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What should my hunting rifle be?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by MacTech, May 31, 2009.

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  1. MacTech

    MacTech Member

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    I've been taking stock of my firearms collection, and it appears I am weak in one category, the hunting rifle, I have a good selection of the other "primary" firearms that any sport shooter/outdoorsman should have with the exception of the hunting rifle

    I have:
    Handguns; a 1911 in .45 ACP, a 9mm, a .22LR Semiauto, and Dad's .22 revolver, should I need it
    Rifles; a semiauto .22LR carbine, a single-shot .22LR/L/S, both scoped with 3-9x 40mm scopes, Dad's .22 Short, .22LR single-shot, Winchester '94 in 44-40
    Shotguns; 12-gauge pump, 12-gauge side-by-side, Dad's 12-gauge single shot and .410 single shot

    Here's the question, is the Winnie '94 in 44-40 (which I understand is a handgun cartridge) capable enough as a hunting rifle, most of my shots would be short to medium range, but I'd also like a long distance hunting rifle

    I did have a Mosin M-44, but was not happy with it's accuracy, so it was traded off, ammo for it is expensive and hard to find in my area, yes I know I could buy bulk online, but the Mosin and I never really got along

    What would be a reccomended hunting rifle, something in a common, inexpensive caliber that can be easily reloadable, I was thinking something in the 30-30/30-06/.308 range, possibly a bolt action, used is not a problem, reliability, accuracy, and affordability are key here....

    Ideally, I'd like to get out of this spending as little as possible, if the 44-40 would work as a hunting rifle, that would be ideal, all I'd need is some spare brass, bullets, and primers, and a set of dies, far cheaper than purchasing a new rifle
     
  2. jpwilly

    jpwilly Member

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    44 WCF or 44-40 is generally considered good enough for 100yrd work on deer. I think it originally shot a 217gr around 1100-1200fps. But if you need an excuse to get another rifle a Marlin 30-30 or bolt action in 30-06 could just as easily be in your future.
     
  3. juk

    juk Member

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    The 30-30 will be fine for deer sized game out to 250-300yards
    the 308 will open up many bolt guns. It is a widely used caliber, so components are cheap and there is good factory ammo available.
    30-06 is pretty much the same as the 308, but it is in a longer case, adds a few hundred fps, and can take the bigger 30 cal pills.

    30-30 Good for deer and smaller
    308 great for deer, hogs, target...etc
    30-06 Good for anything in North America

    Savage makes a durable and accurate gun. Arguably the most consistently accurate rifles out there. Remington 700 series guns are also very popular. I would suggest browsing and handling many different rifles. Most will be accurate enough if they are in good condition. Pay attention to the weight of the rifle, the trigger, and the way the stock fits to you. Buy the one that is comfortable for you. Like I said, most will be 2.5moa or better. Some modern 308s and 30-06s are seeing 1MOA or less out of the box with a good shooter.

    Savage, Ruger M77, Remington 700, Howa, Tikka, Browning, CZ550, ....There are so many good rifles out there.
     
  4. .38 Special

    .38 Special Member

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    It's actually kind of hard to go seriously wrong with an "entry level" hunting rifle. I always recommend a fellow head down to the local gun shop (or Wal-Mart or Big 5 or whatever) and handle a bunch of them. The one that grabs you will almost certainly be fine, especially if in a standard caliber like .270/.308/.30-06 etc.

    You'll hear a lot of snobbery about how Brand A is a lot worse than Brand B, and even some foolishness about how you have to spend $3000 on the latest whiz-bang Magnum in a "name" custom gun. That can all be safely ignored.

    HTH!
     
  5. P.B.Walsh

    P.B.Walsh Member

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    A Remington or Savage in .308 or .30-06 should do just fine.
     
  6. surjimmy

    surjimmy Member

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    Tikka T3 under $500 out the door, made by Sako. Using cheap(well they were anyway) Winchester Power Points I can put 3 rounds inside a penny @ 100 yards.
     
  7. Coyote_Hunter_

    Coyote_Hunter_ Member

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    MacTech –

    The .44-40 is OK for short range work for deer but it wouldn’t make my list if ranges over 100 yards were a possibility. A .30-30 will stretch the limit out to about 150-200 yards, depending on the game size and the ammo.

