Need recommendations on a good versatile hunting rifle [Archive] - Glock Talk


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05-17-2002, 04:41
Hey! Nice club you all have here. I love what you've done with the place.

After hearing Ted Nugent on Hannity's program and checking out his new book, I am interested in learning how to hunt. Phrases from his book (such as "Pure, real, honest-to-God freerange protein is the rocketfuel for my spiritual campfire.") seriously pique my interest.

So, a buddy of mine hunts regularly and has agreed to show me the ropes, as it were. He does pretty well with whitetail and for the sake of discussion I'll assume that will be my standard quarry. But I could also see going after other game as well. Nothing huge or predatory (like bears), but along the same ilk as deer and such.

I would like to procure a fairly versatile hunting rifle to this end. For the moment, cost is not a factor, but rather reliability and accuracy. I would also like something that would be fairly friendly for handloading if/when I take that up. Mainly I want something that can work across a wide variety of game and situations.

So, any thoughts?


sooner pete
05-17-2002, 06:51
Everyone has there favorite rifle set up,so you'll get a wide range of replys.Mine is the model 70 winchester,sporter classic 06.Scope is 10.5+ 10+50 leupold,with leupold base and rings.I reload and crono my own loads and i get the best out of that rifle from reloading.You can buy a good rifle,but you can't buy ammo thats perfect for that rifle unless you reload. Until you get set up reloading the hornady light magnum is a good load. Good luck...

05-17-2002, 07:05
for a starting hunting rig the main focus should be on function rather than form. so i would look at bolt action rifles such as:

remington 700
winchester 70
browning A-bolt
savage 110 series

these are all super reliable designs that are proven to be accurate. there are many different models in each, but for a first time deal i'd go with a "lower" end (read: not as pretty). also with the exception of varmint rifles portability is key. you don't really want a heavy bbl for deer hunting. it'll only make you tired.

for whitetail some of the most versatile cartridges are the .270 and .30-06. .308 is similar to 06 in perfomance, but i like the 06 better for hunting so that's what i'll suggest. there are tons of different cartidges that are good for whitetail. the question comes in when you look at what else you're going to hunt. if it's going to be smaller than a deer than .243 or .270 is a good choice. if it's going to be bigger (ie elk) than 06 would be better.

the 06 can be loaded to go from varmints to bear. IMHO it's the best all-around hunting round for north america.

my suggestions would be:
remington 700 ADL
browning a-bolt hunter
savage 111 or 110
winchester 70 classic

any of these in .270 or .30-06 will provide you with a reliable, accurate, versatile rifle. if you get hooked you'll probably start to specialize (ie varmint rifle, deer rifle, bear rifle, etc.) but that can come later.

the optics you put on are IMO more imortant than the actual rifle. no matter how nice the rifle is you can't hit what you can't see. don't be stingy with your optics. spend the money for a good scope. you don't need to go out and get a $1500 swarovski, but $300-$500 for a quality scope is more than worth the money. personally i favor leupold.

05-17-2002, 07:14

im gonna pretty much side with mpol, but a little different.

first off id say buy something with a composite stock stainless barrel, it just makes sense for durability reasons and hunting in bad weather should that become an issue.

my reccomendations: not in any peticular order

winchester model 70

ruger m77 mkII

browning a-bolt II

caliber- .308 .270 30.06

scope: leupold vari xIII some where in the 3.5 x 10 x 50 range.

or a nikon titanium.

they make both scopes in silver to match the barrel of the gun if you go stainless.

personally i own the ruger m77 mk II i love the gun now that i put a hogue overmolded stock on it with a full aluminum bedding block, and a timney trigger.

now they have changed the stock on the ruger it is much nicer on the newer models. so the only thing you would probably want to change is the trigger. mines a 30.06

browning a bolt II without the boss system my dad owns and its a sweet sweet gun, really nice action, very short. and its a tack driver. dads browning is a .270 shoots a little flatter than the .06

i dont have to much personal experience with winchester model 70's but i know many people that own them and love them. its a good all around gun.

hope this helps ya out.

