View Full Version : New Guy has some questions

May 2, 2009, 12:11 PM
I own and shoot shotguns, ARs, and handguns. I was not raised in a hunting or shooting family, but decided to go to college out in the mountains, and many of my mates hunt regularly. We are right here on the VA,KY,TN border and so Whitetail and Elk are my main interest at this time. I'm looking for a rifle and scope that would be a good starting place for a beginning hunter. I'm 6'0 200lbs. I know theres no perfect answer, but I know theres also alot of older guys on here who have kids my age and they had to start them with something. Appreciate the help.

May 2, 2009, 12:15 PM
Remington 700 (of any flavor) in 30/06 with a Leupold 3.5x10

May 2, 2009, 12:16 PM
Have you been out with your friends and used one of their rifles? That would be my first instinct.

Go once or twice just to get a feel for it. See what they are using. Heck, Ive heard of guys buying a rifle just because their friends have one; sharing ammo and spare parts makes life cheap and easy.

May 2, 2009, 12:37 PM
Typical distance of the average shot as well as density of the vegetation are the 2 factors that matter to me... Density generally limits distance of the shot.
In my area and preferred method "scoot and shoot" (I am easily bored and sore sitting in one spot too long) I find the short leveraction carbine like a winchester 94 or Marlin in 336 or other model suits my rifle style needs great. I have the venerable .30-30 but without excellent shot placement, may be minimal for large game like elk. If heavy cover is expected or runnin' deer are going to be targeted (both require fast target acquisition) a scope may a tuff unit to use. If a scope is to be chosen a very low power on the low side is an absolute must. 1.5 or 2 being max for many shots or all you will see is fur on close game and GREEN BROWN GREEN BROWN as the deer runs off... if lucky you may get a glimpse of white deer rump.:D

May 2, 2009, 01:01 PM
Remington 700 (of any flavor) in 30/06 with a Leupold 3.5x10

There are 25 good answers to your question but you can't beat this one.

May 2, 2009, 02:14 PM
Thanks. I have shot one of my mates Marlin 30-30s on a hunt this past year. I missed the shot, but it was great fun and I'd like to buy something here in the next couple weeks and take it to the range over the summer to get a feel for my own rifle. Like I said, I have 1 complete AR and a lower I'm building, but hunting rifles are something completely new to me. I appreciate the answers and think I'll purchase either a Marlin lever, or a Remington 700.

May 2, 2009, 02:41 PM
A +++ on the Remmy 700's

May 2, 2009, 04:17 PM
Lots of good answers for this one. You most certainly can't go wrong with a good levergun. I have a Marlin and a Winny. One is 30-30 and the other is 45-70. There are multiple calibers you can consider as well.

A good bolt gun in 30-06 or one of the other major calibers (.308, 270, etc.) is also a great idea. Any of the major manufacturers should be good enough. Pick the one that shoulders best for you. You may also want to consider what other types of game you might want to use either rifle on. This might help you decide finish, optics, barrel length, etc.

May 2, 2009, 07:23 PM
You have buddies that hunt that area ,,, talk to them about what they shoot . Maybe try some of there rifles and let that help make up your mind. But the good old 7mm rem mag, 30-06 or 308 bolt gun is hard to beat and ammo is about as easy to find as anything during good and bad times. You also don't need a new rifle ,a good use one will save you money and again get a buddy to go that take real good care of his rifles along to help pick something out.

May 2, 2009, 07:41 PM
One thing not to forget is to think about the fact that you will be carrying it into woods of some sort. If you'll be hunting from a fixed position box stand then you've little to worry about as to weight or legnth. On the other hand if you're slipping in the thick woods the weight/legnth thing becomes important.

May 2, 2009, 09:21 PM
I have seen literally 100's of large game animals taken and can state that there are lots of good combinations out there. The 30-06 is hard to beat. An old saying goes " IF YOU CANT KILL IT WITH A 30-06 THEN YOU ARENT IN NORTH AMERICA". While I am not a fan of the Remington 700's some have had good luck with them.

Art Eatman
May 2, 2009, 09:58 PM
I suggest taking the time to go to a major gun store and do the "feel and fondle" thing. See what feels best to you, and what fits your body the best. There's little difference in accuracy among any of the mainstream name brands.

Spend some time just talking with friends as to their opinions. That will lead to more questions, and this bunch here is always happy to try to answer.

