:28 PM
45/70 marlin guide gun.....
Just kidding

If you have a shotgun now that should be your HD weapon. Buy a 223 bolt action varmint/target rifle and have fun.

An Ar would do nicely as well

Kachok
December 1, 2012, 12:01 AM
7mm-08 and 308 are FANTASTIC all purpose cartrages (I own both) both are easily capable of cleanly taking all game up to elk, and are highly effective out to 500yd or more depending on the type of bullet used. The only rifle cartrages more versatile are the 30-06 and 6.5x55 IMHO (Own both of those too :D ) If I lived in slug/pistol country I would probably opt for a 44mag or 454 Casull lever gun, but have little use for them here in rifle country.

Bill_Rights
December 1, 2012, 12:09 AM
For your purposes, I like the higher-quality rifles in the 7.62 x 39mm chambering - .30 cal mid-power and extremely cheap mil surp ammo for plinking. The Ruger Mini-30 is sort of the default in this category, but it is $800 (like the Smith & Wesson M+P Sport) and sort of a hobby rifle to make it as good as everyone thinks it should be (unlike the Smith & Wesson M+P Sport). Nevertheless, a ton if fun and you learn a lot about firearms ;).

Old judge creek
December 1, 2012, 12:17 AM
I would recommend a Marlin 1894 pattern in 44 Magnum.

However, i must add that I have batterys in 44 mag, 45 Colt, 44-40, and 357. Truthfully, any of those would serve you long and well.

There's nothing wrong with 30-30 or 308 either. I have a Ruger 308 M77RSI that's a perfect all purpose rifle for the continental US and it comes from the factory with iron sights and scope mounts. Iron sights could be critical under certain circumstances.

Hunter125
December 1, 2012, 01:46 AM
In the bolt gun category I had my eye on the Savage 11 Hog Hunter in .308. One of the reasons was iron sights.
Do the Henry's feed .38's as well as .357 Mags, or do they have to be loaded long? I've heard some levers are picky.

ExAgoradzo
December 1, 2012, 01:53 AM
1894 44 mag is a great gun... If you can hunt with it or a shotgun but not another rifle, I'd go with that. Someone will hate me, but my 357 lever is not a dependable gun: I would trade it in if it weren't my FIL's.
if you have money/time, go with Kachok's 6.5x55...

crazyjennyblack
December 1, 2012, 02:06 AM
I would take a look at a Mini 14. I know some people get crabby about them, but the newer ones are better than the old ones. I've got one, and it's my go-to rifle for when I'm out in the country. A friend of mine has a nice acreage with woods and fields and that's her go-to rifle as well. Puts skunks, possums, and coyotes down very nicely.

Reasons I like the Mini:

1. Nice wood stock. For "sheeple" areas it looks PC, plus I like wood. :)
2. Familiar feel - it's a lot like many other hunting-style guns since they
don't always come with a pistol grip. There's no option to use a stock
like that with an AR-15
3. For me, it just fits my shoulder nicely. I own a couple AR-15's and a Mini,
but I shoot the Mini better for some reason.
4. New ones come with scope mounts in the box. Nice touch.

Things I wish I could change about the Mini:

1. Rock and lock mags. Not as nice as the AR system
2. Expensive mags. You can buy 2 or 3 AR mags for 1 Mini mag.
3. Better accuracy. Yes, an AR wins in this department for most people. I'm
one that's different I guess, but an AR is typically better. Expect 1-2"
groups from a new Mini if you do your part
4. The Mini isn't as easy to accessorize, but then why would I really want to?
5. The Mini should be a $400 gun, not a $650 gun.

Kachok
December 1, 2012, 02:22 AM
1894 44 mag is a great gun... If you can hunt with it or a shotgun but not another rifle, I'd go with that. Someone will hate me, but my 357 lever is not a dependable gun: I would trade it in if it weren't my FIL's.
if you have money/time, go with Kachok's 6.5x55...
Love my Sweed, but you simply cannot cannot find the Tikka in 6.5x55 in the states anymore, they make you buy the Sako version here and it costs five times as much!!!
For anyone wanting a good 6.5x55 on a budget CZ supposedly makes a good one as does Howa. I am sure the Sako is a world class gun but for two grand it better be!