05-17-2002, 07:20
Real meat!!!

Such an excellent reason to hunt.

Get the rifle I have below.

Save your money for a bow and muzzleloader too.


05-17-2002, 16:23
model 7600 reminton in 308 you can hand load the 308 to take just about anything that walks on this earth and the 7600 is a slick little rifle i got 3 of them on in 280 on in 308 and one in 30-06 but the 308 is my meat gun

05-17-2002, 23:22
My caliber choices would be as follows. If you are hunting strictly Elk size game and smaller the .308 winchester round will do it all. If however you plan to do some Canadian hunting for grizzlies, or want to do some moose hunting. A lot of the guides and hunting camps in Canada allow a minimum of the 06 and would prefer nothing less than the .300 Win. Mag. The .300 mag can also be used on everything that walks this earth. Very versatile. Both of these rounds are readily reloadable. The .300 is also the one to choose when making those 300 yard shots that most of us only dream about. hehe.. The brass for the .308 is very abundant and can be had really cheap if you get spent military brass. You'll have to remove the primer pocket crimp if using it but it works fine. As far as the firearm, pretty much any of the big name bolts would work fine. My preferance would lean towards the Remington 700. I also like the Ruger Stainless. Happy hunting!

05-18-2002, 13:11
What do you mean by "versatile"?

If you're looking for the ONE perfect rifle, it doesn't exist.

.243 is versatile as it can be used for whitetail and varmints ... very flat and you can easily find guns with heavy bbls if you like.

I wouldn't call .30-06 versatile as, for the most part, it's simply a whitetail gun as is the .270, although, many recommend it for Elk as well.

7mm is versatile as it is quite acceptable for whitetail (provided you're not overly recoil sensitive) and Elk will fall just as easily ... at the very least, it'll take a little guess-work out of longer shots with it's signifcantly flatter trajectory.

.300WinMag is very versatile as you can still shoot whitetail, Elk, Moose and others with a trajectory just as flat, if not flatter, than 7mm with comparable bullets ... but, now you're getting into some more recoil.

.338 and .375H&H are typically only bought by those who expect to do more long-range big-game hunting ... again, more recoil.

BTW, when I say "more recoil", that usually dictates more weight to lug around as well which you should be mindful of.

But, don't forget the lever guns. Typically much larger bore, heavier bullets traveling at slower speeds. However, some swear that some of these guns can drop anything that walks or crawls. These are great guns for under 100yds shots. If you're primarily hunting whitetail, you can get a .44mag Marlin 1894SS with a 20" bbl for under $500 and forget about the scope ... no recoil and you can drop a black bear if you want and it only weighs 6lbs. Or, you can step up to a .45-70, the Marlin 1895GS at 7lbs, with an 18.5" bbl makes an excellent brush gun ... comparable recoil to a .270 (in common loads) and with Buffalo Bore loads you can drop ... well, anything you'll ever have an opportunity to shoot. The only thing about these loads is that, for pretty much any shot over 100yds, you might need your old trigonometry book and a good calculator and, if far enough out, the bullet might just bounce off your target, although some lever guys claim to drop Elk at 300yds with 'em ... you won't be doing that anytime soon.

Basically, if you're gonna be bushwhackin' it most of the time and you're gonna shoot at least 10 whitetails for every one bear or whatever, get the Marlin 1894SS .44mag and spend another $50 (close to that anyhow) for AO ghost ring sites ... relatively cheap ammo for practice and before you know it you'll be shootin' 2" groups at 100yds (with open sights). If you're gonna be posting along fields for whitetail and you're gonna buy an 1895GS for bear, then get a .243 (no heavy bbl). If you're gonna be posting along fields for whitetail and you want to shoot bear and elk and maybe moose with the same gun, get a .300WSM. If you're gonna be bushwhackin' it most of the time and you're gonna shoot less than 10 whitetails for every one bear or whatever, get the Marlin 1895GS.

Best bet, get the 1895GS and a .300WSM w/3.5-10x50 vari-x III. You'll be covered for whitetail and anything else in the brush or wherever (including Kodiaks and Polar bears), and your long-range high-speed beef. Oh ya, don't forget to pick up a Glock 20 too for hogs.

