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First Rifle recommendations

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by blinkjr, Oct 17, 2013.

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  1. blinkjr

    blinkjr Member

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    Hi all. Total newbie as far as rifles go. I'm looking for sage advice on what would be your recommendation for purchasing a first rifle.

    Caveats: This would be for general purpose target shooting & hunting larger game as I do have a Remington 552 Speedmaster .22 I could use for squirrels and such (I don't hunt, but this would be for extreme societal breakdown purposes).

    Not really a home defense weapon per se. I'm leaving that up to my handguns and (another future purchase) shotgun.

    So, if I were to buy a Mossberg 500 Field & Security combo (were I able to find one somewhere), would that make a difference in your recommendation? After all, a shotgun would certainly cover hunting for fowl and deer.

    So, what do you say? ARs are sexy. I love bolt action rifles, but am confused by all the various ammunition sizes. Mini-14? Maybe. M1A? Absolutely! But for a first rifle??????

    Update: I have added some more details to help clarify my question in Post #22 below.

    I know - 1 gun is never enough! But you have to start somewhere. Right?

    Thanks in advance for any tips / suggestions you may have!
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2013
  2. lpsharp88

    lpsharp88 Member

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    A Mosin maybe? They can be had fairly cheap (if ya go for a 91/30), and spam cans of ammo are cheap (click here). They're not something that you'd want to try to shoot little tiny groups with, but they're fun. Hope this helps

    Link to Buds for a mosin here
     
  3. Inebriated

    Inebriated Member

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    Well, what's your budget, and what do you want to do with it specifically?

    For a general purpose rifle, it's tough to beat the Marlin 336 in .30-30... It is THE "do-all" rifle.

    If you want the horsepower to put down big game, a bolt gun in .30-06 is a great choice, has been killing everything on the continent since 1906.

    For cheaper alternatives, an SKS in 7.62x39 will essentially match the ballistics of .30-30 (practically-speaking), and a Mosin Nagant in 7.62x54R will do just fine on the bigger game. The ammo for both is cheap enough to stock pile and plink with.


    Really, you just need to pick a specific purpose and budget.
     
  4. 556by45guy

    556by45guy Member

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    Depends on what you want to do with it and how much you have to spend. Lots of types of guns can target shoot and take large game.

    Another thing to consider is the ammunition. Not just the cost, but also its availability.

    If you like AR's get an AR. Ammo is still hard to get (I reload) but it is getting better. With the correct ammunition you can harvest hog and deer on the big side, and coyotes, groundhogs, etc. You can do the same thing with a bolt action rifle or a lever action rifle.

    Lots to consider, but get the one you want or you're going to wish you had afterward.
     
  5. JohnhenrySTL

    JohnhenrySTL Member

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    I can tell you I have different rifles to choose. My bolt action high powered rifles are what I force time for me, made for me to shoot. I also believe for me that no matter what I am shooting the first shot of the bunch is the most important. I shoot best, and easiest with a bolt gun.

    I have 2 other warnings: I believe you will end up buying a .22, a bolt gun, and an A.R. I think you will then realize you arent quite yet where you need to be with guns. You will want more and more, if your experience becomes like mine has been. A .22 is awsome, I love the 3 in my safe. I want another, but shooting it by its self doesn't silence my craving. Enjoy any and all.
     
  6. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    I would go with a levergun if I were you. I have one in 22LR, .357 Magnum, 30-30 and 45-70. For a first rifle go with the 30-30 since the recoil isn't bad and the ammo is cheap and plentiful. (compared to other ammo at least)
     
  7. Mohave-Tec

    Mohave-Tec Member

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    Remington 700 in 270. Manageable recoil, lots of punch and ammo is everywhere.
     
  8. fireside44

    fireside44 Member

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    Your budget should be your primary concern. Take it from me, I jumped feet first into the 7.62x51/.308 FAL world on a shoestring budget. I am very happy with the awesome performance of an autoloading 308 but it is extremely expensive to shoot regularly. Even something a bit more affordable like a decent AR will still eat up a lot of cash when you add ten magazines (my minimum for a semi-auto rifle) and 1,000 rounds of ammunition. Keep these costs in mind when dealing with a mag fed large capacity rifle.

