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fisherman66
March 11, 2009, 11:49 PM
Please list your priorities in a Hunting Rifle in order from most important to least important.

Example:

Balance/Pointability
Length of Action/Rifle
Fit/Finish
Weight
Technology - not your preference for bolt action/lever/singleshot, but your ranking of significance; how salient it is.
Accuracy

The above is in order for me.

Feel free to add.

hogdogs
March 12, 2009, 12:03 AM
Carryable
pointable
short enuff for heavy cover
accuracy...
Ina word...
Marlin 336 .30-30

guntotin_fool
March 12, 2009, 12:07 AM
does it fit me, and does it shoot? thats it really oh yeah, is it a savage 99, other than that, weight to caliber.

taylorce1
March 12, 2009, 05:40 AM
Accuracy is first for me, I'll carry a heavier rifle if I'm more accurate with it vs a lighter one. 1.5" at 100 yards is accurate enough for me, anything better is gravy. As long as I don't go over 2" I'll consider it if I know the ranges I'll be hunting at will be around 200 yards or less. For me I've found that a rifle that is accurate for me usually balances quite well and points easily, and the length of pull isn't outside what I find usable.

Luckily I have several rifles that are accurate enough for me to take hunting, so after that I just decide on what calibers for the game I'll hunt. I have a .243 and .270 for deer and pronghorn, and I'll use the .270, .30-06, .338-06, .35 Whelen, and .375 Ruger for elk. I have several other rifles I haven't found the right load for yet, and one of them is my Savage 99 in .358. I'd sure love to hunt an elk with that rifle.

Kreyzhorse
March 12, 2009, 06:49 AM
I look for accuracy, fit and then weight.

Buzzcook
March 12, 2009, 12:48 PM
Fit is pretty much all you have to worry about imho.
You have to look for a rifle that "isn't" accurate and reliable. Some rifles are better than others, but there are really very few bad modern rifles.

fisherman66
March 12, 2009, 12:59 PM
I agree with the accuracy part Buzz. A 3" at 100 yard rifle that's well sighted in with have a POI variation of 1 1/2" from POA. That's good WAY, WAY out there on medium and bigger game. At 500 yards one is still inside an 8" circle assuming groups opens up linear. (I'm not dredging up field stress here). That's between 4 and 5 times the distance of my average shot.

L_Killkenny
March 12, 2009, 01:26 PM
#1, far and away the MOST IMPORTANT thing is using a big enough, but not too big of a caliber. Use the right caliber for the job.

Second comes accuracy. How much is needed is completely dependant on the game being pursued and the terrain one is hunting. You don't need a MOA gun if you are shooting deer at 100 yards but you do if you are shooting gophers at 300.

All other issues which will come down to personal preference. Looks, actions, handling, etc are all nice but not required. #1 and 2 are.

As for personal preference issues.....they all tie for me and there is no one perfect action or weight rifle that will do every job I need. There is always compromises.

Fisherman, I think your math may be a little fuzzy today. A bullet that starts off a 1.5" left at 100 yards will be 3" left at 200 yards and 7.5" left at 500 yards. Thats a 15 inch group. No 3 MOA gun should ever be shot at a critter 300 yards, let alone 500.

fisherman66
March 12, 2009, 01:37 PM
Fisherman, I think your math may be a little fuzzy today. A bullet that starts off a 1.5" left at 100 yards will be 3" left at 200 yards and 7.5" left at 500 yards. Thats a 15 inch group. No 3 MOA gun should ever be shot at a critter 300 yards, let alone 500.

How big are deer lungs?

At 300 yards a 3 MOA rifle has a POI 4 1/2" from the POA (at it's worse). That's WELL inside the spread of a deer's lungs. I'll back off the 500 yard premise, but 300 is a gimme if the shooter maintains the 3 MOA.

Jekyll
March 12, 2009, 01:46 PM
Hunting is not a generic thing. My rifles must satisfy the specific mission.

Western hunts I look for accuracy first and foremost. It's got to have a flat shooting round going out the muzzle exactly where I need it to go. It must be less that MOA for me. Weight is next and fit & finish doesn't really enter the decision much.

