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Old January 18, 2013, 12:07 AM   #1
Griffin777
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New here... Need advice.

hello all, first off ive been lurking for a while, and really respect the info you all have to offer.
a bit about me. i do have some firearms training, i carry everyday, and i enjoy shooting when finances allow.
i am needing advice on getting a bolt gun, and i have a ton of questions. i have done extensive reading on this forum and many others but still desire guidance to make a decision.

i want to learn long range shooting 800-1000 yards (i know i will have to work up to this over time), longest shot ive done is about 150 yards standing using my marlin 30-30 with open sites at a chew can. i desire to learn fundamentals of marksmanship. for this i am wanting to get an entry level bolt gun. i will not be using the rifle for hunting other than the occasional coyote. it will primarily be a range gun.
what caliber should i use? mind you cost is a big factor. i have some .223 ammo that i have for another gun that i could use so i am very much leaning towards this. i do not reload my own rounds and most likely will not for a long time.
what rifle should i purchase? my budget for a rifle and scope is around $500. im leaning towards savage due to out of the box accuracy and the great things i hear about them. i would prefer a rifle with upgrade potential but will need to be able to get me by for now. i would like a rifle with a removable magazine. if it came down to buying a better rifle and a lesser scope to learn the basics i will be able to afford a better scope in a few months.
i know next to nothing about working on bolt guns but can learn.
i am located in central Oregon and would enjoy a meet with people to learn all that i can and maybe to hit the range with.
lastly im sure i forgot info you all will need from me to help you answer my questions post them and i will get back to you as soon as i can.

thank you all in advance for your responses.
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Old January 18, 2013, 12:36 AM   #2
alex0535
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A .308 win will get you out to 800 and 1000 if you know what your doing.

Try to avoid the axis if you want to customize it at some point, there are no aftermarket stocks and the stock that comes on it is a less than amazing synthetic.

You might be able to find a factory scoped Model 11/111 Trophy hunters xp for somewhere in the 500-600 dollar range.

Although your budget is a little low for getting them out 800-1000 yards, you can still learn the fundamentals with a rifle like I suggested.
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Old January 18, 2013, 12:38 AM   #3
davery25
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I'll break it down the best i know how:

Since cost is the biggest issue 223 rem is the right choice. Heavy .224 projectiles can reach out to 1000 yards but for this you need a faster twist rate (around 1 in 7 i believe) whereas most bolt guns have a 1-in-12 which lets you use up to 55grain projectiles. That's fine don't worry about that since it takes a good while to get out to 800 yards and finding a range that allows you to is another thing too.

I'd second vote that savage. Pac-nor and several other companies make pre-fit barrels for the savage for $300 or so which gives you the ability to modify down the line. Savage also has good aftermarket support with stocks etc.

What about an AR? - they're plenty accurate and also have a faster twist rate

Are you planning to get into reloading? If you reload the difference in price between major calibres is marginal. Even so id support the 223 because you can shoot it all day long and it never gets weary. Still plenty of recoil to be fun though.
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Old January 18, 2013, 12:41 AM   #4
cslinger
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First I am the LAST person who's advice you should take first.

That being said 800-1000 yards is more then a different ballgame its a whole new sport.

Learn the fundamentals at 100-200 yards. Stance, breathing, judging wind, distance etc. Go to an Appleseed shoot and or get some professional education. Just be aware that shooting at that distance is not something that is simply equipment dependent. At that range you are talking software and hardware.

.308 is a good, mainstream caliber that can be loaded or bought in very accurate packages. Good all around cartridge IMO.

Get the software up to speed before you spend big bucks on the hardware.

Just my uneducated two cents. Says the guy who can barely see 200 yards and thinks .75 inch at 100 yards is just damn peachy keen.
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Old January 18, 2013, 12:41 AM   #5
alex0535
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Also check the savage website, go to the firearms tab and go to the gun finder. you can put in what caliber you want and the features you want and it will tell you what firearms fall under your constraints.
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Old January 18, 2013, 12:45 AM   #6
ndking1126
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Savage is an excellent choice. They have great aftermarket support and are acccurate out of the box.

.308 as mentioned would be a good choice, but I gotta tell you a .243 came to mind. It would need a fast twist rate, but the 105gr can really reach out there. Off the shelf ammo is abundant and the recoil is very low which is nice when learning to shoot.

The advantage I see of either caliber is down the road as you are working out to 800-1000 yards, you rebarreled to .260 Remington. It wouldn't require you change anything except the barrel itsself as it uses the same bolt head and detachable/internal magazine. It is an excellent long range cartridge and would do a number on those coyotes. .308 seems excessive for coyotes and the ballistics of the .260 Remington are far superior to the .308. Only downside to .260 is off the shelf ammo availability, but I suspect as the cartridge grows in popularity that will get better.

