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Where to start?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Shenanigans, Feb 13, 2009.

  1. Shenanigans

    Shenanigans New Member

    Dec 9, 2008
    I want to emphasize that this thread is not another basic, "what rifle would be the best for me?" deal. That question will come into play slightly, but hopefully won't cause any of you to bash your heads against a wall.

    I'm not new to firearms, in any form. I own a pistol (FNP-9) and shoot it frequently. I've shot my father's 870 12 guage a few times, and have shot .22's a couple times as well. I've never used a scoped firearm before because that option wasn't available. I am a decent shot with iron sights.

    Now that I'm older, I want to buy my first rifle. I live in CT, so it wouldn't be used for hunting, mainly just target shooting (however, I'd want something that would be usable for hunting should I decide to take a trip somewhere). I have pretty much decided that I'd like to start with a .243 because of the reduced recoil and the fact that it is a known flat shooter. From what I've read on here, it would be an effective deer round as well, which is probably all that I'd hunt anyway. I would also consider a .270 for the same reason (only with a slight increase in recoil).

    Moving on to the question, should I get more familiar with shooting a rifle than I am presently by using one of my father's .22's and THEN go out and get something more powerful? Or, should I go out and get something more powerful, and spend some time becoming comfortable and proficient with my new "toy?"

    My dad has a nice, never fired, Marlin bolt-action .22 that I could shoot all I wanted (as well as about 5 others should I choose to switch things up a little bit and figure out what I like best). A .22 would also be a good place to start because the ammo would be much cheaper. However, I've also been looking into some good, entry-level rifles (that this site has helped immensely in researching) and I'm looking at the Marlin XL7 and some of the Savage/Stevens and Remington models. I'd like to keep costs down for now (I'm 24, with a good-paying job, but I've also got bills).*

    What would you recommend?

    Also, if I end up sticking with the .22 to start, what would be a good scope to put on it (again, keeping cost in mind) that I would be able to move over to a .243 or .270 once I get one?

    Sorry for being a little long-winded, just wanted to put as much as I could think of out front to reduce follow-up questions about stupid stuff I left out.

    *As far as cost is concerned, I don't have a precise budget right now. I'd like a good rifle with a decent scope to start, that's all. I'm not looking for something that can get 2" groups at 1/3 of a mile. More like good groups at 300yds while still being the best bang for my buck.

  2. Duke of Doubt

    Duke of Doubt member

    Dec 29, 2008
    Not long-winded at all. But I'm a wind bag.

    You are thisclose to appreciating the new adventure on which you are about to embark. It isn't so much a matter of equipment so much as a matter of approach. If you wish to become a Rifleman, you have a long but worthwhile and most amusing road ahead of you. That doesn't mean you have to train with a .22, since you already have some firearms experience. But begin your rifle acquisitions with the spirit of learning a new craft. The .243 is a very good round for this purpose. I don't happen to own one, but that's an accident of happenstance. Work your way into the high-performance cartridges after mastering the fundamentals of doping (no, not THAT kind of doping) and ballistics, and don't leave out weapon familiarization. My scores accelerated abnormally when I began the habit of complete disassembly and reassembly of each rifle entering my battery, down to the last pin, spring and screw. When you pull that trigger, you will visualize in the back of your head just precisely what is happening inside that weapon. It helps.

    All that wind out of the bag, I'd recommend acquiring a battery of rifles in intermediate and high power, and spending more on ammunition, targets and, if necessary, range costs than on the rifles themselves.
  3. eye5600

    eye5600 Active Member

    Jan 8, 2009
    Don't forget the social aspect. Where you shoot, who you shoot with, do you want to compete, and in what sort of match? You could get out to the range with some shiny new rifle and find you need a slightly bigger caliber for silhouettes, or a different magazine for match rifle, or a black powder something-or-other for cowboy shooting. I would say if you have any sort of rifle available, go out and shoot it, even just a couple times.
  4. jpwilly

    jpwilly Senior Member

    Aug 10, 2007
    Phoenix AZ
    The .243 will work very well for your intended mission. May I recommend you also take a very good look at the 6.5x55mm swed round for caliber selection! Low recoil and very very capable even at long range. CZ makes a good rifle chambered in 6.5x55mm.
  5. Ratshooter

    Ratshooter Senior Member

    Sep 27, 2007
    You are on the right track with the idea of using your dad's 22. The cheaper ammo cost you mentioned is one of the best reasons. I am guessing you are young and most likely don't have a lot of cash. A box of 243 ammo will run around $14-20 or more bucks for 20 rounds. Twenty two ammo can be bought for $15 or so for 500 rounds.

