Which New Deer and Antelope Rifle?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by westernrover, Sep 20, 2022.

  1. westernrover

    westernrover Member

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    I want to give my son, 15, a rifle for mule deer and pronghorn in open country. I'm not asking about or discussing the cartridge. There's plenty written on all that. So I'm asking about the rifle models.

    He took a buck at 180 yards last year. I want him to be able to confidently take game at up to 300 yards. I know a lot of that is on him, but I want to give him an accurate rifle. I don't think that's too hard to do out-of-the-box nowadays.

    I'll put a lightweight scope on it, Swarovski Z5 that I already have. If I get another optic for it, it will be similar.

    The budget for the rifle is similarly mid-range: $1000 to $2000. However, I don't own a lot of guns. I hold onto classics like a pre-64 Model 70, and guns that are otherwise worthy. If they're mediocre, I'll sell them and move on. Because of this, I'd rather not acquire anything mediocre in the first place and would be willing to spend more to get something better. I don't, however, want to spend on impractical things like "Purdey" or engraving.

    I can't easily acquire an old Model 70 or a Ruger No. 1 or a vintage Weatherby Mark V with certainty that they'll be as accurate as I demand for this case. With my out-of-the-box accuracy demand, I'm forced into present-day designs with synthetic stocks and modern bedding and recoil lugs. For my son, that suits him just fine.

    He doesn't share his old man's fudly ways or appreciation for bluing and walnut. On the other hand, he doesn't have any feelings about a different aesthetic being more desirable. If he was hot for camo polymer stocks and cerakote or even an AR-10, I'd indulge him, but he is simply and eminently practical. The most impressive things for him will be if it hits where he aims and isn't too heavy to carry, and doesn't break.
     
  2. gotboostvr

    gotboostvr Member

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    Good choice on glass.

    The Tikkas are nice, certainly many of their models are in or under your price range. They make some very nice shooting lightweight options.

    The Sako S20 is in your price range as well, and would be a pretty great option.

    I recently picked up a Bergara HMR-14, it might be a little on the heavy side, but does wear it well and isn't overly heavy for a rifle to be taken afield. They have other lighter models as well if you're keen on a updated Rem 700 action.

    I'd probably skip Kimber. They're nice, but I feel the Tikkas are better values in the light weight realm.

    I'd look at some of the new Winchester 70's as well. It's not the same as your pre-64, but they're CRF again, and a nice SS model in a good fiberglass stock would be hard to beat as a hunting rifle.
     
  3. LoonWulf
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    LoonWulf Contributing Member

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    Over the counter my preference has been Christensen, but thats just because i like 700s and so far all 5 of mine (im including the one i built with a Christensen barrel) have been very accurate...the least being my Mesa which still holds MOA.
    There's also a 350 dollar rebate going till the end of the month.

    I also have an S20, which is a very solid and fine rifle in its own right. My father and a friend prefer it to the Christensens. Single action length and on the heavier side.
    Personally i think if going short action cartridge there are other choices id prefer....BUT theres at least two guys on this forum that have bought multiple S20s and in short action, so take my opinion as just that.

    Ive never owned, and admittedly dont care for Tikkas, but Ive shot and worked with more than a few. They have universally been accurate, reliable and smooth. Again one action length, but lower weight than the S20.

    Ive also had A few Brownings, my last being an X-bolt SLR which was a very nice gun for the cost but had a less than stellar trigger. If your simply looking for flat shooting accuracy these would be worth the look. If considering something "nicer" id go for a higher end model, and be ready to change the trigger.

    Bergara is another 700 foot print rifle. Ive had a b-14 and worked on a couple others and my father and good friend have Premiers. I can happily recommend these rifles within their price ranges also, tho id probably step upto a Premier if its an option.

    Ive used or had a fair smattering of other guns, but those are the ones id be willing to recommend for what i THINK you want.


    You MAYBE interested in a Mauser M-18 as well, not as "nice" as the others but very reliable, very accurate, and IMO very nice at or above its price range.
     
  4. troy fairweather

    troy fairweather Member

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    Could recommend a half dozen but that's not to say he would like them, see what he needs the gun to do and start looking there. Next is fit, the best rifle in the world can become the worst of it does not fit him. He maybe still growing so think about that when checking guns out.

    I prefer a crf action and just have a bolt lock so that drops it down to a few new rifles, if I have to go push feed I'm really liking the mauser m18 and sauer 100s. Most guns are long actions these days so mine as well get a long action round of one of the short mags which really are longer then true short action cartridges. Tikka are real nice but still lean to the m18/100 waiting on them to do a real stainless for the U.S. Market.
     
  5. adcoch1

    adcoch1 Member

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    If you like model 70 rifles, and your son isn't set on wood and blued, I'd get him a model 70aw. Ss and a good synthetic stock, plus you guys can compare notes on which style is better, classic or modern.
     
  6. westernrover

    westernrover Member

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    I was approaching this with the Tikka T3X in mind, but wanted to get some alternative ideas.

