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Old June 18, 2018, 11:55 AM   #1
pmsmith2032
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New Rifle

I am looking to buy a new rifle and have a few questions. I will be selling an old Ruger M77 (30-06) and a Marlin 30AS (30-30). Neither of the two rifles I will be selling have ever been accurate (I tried glass bedding the Ruger). Anyway my questions are:

1. Should I stick with a 30-06 or look at something else? I will be using the rifle primarily for deer hunting in northern Wisconsin (primarily blind hunting....shots 25 yards to 150 yards) but will also be using it on an upcoming black bear hunt in the same area. Ideally I would like something with a little less recoil (I have a 10 year old son who is starting to shoot). My father reloads so we might be able to work up a lighter load for my son (I'm currently shooting a 165 grain bullet).

2. Is the Ruger American Predator the best "bang-for-the-buck" in the $400-$450 price range?

3. Assuming the Ruger American Predator is the best choice, what is the difference between magazine styles. I see they offer a model with a rotary magazine and a model with an AI-style magazine. What is the difference?

4. I have an old Leupold VX-II 3x9x40mm scope on the Ruger M77 (bought back in the early 90s I think). Should I sell it with the Ruger or keep it for the new rifle?

Thanks in advance for any help!
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Old June 18, 2018, 12:20 PM   #2
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"...have ever been accurate..." You need to define that. Most hunting rifles are not capable of the fabled one hole group or 1 MOA the gun rag writers claim they get. Accuracy like that isn't necessary anyway. Consistency is the important part.
2.) Any Savage is more accurate right out of the box. And MSRP on a Ruger is $529.00 without sights.
The AI Mag is a polymer body with an SS follower spring. The rotary is also polymer but fits flush with the stock. Main difference is the capacity. 4 only in the rotary. Up to 10 in the AI.
3.) Far easier to sell a used rifle with a scope on than with no sights.
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Old June 18, 2018, 12:24 PM   #3
Don Fischer
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Weather or not the Ruger is the best choice depends on who you talk to. I would look ot what appeals to me. That for me would be a short length action, one made for 308 size cartridges, yet unless I got a new rifle for a hunt there, it would be the 6.5x55 for me. If I got a new rifle I'm not sure what I'd get? I keep thinking either a 260 Rem or a 6.5 Creedmoore but I already have a 6.5x55 and 6.5x06! Don't have a 7mm in the house anymore and really like them. 7mm-08 would be a good choice but I've always had the wanting for a 280 Rem. I used a 308 Win for years on deer and never let me down the first time. It was an old 660 Rem with a 20" barrel, my son has it now!

Fact of the matter is, any cartridge from 243 up will do most of what you want. For recoil I'd stop at the 30-06, yea got one of those too, my elk rifle! The 243 has the smallest selection of bullet's and the 30 cal, 308,30-06 has the biggest selection. Picking from all these is a chore! Look for a rifle you like. Short action will handle case's made from 308 Win cases. Long action will handle cartridge's on the 30-06 case, 25-06, 270 and 30-06. There are a few others out there that interest me mostly the 280 Rem and 7mm-08. Find a rifle you like them choose a cartridge that will fit in that action!
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Old June 18, 2018, 12:46 PM   #4
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I like my savage 308. It was a package deal with a scope. Shoots great right out of the box. Not a lot of money for the gun.
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Old June 18, 2018, 12:59 PM   #5
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Thanks! When I refer to poor accuracy I m talking 3" to 5" groups at 100 yards off a rest. I read somewhere that there were production issues with the M77 barrels produced in the 80s (I think mine was manufactured in 1988).

Sportsman Warehouse has the Ruger American Predator in a .308 for $469.99 and I've seen it cheaper then that on other sites.

I was initially looking at the 6.5 Creedmoor but think it might be a bit light for black bears.
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Old June 18, 2018, 01:16 PM   #6
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I was going to suggest the Ruger American Predator in .270 Win, but it doesn't look like they make such a critter. Are you committed to getting the threaded barrel?