    Plus you have access to a rifle. If it were me I would grab a 22 and head out to shoot this weekend. You don't need a scope to start with. I am 51 years old and still do half my shooting with open sighted rifles.

    I was at the range awhile back shooting my scopeless 45-70 on the 50 yard range. There were a couple of young guys next to me shooting a 22 rifle they were sharing. I let them shoot my rifle. They both put 3 rounds in the center of the 2" bullseye with a gun they had never fired. A scope is nice but not really needed.

    You might try finding another shooter that has several different rifles that will let you shoot a few rounds through them. You just might change your mind about what style and caliber of gun to buy. Shooting several guns will give you new ideas on stock shape and calibers.

    You may find you can shoot a bigger round as easily as a 243 and that round will be suitable for a larger spectrum of game. I would take a 270 over a 243 any day of the week.
  6. theotherwaldo

    theotherwaldo Senior Member

    Mar 30, 2008
    In the Wild Horse Desert of Texas
    In your position I would stick with the .22s and practice for a while, then add something like a .270 (my personal choice, by the way).

    Don't forget to have fun!
  7. cal74

    cal74 Member

    Jan 13, 2009
    Eastern, SD
    I'd shoot the .22 as much as you possibly can, always good practice and is easy on the pocket book.

    If I were limited to one medium game sized rifle it would be a bolt action in
    .308 or 30-06. Although there's nothing wrong with the .243 or .270, but I'd take a 7mm-08 over a .243 if your concerned with recoil.

    Quite a few good very lightly used ones out there with good optics already mounted.

    The charts tell a different story, but I can't tell a whole lot of difference in shooting any of the above as far as felt recoil.
  8. WVMountainBoy

    WVMountainBoy Member

    Apr 11, 2007
    West Virginia
    Since you are wanting to familiarize yourself with shooting from a scope, I would recommend getting a scope for the .22. look for a 2-4x fixed power from Tasco or BSA, it will get you used to using the system for under 30 dollars. Practice with the .22 as often as you can, get used to trigger pull and all the techniques used to shoot it accurately, as they will apply to the new gun. .243 is a fine white tail caliber and you will find a wealth of great guns chambered for it. Since you're wanting to stay on a budget, find something along a Remington 700 or Savage 10...Spend more for the scope than you do for the rifle...you won't be sorry.

    ...but yes, use the .22 first, practice with it and give it all the serious attention as if it was a .50 BMG The lessons it teaches will be worth while and will provide training and experiance while you shop for a bigger boom stick.
  9. Shenanigans

    Shenanigans New Member

    Dec 9, 2008
    Thanks for all the replies everyone. I think I'm going to mess with the .22 for a while and then maybe go out and get a larger caliber rifle this summer after I've got some money saved up. Take care.
  10. rmuzz

    rmuzz New Member

    Jan 20, 2009
    It you want the option to occasionally take to an indoor range... it sounds like you do some pistol shooting, keep in might have some limits on what ammo you can bring with the .243... the place I go to says no .243 under 69gr and nothing >3300fps MV. Just something to keep in mind, I like going to the handgun range a lot and purchased a rifle in .22-250 so I could get better familiarized with centerfire rifles learning the basics, etc. more so than a deer taking rifle. The handgun range is much more accessible to me, and its a bummer I cant take my rifle with just to use it occasionally and get comfy with. Just check out around you, 50 yds inside isnt too bad in the wintertime... be sure wont have a hang up with a faster round where your at.

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