Remember, while .454's and .375's sound cool and will drop just about anything, they won't be worth much when you're fatigued from lugging 'em around and you can't hit anywhere near your target 'cause you're flinching so bad anticipating the punishing recoil and impending, earth-shattering, BOOM!

Good Luck and Have fun!

05-18-2002, 13:21
all i shoot in long guns is Remington. i have a 700ADL and 7600 both in .270. i haven't found anything that the .270 caliber couldn't handle. i shoot light grain (130gr) for deer and medium (180gr) for big hogs, etc. the 7600 is by far one of the most accurate off-the-shelf long guns i have ever seen. you can modify the triggers on all Remingtons very easily. i would recommend synthetic stock for the rough weather situations.

for scopes, i really like the Simmons Aetec that is on my 700ADL. for the money, it is fantastic. i have put that combo (700 & Aetec) through all kinds of crap and it stays true. i only spent $700 on the 700ADL w/the scope mounted. HTH!

05-18-2002, 20:39
Blaser R93 is my choice.

05-18-2002, 23:34
Remington 700 in SS, cal. '06. Remington Order #9717.
Top it off with a nice Leupold in the 2-7 variable range. It will be all the gun you need for many different hunting trips.
Only thing I would change would be the scope if you are going to be hunting where shots are longer than say 250. You might want a bit more magnification.

The same gun as above but in 7MM Rem. Mag. is also very nice but depending on where you live and/or hunt, 30-06 ammo is usually more plentiful than 7MM. If that will not be a problem, you may want to consider the 7MM.

Actually, my new choice that I added is a Weatherby MK V in the Accumark model in .340 W'by mag. topped with a Leupold 4.5x14.
This might be a "bit" much for whitetails, but it WILL handle just about anything.

05-20-2002, 13:32
See my post on the Rem 700 ADL. Get one in .308 and you'll have fun!

It will be my first hunting rifle but bought a Bush AR-15 for range fun.

05-20-2002, 15:14
REMINGTON 700 in either 30-06, .270 WIN, or .308 WIN will fit your needs very nicely.

fajizzle nizzle
05-20-2002, 19:31
Originally posted by shrpshtr
i haven't found anything that the .270 caliber couldn't handle. i shoot light grain (130gr) for deer and medium (180gr) for big hogs, etc.

180 grain for a .270? Not in a factory offering and not a "medium" load.

For deer and bigger go .270 and up. For deer and smaller go smaller than a .270. A bolt from any major manufacturer will do.

05-20-2002, 19:55
You'll likely have noticed by now that picking a hunting caliber is as imprecise a science as picking a defensive caliber; too many variables.
However, anybody that tells you that a .30-06 is little more than a whitetail round should not be allowed in the woods. You live back East, and unless you get a wild hair to come out here and hunt moose or elk, a smaller caliber is better.
I try to hunt with the minimum caliber that is still effective. I shot my first elk with a .257 Roberts and a 120gr bullet. One shot and it dropped like a rock. That .257 Roberts was my only gun for elk, deer, antelope, coyote and bear for many years. It always worked.
Here's a picture of it:<img src="" width=301 height=629 >
I now shoot a Ruger in .30-06 and have found it to be extremely versatile and accurate. I shoot nothing but factory ammo and get 1/2" groups at 100 yds every time with cheap Federal Classic 150gr bullets. At $12 a box, I use them for target and whitetails, coyotes and ground squirrels.
The 270 is another fine cartridge that is adequate for elk and fine for deer, sheep, and bear.
Hunting strictly for deer, the 243 is a great round, too. As is the 260.
I haven't had time to really get into the science of ballistics, bullet drop, recoil, and all that other stuff that won't help you sneak up on a deer. What I've learned is that a succesful hunt is about 10% rifle, 50% hunting skill, and 40% luck.