Roadking Rider
December 1, 2012, 09:05 AM
Two of my all time favorite all purpose rifles are the older Marlin 336 30/30's and the newer Ruger mini 14 ranch rifles. Own both, love both.

Reloadron
December 1, 2012, 09:17 AM
For an all around general purpose rifle I would be thinking about a .308 bolt action rifle like maybe a Savage flavor. If you want to go the lever or pump action route there is no shortage of other rifles out there. I would not consider a handgun caliber for a 200 / 300 yard rifle. I have a .44 Magnum old Ruger and while it is a great handy little rifle it is a 100 yard rifle. Anyway, I would stick with a .308 in whatever trips your trigger.

Just My Take
Ron

DM~
December 1, 2012, 09:34 AM
You guys are recommending lever guns chambered in pistol cartridges for 200 and 300 + yards shots????

To the OP, get something is a RIFLE cartridge, .308 would be fine!

DM

RSVP2RIP
December 1, 2012, 10:13 AM
You can use any firearm in any chambering for coyotes in Illinois, except a shotgun with slug (yeah, I don't get that one either). So you're AR with 100 round beta mag and night vision is OK, so is a NAA mini revolver with 22 shorts. I'd go with an AR platform with 16" barrel. It will handle anything you're asking of a rifle and if you decide 223 isn't your cup-o-tea, then it comes in a bewildering assorment of chamberings and switching between most of them requires only an upper swap and maybe a new magazine. Most leverguns won't have a very good trajectory at 200-300 yards and marginal accuracy past 100 yards. I know there are exceptions in the accuracy department, but all the Winchester 94's I've seen couldn't hold 3" at 100 yards, when most AR's will do better than 1-2".

Hunter125
December 1, 2012, 09:58 PM
I guess I meant that most of my shooting would occur within 200-300 yards. A shot that far probably won't happen too often. You guys do have me leaning toward the .308 now though. Maybe the lever will end up rifle #2.

Bushpilot
December 2, 2012, 12:42 PM
You have a lot of "criteria" in mind to expect them to all be adequately filled by just one rifle. As others have said, a 223 AR might be the ticket for coyotes and the range but I personally don't think 223 is all that great for "home defense," especially if using it in the home is a possibility, but you do have your GP 100 for that. A lever gun in 357 would be better for in and around the home, makes a great "plinker" and you can shoot cheap 38’s but it won't be useful on coyotes beyond 100 yards so "200-300 yards" is out. A 30-30 will do a better job on the coyotes than the 357 but still doesn't have the trajectory for “200-300 yards." I'd either get the aforementioned AR, a lever gun in 357 which would be a great plinker and "home defense" rifle or a bolt gun in 223 or 22-250 for the coyotes and long range "pinking." If you go with the 357 my first choice would be an old Marlin. My second choice would be a new Rossi…

RSVP2RIP
December 2, 2012, 01:16 PM
If you're thinking 308, then I would lean towards the AR-10 platform. Has a bunch of different caliber options availible with upper swapouts and can be had in 16" barrel trim for better home defence, not that it would be my first choice for in the home (too loud, too much penetration, et al). Want a bolt gun? Then there are various scout rifle setups out there as well as scads of conventional setups. Levergun? There is the Browning BLR and you can find used Winchester 88's and Savage 99's. Autos abound from those already mentioned to the Remington 750, Browning BAR... you get the idea.

CB900F
December 2, 2012, 01:16 PM
Hunter;

Another very enthusiastic vote for the 6.5 X 55mm Swedish Mauser. There are Winchester model 70's out there in that chambering as well as the Tikka's, CZ's, and other Euro-guns. The cartridge has won Palma competitions, and I can personally verify that it's capable of absolutely stellar accuracy.

Since you've said that you expect to get into loading your own, I'll tell you that it's a very easy round to do that with also. With a modern action, 2700 fps using a 140 gr bullet is not at all hard to achieve safely. Every reputable source of reloading information lists loads, and components are not hard, or expensive, to find.

