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Old March 25, 2011, 10:49 PM   #1
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Picking up a new hobby. Need help...

Im thinking about picking up the ever so expensive hobby of deer hunting. Im familiar with pistols but i need help deciding on a good quality rifle and shotgun that aint that expensive (around $300-700) can anyone help me out. Oh by the way ill take any advise on hunting i can get. 'preciate it

Last edited by XDMFAN; March 25, 2011 at 11:05 PM.
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Old March 25, 2011, 10:53 PM   #2
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In that price range, I would say used and probably Savage. I am a HUGE fan of used firearms. 95% of the time you get something half price that has been fired twice (or at least not fired enough to actually show much use). But deer are relatively easy to kill within 100 yards so there are a lot of options available.
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Old March 25, 2011, 11:26 PM   #3
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It is after deer season, and you might have a good chance of finding a decent rifle and/or shotgun. For the rifle, I would look for a .243 if you have open areas like fields to hunt. In brush, you may want to look for a 30-30. I seem to see a lot of used 30-06 for sale in the Alabama area. It would also serve you well. You will want a 12 gauge for your shotgun. Check the Alabama hunting laws for type of shotgun rounds you are allowed to use. You may want to go with a rifled barrel in your shotgun if you can use slugs. A pump shotgun should be less expensive and will serve you well. I like Winchester, Remington and Mossebergs in pump guns. I like a Browning in Semi-auto. It is the height of turkey season right now. Used shotguns may be on sale or more available after turkey season.

For stands (both ground or tree) the weight is not too important. If you stalk hunt, the weight of either the rifle or shotgun will be a considertation. You might also want a sling especially if you are hosting guns up into a tree stand. Be careful, I think more hunter are injured by gun shots and an even greater number by falls related to tree stands.
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Old March 25, 2011, 11:32 PM   #4
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When I lived in North Dakota tried getting into hunting ( 1 deer in 3 years ) , I had bought a Savage 111 FCXP3 in 30.06 for about $400 NIB ( used layaway ) at a local sporting goods store. Only bad thing I did not like was the synthetic stock. More kick than wood stock. But wood cost more.
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Old March 25, 2011, 11:32 PM   #5
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I see that you are from Alabama. Are you going to hunt there?

The reason I ask is that usually, in the Southeast, ranges don't tend to be all that long, nothing much over 200 yards.

If that is the case, a lever action .30-30 will do what needs done just fine. And you can get a new one in your price range, no problem. For instance, you should have no problem finding a new Marlin 336W for considerably less than $400. Look around and you can find a used Marlin 336 for less than that. Throw in a set of Williams peep sights, or scope it if you wish, you'll still be well within your budget.

For instance: A few years back I bought my NIB 336A (similar to the W model except for the front stock configuration) for $299 on sale at the local Dick's Black Friday (after Thanksgiving) Sale. I added on a Leupold VX-I 2-7x33 scope ($179, on sale at Amazon believe it or not) and a set of Leopold low profile QRW rings that were just over $50, IIRC. The rifle came with a Weaver 63B scope mount, but those are cheap anyway. Anyway, the whole she-bang ran just over $500 + tax. Nice hunting setup on the cheap.

Looking at your budget, I have to ask if is that figure for the rifle, the shotgun, or is that a total figure for both?
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Old March 26, 2011, 12:20 AM   #6
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Well, if i had to do it all over again and was in your position, i would buy a 7mm mag. Reason i say that is you can load that caliber down for deer and smaller game or load it up for bigger game such as elk, bear, or whatever. If you only wanted to own one hunting rifle or could only afford one, thats the one i would get. I personally prefer the 300 win mag but some ppl think its too much gun. As far as what make and model you cant go wrong with either the ruger m77 or the remington 700.
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Old March 26, 2011, 12:46 AM   #7
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Greetings XDMFAN, and welcome aboard.

With respect to a shotgun purchase, first you need to establish if you are going to be using slugs or buck-shot. Not withstanding local regulations, if your anticipated shooting environment will be close shots (presumable in heavy cover) then just about any 12-ga will successfully deliver a load of buck-shot. As the environment opens, and the shots are longer, then the slug specific guns come into favor. For maximum shotgun range, many select a rifled barrel with scope and sabot-type slugs. A great feature of the modern pump and semi-auto shotguns is changeable barrels. You can use the same gun for birds and bucks. Your best advice can often be had from the locals where you intend to hunt.
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Old March 26, 2011, 02:06 AM   #8
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if i had to give one tip to a new deer hunter....

learn to sit still, and make SLOW movements....

im talking turning your head 90 degrees in 2 minutes slow....

i dont care what people say about deer, they do look up into tree stands, and scent is not the biggest factor in hunting
if at first you dont succeed, get a bigger hammer!
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Old March 26, 2011, 04:45 AM   #9
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Your local gunshop is the best source of info for your particular area, local information and tips are priceless.

Deer are crafty critters, they will stand next to the road laughing at you all day long until they hear your tires change pitch if you start to slow down.

Try this someday, walk through the woods armed with a camera, they will all come out and pose for pictures, some of them will even fart for you and giggle afterwards.

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Old March 26, 2011, 08:25 AM   #10
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+1 on a used rifle since they can be made deer-hunting-grade accurized 90% of time if they don't shoot well to begin with. I suggest investing your cabbage on a solid mount (my preference is a 1 piece with integral rings) and a good variable scope (for AL going as low as a 1x4 would be okay). Even if you stand hunt expect your rifle to get banged around. I hunt an area with a mix of hardwoods and open fields and I've yet to take a shot over 100 yards. I killed one this season that came up right at the base of the tree stand and I actually wished I had irons at the time. They often present just a brief and unexpected opportunity to shoot and you can waste a lot of time trying to sight through a scope for a close up shot.
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Old March 26, 2011, 09:54 AM   #11
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Quality firearms in the discount price range:

Remington 700 ADL
Remington SPS
Savage 11x (you could go for a used pre-accutrigger to save money)
Weatherby Vanguard (composite)

The Weatherby Vanguard package is available at Cabela's for about $550-$600 in Stainless. You can find the blued package at Bud's Gun shop for about the same price. You can find the ADL at Sportsman's warehouse and Cabelas.

