View Full Version : Rifle for a newby

March 22, 2001, 09:56 PM
I'm just getting into hunting. I've hunted for quail and rabbits a bit, but I'm thinking about starting into deer hunting. There are a few experienced hunters at the gym who will to take me with them, I just need to get a rifle.

The heartbreaker is that my aunt just sold my grandfathers .270 Winchester Model 70. I think he got it in the late 20s or early 30s and he kept it in prefect condition. The guy only gave her $350 for it. I almost screamed when I heard about it.

Anyway, what caliber should I look for? I'm leaning toward a 30-06 because of it's versatility. I live in Arizona, so I may eventually hunt anything from javolina to elk. I've been reading up an cartridges and it looks like for the '06 there is a cartridge for just about every animal. I would like to hear a few more opinions, though.

What brand of rifle should I look for? With my upcoming wedding, money is a little tight and I'd like to get something new. I've heard a lot of good things about Savage. Very accurate and reliable. I've also read about the new Remington 710. They both seem to fit the bill price wise. Wal-Mart has the Savage 111FCXP3 (comes with a 3x9x32 scope) for $380 and I hear the the Remington 710 (comes with a 3x9x40 scope) is in the same price range.

Any opinions?



Art Eatman
March 22, 2001, 10:21 PM
Hoo, boy! I can understand the screams over that Model 70!

For the types of hunting you're talking about, I'm partial to the '06.

I'm unfamiliar with that particular model of Savage, but the 110 has a good reputation.

The April issue of "Guns & Ammo" reports on a range test of the Remington 710. Three boxes of factory 180-grain Core Lokts gave groups which "...held to 1-1/2" until I ran out of ammo", the writer said. Suggested retail is $359; you might find a bit better through a dealer or WallyWorld. You might keep an eye out for an ad in Shotgun News...

Can't tell you much about the Bushnell "Sharpshooter" scope (3X9). But you can always upgrade later on, if you want; and there at least is a warranty...


March 22, 2001, 11:06 PM
Caliber for "deer" isn't very important, anything from 243/6mm to 35 Whelen will work.

To help narrow your caliber considerations, consider what you plan to do with the rifle. Will you only shoot it once in awhile or will you shoot it every week? What calibers do you like? Some people like little fast bullets, while other like big fast bullets. Will you handload? If not then you probably want to pick cartridges that the factories load close to their true potential [ie a 7-08 instead of a 7x57].

You can zero most deer cartridges--aside from the 30-30, 35 Rem, & 45-70--at 200 yards and not worry about trajectory for real world hunting situations. So worrying about the advantages of a 270 or 7 rem mag over a 308 or 257 roberts is really more a question of what you like than what matters.

If you really plan to hunt elk with the same rifle then I would probably pick a 7 Rem mag if I was going to stick to factory loads or a 270 if I was going to handload. Though I would rather hunt deer with a 257 Roberts or a 6.5x55 and use a 300 or 338 on Elk & above.

March 22, 2001, 11:50 PM
The 30-06 is never a bad choice.

Pick the Savage!

That new Remington is crap.

Art Eatman
March 23, 2001, 08:55 AM
Hey, Zorro! You had a chance to actually handle one? I can't say much for the appearance (from pictures), but I'm picky, that way.


March 23, 2001, 11:45 AM
I'd pass on the 710. Go with a Remington 700ADL-tried and true. WalMart should still be stocking a few of those. My brother in law has one in 30/06, and it's been a good reliable rifle. For scopes, check out some places on-line. The Sportsmansguide frequently has good deals on sub $100 scopes. Walmart has good deals on some, but usually can't beat catalog and internet retailers.

Keith Rogan
March 23, 2001, 01:19 PM
I think your instincts are entirely correct! The 30.06 is really a great choice for all around shooting because of the wide choice in bullet weights and styles. You can't go wrong!
The type of rifle is entirely an individual choice. My recommendation would be to go to various stores and handle a lot of different rifles until you find one that seems to "fit" - from there, begin looking at price.
I wouldn't discount used rifles though. An older rifle is usually much smoother (broken in) and often, much better made than some of the rifles offered today with various manufacturing shortcuts. A good rifle should last a lifetime (maybe a couple of lifetimes), so as long as the bore is good, a second hand rifle is a real bargain - check the pawn shops before you decide on a rifle.

I wouldn't look for a bargain on scopes though. Choose a good scope of the 1x5 or 2x6 variety. The higher power variables have a narrower field of view, and won't even focus at close ranges. You'll jump a nice buck one of these days right at your feet and won't be able to find him in your scope before he disappears in the brush if you have a high power variable.
5 or 6 power will give more than enough magnification to take any shot out to 300 or 350 yards. The lower power variables are generally more compact as well, and hence less likely to get broken or knocked off zero.

March 23, 2001, 03:39 PM

"Caliber for "deer" isn't very important, anything from 243/6mm to 35 Whelen will work."


How dare you leave out the .375H&H????? Shame on you!!! (Scolding frown!)

Even though I have never owned a 30-06 hunting rifle (I guess an M1 Garand doesn't count!), I must admit that this cartridge is hard to beat in NA....

That's probably why guys like Art who have lived through San Juan Hill and 2 World Wars ;) still consider it #1 in their book, in spite of all the newfangled magnums they have seen bloom and fade on the market.

The Remington 710? Still untested, already saw some problems in some articles I read.

The Savage? Accurate, if you can get past that trigger (uuuurgh!) and past the looks (eeek!)...

The Winchester? Oooh yeah!... Besides, USRAC is now in trouble and any help is for a good cause.

Other remingtons? Always good.

Tikka? Accurate, smooth, good-looking and durable... and cheap for what it is.

Ruger? Also excellent and good-looking (in both #1 and M77 configuration)

March 24, 2001, 01:19 AM
Thanks for the opinions guys. I'll probably get an '06 just because of it's versatility. As for brand, I'll check out the gun shops in town to see if I can find something good that's used. I will also go and look at the Savage and the Remington 710.

I like the 710 because I think that they've tried to do some interesting things with it, but it is new and unproven.

Everything that I've heard about Savage is the same. It's ugly and the trigger sucks, but it's very accurate and very reliable. People who own them seem to love them, even if they have to get a new trigger put in. I have a savage .22 and I like it. And it's hard to beat the price.

Thanks for the help,

March 24, 2001, 11:18 AM
416Rigby: Sorry I forgot to mention Elmer's favorite deer cartridge :D

Though come to think of it I would probably rather hunt deer with a 375 than an '06, everyone uses the '06.

Fuzzy: The '06 is a good choice. So is buying used IMHO. I would suggest not saying your looking for an '06 when you shop for used gun, unless you are set on an '06. Because you might miss out on some good deals, like another M70 Winchester in 270 for instance.