Just as a side note, if you ever do come west to hunt, don't feel undergunned with a swede. If you do your part, the gun will do it's.

900F

readyeddy
December 2, 2012, 02:46 PM
AR in 5.56.

d2wing
December 2, 2012, 09:28 PM
A handy all-around rifle is a Remington 7600 pump in 243 or 308 or whatever flavor you fancy. More reliable than a lever or semi auto, faster and easier follow-up shots than a bolt, good accuracy and range. A lot of good choices. Any light rifle in .22 hornet or .223 would be real handy.

chris in va
December 2, 2012, 09:35 PM
Oh come on folks.:eek:

Nobody is going to recommend the Garand? He wouldn't have to go far to the CMP North store being in IL.

Believe it or not, the M1 is a fairly soft shooter. I have no problem firing it on a bench for an hour or more. Plus the gee-whiz factor you get on the line is priceless.

BTW you can reload Garand specific 30-06 fairly easily.

jeeptim
December 2, 2012, 10:20 PM
SKS IS with out question the best all around gun,(for the money) yeah I know you can buy a better rifle that dose one thing really well but an sks dose all pretty well cheap ammo low cost and fun fun fun.

Manny
December 3, 2012, 01:45 AM
I live in Ohio which only allows slugs, muzzleloaders or straightwalled handgun cartridges of .357 mag or larger with a 5" or longer barrel. The rifle that gives me the most use is an AR. I have a Rock River national match flattop that I can use for CMP shoots, defensive use, fun shooting and also put an optic on for distance or hunting if I want. It would cover all the parameters you list and even these days is still not too expensive to feed, especially in comparison to larger calibers. If you don't like an AR a bolt gun or Mini 14 would be terrific as well.

Cee Zee
December 3, 2012, 02:09 PM
I would disagree with not using anything above a .223 for SD. It depends on the situation of course but if you live in the right area a good 7.62 x 39 or a 5.4539 are extremely effective. I personally have a 7.62 x 39 that I've had since the time a good AR would cost a person upwards of $1500 while a SKS cost $100 or less. My SKS has served me extremely well. And it's effective range is about 300 yards too. It's also a great rifle for plinking because the ammo is still cheap compared to everything else.

I know lots of people enjoy lever action rifles but IMO they are bordering on being obsolete. Sure they still work but nothing beats being able to fire a round every time you pull the trigger.

If you have your heart set on a lever gun then go for it. But for SD I would at least consider a SKS or an AK variant. There's a reason so many of them have been built and sold.

If you're wondering about accuracy it's true that these rifles aren't great target rifles by any means. But they are accurate enough to be effective at 300 yards. The thing is that a situation where you would need to shoot 300 yards for SD is rarely going to come up. It is possible but it's rare.

My second choice would most likely be a shotgun to be honest. With a rifled barrel and sabot slugs the range of a shotgun gets out past 200 yards and nothing beats a shotgun for SD. They are extremely versatile firearms and allow you to do SD really well, slug hunting very well, and they can be fairly economical for just plinking. 100 rounds of 12 ga. target ammo is only about $22 at Walmart the last I looked. I'll admit it's been a while since I looked but not that long. I bought up so much I'll probably die before I can shoot it all to be honest. I did see it for $65 a case online. That's 250 rounds.

With the right shotgun you can go from playing shotgun golf around the yard (one of my favorites - I used a boot and could "shoot" a par 5 pretty often going after a 40 yard hole :) ), to HD to deer hunting to duck hunting to quail hunting to squirrel hunting to rabbits and all sorts of other critters. For example if you get the Swiss army knife of shotguns, the Remington 870, you can change barrels in 30 seconds and chokes in about a minute and your one weapon can do a very wide variety of things. Short barrels for HD, long barrels for skeet and trap and waterfowl, slugs for deer, etc. etc. etc.. You can go fro 2 3/4" to 3.5" ammo with some slugs powerful enough tokill an elephant and some that shoot so soft you can let your 7 year old kid shoot it. That's how old I was when I started shooting a 16 ga. shotgun.

