View Full Version : New Hunter Rifle Question

March 3, 2007, 08:36 PM
How-do! Former Marine machine gunner with a new hunter (of animals) rifle question. I know that I want a .30-06 rifle and I am trying to choose between the following makes and models and would appreciate input from anyone, specifically if you happen to own one of these particular guns:

Remington Model 700 SPS DM

Weatherby Vanguard Stainless

Savage Arms 116

That's pretty much in my order of consideration, .30-06, and I may be compelled to go with the package from Weatherby or Savage, depending on price and availability. I like the Remington mostly because I have a couple different 870 model shotguns that I really like and their 700 series rifles are what The Corps builds the M40 sniper rifle out of and I enjoyed the three times i got to utilize that weapon. I do like the Weatherby for it's price, especially the package with scope, sling and case, and that they come factory bore-sighted to 100 yards guaranteed. The Savage I know very little about but have read good reviews of from writers I admire and mostly agree with.

I cannot be talked out of a synthetic stock, no offense to the traditional wood stock guys and gals. I come from a black gun culture and am convinced of their accuracy, weather-resistance and durability.


March 3, 2007, 09:19 PM
I would pay close attention to what each rifle weighs. My Vanguard is by far the heaviest hunting rifle I own. By the end of a long day of hunting, I'm about ready to leave it out in the woods somewhere.

Here is what 3 of my rifles weigh, without scopes, rings, and bases:
--Winchester Model 70 XTR Featherweight 6 lbs 8 oz
--Browning A-Bolt 6 lbs 11 oz
--Weatherby Vanguard 7 lbs 8 oz

Hope this helps.

March 3, 2007, 09:51 PM
The Remington SPS would be my first choice. Remington makes a good rifle.

March 3, 2007, 09:59 PM
I am a Remington, fan but any of those rifles will work fine for deer. Price aside which one feels the best to you if you have a place you can handle all three?

March 3, 2007, 11:39 PM
If you like the Vanguard because of price then look for a Howa. Howa manufactures the Vanguard for Weatherby and you can find the same rifle for less than the Vanguard. If you look on gunbroker.com or auctionarms.com you can find them cheaper than at Legacy Sports.
Although Legacy is offering the Howa in a Houge synthetic stock in OD Geen and Black.

March 3, 2007, 11:46 PM
My opinion only: most accurate rifles out there. Diamonds in the rough. Don't worry about those name brands, get the one that will shoot just that tiny bit more accurate out to long ranges. Stick with the american made as well, Howa/Vanguard are Japanese I think. No need to go outside when you can something better inside.

March 4, 2007, 12:01 AM

"I like the Remington........"

Here it is:


March 4, 2007, 12:27 AM
Another vote for the Remington! I have four 700's and love them all. My father in law has a 700 ADL (predecessor to the SPS) in 30-06 and its a tackdriver.

March 4, 2007, 12:35 AM
If all three of those are in your price range, then I would go check them all out and see which one feels the best to you. The Remington 700 is a great rifle. You already know there reputation. I've never handled a Vanguard, but I've heard some good things about them. The Savage is suppose to be a real accurate rifle. I have 2 Savage model 110, but there about 15 yrs old. They look like hell, but there both accurate rifles and never had any problems with them. I like synthetic stocks as well, but I can't stand the synthetic stocks on the Savages. They feel like a Daisy BB gun to me. My choice would be the Remington, but like I said, go handle all of them and see what fits you the best.

March 4, 2007, 01:27 AM
Of the three you have listed, I'd go with the Remington 700. I'll add one more for you to think about, the Ruger M77.


I'm particularly fond of the International model with it's shorter barrel and Mannlicher-style stock. I know full-length stocks are known to have warping problems as the humidity fluctuates, but they're just so darned pretty.

Your desire to go with a .30-06 is, IMHO, right on the money. Probably the most versatile centerfire rifle cartridge ever invented. Small wonder that it's still so popular after over a century. :)

March 4, 2007, 08:41 AM
+1 on the Remington. You'll never regret it and you'll get good resale if you ever need to.

I have a 700ADL in 30-06 with a cheap scope. I paid $250 for it used two weeks ago and I saw its twin (in .270) at a flea market for $375. Bargains are out there, you just have to look for them.

March 4, 2007, 03:04 PM
Everyone has given me a whole lot to think about, thanks very much to all! I have until June, July at the latest to research, shop around and choose. Having handled none of the rifles mentioned in my initial post, except the M40 Marine Corps variant (which is as much like a stock manufactured rifle as a 1974 Pinto is to a 1974 Corvette), I am now onto the next stage; shopping around and getting my mitts on a all of the models I can.

