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Old August 24, 2011, 10:36 PM   #1
jmcf22
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Hunting vs Law Enforcement Rifles

I am new to rifles so I have been doing my research for my first. I am mainly going to be using it at the range but once I feel comfortable enough I may start up hunting whitetail. I am a lefty so I am looking at the Savage 10 FLCP-K in the .308 and the Savage 16 FLHSS in the .270 WSM. Other than cost and the caliber, I am not too sure what the difference is between hunting and LE rifles. Also, if anyone has any input on something equivalent, that would be great. My budget is about $700-$800. So for either one I have to find a good deal on a site. And, down the road I will probably be getting a Stockade stock.
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Old August 24, 2011, 11:18 PM   #2
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The so called LE guns, or fancy tactical guns, are met to sell be cause they are marked Law Enforcement, Tactical, Sniper, etc.

I'm not sure which guns you are looking at, but the way they are designed they, in my opinion aren't that great for hunting. They have a tendency to hang too much crap on them, Bipods and such. Heavy barrels, heavy adjustable stocks,...............all which would be a hindrance to hunting.

LE rifles are designed to be carried in the trunk of a police car or van. Hunting rifles are designed to be carried on foot. You don't need heavy multi adjusting scopes, a simple fixed power would work fine. LE Rifles also aren't designed for quick off hand shots.

If you want to get into target shooting where you have to carry the gun to the firing line, fine, If you have to hike all day, that's a different matter.

My recommendation would be to go to the store, fondle both types, see which one feels right, which one "flows" when you shoulder it.

I carried guns in both situations, as a LE counter sniper and as a hunter. Even in my LE days I wanted something simple. (I carried a Rem 700 Varmint in 223, fixed 6X Redfield "widefield" scope (right out of the USAMU Counter Sniper Guide).

For hunting, and I don't walk much any more (I use horses) I went to a Winchester feather weight. But I'm lazy in my old age.

Like I said, go to the store and play with both. See which one feels better using it in a hunting situation.
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Old August 24, 2011, 11:34 PM   #3
jmcf22
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Thank you very much for the information. That makes total sense. The Savage 10 is the LE and the 16 is for hunting.

I have been looking at the Rem 700 but I have to idea which one is for me. Savage seems to make it a little easier to identify the purpose of each and if they are left handed or not. But I do like the 700 in the sense that it has a lot of aftermarket parts that can be added on.

Which would you pick between a Savage and a Rem? At least in the hunting sense.
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Old August 24, 2011, 11:46 PM   #4
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Quote:
Which would you pick between a Savage and a Rem? At least in the hunting sense
Both are good accurate guns out of the box, but to be honest, I'm a Winchester guy.

Best play with them a bit and see which one fits you.
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Old August 25, 2011, 12:31 AM   #5
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I use the Savage model 10 FCP for deer hunting. I do mostly spot and stalk hunting and it gets a bit heavy after awhile but the extra weight is nice for reducing felt recoil which is why I bought the gun. If im feeling lazy I use my 1985 cowboy with a HUGE recoil pad on it. Can you tell I dont like recoil?
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Old August 25, 2011, 01:19 AM   #6
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Quote:
, If you have to hike all day, that's a different matter.
Huh.
Wait, really?





It turns out that if you want to make first-round hits on targets on small-medium targets from 150-850 yards in the field, you end up with a rifle that looks like these.

If all you need to do is hit a medium-large target at 0-300 yards, you can use something lighter.
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Old August 25, 2011, 01:42 AM   #7
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And from 200 on in, the solution in either application can be beautifully simple.

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Old August 25, 2011, 11:40 AM   #8
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I think it depends on where you are hunting and how. I like Sarge's suggestion, from 200 yards inI don't think anything beats a fast handling lever gun with a low power scope or good peep sights (I prefer the latter, but have killed deer with both). But in our camp the longest kill (due to terrain and cover) was only 110 yds and done with a single shot shotgun. Needless to say nobody there needs a gun that can put 5 shots on a quarter at 300 yds (which was also done by the same person).

Either gun will kill a deer if you do your part, but here is my suggestion:

Long distances + a good sized stand = Heavier tack driver

Anything else = Hunting rifle
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Old August 25, 2011, 11:51 AM   #9
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The guns pictured in the post by Zak Smith kind of show what I was talking about. Fine long range target rifles, but not quite what I'd like to carry while hiking the hills, but as I said, I'm lazy.

I can't help thinking back to my days as an infantryman in the jungles of SE Asia. Seeing the modern sniper rifles makes me think to use those in the jungle would require a fire team with machettes just to get you down the trail.