Woods and thickets call for quick employment first. This is a combination of short length, quick acquiring sights and balance. Weight is second, silence is next (talking about rattles and squeaks here, not booms) and accuracy next. Again, fit and finish don't mean as much as the other characteristics.

My definition of fit and finish for a hunting rifle applies more to the ability to withstand the elements in which it is used. Hunting rifles get knocked around a lot and if you are worried about the looks of your pride and joy, you aren't fully immersed in the hunt. They must be able to survive moisture and mitigate rust.

A 3 MOA rifle is not a 300 yard deer rifle; you are 1 heartbeat away from a crippled/lost or missed deer. There are a lot of deer and elk missing or dragging a front leg as a result of hunters taking Hail Mary shots with insufficient rifles and skills. You may think it's ok but, I'll make an attempt to disabuse other readers of this notion. Too many new or less experienced shooters look at a ballistics chart and a 100 yard group and think they are ready to snipe deer at long range. 3 MOA is a risky and reckless shot at 300 yards. There are many things working against hunters in this situation: adrenaline, shortness of breath, a rapid pulse, heat waves, altitude, elevation, movement, wind, poor and unstable rifle rests and blades of grass. Even with a 1 MOA rifle, many folks are not up to the task. I'll wager that the majority of riflemen with the skill and experience to consider humane shots at distances of 300 yards and longer will recognize the need to have adequate equipment.

pilothunter
March 12, 2009, 02:58 PM
1. Portability, I'm a big fan of carbine length rifles for most all my hunting.
38-42".

2. Suitability, utilize enough bullet and sufficient caliber for the job. Not one that "should" be fine.

3. Set-up, Using proper optics, properly installed, for the game/terrain/range

4. Action type, I use all types and it's not normally an issue, but can be a consideration in specific instances

5. Looks, Life's too short to huunt with an ugly rifle, period

bcarver
March 12, 2009, 03:24 PM
weight
accuracy
balance
length
finish
tecnology


weight,lenth and balance all come together- they are interconnected.

For hunting accuracy must meet a standard.
If I get one inch groups at 100 yards it is great. 2 inch and it is ok for most all situations.
Tecnology is the same-most every gun will load and shoot reliably enough to hunt.
Fit and finish are just "looks". I have only seen a couple of weapons too ugly to carry hunting (ie High Standard)
Weight is one that I feel at the end of the day regardless of weather I shoot it or not.

Big Bill
March 12, 2009, 03:37 PM
Price
Accuracy
fit
Weight
durability

Doyle
March 12, 2009, 03:44 PM
I think too many people are laboring under the misassumption that one rifle fits all tasks - even for the same game animal. I believe nothing could be further from the truth.

If I'm sitting in a tree stand in the middle of heavy cover watching a feeder, primary for me is something short and light. If I'm sitting at the edge of a large field or pasture, then I want accuracy. If I go hunting in bad weather, I want a gun that I won't cry over when it gets tarnished.

Jekyll
March 12, 2009, 05:01 PM
Doyle:

I couldn't agree more. My old hunting patch had some large fields (800 yards) and 700 acres of forrest. I had a half mile hike back in so I took 2 rifles to the stand in the morning. I sat with a 270 or 30-06 (my sub MOA flat shooter) till it was time to still hunt and then grabbed my 30-30 Marlin for the forrest. The field gun sat quietly and serrenely by the stand waiting for the dusk watch.

Some days I took them at 300 yards and some days I took them at 10 feet.

IDAHO83501
March 12, 2009, 05:12 PM
#1 buy the most accurate gun you can afford. # 2 practice with it until you are 100% sure that you can hit your target at whatever range you plan to shoot an animal at. What good is it for hunting if it points well, weighs less than 9.14#s, points naturally and all the other stuff if when it comes time to shoot, you can't hit your target?? Good gun designers have already worried about the feel, weight, looks, balance for years, and have made guns that work well for most people. The ones that did the best job (overall) charge more money for their guns than makers who just did an o.k. job ( Again overall) If you can afford a Sako, buy it, if not and you can afford a Weatherby then buy it. Same goes for Tikka, Remington, Browning, Ruger, Savage, Mossberg, Howa, whatever. Take it from someone who usually over thinks purchases, when it comes to rifles, you can feel very good about simply buying the best one you can afford. Sure there are those out there in cyber-world that would rather have Ruger over a Weatherby, or Stevens over a dang Winchester, but the best handling, most accurate and best balanced rifle will come with the highest price......