Finally, don't rule out a used rifle. I recently bought a used Savage 111 in 270, with scope, sling, shoulder pad, detach box magazine and 48 rounds for $290. Its not an accutrigger, but the trigger was still fairly decent. I don't think deals that good are common, but they are out there.
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Old January 18, 2013, 12:45 AM   #7
tahunua001
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I would say that you have already set a good base up. if you already have 223 ammo on hand then that is a good caliber to go with to develop your shooting skills as the low recoil will make it easier to avoid developing a flinch. I would recommend a weatherby vanguard in 223 with a cheap Redield or Nikon 3-9x scope. you really need to develop your skills close and work out to range gradually. your best thing to focus on now is to get good at ranges within 300 yards and then work out.

you can worry about more powerful long range guns once your skills have been honed.
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Old January 18, 2013, 12:51 AM   #8
big al hunter
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My recommendation is check the used gun racks. Most decent bolt actions will shoot well enough to get you started. Buying used guns will save $. About 25 years ago I went with my father to pick up his rifle. We were close to (if not in) Ontario,Oregon. Intermountain Arms was the store. All I remember is rows upon rows of guns. If its not too far, and still in business it could be worth your time.

As to caliber, 223 will get bullets to 1000 yards. But if it is breezy your groups will be difficult at best. But that is what teaches you to judge wind. If you want to deal with less wind drift get a larger caliber. 308 win. or 30-06.
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Old January 18, 2013, 12:54 AM   #9
davery25
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he said cost was a major factor, but for any budget you can fire nearly double the 223 as you can 308 assuming he doesnt reload. He's not going to start at 800. he won't even start at 500 or 300. He'll start at 100 and 200 and 223 is plenty for that range.

I'd also support looking for secondhand as well.
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Old January 18, 2013, 01:14 AM   #10
Griffin777
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thank you all for your responses. to answer some questions and clarify some things.
i do not reload nor do i plan on it any time soon. i am a your married guy living in an apartment. my wife tolerates most of my junk but i dont have the space to add to it (nor the will power to convince her that i need another hobby)

second hand is also my first choice but i dont know how to pick a rifle that has been used (i wouldnt know if it has been abused with the exception of marks in the stock)

im going to stick with .223 for know. as has been mentioned i know that it will take me a long time to get to really long ranges/ so for now i want a rifle that will get me to a good medium. thanks for the info on that guys.

i want to stay away from the axis model by savage. i have heard/read great things about it but i want to be able to upgrade the rifle as i get better. i dont want to jump in right now and get a rifle that i will quikly out grow.

one thing i would like a bit more info on as i do not know much about bolt guns and i have heard mentioned is upgrading to larger calibers. how do you do it? is it jut the action that stays and everything else is swapped out or what? yours responses to this topic do not need to be in length as i will not need to much info on it for now beings that i will most likely not need to "upgrade" for a while.

once agin, thanks for the replys. this helps to degrees you dont even know.
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Old January 18, 2013, 01:18 AM   #11
big al hunter
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He also said he will not be reloading in the near future. Military surplus 308 and 30-06 are both plentiful and inexpensive here on the west coast of the U.S. I also think 223 is a great choice for learning. It will force him to judge wind better and will be just as much fun at 800 yards as at 100. Just a thought that he may not want to upgrade later on when he discovers that a gentle breeze pushes his bullets around.
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Old January 18, 2013, 03:43 AM   #12
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Hey welcome to TFL . Let me start by saying your 223 choice will work but I recommend a 308 . Howa makes a 20" heavy barrel combo rifle & scope in 223 and 308 for around $600 out the door . What ever rifle you get it should be a heavy/bull barrel . The reason I say 308 is . It will get you to 800+yds and the ammo is not that much more . When you start shooting for accuracy and long distances your not shooting the cheep stuff . You will want to shoot match ammo and it's all expensive .

Although my balistic calculator says you can shoot a 223 - 1,000yds . It's realy not the bullet for that range . I would say 600yds would be more like the range you would want to shoot the 223 .

This is a video series on long range shooting that is incredibly informative . http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pwG-D...gJqhUrQRdMSSAf Before you buy anything watch the first 3 or 4 videos . They are 20 to 40 min long so put some time aside it will be well worth it .
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Old January 18, 2013, 07:56 AM   #13
davery25
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hmmmm. if you really don't have space to expand the collection then i might jump on board with the 308 recommendation.