    Here are some recommendations, not knowing your budget.

    1. Savage bolt action, 7mm magnum, 26 inch barrel. Reasonable price, especially used, and used ones are rarely shot heavily. Reputation for extreme out of box accuracy. The 7mm mag caliber won't leave you lusting for something with more power, generally speaking.

    Regardless of what bolt gun you decide on, I'd highly recommend a more common caliber for the sake of easy to acquire ammo. Something common such as .243, .270, .308, 30-06, 7mm rem mag, .300 win mag; something along those lines, any of them would serve you well. I opt for the 7mm mag myself because it offers more range and power than all but the .300 without the heavier recoil of the .300, though recoil can be minimized with the addition of a limbsaver to your new rifle.

    2. Lever action 30-30 of quality manufacture. Other guys are more knowledgeable in terms of model and manufacture. Great deer and medium game cartridge, fast follow up shots without going to the costly semi auto rifle route, ammo availability, and best of all, THE easiest carrying, handiest multi shot rifle ever invented. Incredible ease of carry for back country hikes, tromping through thick undergrowth, etc. Doesn't draw negative attention like the black rifles, assuming that is a concern. Classic lines, wood n steel. Talking about it I sometimes wish I had gone that route earlier myself.

    3. Autos: Either an AR15/M4 or AK47/AK74. The AR if you wanted the most accuracy and most aftermarket goodies, the AK if you wanted a more economical gun that is extremely cheap to shoot for a centerfire rifle cartridge. I personally prefer an AK because of it's extremely basic and rugged design and cheap steel case that I don't have to worry about policing up for reloading. However, right now the market is ripe for an M4 type weapon because it's flooded with them. They are extremely compact, light, and ALMOST as handy as a lever gun. The downside being the premium on ammo.

    Best of luck.
     
  9. Temp430

    Temp430 Member

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    I second Mohave-Tech's recommendation. You can find 270 Win or 30-06 ammo everywhere.
     
  10. dvdcrr

    dvdcrr member

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    A good first rifle would be a 243, 25-06, or 260 rem. I would lean towards a good out of the box rifle like a model 70, or tikka.
     
  11. skidooman603

    skidooman603 Member

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    I will give the same answer I give everytime..30-06. Can be loaded down to plink with 110 gr bullets or loaded up to 220 gr bullets to take some of the biggest game in North America..There is a reason this caliber has survived on top of the list for over 100 years :)
     
  12. CarJunkieLS1

    CarJunkieLS1 Member

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    A quality Savage, Tikka, or Marlin would be my vote. If you are recoil sensitive go with .25-06 or .243 if you are a glutton for punishment .30-06 its a very versatile cartridge and easy to find ammo.
     
  13. gdcpony

    gdcpony Member

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    While my recommendations are a bit different, I agree with the premise here.

    If you are on a tight budget, go with an Axis in you choice of caliber. Less than 350 could net you one with a scope. They are pretty accurate and you can upgrade them as money and preferences dictate.

    For a bit more money you can go up in quality in any brand of bolt gun. I like to move into Howa at this point as I have had excellent luck with them, but that is just me.

    Now in the auto loader category, I like AR's over AK's as I am a precision type of shooter. Building is cheapest, but buying isn't bad right now. As mentioned these things are like legos for adults and customizable to whatever you desire and can afford. AK's are cheaper, but much less precise as well.
     
  14. mdauben

    mdauben Member

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    If you limit your "larger game" to deer size, I would recomend a good bolt action (Savage, Winchester, Tikka, Weatherby/Howa or Ruger) in either .243 Win or 7mm-08 Rem. They are both popular cartridges with mild recoil and enough power to handle deer or similar sized game out to 300 yards. If your budget is a bit tight, you might look at a Savage Axis, Marlin X7, or Ruger American in the same chamberings. For stricly target shooting, the .223 Rem is a great choice with probably least expensive factory centerfire ammo, mild recoil, and good accuracy. Some would consider it a marginal choice for deer sized game, though (although its great for varmints and predators)

    If you want the option to go for some bigger game like elk, moose or bear, it would be hard to go wrong with any of the above rifles in .30-06 Springfield. It can be loaded for most any game in North America, is widely available, and very flexible. The down side is that the rifle may be a bit heavier than an equivalent in the previous calibers, and the recoil is noticiably greater, which might impact your enjoyment of long range sessions.