Thanks again. This entire questions has arisen because I have an opportunity to rifle hunt this next Deer/Bear season in NY State and we have only shotgun, muzzle-loader and bow seasons here in NJ. I look forward to my search! I will surely post and let all know what I get.

Please, keep the input coming, I will update this thread on my progress.

March 4, 2007, 03:58 PM
I'd have to go with the 700 but all 3 are solid choices. In my opinion the savage is the leased attractive but potentionally most accurate of the three if you go with the accu trigger! By the way, I'd have a gunsmith do a trigger job on any rifle I buy. Don't skimp on glass! You don't need to spend more than 400.00 or 500.00 (leupold) or less than 150.00 to 200.00 for any of a bunch good scopes. Trust me on this , you will love your rifle and shoot it more often with a good scope on it than you would otherwise. Good luck and good hunting.

March 5, 2007, 10:09 AM
All are good rifles but the one advice I can give you is to get out and handle each one. Find the one you like instead of letting other people pick the rifle that you will shoot. Don't limit yourself to only three rifles. Go to a good gun shop and tell them you are looking for a rifle in 30-06 and you're not sure which one. They will be happy to show you and let you handle all the 30-06 rifles they have. If they are not then don't buy the rifle from them. Find the one you like and get it. Buy it early so you're very comfortable shooting it when hunting season comes around. I just don't understand how someone could hunt with a rifle they are not familiar with.

March 5, 2007, 12:30 PM
I have a 30-06 Remington 700 CDL. The trigger can be easily adjusted down to 3 pounds. My stock trigger breaks like glass. Also, the R3 recoil pad that comes with it makes for very pleasurable shooting. I can shoot 3-4" groups at 200 yards with it...nice accuracy for hunting. Put a nice scope on it....it deserves it!

March 5, 2007, 01:18 PM
I thank all, once again, for excellent advice. I had initially narrowed the list down to those three rifle variants because of cost, for the most part. I have also looked at the Mossberg 100 ATR series and Howa/Sako lines since my initial research began. The Ruger M77 someone suggested is out of my price range, as are most of the top of the line Rem 700 series rifles. I've also discovered Remington's new package line, the 710 or 770 series. Have not acquired enough info on any of those, yet.

I would certainly not trade with anyone who showed no interest in helping me shop, nor would I buy a rifle outright for price alone. I also wouldn't necessarily avoid an 'ugly' rifle since, as I've said, I come from the black gun culture of the military and a 'form follows function' ideology.

NY Season begins the end of October and I will buy by late June/early July at the latest to have all summer and into September to test various loads, sight the rifle in, re-learn various shooting postures, etc.

Thanks again, very much!

March 5, 2007, 06:14 PM

The Remington is a beautiful rifle, but the trigger is heavy; you will do well to get work done on it. The Savage is kinda like the school janitor that no one knew could solve advanced, super calculus equations. Amazing accuracy and beautiful trigger, especially the accu-trigger. Usually 1" groups right out of the box. But I do find that that they tend to rust quicker than more expensive weapons, so maybe that's where the price savings comes into play.

April 7, 2007, 08:16 PM
Scrap, I missed your post somehow but can't tell you on how many levels I appreciate it! First off, while I am no Good Will Hunting, I am a high school janitor here in NJ and the kids, and I'm sorry to say some of the teachers, are always amazed at the depth and breadth of my knowledge. I've somehow become a sought after guest speaker for History classes!

I will add your post to all the advice I've gotten! Thanks!

April 8, 2007, 01:12 AM
If you're going to buy a Remington, stick with the model 700. Avoid the 710. I don't know anything about the model 770. Anyway, the model 700 is what you want.

The SPS is a good value. I like the new stock on the SPS. Remington rifles are accurate enough to merit good glass, so don't scrimp on the scope.

April 8, 2007, 06:41 PM
All good choices. You're not gonna go wrong.

But for heaven's sake, get a WOOD stock! ;) Truthfully, the Remington has the least objectionable-looking plastic stock, and that's a good rifle - probably your best choice.

If you DO go with the Vanguard, then you ought to get the "Vanguard" that's $150 cheaper, AND has the better-looking Hogue stock as well: http://www.legacysports.com/products/howa/howa_hogue.html That Hogue stock on the Howas is pretty decent & grippy.

If you like buying American, get Rem or Savage.

And don't get a package deal - the scope & rings are lame-o, and you'll probably end up replacing them anyway with something better. So waste of money. And the process of purchasing & installing scope & rings will help you learn something about your rifle along the way.

Don't get the 770 Rem - egad man! Frem, the 770 is a re-package of that abomination, the 710.

Stick with your 3 choices, or Howa, or Stephens, or the Mossberg "4x4" rifle (not the ATR100):

The Savage is kinda like the school janitor that no one knew could solve advanced, super calculus equations.

