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Old August 7, 2020, 04:09 PM   #1
2wheelwander
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Why you don't start anyone on large calibers

Good friend of mine has been bitten by the gun bug. Specifically bolt actions. He knows nearly nothing about guns but thought he knew what he wanted.

He wanted a rifle he could shoot groundhogs, deer hunt and target shoot with. He's a big guy at 6'4" and 320.

After mounting his new scope on a Savage Axis 30-06 we sighted it in last night. At 25 yards he was throwing 4"-5" spreads. I checked the scope mounting - it was good. He asked if the ammo was that bad, was the rifle junk, etc.

I grabbed the rifle and without touching his settings (focus was waaayy off for me) I was punching 1/2" holes with no effort. It was him. Even at his size (he's in shape) he became intimidated by the '06 and its recoil after a box of shells. His wife won't let him throw money at another gun (now he wants a 22-250), and he scoffs at the idea of 'just a .22' to learn fundamentals on and is on to the .17 WSM (which I have and love).

Has anyone been down this road and can offer tips?
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Old August 7, 2020, 04:35 PM   #2
zukiphile
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Quote:
Has anyone been down this road and can offer tips?
I'm a bit lighter and shorter than your friend, but I've always been more recoil sensitive than most people. I'm a big 22lr fan for the way it shoots as well as economy.

I run into this often. Somehow, there's an element of machismo in a lot of people in choosing something big and loud, and that same sense leaves them dismissive of 22lr. So 30.06 is too much for him (and it's expensive), so now he wants a 22-250 that will give him a shorter barrel life than .223 at any range at which he can hit?

Your friend's wife might be onto something about why he is buying guns and shooting. If he is in shape, he understands the value of practice. Would he benefit from your candor? You aren't very good at this. Get an inexpensive 22lr and let's find an Appleseed. When you are better, revisit whether you want to spend 75 cents a round on a rifle that hits at a thousand yards.

Last edited by zukiphile; August 7, 2020 at 07:30 PM.
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Old August 7, 2020, 04:38 PM   #3
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Yes, even "big " guys can be taken aback by recoil. I would let him shoot one of your 22s-if you have several, let him see a 22 is a "real" and offers economical practice.
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Old August 7, 2020, 04:47 PM   #4
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I am a firm believer that every shooter can benefit from training with a .22LR.
Over half of my firearms are .22LR, and at least one or two go with me on every range trip. Its just about perfect for introducing a newer shooter to firearms, and to cheaply train/ freshen up on your skills regardless of your experience level.
Offer to train your friend with one of your .22s.
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Old August 7, 2020, 05:22 PM   #5
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Best advice I heard was they less you touch the guns the more accurate and precise.

Use the forces and tools (sandbags, bipod, etc) to get the shot setup then apply as little touch to fire the gun while maintaining weapons control.

Hint: if I relax and “backstop” Boomer ( .50 cal) Vs pulling him into my shoulder real hard, my groups are much tighter.
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Old August 8, 2020, 12:08 AM   #6
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2wheelwander:
Possibly show the friend statistics on how many people die after being hit by one .22LR bullet.

Maybe his mind will open a bit.

From 100 yards, a police officer died from one shot fired from a Ruger 10/22.

Does he know that some intelligence agencies issued suppressed .22 handguns, which often resulted in fatalities ?
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Old August 8, 2020, 01:55 AM   #7
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Do you put a first time driver in a Formula 1 race car? Do you put them behind the wheel of an 18 wheeler? A beginner pilot in a jet fighter? Hell no, and for good reason.

LEARNING CURVE

Is your friend the kind of fellow who will take instruction, or is he the kind who knows everything and has to be talked into doing things right?

Forget trying to impress him with what a .22LR can actually do, especially anything along the lines of how many people have been killed with one.

It's a TRAINING RIFLE. let it go at that.

After he learns to shoot, he'll see the light.

Loan him a .22, if possible. And some books /video instruction on basic shooting positions and technique.

Explain why what you do matters, and how. Fundamentals, sight picture, breath control trigger squeeze are common to all rifles

Does your friend do any other sport involving hand/eye coordination? Play a musical instrument?? Golf??