If you are fixed on your price range, I like the Ruger American. I would probably suggest either not getting the Predator model, or getting the Predator model in .308 (or .243, if you are worried about recoil).
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Old June 18, 2018, 01:25 PM   #7
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Thanks! The features I like on the Ruger American Predator are the tang safety and the removable magazine. Obviously the fact that they are generally regarded to be accurate is another plus. Otherwise, budget is the only other factor in my decision. I would prefer a synthetic stock over wood too.

I am also not opposed to buying used if that is a better option.

Last edited by pmsmith2032; June 18, 2018 at 01:39 PM.
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Old June 18, 2018, 02:40 PM   #8
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Sounds like you are fixed on the RA. Ok, Savage package at Cabellas/Dicks would be less, with a low cost but usable scope.

They take Moose in Scandinavian countries with a 6.5, certainly plenty for black bear. Its the bullet selection that counts.

308 gets you less recoil as well.

Keep in mind the new guns are much lighter than the old ones, ergo, you get more recoil (and stock design weighs in as well).

270 is same as 30-06 recoil wise (my experience).
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Old June 18, 2018, 02:47 PM   #9
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Thanks! Not fixed on RA. If Savage (or any brand/model) fits my needs better I am all for it!
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Old June 18, 2018, 04:35 PM   #10
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Quote:
I have an old Leupold VX-II 3x9x40mm scope on the Ruger M77 (bought back in the early 90s I think). Should I sell it with the Ruger or keep it for the new rifle?
Even though your Model 77 might be easier to sell with sights than without, if it were me, I'd keep the scope and put it on the replacement rifle. It's a Leupold, not a Tasco wannabe, and probably worth way more than any perspective buyer for your old Ruger would be willing to pay.
If you think you need a sight to make the rifle easier to sell, buy a cheaper scope and put it on it.
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Old June 18, 2018, 04:51 PM   #11
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I started with a 30-06 in the 1970's and have killed most of my game with one. In 2018 I'd not recommend one. I made the move to 308 about 10 years ago and if buying something for what you describe would pick 6.5 Creedmoor today.

I have several nice rifles in 30-06 and 308 that have too much history to part with and at my age don't really want to invest a lot of time and money in something new. But about a year ago I picked up one of the Ruger Predators in 6.5 CM cheap just to give it a whirl. It is the real deal.

With 140-147 gr bullets the 6.5 easily out performs 308 with 150 gr bullets on any game animal in North America. A 308 with 180 gr bullets will at best match a 140 gr 6.5 bullet in penetration on game. And the 6.5 will do it with 25% less recoil than 308, 50% less than 30-06. It is a legitimate 500 yard elk cartridge with recoil closer to 243 than 308.

At "normal" ranges the 308/180 is pretty close to 6.5/140 performance. Other than recoil. But if you ever want to push the range beyond 500 yards the 6.5 really starts to take over. It is one of the better options for guys target shooting at a mile or farther.

For the money the Ruger Predator is my choice in a budget rifle. I paid $389 OTD, but they've gone up some, probably a bit over $400 now. But for me I have several "nicer" rifles that I enjoy using in 308. For hunting I still prefer those rifles, but have to admit the 6.5 is the better cartridge. I just don't want to start over, I'm content with what I have. But for a new shooter today I'd say buy a 6.5CM and don't look back.

If you go with Ruger get the newer version that takes Accuracy International magazines. They are the same price as the older version and the AI magazines are much better. They come with a 3 round mag, but 5 and 10 round mags are available. Same price as spare mags for the older version.

https://ruger.com/products/americanR...ets/26973.html
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Old June 18, 2018, 05:49 PM   #12
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Lots of very solid value rifles to choose and they all shoot pretty good. RaP at Cabela's I believe also had a vortex package that is a solid hunting set up. Don't forget that there is a 160G pill for the 6.5 that is a pure knock down machine for 150 yards and lower . The 143 ELD-X from Hornady is a very very good hunting round. 308 allows more versitle loading or selection from low recoil hunting to big mama jama moose knockers. Savages, Mossberg, Ruegers, Remmington, T/C...all great with their own little quitks but can be given a little TLC over time and you will not be disappointed
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Old June 18, 2018, 06:31 PM   #13
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I have a savage trophy hunter that has been terrific for me once I found the ammo it liked.