If a person wants one firearm to start off a collection I think it's very hard to ignore a good shotgun. And there are semi-auto shotguns that are just as versatile as the 870 too. Well almost as versatile anyway. They don't work so well with very light loads.

urbaneruralite
December 3, 2012, 02:29 PM
"Purposes would be mostly plinking, possibly the occassional coyote"
This leads you to rounds that can be purchased cheaply.

"My ranges probably won't be more than 200-300 yards except possibly the occassional test of ability."
This isn't the sort of thing you casually do with a revolver cartridge.

Look at rifles that use 7.62x39, .223/5.56 and 5.45x39 or even a .22 Mag. An AR would be good. A controlled round feed rifle such as a CZ 527 would also be good. If you're already using a Remington pump slug gun for deer, a Remington 7615 is a no-brainer.

3twelves
December 3, 2012, 03:01 PM
double post

3twelves
December 3, 2012, 03:02 PM
AR10 in .308 best all around platform and caliber ever.


ever

mdauben
December 3, 2012, 03:30 PM
I've been reading a lot about lever actions and am now thinking a lever in .357 or .30-30 might be contenders.

My ranges probably won't be more than 200-300 yards except possibly the occassional test of ability.
.
I love lever actions, but IMO for deer size game 200 yards is well out of range for pistol caliber lever actions and just barely in range of a .30-30 with modern (Leverevolution) ammo. Thus neither is suitable if you really want 200-300 yard range.

Purposes would be mostly plinking, possibly the occassional coyote, though I'd probably get a dedicated varmint gun if I were going to get serious about it. And home defense. I live in slug country for deer, so my only option for a deer gun is pistol caliber.

Do they allow pistol caliber rifles for deer hunting in IL? I moved out years ago so I'n not sure but I don't remember that being allowed. You migth want to double check. As far as the rest of your requirements, I agree with RPRNY that a S&W M&P 15 Sport would make a good choice. The 5.56 ammo is about as cheap as you are going to get with centerfire rifle ammo, its accurate and usable for varmint size game out to 300+ yards, and its lots of fun for plinking as well as a good choice if you want a rifle for HD.

TimboKhan
December 3, 2012, 03:36 PM
Take it for what's it's worth, but for my money, I bought a Ruger Gunsite Scout. I mainly use it for hunting and fun, but it is a versatile rifle, great caliber choice, and very pleasant to shoot. All my other hunting rifles got retired after my first range trip with the scout.

I'm the Milsurp side, i agree with whoever said the Mauser. 6.5x55 is a peach of a cartridge, and the rifles are typically very accurate. They are a bit long though.

Sent from my DROID RAZR using Tapatalk 2

Cee Zee
December 3, 2012, 03:40 PM
AR10 in .308 best all around platform and caliber ever.

Very close to it's 30 caliber brother, the 30.06. But I still see 30.06 in gas stations and general stores way out in the sticks and they won't have .308. That gives the 30.06 the edge IMO but they are mighty close of course. Still the 30.06 can go heavier and you can go down as far as the .308 does too. Again, advantage 30.06. Until I see a 220 gr. .308 I'm gonna think that. I know some of the roll your own guys use 220 gr. bullets in a .308 but you don't see them on store shelves made into cartridges.

3twelves
December 3, 2012, 03:49 PM
Very close to it's 30 caliber brother, the 30.06. But I still see 30.06 in gas stations and general stores way out in the sticks and they won't have .308. That gives the 30.06 the edge IMO but they are mighty close of course. Still the 30.06 can go heavier and you can go down as far as the .308 does too. Again, advantage 30.06. Until I see a 220 gr. .308 I'm gonna think that. I know some of the roll your own guys use 220 gr. bullets in a .308 but you don't see them on store shelves made into cartridges.
30 06 is dated and overkill in most situations. That's why it was replaced by the .308, also there are not many semi auto platforms that are chambered in 30 06. The 7.62 NATO/.308 is far more available than 30 06 also.

