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Old January 13, 2013, 07:43 AM   #1
GustheSig
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Which would you prefer?

Hey everyone. I was helping a buddy of mine picking out a hunting rifle. He told me originally that he wanted an AR platform for both target and hunting, but I told him that now isn't the time (not a AR buyer's market). This was confirmed with his budget of $550-800. He wants a scope, etc... I pointed him in the direction of Marlin, Savage, Ruger, etc... We went to a local gun and outfitter's store and he picked up a Howa and said he really liked it. I for the life of me had never really heard of that maker, but it was a package deal with a very nice scope, stock, and heavy barrel for around $700. The salesman told me that he has one and that it is very accurate at the range. As stated, I know nothing about Howa's, but my friend is looking for a cal in the .308 - 30-06 range. He intends to deer hunt as well as hunt out west in Col. for elk with his family. I talked him into a bolt action (this will be his first hunting rifle) and made him look at other cals. What other cals should he be looking at? He doesn't want a 300 winmag (don't really know why) and I have found him a savage 7mm mag with a thumbhole stock already out the door for $600 (no scope though). Any thoughts on calibers? Thanks.
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Old January 13, 2013, 08:15 AM   #2
Husqvarna
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if it is his first, then 308/30-06 for cheapest ammo for practise

I don't like thumbhole stocks for hunting, it affects your swing and makes the bolt maneuvering slower and not as smooth.

is the tikka t3 within budget? love mine
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Old January 13, 2013, 09:34 AM   #3
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Heavy is the right word for sure !
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Old January 13, 2013, 09:52 AM   #4
Qtiphky
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Howa is a good gun. As for caliber, I agree that 308/30-06 would be a better starting caliber. Although I personally don't own an '06, it really is one of, if not, the best all around caliber. Easy to find ammo everywhere and you can get stuff all the way down for varmints and all the way up for elk. The 308 is probably a little light, although very capable, for elk.

I own both a Howa in 22/250 and a Tikka T3 in 308 and wouldn't trade either one. Both are extremly accurate and function flawlessly.
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Old January 13, 2013, 10:33 AM   #5
hodaka
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Ruger American is getting good reviews, and including a decent scope, is well under his budget.
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Old January 13, 2013, 11:21 AM   #6
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The Howa is my choice of rifle over Savage, Remington, or any other mid grade brand. I would not recommend a heavy barrel varmint/target type rifle for general use. Too heavy and unwieldy for most game hunting. Better suited for range or fixed position varmint(prairie dog) shooting. That price is plenty high for my budget but may not be for your friend.
The Weatherby Vanguard is basically the same rifle(made by Howa) and can be found at very reasonable prices.
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Old January 13, 2013, 03:43 PM   #7
stu925
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I'd look into the Ruger American and then spend the rest of the cash on ammo so he can practice with it. I've not fired an American yet but they are getting good reviews and I have absolute confidence in Ruger and their customer service in the event of a problem. As stated a heavy barreled rifle probably will not make the ultimate hunting rifle. Both .308 Win and .30-06 are great cartridges and if he gets into reloading there is almost no job they are capable of handling (even though they may not be ideal for certain jobs).

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Old January 13, 2013, 03:54 PM   #8
Meeteetse
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Both the '06 and the .308 are great all around calibers. Don't let anyone tell you the .308 is too light or won't do the job. It is the same bullet as the '06 and will do any job short of big bears, and it has been used in Canada for everything for years. The only advantage the '06 has is above 180 grain bullet weight. I've been using the .308 since the 1960's on deer, elk, antelope, moose and black bear in the Rocky Mtn. States and never had a problem. The suggestion of the Ruger American is a good one, as are other Ruger products. Ruger is my favorite except for my Mdl. 70 Winchester which my son "permanently" borrowed.
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Old January 14, 2013, 04:09 AM   #9
GustheSig
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Yeah, I personally hunt with a .308 Browning BAR Safari. I think he is sold on the Howa though. He asked me cals first and I pointed him in the .308/30-06 direction because the ammo is cheaper if you want to target practice some, which is what he intends to do. I have told him to look at Ruger as well, though my only experience with Ruger is my customized 10/22, but I know Ruger reliability with revolvers and other rifles from friends. The Howa he wants does have the weight issue. The T3 is also a candidate and he liked the action best on it (very very smooth). He doesn't want a gun that is too light, but I think that he would find out that a lighter gun is much better when you are hiking 5 miles searching for game.
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Old January 14, 2013, 05:42 AM   #10
sourdough44
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I'd go with a 308 or a 30-06 in a standard weight. Of course he can choose what he wants.
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Old January 14, 2013, 07:27 AM   #11
GustheSig
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Absolutely, he will choose whatever he chooses. With his budget, the Howa may be the best deal. Are they reliable? As stated, I do not know much about the company.
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Old January 14, 2013, 07:58 AM   #12
jason_iowa
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Nothing in North America that a 308 is unable to do. I figure 30-06 and 308 as the same thing with 308 being lighter and cheaper. For a deer hunter howa would be fine. Its not like you need pin point accuracy for deer hunting. I know we are spoiled in Iowa with huge deer walking through our yards but we kill tons of em with shotgun slugs! If he buys a 600$ gun he is going to end up with fairly low end optics. Personally I would rather have a 300$ rifle and a 400$ scope then a 600$ rifle and 100$ scope.

The only reason I would use a 300mag or 7mm mag would be elk, sheep or the like at 600+ yards. Which is a shot I would not feel comfortable taking from an ethical stand point anyway.
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Old January 14, 2013, 11:53 AM   #13
ChasingWhitetail91
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I like the .06 or 30/30 for hunting. 30/30 has a little less kick then the 06 and depending what type of hunting your doing it will get the job done the same as a .06
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Old January 14, 2013, 12:07 PM   #14
Nathan
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FWIW, I have a Savage 12BVSS IN 300WSM with a Burris 3-12 x 50 XTR scope. Great setup for me hunting and range work. While many people will steer him away from a 10+ lb rifle, I like the accuracy prone and off an improvised rest which the weigh allows me.

So, I like the Howa or a Savage. I agree with many others that a package scope and mount are usually junk. He could sell it and get a decent mount and scope.

Given his price range though, he might be better with more of a "mountain gun" type setup of a normal sporter rifle like a Savage 10, good scope mount(TPS, Warne, EGW, Leupold, etc) and a nice 6x fixed power scope. A 280 Rem, 308 Win, 30'06 or 338 Federal would all be good calibers.
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Old January 14, 2013, 12:24 PM   #15
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The Weatherby Vanguard and Howa are built on the same action and all parts between the 2 are interchangeable. The Howa and Vanguard are both solid choices. They both however are the heaviest production rifles you will find and not my choice for an all around hunting gun for that reason. If the style of hunting does not involve lots of walking in steep terrain either would be a good choice.

The 308 is a good choice, hard to go wrong there.

Lots of good choices, Marlin XS-7, Savage, TC Venture, Remington ADL are other options to consider.
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