Roger C
05-21-2002, 01:52
Originally posted by shrpshtr
all i shoot in long guns is Remington. i have a 700ADL and 7600 both in .270. i haven't found anything that the .270 caliber couldn't handle. i shoot light grain (130gr) for deer and medium (180gr) for big hogs, etc. ... for scopes, i really like the Simmons Aetec that is on my 700ADL. for the money, it is fantastic. i have put that combo (700 & Aetec) through all kinds of crap and it stays true. i only spent $700 on the 700ADL w/the scope mounted. HTH!

Dittos. I just picked up a 700ADL in .30-06, and have a Simmons Whitetail Expedition mounted on it. The .270 is an outstanding round for whitetail, very flat shooter.

I was happy with my Marlin 336C in .30-30 for a long time, but wanted to move up to a bolt action this year.

05-21-2002, 04:29
who makes a 180 grain .270, or for that matter a 150 grain spitzer?
150 gr. round nose soft point is the biggest I've seen (for pumpguns, but I have a bunch for my Model 70 b/c I thought at the time that they might deflect less in the brush)
Will a 180-grainer even fit in the magazine, or is the bullet set way back into the case neck?

forgot to add:
go with .270, .308, .30-06, or smaller in any name brand bolt action, or Marlin or Winchester lever action in .44 mag or .30-30. I'm partial to the Win. M70 in .270. You will get pretty tired of carrying a heavy full sized bolt rifle once you compare to a mountain rifle or a lever gun, especially while dragging a deer.
I have no personal experience with the smaller calibers (.257 roberts, .243, .260, 6mm), but know people who love them for whitetail. The '06, and to a lesser the degree the .270, tend to make a lot of hamburger out of whitetails if the shoulder is hit. I disagree with the poster that they're 'primarily' a deer cartridge. They're both well suited to elk and smaller black bear (and the '06 for sure to caribou), and are really overkill for small whitetails. They'll suffice for bigger, meaner things with good shot placement (read: hunting an unspooked stationary target, not a charging grizz).

Will you be hunting in the mountains or farmland? The last couple years I've been in Blacksburg hunting the National Forests, and I can tell you the deer are much smaller than in PA...almost all (even 10 pt bucks) sub-150 lbs dressed. My .270 and my .50 CVA muzzleloader both wreck 'em. For that matter, so do my friends' 30-30's. It's also pretty thick, with steep ravines and hillsides, mountain laurel, and rhodedendron. These factors combine to limit shots (and often sight distance until the leaves fall) to under 100 yds. 75 yds is the longest shot I've had at a VA whitetail (got her btw...right on the money), and 20 to 40 is more typical...not far enough to worry about group size or bullet trajectory within reason, and not far enough to even justify a scope if you're a good iron sight shooter (I'm not).
If your planning on hunting private farmland where you'll have shots across fields, then yes get a scoped bolt action. And PM me with information on how to join you.

05-21-2002, 05:21
Originally posted by Deuce

I wouldn't call .30-06 versatile as, for the most part, it's simply a whitetail gun as is the .270, although, many recommend it for Elk as well.

i can't think of any animal in north america that cannot be taken with the .30-06. i think that's fairly versatile.

05-21-2002, 05:48
You cannot go wrong with a remington 700 BDL in .30-06 Springfield- the all-versatile hunting rifle in my safe for any game up to Eland and Gemsbok. I have even used 150 grainers for springbok up to 300m. Who says you need a magnum cartridge when you can get results like that?

05-21-2002, 06:42
I will differ somewhat from most here I think your first hunting rifle should be a very nice rifle because it will be the one you compare any others to, and if you get it right you will probably keep it for life. As you are interested in an all around rifle for use in the Lower 48 I think the 30-06 is hard to beat. As for the action type for an all around rifle I think the Bolt Action and the Single Shot are good choices. Stainless Steel and injection molded stocks work fine but so does a Massey Ferguson farm implement ;). I would look for nice wood and blueing. The rifles I would probably look at would be the Ruger #1B Sporter in a Single Shot, in the Bolt Guns I would look at Model 70 Supergrade, the C.Z. 550 and the Sako. BTW look at the offerings from Dakota Arms they are way expensive but very nice to look at:) .
Have a nice day, Rabon...