Ole 5 hole group
May 2, 2009, 11:36 PM
If you like the feel of the Marlin lever action don't dismiss the 45/70 as to big or not "modern" enough. It's a fine, fast handling and accurate 200 yard rifle. You can either purchase or reload ammunition that runs from mild to insane. For deer & elk you will probably be on the mild side on the ammo list and the recoil is mild, similar to a 270 with a 130 grain bullet, when you use a 300 or 350 grain bullet in the 45/70 at 1100 to 1400fps. The entrance hole of the 45/70 is usually larger than the exit hole of a 30 caliber and when using hard cast bullets, there is usually very little meat ruined in the process compared to a 30 caliber at 2800fps. Take a look at the 1895SBL model. http://www.marlinfirearms.com/firearms/bigbore/1895SBL.asp

May 3, 2009, 09:11 AM

I see some have suggested the common Rem. 700 for hunting. While I honor that rifle for target competition I don't suggest their design for hunting. Safety and function come to mind.

The 700's do not have a three position safety. That means that on some the safety does not lock the bolt closed and on others is not on 'safe' when the bolt is opened to say unload the chamber. Nor does that Rem. safety hold the firing pin. It just blocks the trigger. This is not good, this is not optimum.

Also the Rem's have a tiny weak extractor, a push spring ejector, a brazed on bolt handle that breaks off and more.....

Look at the Ruger Mk11's, CRF M70's and the Kimbers for hunting rifles.

May 3, 2009, 09:46 AM
I prefer Savage rifles. They are accurate reliable rifles. What more could you want? As far as caliber, you can't go wrong with a .308, 30.06 or a 7mm Rem Mag.

I can't dismiss the 45-70 gov't round either. Certainly 200 yards isn't out of the question but the round does have a lot of drop to it. In modern firearms there are a ton of hot rod loads that make a 45-70 a beast that can certainly tackle any thing in North America and even some African critters. While I do hunt with a Ruger No. 1 chambered in 45-70, I wouldn't suggest it as your first rifle. I think you'd be better served by the trio I listed above. I would suggest the 45-70 as your second rifle however.

May 3, 2009, 09:55 AM
Also, keep in mind you'll be hunting in Appalachia where a 100yd+ shot is unlikely.
I like an old 35 pump because tree twigs don't make the heavy round slow bullet go zinging off as some of the faster rounds suggested.

May 18, 2009, 09:44 PM
The Remington 700 BDL 270 winchester is my favorite. Did you ever think of a center fire muzzleloader. With a 50 cal. you can change muzzle velocities by changing the size and shape of bullet, and change powder charges. Go to the www.prbullet.com and see all of the different combinations you can have with one gun. The higher end Thompson Center Fires can even change barrels to different calibers. In Ohio you can either use a shotgun or muzzleloader for deer. So therefore I use a muzzleloader because your shooting a rifle. Just a few thoughts to ponder.

May 19, 2009, 10:40 AM
Remington 700 (of any flavor) in 30/06 with a Leupold 3.5x10

and let the choir say "Amen".

June 1, 2009, 12:08 AM
I was in the same position as you. I got a Rem 700 in .308. Last weekend off the bench it shot a five shot group at .67. The rifle is completely stock and has a Leupold VXIII on it. Remington's aren't expensive but they work and work well for what you're looking for. 30-06 would be my choice if I were you. I don't know that caliber can be topped for versatility but we won't go down that road...again.

June 2, 2009, 01:48 PM
Savage model 111 with accutrigger in 30-06. I would not recommend the Remington for reasons stated in a previous post.

June 2, 2009, 04:01 PM
I'll add to the remington 700 in 30-06 and a decent 3-9 power scope. I hunt in the exact are you are talking about and this is what I use with great sucess. It is a great set up for the close shots you may get but will reach out there when you do find an occasional 250+ yards shot.

June 6, 2009, 09:22 AM
I live in South Africa, and hunt in various terrains that vary form flat open areas to thick vegetation.
I find the 3006 a suitable caliber for game ranging from Springbuk to large Kudus, which are quite equal to the range of white-tail and Elk.

My preference is for a 180Gr BTSP (I prefer the Hornady Interlocks) at approximately 2550 Fps. one can argue that this is way too much bullet for a small buck, but my reason is that I prefer to load all my ammo the same, and I know the trajectory.

I bought the rifle in 1996 ( my first hunting rifle) based on advise from a friend and have not been dissapointed.

With the above mentioned load, it groups regularly below 1 MOA.

the rifle is good locking yet rugged.

My choice os scope is a Leupold 4-12 x 40.

Good luck!