    The T3X Superlite is very affordable, lightweight, and accurate and importantly, it's available. I can't think of any drawbacks to it, but there are other rifle models that might offer more.

    The Alpine and Wideland T3X models are also available. They're heavier, but have a larger bolt knob, spiral-fluted bolt, and threaded muzzle. I despise muzzle brakes but would appreciate the option to use a suppressor in the future. The stocks are camo and the metal is cerakoted. Are these things worth the additional $450 to me for my purposes? I have some doubts, but regardless, I'm still amenable to the price. The Superlite just might be a better value for me.

    This thread turned me onto the S20. Thanks for the couple mentions of that. I think I had dismissed it for the thumbhole and tactical stock options which turn me off. I have to remember the rifle is not for me. The tactical stock is probably excess weight for hunting, but the thumbhole version appears to net an overall weight that's manageable. It's quite a bit more than a Tikka Superlite, but the Superlite is down there with the Kimbers where the recoil could form bad habits in a young shooter that doesn't have that many years experience. For $300 more than the camo/cerakote Tikka, the S20 seems to offer better fit and finish, and importantly, adjustability and ergonomics. It's also available.

    I had looked at the Weatherby Vanguards, online and handled them in person. They're not expensive at all, but didn't seem to offer anything over the Tikka. I consider the Mark V a great rifle, but too much money for someone who hasn't decided for themselves that is what they appreciate. I could say the same things for the Sako 85.

    I didn't ignore the mentions of Bergara, Christensen, Browning, and current production Winchesters. I also looked into the Mauser and Sauer, but found they're not generally available to me right now. Whatever I get, I'm trying to get it in two weeks timeframe for a hunt in October. We'll be hunting the weekends and the last week in October/early-Nov. It's not absolutely necessary for the hunt to happen, but would be nice to have. Right now, I'm leaning toward that S20 which I can get at Sportsmans or Scheels by the end of the month. The T3X's are already there in the stores.
     
  7. Peakbagger46

    Peakbagger46 Member

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    Sako A7 (if you can find one). Glorified Tikka with a better magazine and WAY better stock. Mine in 30-06 has put A LOT of meat on the plate for the last decade.

    I did replace the plastic bolt shroud and trigger guard for aluminum, just because.

    00514648-8F49-4E16-A9DE-47432186C2C9.jpeg 48F7B43D-C87E-45F1-A0ED-9A7DB172143A.jpeg
     
  8. troy fairweather

    troy fairweather Member

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    Eruoptics is probably the best place to get the mauser/sauer they were tuning the m18s very cheap but went up some, still cheaper then most places online tho. They had some incredible deals on the mauser m12s and sauer 101s a few years ago, wish I had the money then.

    I'm my search for a stainless crf rifle it really only left kimber and the m70. The kimber hunter model that's out now. Black something I can't remember it's name offers a lot for just at $1000 last time I seen some.

    The m70 ew are chunky but I was thinking about a 7 mag so not so bad then say a short action round. The newest m70 are coated metal, I'm not sure if they have a ss at the moment, I've yet to have a coated gun so it's hard to trust it's better then ss without owning one. I always think long term and the coating does wear, mostly inside the action and that worries me.

    Ruger at the moment isn't making a stainless gun I'd prefer for hunting, more bench work. Really wish they make something like the old boat paddle stocks in ss and keep the weight down some.
     
  9. LoonWulf
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    LoonWulf Contributing Member

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    My preference is coating over stainless, one of the reasons i like Christensen and the S20.

    So far most of my coated firearms have held up well, even the ones i did before learning i needed to blast and paint the same day lol......
    My factory guns mostly look brand new except where they have been smacked on rocks or other hard, sharp, objects.
    The notable exception is my old muzzle loader that rusted under the cerakote and lifted it.

    Thats not to day the finishes are impervious, or wont wear out in time, but they are quite durable and long lasting when properly applied.
     
  10. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    Winchester 70 EW. Mine is in 308, but they offer many cartridge choices, and in a McMillan Edge stock. The factory stock is OK, but the Edge stock is 1/2 lb lighter and is much more pleasing in how it feels and looks. The rifle weighs 7 1/4 lbs scoped as shown in the photo. IMO the perfect blend of modern practicality and old school design.

    Of course, my SS Tikka does exactly the same thing. Is just as accurate and weighs the same. For 1/3 the cost. But it is all modern 21st century design. I like the Winchester better purely because of aesthetics, but the Tikka is the better value.


    ayla road trip 2 143.JPG
     
  11. WisBorn

    WisBorn Member

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    Good luck in your search.
    There are so many good choices out there. I would recommend a Weatherby MarkV in one of the lightweight models, but only if he gets to handle one before buying. My second choice would be one of the model 700 clones.
    Make sure you find out what type of safety he likes. I can't stand the 3 position wing safety though it is probably the best type for the job.
    Your budget will get you into rifles with good quality synthetic stocks.
    Have fun shopping for the rifle together.
     