05-22-2002, 01:06
What steel guitar said.(R 93) and good old .30-06

05-22-2002, 04:00
i agree with vart.i like the smallest caliber i can get that will have sufficiant killing power with minimal recoil and very flat trajectory.
today the hype is all over for magnum and large cal .too much recoil for one.if you have the barrel ported youll blow your ears out.
give me the 257 roberts,,243, 260,270 at the mostest!

05-22-2002, 08:59
A good all around hunting rifle is the .30-30 Winchester M94.

05-22-2002, 12:23
I am very partial to the 270... I own three. My goto gun is the Remington 700 classic in 270. They have a very smooth bolt and shoot like a dream. The 30-06 is a fine weapon, but I am a balistic junkie and so the 270 takes the cake (almost the same as a 7-mag or 300win.) The 06 is probably most touted in this country because it has 30 cal bullet (most common thus best match grades available) and less recoil than a 300 win. Unless you are hunting Grizzilies I would forget about a Mag cartridge. They are great for long range hunting but if deer is on the list the 270 is effective out to 800 yards... you however likely wont be. BTW the wood is still sexier than the synthetic so I have not made the switch. Good luck as this is the doorway to a whole new world.

05-23-2002, 11:14
Originally posted by armed&well
What steel guitar said.(R 93) and good old .30-06

ah a blaser enthusiast. it's good to see that i am not the only one who likes german quality. do you have one?

05-23-2002, 12:35
I need a Remington 700 classic! Until then, it is the 45-70 lever gun. ( Browning 1886 Carbine for the woods. ( love the 8 shot mag. )... You need a Rem700 classic. ( 30.06 ).

05-24-2002, 03:50
I absolutly love my Win mod 70 Classic Compact in 7mm-08 it is about 6 3/4 pounds of the best deer rifle. It has a Leupold 3x9 compact scope and a nylon snap sling, it is short and lightweight. The 7mm-08 is a great cartridge with the most amount of bullets available for reloaders. The action is a short controlled feed and a great feel.

most of all look for a good cartridge from 243 to 30 and a well known action. more deer have been killed with a win 1894 and 30/30 than can be counted I think.

look at:
Savage 110 or 10 especially their combo with the scope (inexpensive)
lever actions
short bolt actions
used deer rifles.
NEF super light handi rifles in 243
ignore "gotta have Stainless and fiberglass for weather"
blue and wood can be taken care of just as well as SS and FG
don't leave out SS and FG if it comes along in what you need.
most of all enjoy the hunt
it is not a rifle/ cartridge matter but a hunt.
hunt with what you have that works....

05-24-2002, 04:40
Originally posted by duncan
See my post on the Rem 700 ADL. Get one in .308 and you'll have fun!

I'm not a hunter, but I just bought one of these (in .308). Very good quality. It was zeroed in right out of the box and needed no adjustments. The bolt is a little stiff at first, but maybe that's true for all bolts.

One plus for a hunting rifle: the synthetic stock version is very light.

05-26-2002, 03:55
Answer to Steel Guitar:

Yes I have R 93 Luxus with Swarovski 3-12 x 50 (iluminated reticle) and the caliber is .30-06.
I have it for six years. I have killed aprox. 30 roe deer, 9 deer (europen red stack), 1 pig, some 40 foxes, and a few other criters.

Like it much.

If we are talking europian than my shoice would be :
1.R93 and till 10th places nothing on SAKO 75 and 12.SHR 970.

Just my taste.

05-26-2002, 13:55
One of my rifles is a Remington 700 Stainless in 270 Win. It's my bread and butter gun.
It's a good starter gun as well as a constant companion for deer.
If you get hooked on hunting, you will definately buy more different calibers and more different brands of bolt guns for more different species of game!!!
I did!

05-27-2002, 01:07
I agree also with Prefessr, the 7mm 08 is a great caliber. I am going to get one soon, in Remington. I am still a 270 man through and through, I just have begun flirting with other calibers. I dont think you would do bad with any caliber you choose, just make sure you can afford/find the ammo for the gun, and practice enough. A large cal will make you recoil shy if you aren't diciplined. So think small then move up. A 7mm08, and 308 are both adequate to kill everything in NA, however I don't want to be shooting a Griz with an adequate gun. My $0.02. Probably not worth more than that.

