View Full Version : New to Rifle shooting

May 9, 2010, 09:38 PM
Background: I am a handgun shooter in my 20's with zero rifle experience. However, I am unable to fire any gun with a large amount of recoil due to my pacemaker :(. A large amount of recoil could at best tear open my scars and at worst damage the pacemakers connection to my heart :eek:.

I was browsing my local Wal-Mart this evening to pick up some Hoppes #9 and Rem-oil, and glanced over at the rifle/shotgun case.

I noticed a Marlin .22lr semi-auto rifle for about $160 and a Mossberg .22lr bolt action rifle for about $120. I figured that these were pretty good prices for some decent starting rifles?

Anyway I am used to shooting handguns, but wanted to get a solid .22 rifle for target practice, and occasional varmint control. I realize that neither of these are high end rifles, but I am a college student without a whole lot of extra cash.

I already have a solid pistol for protection, so that is not a major concern. So out of the two what would you all suggest?

Thanks in advance!

May 9, 2010, 09:49 PM
Unless they have changed things up- the Marlin 60 has been a darn good little rifle for the past 30-40 years. Have you checked area pawn shops and such? Go with the 60- and look around a bit, you can find good used rifles that will leave a little $$ in your pocket for ammo, a rifle case, and more targets and such. Good luck and have fun!

May 9, 2010, 09:57 PM
Thanks for the idea about checking pawn shops and if there are other guns or calibers that are reasonably priced and have low recoil then I am all up for suggestions! Like I said I don't know alot about rifles or the calibers they come in.:o

May 9, 2010, 10:05 PM
the mossberg is a good shooting rifle but is very cheaply made. if i were you i would get the marlin, or add another hundred to it and get one of the best ever. ruger 10/22.

May 9, 2010, 10:07 PM
Definately go with a used rifle if you can! You can save some money to be used for more ammo! Also, for a little more speed and still zero recoil, maybe check out the .17 HMR, or the .17 mach 2. The HMR is a .22 magnum casing necked down to a .17 caliber bullet (lighter and faster). The mach 2 is a .22lr casing necked down to .17. The ammo is more expensive, but another alternative to shooting something with recoil. Just something else fun to look at.
As far as a .22lr goes, pretty much the Marlin model 60, Ruger 10-22, and Remington 597 rule the market for semi-autos. Any of the three would make a great choice. Good luck and make sure you keep us updated as to what you decide.

May 9, 2010, 10:12 PM
I did see a couple of rifles chambered in .17hmr for better prices than the .22lr, and the ammo was readily available at wally world. I just was unaware about specifics of the .17hmr cartridge.

May 9, 2010, 10:39 PM
I'd recommend a Ruger 10/22 in 22 LR--target version if you can afford it--before any other semi-auto. 22 LR ammo is the most inexpensive and available everywhere. The 17 HMR in a bolt would also be a decent choice and a better varmint rifle, but it will cost more to shoot.

May 9, 2010, 10:42 PM
You can get Marlins for a flat $100 if you look around. Cabela's has them on sale often. I have one and like it. Got it for $125 but with mail in rebate I got it for $99. I'm more of a WWII era bolt action kind of guy, but those would be the opposite of what you are looking for. For a handgun feel to a rifle I think you'd like the semi auto better.

May 9, 2010, 10:46 PM
Also, quick question can a rifle chambered in .22lr also shoot .22shorts?

And omaha, is that $100 price for a Marlin in .22lr or .17hmr?

May 9, 2010, 11:00 PM
The $100 was for a marlin 22lr.

Those bullets are cheap as it gets. What kind of varmints do you want to shoot?

May 9, 2010, 11:35 PM
No particular type of varmint in mind, other than squirrels. Ever since squirrels invaded the attic at my dad and step-moms house, she is on a vendetta against the furry little critters :rolleyes:. But I assume I could take out other small critters with one of these rounds as well?

May 10, 2010, 12:23 AM
Well guys it turns out I inherited a Remington .22lr rifle from my uncle. I forgot about it, as it is at my dad and stepmom's house in their basement. He died in 1991, so I know for a fact it has been almost 20 years since the rifle was fired or even cleaned. :(

Is this rifle still safe to shoot? And if so, would it make since to use this rifle for the time being, and wait until I could buy a nicer gun?
If his rifle is not safe to use, then I wont fool around with it, and will keep it for sentimental reasons.

