View Full Version : I can't take it anymore I need a rifle

July 12, 2007, 03:45 PM
At the beginning summer my plan was to save up for a low grade AR-15. Being a college student i realized I couldn't afford one :(. Once again I've got that itch and have to get something. I have $300 to spend and I'm just looking for something to take to the range that'll group 2" at 100 yds. Suggestions?

July 12, 2007, 04:02 PM
I have $300 to spend and I'm just looking for something to take to the range that'll group 2" at 100 yds. Suggestions?

Ouch. That's a tight budget.

You can TRY a Mosin-Nagant... a good specimen costs as much as a poor specimen (~$80-$100), but you get to inspect the rifle before buying. My Mosin Nagant 91/30 will shoot a 5-shot 3" group with new retail 7.62x54R Sellier & Bellot ammo... but then again, my $1200 M1A scout will only shoot a 2.5" group with new retail Federal .308 FMJ ammo with iron sights and me holding the danged thing.

You can bang away with a mosin and 500 rounds of surplus combloc ammo for well under $200 out the door though. If you want more premium ammunition, it is available for about $15/20rds.

And, you could save your money for something a bit nicer and more accurate later on, but still have a very effective boomstick in your beginner's arsenal.

July 12, 2007, 04:15 PM
I guess I would be going a little over but would anyone recommend a K98 over a mosin? I was also thinking of looking for a .22. I'm not really into that caliber but its cheap and at least i'll be shooting something. I'd like to wait but I don't see me being able to put much money away (paying for college) for a couple years.

July 12, 2007, 04:19 PM
Unless you want that shoulder thump and boom why not get a .22 or .17

You can get a good one with a good scope for under your $300 budget

They practically give the ammo away, compared to other calibers

Most will fit your grouping requirements

You're going to want one eventually anyway

July 12, 2007, 04:24 PM
In general, a K98 or a British SMLE or a Schmitt-Rubin K31 or a Springfield 1903 or any of a host of bolt action battle rifles will shoot a bit tighter than your typical Mosin. If the Mosin shoots 5" with surplus, then the others will shoot 3-4" with their surplus ammo. Part of that's the ammo, and part of it's the gun.

But the 91/30 will only cost you $100, whereas the others will set you back $250 at a minimum, maybe even $350.

But milsurp battle rifles are the best place for you to get an iron-sighted bolt action rifle in your budget, IMO. You can look at a Stevens bolt action, but I'm not sure if you'll find one with irons on it.

Another option is a Marlin 30-30 lever gun. Those run about $275-$325, depending on your neck o' the woods. My first rifle was a Winchester 94 in 30-30, bought used for $125.

July 12, 2007, 04:53 PM
I don't know what your experience is with rifles and how much recoil and noise you can take. A .17 or .22 rimfire is a great place to start to learn how to shoot a rifle or even a air rifle for that matter. Learn the mechanics of shooting before moving on to the larger calibers with more noise and noticable recoil. You don't want to start off on the wrong foot and learn bad shooting habits right away.

If you want a larger rifle to start stay with a .20-.22 calibers to start with. Rifles like the .204 Ruger, .223 Rem and .22-250 will have a lot more report but the recoil isn't very noticable for a novice rifle shooter. I think Savage Stevens in a bolt action would be a good rifle to start with for under $300. H&R builds a single shot break action rifle for a few dollars less than the Savage and you might be able to mount a scope and stay under $300 for your first rifle as well.

July 12, 2007, 04:58 PM
If you are willing to go used and willing to spend some time hitting the beat there are all kinds of bargains to be found. The budget is very tight if you are looking to add quality optics in at that price. I usually recommend ElPaso Weavers to the tightly budgeted people.

July 12, 2007, 05:04 PM
NEF Cheap , accurate , reliable and they come in a buncha calibers

July 12, 2007, 05:15 PM
I'll sell ya a swede 96 for that delivered, and you wont find my guns that will group better than that....


July 12, 2007, 05:18 PM
I'd take the Swede myself if I didn't just blow my rifle fund. WA, if ya hide one in the back of the store I'll take it around Christmas.

