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Old December 4, 2012, 04:42 PM   #1
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Cityboy needs rifle advise

So, my wife's father has invited me up to the u.p of michigan to go hunting with him and his family. This is a big deal in the family and I want to show up properly equiped but not looking like I just went out and bought what I thought looked cool. Im from Chicago, so know pretty much nutn about rifles. My goal is to find a good rifle and practice so I dont embaress myself. Idea so far is Rock River LAR-8 VARMINT A4 with Leupold scope. Here's my reasoning: AR has less recoil than bolt action and since Im not becoming a sniper AR's are pretty much as accurate. I chose 308 over 223 because I will have only one rifle and was told some states its illegal to hunt with 223. I have also looked at DPMS but seemed to find better reviews about rock river. Any and all comment/suggestions appreciated. Thx!
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Old December 4, 2012, 04:54 PM   #2
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You might ask your father-in-law what he recommends for gear for your
hunting trip.
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Old December 4, 2012, 05:05 PM   #3
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I've nothing against hunting with AR's but I wouldn't recommend them for a new hunter, they are heavy as hell and right or wrong they can be frowned upon at some hunting camps. 3 strikes.

Ya want to look like you know what hunting is all about go out and find yourself a good ol' wood stocked bolt or lever action with a 2-7x or 3-9x scope of reputable manufacture. None of it has to be new or even pretty, ya just have to hit what ya shoot at. That will impress more than some fancy pig of a gun.
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Old December 4, 2012, 05:16 PM   #4
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Hey, just ask your father in law to go shopping with you. It will earn you some brownie points.
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Old December 4, 2012, 05:25 PM   #5
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What sort of game are you going after?

Keep in mind that the LAR-8 VARMINT A4 weighs about 11 pounds which I consider a bit heavy for a rifle. If your going to be put up in a tree stand or sitting in a blind, its not out of the question but if you have to carry it and walk miles with its going to get a little weighty. Its probably a lot more expensive than you necessarily need to spend for an AR.

Have you ever shot a rifle before? If you haven't, practicing with a .308 is going to be expensive and its just a pretty big cartridge for someone that hasn't shot a rifle before. Consider spending a couple hundred dollars and getting yourself a Ruger 10/22 or a bolt action 22LR. You can buy 500 rounds for like 10-20 dollars and practice all day long. It will teach you to shoot better than a .308 will teach you to shoot. The principals are the same whether your shooting .22LR or .308 win. A .308 makes bad habits like flinching when you shoot more likely to happen than a.22LR. Everyone should own a .22LR to practice with.
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Old December 4, 2012, 05:27 PM   #6
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1st off welcome to TFL
Now... whatcha hunting and when are you going?
Deer? Next week?
Reason I ask, I usually try to get new shooters to shoot a .22lr rifle at first to get the old sight picture, safety issues, etc down first. Nada on the recoil, cheap to feed, can be/should be fun to learn good habits and feel confident when shooting.

But .22lr sucks for deer...

How do they hunt? Still, stalk, drive, stands, etc? (You gotta ask FIL)

Carrying a heavy-ish rifle all day is not conducive to good accurate snap shots but OK if you're in a stand. Warning here, opinion forthcoming... some old school hunters tend to look askance at ARs for some reason... so take that for what its worth.

What type of distances and cover?

If it were me, in the woods, I'd opt for an older .30-30 with peep sight. (good thing you're not me huh?) Rock River seems to be quite accurate tho DPMS should do fine as well.

