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Old December 14, 2007, 08:43 AM   #1
PetreTG
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First rifle ... what's the best all around caliber

I'm looking to buy my first rifle and want opinions on the best all around caliber for hunting. Hopefully one that's not too expensive.

Also the best rifle recommendations in that caliber. Who's is the most reliable and quality built .

My price range is 1000-1500.
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Old December 14, 2007, 09:02 AM   #2
Savage99
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Welcome to the forum.

May I suggest that you shop around and pick the one that you like best.

I would suggest that you give the new Ruger M77 Hawkeyes a close look. The 30-06 Springfield cartridge is universal for hunting.

"What cartridge to get? Get a 30--06, load the 180 gr bullet and sight it in for 200 yds. Thats all you need to know about big game rifles and cartridges."
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Old December 14, 2007, 09:09 AM   #3
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What do you plan on hunting?

.30-06 very popular with hunters. Can take down just about anything in N. America, plus the ammo is plentiful and pretty cheap.

Popular rifles:

Remington 700
Savage (11 or 10 series)
Browning A-bolt
Sako
Tikka
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Old December 14, 2007, 09:29 AM   #4
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.30-06 seems to be quite popular with hunters - get a Garand.
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Old December 14, 2007, 09:35 AM   #5
PetreTG
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Thanks for the info !

I'll give these suggestions a look.

I knew I'd probably get a lot of differing opinions on the brand of rifle , but it looks like the .30-06 is the way to go!
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Old December 14, 2007, 10:13 AM   #6
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If this is your first rifle you should get a .22. The low ammo cost and lack of recoil, along with its usefulness as a small game round, make it the perfect caliber with which to hone your rife skills. You should get the action type (single shot, bolt, semi, lever) that you will get for centerfire. With your budget you can get a very nice 22 and center fire rifle and put a nice scope on both of them.

My vote is the .308 for your centerfire. It does all the 30-06 does in a shorter action.

If you like lever-guns Browning makes the BLR in both the calibers recommended so far.

If you like bolt guns take a look at CZ. Their rimfire and centerfire rifles are some of the best bang for your buck guns going today (rimfire especially). If you want to stay with US made I would check out Savage, I like that Accutrigger.

Good luck, please let us know what you decide.
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Old December 14, 2007, 10:27 AM   #7
billindenver
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First rifle experience, get a used 22lr, they are available everywhere for next to nothing.

As a hunting rifle though, the 30-06 is plenty of gun for anything from varmint to big game. The ammo is cheap and available in every walmart and hunting town gas station.

As to the rifle. My vote is strongly for the Tikka t3 lite....or the wood version if that is your desire. That leaves plenty of cash in your budget for a good scope, sling and limbsaver recoil pad.

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Old December 14, 2007, 10:36 AM   #8
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Hunting rifle and chambering

There's no best, of course, but a good argument can be made for .270 win first, and .30-'06 close second, .308 close third. Depends on a lot of factors personal to your situation.

Rifles with that budget - I'd look at upper end Remington 700s, Browning A-bolts, or a closeout Steyr from CDNN - Steyr, yes, that's what I'd do with that budget:

www.cdnninvestments.com
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Old December 14, 2007, 10:44 AM   #9
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Quote:
As a hunting rifle though, the 30-06 is plenty of gun for anything from varmint to big game. The ammo is cheap and available in every Wallmart and hunting town gas station.

Now there is true insight. Something we seem to forget about. I was raised in Houston TX and I can get pretty much anything my little heart desires just because a city of this size makes it worth while to invest the money in inventory, someone will be along to buy it. But once upon a time I lived in Blue River Oregon where if you blinked at the wrong moment you would miss the town. They had a much more select selection of ammunition.

Actually this is one of the reasons I have always opted for the .308. It’s a NATO round and as such it has the support, backing, need, whatever you want to call it of several governments, ours included, thus insuring its continued availability.
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Old December 14, 2007, 11:01 AM   #10
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Quote:
Actually this is one of the reasons I have always opted for the .308. It’s a NATO round and as such it has the support, backing, need, whatever you want to call it of several governments, ours included, thus insuring its continued availability.
+1

All of my rifles are 7.62mm x 51 / .308 ~ I have a .22 that I've never fired...