DM~
December 3, 2012, 07:15 PM
Until I see a 220 gr. .308 I'm gonna think that. I know some of the roll your own guys use 220 gr. bullets in a .308 but you don't see them on store shelves made into cartridges.

And you won't be seeing them either, the bullet is too long and can't be driven fast enough out of the .308 case.

No matter, the 220's don't perform near as well as 200's, even out of a 30-06. I've seen more than a few 220's break up on big game, but 200NP's don't and they penetrate much deeper than 220's!

I also like to 30-06 better as a big game HUNTING cartridge, but for other things, the .308 has the edge.

DM

CB900F
December 3, 2012, 09:08 PM
Fella's;

I believe we were suggesting the 6.5 Swede as available in modern bolt guns, not mil-surps. Believe me, they are available from several manufacturers, in modern actions.

900F

Kachok
December 3, 2012, 11:20 PM
Fella's;

I believe we were suggesting the 6.5 Swede as available in modern bolt guns, not mil-surps. Believe me, they are available from several manufacturers, in modern actions.

900F
Yep CZ, Tikka, Howa and Sako chamber it (T/C only sells theirs overseas). Fantastic all around cartrage, as balanced as the 06 but is not a gross overkill on deer sized game. 243 is a little on the small side for my liking (on deer), 30-06 is a little too big .264-.284 are just right. To each their own though.

Cee Zee
December 4, 2012, 02:04 AM
I also like to 30-06 better as a big game HUNTING cartridge, but for other things, the .308 has the edge.

Most people get around to agreeing that the differences aren't that great between the cartridges. Yes there are more semi-auto .308's but that is about the rifle and not the cartridge. The thing I hear most people say about the heavier 30.06 bullets is that they hold their own against the wind farther out than the .308 does. I am no expert on this. I just know what I've read in posts from people who seem to know something about it.

BTW as for the 30.06 being overkill, there are a lot of downsized bullet and load combinations being sold over the counter in cartridges now. The 30.06 was always a favorite of those that liked to load their cartridges light for hunting smaller game. It made it possible for one rifle to do many more jobs. Now those that don't roll their own can have the same advantages with the low power / small bullet cartridges on the market. Have a look at these cartridges (http://www.midwayusa.com/product/353369/remington-managed-recoil-ammunition-30-06-springfield-125-grain-core-lokt-pointed-soft-point-box-of-20) and then we'll talk about overkill. Those days are over it seems. A 125 gr. bullet travelling 2600 fps from a 30.06 is not overkill. That's just slightly stronger than what my SKS shoots.

Hunter125
December 4, 2012, 07:32 AM
As much as I would like to own an AR 10 in .308, my budget will probably not allow it for quite some time as both my wife and I are still in grad school. I'm not opposed to something more expensive, it will just take me longer to get it. I could probably swing something in the <$500 range within the next year or so.

Anyone know why the Savage Scout is $200+ more than the Mod 11?

mcdonl
December 4, 2012, 07:52 AM
Hunter, I have no gun suggestions for you but would suggest that you consider more of a purpose built rifle. Sure, most of the guns that have been suggested would make good all purpose rifles... BUT... If you just select based on the most likely use... but to fit that need, then move down the line and continue to fill the needs for various rifles. I have lever actions (30/30 and .35) for brush hunting, AR for plinking, .308 Remington 700 for bench shooting, .243 and 30.06 for deer hunting from a stand, a couple of milsurps and other odd ball rifles....

Your all purpose approach is fine, if you intend to only purchase one rifle.

Scrumbag
December 4, 2012, 08:12 AM
What about a mini-30?

Cee Zee
December 4, 2012, 09:58 AM
Your all purpose approach is fine, if you intend to only purchase one rifle.