You'll never feel the recoil and probably not hear the shot, but wear ear and eye protection none the less when hunting.
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Old December 4, 2012, 06:51 PM   #7
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Father in law lives 5hrs away, so going gun shopping not the easiest thing. He has both style rifles in 223. His brother shots w a 308 not sure what kind. Weight is not an issue for me. Will be hunting for deer and they use small huts they have built to hunt.
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Old December 4, 2012, 06:52 PM   #8
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It will be november 2013 when I will be hunting so I have time. No, I have never shot a rifle.
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Old December 4, 2012, 06:53 PM   #9
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IF want an axcuse to buy a fancy dan rifle this would be one but a Stevens 200 in 243 or 270 will do all you need it to and you can spend the rest on a quality optic and practice ammo. Additional point for the 270 is you can get low/managed recoil ammo for starting out with your new blaster or superformance if you want hotod stuff.
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Old December 4, 2012, 06:59 PM   #10
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The previous guys have covered the AR issue well.

From Michigan hunting regulations site:
Firearm, Crossbow and Bow and Arrow Rules
Shell Capacity for Shotguns and Centerfire Rifles
It is unlawful to hunt with a semi-automatic shotgun or semi-automatic rifle that can hold more than six shells in the barrel and magazine combined unless it is a .22 caliber rimfire. Fully automatic firearms are illegal. All shotguns used for migratory game birds (including woodcock) must be plugged so the total capacity of the shotgun does not exceed three shells.
. . .
Nov. 15-30 Firearm Deer Season

Muzzleloading Deer Seasons
During the December muzzleloading seasons, muzzleloading deer hunters can carry afield and use only a crossbow (except in the Upper Peninsula) or a muzzleloading rifle, a muzzleloading shotgun, or a black powder handgun loaded with black powder or a commercially manufactured black powder substitute. Only certified hunters with a disability may use a crossbow or a modified bow during the muzzleloading season in the Upper Peninsula.

All Firearm Deer Seasons - Rifle Zone
In the rifle zone, deer may be taken with handguns, rifles, crossbows, bows and arrows, shotguns and muzzleloading firearms including black powder handguns. It is legal to hunt deer in the rifle zone with any caliber of firearm except a .22 caliber or smaller rimfire (rifle or handgun). During the firearm deer seasons, a firearm deer hunter may carry afield a bow and arrow, crossbow and firearm....
All Firearm Deer Seasons - Shotgun Zone
In the shotgun zone, all hunters afield from Nov. 15-30, and all deer hunters in this zone during other deer seasons, must abide by the following firearm restrictions or use a crossbow or a bow and arrow. Legal firearms are as follows:

A shotgun may have a smooth or rifled barrel and may be of any gauge.
A muzzleloading rifle or black powder handgun must be loaded with black powder or a commercially manufactured black powder substitute.
A conventional (smokeless powder) handgun must be .35 caliber or larger and loaded with straight-walled cartridges and may be single- or multiple-shot but cannot exceed a maximum capacity of nine rounds in the barrel and magazine combined.

During the firearm deer seasons, a firearm deer hunter may carry afield a bow and arrow, crossbow and firearm. .....
Looks like the AR would be illegal or hard to make legal. Maybe you could find 5 rnd mags.

Personally, I would look for something like a bolt action 243 Win, 260 Rem, 308 Win, 338 Federal, 30'06, 270 Win or 280 Rem. My preference would be the 243 Win. Then get a good 6x or 3-9x scope.

Savage 14

Leupold 6x scope
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Old December 4, 2012, 07:07 PM   #11
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Bambam...leave the AR on the gun rack.

This is a big deal in the family and I want to show up properly equiped but not looking like I just went out and bought what I thought looked cool.
If someone were to join me on their first deer hunt with an AR in .308....Then what I quoted in red is exactly what I would think they did...

If you want to impress your father in law, get yourself a pretty, wood stocked Model 70 Winchester Featherweight in .243 with a Leupold 3-9x40 scope.

It is a beautiful gun, and it will be a great deer rifle. And since you have never shot before it will be less likely to get you started with a flinch than a heavier-recoiling caliber.

