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What should I look for in a rifle and why?

Joined
Dec 26, 2002
Messages
222
First off I am a deer hunter but have always hunted with a shotgun or bow. I now have the opportunity to hunt with a rifle and to hunt different game, and I would like to take it.

I have done a lot of research on this subject in the last month but really never found what I should be looking for. Because of this great forum I'm thinking about purchasing this rifle (since Savage comes highly recommended for having the best bang for the buck) in 7mm Remington Mag and the fact that I can pick one up for $339 plus tax. Of course I'll be upgrading the base, rings, and scope.

The main thing I'm looking for is a good all around hunting rifle that I may do a little bench rest shooting with. Mostly deer will be hunted with the possibility of a moose or elk hunt with a few bear hunts tossed in there.

What should I be looking for and why? I.e. short action vs. long action, free floating heavy barrells, embedded stocks. Is the 7mm Rem Mag a good choice for medium and large game or should I be looking at something larger? I'm a big guy so the recoil and weight of the rifle is something I'm not to worried about.

Thanks a lot,
Paul
 
I am an occasional, not die-hard, deer hunter.
I bought a Savage 110 in 30.06 and am very happy with it.
The Bushnell scope that came with it has been replaced with a Leupold Vari-X ll scope.

If you travel or hunt in more remote areas, ammo availability could be a concern.
Common calibers like 30.06 & 30-30 are available just about everywhere.
 
the savage bolt actions are accurate,reliable and a great value for the money. they're also ugly as sin but that's another story. I think you picked a great rifle but i just don't like the 7mm/mag, a few years ago 7mm/mag fever went through here and everybody and their dog got one but very few kept them. high recoil and expensive ammunition were the culprits. go with an '06 and in time upgrade your scope and your rings and you'll have a hunting machine. 30-06 can and has killed everything in north america. it has a wide variety of bullet weights and bullet construction which allows it to do many things well. also if you forget your shells any mom and pop will have a box of shells behind the counter. good luck and of course go with whatever you want, as a friend of mine says a 7mag kills--------on both ends. later,ahgar

you might also look at mossbergs new bolt action that came out a few months back it recieved pretty good reviews, okay i'll get back in my box now.
 
If you are looking for a good reliable ad equally tough rifle but dont want to spend more than, lets say, $300.00 out the door, I would recommend getting the rifle I purchased a few months ago at Wal-Mart.

I was in the store buying a light bulb for my back porch and some chew, and decided to check out back in the sporting goods dept. and saw a price on a good looking rifle that I had to check out. It was the Mossberg 100 ATR. The cool thing about this rifle is that you can get it in a few different calibers. 30.06, .270. .243, & .308. I ended up getting the 30.06 because, IMO, its the best all around caliber for big game hunting. Just my opinion though. I came home after buying it and did some research online to see if I had invested in something worth the while, after the fact i know.. Turns out, I got a great rifle for the $. As many of you know, Mossberg makes great products, especially their shotgun line, and their rifles are the same. If you are looking for a good deer rifle that you dont have to worry about dinging up the stock on, when crawling into your stand, look no further than the Mossberg 100 ATR in the caliber of your choice. Only downside to this fine rifle is that it comes with NO sights, whatsoever. No mounted sights no scope. I bought a little BSA 200 yard scope and mounted it on their for about 20 bucks and the 100 ATR is dead on. I am very pleased with this rifle and if you are looking for something like this, I suggest looking into the Mossberg line of rifles.
 
I have the short action version of that rifle, chambered in .243win. You won't be dissapointed, its pretty trim and handles nicely. Great gun for spot and stalk, or just the long walk in to your stand.
Its also a shooter right out of the box. I've only got about 40 rounds through mine, but it will print under an inch at 100 yards from field position. Never shot it off a bench.
If you can get the package for 339 its probably worth it. I bought rifle only for $319 IIRC(mine is a model 11 and includes iron sights). The only packages the dealer I bought from had were buckmaster scopes and they cost 50-80 more than the rifle alone. Not worth the mark up and not a scope I would put on one of my other rifles anyway.


I put a bushnell elite 3200 3x9 on top with a weaver base and rings and couldn't be happier with the set up.