Quickdraw Limpsalot
March 12, 2009, 06:05 PM
Carryable
pointable
short enuff for heavy cover
accuracy...
Ina word...
Marlin 336 .30-30

Couldn't have said it any better, Hogdogs, with one exception.

I'll take mine in .35 Remington. :D

FrankenMauser
March 12, 2009, 06:52 PM
I hunt (on foot) in pretty rugged mountains, so my priorities are a bit different than many hunters.

Weight
Balance/Pointability
Accuracy
Length of Action/Rifle
Technology

Fit / Finish don't apply. If I don't like what I see; I don't buy it.

Daryl
March 12, 2009, 07:54 PM
For me, it depends on what the use is going to be for the firearm.

For calling coyotes, I want a small caliber bolt action, with a shorter than standard barrel (18-20 inches is what I prefer), and accuracy is very important for the occasional long range shot.

For deer in open country, I want a longer barrel (26" prefered), flat shooting meduim caliber cartridge, and good accuracy.

For deer in closer cover, I want a larger diameter bullet, quick handling (16" barrel is great!), and fine accuracy is mostly irrelevant as long as it shoots half way decent.

For elk and larger critters, I mostly use the same 7mm mag I use for open country deer. The same criteria apply.

So, without knowing the specific use, it's hard to say what I'd want. I have and use several flavors of firearms for hunting, including handguns.

They all work for their intended purpose.

Daryl

Buzzcook
March 12, 2009, 10:24 PM
A couple things.

Name a modern rifle that won't do better than 3" groups at 100yds. If you feed it the right ammo the odds of one getting worse than 2" groups are pretty low. We aren't talking Mosins.

This comment bugs me a bit because it seems to echo a lot of the threads.
#1, far and away the MOST IMPORTANT thing is using a big enough, but not too big of a caliber. Use the right caliber for the job.
Most rifles come in a variety of calibers from .22 centerfire on up to big game guns. For example the Stevens Model 200 isn't what you'd call a top class rifle yet it comes in ten different calibers from .223 up to .300win mag.
So in short no matter what rifle you pick it will most likely have a caliber that will do the job just fine and dandy.
Picking caliber is way down the list imho.

fisherman66
March 12, 2009, 11:04 PM
Name a modern rifle that won't do better than 3" groups at 100yds. If you feed it the right ammo the odds of one getting worse than 2" groups are pretty low.

I'm sure you could find one, but they are hen's teeth indeed in modern rifles. But if you did find one, it would stay within the vital zone on a deer all the way out to MPBR. I find all the hub bub about accuracy needing to be MOA a bit silly. I'm sure it's a nice confidence booster, but for most hunters bullet selection should be more important.

I may not have the shortest rifle for hunting purposes, but I've got to be awfully close with a Ruger #1 RSI at under a yard. She prints an honest 1.5" group at 100 yards, sometimes better but never worse with my selected factory hunting load. With a 1-4 power on top I think she's ready fer snap shot or out to MPBR.

pilothunter
March 13, 2009, 11:45 AM
I completely disagree!! My #1 RSI wears a 2-7x33 and anything else is crazy! (just kidding, of course!). I am in agreement with your choice, obviously, and also share most of the same opinions on the accuracy needed for big game hunting for most all popular calibers.:D
(I have seen MANY more sub 1" groups "shot" on the computer, than at the range!)

fisherman66
March 13, 2009, 11:58 AM
I completely disagree!! My #1 RSI wears a 2-7x33 and anything else is crazy! (just kidding, of course!). I am in agreement with your choice, obviously, and also share most of the same opinions on the accuracy needed for big game hunting for most all popular calibers.
(I have seen MANY more sub 1" groups "shot" on the computer, than at the range!)