PetreTG, take a look at the Steyr SSG PIV - it may run a little more $, but it looks like a nice GP rifle.
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Old December 14, 2007, 11:28 AM   #11
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I think everyone should own and learn on a .22 rifle. As far as Centerfire rifles go. I would suggest a savage or stevens reguardless of your budget. Either will be more accurate out the box than most of us will ever hope to be. As far as caliber I would go with a .308
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Old December 14, 2007, 11:36 AM   #12
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To the guys recommending a 22lr...

The original poster asked for the "best all around caliber for hunting."


This is DEFINITELY not the 22lr. In most states rimfire is illegal to hunt medium/large game with.

22lr's are cool to learn on punching paper or shooting small animals, and the ammo is dirt cheap, but they are not something you want to bring on a deer hunt.
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Old December 14, 2007, 11:58 AM   #13
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For target shooting at around 200 yards I would suggest the .223, cheap ammo, everywhere available, low power, accurate.
If you like a caliber that takes a punch take the .308, its good for shooting out to 500-700 yards and it is in the mid-range power-wise. Its the caliber of choice in most countrys as ''sniper'' cartridge in the military like NATO. Its not so cheap like the .223 but also not very expensive. You can find this ammo everywhere.
If you want a very famous caliber that is a tad more powerful than the .308 than take the .30-06. It shoots slightly heavier projectiles as fast as the standart .308. Dont even ask about ammo availability, its also everyhwere! There is .30-06 ammo that is cheaper than .308. but also has poor quality. So the ammo price is on par with .308.

Nearly all important rifles are chambered in that three calibers.

I personally would go with the .308, its THE perfect all-around caliber today.

But as always: First rent a rifle in the caliber of you choice and shoot it. Then, buy!

Quote:
Actually this is one of the reasons I have always opted for the .308. It’s a NATO round and as such it has the support, backing, need, whatever you want to call it of several governments, ours included, thus insuring its continued availability.
This is another big reason to get a .308.
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Old December 14, 2007, 12:25 PM   #14
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I would NOT go for a 22lr if you intend to use it for hunting. I'd go for a .308 or .30'06 in a Remington 700, CZ, Ruger M77, or Browning A-Bolt.
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Old December 14, 2007, 02:35 PM   #15
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If starting with a .22 doesn't apeal to you get a sporter weight Savage in.223. You'll always have a use for it. Add a .270r a 30-06 after You become proficient.....Essex
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Old December 14, 2007, 03:53 PM   #16
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I started out with a M1 Garand as my very first rifle.
I guess I'm spoiled because the .22 and .223 just don't trip my trigger.

Maybe a trip to the local range to shoot a few different rifles is in order.
Do you know a few people with a few different rifles?
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Old December 14, 2007, 05:43 PM   #17
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Remington 700 BDL in .30-06 ... put on a Leupold VX-III scope, and you'll stay in your price range and have a hunting rifle that your grandkids will appreciate. My 2 cents.

Remember - the bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of a low price is forgotten.
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Old December 14, 2007, 05:57 PM   #18
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I agree about learning on the .22 first.
As to the best caliber, it depends on the biggest animal you plan to shoot and how far away that animal will be when you shoot it.
I hunt mostly deer and the occasional elk at ranges never exceeding 300yds. The majority of my shots are under 200yds.
I use the .30-06 and that works just fine. But I wouldn't hesitate using anything from a .243 on up with the .30-06 being the maximum.
For larger game at these distances then I'd start with the .260
For brown bear I'd say the .30-06 is the absolute minimum.

I shoot a Winchester model 70. Given your budget $1-1,500 you could find a very good used model 70 and buy a bunch of .30-06 rounds and a starter reloading set up.
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Old December 14, 2007, 06:24 PM   #19
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Get a Savage .308 just my thoughts if the US military gave up the 30-06 for the .308 they did it for a reason so I went with the .308.