It is certainly true that a purpose built rifle will do that one thing it's built for very, very well (for the most part anyway). But I remember a time when I could only afford one centerfire rifle. That time lasted a lot longer than I would have liked too. For me a general purpose rifle was the best choice for several years. Now I can afford to buy a rifle for every use I can think of. But that gets me to this point too. What rifle do I take with me when I might want more than one type of rifle for whatever reason? I know that there are the main reasons for carrying a specific type of gun but if you get to the point where you have a dozen rimfire rifles all setup for different things then it becomes a real question whether I take the rifle with the scope for those long shots at tree rats or do I take one without a scope for those squirrels on the run. And what type of scope might I want to use? If I have a rimfire with a fixed, wide angle scope that is maybe 4X do I take that or do I take a 3-9X40 or do I want to just sit under a tree and pick off squirrels from a distance with an 18X scope? Specialization can go too far even though for the most part this is not something most people have to face. But if you become a gun nut like many of us then specialization can go way too far.

I always managed to get by with 1 shotgun, 1 pistol, 1 rimfire and 1 centerfire. Believe it or not I had trouble picking which firearm to take with me at times. I grew up hunting with a shotgun but switched to a .22 before I was 15. But still I had to decide which of those guns to take.

mcdonl
December 4, 2012, 10:36 AM
Specialization can go too far even though for the most part this is not something most people have to face. But if you become a gun nut like many of us then specialization can go way too far

Point well taken. I have gotten to the place where I am looking for composite stock versions of guns I already own with a wooden stock, and visa-versa

.243 or .308, bolt action and reloading equipment would be pretty all purpose. Both rounds have enough flexibility to be appropriate from Coyote - Elk and any type of paper in between.

Savage and Remington both make nice sub $500 versions to get into the game with too.

T.R.
December 4, 2012, 11:18 AM
.308 is a solid choice. I'm a huge fan of the 30-30 cartridge but it does its BEST work at 175 yards or less (with common ammo).

.243 is another very good low recoil hunting cartridge.

TR

scotjute
December 4, 2012, 11:32 AM
I use a .22 mag rifle, lever-action for general plinking/all-round carry. That has its limits.

For larger stuff, I have bolt-action 6.5 x 55 mauser with 20" barrell. Light weight, easy to carry, and precise with sufficient knock-down and penetration for about anything. It will reach out and touch something if you do your part. This comes closest to meeting your wide range of objectives.

Also have .357 lever gun, but don't really use it much as .22 mag is lighter to carry and I'd rather have the 6.5 if I'm really serious about killing something.
Just how it worked out for me.

Suppose just about any deer-rifle cartridge should do, but for everyday carry /all-round rifle get it in light-weight version with 18 - 20" barrell.

Kachok
December 4, 2012, 11:32 AM
As far as the 308 vs 30-06 debate goes I side with the 308 for general purpose, smaller, lighter, and more compact by nature, the 308 can effectively handle bullets up to 180gr making it a an appropriate rifle for game up to elk. Granted the 06 is the better elk rifle with it's faster 180gr bullets and lets not forget it's 200-220gr loads if you want to go bigger. The 06 has other advantages, it is the second easiest cartrage I have ever reloaded for, 150gr bullets atop any charge of RL19 or 57gr of H4350 pushing a 165gr slug. Both live up to the hype and shot remarkably well in my Savage. I don't know how but the RL19 work up loads ALL shot tight, I have no idea how that combination shot well all the way from 2600-3000fps without missing a beat.
So the way I see it is 308 for deer up to close up elk, and 30-06 for anything larger.

Hunter125
December 4, 2012, 11:55 PM
I remember a time when I could only afford one centerfire rifle. That time lasted a lot longer than I would have liked too.

That is exactly where I am. My wife and I are both still in grad school and money is tight right now. One day I'll be able to get specialized guns, but for now I need to stick to the basics and it may be some time before I can buy a second rifle. I'll probably end up with an AR someday, but I feel like a bolt might be my best course of action right now. Keep the advice coming though, being new to centerfire rifles I'm soaking it all in.

Cee Zee
December 5, 2012, 03:09 AM
Bolt action rifles certainly have their place in life secured. They are the accurate rifles. Other designs can be made exceptionally accurate but they usually aren't. They are also economical. You get a lot of rifle for your money.