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Old December 4, 2012, 07:48 PM   #12
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What put me on the Rock river was the gun dealer I use for my other fire arms. Thank you for sending the mich laws. I have to say, Im quite surprised at the responses. Looks like I have a lot of rethinking to do. I will check out the rifles you guys suggested and really appreciate the help. Thx.
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Old December 4, 2012, 07:49 PM   #13
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I personally, would question your gun dealer. It sounds like he is just trying to sell you a more expensive rifle....
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Old December 4, 2012, 08:11 PM   #14
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Its not the one I prefer to use but their selection is insane. My prefered dealer is a bit small, very small selection. Im happy I joined the forum.
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Old December 4, 2012, 08:13 PM   #15
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Yea, the fact that he is trying to sell you an AR for deer hunting is what makes it questionable. That is not something that is commonly done. Especially in Chicago, I would expect those ARs to be marked up a good bit.

For deer hunting, you don't need that kind of gun. A good bolt rifle and you will fit right in, and you will show your father in law that you have good taste in guns
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Old December 4, 2012, 08:40 PM   #16
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I'm not a hunter, but I know the deer grow awfully big up here, and .223 is marginal for deer anyway.

Look for a nice *used* .243 (use heavy bullets) or .308 bolt action, or .30-30 or .32 Special lever action. And there's nothing wrong with the old .30-06 if you find a good deal on one.

.357 or .41 or .44 Magnum from a rifle or carbine would also work -- and they are fun to shoot -- but long guns in those calibers tend to be expensive and hard to find.

Why not go gun shopping with FIL and let him help you pick something out?
"The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun"
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Old December 4, 2012, 08:45 PM   #17
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Since he's 5 hours away, and your hunt is a year away, if you plan on a Christmas visit THIS year, IMHO it's a good chance for a heart-to-heart/face-to-face discussion with him, as to what firearm to bring.

If not, I would advise a nice, long phone chat about your/his plans for then.

Asking for HIS advice would go a long way towards a smooth hunt, to say nothing of familial relations - AND, you'll most likely get the straight poop on what works best for what/where their particular hunt(s) are planned.

Be up front, about your rifle inexperience - then get an effective, but relatively soft recoiling rifle and PRACTICE with it for at least the next 9 months before your hunt.

Since you mentioned a shooting hause/hut, one can presume they're set up near some open areas, suggesting that long shots (say 200+ yards) may be the norm (ask your FIL).
A lightly scoped (4x or 6x) .243Win, .260 Rem, or 7mm-08 bolt action should be more than adequate.

AR's while very acceptable by younger shooters & hunters, are not so readily accepted by older hunters, and a newcomer showing up with a new one would in all likelihood not be asked back, relative or not.

It sounds like you friendly FFL is a small urban shop that caters to the Black Rifle trade, ergo his recommendation - not necessarily the best for your situation.

I would further urge you to take a ride, and cruise some outlying gunshops, for a different take on what's available - and don't turn your nose up at their used gun rack(s), since many lightly used/fired specimens, of whatever, may be found there.

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Old December 4, 2012, 08:55 PM   #18
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Weight is not an issue for me. Will be hunting for deer and they use small huts they have built to hunt.
That's not uncommon. It's also nice to still hunt when the conditions permit. So trust me; don't buy a heavy rifle for hunting. Buy a hunting rifle--something at the lighter end of the spectrum.

You're looking at a rifle that's 10lbs, unloaded, before you even get a scope on it... That's a lot. You'd be hard pressed to find something much heavier in fact. It's also really spendy for a deer rifle.

I vote for a Model 70 or 700 (both are great rifles). You can get it scoped, buy a .22 to practice with and quite a bit of ammo for both and still be under the MSRP for that AR.

I'd stick with the more vanilla calibers. Personally, I'd also avoid a detachable magazine. All it adds is the opportunity to leave something very important on a kitchen table or in the pocket of the wrong jacket.

Practice with the 22 first. Use a heavy coat and good hearing protection when you start shooting your deer rifle.