June 6, 2009, 11:36 AM
A rifle that fits. One that feels comfortable in your hands and that fits your shoulder and you have a good cheek weld with.

Any standard caliber will do just fine.

I should mention your shotgun will also do fine as a deer gun. Slugs and buckshot have taken lots of deer.

June 6, 2009, 11:56 PM
I'd suggest a 30-06, just b/c i like that cartridge. but there are many that will work for what you are doing. You can look into common bolt action rifles from remington, savage, CZ (i'm really starting to love these CZ's) ect ect you can't go wrong.

for a very cheap setup, you can look at the H&R handi rifles. they are a single shot break open rifle. Don't see it as a disadvantage b/c 99% of the time hunting deer/elk one shot is all you will need/get. the rifle is very cheap and has the nice feature of being able to swap to other barrels of different calibers, and it has many different calibers to choose from. also you can even mount shotgun barrels and muzzle loader barrels on it.....all you have to do is send the reciever to the factory and have them fit the new barrel. only thing is , is that they are light. so they are going to kick harder than a bolt action in the same cartridge. But thats also nice to walk around with, they are very tough/simple/durable and cheap. You wont win any beauty awards but i love their plain jane, no nonsense rugged looks and function.

.270/.308/30-06 are all very common cartridges that will fill your need well.

James R. Burke
June 23, 2009, 04:29 PM
There are lots of great rifles. To name a few Ruger, Remington. Browning, Savage, Sako, and the list goes on. You need to fine what you really feel comfortable with, then chose a caliber. There again there are many real good ones. 30-06, .270win, 300mag, 7mm mag, and the list goes on. I think all said it comes down to what you like and feel good with. Good luck!

June 23, 2009, 05:39 PM
Hmmmm well best to start with, what type of hunting are you doing? Are you planning to stalk or sit on a stand? Is it heavy brush where the average shot is under 100yds, or are there often shots that test distance? These are really important questions to ask yourself before purchasing a rifle.

If you're stalking in an area where the average shot is under a 100yds, often in brush, you may want a lever action with iron sights. The iron sights are faster at lining up for a target and the lever action gives you a very fast followup. Since you're also considering elk, I'd think more towards a slightly heavier load. Marlin makes lever actions in 45/70 as well as a 308Win. Brownings BLR stores the ammunition differently, and thus allows use of more standard ammunition, such as the 30-06. A good slug gun can be used here as well [if you use buckshot, check state regulations. Some states are banning its use now.]

If you're stand hunting, I'd tend to lean towards a bolt action rifle. The choices of calibers vary quite a bit, and once again, since you're thinking elk I'd refer to the many debate threads over the caliber of choice. There are also many, many different rifles made. Best suggestion is do your homework, check fitting of the various rifles, research out the ones you like the best, and make your choice. The Remmy 700 is very popular, but by no means is it the perfect rifle for everyone.
As a side note, in situations on a stand where you still expect under 100yds, a rifled barrel shotgun, with scope, and sabot slugs is very effective as well.

Good luck in making your choice.

June 23, 2009, 06:50 PM
if you want a lever gun in thick cover?? i would say go with the new .338 marlin express. gr8 for elk gr8 for deer...

bolt action...either 700 remington or winchester model 70.

270 on up for deer and elk.

280 rem


30 06 spring

300 win short mag

2-10 power x 40mm for all around scope...brand depends on $$$ you have

June 23, 2009, 06:54 PM
Went with the Marlin 30-30. Using irons for now, but plan on putting a Leuopold on eventually. Also looking at a 45/70 Stainless Marlin for Elk. I have recently been invited on hog hunt in the fall down in TN. Planning on using my AR and penetrator rounds.

June 23, 2009, 07:48 PM
You've mentiond some interesting facts. Using what you have already mentioned, I'd recommend a couple of rifles and calibers as near perfect. If you want to hunt elk and deer at ranges up to 300 yds, than no better calibers exist than the 30/06, .308, .338 Fed, and .338 Marlin Ex. They are found in a lever rifle format and also bolt. The lever rifle, now found, in many cases, to be just as accurate as most bolt guns, is as good as it gets for eastern whitetail hunting (I hunt whitetails in Tn and Ky every year). So, my FIRM reccommondation is the BLR in .308, the Marlin in both .308 and .338 and the Ruger Hawkeye in .338 Fed.:D

James R. Burke
July 1, 2009, 07:57 PM
I would go with the 30-06, and a Leupold scope. Lots of great rifle, I guess it would come down to what you like. Just my thoughts. Good luck, have fun, and keep it safe!