    If you want to spend “as little as possible”, there are several reasonable options including single shot rifles for about $225-$250, inexpensive bolt guns in the $250-$350 range, and used rifles (my favorite).

    You don’t mention what you want to hunt, but a .308 Win is adequate for anything in the lower 48. Inexpensive ammo is (or was until last election) readily available and it is easily reloaded. Same is true for the .30-06. Those would be my first two choices for a non-handloader.
     
  8. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

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    Playing the probability odds on what you're likely to do over the long haul: I used to do the gunshow table thing, and commonly played with the trade-in rifles. "Good-used but not abused" is a helluva good way to have a nice rifle at a relatively low cost.

    As said above, the .308 will work for any hunting in the lower 48. I'd go for a light sporter bolt-action and a fixed 4X scope. Sure, a 3x9 is neat, but for deer SHOOTING, all mine have 99% of the time been down on 3X. I check Bambi's antlers with field glasses.

    And to fill out your battery as listed in the OP, I'd suggest a bolt-action light sporter in .223. I have a 3x9x40 on mine, and it works just fine for coyotes and for prairie dogs to 300 yards.
     
  9. Water-Man

    Water-Man Member

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    TIKKA T3 in 6.5x55 Swede
     
  10. Robert

    Robert Moderator Staff Member

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    Bolt action of your choice in 30-06... or 35 Whelen if you can find one.
     
  11. J99

    J99 Member

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    any of the popular riffles in a full power cartridge will do fine

    I have been highly impressed with my Lee Enfield in .303 all of my New England Firearms break action single shot riffles have been very good too
     
  12. jbkebert

    jbkebert Member

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    I have to place my vote for a Savage 110 bolt rifle in .270. They are not high dollar, they are not pretty, they are not pickey about ammo. They do however work superb. I have owned some high dollar custom rifles in exotice woods and fancy this and fancy that. None of them have been as reliable as my $400 dollar wal-mart special it has become my go to gun.
     
  13. Uncle Mike

    Uncle Mike Member

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    +1 jpkebert-

    The Savage 110 or the 111-
    Inexpensive, extremely accurate right out of the box, no need for aftermarket upgrades, just unbox it, scope it and shoot it.... bag game with it.
    30-06, .270, 7mm08, .308, .260(custom shop only).

    You will be pleased with your new Savage.
     
  14. TnBigBore

    TnBigBore Member

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    If you handload and the rifle is actually a Winchester 1892 (I assume you mean instead of an 1894) you have a fine hunting arm. The 44-40 can be loaded to near the level of a 44 Mag in an 1892 in good condition. It will smack anything within 100 yds with authority. I have used an 1892 in 38-40 for deer with excellent results.

    If you are looking for something with longer range capabilities any of the suggested rifles, cartridges would be fine.
     
  15. MacTech

    MacTech Member

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    I've been contemplating my options for a decent hunting rifle, and I'm still no closer to a decision, 30-30, 30-06, or .308....

    30-30: lightest recoil of the bunch, good for deer-sized game, but limited to 200 yards or less, up here in New England, that's not really an issue though
    30-06: the powerhouse of the bunch, capable of taking any North American animal, versatile reloading capabilities, from light practice loads to moose-slaying thumpers, powerful recoil (but if I can handle a Mosin-Nagant, it shouldn't be too bad)
    .308: inbetween the '06 and '30 in terms of power, common ammo currently used by the U.S. military, expensive to purchase used gun though

    in terms of used affordability, least to most expensive, it goes 30-30, 30-06, .308

    I talked to my father, who used to hunt deer, and he reccomends the 30-30 for this area, in fact, he wishes he bought a 30-30 instead of his 44-40

    the largest animal I would hunt would be a whitetail deer, the largest animal in the New England region is the Magestic Møøse** (Møøse Bites kan be pretti nasti!) but they're uncommon in my area

    as far as purchasing the hunting rifle goes, I'm seriously considering trading in my CZ-75B for store credit towards a hunting rifle, I already have a 1911 (Kimber Custom II) that I love, and I reload for .45, so it's dirt cheap to shoot, all I do is punch paper (and produce, occasionally), the 9mm actually costs me more to shoot than the .45, as I don't reload for 9mm