July 12, 2007, 05:58 PM
So after thinking about it for a couple hours I think I'll have to go with .22LR. I've been shooting .17 and .22 since I was little so I'm kinda bored by small-bore(haha) but I can't say no to the price of .22 cartridges. What do you guys think about .22 Trainers? I think they're cool but don't know anything about their accuracy. Any recommendations for a good synthetic stock .22? (I just like the look of synthetic better)

July 12, 2007, 06:01 PM
The Savage rimfires come with synthetic stocks, as do the 10/22s (:barf:). The CZ Trainers I assume that's what you meant by trainer, are decent rifles. Fairly accurate, reliable and relatively inexpensive.

July 12, 2007, 06:16 PM
1. New NEF Handi Rifle
2. New Rossi Single Shot
3. New Stephens 200
4. New Mossberg ATR
5. K31
6. Used Savage 10/110/11/111/12/112

Those are your best bets. Option #3 might come in just a smidge over $300 with tax. I assume you have a separate budget for base, rings, scope, & ammo, right? If you do not, then I'd look seriously at options #2 or #5 with iron sights, or option #6 with a scope already mounted.

Caliber, take your pick. If you want to hunt, get a .243, .270, or .30-06. If not, get a .223 rem.

If you go with a .22lr, then get a CZ 452 if you want to spend $250-$300, or get a Marlin or Savage if you want to spend more like $200 or less. Or, for around $200, get a Savage or Marlin in .17 HMR, to extend your range a bit.

July 12, 2007, 06:37 PM
Get a Marlin 60 and save what's left over for a AR when you can save up $500.00 for a used AR,or $700.00 for a new AR. you can always use a .22 so it won't be a waste .:D however you can forget about 100 yards with a 22. a 1896 6.5 Sweed is an excellant choice .

July 12, 2007, 06:47 PM
Thanks FirstFreedom. I think I like the Stevens Model 200 in .223 the best. Seeing BigFatts post, the 10/22 does make me cringe but you guys have any suggstions for any low budget semi-autos and how close in accuracy will they be to the Model 200?

July 12, 2007, 06:48 PM
Oh yeah...for the 96 swede, it takes 6.5x(something) swede if I'm not mistaken. Will that cartridge be expensive to shoot?

July 12, 2007, 07:18 PM
Yeah, 6.5x55mm is going to be a bit more ammo cost than say, .223, or for that matter, .30-30, .270, or .30-06.


Semi-autos? You're not going to get very far looking for a semi-auto under $300, except for rimfires. A Rem 597 semi-auto in .17 HMR might be interesting though. Would probably closer to $400+ though.


Well, you can get a Saiga in 7.62x39 or .223 for $280 +- plus tax, but you forfeit some accuracy & ergonomics to get it. Won't be nearly as accurate as a 200 Stephens. The Stephens should do sub-2MOA groups out of the box with good ammo. The Saiga will likely do closer to 4-5 MOA, give or take, with good ammo.

I'd stick with the plan to stick with the 200 in .223, if I were you, or maybe a rimfire, if you want $$ left over for ammo, scope and such. :)

July 12, 2007, 07:23 PM
Oh yeah...for the 96 swede, it takes 6.5x(something) swede if I'm not mistaken. Will that cartridge be expensive to shoot?

Uusally are $16 per box of 20 for cheaper ball (Croatian).

No Savage/stevens you can get will group better than a swede :)

I like converting folks to the Swede cult


July 12, 2007, 08:54 PM
You can't go wrong with this one! Cheap! Dependable, and you can use it forever!

Ruger 10/22 with a folding stock. I have one just like this and it goes camping, hiking when not hanging on the wall here at the house. I just use the 10 round mag. Enough for most needs!


July 12, 2007, 09:06 PM
I gots one of dem (10/22). It's accurate and fun, but on the flip side it feels like a toy with the aluminum action and beech stick with plastic buttplate. I wish I got a 77/22 or a CZ or a Mossy "T" or a Golden....instead. Well, at least I don't draw attention at the range. It's practical if nothin else. It ain't easy being a gun snob.