Last edited by 30Cal; December 4, 2012 at 09:12 PM.
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Old December 4, 2012, 09:13 PM   #19
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Just my opinion, but you'll look less like a "dude" if you buy a used bolt action 7mm08,308, or 30/06 after the current game seasons are over. A slightly used rifle will save you some $$ to spend on target practice.
I have a SIL who is not a hunter. He is a military service member and does well enough with military type shooting requirements. This does not mean he's a good shot. My Daughter out shot him seriously the last time they shot at my range using her .308 HB target type rifle. You'll make a better impression on FIL if you show up with a rifle that looks like it's been used and put your bullets on the target.
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Old December 4, 2012, 09:30 PM   #20
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I agree with everyone here so far get a Winchester model 70 chambered in .270 Win(warning this recoils quite a bit for someone not used to hunting weight bolt actions)


Get a Remington Model 700 ADL, BDL, or CDL in .308 Win(warning, see above warning)

A Marlin 336 in .30-30 would be an awesome gun if the area you will be hunting will be real brushy and thick woods. This rifle is a softer shooter too. Compared to the two above anyway.

After you've made your decision on above I'd buy a rifle chambered in .22LR like a marlin model 60, Ruger 10/22, Mossberg 702 Plinkster, Henry lever action .22 and a bulk box 500 rounds for like $15. Shoot the .22 first for at least 200 rounds focusing on shooting fundamentals. Then shoot the bigger rifle you bought a few times to see why we are telling you to shoot the .22.

Then continue to shoot the .22 ALOT. Shoot the bigger rifle every now and again to get familiar with it. In the 3 months leading up to your hunt shoot the hunting rifle every time you go to the range a little bit to stay proficient but not enough to develop bad habits like a flinch.

Shoot the .22 open sights, don't waste your money on optics. If you want to scope the hunting rifle, and you probably should, a 2-7 scope would likely be more than enough.

Best of luck.

Last edited by ripnbst; December 4, 2012 at 09:36 PM.
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Old December 4, 2012, 09:52 PM   #21
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I do not hunt but I've always heard that a 270 is one of the best all around cal you can buy . It's big enough for larger game and small enough not to be over kill . It's just a good all around caliber to have if your only going to have one hunting rifle .

I may have mist it but what's your budget including scope . The rule is you spend as much on the scope as you did on the rifle .

Also go to the big store check out the feel of all the guns and go back to your little store and have him order the one you want
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Old December 4, 2012, 09:59 PM   #22
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I did ask my FIL what he thought. He said you have to find what works for you. He has both a bolt action and a DPMS AR. He uses a 223& 243 but his brother a 308. Only thing he did recommend was a 3x9 40mm scope but not a manufactor. He actually teaches conceal carry classes up there. He gave me alot of info but no personal recommendations.
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Old December 4, 2012, 10:02 PM   #23
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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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Old December 4, 2012, 10:04 PM   #24
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I think this thread is narrowing the decisions well. I'll join the chorus

Remington Model 700 or Winchester Model 70. I prefer the 700, but these guns are the Coke and Pepsi of hunting rifles. Both are wonderful.

I prefer a wood stock, but if you need to save a few hundred, the SPS synthetic Model 700 is solid.

For caliber, .270 Winchester. It's an outstanding hunting cartridge. It is decently powerful, moderate recoiling, flat shooting (important for a newbie), and plentiful and common in stores.

For optics, I prefer a mid-range Leupold, I also consider Nikon, Burris, and Swarovski solid glass, but Leupold is my flavor.

A Remington 700 BDL(Basic Deluxe) or CDL(Classic Deluxe) in .270 Winchester with a mid-range Leupold 3x9 optic is a combination that will serve most hunters well for a lifetime.
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Old December 4, 2012, 10:13 PM   #25
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I'd like to jump on the bolt-action bandwagon. Another option (other than the M70/M700) is a pair of CZ rifles: a 452 or 455 in .22lr and a 527 in 7.62x39, plus a 2-7x scope for each. That would cover practice, small game, and deer out to around 200 yards.

Otherwise, a Winchester M70 in almost any clambering would be a classy and classic choice.
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