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Old December 8, 2012, 09:58 AM   #1
O'smagik
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First rifle after .22

Hi. I recently got the bug. Moving back to Utah in a few months, I want to hunt deer and elk in the near future. Having very limited experience with fire arms, I bought my first rifle ( savage bolt 22) to practice fundamentals. I might be recoil sensitive, since I have never shot anything "more" than an M-16 when I was in the USAF. My main concern is developing a flinch.

I have been looking at the 308 or 30-06 since they are versatile hunting rifles. While I'm not opposed to buying a deer rifle and an elk rifle, it obviously cost less to buy just one.

So, will the jump from a .22 to a .308/30-06 be a stretch? I just dont want to develop bad habits. Also, Im 70 inches/180 pounds. Should I start with reduced recoil rounds then work up?

One more question (haha) Winchester Model 70 or Marlin XS7 for first rifle. I will keep it forever and it wont be my last.

thanks guys/gals
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Old December 8, 2012, 01:34 PM   #2
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Maybe it's a big jump, but a 30-06 or .308 with a limb saver might just be OK. Good luck
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Old December 8, 2012, 01:57 PM   #3
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Light bullets give less felt recoil.

Practice with 150 grain bullets, then use 165-180 grain bullets to hunt. (Be sure to zero your scope for the hunting bullets).

A Past shoulder pad or Limbsaver pad will help.
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Old December 8, 2012, 03:39 PM   #4
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A Winchester 70 in 30-06 would be hard to beat. From what I hear the marlin is a decent rifle as well. Get the one that feels most comfortable when you shoulder it.

Practice in short sessions to help avoid the flinch. Maybe 20 rds a day. Only shoot from the bench to sight it in, this is where you will feel the most recoil. Practice from standing, on one knee and sitting on the ground. These are positions you will need while hunting and you feel less recoil than at the bench.

Have fun doing it. Get different targets. I use clay pigeons for practice. They are small enough to be challenging and they explode when you hit them.
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Old December 8, 2012, 03:49 PM   #5
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If you plan to hunt elk you should go with the 30-06. You can mitigate recoil by buying a fairly heavy rifle and/or installing a very good recoil pad (a Weatherby Vanguard S2 weighs a lot more than a Remington M700). You can also practice with reduced charge rounds like Remington's Managed Recoil ammunition. If you will be humping up and down hills on hunts, I would avoid a real heavy rifle and practice with managed recoil rounds, then check your zero with standard charge rounds before the hunt.

If you do not mind spending the extra money, the new FN produced M70s are getting great reviews for their build quality and accuracy. The Marlin X7s are reportedly very accurate, and they are a great bargain.
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Old December 8, 2012, 06:47 PM   #6
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I vote for Winchester and no, it is not too big a leap. Just make sure you have hearing protection and a Past recoil pad or something similar. Millions of city boys learned to shoot with a 30-06 in the 40's although the O3's and Garands are pretty heavy. 150's or even 130's have much less recoil.
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Old December 8, 2012, 08:47 PM   #7
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I don't know where you are at but I'm fairly familiar with Utah and if it was only going to be one gun besides my 22 I would think about a light easy to carry quick handling gun. A Savage Scout 10FCM in .308. Iron sights or a low power fixed scope for deer hunting, chances are it would suffice for Elk, but a higher power scope if you must. A lot of Elk has been taken with iron sights and the humble 30-30. There really isn't much better than a good .308. Unless you really like taking the long shots anything bigger isn't really necessary.

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Old December 8, 2012, 09:51 PM   #8
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Killing elk doesn't require a big caliber rifle, but it does require one you can shoot well. Quite a few elk have been taken with cartridges I wouldn't try, but if your patient and disciplined enough to take the right shots then just about any rifle will do. With current bullet construction a lot of different cartridges are now capable of providing better terminal performance than ever before.

You don't have to just use the .308 or .30-06, and like others have said if recoil is a problem use a lighter bullet in the 150-165 grain range instead of 180's. I'd probably go with the Winchester M70 as well if your budget can afford it, not that the Marlin isn't a good rifle they just aren't the same class so to speak. Winchester offers a .270 Win, 7mm-08, .308, and .30-06 all of which are very versatile and adequate for elk. I'm sure the Marlin is offered in the same chamberings as well.

For chasing elk in the Utah mountains I feel the M70 FWT or Extreme weather to be the best offerings for rifle choices. I really like the FWT's but the EW is really starting to grow on me. The M70 Super Shadow will be the cheapest Winchester around $600 new. Marlins will be in the $350 price range at most places I've seen them. Don't overlook good used Winchester push feed M70's and M670 rifles they will sevice you very well and be a lot cheaper to purchase.
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Old December 9, 2012, 03:53 AM   #9
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The Winchester Model 70 is my hunting rifle. I'd recommend it to anyone.

