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Nyuu 11-08-2010 09:06 PM

Help with hunting rifle purchase
I want to get a hunting rifle in the next month or two, and I'm not sure *exactly* where to start. I've read about 20 or so full threads to get a feel for the forums and to get an idea, but I'd like a little more personal help.

I've been shooting all types of guns for many many years now but never purchased one. I've shot .22s all my life so I want to stay away from .22s. I'm looking for something I can hunt deer with and enjoy at the outdoor shooting range I go to very often.

I've read the stickies and such, so I'm fairly certain that I'm looking for either a .308 or a 30-06. I kind of understand the scope range I want, I believe it's like 3x9 or 4x16 for those calibers (I also understand the 3rd number will determine low light condition handling and that I'll probably decide that when I'm actually purchasing it).

My price range is anywhere up to around 800-900 dollars. I'm picky when it comes to my weapons, which is why I've never bought one. I want something that'll look as great as it shoots. I'm accurate myself, so I want a gun that'll be accurate with me. I'm not looking for someone to do all the work for me. I'm just looking to get suggestions, experiences, links to reviews, and whatnot.

Again, I'm very new to gun buying, ammo buying, scope buying, etc. I've shot them all my life but it's always been with family, and friends more recently. So any and all help will do me good, and sorry if I've not been detailed enough or I've mixed anything up; or broken any of the forum rules.

Edit: I'd like to add that I will be researching as much as I can on the forums as well, so I'll add more to my thread if I learn anything new. :)

Edit2: PS - I tend to talk a lot when I type... sorry for the novels you'll have to read (for future reference)

Dillinger 11-08-2010 09:22 PM

Well, first off welcome out of the shadows. ;)

There is nothing wrong with either caliber, but the .30-06 really is God's own cartridge. With that gun you can load for animals from small to big and it will take down everything that currently is roaming North America of the two and four legged variety. :p

Now, the .30-06 is a much more punishing round than the .308, but that is where custom loading from a reloading bench can help. The .30-06 is a long action or magnum actioned rifle, so it's got a bigger opening where the shell goes in. This makes the action more susceptible to flexing, but not so much that you would notice in a standard hunting rifle.

The .308 is a small action round, which means the rifle action is smaller and more sturdy in most applications.

Once again, you probably are not going to notice a difference in a hunting type rifle with either action.

For a good place to start on a stock rifle, I would suggest looking at a Howa 1500 in either round.

Howa is made in Japan in a CNC machined factory, so it's very sturdy. It's not American made, but it is well imported and supported. I really like the action and have one of my own. It is a very good platform to begin with.

They can be had pretty cheap, around $450 or so dollars without optics, and they are common enough that you don't need some high dollar scope rings to mount up the glass you end up getting for it.

Speaking of glass, you probably don't need much more than 3x9 for standard hunting applications. With a scope dialed into "9" your field of view is going to be so small, it will be about worthless for scanning for animals. With it opened up on "3", you will have a better field of view and then can dial in for a more precise shot.

We have a ton of hunters and shooters here, so I imagine some more folks will be along shortly to help you out.


Nyuu 11-08-2010 09:36 PM

Wow awesome post, thank you for the extremely quick reply and the welcoming. Yea I think I'm going to go for the 30-06, it's been suggested to me by my father as well so I'm definitely leaning towards it now. It shouldn't make a difference but I forgot to add earlier that I live in central Texas.

So far I love the forums, I've learned a lot of helpful stuff. I'm relatively new to the "gun world" despite having been shooting them for around 12 years. I've grown up around family members with guns, friends with guns, and games with guns; never owned one though. So I may question some of the lingo in the future, just a heads up, haha. (I'm 20, so I'm still young.)

Edit: Whoops, completely forgot to mention that I will definitely start researching the Howa 1500. Thanks, lol

Wambli 11-09-2010 12:30 PM

I will give you the standard recomendation I give everyone for a great first hunting rifle. Remington 700 SPS Stainless and top it off with a Lepold VX-II in 3-9x40. It is as classic an all around hunting gun as you can get in the USA. I would go for .308 because I'm a big short action fan but my favorite caliber for this gun is 7mm-08. Ammo is plentiful and cheap and you get all the perferomance of a .308 with a hair less recoil.

It'll take care of anything that needs putting down in Texas.

The beauty of the 700 is that aftermarket parts are all over the place. Later on if you feel like customizing your gun a little and aftermarket stock and trigger will give you a world class gun that's a little more unique to you.

jpattersonnh 11-09-2010 01:21 PM

I would also recommend a .308. I'm partial to the Howa. I've had mine for years. I put a Sightron SII 3-12x42mmAO on her a few years ago, it is the Big Sky model now. I can honestly say I have not found any ammo it does not shoot well. I use 150, 165 gr SP for hunting and 168gr match for long range target. Howa rifles are pillar bedded and rock solid.

jeepcreep927 11-09-2010 03:17 PM

I'll add another vote for the Howa, but in 7mm-08 as Wambli mentioned. Easier on the shoulder, better ballistics, and plenty enough for anything in Texas.

opaww 11-09-2010 03:52 PM

I am a big Howa fan, and would not trade mine for all the money in the world. I am also a big fan of the .308.

Poink88 11-09-2010 05:05 PM

Another vote for .308

From what I've read, Howa is great but I bought a similar gun which is Weatherby Vanguard in .308 for $395 from Buds

Nyuu 11-09-2010 05:34 PM

Awesome thank you everyone, I'll look into a .308 instead and I'll also look at the Remington 700 SPS.

If yall don't mind, what's gonna be the major differences between the .308 and the 30-06? From Dillinger I got that it's a smaller round, but maybe I just misinterpreted what small action means.

jpattersonnh 11-09-2010 06:39 PM


Originally Posted by Nyuu (Post 383378)
Awesome thank you everyone, I'll look into a .308 instead and I'll also look at the Remington 700 SPS.

If yall don't mind, what's gonna be the major differences between the .308 and the 30-06? From Dillinger I got that it's a smaller round, but maybe I just misinterpreted what small action means.

The cartridge is shorter. 51mm for .308, 63mm for .30-06. Both use .308 bullets. The 700 is similar to the Howa, but has a round receiver, not a flat bottom and would have to be pillar bedded as the Howa is. The 1500 uses 700 scope bases. The Vangaurd is a 1500.

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