Other than a handful of uber-rare "naturals" nobody starts out skilled. We ALL need to practice. And handling recoil is a LEARNED skill.

What makes more sense learning for the price of a 50rnd box of .22s, or a 20rnd box of .30-06??

Too much gun, too soon ruins a lot of potential shooters.
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Old August 8, 2020, 09:30 AM   #8
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I worked at BPS for a few years. I was amazed how many people came in, wanted to buy a gun, asked what I recommended, I always recommend a .22 for a new shooter, rifle or pistol. They did not want a .22, opted for something bigger. Most likely they never learn to shoot. The other odd thing, I would ask what they wanted the gun for, most were like deer in the headlights. First time shooters are a strange bunch. Best would be for them to go shooting with a friend a couple times and shoot a couple guns then decide what they want.
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Old August 8, 2020, 02:07 PM   #9
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Bigger is always better for new or inexperienced shooters.
That's where the good deals come from.
Code:
For sale: Ruger 77 Mk II, stainless/laminate, .458 Win Mag, LNIB,
 Leupold 2-7 scope. Free box of ammo, one round fired.

We've all heard the stories. I know a few people that were able to take advantage of the situation, including myself.

A guy wanted to buy his brother something nice to elk hunt with. Both of them had "a hunting rifle" and a couple .22s. So, the guy bought his brother a Marlin Model 444 and six boxes of ammo.

One round was fired, and the rifle went to the back of the closet.

8 years later, the man's son rediscovered the rifle and his father gifted it to him.
He fired one round and listed it for sale, being completely honest about the fact that he couldn't handle the recoil.

I got a like-new Marlin Model 444 and 5.9 boxes of ammo in trade for a parts box AR-15.



A lot of people just want to be a bad-ass and go straight to the top, only to get their teeth kicked in, because they have poor technique and no understanding of how to manage different types and power levels of recoil.
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Old August 8, 2020, 03:30 PM   #10
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Getting him started on basics with a .22 is sound advice, Also, I looked it up just a minute ago, they do make "managed recoil" rounds for the 30.06, claims to be approximately half the felt recoil, still effective enough for hunting, have him try some of those and then move up if he wants to.
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Old August 8, 2020, 04:19 PM   #11
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I love 22's . I am not as large as your friend, I am 6'2" 265 and 67 years old. I guess I started out with 22, .270, and 12 ga. all about the same time. I was in my 20's before I got into guns. I know once you get a flinch it can be hard to get rid of. Just have your friend try and relax and explain that the trigger should break like a glass rod. He should be able to adjust the trigger on the Savage. Maybe if it broke a little lighter it may help.
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Old August 8, 2020, 04:43 PM   #12
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I consider 30-06 to be one of the “do-all” rifles. I would pick .308 perhaps as a better choice for me, but my rifle belonged to my grandfather and is very special to me.

My advice is: 11 grains of Unique powder under a 180 grain cast bullet.

I reckon it’s going a bit under 2000 feet per second. Recoil is more than a .22 of course but its gentle as can be on the shoulder. I like shooting at 100 yards at paper.

It would wallop any coyote, raccoon, whatever sized critter and knock a woodchuck end over end. I would let an eight year old shoot it, it’s that gentle.

Other good bullet choices are the 90 grain gas checked “plinkers”... same deal.. drive them a little faster than .22 rimfire.

I’m told that Trail Boss is an excellent powder for reloading cast bullets for the 30-06, eventually I will try it.

If ya only have one rifle... and you learn to reload... 1. It can be simple or a lifetime of learning. 2. You can make your gun do about whatever you want. 3. Ammo shortages are for other people. 4. It’s economical.

Just because a fella has a big hammer doesn’t mean everything he swings at must be full force!