One more thing, how is the recoil on a .223?

May 10, 2010, 12:29 AM
Which model of Remington is it? Chances are it will be safe to shoot, but take it to a good gunsmith if you have any concern.

My 11 yr old daughter notices a little recoil on a Ruger mini 14 in 223. I don't notice any at all. It doesn't bother her. You ought to be okay with a 223. Keep in mind a heavier rifle recoils less, and how a rifle fits you is important as well.

I am not a fan of muzzle brakes, but in your case I would recomemnd one if you ever want to hunt big game. Brakes are noisy, but a braked 270 or 7mm-08 are elk capable and recoil would be very mild. If you are only going to hunt deer, a braked 243 probably won't kick at all.

However, you ought to be able to shoot a heavy varmint rifle in 223 or 204 Ruger and be fine. Of couse, please shoot someone else's before you buy one.

May 10, 2010, 12:41 AM
Thanks for the advice afp! I believe the rifle is a 533 Speedmaster??? That number could be off, as I am trying to recall it off the top of my head!

I was aware of being able to modify a rifle, other than a pad, to lessen the perceived (felt) recoil.

May 10, 2010, 12:41 AM
I would say the recoil on a .223 is next to nothing but that is just me shooting it. I could easily shoot hundreds of rounds out of one in a day and never even feel it in my shoulder. I will say that it is more then any of the other guns that have been talked about though. I would think a .22lr or a .17 hmr would be a great gun to start with. If you're a handgun guy shooting at a 100 yards will seem like a really long way I would think. I would assume you normally shoot at 25 yards or so. Good luck and let us know what you think.

May 10, 2010, 01:23 AM
They make a 552 Speedmaster and have since 1957. Excellent rifle. Does it look like this:


May 10, 2010, 01:35 AM
I've never been closer to Athens than Ft. McClellan, AL- so I don't know how wet it gets there. Do basements flood there? That would be my mainest concern over the condition of your rifle, but still, it would be a good idea to have a smith ceck it over, or post as many pics of the innards of it as you can. If it still looks just exactly the way it did 10yrs ago- then it ought to be fine.

I don't know about your Remington, but my Marlin 60's say ".22LR Only". I'm also not too sure about the availability of the Short ammo these days- I know it's still out there, but it's kinda rare around here.

May 10, 2010, 01:39 PM
Thanks for the link afp, the rifle looks alot like that the only difference being that it has a scope on it.

10-96, as far as I know it has never been exposed to water damage. Before living in my dad's basement, the rifle lived on a gunrack with several other guns in the washroom of my grandma's house. And I was just curious about the .22 shorts, as I saw a box of them in wal-mart yesterday.

Irish thanks for the advice about the recoil of a .223.

May 10, 2010, 04:55 PM
I will probably get flamed for saying this, but you can shoot a .22 short out of just about any .22 caliber rifle. The problem is that with a semi-auto, they don't have the power to kick the action open. So, what you would end up with is a single shot rifle. You would have to rack the action every shot to kick the spend casing out and run another one in the chamber.
Just about any single shot, bolt action, or lever action .22 rifle will function perfectly with a .22 short because they are all a manual action rifle. I would say its really not worth it to try it as you have a semi-auto rifle. Is there a chance it was a Fieldmaster, not a Speedmaster? If you got a fieldmaster, they were a pump .22 and I don't think you would have a problem with shorts in that one.
The 552 Speedmaster was the first rifle I ever owned. Great little gun!

May 10, 2010, 05:34 PM
With the .22, work the bolt a couple of times, clean it and really swab the barrel with some hoppes. Should be good so long as there is not rust.

I shoot a .223 and if you get a good rifle the kick is surprisingly nothing. I love the thing, but mine cost $1,200.

May 10, 2010, 05:59 PM
My Marlin 60 semi-auto has done me well for 20yrs.

May 10, 2010, 09:09 PM
One more quick question, I saw a sticky at the top of this forum warning about the .17 hmr round and its reliability issues. So should I just steer clear of this round in general?

May 10, 2010, 09:35 PM
.17HMR is 1 round I know nothing about.