    Personally, I would recomend against any of the magnum rounds for a first centerfire rifle. They are best suited (IMO) for somewhat more experienced shooters who need a bit more range. For your use they will be more expensive (both factory and handloaded), usually heavier, often much more recoil, and they are sometimes hard on rifles leading to short barrel lives.
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2013
  15. fireside44

    fireside44 Member

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    Lots of guys are reporting really good accuracy with the AK74 rifles, almost on par with a run of the mill AR. Right around 2moa. Add to that the extremely low priced surplus ammo right now, if I were doing it over, I would probably go that route when compared to the AK47 and 7.62x39 stuff. Stack it deep right away and shoot cheap for a long time.
     
  16. gdcpony

    gdcpony Member

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    Sorry, I was just going on what I have seen. To me a precise (accurate is often wrongly used here) rifle is MOA or better. I have not had an AR yet that couldn't be coaxed to that with a good bench shooting and decent ammo. However, I am trading the ability to throw the rifle in the mud, pick it up, shake it out, and keep shooting for that precision.
     
  17. RFMan

    RFMan Member

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    Right now, seems like ARs have fallen back down in price, while AKs remain high. Careful AR shopping right now can yield some nice deals.

    For bolts, in a first rifle, I think .243 or .308 are nice. For levers, I really like my Marlin 336 in .30-30. Thing is, many centerfire cartridges are somewhat expensive, so you probably would not shoot tons of them. A cursory gunbot.net search shows that, perversely, .308 is the cheapest of those right now, and it is also probably the most versatile...but that is painting with a broad brush. Most statements like these do :)
     
  18. FSJeeper

    FSJeeper Member

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    All good recommendations.

    I would like to add this.

    If you want a rifle you can punch tiny holes in paper and easily take any game in America without the recoil of a 270 or 30 06, look at rifles in the 6.5 x 55 Swedish caliber. Ammon fairly easy to get but nothing like 270 or 30 06.

    If you need common ammo, go with a .308. The only advantage the 30 06 has over the .308 is the ability to handle the heaviest bullets a little better. You do not need these for game in the continental US. Alaska and Africa, yes.
     
  19. tommy.duncan

    tommy.duncan Member

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    There are a lot of excellent posts here.
    My first centerfire rifle was a mauser chambered in 308. I quickly moved on to bigger and better things but, I shot about 1k rounds out of the mauser first.
     
  20. AABEN

    AABEN Member

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    A good 243 witch can be used a varmint gun and as a deer gun. They are a very accurate gun and has little recoil. Also your wife could shoot it. You might find some one that has different rifles and see if you could shoot them. Keep in mind that if your wife likes to shoot keep it to something that she will shoot with out getting to much recoil this will help out when looking at more gun's.
     
  21. Manny

    Manny Member

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    Where do you live, and what shooting opportunities are available in your general vicinity? The answer to these two basic questions will go a long way towards determining what rifle will give you the best utility. If you live in an area that forbids rifle hunting like my home state of Ohio, no sense in getting a big game hunting rifle. We are however the home of Camp Perry, so a quality service rifle could allow for some fantastic shooting opportunities. A little more info could go a long way towards folks giving you good advice.
     
  22. blinkjr

    blinkjr Member

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    Wow! Thanks everyone for your responses. I apologize for the lack of details in my original post. It was late, and I should have waited until I was thinking clearly.

    So, let me fill in a few details. First, the main purpose for the rifle would be target shooting. I would thoroughly enjoy the challenge of shooting a small group at a long distance. I live in SW Ohio, so I don’t know that I would have many chances for very long distance, but I’m OK with that. The secondary purpose of the rifle would be for hunting should the day come we are all on our own. I don’t think that is really any time near, but I never thought we would have a socialist as our President. So, the ability to put food on the table could become an issue. To be clear – I am not a hunter. I do not plan on becoming a hunter for pleasure. SHTF is a different issue. As far as to what I would be hunting – whatever would put food on the table. As I said in my OP, I would probably have a shotgun for HD. I would like for that to have interchangeable barrels – short for HD, long for hunting. Make it a slug gun and I would be good to go for deer (assuming I would know how to find any to shoot…). So, what I would be shooting with the rifle would something larger than what I could take with my .22. I guess you could say it would be more of a varmint getter. Nothing really big here where I live.