Of course... Everyone should have at least one nice .22 anyhow...
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Old August 8, 2020, 05:34 PM   #13
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No one is any good at something when they first start out. That's why they are called "beginners". Starting out a new shooter with a 30-06 and expecting them to be a good shot is ridiculous. Back up, try him on a 22LR that you know to be accurate, let him learn. Move him up to a 223. Then a 243. Then a 30-06. You don't start 'em off with hard kicking rifles!
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Old August 8, 2020, 06:54 PM   #14
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All great advice. Thank you. Funny thing is my friend is a genius auto technician. Does mobile diagnostics in the US and Canada. His life's dream is to build a 2/3 scale F-14 Tomcat. Given the time and resources, he is capable of doing it. Smart guy technically. But very gun ignorant.

I'm going to have to force him to get on a .22. The simple fact is, its ego (not that I've ever had that problem ). He wanted a 1 MOA capable gun on a wal mart budget. Kept asking what does it take to make MOA shots at 1,000 meters. I told him hand loaded ammo and a few grand worth of equipment, which his wife will never go for. He's got a bottom of the line Savage and a $200 Vortex and farm store ammo. Honestly, he will be thrilled to nail a ground hog at 100 yards. The gun is capable, but he isn't. Believe it or not, he wanted a .300 Winchester Magnum to start out with. Myself and one other kept telling him it was a bad idea. Cost of ammo and the gun itself was the only thing keeping him from making that horrible mistake.

I'll loan him my .17 WSM Savage bolt gun. Its got a Boyds stock, stainless bull barrel, and a decent Vortex and a bipod. He'll be all over that. Not quite as cheap to shoot as a .22, but its an honest gun he can learn on and won't tire of it too soon. He has asked about the different .17 calibers. He's all about numbers and data. It's translating that into felt recoil and real world ability he didn't count on.
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Old August 8, 2020, 07:50 PM   #15
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Quite often big guys suffer more from recoil than little guys. The lighter weight guys roll with the recoil. Big guys absorb it all
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Old August 9, 2020, 11:46 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2wheelwander View Post
He wanted a 1 MOA capable gun on a wal mart budget. Kept asking what does it take to make MOA shots at 1,000 meters. I told him hand loaded ammo and a few grand worth of equipment, which his wife will never go for. He's got a bottom of the line Savage and a $200 Vortex and farm store ammo. Honestly, he will be thrilled to nail a ground hog at 100 yards. The gun is capable, but he isn't. Believe it or not, he wanted a .300 Winchester Magnum to start out with.
Uh, just how big are the groundhogs out there?
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Old August 10, 2020, 11:03 AM   #17
FITASC
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As big as he is, I will venture his gun does not fit him like it does you and the recoil/cheek slap is uncomfortable; yes rifles and handguns, just like shotguns, have to FIT for best performance and minimal recoil effects.
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Old August 10, 2020, 11:10 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2wheelwander View Post
Good friend of mine has been bitten by the gun bug. Specifically bolt actions. He knows nearly nothing about guns but thought he knew what he wanted.

he scoffs at the idea of 'just a .22' to learn fundamentals on
You're right. He knows nothing about guns. The question is how pig headed is he going to be about it, because a 22 is what every new shooter should learn on. Contrary to what many believe, just because you're a male does not mean you know how to shoot. There are skills involved and they have to be learned and practiced. It's best to learn them on a 22, where blast, recoil and cost are not factors. Best of all, when you've finally learned the skills and are ready to move up to something louder with more recoil and costlier ammo, you'll have a 22 that you know how to shoot. Priceless.
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Old August 10, 2020, 11:48 AM   #19
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Don't start by burning them out. Sloe and easy, wins this race

As a Hunter Safety instructor, we have taught thousands of young folks and adults, their introduction to firearms. Won't go into detail but some students are "extremely" apprehensive or just plain scared. At my M/L station I always start out by stating;

Quote:
We are not here to hurt, burn or prove any point or play tricks. We do not endorse any firearm or glorify them. We leave the glorification to a higher power. Our goal is to teach you about firearm safety an there is no firearm present, that will hurt you under our guidance. You are not required to shoot but if you don't, then we feel that we have not don't or job.
That puts most of them at ease but not always 100% effective ......

During one Female class, there was a your women that refused to shoot at the shotgun station as well as the .22 rifle station. When they came to our station, I try to "read" them and sure enough she did not wand to shoot the .50 w/40grns of powder. With some urging, she came to the line, waited a "long" time and took the shot. The rest of the ladies, cheered for her and that brought a tear to her eye. .....