May 10, 2010, 11:02 PM
No that was for the Remington 597 in particular and I guess other semi -auto rifles. The actual .17 hmr caliber in bolt or lever action is fine. That is a perfectly safe and fun round to shoot. Oh and if you are curious HMR stands for Hornady Magnum Rimfire.

May 10, 2010, 11:11 PM
I may be wrong, but I thought the problems with the .17 were with semi-autos.

Y'know, Aguilla makes a .22LR that is advertised to run out at 1750fps. I haven't run any through a semi-auto, but it does plumb okey dokey through a bolt. It's not the .17 but it ain't bad if you want to turn the heat up just a little. On the other hand- isn't the .17 kinda potent to turn lose on attic squirrel safaris?

May 11, 2010, 07:46 AM
Do yourself a big favor and start out with a rimfire .22 LR . You need to do a lot of shooting . The .22 will allow you to shoot as much as you want . Plus it's the closest thing to a perfect beginner rifle available . I'm a Hunter Education Instructor and always caution folks that the semi auto isn't the best starter action either , it's a safety issue !

May 11, 2010, 08:20 AM
On their site, Remington states that the speedmaster will handle .22 short, long, and long rifle, if that's indeed what you have. If you'd like ammo versatility, I reccomend the Marlin 981T or 981TS(tainless). I picked one up the other day, took it out for a bit and you can run whatever .22 ammo you like through it, I even put some shorts, longs and long rifles in the same mag and it went through them all just fine. They're a little pricier, but I'm extremly happy with mine.:D Again look at the pawn shops, though the stainless model hasn't been out very long, so you probably won't see many of those. Give it look.

May 11, 2010, 08:39 AM
Pacerdude, welcome to the addiction of rifle shooting glad to see more people getting into it. Sorry to hear about your condition with the recoil. But i have to ask what would the doctor consider large amounts of recoil? I'm thinking you could go up to a .223 at least. Mabe i don't realize how fragile pacemakers are?
As the others have stated though .22LR is great to start out with. I'm no professional but it's what i grew up shooting as a kid. Build your fundamentals on it, work your way up. Hell i still use my to practice on my trigger pull.

May 11, 2010, 09:01 AM
Is it safe to assume you are right handed? A Past Recoil Shield might be a good investment if you plan to move into centerfire rounds. While it might seem a little extreme having a range buddy that's skilled in CPR can't hurt either. As an instructor for AHA I really think it's a skill that everyone should have and maintain on a regular basis.

A 22lr is the best place to start for several reasons. Ammo is inexpensive and you will get much more practice. You learn good technique without picking up the flinch. A 22lr will provide a lifetime of service. When it comes to tools; especially rifles, I prefer to buy the best I can afford instead of several inexpensive ones. CZ makes some fine rifles that are still affordable. They will cost a little more than many makes or models, but not much more. Ruger's bolt rifle is very nice too. There are others as well that fit this bill. Happy rifle hunting and straight shooting!

May 11, 2010, 10:50 AM
Thanks for more advice fellas!

The pacemaker itself is titanium and thus not very fragile, it is the leads (wires) that connect the pacemaker to my heart that are fragile. If one or both of the leads sever, then the pacemaker can no longer tell my heart to beat :eek:.

As far as a range buddy who knows cpr, I have that covered my best friend is a fireman working on his EMT certification.

What are some other rounds that you would consider low recoil, just for future interest in to the world of rifle shooting (not that I will try them without checking with the doctor first).

May 11, 2010, 11:16 AM
I can list several, but not being a doctor nor knowing how much scar tissue builds around the leads and how strong that tissue is I pause for a moment. I know two cardiologists, and neither are shooters, however I'm sure there are plenty on the internet who would be happy to discuss your risks.

Low Recoil
.22 Hornet is probably the lowest recoil centerfire rifle round.
.223 (and really most 22 centerfire rifles fit the low recoil category but they are all a fair bump up from the Hornet).
250-3000 is the lowest recoiling medium game rifle IMO.
.257 Roberts

I hesitate to list any more as recoil starts to get a little sharp at this point, and were I more prudent I may should have just avoided the question, but everything we do in life has risks and I'd like to go out with my boots on feeling like I made the best of it. Again, the Past Recoil Shield may be a great addition to your range bag. Even a Lead Sled might be a good choice when you step up to centerfire rounds.