    I already have most everything else I need, firearm-wise, I'm just short a decent hunting rifle

    My collection consists of;
    Handguns: Ruger Mark II Target, Kimber Custom II .45, CZ-75B
    Rifles: Ruger 10/22, NEF .22 Single Shot
    Shotguns: Mossberg 500, Parker VH SxS
    I need a decent hunting rifle to complete the collection of *users*

    Since I haven't shot the CZ since I got the .45, all it's doing is gathering dust, the *only* advantage it has over the .45 is the higher magazine capacity, and if I want a high-capacity pistol (more than eight rounds), there are options in the .45 range (10+1 round mags for the 1911, or get a Glock 21SF, Springfield XD45, CZ-97B......) the slim single-stack mag design fits me better anyway (wide palms and stubby fingers) the trigger of the CZ-75B is just a hair too far forward in DA mode, it sits right at my first finger joint




    **A Møøse once bit my sister...
     
  16. Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow

    Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow member

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    If you're gonna get a full powered turnbolt, I've recently become a HUGE fan of the T/C Icon rifles - do some research and you'll see that they're incredible values for what you get. Ditto on the T/C Venture (Icon with black plastic stock and niiiiiice price). Of course, there's a lot of value in Savage, CZ 550, Howa/Vanguard, Tikka, and others as well, but I think T/C has taken the cake here (in a push-feed anyhow).

    http://www.tcarms.com/firearms/icon.php
     
  17. MacTech

    MacTech Member

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    Well, I went to KTP, with my CZ-75B and 9mm ammo packed up and ready for trade, I looked at a bunch of used rifles, bolts, levers, semis, none of them felt right, I was getting dissapointed

    On a whim, I went over to the new rifle section, looked at some Marlins, Remingtons, couldn't find Thompson Center though, none of them felt right either, then I passed the Savages, picked up a 111 package in 30-06, worked the bolt, nice and smooth, shouldered it, it nestled in comfortably, good balance, pointability and heft, in short, it felt *right*

    So, I went back to the trade counter, got pretty much what I paid for the CZ-75B back (paid $390 used, got $350 in store credit), and with the traded in ammo and a couple spare Glock G21 10 round mags I had laying around, had enough to cover the full price of the Savage 111

    Yes, the Simmons scope is cheesy, but it'll be fine for punchin' paper and basic hunting until I get sick of it and put a better scope on it, besides, if the 111 is as accurate as I've been reading, I'll gladly put a really nice scope on it, all I'll need now is a good set of sandbags/rest/bipod or something like that for some 100-200 yard target shooting at the range

    A couple of questions about the 100 series rifles though....
    Is it safe to dry-fire them, it says nothing in the manual, and I don't see a firing-pin stop on the parts breakdown list
    Since barrels can be swapped out, if I wanted to get, lets say, a 30-30 or .308 barrel for it, would I have to get a different bolt?, and does the magwell accept other caliber mags?
    Are there extended capacity mags available (more than 4+1), I understand that hunting rifles are limited to 5 rounds, but if I wanted to set up for long-range target shooting, can I get 10/15/20 round mags?

    Yes, I'll miss the CZ-75B, it was a great gun, but I never really shot it after I got my .45, and singlestack mags fit me better than doublestack

    I think I made a good choice, the 111 feels really nice, and moving from a 9mm to a 30-06 cartridge is a *BIG* step up in more ways than one

    it's funny, but when I was getting my 75B appraised for trade-in value, there was another customer salivating over the 9mm ammo I was trading in as well, he bought it all up as soon as I traded the 75B in....
     
  18. .38 Special

    .38 Special Member

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    You've got a fine gun. Congrats.

    I've had pretty good luck with Simmons. Not exactly a Swarovski, but mine have reliably pointed several different guns for me. Yours will probably do the same.

    Dry firing the gun will do no harm.

    You won't need to change the bolt as long as you select cartridges from the same family of case heads. With the .30-06, this is a pretty big category.

    Magazine boxes used to be available from Savage directly. I assume this is still the case, but have not looked into it in many years.

