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Old October 22, 2013, 02:40 PM   #1
chewie146
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Production All-Around Gun

So I'm posing the question for you all about an all-around gun. I know this has been beat to death, and I don't know if my criteria exist in a given weapon. I want a light-weight rifle that will handle everything from coyotes to black bear, but has the ability to be fur-friendly with appropriate loads for coyotes.

I don't care if it's lever, bolt, or pump, but I'd like a repeater. Semis are out due to the price (somewhat) and the weight (mostly). I'm looking at shooting out to approximately 150 yards with said gun. My proposed budget is in the budget office (my wife) of approximately $650. The ability to mount an optic is not necessary, but iron sights are a must.

I know from the looks of things a .30-30 would work ok, but the fur-friendly part is difficult for me to determine. I don't know if I could find a load that would work.
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Old October 22, 2013, 02:50 PM   #2
Brian Pfleuger
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Seems like the answers would be the same as they are in the other all-purpose rifle thread.

Black bear aren't that big or hard to kill. Varmint bullets are available in (at least) .308 caliber and down.

.243Win, 7mm-08, 6mm Rem, 6.5 Creed, .270Win, .260Rem, 6.5x284 etc, etc.

Pick the one you like the best for whatever reasons you like it, because they'll all work and it really doesn't matter.

Savage's Lightweight Hunters all weigh 5.5-6lbs.
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Old October 22, 2013, 03:28 PM   #3
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A Marlin 336 in .35 Remington would be hard to beat! If you handload you can use the .357 magnum bullets for varmints!

I know they arent as flashy as the "magnum" bolt rifles of today, but I love mine.

Another suggestion would be a gunsite scout, but thats north of your price range.
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Old October 22, 2013, 04:06 PM   #4
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My Uncle successfully used his old pre-war model 1894 Winchester chambered for 25-35 for coyotes to black bear which is a pretty weak cartridge in comparison to the .243 , .257 Roberts , 25-06 , .260 Rem , 6.5 Creedmore , etc. ! All these cartridges could easily be chambered in a light weight bolt action and be very comfortable to shoot ! I own a .243 bolt action and it really shines for dual purpose use from my experience !
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Old October 22, 2013, 04:09 PM   #5
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Not many options in bolt guns with factory supplied irons. There is a reason for that. Iron sights could be added for about the same cost as a decent scope, but a scope, if chosen wisely does everything better. A low powered variable 1-4X20 or 2-7X32 is faster for close shots than irons and more accurate at distanace. Works better in low light. You can't shoot what you can't see and a scope does wonders in low light. A decent quality scope, something in the $200+ range, will be more rugged and reliable than irons. I've had more iron sights fail than decent optics.

That is the way I'd go, but if you insist on irons I'd pick a decent bolt gun and pay for them to be installed. Don't settle on a gun just because it does not come with iron sights. There are lots of options in $300-$400 bolt rifles and you will get a lot more gun for the money with a bolt rifle.

Any of the options mentioned by Brian work, but either 243 or 308 win for me simply because of ammo availibility. 243 is darn near perfect for deer and smaller, but with better bullets will work on game up to elk and black bear. The 308 is a bit much for varmits, but will work. It is more than adequate for anything in North America. Both shoot flat enough for long range work as well.

In your shoes I'd spend $350 on a Ruger American in 308 or 243. Pay a gunsmith $100-$150 or so to add decent iron sights and later put a decent low powered scope on it for around $200. The Rugers are just over 6 lbs, will be under 7 lbs with a scope on it. That is lighter than lever action 30-30's unscoped and will outperform it in every way. It will be cheaper too.
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Old October 22, 2013, 04:31 PM   #6
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Hm... missed the part about irons.... that makes life tougher.

There are examples but I'm not sure they come in under your budget, NIB.