If you google "Chuck Hawks recoil table" you will get a good feel for the actual numbers for recoil.

May 11, 2010, 01:27 PM
Thanks fisherman, I wont do anything that would potentially be a deadly risk ie using a rifle with a dangerous amount of recoil. I was just curious as to whether or not there were other low recoil options.

I will definitely look in to a recoil pad. Thanks guys!

May 11, 2010, 02:16 PM
+1 on the PAST recoil shield, I've used one and it's a quality product.

May 11, 2010, 02:23 PM
How about a 300 WIN MAG.......j/k I would go with the 10/22 or the 597. Good luck!!

May 11, 2010, 02:30 PM
You should be able to find a Marlin 795 for cheaper than $160. At the Dick's Sporting Goods in Gaithersburg, MD (which is about as far away from a low-rent district as there is), they're only charging $130. Take off the $25 mail-in rebate and you're getting it for $113 after tax.

You seem to be focusing on semi-autos, I've noticed. May I ask why? You may well have more fun with a bolt-action. They're definitely easier to clean and maintain, and they're more accurate.

If you want to go varmint hunting, just make sure that your rifle comes pre-tapped for scope mounts. As far as I can tell the Marlin 795 does not, although it does have a grooved receiver that you can use to attach, say, TECH aperture sights.

May 12, 2010, 12:05 AM
Having had a heart condition surgically corrected after high school and then subsequently becoming the quintessential broke college student, I can commiserate with you to an extent on both fronts. If your inherited rifle is indeed a 552 speedmaster, i'd be happy to walk you through a complete disassembly/reassembly given that I'm in the middle of over-hauling one that I would wager was rustier and crustier than yours.
Once you are out of school and have some disposable income, I would strongly suggest looking at the ruger m77 mkII V/T model in .204 Ruger. It is a heavy gun and the 204 has almost no recoil. That combo would transfer practically zero recoil to you. To put it another way, if those wires were in my birdcage, the aforementioned combo is what I would shoot.

May 12, 2010, 08:13 AM
Recoil Table (http://www.chuckhawks.com/recoil_table.htm)

Until you have more information from a doctor that actually shoots rifles, I'd suggest keeping the recoil under 10 foot pounds and 10 fps. The numbers listed on Chuck's site are highly influenced by rifle weight, so keep that in mind.

I will definitely look in to a recoil pad. Thanks guys!

The Past Shield is different from a typical recoil pad. It is worn on the body instead of the rifle. It distributes the energy across a larger area than a rifle mounted pad. By increasing the area, the foot/pounds of recoil decrease. The impulse or "fps" will change very little since it is more influenced by weight. When I'm shooting an uncomfortable rifle I will place a sandbag or lead shot bag between me and the butt of the rifle. That decreases the impulse (and also spreads the energy across a larger area too since it's wider than the blade of the pad).

I would strongly suggest looking at the ruger m77 mkII V/T model in .204 Ruger.

Aside from a 22lr that's a great suggestion.

As a AHA instructor I'm very curious what a licensed medical opinion is in your case. Please share that once you receive that if you don't mind.

May 14, 2010, 04:51 PM
So I made it to my dad and stepmom's house today, and the rifle is indeed a Remington Model 552 Speedmaster :D!

It has visible rust/corrosion in a few spots on the out side of the rifle and is quite dusty :o.

Is cleaning the rifle and getting it in firing shape, a job that I can tackle on my own. Or a job that should be handled by a gunsmith. Or should the rifle only be kept for sentimental value, and not able to be fired again?

May 14, 2010, 08:20 PM
You should be able to clean it up yourself no problem. The rust that is on the outside should be cleaned off with Remington oil and the finest steel wool you can get. Steel wool won't take the bluing off like sandpaper will. I'm not familiar with that gun so I can't walk you through the break down but I'm sure someone could or you could find it online. Get a good cleaning kit and start to work on the barrel with a solvent like Hoppe's No. 9. After you have cleaned as much of it as you can with the Hoppe's lube it back up with the Remington oil and wipe it down with a clean rag. Get in every nook and cranny you can.