Chuck Hawks says the Savage is the best production rifle available.

You can certainly find a used package in your price range. Going used, you have some chance of finding a Browning or Winchester.
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Old March 26, 2011, 10:03 AM   #12
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I agree that the new Savage Edge has gotten great reviews for its price range. Typically, the cheaper Model 700's aren't usually very accurate right out of the box. If you don't mind having a single shot, the Handi Rifle is the most affordable and accurate way to go. Choices are numerous, just shop around so you can handle each type.

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Old March 26, 2011, 10:42 AM   #13
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I agree with a7mmnut, a Savage Axis (Edge) in 270 would do you very well. You can find them in Camo with a 3x9-40mm scope for less than $400. Super accurate and easy to use and maintain. In short a great rifle.

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Old March 26, 2011, 11:10 AM   #14
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Get a Marlin 336 and a good scope. Forget the shotgun.

Shotguns are what we use in states where rifles aren't allowed. Is Alabama one of those now?


Leupold Vari-X II scope, 6x36.

The gun and scope are both top quality. The gun is in 30-30, which is the classical deer rifle caliber. Good out to 200 yds, and a bit more with the new Hornady ammo.

If you decide to get another rifle later and "downgrade" the Marlin to peep or iron sights, the scope will last pretty much forever. (Lifetime warranty too)

The scope is not too big, and not complicated. Won't ruin the lines of the gun, IMO.

Everyone is recommending bolt actions because they are a bit more accurate. For deer, that accuracy difference won't matter. Get one that is going to be easy to carry and easy to handle.
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Old March 26, 2011, 12:42 PM   #15
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There's lots of good advice here about brands and types of rifle to look out for, and, yes, your local gun shop would be a great place to start. See what's in your price range, and what feels good to you -- the quality of most modern rifles is such that for your intended use, it'll be hard to go wrong.

That said, don't buy more gun than you need. Consider that you'll need to shoot the thing quite a bit at the range, not just to sight it in, but to be proficient with it. You don't need a magnum caliber; centerfire ammunition isn't cheap, especially in larger calibers, and recoil can be significant enough to interfere with your learning curve.

My one piece of advice: take the hunter safety course offered by the Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries, even if you're old enough not to be required to do so. It's free, unless you opt for one of the online or CD-ROM versions of the first part of the course-- they offer several formats -- and it covers "firearms safety and handling, responsible hunting and hunter ethics, wildlife laws, wildlife management and identification, archery, muzzleloading, first aid, survival, and game care."
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Old March 26, 2011, 08:18 PM   #16
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Leupold Vari-X II scope, 6x36.
Not a bad scope -- the simplicity of the fixed magnification has its virtues, but it's not one I'd choose to put on a .30-30 given the typical role that .30-30s are usually called on to perform.

If it were me, I'd go with a 4x or in some cases something like a 2.5x is even better. The reason is that you normally think of .30-30 lever actions as something you hunt with when the action is fast and the ranges aren't all that long. Thus, field of view becomes critical, and you get a wider field of view at lower magnification. And since you normally aren't talking about taking shots much over 200 yards with a .30-30 anyway, you can get away with the lower magnification. The shorter the max range you are expecting, the lower the magnification you can get away with.

In a nutshell -- the lower the magnification, the wider the field of view, and the wider the field of view, the faster the target acquisition.
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Old March 26, 2011, 08:38 PM   #17
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Lots of good choices. What do your friends use?

I am a couple hours away in Mississippi. Popular choices here: 270, 243, 30-06, a few 30-30, and for those who take advantage of our single-shot primitive weapons season, 35 Whelen, 444 Marlin, and 45-70.

Remember, rifles are not like wives. If you buy one and decide you want another, the first won't get jealous or ask for alimony.
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Old March 27, 2011, 10:31 AM   #18
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As others have mentioned, take a safety course. It can only do you good.

In that price range you definitely have some options to get you started. In a lever action, you could look at Marlin for sure. If you don't mind used, check into a Winchester Model 94.
In bolt action, definitely check into a Marlin XS7 or XL7. Supposedly great rifles that perform well above their price point. Add a $150-$200 scope and you're well under your $700 limit.
You could also consider a package such as the Remington ADL 700 at around $550 (price in my area), though I'm not to sure those package scopes are the best way to go. You can also find packages from Savage Axis, the T/C Venture and Weatherby Vanguard.

Best thing to do is visit a local shop and chat the owner or employees, someone should be able to steer you in a good direction. Handle a few options and decide what feels right and fits you best.

As far as caliber, in a lever action the .30-30 is THE iconic standard. In a bolt, I feel that .243 is a good start if recoil is an issue, otherwise the .270 is really hard to beat for sheer versatility without stepping up to a .30-06 level of recoil, plus it can be loaded down for varmint. (Yes, I am a huge fan of the .270. When I got back into firearms after a long absence and could only afford ONE gun, I went .270)

Good luck and have fun!
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Old March 27, 2011, 10:40 AM   #19
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I hunted for years using a bolt 243 I consider it a perfect deer rifle, accurate and low recoil. It's a caliber that is good for target, varmint, and deer. Especially good for the beginner, IMO always pick a bolt action you wont be disappointed, low cost savage and Thompson Center Ventures give superb out of the box accuracy.
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