When it came time to scope the little rifle my wife lost her job (mortgage real estate; round 1). I had planned to go with that same scope VX-II for it's generous eye relief, but with the budget crunch I settled on a Banner shotgun scope with similar eye-relief. I may eventually replace that Banner with the 2-7. I want that Kepplinger trigger too. Maybe have the LOP reduced a 1" with a nice soft recoil pad (not that the 7x57 is a mule, but I have an aversion to recoil that may be a tad higher than the average shooter.)

Internet 1" groups...too funny because I suspect is very true. I put up a 1" group with my #1 at 50 yards UNSCOPED on my very first trip to the range with that said rifle. I tried to walk on water later that day and came make down to earth.

pilothunter
March 13, 2009, 12:07 PM
I have a #1A in 7x57 too and it took me about 8yrs to find what I figured to be the right scope for that one. I found an older Leupold M8 4X at a gun show in mint condition and it's additional length over the newer version,
FXII 4X, made it ideal for that slightly longer version of the #1. Some look at me kinda funny when I show, or even say that a straight 4X scope sits on one of my rifles. I choose to believe that I've finally learned they can be pretty much perfect for many rifles, still today.

Daryl
March 14, 2009, 04:23 PM
Most rifles come in a variety of calibers from .22 centerfire on up to big game guns. For example the Stevens Model 200 isn't what you'd call a top class rifle yet it comes in ten different calibers from .223 up to .300win mag.
So in short no matter what rifle you pick it will most likely have a caliber that will do the job just fine and dandy.
Picking caliber is way down the list imho.

Ok, then I'd like a '92 Winchester in 7mm Rem Mag, please.

Just sayin'...

;)

Daryl

HiBC
March 14, 2009, 04:52 PM
I also hunt mountains on foot,and I am 56 ,and not an athlete.

I spend a lot more time carrying than I do shooting.Most of my rifles are under 8 lbs,scoped.

They will see crawling,weather,etc.My .257 AI is finished in bow camo paint.

I am not concerned with cosmetics,but they are built right.

Mauser type actions appeal to me,and that is what I use.My rifle battery is all built about the same,just different golf clubs.

I do envision an Encore in .405 wcf ,18 in bbl and a 4x ACOG as a rucksack rifle.

If a rifle won't shoot less than 2 in,I fix it,and most will do less than 1 1/2 that I own.

I don't focus on the 5 % fantasy shot,(Royal Bull,standing broadside @ 600 yds in the middle of an open meadow) I focus on the 90% shot,less than 300 yds,etc
I'm OK with not shooting

Buzzcook
March 15, 2009, 01:10 AM
Daryl: http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.asp?Item=124684377

Most people don't consider the Model 92 to be a modern rifle. But if you had the money and just had to have a Model 92 in 7mm mag, then you could get one. I don't like to think how much it would cost though.

HankB
March 15, 2009, 08:08 PM
1. Cartridge - it has to be appropriate for the game at hand.
2. Reliability - it has to work right, every time.
3. Fit - like a shotgun, a rifle should be right on when it comes to your shoulder.
4. Weight - too light, and it's unsteady; too heavy, and it's a burden.
5. Accuracy - "Only accurate rifles are interesting."
6. Cost - I don't make enough money to drag a $10,000 custom rifle through the brush. A rifle satisfying 1-5 will cost much, much less.

HiBC
March 15, 2009, 08:58 PM
Darryl,Hope you load flat nose bullets in that 7 mag 92!

skydiver3346
March 16, 2009, 03:12 PM
All the ones you mention and would personally list price at the bottom. If you find a rifle that can meet all those requirements, then price (within reason) should not be that important in the long run. Not long ago, I sold all the "extra" hunting rifles I had lying around, scopes, ammo, etc. I then bought exactly what I was looking for in a hunting rifle, a Blaser R93 in 6.5x55 caliber and a couple other R93 barrels (in other calibers) to go with it. I now has a nice 30mm scope mounted on top of it. I have never shot a gun that has all the qualities you mention above until I got one of these. It is so very accurate, safe, reliable and balanced. The best hunting rifle that I have ever carried in the woods.