I carried a heavy knife to cut my M16a1 out of "wait-a-minute" bushes. I would have hated to carry one of those things.

But setting up, shooting steel across a canyon they would be the cat's meow.

But you have to take into account, I'm old, lazy, and have COPD. I'll stick to my Win Featherweights for hunting.
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Old August 25, 2011, 12:02 PM   #10
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A REALLY serious deer hunter will have at least 3 deer rifles - all designed for a specific purpose. 1st, there is the "tree stand rifle". It needs to be short and light. Cousin to that is the "heavy brush gun" that may be the same type of rifle without optics. 2nd, is the "walking around or general purpose rifle". It can be a little longer and heavier than the tree stand gun but weight is still a consideration. 3rd (and not all hunters would need this but it's an excuse to buy another rifle) is the "bean field rifle". That one would't look too different than those fancy target/tactical rigs shown in the picture. The idea behind this is you have a ground or box blind overlooking a long shooting area (hence the bean field designation). With this rifle, you would be capable of reaching out to deer many hundreds of yards away.
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Old August 25, 2011, 01:01 PM   #11
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For bolt-action hunting rifles when it comes to a cost/accuracy deal, the Savage and the Tikkas seem to get the highest percentahge of favorable comments in posts.

Deer hunting? In general, if 200 to 300 yards is some sort of outer limit--and 90% of all deer are shot inside of 200 yards, from what the wildlife agency folks believe--then anything from a .243 on up to an '06 will work.

If a fair amount of "fun on paper" target shooting comes into play, the .308 is probably the least-cost plinking ammo. Some of the lower-cost ammo is reasonably accurate insofar as group size on targets.

I don't shoot any sort of competition; I'm a hunter and a casual target shooter. I reload, and do most of my own "tuning" on rifles. I've yet to have any great problem in getting my rifles to shoot inside of one Minute of Angle (1" at 100 yards, 2" at 200 yards, etc.) I thus have no interest in any of the "police" type rifles, and have no advice to offer.
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Old August 25, 2011, 01:13 PM   #12
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Being professionally obligated to keep track of such things, I've read several articles describing the 'average' police sniper shot actually taken during critical incidents. Of those, the listed averages were between 50 and 75 yards.

Of course averages are only useful if you find yourself in an average sutuation. The one time where I actually had the safety off and my finger on the go-switch, turned out to be 138 yards. Fortunately for all involved, another resolution was reached before the irreversible option was sent on its way.

I'm sure there are others with similar experiences, perhaps at longer ranges. I feel comfortable training my designated marksmen to 200 yards, with emphasis on the shorter distances and range time confirming where their rifles print within them. An awful lot of good rack-grade hunting rifles will do fine for this type of shooting.
The military use of precision fire is another animal entirely.
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Old August 25, 2011, 01:32 PM   #13
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Like some others here, I'm old and fat and cranky, but I've been there and done that with heavy rifles vs light rifles.

For my hunting, I'll carry one of three rifles, but all of them are light. Sometimes it's simply a choice of which of them is closest to the door of the gun locker.

That said, we've got some heavy-barreled Savage rifles in the family and they turn in remarkable accuracy, in the nature of a half-minute with our handloads. My sons own those rifles and they shoot them very, very well.

Unlike Kraig, I don't hunt on horseback, but a couple of years ago I invested in a Kawasaki Mule to carry me around the hunting leases. Still, I prefer my 8 lb rifles (that's loaded, with scope, sling and ammo) for hunting. Those heavy barreled Savage rifles have a very good reputation, but the sporter weight rifles aren't any slouch either. I own several, and I like them a lot.
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Old August 25, 2011, 03:12 PM   #14
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I like my two Savage 10's. But I don't walk a lot with them. I prefer the profile and look of the heavy barrels and the fact that I can shoot more rounds at the range in strings. But for hunting applications, I'm just as happy carrying my Sako or BSA or No.1 although the No.1 might be the heaviest of them all.

In my neck of the woods, rifles don't do you much good on jump shooting and stalking type hunts, that's where a good old fashioned shotgun and buckshot comes in.
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Old August 25, 2011, 04:42 PM   #15
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From 300yds in, what cartridge you use isn't that important. Any standard round from .243 on up will do fine and dandy.

.308 and .270wsm aren't different enough to make a difference under 300yds.

