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Old January 30, 2000, 01:06 AM   #1
Dave R
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Join Date: January 7, 2000
Location: Idaho
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I'm looking for my first hunting rifle. Needs to be reasonably low cost. Game will probably be coyotes and maybe an antelope or two. Deer possible. Was looking at the expected bolt-actions, then saw how cheap the SKS is, and how much cheaper the ammo is (7.62 X 39). Figured it had to be fun for the money. Looked at past threads on SKS; most say accuracy is 2-4" at 100 yds. Also saw the thread about hunting nutria with AKs (!)

So have any of you actually hunted with an SKS? Is it a worthwhile hunting rifle, or would I be better off with one of the more traditional bolt-actions?
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Old January 30, 2000, 03:10 PM   #2
Art Eatman
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To me, an AK is more difficult to aim accurately. This is separate from the inherent accuracy of the gun itself.

The cartridge is generally less effective for deer than a .30-30. A "perfect" hit will kill a deer, of course, but if you don't hit the heart or neck you have a wounded deer.

Overall, I'd suggest a traditional bolt-action rifle. For regular varmint hunting and occasional deer hunting, the .243 is excellent. There "ain't no flies" on a 7mm-08, for that matter. Or a .257 Roberts. But I'm partial to the .243, as you've described your interest.

I have found that a 2X7 or 3X9 scope works just fine for hunting, and I've killed deer to 350-450 yards; varmints to 250. The vast majority of all game I've taken has been well within 200 yards.

I've hunted at all hours and have never found that huge scope lenses matter. The type of crosshair is more important. I'm partial to the Duplex design.

Do some thinking, and holler back in the Rifle Forum, okay?

Regards, Art
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Old January 30, 2000, 05:42 PM   #3
Long Path
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...what Art said.

I also would check out .303 SMLEs and .308 SMLEs (read thread on "Surprised! Ishapore rifle..." in the Rifle section). 3-4 MOA is to be expected, and 1.5 to 2.5 MOA specimens are not uncommon. These rifles are far and away more powerful than an SKS, and are much easier to achieve accuracy with, by virtue of better sights, longer sight radiai, better triggers, and better actions.

Consider: a 180g bullet at 2400 fps is going to be more effective than a 120g bullet at the same velocity.

I suggest the SMLEs because ammo is relatively inexpensive, and the rifles are often available for less than $100.
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Old January 30, 2000, 05:51 PM   #4
Dave R
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Thanks for the thoughts. I had not considered the SMLE, but saw an article on it in American Rifleman. Ballistics look like the .303 British is pretty similar to 30.06. I wonder if ammo availability is going to be a problem?
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Old January 31, 2000, 01:00 AM   #5
Art Eatman
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.303 British ammo is advertised all over the place. Pick up a copy of "Shotgun News" or "The Gun List" as a reference; most of the ammo suppliers have web sites.

There are some links on this site which can help; also, http://www.pla-net.net/~rcomer/ has links...

Regards, Art
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Old January 31, 2000, 03:07 AM   #6
Long Path
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Actually, Dave, the ballistics are more like a moderate .308. That's still more than enough for most all big game you'll run across in N. America, and it's still well-thought-of in Canada as a carribou, elk, and moose cartridge in the 180 and 220 g loads. I have personally carried one for elk in CO and not felt undergunned. (Sierra 180 Pro Hunter at about 2440 fps)
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Old January 31, 2000, 08:30 AM   #7
muleshoe
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If this is a FIRST hunting rifle I think an SKS is a very poor choice. How many of you out there learned to hint with a single-shot? I learned to hunt with an old ss bolt action .22. My first shotgun was also ss. Gives a new hunter a whole different perspective if he knows there ain't gonna be no 2nd shot, it tends to make the 1st shot a much better one. I would not suggest a Ruger#1 or anything like that, but would say a Rem. 700 would make a lot better choice for a first hunting rifle. It sounds like deer would be the largest game you would be after so something like a 25-06 would be an excellent round, and no comparison as far as accuracy to the SKS.

------------------
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Old January 31, 2000, 12:01 PM   #8
Dave R
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Hmmm. I knew TFLers would talk sense. The SKS would probably be better as a fun gun, but a bolt would probably be way better as a hunter. Antelope probably mean long shots, too, right? I'll be hunting range land around Colo/Wyo border. Local stores (here in ID) have Remington 700 ADL around $350-$390. May be worth spending the extra bucks for a new Remington rather than surplus.
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