I put this together as a ground hog/coyote gun since we can't use rifles for deer in ohio. Would have preferred .22-250 but the dealer didn't have any, and the .243 has a nice thwack to it:D
If I were looking for a deergun/benchrest gun I would go for a .308win. There are some very good loadings available for it at alot better prices than the whiz bang calibers. Hand loading tools and components would probably be cheaper as well.
 
if you are just keeping it to deer or smaller, i would buy a short action like a .308 or .7mm-08, if seriously considering Elk or Bear, then go with a 30-06 or a 300 winmag. both work, 300's have a little more snap than the 30-06 for bigger game, but really neither you or the animal will know the difference when you have one in the sights.
 
Sorry guys 06 won't hold a candle against a 7 mag, esp at very long range. I have used both calibers, I will take the 7 mag any day, however I will agree about the recoil, I have been half mooned more than once, damn that hurts !

Leon Pugh
 
Sorry guys 06 won't hold a candle against a 7 mag, esp at very long range. I have used both calibers, I will take the 7 mag any day, however I will agree about the recoil, I have been half mooned more than once, damn that hurts !

Leon Pugh

The 7mag is more powerful but the 30.06 is more versatile IMO. It can be used on more game than the 7mag. The 7mag on anything remotely small will TOTALLY destroy the game. My cousin hunts with this caliber and its a beast. I like the 30.06 best, but thats just my opinion. Once again, my vote is for the Mossberg 100 ATR in whatever caliber you want.
 
if it was me i would get the .30-'06, the 7MM mag isnt for the faint of heart and i shoot large calibre rifles quite a bit, they are loud and they have some recoil, not to say ya cant get used to it but for the typical deer hunter who shoots maybe a box of ammo a year the .30-'06 is pretty darned effective and is a lot easier to shoot and shoot well imho, sure the 7 mag has more range but it takes an experienced shooter to take advantage of that range,but, again, if ya put in the time ya can shoot it just fine, if ya put in the time with it.

savage rifles are good rifles, if i was gonna get a bolt action rifle and didnt get a remington 700 for whatever reason i would probably get a savage,
 
I hate when you have a nice long reply and hit the back button by accident on the mouse.:mad: :grumpy:

Thanks for the help you guys have given me on this. I wasn't too worried about recoil before but after reading the suggestions I think the 7mm is out. It is my first centerfire rifle and I would rather enjoy shooting it than worrying about the kick back I'm about to get.

Thanks for all the suggestions about the 30-06, I do believe that is the caliber I'm going to get. The versatility is amazing. The Federal Ammunition Catalog has rounds for it from varmint to large heavy game. The rounds are available everywhere, after Ebbtide and ahgar pointed out the availability I found out that it's one of the most selling cartridges in the world.

Thanks for the replies so far, please keep em coming, believe me I wouldn't mind seeing more before I go make my purchase.

Paul
 
I like to keep minimum mixed rounds, around, IE I shoot .308 because I have more than one rifle in the caliber....BUT.....

If I was only thinking one rifle, it would also be the 30.06.

You could also talk yourself into a nice M1 Garand down the line.:D

Optics are key! I have personally found that Leupold VariXIII is the minimum for good rifles, some go up to Schmidt&Bender, US Optics... These scopes will cost 4x what your rifle costs, but they make a WORLD of difference, when you get out to 200 yards+.

Best Regards,

STeven Garsson
 
You made mention of perhaps doing a bit of benchrest/target shooting. With that in mind- Remington 700VS in .308. Slim enough barrel (roughly a 5.5 contour) to not make it overly heavy, but still heavy enough to allow some extended strings of fire off the bench/prone. .308 has a much better selection of match rounds and is more than capable of running neck and neck with the -06. The -06 has a bit of an advantage with 190gr+ bullets, but I have found the 168gr DPX load from Corbon (as well as many other rounds) work well on everything I have pointed it at. Savage has an atractive opening price, but like everything else....buy quality once. The Remington is also much easier/cheaper to upgrade. Steve is right on with the scope. I'm one of those guys who buys the US Optics and S&B's. My scopes on average run from $1000 to almost $3000. They are the heart of your "system". Crappy glass=crappy hunt the first time it fails, never mind the cost of ammo you'll burn trying to chase crappy adjustments on the Wal-Mart specials. Leupold VX-III or Burris come to mind for base level optics. Lemme know if there is anything else I can help with.
Leon- What's your idea of "long range"?
 