If you're primarily chasing black bear and deer, you could drop down to a cartridge in the 260 Rem / 6.5 Creedmoor group and do both with the one cartridge. Or 308.

I think that the bonus feature of the savage is that they swap barrels pretty readily.
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Old June 18, 2018, 09:04 PM   #14
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1) Nothing wrong with .30-06. I have two of them and while they won't shoot ragged holes at 100 yards, they are more than accurate enough for poking holes in deer out to at least 300-400 yards. However, if I were buying a new rifle right now, I'd buy one chambered in .308 instead of .30-06. Easier to reload and produce more consistent ammo vs. .30-06.

2) For your stated budget of $450, I'd seriously consider a Savage Arms Trophy Hunter XP in .308 Win. over the Ruger. Mostly for the Accu-Trigger, which is just better than anything that comes with the Ruger.

3) Someone else already explained the mag thing.

4) Sell the scope with the rifle (unless you're really attached to it). Lots easier to sell if it already has a scope on it.
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Old June 18, 2018, 09:47 PM   #15
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Gonna advocate the shorter action .308 as well.

I've always had good luck with Lever Marlins but never owned a 30AS.
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Old June 19, 2018, 06:33 AM   #16
pmsmith2032
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Thanks everyone for the great advice. A local guns tore has offered me $400 for the Ruger M77 (it has a laminated stock) without the scope. I found an old Simmons scope I can throw on it so the store might give me $450 with it. I'm hoping for another $250 for the Marlin (with a Tasco scope) which would net $700. Anyway, I've narrowed my choices down to the following:

1. 6.5 Creedmoor vs .308. I like the extra fire power and bullet selection with the .308 but prefer the lighter recoil of the 6.5 (I've always been a bit susceptible to flinch).

2. Ruger American vs Ruger American Predator vs Savage Axis vs Savage Axis II vs Savage Arms Trophy Hunter XP

3. From what I can tell the Leupold VX-II 3x9x40mm was manufactured in 2004. I have no idea how much improvements/technology have improved since this model. Would I be better selling the Ruger M77 with the Simmons scope (I think it's a variable but I can check on specs when I get home tonight) and continue using the Leupold? Or should I see what I can get for the M77/Leupold package and get something new for the new rifle?

Ideally I spend around $400 for the new rifle, another $100 for reloading dies and supplies, and use the remaining money to buy parts for an AR-15 I'm building.

Thanks again!
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Old June 19, 2018, 06:56 AM   #17
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The 30/06 is(or was) considered "the universal big game cartridge" during the period when most hunters only had ONE centerfire rifle. I started with the 06 and it performs well against all challenges BUT there are many cartridges that are adequate and much easier to shoot well.
Understand that you don't save much on recoil with a .308, none with a 270/280, and very little with a 7mm08 if that's a consideration. The 6.5 "Crudmore" is not magic--physics doesn't allow "magical ballistics". Much of it's success lies in the extra care put into the initial rifles that fired it. In many ways it's not really an improvement over the 260 Rem that fell from favor after a few years.
HOWA is the best bang for the buck IMHO.
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Old June 19, 2018, 07:14 AM   #18
pmsmith2032
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Thanks! I actually checked out a HOWA rifle at a gun store last weekend and loved the feel of it. The stock wasn't hollow...I believe it had a Hogue stock which felt solid and had a great grip to it. I am not very keen on the fact that HOWA is made in Japan however.

Last edited by pmsmith2032; June 19, 2018 at 09:13 AM.
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Old June 19, 2018, 09:51 AM   #19
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From your latest post of options, if it were me, I would say the following:

1. 6.5 Creedmore vs .308. I would go with .308. Although I see the former round more often these days, barring another run on ammunition, you will nearly always find a .308 option wherever ammunition is sold.

2. The only one I would probably not have on my list that you have is the Axis because it does not have the AccuTrigger. For first choice I'd probably lean toward the trophy hunter or either of the Rugers. Second choice would be the Axis II.