As I've gotten older I find about 40 rounds of .30-06 is enough, more than that and my shoulder lets me know about it.

If you're worried about developing a flinch I'd suggest you get some lessons. Starting out on the right foot is going to help you more than any other choice you make.
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Old December 9, 2012, 09:19 AM   #10
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I also like the Winchester rifles, Savage makes a plethera of accurate choices also.
The main thing is pick a suitable caliber, and practice with that dude until you feel comfortable shooting at game at various distances, in various positions.
As far as a caliber goes Id start at .270 win, if elk is a possible target, and move up from that point as far as suitable calibers go. Any caliber that is suitable for elk, should also be fine for smaller game of course. And if you start to handload, the caliber you finally pick can possibly be loaded up and down for the varying size of game that you decide to go after....I also think 7mm 08, is a low recoiling option for you.
Reading literature on any guns and ammo always help a new big game hunter.
Good luck and happy shootin dude.
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Old December 9, 2012, 08:26 PM   #11
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I think .270 Winchester would be a good option. 140-160 grain bullet for what your going after. 308 is another good option, and so is the .30-06.

Recoil pad if you find that its too much. Practice with good hearing protection.
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Old December 10, 2012, 09:39 AM   #12
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I also started with .22 rifles and now have 7 of them.
When I started to acquire some larger calibers I also had some concerns about recoil.

I had some bad initial experiences with a old Springfield 1903 in .30-06 but I found out that it had more to do with the narrow steel butt pad along with poor rifle placement at my shoulder and too loose a hold.

I couldn't begin to understand rifle placement when shooting a .22LR. You really learn why it's important if you shoot a .300 Win Mag and hold it as loosely as you hold a .22LR.

Once I got rifles with good butt pads, I found that the experience was based on the rifle placement and not the caliber and my concerns went away.
I did have to learn to manage recoil so the rifle stayed on target but that just came with practice.

Noise can be as much of the problem with flinching as the actual rifle movement. Make sure you use good hearing protection so the noise won't become the factor.

After many years, I now have bolt rifles in .223, .22-250, .270, .308, and .30.06 and semi autos in 7.62x39, .308 and .30-06.
The long actions bolt rifles, .270 and .30-06, recoil the most, but the recoil hasn't been a problem even as I am getting older.

In fact, rapidly approaching 70, I am shooting as well or better than I ever have.
I guess lots of practice really nelps.
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Old December 10, 2012, 09:57 AM   #13
O'smagik
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Thanks guys, I think a good recoil pad on the butt, a PAST shoulder recoil pad, lower grain ammo, and a sweatshirt is in store.

Should I go muffs over ear plugs at the outdoor range?
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Old December 10, 2012, 10:18 AM   #14
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My 10 year old grandson shoots a .30-06 and handles the recoil just fine. If you shoot shotguns, the .30-06 recoil is roughly equivalent to 12 gauge shotgun recoil. Get a rifle that fits you, a scope with decent eye relief and tuck the rifle in before you shoot it and you will be fine. As far as hearing protection, muffs or plugs are fine, muffs over plugs to me are gilding the lilly unless you're firing artillery or something big with a nasty muzzle brake.

As far as first rifle after .22 and maybe for elk, for sure a decent bolt action 30-06 will serve you very well.
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Old December 10, 2012, 10:36 AM   #15
O'smagik
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Has the Model 70 Super Shadow been discontinued?
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Old December 10, 2012, 03:07 PM   #16
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Quote:
Thanks guys, I think a good recoil pad on the butt, a PAST shoulder recoil pad, lower grain ammo, and a sweatshirt is in store.

Should I go muffs over ear plugs at the outdoor range?
Both is better but if there aren't many shooters shooting major noise makers the muffs will be adequate.

Look at shooting vests with the padded shoulder, they are not expensive and allow you to shoot in shirt sleeves in good weather. Just make sure it fits fairly snug and it will take the sting out of the recoil bite.

Dos centavos from a dinosaur who has a couple of them and they are worth every penny I spent on them.
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Old December 10, 2012, 04:37 PM   #17
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I think that there is a fairly significant difference between 308 & 30/06 on your shoulder (& muzzle blast), and there is absolutely nothing lacking with a 308 on Elk. It's largely preference between the two cartridges, but I prefer the 308.

My son took an Elk with one shot at about 80 yards with a 308/180. He only went over one ridge and into the next ravine before going down for the count. It was a perfect shoulder shot. If the slightly reduced recoil of the 308 would let you shoot even a smidge better, then it would be the better choice.

