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First hunting rifle

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Old 12-12-2012, 10:26 PM   #1
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Default First hunting rifle

I was looking for some advice on getting my first hunting rifle. I have no experience hunting, but I own a Ruger 10/22, so it won't be my first gun.

I am looking to hunt deer, nothing bigger. I have been thinking about a Savage Axis or Weatherby Vanguard. I would prefer it to be under $450. (I am a college student so cant be too expensive.)

Also, being a new hunter with no one to teach me what else besides a hunter's safety course do I need? How do i find land to hunt. (Michigan)

Thanks for the help.
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Old 12-12-2012, 10:50 PM   #2
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putting up 3x5 cards at local ranges, gunshops, laundromats, and grocery stores has always worked for me. offer to PAY for the right to hunt, by the way, dont be a cheapskate. that landowner is risking a lawsuit with every person he allows onto his property, so have some respect and rumenerate him for the risk that he is taking! I recommend a used, $400 (probably a scope already on it) Remington 308 autoloader. then you have fast repeat shots to stop a fleeing cripple, for self defense, for dog packs, or running coyotes, and the gas op action lessens the felt recoil, too.

also, 308 milsurp ammo is cheap enough to let you practice a lot, which is needed for a newbie (to powerful rifles). Unless you reload, you are very unlikely to fire more than 100 centerfire rifle rds per year, when you need to fire several thouand rds to build just slowfire hunting ability, and many thousands more rds to build shtf defensive rifle ability. A bolt action is very limiting.

You might want to look into a 243, for varmint hunting year round, and reloading. Remington makes an autorifle in 243, too. the heavy calibers tend to not get used except in big game season, for very, very few shots. The 243 recoils less, and the lighter, 75-90 gr bullets "break up" easily on contact with dirt,, slow down relatively quickly etc, while the heavy 30 cal bullets tend to overpenetrate, richochet, and be dangerous to much greater ranges than 243 varmint type hp's and sp's. For deer, hogs, and pronghorn, tho, the 243 needs the greater penetration of the 100 gr Nosler Partition softpoint.

In order to get the long range, small animal sort of accuracy you want for varmints, you might have to either go with a Browning autorifle, or a bolt action, unfortunately. Or just do as I do and ACCEPT that you are going to miss every other crow or prairie dog at more than 250 yds or so. Big deal. it's just a varmint.

Last edited by bonney; 12-12-2012 at 10:53 PM.
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Old 12-12-2012, 11:32 PM   #3
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It would be hard to go wrong with the new Ruger American.
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Old 12-13-2012, 10:24 PM   #4
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I have a 22-250 on the Axis and it`s a real shooter. There are 2 thing that I do not like about it. The trigger, but that is an easy fix, but they do not put a recoil lug on the barrel. Instead they mill the frount of the action and mold the recoil lug into the stock. Ok with very low recoil, but it would scare me with a heavier recoil. I would recomand you pick up a 110 Savage instead. Hit some gun shows and if you find a cheap 308 it will also work find.
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Old 12-13-2012, 11:27 PM   #5
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I have a Maverick 243 that shoots very well and a Savage Stevens in 223 that's hard to beat either one for shooting and price.
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Old 12-14-2012, 12:27 AM   #6
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check out the Marlin X7 series of rifles. in the so-called "entry level" rifles, these are probably the best for the money. pillar bedded stock, excellent recoil pad, adjustable trigger, very good fit and finish, and accuracy is comparable to rifles costing much, much more. i own three different ones, XS7 in 7mm-08, XL7 in 25-06 and the XS7VH in 308. very well made and very accurate. nice thing is, because of the cost of them, you can spend a little more on better optics for them.
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Old 12-14-2012, 02:13 AM   #7
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I would try to find a used rifle made by a reputable manufacturer. Hunting season has likely passed. Getting a new rifle is on a lot of hunters minds. You might find a gem for a bargain price if you find a motivated seller.

To find a place to hunt you need to get involved with the community. Develop a reputation for being handy to have around. Once you find a place to hunt one pound of fence staples will get more places for you to hunt than a bundle of cash. Remember common sense things like close the gate. If a farmer tells you to hunt a certain area and you see livestock present go ask whats going on.

There is nothing wrong with hunting public land. There is usually plenty of game on public land. Joining a hunting club will put you on the fast track. You will find a mentor to teach you to hunt and gain quick access to private land.
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Old 03-03-2013, 11:33 AM   #8
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Depending on where you live, you can probably pick up a used Marlin 336, 30-30. Was my first rifle, still have it!
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Old 03-03-2013, 02:48 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by dsstrpc_88 View Post
Depending on where you live, you can probably pick up a used Marlin 336, 30-30. Was my first rifle, still have it!
What he said. With the new Hornady ammo the 30-30 is a 250+ yard gun.
But if you want a bolt gun I would go with a 308 or a 7mm-08.
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Old 03-03-2013, 03:43 PM   #10
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Like axxe55 said, a Marlin in the X7 series is hard to beat. I would also recommend the .243 cartridge with 90 to 100 grain bullets. The .243 will stop a deer in its tracks and it also makes a great varmint rifle with lighter bullets. It is generally more accurate than the 30-30 so shot placement is easier.
Michigan has lots of state land where hunting is allowed, so finding a place should not be difficult. I assume that you plan to hunt in the Upper Penninsula or the northern part of the lower Penninsulas as the southern part of the state is shotgun only for deer.
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