July 12, 2007, 09:16 PM
I think my best bet is the Stevens Model 200 in .223. Relatively cheap ammo, decent accuracy and I like the looks. Now I just ave to do some shopping around:)

July 12, 2007, 09:18 PM
Good choice

July 12, 2007, 09:19 PM
A saiga should do better than 4-5" at 100 yards. My SKS will do 4" with wolf ammo and iron sights, so I would expect more from the saiga considering how many stories I've heard about their accuraccy.

I think a .22 is a great place to start, and they can reach out to 100 yards without too much trouble. I would suggest one with iron sights so that you can add a scope later if you want. It's hard to add iron sights later because you bought a gun that didn't have them.

The urge to get a centerfire is a strong one, I know, but think about it: You can only afford a bottom-of-the-barrel centerfire bolt-action, and after that you'll NEED a scope and you'll spend MUCH more money on ammo and get far fewer rounds for it. I'm not knocking stevens/mossberg/savage, they make nice guns, but if you want a good target rig, you need to commit to it.

My suggestions are as follows.

1. Marlin 925 bolt-action: mine has a wood stock, but you can order a synthetic stock from marlin for about 60 bucks (I think). This thing is probably the most accurate thing I own. It is a wonderful gun, and even if you must have a new stock, you'll still be able to afford a scope for 300 bucks (barely). I think most marlins have good accuraccy, and I wouldn't hesitate to try another model, but this one was the only one I have first-hand experience with.

2. Savage MkII bolt-action: A friend of mine has one, and we shoot it against my marlin whenever he comes over. A very accurate gun considering the $100 or so price tag, and comes with a synthetic stock standard. Not QUITE as accurate as my marlin, but nothing to scoff at. My only complaint is that the stock feels a tad cheap. However, you'll have money left over for a nice scope and lots of ammo and targets.

3. Remington 597 semi-auto: The same friend mentioned above used to shoot his 597 against my 1022, and it won every single time. I wish he'd scoped it before he sold it (reliability issues) so I could have seen what it was really capable of. He bought his for $130.

July 12, 2007, 09:44 PM
I like the Savage Mk. II also, especially the version with the thumbhole-type stock. I think my best bet is too shop around local gun stores and pawn shops and see which one is cheaper. As fair as accuracy which do you guys think will be better at 100yds, the Stevens Model 200 or the Savage Mk. II...on a side note aren't they almost the same company or something?

July 12, 2007, 09:51 PM
Lookit, the Mark II in .22 could very well be just as inherently accurate; but it certainly won't SEEM as inherently accurate to you when shooting at 100 yards, because .22 bullets will be thrown off by any little wind much, MUCH more than a .223 at that range, due to them taking so much longer to reach the target (the wind has more time to act on them). And if it's an inconsistent/shifting wind (as it usually is), then that means large/bad groups.

Plus, you have to adjust your sights a LOT to hit dead on at 100 with a .22 lr (perhaps even beyond the adjustment range of stock iron sights). Again, if you're going to get a rimfire, and want to shoot at 100 instead of 50 yards, then I'd get a .17 HMR, not a .22lr. 50 yards is the "standard" range at which .22lr guns are usually shot and compared, for good reason.

rugerdude, I'll concede that it's certainly possible that a Saiga will do better than 4 or 5 MOA, so you're right. In any event, still likely 1 to 1.5 MOA "behind" what a Stephens will do, given same ammo. Definitely good enough for government work, but the OP is asking about fairly good precision.

July 12, 2007, 09:52 PM
I have a stainless 10/22 I'm going to put on a folder.......NICE!!!!:)

They just cost a little more!


July 12, 2007, 10:02 PM
Oh, I definitely know that the .223 i smore accurate at 100 yds. I guess I wasn't clear enough, I meant by comparison. But that aside I think the Stevens is calling me. I've never owned my own firearm but have been shooting frequently since I was a kid so I have the basics down. I think a Stevens in .223 is the ticket. While the .223 cartridge costs a bit more I think its a little more versatile.