Ruger Guide gun, Savage Hog Hunter, CZ makes one, and Rem 700.
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Old October 22, 2013, 04:36 PM   #7
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Hog hunter looks interesting! Oddly, I hadn't seen that one. .308, open sights, and the ability to take a suppressor, when that budget becomes a reality. That would do. However, what bullets are you all using in the bigger calibers that aren't making coyotes into hamburger. I also don't want to drop $.50-$.75 on a projectile that will be used on coyotes, just so it doesn't expand.
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Old October 22, 2013, 04:43 PM   #8
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I recently ran across a SA Savage 11 270 WSM with irons on it, NIB and everything I never knew they made such, I made them an offer on it and left with it for $450. The WSM is too fast to be an all arounder but the Savage rifle would be great for that in 308, 7mm-08 or 6.5 Creedmore.
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Old October 22, 2013, 04:48 PM   #9
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"In your shoes I'd spend $350 on a Ruger American in 308 or 243. Pay a gunsmith $100-$150 or so to add decent iron sights and later put a decent low powered scope on it for around $200. The Rugers are just over 6 lbs, will be under 7 lbs with a scope on it. That is lighter than lever action 30-30's unscoped and will outperform it in every way. It will be cheaper too."

This.
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Old October 22, 2013, 05:07 PM   #10
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Mossberg MVP or believe it or not you could actually build an AR-15 from Palmetto State Armory for right around what you are looking to spend. 5.56 might not be enough oomph to take a Black Bear though. I don't know much about them other than they are easier to kill than most think.

One thing I'd add is don't overlook the used racks at your local pawnshops and gunstores. Lots of value in used firearms.

Last edited by ripnbst; October 23, 2013 at 12:04 PM.
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Old October 22, 2013, 07:27 PM   #11
chewie146
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The only two problems are that the 5.56 is illegal for bear in NM (24 or larger), and there are no local pawn shops. So, it's gunbroker, internet gun stores, or a trip to Albuquerque. I may poke around down there this holiday season. I'm not against used, it's just that there is not one single gun shop in town. The real estate is too expensive.
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Old October 22, 2013, 07:40 PM   #12
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Rlott, I hadn't thought of that option, either. The Ruger American would be an option. Ruger makes a good product, and I don't think I'd wear the rifle out any time soon. Enough to sight in + enough to kill yotes and whatever else I manage to call in.
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Old October 22, 2013, 08:15 PM   #13
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Ok chewie146, here is your solution.

Remington model 700 BDL .25-06, a new one should be close to your budget, but a used one shouldn't be too hard to find.

It has iron sights

It should be light enough without a scope

75-90 grain varmint/predator bullets

120 grain for black bear

Or a 100 gr Barnes TSX would work great for both.

Great deer cartridge too

Edit: I should add that if you turn the velocity down a little on those coyote loads and choose a bullet that won't explode on impact, you will be "fur friendly"
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Last edited by steveNChunter; October 22, 2013 at 08:24 PM.
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Old October 22, 2013, 08:21 PM   #14
chewie146
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I suppose it wouldn't hurt to expand the family -06 family. .270, .30-06, and then a .25-06. Would it do as well or better than a 6mm for yotes?
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Old October 22, 2013, 08:32 PM   #15
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See the edit on my last post.

The .25-06 is very popular with the long range 'yote hunting crowd. I would consider it every bit as good as the .243/6mm for coyotes.

For deer it's one of the best

It's been used for Black bear with great success, as well as elk.
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Old October 22, 2013, 09:21 PM   #16
Brian Pfleuger
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Production All-Around Gun

.25-06 is my third favorite cartridge.
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Old October 22, 2013, 09:57 PM   #17
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I would say something in 6.5mm either swede or creedmore would do the trick but swede would be better. I good flat tip/round nose travelling nice and slow would be good for fur hunting and I've killed black bear with 6.5 jap out of a carbine so I have no doubt that either of these 6.5s has the capacity to kill black bear with a good 140gr bullet.

as for gun that is a bit trickier. I know ruger number 1 single shots used to come in it so that would make a great lightweight gun but you probably want something with a little better capacity so I'm guessing a ruger M77 would be a great lightweight gun to work with if you can find one in 6.5.
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Old October 22, 2013, 11:18 PM   #18
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.35 whelen. Don't kick hard, can get a handi rifle single shot and it wont cost much, good out to 150, will kill anything, AND its legal for primitive rifle season (here at least). Decent scope and rifle will be well under your budget. Buddy of mine picked up a .308 handi with leo scope for $450.