Paul, I think you are making a good choice with the 30.06. Its the all around best high powered rifle caliber, IMO. God bless!!!!
 
500 yards. I hunt in the western states and have taken as many deer over 300 than I have under, I custom reload and have confidence out to that range. I like the 7 mag because of it veritility when reloading, the options are endless. The trajectory just is not flat enough to suit me with the 06 and I can be effective with anything on this continent. If I want somthing lighter I really favor my wifes 25-06, just a necked down 30-06. I do not take shots like that without a dead steady rest needless to say.

Leon Pugh
 
Buy quality once..........that is a good motto...I would get...not at 300 dollars mind you....a 30-06 Weatherby...guaranteed a 1 inch group out of the box and it loads like a fine watch....and don't forget....You can get 30-06 at an Army-Navy store if your in a pinch...And when your old and hunting with a cane or walker you can pass it down to your son/daughter and it will still be a fine weapon.
 
Leon,
IMHO, you're one of the few that a magnum makes sense for. Far too many buy into the "magnum mania" here in western Washington just to impress their friends. Seldom are shots much past 300 and a standard load (.243, .308, 25-06, .270, 30-06 etc) would work perfect. I did manage to tag a 'yote awhile back @ a measured 768yds with a factory Federal Gold Match 175gr .308 load. Hit a little further right than intended, but a first round hit all the same.
No matter the choice, my advice is still "buy quality once":thumbup:
 
Leon,
IMHO, you're one of the few that a magnum makes sense for. Far too many buy into the "magnum mania" here in western Washington just to impress their friends. Seldom are shots much past 300 and a standard load (.243, .308, 25-06, .270, 30-06 etc) would work perfect. I did manage to tag a 'yote awhile back @ a measured 768yds with a factory Federal Gold Match 175gr .308 load. Hit a little further right than intended, but a first round hit all the same.
No matter the choice, my advice is still "buy quality once":thumbup:

I totally agree on "Magnum Mania". About 10 years ago everyone around here HAD to have a .338 Win Mag for their elk gun, and shockingly, a couple years later, about 75% the used rifles that turned up at gun shows were in that caliber. A friend of mine took in a Sako .338 in on trade and with scope, it weighed barely 7 lbs. He fired 2 rounds and put it at the top of his "get rid of" list.

For folks like Leon, a Magnum makes sense, but for most, it is just one-upmanship among friends. I won't shoot at big game much past 300 yards so I shoot a .280 Rem (handloads) and have no regrets.

IMO as far as a good rifle goes, buy a Remington 700 BDL and you won't have any problems. My friend has one in 7mm Mag and it will do 1/2 MOA with a few factory hunting loads in 3 shot groups. I shoot a Ruger stainless synthetic and can't quite get to that level. :thumbup:
 
Amen on that 700 bdl that 25-06 prints .500 with me shooting it, the 7 mag I never was able to do quite as well with, both guns are both now over 25 years old and have recently been passed on to my son.

Leon Pugh
 
.....
Savage has an atractive opening price, but like everything else....buy quality once. The Remington is also much easier/cheaper to upgrade.

If a guy wanted to build a tricked out competition gun I would agree. The remington has a lot more upgrades available.
For a guy who wants a gun that shoots good out of the box, and might do a little benchwork from time to time for fun I say savage all the way.
I shoot a savage and have shot a few that belonged to other people, these guns will do less than MOA right out of box. It will shoot as good or better than a stock remington, and you can spend the extra cash on a scope.
There's nothing wrong with remington, but if you plan on leaving either gun stock, you might as well save money and get the savage, it will perform just as well and last forever.
 
1. For deer-.308 or less will be fine. If you think you're going to hunt bigger stuff, get the '06. With the difference in ammo costs versus magnums you'll practice a lot more, and you'll actually enjoy it.
2. If you want a deal on glass, buy a used Leupold, the warranty is good forever. Also, you don't need a lot of magnification to shoot at 300yds or less. 1.5-5x 0r 2.75-6x will get it done just fine.
 
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