View Full Version : looking for some compact hunting rifle suggestions

February 24, 2002, 12:20 PM
I was out hunting javelina yesterday (unsuccessfully). I was carrying my 30-06, which I know is too much gun, but it's all I got, and my buddy had his SKS.

The whole time I was out there I was thinking that I'd really rather have a lighter, more easily carried rifle. It was a several mile hike out to the bedding areas, over some pretty steep terrain. The whole time, the nylon sling on my rifle was digging into my shoulder. I know I should just go out and buy a padded leather sling, but I should also by a 'javelina' rifle too.

Getting out to where we were going, my rifle barrel kept getting caught in the brush that we kept having to crawl through. I was thinking that it would be nice to have a little rifle that I could either fold up or somehow easily disassembleand stick in my pack (my pack is fairly large) or tie onto the back in a way that it wouldn't stick out too much. With the terrain out here, hands-free hiking is pretty much a must. My buddy carried his SKS in his hands and had a hard time keeping his balance on the steep slopes out here.

I like my buddies SKS a lot, it has a nice feel and it's plenty accurate for javelina. But, it isn't any lighter or much smaller than my 30-06. I was poking around on the web last night and I saw that they make some folding stocks for the SKS but I also saw the the legality of putting one on is pretty confusing.

Any suggestion on other rifles? I would say that I'm a fairly cheep individual, so the $150 SKS and a $50 stock are pretty appealing, but I do realize that I may have to spend a little more to stay within the law.

Art Eatman
February 24, 2002, 01:28 PM
If your primary interest is javelina, why not just use a 6" .357? Any old Blackhawk would work just fine, among many others...

I took Long Path out, last season; he killed one with his duty pistol, a .40 S&W...

:), Art

February 24, 2002, 02:32 PM
Also I personally think that a Marlin 336 lever action in .30-.30 is a very compact rifle. It has earned its place as an american icon of hunting and they can be found used nationwide for $200. I think brand new $300 at Wal-Mart :eek:

The Terminator
February 24, 2002, 06:29 PM
A six inch 357 does sound good, and they can be had for less than many of the fancy autos on the market today. Also, the AMT in cal 30 carbine would be excellent. Ruger mad a few blackhawks in 30 carbine, I would like to have one for myself. Good luck.

February 25, 2002, 10:15 PM
Save your money and buy a Ruger, either a Mini-30 or the deer rifle in .44 mag. I've packed a Mini-14 for years and that would work, too. Cheap rifles are still cheap rifles. Good rifles are investments.

Ron L
February 25, 2002, 10:24 PM
Sounds like you need either the Marlin 1894CP in .357 or the 1894P in .44 Mag. Both only have a barrel just over 16", are very compact, and tip the scales at under 6 pounds. Winchester has a .357 and a 30-30 with just about the same dimensions.

I'm not exact about the length of an SKS as an example, but don't they weigh almost 9 pounds?

February 26, 2002, 12:47 AM
I was thinking about a lever action, but I don't know much about them. I should do a little research and learn a little more about them. How is reliability/maintaince on them? Overall lengths of under a yard would make it it a lot easier to pack in and out.

As for hadguns, what are good hunting rounds? How do autos compare to revolvers? I'm not a handgun guy either, so any information would be helpful. How much effort is it to learn to shoot a handgun welll, compared to rifle or shotgun?

Art Eatman
February 26, 2002, 07:43 AM
Fuzzy, I have a Winchester Model 94 that began life in 1902 as a .25-35. At some point it moved to Mexico and learned about rust. Somebody welded the bore, seriously plugging it. It wound up at my house.

So, a good used thutty-thutty barrel and some steel wool and WD 40 and now it goes bang quite happily. It feeds and shoots just as reliably as a much newer one that's been lying around the house.

A clue to any particular lever action, whether Winchester or Marlin, is whether they will feed and chamber a round when operating the lever slowly and without much force. You should not have to "snap" through the motion with much effort.

Pistol shooting? Instruction and practice and a certain amount of innate eye-hand coordination. I did some instruction on a 1911 for a young lady who had never before shot any pistol. By the end of the third hour she was shooting "double-taps" and getting hits some 3" apart at seven and ten yards. (Nothing like 20-year-old eyes, sez I.)

Even if you don't reload, go buy a Sierra manual. It allows you to compare all manner of cartridges' performance. Not just powder charges and muzzle velocities, but comparisons of bullets' behavior and much, much other information about such things as the effects of wind and angles of elevations.

Note my earlier comment about Long Path and his .40 S&W--which is a much lesser cartridge than a .357 Magnum.



Paul B.
February 26, 2002, 01:48 PM
Fuzzy. I'm in Tucson as well as you. I have lever actions in Winchester and Marlin you can try out if you want to, as well as a couple of other ideas.
If weight is a concern, the Winchester 94 is a bit lighter than the Marlin. Both are in 30-30. E-mail me if you're interested.
Paul B.

February 26, 2002, 08:58 PM
I'm also in the market for a compact hunting rifle. Something that's powerful, lightweight, rugged and durable which can withstand the weather elements.

I'm going to carry it when hiking, camping and hunting and would like to know that it can stop a bear.

February 27, 2002, 08:14 PM
I recommended the Rugers up above for quick pig shooting, but for levers... well, I love levers! If you are looking for an affordable big bore you can still locate the Winchester Black Shadow in .444 even though they quit making them a year or two ago. I bought a brand new one from a sporting goods store for $320. The synethic stock is hollow and you might want to fill it with foam insulation and you should also add another recoil pad, perhaps a Pachmayr decelerator. Or, you can get their Timber Carbine, wood stock and I think just a 16 1/2" barrel for a little more. Back to pigs, a Model 94 30-30 is very affordable, quick and fun to fire and plenty good for pigs. I killed my first elk with a Model 94 30-30.

February 28, 2002, 01:39 AM
I will advise getting a good used Winchester M94 lever-action rifle in either .30-30 or .25-35 :) .