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Old December 4, 2012, 10:02 PM   #23
Joe Chicago
Senior Member
Join Date: November 11, 2011
Location: Chicago area
Posts: 277
BamBam, welcome to TFL.

First, some housekeeping... Do you already have your IL FOID card? You will need one to purchase a firearm or ammo in The People's Republic of Illinois. You will also need one to rent range time in IL. If not, you can apply for one at any gun store. Do you live in Chicago? If so, check the gun laws carefully because, despite recent Supreme Court losses, Chicago still restricts firearms ownership, requires safety classes, etc. There are stiff mandatory sentences for illegally owning or transporting a firearm in IL. You will need a good lockable case to transport your rifle.

I live in the NW burbs of Chicago and shoot up at Bristol Ranges, behind the Cheddar Curtain. They have 50 yard ranges for .22s and 100/200 yard ranges for centerfire. There are plenty of old salts at Bristol who will be happy to give you pointers, but they will not have the time to teach you from scratch. You can also shoot small bore (=<.22 rimfire) indoors at numerous ranges, including Maxon in Des Plaines, Gat Guns in Dundee or Bass Pro in Gurnee.

You might be well served by taking an introduction to firearms class that emphasizes safety and maintenance of firearms, in addition to shooting skills. The fastest way to lose respect on a hunt is to handle your firearm recklessly.

I agree with the comments about getting a .22 to practice with before graduating to a centerfire round. You may want to look at a used bolt action CZ, Marlin or Savage. For your hunting rifle, I recommend a good reliable bolt action. The ARs might look cool, but they are harder to break down and clean, they jam, and they are generally not good firearms for people who are new to shooting. And while they appear to be legal in MI for deer season, many states do not allow semi-auto rifles for hunting, which could limit you in the future. Finally, ARs are more expensive than bolt actions; you can get any number of good bolt actions for around $450, while a good AR will run you $1,000. You might want to check the sales for a Savage 11/111, TC Venture or Weatherby Vanguard S2. Stick with common calibers like .308 or .30-06.
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