There a many more good rifles out there than bad. Pick the rifle that fits best.
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Old August 26, 2011, 08:45 AM   #16
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Kraig, Your a wise, but funny man.
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Old August 26, 2011, 11:35 AM   #17
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You're getting a lot of advice, and some of it's good. But...you don't need 3 rifles or even 2 rifles. Just get one good light to medium weight rifle in a caliber that's good for both target shooting and hunting. If you do envision deer hunting eventually, then anything less than 243 isn't ideal and you certainly don't need anything bigger than a 308 or 30-06. Since you don't have a rifle now, go with a light to medium recoil caliber that's got plenty of ammo on shelves of various type stores. I don't own a 243, but that'd be a good choice for you. And get a new or used and easy to clean bolt action rifle - Tikka, Sako, Ruger, Remington, Winchester, Savage - with a good variable scope. Something like a 4 to 16 power or a 4.5 to 14 power will let you easily see where your bullet hole is when you're punching paper. Keep it simple and keep it cheap (reasonable), and have some fun.
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Old August 26, 2011, 11:42 AM   #18
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kraigwy is right, Zak Smith is right, Sarge is right. Here's my simple rule of thumb:

- a hunting rifle needs to be fairly light and shoot fairly accurately, enough to hit the game pursued. This is different for elk hunters and prairie dog hunters, but too light is just as bad as too heavy. Has to fit the user's isea of "best rifle", this could mean a cheap old Savage 110 WalMart combo, or it could mean a H&H Best. Could be a Win 94, could be an Ultralight Arms, could be a Win Model 70, it's the user's call.

- Target rifles are a different breed, but have been used by the military as sniper rifles, by LE agencies as precision shooter rifles, and by hunters as varminting rifles. The rifles shown by Zak Smith illustrate the point. Specialized application, specialized equipment.

- a LE rifle is a rifle owned by a LE agency. No matter the configuration. Some LE agencies have Uzis, others have M4s, others have Rem 700s.

- If you are selling Tactical, Law Enforcement, Precision, Sniper, or Long Range rifles, you are selling a concept or an image, not a rifle.
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Old August 26, 2011, 11:47 AM   #19
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I'm going to side with 603 country on this. It's the first rifle, you're going to be using it for just about anything to begin with, so get a good mid-range rifle. I'm a fan of .308 personally but that's just from overexposure to it with the military. You don't need to get something that's too cumbersome either, just about anything with a 24" to 36" will still do you just fine out to say 300yds. Just go basic to start with, fine tune your tastes and then you'll have a better idea of what kind of a rifle shooter YOU will prefer to be.
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Old August 26, 2011, 12:26 PM   #20
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My favorite rifle- the one I use the most and it will do EVERYTHING, IMHO- is my Remington Model 7 "Mountain Lite" in .308 Win. I have a 3X9 scope on high mount rings and I often forgo it and use the sights. Loaded with scope and sling (a rifle without a sling is like a car without brakes: sure it'll go, but it won't stay still very well ) it comes in at about 8 lbs.

I put a pic of her on a "Composite vs wood stock" thread.
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Old August 26, 2011, 01:18 PM   #21
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Warrior, my Model 7 (in .260 with the 18.5" bbl) is my tree-stand gun and is sometimes used as my walking around gun. I think the Model 7 is one of the finest actions Remington ever made.
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Old August 26, 2011, 02:24 PM   #22
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I agree with Doyle. That Model 7 in 260 would be a great choice. I'd have suggested 260 over 243 as a caliber except for the more limited availability of ammo in the stores. I've got something similar in a Ruger Compact in 260, but Doyle's rifle has 2 inches more barrel than mine does, and I'd rather have that 18 1/2 inches of barrel rather than my 16 1/2 inches. And on calibers, nobody has mentioned the 7mm-08, which would be a good choice in the Model 7. And yes, you do want a rifle sling. And the 308 might even be the best choice of all if you want to be able to buy ammo anywhere on the planet, though I don't know how you feel about a tad more recoil.
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Old August 26, 2011, 08:42 PM   #23
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The Model 7's are slick little rifles and one in 7-08 would be about perfect.
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Old August 26, 2011, 08:48 PM   #24
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I have a LAR-8 that was someone else's failed project (he did a lot of upgrades that didn't mesh well). Now that I've got it working, it is a great gun out in the Texas scrub brush. I have it broke in half in a long back-pack, ammo is plentiful and cheap (I use Hornady A-max). It is a little higher than you want to spend, but it's a great rifle.
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Old August 29, 2011, 09:47 AM   #25
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I let a buddy of mine use my Model 7 and he "ringed" himself on the scope. He learned I wasn't kidding when I said "she kicks a bit..." but he loved the Model 7. He got one in .243 but I was leaning hard on him to get a 7mm-08. To be honest, I love that round (One of the most efficient "lead launchers" on the planet, IMHO.) and wanted to see how it would work in a Model 7.

Sarge, I think you are right. A 7mm-08 Model 7 might just be 'rifle perfection.'
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