3. I'd keep that Leopold. It is a great scope with a lifetime warranty. I'd find a low cost scope to put on that trade. If the only requirement for the extra money at trade is a scope, I'd pick up a 3x9 x 40 or 50 at Walmart for ~$35. Or put that Simmons on it if it isn't a good scope.
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Old June 20, 2018, 06:23 AM   #20
pmsmith2032
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Thanks! After doing some further research I think I am going to just stick with the 30-06 in a new rifle. Comparison between the .308 and 30-06 seem very close. Since I already have the reloading dies, powders, cases, bullets and lots of loaded cartridges, I would save quite a bit by sticking with the '06.

That being said, I am still looking at the Ruger American, Ruger American Predator, Savage Axis II, and Savage Arms Trophy Hunter XP. I've also started to look at the Howa 1500 and the Weatherby Vanguard. All look to be around $500 or under. Would any of these rifles be better in a 30-06 than others? Since I will be hunting out of a blind/treestand, weight isn't an issue. I'm thinking a heavier rifle would help with recoil.

The '06 load I'm currently using is 55.5 grains of Hodgdon H414 pushing a Speer 165 grain Spitzer Boat. What would be a good load for whitetail (deep woods....shots normally under 100 yards) that would would decrease recoil?
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Old June 20, 2018, 08:13 AM   #21
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PMsmith:
If the weight of the rifle is not am issue then any of theisted rifles would do well and allow you to purchase an aftermarket stock. That alone will alleviate the largest glaring issue most entry level priced rifles have....flimsy stocks. The Howa is a great value and if you check Brownells or Buds guns online you could probably find the barreled action with trigger and magazine for a sweet price then order yourself whatever stock you liked and fit your budget. I recently retrofitted a Savage 12FV in 308 and tinkered,bedded etc and it added a few pounds but it is a great shooter that gives me something to grow into.
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Old June 20, 2018, 02:01 PM   #22
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Thanks! Does anyone have any experience with putting a Howa 1500 barreled action into a Boyd's gun stock? Price would probably be around $550....is this a worthwhile idea? Opinions on Howa's blued vs Cerakote?
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Old June 20, 2018, 02:56 PM   #23
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I got a Weatherby Vanguard on a clearance for $249.00 maybe 4-5 years ago. It was the first rifle with a synthetic stock.

It still has the original stock and is a great shooter (30-06).

The Vanguard is made by Howa, or at least that one was.
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Old June 20, 2018, 05:32 PM   #24
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I have 4 hunting rifles that can cover most any North American large game. The Winchester Featherweight in 30-06 always goes with me. The 300 WSM goes when I know I'm going to shoot as extended ranges and the .270 WSM goes when I dont want destroy the animal. The 30-30 goes when I know I'm shooting short distances in dense cover.

In my experience, the 30-06 is truly the most versatile out to 250 yards. Its light and I can pack it all day. It does slap you pretty good so I shoot it in a sled at the range to avoid developing a flinch. The 300 and 270 WSM's dont slap like the 06, they push my 300 has a muzzle brake and the 270 doesnt. The 270 is not an uncomfortable shooter. The 30-30 is easygoing but not much good after 50 yards. Its accurate but I'm not.

I think most will agree that the kick is the last thing you remember when you're taking game.

I'm a big fan of the 270 WSM and spent the most money on that rifle, a McMillan G30 Dynasty.

WSM Ammo seems to be plentiful and always available as does the 30-06. 30-30 not so much so I order the Hornady LeverEvolution from Natchez.

.308 and 6.5 are also easy to find. I have the 6.5 grendel which is not easily found. Both are on AR Style rifles. They shoot pretty soft by comparison and will get the job done but I think I'd rather have the 06 or 300 if I was going for bear and wanted to ensure the most ethical kill possible.

It's going to be hard to make your final decision so I suggest you dont spend a lot of money until you talk to more local hunters and find out what their preferences are.

Last edited by LineStretcher; June 20, 2018 at 06:53 PM.
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