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  12. redneck2

    redneck2 Member

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    B7A4394D-DAE6-4A1D-846B-C6643E665C24.jpeg I have very limited to zero experience with most rifles listed so far. I will say that my current and only big game rifle is a Browning X-Bolt in 7 mag. They have a MOA accuracy guarantee.

    With my handloads it shot sub 1/2” first try. Loads I originally made for a Remington 700 for 1,000 yard target shooting.

    I’m pretty picky on triggers and mine is fine

    Were I to go on another antelope hunt this would be my rifle. I know the caliber is excessive as is the bullet weight, but it shoots so well and so flat that I’d use it anyway

    As shooters in 2022, we are exceptionally fortunate that we have many brands to choose from and most are quite good. I’d suspect there are many good choices and a few not so good.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2022
  13. 1948CJ2A

    1948CJ2A Member

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    How much walking and stalking do you and your son plan on doing during the hunts? If he's just going to be walking from the truck to a stand, weight might not matter as much. The older he gets though, the more he'll probably appreciate a lighter package especially if he's carrying it around.

    If you go with a lighter-weight option, I'd look at something around the 6-7 pound mark in a short action like the Winchester m70 featherweight (maybe compact) or Remington model 7. There are lighter options but they usually aren't as pleasant to shoot in deer rifle chamberings. If you go with a standard action there's nothing wrong with a Mark V. I own a few and they are great shooters. My 7mm Wby Mag Mark V is one of my favorites and does great on deer-sized game at all ethical ranges.
     
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  14. westernrover

    westernrover Member

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    I've never seen a deer stand in my life. This portrays the terrain in all my experience:

     
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  15. mshootnit

    mshootnit Member

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    My only knock on Tikka is the action does not tolerate even a very small amount of sand.
     
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  16. westernrover

    westernrover Member

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    I'm checking out the Benelli Lupo now. Seems to be in a similar category to the Sako S20. Both look to have good availability. I think either might do very well for my purpose.
     
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  17. earlthegoat2

    earlthegoat2 Member

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    Out of the box accuracy demands can really only be sated by accuracy guarantees.

    There are a handful of production rifles that have sub-MOA accuracy guarantees. The rest are customs. That should narrow down your search significantly.

    I would buy a later production Weatherby Mk V myself in 257 Weatherby and roll the dice on the accuracy. If it does not meet your criteria, make it so it does at a reputable gunsmith who knows Weatherbys. The Mk V usually already is but can be made very accurate without much fuss by gunsmith who knows what they are doing.
     
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  18. Hokkmike

    Hokkmike Member

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    Makes a lot of sense to me to have him travel with you to various gun stores and pick out the model he likes the best. Looks, feel, and caliber with your seasoned advice should be largely up to him. If he goes extreme in any direction sit down and talk it through - but if it is HIS gun you should not be asking US about what YOU should buy HIM.
     
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  19. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    With a $2000 budget, I’d find a way to build a custom rifle. If not, I’d buy a Seekins Havak. Which, I did. Both, in fact.
     
  20. someguy2800

    someguy2800 Member

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    I keep trying to branch out and try different things but I keep coming back to Tikka's. Honestly I think if you gave me a $50,000 budget, I would probably buy a custom double rifle to look at, and a $700 Tikka to use.
     
  21. westernrover

    westernrover Member

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    I agree, but have limited feedback from him. If I had to try to explain it, I'd say he's not a "gun guy." Like I wrote, his criteria is basically, if it's accurate, not too heavy, and it doesn't break... he's pretty indifferent to anything else. I'm asking the forum here because I know my own opinions and preferences bias me unnecessarily. We've been to Sportsmans and Scheels and handled the Tikkas and Weatherbys. Some of the other rifles mentioned, there's no chance of them being in stock. The last time I was at the store, they had plenty of Savages and Henry's. Remember, we're not back to normal yet. I just located stock of the Benelli at Cabelas about 1.5 hours from here. Pretty sure we're going to go see that. I haven't found a S20 in stock anywhere in the state, but Sportsmans, Scheels, Cabelas can all get them in a week if I buy it.
     
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  22. westernrover

    westernrover Member

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    Scheels has the PH2's in stock. I will go look at them. What's good about it? I didn't know anything about them. I just learned they're made in Idaho and come with Timney triggers. It looks like they're light enough. 90 degree bolt throw. I hope that doesn't hit my scope.
     
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  23. LoonWulf
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    LoonWulf Contributing Member

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    Buddy of mine just got 2 seekins a Ph2 and ....
    Mpr? Something like that.....
    Still havent gotten to play with either, but they are on my list of must tries.
     
  24. someguy2800

    someguy2800 Member

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    Honestly I think I am at the point in my rifle collection where I have all my practical uses covered and recovered to the point that I just don't really want anything else besides a few collectors items.
     
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  25. LoonWulf
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    LoonWulf Contributing Member

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    Doh......id ment to quote VT lol....

    Thats a good place to be in the hobby tho, im not quite there yet....but working on it.
     
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