With a savage calibre changes are easy from what i've read (scorch you can weigh in here), just a barrel change and bolt head change as long as you're going short action to short action or long to long. that's based on what i've read but i don't have experience with this.

You'll never outgrow a 30 cal and while you won't really 'outgrow' a 223 - i haven't used mine in a year or so simply because there are other guns like my 6.5x55 swedish or 7.5x55 swiss that i'd rather use.

When you're looking for used, just take a look down the barrel to see anything irregular, otherwise the gunshop guys should be honest about its condition and be able to point you towards or away accordingly. then obviously the outside too but this is superficial. Just make sure it has no rust or anything.

Most of my rifles are used. mostly because im a huge fan of old school wood and blued steel milsurp rifles.
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Old January 18, 2013, 09:49 AM   #14
tobnpr
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I agree with the Savage choice.
They'll be a "starter" rifle in your price range.

I think caliber is pretty irrelevant at this point. I would go with .223 since you do not reload, and ammo is cheapest (or will be, when all the crapola dies down).

I wouldn't bother with a "better rifle and lesser scope", because there really isn't anything "less" in the $500 range for both.

The advantage with going Savage is that when you're ready to move up, you can upgrade to an aftermarket barrel, stock, and trigger- PROVIDED you go with a Savage 10/11 or Stevens 200 (same action). If you go with a "package" Axis model, you won't be able to do that.

These can be had for about $330 online. You'll need an inexpensive optic for about $150, then... If you can, try to spend a bit more, in the $200-$300 range for the optic. The .223 is low recoil, so a cheaper optic should hold up.

Good luck.
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Old January 18, 2013, 11:12 AM   #15
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Ordered a weatherby S2 in .308 from buds guns end of December for $500. Have not received it yet. However research and reviews indicate this is s very nice accurate rifle at this price I want to get into long range shooting myself and this is what I chose. Also considered .300wsm in same rifle. A box of federal sierra 165gr. Boat tail soft point is $32 in my area when available wsm about same. 308 in this rifle is 5+1 300wsm is 3+1. I went for capacity
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Old January 18, 2013, 12:04 PM   #16
Tomas204
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.223 is a good starting point mentioned by others, I got me a Mossberg MVP and loved the fit and it shoots very very good right out of the box. as far as used guns look at the outside if it is beaten up pass, also find a friend who knows guns and take them with you, no real man will pass up a gun shopping day
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Old January 18, 2013, 01:39 PM   #17
ndking1126
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Changing a caliber... .223 is a short action so your action will work for anything that is also a short action caliber, such as .243, .260, .308. The 3 I just mentioned all use the same bolt face, so that is no concern. If you start with a .223 and change it to one of those three you will have to change the bolt face, as the .223 is a smaller cartridge. Long action caliber, like .25-06, 270, .30-06, all work on a long action, and you will only have to change the barrel if you stay within those specific calibers.

Changing the barrel on a savage isn't too hard with a few specific tools. This is one of the best step-by steps I've seen.
http://www.westernshooter.com/2009/1...age-rifle.html

Stock (assuming you put same thickness of barrel) and trigger do not have to be changed, although a lot of people like to put a better trigger on while they've got it apart.

Of course this is just a basic idea on what you have to do. There are specific things you need to do in order for the rifle to be safe to shoot afterwards (ie, headspacing with go-no go gauges which is covered in that article). Also there is a ton of information on here if you do a couple searches.
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Old January 19, 2013, 07:33 PM   #18
Griffin777
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again thanks for all of the replies. ive narrowed it down some. im thinking a sagave 10, 11, or 111. ive seen all of those rifles with detachable mags (which i want) but it appears that not all of the models do depending on the version of the model? (help with that dilemma) also with $500 (maybe $600 but that is certanly pushing it) being my budget and i dont know when ill have money to really upgrade a lot so i would like to have a full package to start with. im going to stick with .223. i will definatly like to get .308 if the future but for now i have .223 ammo on hand. i like the lower recoil to be able to focus on other marksman ship skills then move on towards the higher calibers. the more i learn about getting into distance shooting the more i feel that i need to get (seems to always be that way ). so yet again i need some more advice. i would like to get a few items and will need advice on products and how they will fit into my budget.
bi-pod
log book
range finder
spotting scope
anything else you guys have to add?
i was thinking that if i got a better scope i could go without a spotting scope (what do you think?)
so im going to need a lot of advice. im willing to take it slow for the most part but i am eager to get out and learn.
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Old January 19, 2013, 08:44 PM   #19
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To stay closer to your budget and have a rifle that will shoot with the savages all day long, get a Howa. They are essentially the same as a Weatherby Vanguard but cheaper. But dont get the complete rifle with scope package. They come with a crappy stock and crappy scope. They sell just the barreled action for around $400. Then you buy the stock of your choice and scope of your choice. $200 will get you a good stock, i would suggest a Houge with the full length bedding block, or maybe a Bell & Carlson Medalist. For a scope, the best for the money is a Burris Fullfield II at about $150. There you have $750 in a complete setup that you wont outgrow. I did alot of research just a couple of months ago when I was looking for the best, most accurate hunting rifle for the money and that was what I came up with. I couldnt be more pleased. My Howa is a .25-06 but they chamber them in .223, in a standard or bull barrel. Howas are made in Japan but marketed in the US by Legacy Sports. Heres a link to their site:

http://www.legacysports.com/products...aractions.html
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Old January 19, 2013, 09:19 PM   #20
ndking1126
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bi-pod - looks cool and is convenient, but not necessary. You could use a backpack, a few blocks of wood stacked, etc. IMO, Harris is the only option if you choose to buy one, as that's what I use. I bought mine used for about half price and it works fantastic.

log book - $.99 Notebook from Wally's World. Don't overthink this one. A ruler and pen will help you make it as fancy as you want.

range finder - Definitely helpful, but expensive! The cheap ones don't work reliably at the ranges you've mentioned you want to shoot at. I'm content guessing a range, taking a shot and adjusting based on point of impact. Once I've walked it on target, that's when I start counting hits and misses. Range estimation is a good skill to have incase your range finder breaks or the batteries die. Also, you can get awfully close measurements on distance using a site like this, although it doesn't account for elevation changes, only "as the bird flies".

spotting scope - A spotting friend is much cheaper, and more fun to have around. I have a spotting scope that came with my scope and it's about useless. As with anything dealing with optics, you get what you pay for. Buy nice equipment and cry once instead of buying cheap and crying each time you use it. A quality scope at 10x will give you a more useful picture than a crappy spotting scope at 24x all day long. If you need a spotting scope depends on a few things. Are you hitting metal (you'll hear the ping) or paper? If you are shooting for good groups and not just hits, the spotting scope will be the only way to see what you shot without walking out to the target.

Yep... long range shooting isn't cheap! Gotta pay to play. Everything listed above IMO is a lower priority than a good scope. Put every penny you can towards a good scope and then start accessorizing with birthday or Christmas presents. With your budget, I agree the Burris FFII 3-9x is about as good as it gets. I shoot their 4.5-14x on my .30-06 and it's a quality scope. The Ballistic Plex reticle is a good option compared to a standard crosshair. Mildot or something like Vortex's EBR-1 reticles will be your best bet once you learn how to use them and know the ballistics of your specific rifle/cartridge combo.
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Last edited by ndking1126; January 19, 2013 at 09:42 PM. Reason: cause I keep thinking of things to add!
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Old January 21, 2013, 10:37 PM   #21
EO480
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I truly enjoy shoting my 260 Rem. Wish I had an area to shoot out to 1000yrd.
I'm shooting 5 shot groups at 100yrds. one hole.
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Old January 30, 2013, 09:45 PM   #22
Griffin777
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hey guys thanks again for all the info. im pretty set on getting a savage. but i saw this rifle come up and wanted to get your feedback on it.

http://www.armslist.com/posts/963738...howa-1500--308

(mods if this isnt okay, i apologize)

thanks in advance for your response.
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Old January 30, 2013, 11:55 PM   #23
Murauder
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I vote for the savage 11 trophy hunter xp in 223. I saw it at buds gun shop (the actual store, not the website) for $459. Comes with a 22" sporter weight 1 in 9" twist barrel. On an 11 action with the accutrigger and a decent ($160) nikon prostaff 3-9x40mm scope with bdc reticle. After a bunch of practice at 1, 2, and 300 yards or so You can later upgrade the optics, and to a heavier barrel with a faster twist for the 70+ grain bullets for the longer range shots.
You may even find it cheaper in your area
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Old March 2, 2013, 09:55 PM   #24
Griffin777
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pulled the trigger. thank you all so much for the advice. i got the savage 11 w/nikon bdc scope in .308. i decided 308 because i got invited to go on an elk hunting trip later this year. my main goal is still learning long range but figured hanging out with friends and hopefully putting meat in the freezer sounds like a good time. again thank you all. now i need some trigger time. if any of you like near Eugene Oregon id love to go out with people who know what they are doing (and where to go).
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Old March 2, 2013, 10:04 PM   #25
Metal god
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Congrats You will not be sorry Savage makes a great rifle . come back and let us know how it shoots .
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