Is your 1000-1500 for the complete package are just the rifle?

Try the search 308 vs 30-06 has been beat to death. So has the first rifle thing.

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Old December 14, 2007, 07:44 PM   #20
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Find out what you will be hunting and where. A 30-06 isn't the best bet for hunting groundhogs or coyotes or bears or bison, but it is a good round for deer and elk and everything in between. Then you pick the rifle and pay attention to barrel length and weight. Once again, you are going to pick a different rifle and barrel for groundhogs than you would for bison or bear or pronghorn sheep. You would pick a different rifle if you are hunting in wooded cover than you would if you are out on the open plains.

Now, if you are just looking for an all around caliber in an all around rifle get yourself a Remington CDL or BDL in .30-06, top it with a 3-9x40 quality scope with quality rings and bases and shoot the heck out of it. Put the remaining money towards ammo.
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Old December 14, 2007, 07:54 PM   #21
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spctim11: The military didn't give up on the .30-06, it was still in use through the 1970's. The main battle rifle became a select fire weapon and the .30-06 was too powerful for that application.
The .308 didn't last as the caliber for the main battle rifle for the same reason. It was too powerful for fully automatic firing.
If the main battle rifle had gone straight to the 5.56 or similar as was suggested back in the 1950's, then it is possible the .308 would not have been adopted at all.

That's not to say the .308 isn't a fine round for hunting.
It's just that picking it because the military use it to replace the .30-06 isn't a good reason to choose it.
If we followed that reasoning then the5.56 would be superior as a hunting round to either the .308 or the .30-06.
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Old December 14, 2007, 08:02 PM   #22
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I think the 270 has the edge in almost every department. The 7-08 is also a nice round with a softer recoil.

With a budget as big as $1500 you can get almost any non custom and top it with very good glass.

What's the priority? Weight, shooting range, ease of care are all factors that should be considered.

If I wanted an easy to care for light weight rig for all but the longest shots the Rem 700Ti in 7-08 would be my ticket. Top it off with a VX-II 2-7x33 or VX-III 2.5-8x36 or if weight isn't quite the issue a Zeiss Conquest 3-9x40.

You should still have some cash left for a 22lr and serviceable glass.
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Old December 14, 2007, 08:02 PM   #23
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My vote is for the 30-06.

Remington 700 or a CZ 550.

there are tons of mods you can do to the Remington if you like.

30-06 ammo is everywhere.

there is no Jack of all Trades cal. There are a lot of personal favorites, and we can get into a shooting match over it

The '06 is a classic, and you can't go wrong with it.

270 flater shooting, but smaller bullet
308 same bullet size, smaller case / powder

Remington and hornady both have nice ballistics charts you can compare factory load performance and get an idea of the difference.

Note Gov. went to the .308 as its smaller and lighter than the 30-06 thus cheaper to make and you can carry more, with almost the same performance. See the Rem chart for paper stats.
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Old December 14, 2007, 09:01 PM   #24
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May I suggest the Ar-50 In 50 BMG. Yeah sure its a little overkill for Squirrels and rabbits, but deer and pigs simply explode with even a near miss. Ammo is a bit expensive though. May I suggest earplugs? Here is a nice pic.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg BMG1.jpg (4.9 KB, 250 views)
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Old December 14, 2007, 09:12 PM   #25
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Actually the 7.62 has been in use in the military for a long, long time just not as an MBR. The M60 has always used the 7.62 and it has been around for a very long time in fact they were used in the B-17. While at the same time the 30-06 was used in the M1 and the BAR. The ballistics on the two cartridges are pretty much interchangeable. There are some minor differences at the extreme ends of loading ranges. The 30-06 is an older cartridge developed when powders were not as hot and so it needed the longer case. Before the M1 it was used in the 1903 Springfield ( WWI ). Today the .308 reproduces pretty much anything the 06 will do but in a shorter action. The main difference between the two cartridges that the military was interested in was that the .308 was a shorter action than the 30-06.
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