    I have never seen extended magazines. I have read some folks claiming that magazines from certain semi-autos can be modified to fit certain Savage bolt guns, but do not have details.

    Have fun!
     
  19. MacTech

    MacTech Member

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    As I was walking out of the gun floor with my new toy, the gun floor manager took one look at my new Savage rifle and said "Ahh, you finally traded, that's a *NICE* rifle, good choice!"

    Since I'm a form-follows-function kinda' guy, the plastic, ahem, "Polymer" stock doesn't bother me, no it's not as nice looking as a fancy wood stock made from rare Dodo-Fat-Rubbed-Nigerian Walking Tree of Upper Tanganyika wood, or Amber-Stabilized-Ent-Wood With A +30 THAC0 ;), but those woods (or their *real* equivalents) or other fancy stock materials really don't add any accuracy, they're there to make the gun look nicer

    as long as the rifle places lead *precisely* on target, I'm happy, appearances are irrelavent, functionality is paramount
     
  20. benzy2

    benzy2 Member

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    You should be fine to dry fire but I always bought snap caps just for peace of mind. Probably wouldn't ever make a difference but it eases me so I buy them if I plan on dry firing. I think you made a good choice with the .30-06. The .30-30 in a lever gun would have been a tough second for me but if they don't feel right they don't feel right.

    The barrel swap is easy. Remove the barrel nut, unscrew the barrel, screw in the new one, headspace it with a go gage and tighten the barrel nut. The .308 and .30-06 use the same bolt head so you are set there. The problem you may run into is that the 110 is a long action while the .308 is used in their short action 10 model. I'm not sure how it will feed from a long action magazine. Once out of the magazine though you are good to go. The .30-30 is a rimmed cartridge and as far as I have seen has not been used in a Savage or most other bolt rifles. The single shot rifles use it as well as the lever rifles but very few if any bolt rifles use the .30-30. 7.62x39 has basically the same ballistics and if you were looking for a .30-30 power range chambering the 7.62x39 would work and I think a few barrel makers have that as an option in the Savage line.

    Good luck with the Simmons scope. I found mine all shifted point of impact with a change in magnification. I would zero in at the magnification you plan to hunt with and leave it there. I didn't have much of an issue outside of that but I thought I would toss it out there.

    Those stocks are cheap but when you see how it shoots it tends to not matter much. I would try to pick up a tin of surplus .30-06 while you can. For range use it certainly lets you shoot a bit longer than factory hunting loads will. You mentioned reloading for .45acp. I don't know your setup but if you can get into .30-06 prices drop drastically, especially for range blasting ammo. Using surplus bullets things turn dirt cheap.
     
  21. surjimmy

    surjimmy Member

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    Nothing wrong with what you got. I have been told, but don't know for a fact that alot of your custom rifle builders use Savage barrels. Anyway good buy and happy hunting.
     
  22. MacTech

    MacTech Member

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    Well, I'm back with a range report from the Savage 111, good and bad

    Good; the gun functions reliably, feeds, fires, and ejects just fine, and has a very *manly* recoil when shot from a bench, when held freehand, the recoil drops a good deal, and boy is this gun *LOUD!*

    I'd say it's louder and harder kicking than the Mosin-Nagant M44 I previously owned

    Bad; the supplied Simmons Blazer scope *SUCKS!*, it has pincushion distortion, and more importantly, it doesn't hold zero, I had the gun boresighted at KTP when I bought it, and whoever boresighted it did such a crappy job that it wasn't even on the paper at 100 yards (stuck a magnetic boresight gauge on the barrel and dialed in the scope) I had to boresight it the old-fashioned way, by pulling the bolt, and sighting the target through the barrel, and adjusting the scope to bring it close, problem is, even with the rifle braced properly and the target dead centered in the barrel, the scope would not hold a zero, i'd adjust it to get on the paper, drop my head back down to the bore to verify the target was centered, and when I brought my head back up to the scope the target was off center, it seemed to move randomly, and would not hold any settings

    So, I went back to KTP to have it *properly* boresighted by their scope guy (using a boresight that actually has a rod that goes down the barrel), it was *way* off, while I was there, I looked at some used scopes, and ended up trading the crappy Simmons towards a used Bushnell Trophy 3-9X and getting it boresighted