    Which leads to my next issue - ammo. I am thoroughly confused by all of the ammo options available to the rifle shooter. Which ammo would be best for what I described above?

    I really appreciate all of the replies and suggestions. As I have been typing this, I think it has helped clarify things in my mind. I’m pretty sure my first centerfire rifle will be a bolt action. I think the suggestion of finding somewhere that I could put some time on a range with different models would do wonders helping to narrow down my choices. I hope I have better clarified my post so that you have a better understanding of my request.

    Thanks again for your responses!
     
  23. 556by45guy

    556by45guy Member

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    For a SHTF gun I would get an AK or an AR, your preference. My SHTF gun is an AR I assembled from BCM parts. Any common ammo for .223/5.56 is capable of anything you need it to do in a SHTF situation. Yes, there is ammo which is designed for more specific things and will "work better" at certain things like hunting, barrier defeating, accuracy, than standard FMJ ball ammo but if FMJ is all you have it will still "work".
     
  24. Inebriated

    Inebriated Member

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    You still left out budget. And what ranges would you be target shooting? 100 yards? 500 yards? How small are the groups you want to make? .5"? 1"? 4"?

    For what you describe, generally, something in .223 sounds like an ideal choice. There's not much in Ohio that a well-placed .223 won't kill, especially given the ranges that I understand most Ohioans tend to hunt. And since you're talking about taking shots at paper, primarily, it's still a plenty accurate cartridge at longer ranges, has minimal recoil, you can find cheap enough ammo to stock up on, while still offering plenty of higher quality ammo for the precision side of things. For an actual recommendation, budget would be necessary.
     
  25. Panzercat

    Panzercat Member

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    Was in the same situation a while back, so maybe you can profit from my mistake. Upon some consideration, I ended up with a Mossberg 500. I figured it fit the home defense bill and I could take it out to the range for fun. Maybe even hunting if I got around to it. To my dismay, I found it less fun than I thought, namely due to the fact you can't really plink with a shotgun. Of course, you can, but slugs get pricey and are hard on your shoulder even with a super awesome blackhawk recoil reducing stock. Throwing shot around would have been more fun with clays, i imagine, but I never got around to it. Besides, at 18in and no choke, I doubt there would have been much of a point.

    Ended up selling it and found levers to fit the bill perfectly. I'll second Inebriated's suggestion that a lever action 30-30 would fit a number of roles well- from plinking to hunting to home defense. And no matter what you hear, a 30-30 is easily a 200 yard gun. Or, if pistol calibers do it for you, a lever action in .357. Either way, you can find these on a budget and without much effort.

    A mini14 is fine, but I say consider it only if you like the classic rifle feel it invokes. Otherwise, it's just as heavy as the average AR and pricier than some. Less customization options as well. Whether you choose a mini or AR, your starting point is probably $600+. 5.56mm is probably a bit light for full up hunting, but it's all about shot placement anyway. Check the laws where you live regardless, as the cartridge might be considered inhumane for hunting.

    A Mousin Nagant is fine for later, but I wouldn't suggest it as a first rifle. Granted, they're cheaper than dirt, but you may have to put some work into it before it will shoot with any consideration toward accuracy. Or you could get lucky. But what you won't enjoy is lugging that thing around on a hunting expedition.

    Nothing wrong with an SKS. Probably one of your better budget semi automatic choices. It's thriving platform as well, so you'll have no shortage of stuff. For me, it's a style thing. "Meh."

    I hate to sound like a broken record given the number of threads its appeared in lately, but also consider a HiPoint carbine in 9mm, .40 or .45acp. it's not stylish, but it will provide hours of range fun and pay its way in home defense. And you can probably afford two. You won't get much in the way of traditional hunting out of it, however, but it's a bargain from any other angle.

    My vote:

    1911a7_zps3135cf78.jpg
    (Just because every thread is better with pictures :)
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2013
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