Meh...just reread the fur friendly part...6.5 is where I'd look then. Maybe in a swede mauser...
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Old October 22, 2013, 11:31 PM   #19
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Buy an old 700 or 78 Remington, cut it off at 20" and have the front sight remounted. Both of mine are 30-06's and I wouldn't have anything else for the purposes you stated.
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Old October 23, 2013, 09:11 AM   #20
chewie146
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I've never shot any of the 6.5s, but those are worth looking in to. What's the advantage of a 6.5 over a .24 caliber? Is it for the better knockdown on a bear, or is it simply the characteristics of the round itself?
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Old October 23, 2013, 09:55 AM   #21
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I have a remington model 7 chambered in 7-08 and it is becoming my favorite rifle. Its lightwieght and short and has factory open sights. I have a leopold 2x7 mounted on it.

Right now it is sighted in for 120gr sierra bullets because a 15 year old girl has been using it on a youth hunt. These are reduced loads that are easy for her to shoot. I have heavier loads for it also.

These are a little hard to find now but they still show up on gunbroker and would serve for what you are looking for.

Good luck with your search.
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Old October 23, 2013, 10:26 AM   #22
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The advantages of the 6.5mm over the .243" (aka 6mm) is the 6.5mm across the board has higher BC bullets giving them less drift, less drop, and higher retained energy at range. In addition to that it has the typical advantages of a larger caliber in that it makes a larger wound throughout and can use higher bullet weights where the 243 cals effectively max out between 90-100gr (rifling limited) almost all 6.5s will handle 160gr bullets should you need such a javelin.
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Old October 23, 2013, 10:59 AM   #23
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While the 6.5s will by the very laws of physics typically shoot heavier bullets, there's a bit of intentional bias in that statement.

Few 243s are limited to 90gr bullets. Most will shoot bullets of 100 or 105gr. Hodgdon's data is listed with a 1:10 twist for Hornady 105gr A-Max, which is a pretty long bullet. 1:10 is very typical for a .243/6mm gun.

If you look at the 6.5s, they very often have twist rates as high as 1:7.

Comparing apples to apples, a 1:7 (or even 7.5) .243 will shoot 115gr bullets with BCs in the mid to upper 0.5s, even the 105gr VLDs are in the low-mid 0.5s. Most .243s will shoot them. While they may exist, 160gr 6.5mm bullets are far from the norm. Typically, you see 140/142gr max. The BCs are in the high 0.5s, occasionally very low 0.6s.

Those heavy bullets need the same 7.5 or so twist to stabilize that a .243 needs to stabilize the 115gr.

Point being, the real world weight spread is probably more like 25gr rather than 70 and the difference in BCs is probably 0.05-0.07 or so, at most.
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Last edited by Brian Pfleuger; October 23, 2013 at 11:05 AM.
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Old October 23, 2013, 11:15 AM   #24
chewie146
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Man, this is a lot of information to digest. I've never been a "rifle guy." They were necessary tools. My passion was always handguns. However, with my recent ventures into extending my hunting season past the typical 2 for New Mexico, I'm starting to appreciate rifles a bit more. I sure appreciate all the input.

This, as you may have noticed, is not a gun I desperately need, but I want this kind of setup. The .270 will probably be my coyote gun through the winter, unless a phenomenal deal comes my way. Next summer is probably my timeline. Saving hides is not something I have to do, and I have no problem making a mess with the ole 700 in .270.
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Old October 23, 2013, 12:05 PM   #25
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Chewie, I see a business opportunity then if there are literally no gun sellers in your area.

Can be tough to find aside from online but .260 REM is growing in popularity and it's a cartridge I really like.
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