But I still think a semi-auto could be in your near future. A good mil-surp rifle can give a person a lot of rifle for the money too. In fact they provide close to the biggest bang for the buck IMO. The only thing better in the bang for the buck category would be the mil-surp bolt action rifles. I just know what I did when I was looking for a general purpose centerfire rifle. I bought an SKS and I still have it. People will tell you they aren't accurate. They aren't bolt action accurate it's true. But they are more accurate than some people seem to think. And nothing beats spraying a hail storm of lead for self defense. I'm not saying a person can fire machine gun levels of lead but a one trigger pull, one shot method can give a person a big advantage over a person trying to wreak havoc in their lives. For example during the LA riots when businesses were being burnt to the ground the business owner with an SKS or an AK was pretty much the only business owner that kept their business standing. Sometimes it does appear civilization is about to collapse. I was really surprised things didn't get bad after Sandy like they did after Katrina. And I've seen situations where I live when law enforcement was crippled by weather conditions. For example an ice storm made roads impassable for several days because of all the downed trees and power lines around my very rural home. I'm talking surrounded by national forest for dozens of miles rural. We were on our own at that time and I lived in a neighborhood with a gang of drug dealers who could turn violent in a hurry for very little reason. But they knew what to expect if they came to my house. I made sure they did. They didn't like me very much and they still don't but they didn't bother me as much as they would have if I had been armed with a less effective firearm.

I don't know where you live or what your needs are. I just know that for some of us nothing beats a high capacity, semi-auto. Yes I converted my SKS to take 30 round mags and it works like a dream. It always has. I wouldn't suggest that for most people though because most conversions aren't that successful. But there are weapons that don't need to be converted like an AK variant. Basically you get AR firepower for bolt action prices. For me that combination was extremely hard to pass up but you know what you need better than we do. Good luck with your search. I can bet one thing will be true. You'll have lots of fun with whatever you choose.

Manny
December 5, 2012, 09:02 AM
Before you purchase which ever rifle it is that you get, I encourage you to go check for ammo availability and price for which ever cartridge you decide on. Ammo cost is a big factor in how much you'll be able to shoot, particularly on a grad school budget.

Also know where you are going to shoot. For me, my longest easily accesible range is 200 yards. If I want to try my hand at varmint hunting a small bore with frangible ammo is ok, as they will minimize issues with richochets, but a big bore with it's tougher bullets isn't around my populated area, that's why they are banned for deer hunting.

I had a .308 & went to a .223 for ammo price and more usability of the cartridge for the shooting opportunities where I live. The only drawback I find is that the bullet holes are harder to see through the spotting scope @ 200 yards.

Reloadron
December 5, 2012, 06:37 PM
That is exactly where I am. My wife and I are both still in grad school and money is tight right now. One day I'll be able to get specialized guns, but for now I need to stick to the basics and it may be some time before I can buy a second rifle. I'll probably end up with an AR someday, but I feel like a bolt might be my best course of action right now. Keep the advice coming though, being new to centerfire rifles I'm soaking it all in.
All in due time. With school and other things I am sure a rifle is not the most important thing and a nice to have. Keeping that in mind and all things considered...

I would still suggest the .308 in a bolt action rifle. I am not knocking the SKS suggestions as I have one around here somewhere but given a choice for a first rifle and general purpose use I like the .308. Yes, as mentioned an AR 10 especially a good one is nice but not quite a budget rifle either.

If I went new I would be thinking Savage rifles in your price range. Now if you consider used you may be able to get more bang for the buck. There are plenty of used like new rifles out there to be had.

As to the .308 in general? You really aren't giving much up between the larger 30-06 and a .308. Yes, as mentioned the 30-06 will toss the heavier 220 grain bullets out there. I have a few 30-06 rifles and have never felt the need for a 220 grain bullet, then too I never went after elk with the guns. :)

Your rifle and your call and the only thing important is once you decide is that you are happy with your decision. No shortage of great advice here for the decision making process.

Ron

Hokkmike
December 5, 2012, 06:50 PM
Go with a medium caliber bolt:

257 Roberts
7mm 08
6.5x55
.260


Did I mention the 6.5x55

Jaxondog
December 5, 2012, 07:43 PM
Lever guns in 30-30, 357, 44mag, 356 or 358. I would prefer the 356.:)

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