July 13, 2007, 12:34 AM
I'm surprised to see nobody has recommended the autoloading SKS / 7.62x39...:eek:

It certainly fits the bill here.
Autoloader. Good price. Cheap ammo. :D

July 13, 2007, 04:03 AM
Yeah, but accuraccy is a problem. I can shoot my yugo from a bench all day long and get 4" groups with cheap ammo. It might do better with nicer ammo, but then you're no paying a LOT more for ammo that won't get it to 2 MOA anyway.

July 13, 2007, 02:46 PM
Yep, for that price range, Saiga in .223. Plus, when you get your AR later, it will share the same ammo, and you get the same ballistics now. :)

July 13, 2007, 03:01 PM
Old school I guess! I still like the .22 for the first rifle. Thats what I started with and I still love them. My eys's are getting slow and old. I can still hit the bottom of a soda can on the 100 yard line. Open sites. +4" at 50 yards and spot on at 100... That's with my ruger 10/22..... Just need to know what your shooting!

We live in the High Desert here in New Mexico. That is where the Critters are . Your lucky if the rabbit lets you get 50 yards.



July 13, 2007, 03:41 PM
Good Point:

My model D SKS looks like a peace of Scatta! It shoots consistent 5" open sites at 100 yards. With my eyes not doing so well I think I may go with an Aperture sites.

That's the one I want the T-6 stock for. Not bad for a Chines Knock off of a real weapon! I don't know what you would pay for one now days? When the stock gets here I will dissect it and see if it's Pinned barrel or thread. I can just keep them in a six inch black! Not bad for what it is! I don't plan on getting within of a 100 yards from the bad man, or Deer!


July 13, 2007, 03:48 PM
Go for the Swede :D You will not be sorry.

July 14, 2007, 09:44 AM
I like the .22 semi-auto on this budget. You can get a good rifle you will always be glad you had in your inventory. You can shoot bricks of ammo on a student's budget.

Going to center-fire means you will get a cheap rifle that you will set aside as soon as you can afford to and it will cost quite a bit to feed it. Even old surplus ammo is really expensive when compared to .22 rimfire.

July 15, 2007, 01:58 PM
I'd tend to go with First Freedom's suggested option #3. Nice upgrades can always be added as time and money permit. Essex

July 19, 2007, 02:22 PM

July 19, 2007, 02:44 PM
K-31's are very nice but ammo is the problem

July 19, 2007, 02:46 PM
Academy sports has the mossberg atr with scope mounted in 243, 308, 270 or 3006 for $288.00

Some Walmarts carry the stevens mod. 200 in 243 w/scope for less than $300.00 also.

July 19, 2007, 04:26 PM

I vote for a 22 Rimfire as some of the others have.
Not sure of pricing, but the very best out of the box accuracy with a semi auto is the Thompson Center Classic. The 10-22 is good, but requires aftermarket parts to get it to shoot as well as the Classic. ($$$) I have eight
10-22's, all tricked out.
Another would be the CZ Trainer. I have a CZ American and it is accurate. But, again, both require trigger work to get them right.
You're still in college, so money probably is tight. 22 Rimfire ammo is very cheap compared to any centerfire ammo.
Where are you going to College? I'm originally from PA and went to PSU.


July 19, 2007, 05:42 PM
I say get a Marlin 60. I know this has already been mentioned. I bought mine 8 years ago for ~$115 new. I still shoot it. I'm not a college student but still young and poor.

I own a few more guns nowadays, but I always have that sinking feeling after shooting anything else.. whatever it is.. I just shot $25-$50 in an hour. I obviously would love to shoot more, so I have started taking that 60 out more and more. I just added a new .22lr to my collection on Tuesday, as well, because I'm about to get on an even tighter budget, and I want to be able to shoot as much as I do now. $10/550 rds. cannot be beat.

I vote either Marlin 60 (or .22 anything) or a decent SKS.