If you handload then it's 6 of one half dozen of the other. Bullet selection and placement is everything, and more important than velocity or energy, even on Elk.
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Old December 10, 2012, 05:38 PM   #18
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May I suggest getting the Sako Model 85 bolt gun, as you first choice. Occasionally...I even flinch when shooting offhand, when shooting 22's, because I did not accept the wobble; and tried to snatch the shot. I would buy a shooting bipod/tripod shooting stick that would help in offhand and kneeling/sitting positions; and practice with them.

At the range...I stuff cotton rags {Bag of Rags that I buy from an auto parts store} and stuff them under my shirt; to mitigate the effects of recoil; or just ball up a sweatshirt between the butt stock and your shoulder.

Wear a quality set of headphones/eyepro at the range, {with calibers the like of 50 BMG, use headphones and earplugs} and possibly a good set of amplified headphone ear protection when hunting.

Shoot with both eyes open ---if you blink your eyes when you break the shot --- you have a minor flinch going --- so...keeping both eyes open, will help prevent a flinch.

Imagine your trigger finger, as its own "entity", finger "flat" on the trigger...pulling straight back from the tip of muzzle to the rear of the buttstock.

Relax your shoulders...take three deep breaths ---inhaling though your nose and exhaling though you mouth---break the shot on the third exale within six to ten seconds, if not...reject the shot; and do more breath control. If your stance is correct...you should not hit your headphones, when you bring the rifle up to your shoulder.

I do like my Sako Model 75 bolt gun in 30-06, but would prefer the M-85, because it has a better retaining magazine release button. Training with reduced recoil loads, is not a bad idea.

Last edited by Erno86; December 10, 2012 at 06:02 PM.
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Old December 10, 2012, 06:08 PM   #19
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If you are worried about recoil I would look at a semi-auto action. From my limited experience I would say moving from bolt to semi-auto reduces recoil about 15% and if there is extra weight, there usually is, another 10% is not abnormal. The action not only absorbs some of the recoil, but also spreads it out over a slightly longer period.

You can get the rifle ported or purchase a ported model. Remember, the more aggressive the porting the louder the rifle will be to those around you.

If you hold the rifle correctly a 308 out of a normal rifle should not give you a flinch. If it is hard to handle I would look into how you are holding it. A super light sporting rifle may kick a bit though.

I would try to shoot before 6 seconds b/c at that point my balance and sight begin to be effected. Not drastically until 10 seconds or so, but there is an earlier effect.

I wouldn't have anything lumpy moving around under my shirt shot to shot. There are sew on recoil pads for shirts. Many good shooters use them.
Here is an example although I am unfamiliar with this design/brand.
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Old December 11, 2012, 11:11 AM   #20
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I just saw the Model 70 or Marlin XS7 question. Between the two, I would prefer the Model 70. But I'm old and a traditionalist.
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Old December 12, 2012, 12:43 PM   #21
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First off, neither the .308 or .30-06 is a bruiser. Second the gun has to fill a need and if you're lookin at Elk either makes a great choice. You aren't gonna get much reduction in recoil from other calibers and still retain the capability you want. As for being recoil sensitive............ Man up and practice.
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Old December 12, 2012, 02:19 PM   #22
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.30-06 recoil is just not that heavy. Every American soldier in WWI and WWII trained with and shot it. It's a sporting round now and NOT a punisher. No need for limb saver, PAST, padding stuffed inside your shirt, sandbag between gun and shoulder, reduced loads or any such silliness, especially for someone 70" and 180 lbs. Tuck the rifle firmly into your shoulder and fire away. You don't even need to man up. My 10 YO grandson shoots .30-06. He's hardly a man. People need to stop thinking .30-06 recoil is anything tough to deal with. Its just not.
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Old December 13, 2012, 06:33 PM   #23
O'smagik
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Thanks for the feedback. I'm gonna go with a 30-06, and Im not gonna skimp. It's not that I was scared of the recoil...I have never shot a rifle that powerful and didnt want to develop bad habits. I was wondering when I was gonna get told to man up and stop worrying. HAHA. But, I will start with smaller loads and a shooting vest.
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Old December 14, 2012, 01:34 PM   #24
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O'smagik: make sure you come back and tell us what you got and how you like it.

Good luck
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Old December 14, 2012, 11:50 PM   #25
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I have never ever heard anyone say "This recoil pad is too soft and reduces recoil too much." I think the shooting shirt/vest isn't the best idea as it is sort of a pain. A good pad on the rifle is always there.

I use the slip-on Kick-Eez pads on a few hunting shotguns. I would not use them on a rifle as they do not fit that tightly and are not stable. There are glue on options and more expensive ones that tie on and such.

A "BAR" won't have much recoil as they are hefty and semi-auto. You said you weren't going to skimp...
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