    I'm going to take another trip to the range tomorrow, and try again with this freshly-boresighted Bushnell Trophy, I've had good luck with Bushies, good, basic, reliable, *ACCURATE* scopes that actually hold zero, they may not be as fancy as those high-end Leupold and Nikon scopes, but they do their job and don't have a wandering zero problem

    Things to add to the Savage...
    a better recoil pad, the recoil isn't painful, but it is a strong, quick, insistent shove
    a bipod, so I don't have to use wood brackets and sandbags
    maybe find some way to add weight to the stock to absorb some recoil

    I can see this gun has a lot of potential, yes it was a dissapointing first time out, but I'm dealing with an unfamiliar firearm that had a tempermental scope with a bad boresighting on it, this trip was a simple function test, and the gun functions 100%

    Just to make myself feel better about my craptacular target shooting with the Savage, I then set up my Ruger 10/22 on the same target rest, and after a couple of calibrating shots (the Ruger's sighted in for 50 yards) tried my hand at 100 yard shots with it, I did much better, grouping approx 3/4" at 100 yards, i just held the bottom part of the lower crosshair (where it thins to the hair) on target and was able to pepper the target paper with truly tiny groups (truly tiny for me, that is)
     
  23. Random Discharge

    Random Discharge Member

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    Sounds like you're set up for a successful follow-up range session. I've not heard of many problems with the Bushnell Trophy series. I use them on all my scoped handguns with no issues.

    It won't help with recoil hugely, but a "walnut stained" wood factory stock will add some weight to the rifle, and so help some. Check out www.savagerepairs.com. About half the cost of ordering from Savage. And there are always Remington managed recoil loads, which are more than adequate for deer out to 200 yards.

    I picked one up for my short action stainless Savage. Exterior finish is decent. The interior finish, which of course doesn't show, was spotty and left a bit rough. I took a few minutes to smooth out the really rough parts, then stain and poly on interior areas that didn't get a lot of finish to seal out moisture. Fitted up, the barrel was generusly floated with no additional work needed. Added $3 Uncle Mike's swevel studs and ready to go. Almost.

    My rifle was a factory synthetic stock. The action screw closest to the muzzle is shorter on a synthetic Savage stock, so I ordered a set of screws from Savage ($10), which still didn't fit because they were the same length as the synthetic stock screws. So I cut the new longer screw that holds the action at the trigger guard to size. Do it carefully - too long, it tightens into your bolt lug. Too short, well, you've only got ~4 threads to engage in the action, and you do want the action to stay on the stock when fired.

    Enjoy your new rifle!
     
  24. MacTech

    MacTech Member

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    After reading a bunch of .308 Vs. 30-06 threads here and elsewhere, I'm beginning to wonder if I should have gone with the .308 instead....

    ammo is (currently) more available in my area (I'm assuming Winchester 7.62 is the same stuff as .308), and after witnessing the raw power of the 30-06 on even *light* loads (Winchester 125 grain and Federal Fusion 170 grain reduced recoil) it seems like it'd be slightly overkill for deer, it's massive overkill for punchin' paper....

    I know the '06 can be downloaded for lighter plinking loads and varmint loads, and in fact, it's one of the most versatile cartridges that way, from 55 grain sabots to 220 grain thumpers, and yes, I *DO* plan to reload for 30-06, but still, the .308 seems to be better suited to deer hunting in coastal New England

    ...then again, the '06 could be used to hunt the big animals here in New England, moose and bear

    basically my dilemma is this, the '06 with factory loads (so far, I've tried Win 125 grainers and Fed reduced recoil 170 grainers) seems to be a brutally powerful weapon, I've never actually killed anything with it, but it seems like it'd be overkill for deer or coydogs, and coydogs would be the most probable thing I'd be shooting with it, aside from long range target shooting

    Then again I'm not looking to build a collection of hunting rifles, just looking for one rifle to do it all, hunting-wise, and the versatility of the '06 is a point in it's favor
     
  25. Bill B.

    Bill B. Member

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    .........................+1
     
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