Be Safe !!!
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Old August 10, 2020, 03:31 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 44 AMP View Post
Do you put a first time driver in a Formula 1 race car? Do you put them behind the wheel of an 18 wheeler?

I don't consider a bolt action 30-06 a Formula one race car or an 18 wheeler. It's more of a Plain Jane 1/2 ton pick-up truck. Reviews of the Axis 30-06 claim it's not an unpleasant gun to shoot @ 7 1/2 lbs with the scope. Could be the guy just ain't shoulderin' the gun right and caught a corner of the butt plate Could be he's just closing his eyes and jerking the trigger, like so many first time shooters. While I do agree a .22 would be a cheaper gun to learn on, the Axis should not be that difficult to shoot at 25 yards, even with recoil. The guy wants to hunt deer, he'll have to learn to shoot it. I taught a lot of 12 year old boys to shoot a bolt ought-six, a full grown 6'4', 340# man should be able to suck it up and shoot it.

First time out, one box of shells, ain't makin' any determination. Give the guy a week or so and try it again, maybe half a box or even one mag full. Even a young, inexperienced shooter can shoot an accurate rifle fairly accurate when using a scope and resting the rifle. The OP said the scope was fuzzy for him, maybe it's fuzzy for the owner too. Maybe the owner is not resting the gun properly.
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Old August 10, 2020, 04:10 PM   #21
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Quote:
I don't consider a bolt action 30-06 a Formula one race car or an 18 wheeler. It's more of a Plain Jane 1/2 ton pick-up truck. Reviews of the Axis 30-06 claim it's not an unpleasant gun to shoot @ 7 1/2 lbs with the scope. Could be the guy just ain't shoulderin' the gun right and caught a corner of the butt plate Could be he's just closing his eyes and jerking the trigger, like so many first time shooters. While I do agree a .22 would be a cheaper gun to learn on, the Axis should not be that difficult to shoot at 25 yards, even with recoil. The guy wants to hunt deer, he'll have to learn to shoot it. I taught a lot of 12 year old boys to shoot a bolt ought-six, a full grown 6'4', 340# man should be able to suck it up and shoot it.
I believe I was around 8 or so when my Dad had me shoot a 12ga wingmaster. A 30-06 isn't a heavy recoil round, so its just a few pointers and away they go.
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Old August 10, 2020, 04:39 PM   #22
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Quote:
I don't consider a bolt action 30-06 a Formula one race car or an 18 wheeler. It's more of a Plain Jane 1/2 ton pick-up truck.
Ok, lets change it a little, do you put that first time driver in a half ton pickup and then send them out onto the freeway, or downtown in major city traffic?

The point here is that there are levels of complexity, that the beginner needs time to learn and learn to be able to deal with.

Too much, too soon is bad. And, it can have lasting detrimental effects.

A flinch problem, once developed takes a lot to overcome.

Doesn't matter a lot how big someone is, if they feel the rifle is going to hurt them, they won't shoot well.

We don't get to decide what they feel. Sure, suck it up, be a man, shoot the 06, a 12 year old can do it..... doesn't help much when the shooter has a flinch problem...

Even if their ego doesn't get in the way....
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Old August 10, 2020, 06:47 PM   #23
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It's the same reason why you don't teach a person how to swim by having them jump into the deep end of a pool. Crawl, walk, run. Start with what people believe they can handle. Fear and shock is a deterrent to trying and success. Practice without fear instills confidence and passion.
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Old August 10, 2020, 07:14 PM   #24
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I wonder if the noise induced a slight flinch? It is common with females, especially without adequate hearing protection. But my money is still on what I said earlier, that gun doesn't fit him due to his size.
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Old August 11, 2020, 12:43 AM   #25
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It occurs to me that the "standard" length of pull is probably too short for someone 6'4".

A short stock is easier to use than one that is too long, but both too short and too long can amplify the felt recoil, as can a "hard" buttplate and the "wrong" amount of drop in the stock.

All these things, as well a muzzle blast have an effect on beginners that experienced shooter often find difficult to remember.
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