I like that. :) Savage=Good

You ain't missing anything on the Ruger, so don't sweat that.

April 9, 2007, 10:13 AM
Question: how long of a barrel are you getting?

I like the synthetic for new york, where I hunt it's mad brushy and swampy, Verry good call, my only thought is you're going with a longer range rifle, nothing wrong with that, last season 2 or the 4 guys I was with had 700's. But have you thought about getting a brush gun?

Alot of guys from my area(southern edge of Adirondack park) us either 7600 or 7400's. Carbines are nice for the brushy areas, and quick follow up shots... just all round nice guns for the shorter ranges out to a couple hundred we encounter, usualy 20-50 yards though...

just my .02

Art Eatman
April 9, 2007, 10:54 AM
Since around 1970 I've hunted with a 26"-barrelled '06. I've hunted in some pretty thick cover, from time to time. I never saw where the barrel length created any problem. Nor did life seem better in the brush when toting my 19" .243. IMO, barrel length is an over-rated issue, aside from weight.

Some years back I meddled with a plain vanilla 700; the trigger was readily adjustable. I have a 700ti; the trigger is quite nice. It's no Canjar, but it's plenty good, at just under three pounds; crisp and clean.

From these last several years of reading here and at THR, there aren't any flies on the Savage rifles, insofar as accuracy. Folks speak highly of the Accu-Trigger. They sound like a helluva deal for the money.

Lotsa plenty good scopes in the $200 range. Brand doesn't really seem to matter, at least for 99% of all hunters.

Scope mounts and rings? I've used Weaver or Weaver-type since 1950. It's not that they're any better than others, but they work just fine. So do the Leupold and the Conetrol. The Conetrols are among the slickest looking, for aesthetics.


April 22, 2007, 11:52 PM
A great many thanks to all. Off to the scrapyard later today to sell off some copper, aluminum and brass I have collected and then over to Harry's Army/Navy on Rte. 130 in Yardville, NJ, to purchase a NIB remaindered Dale Earnhardt 2004 limited edition Remington 700 ADL in .30-06! I really wanted a stainless model but, priorities being as they are, it'll have to wait. I'm sure this gun will give me good service and not be the last bolt action rifle I purchase. Always satisfied with Remington.

My plans for that glaring number 8 in shocking white on the butt stock are, either a light sand job and then Krylon Fusion camo paint (or) just buy the replacement Remington 700 synthetic stock in Realtree 3D from Cabela's.

Next trip to the Cabela's Hamburg, PA, store I'll check out some scopes and rings. Thanks again, mightily, to all who have given of their time and experience here. I will post pictures of the rifle after I assemble all it's components and hopefully be able to post some hunt pics as well.

April 23, 2007, 12:03 AM
Dude, dude, dude! No, some peeps will pay good money for that Earnhardt stuff. By all means leave it, sell the rifle after next hunting season for a tidy sum from a NASCAR fan, and then get exactly what you want, and have money to boot. Covering that number 8 would be a silly act of intentionally degrading the value, seems to me. But good choice in the Rem!

April 23, 2007, 12:25 AM
I will likely just get the replacement 700 stock and avoid the hassle of painting the Earnhardt. Who knows, it may be up for sale here soon!

April 23, 2007, 04:40 AM
You can get a replacement stock pretty cheap. I put a Boyd's Ross thumb hole stock on my winchester for half the price of a replacement from factory.
Check out some online sales/auctions for the exact stock. You will be surprised how many are available.
I am happy with my stock and wanted the thumbhole shooting style anyway.

Good luck and lets see some pics when you get it together.


April 26, 2007, 12:08 AM
I have made a pre-firing decision; I really like the way the Earnhardt stock mounts up when I shoulder it. I am going to test fire the rifle, sans scope (see more on that next paragraph), with some American Eagle 150-Grain FMJ rounds I purchased the day I picked the rifle up, probably at about fifty yards, to feel how the gun is when firing. If it feels good I will likely just cover the butt stock number 8 with an elastic bullet band. Because....

I am thinking of getting one of the Cabela's Alaskan Guide series rifle scopes, possibly Model #IH-711147, 3.5-10 x 44, and it is about $270 + shipping, rings included. Any input from anyone on this particular scope or the Alaskan Guide series in general? I have always been satisfied with Cabela's products and the service behind them.

Thanks, always, for the info and expertise!

May 7, 2007, 11:51 PM
Went to the club last Friday and, pre scope, fired twelve rounds of 158 Grain FMJ in four evenly spaced groups of four shots each to get a feel for the rifle. What a fine piece of killing machine i have purchased! At 35 yards I made paper every time but got nothing of a group without the scope. Really like the action and the trigger is fine for me as I was first trained on and am entirely used to military rifles and shotguns.

Will report further when the scope arrives.