05-28-2002, 02:42
Another vote for smaller calibre rifles - for deer or black bear. I've shot a 6mm Rem for 25 years and never had a problem with dropping either.

I didn't go to the smaller calibre so much for less recoil, but for the shorter stroke of the short action. If you must have more power, maybe a 308 or 7mm-08 - again small action.

I shoot a Ruger M77. If I was to buy a new rifle, I'd get a 700BDL in .243 Win. The 6mm is great but never became popular. There's lots of .243 ammo around camp (If I need it), but 6mm is getting harder to find.

05-28-2002, 21:17
Originally posted by armed&well
Answer to Steel Guitar:

Yes I have R 93 Luxus with Swarovski 3-12 x 50 (iluminated reticle) and the caliber is .30-06.
I have it for six years. I have killed aprox. 30 roe deer, 9 deer (europen red stack), 1 pig, some 40 foxes, and a few other criters.

i got the blaser r93 offroad (or synthech as it is called over here) "tracking". i got open sights for driven hunts. the caliber is .308win. i like it very much. i am thinking about buying me another one but this time one which is equipped like yours. do you have extra barrels for it. a friend of mine has a couple of extra barrels for his. he bought the offroad safari in 375h&h and has exchange barrels in 30-06 and 300win mag. and he even has an exchange tracking barrel in 308win. he can exchange them within minutes and he has a allround rifle of excellent quality.

05-29-2002, 00:40
NO I haven't got any exange barrels for R93 - the price is very steep but I don't have any need for other caliber because when I hunt I hunt from fox to boar or large deer and it's a bear country out here.

When I get some $ all I want is onother scope (1,5 - 4 x) for closer work.

But having extra barrel is a good idea - you have more or less the same gun and the best about it is that you donn't have to check poin of impact after swaping barrels.(if you get one in .222 and another in 375 H&H you are fully covered).

05-29-2002, 14:01
Accuracy and versatility are relative and in extremis neither are particularly important when it comes to filling your stated needs; A very accurate rifle that shoots sub MOA groups is nice to have and while some people delude themselves that such a rifle inspires confidence, the simple truth is that any rifle that groups 2" OR 2.5 " at 100 yards is more than accurate enough to kill deer size game out to 400 yards. I promise that very, very few people are capable of taking advantage of better accuracy on game animals under field conditions. Shoot some sitting kneeling or prone shots under field conditions and see if I'm pulling your leg! SHooting off the bench is nice for learning how a rifle shoots...but that's about it.gv
Virtually any cartridge listed will get the job done: Anything based on either the 30-06 family of cartridges (.280 Rem, 270 Win, 25-06, 35 Whelan etc etc) or the 308 family of cartridges (243 Win, 7-08, 260 Rem etc) will perform quite well and you wan't have to be particularly picky about the types of shots you make. There's a lot to be said for cartridge selection and the 30-06 leads the way in that regard. It may be boring but its an extrememly versatile and efficient cartridge.
You can buy very good rifles from Remington, Winchester, Savage, and Ruger as well as some imports. But IMO, the imports are not worth the significant difference in price especially in a hunting rig. But if you just want a Blaser, Sako, Steyer, etc because you want one...well its hard to argue with that. Just understand you probably aren't getting significantly more rifle for the dough you'll spend.
Optics...I tend to buck popular trends here. I recommend low power personal favorite is the Leupold Vari-X III 1.5-5 power. The VAST majority of deer are killed at ranges under 70 yards. A 1.5 power scope at ranges under 100 yards is an extremely effective tool. And 5X is very adequate for putting bullets in a 10" kill zone on a deer at 400 yards. I've personally seen several blown shots on deer and elk because the hunter had to have a high power scope and they carry the darn thing around on 12 or 14 power (which you don't need anyhow) and when a shot presented itself at 50 yards all they could find was hair or a blur as the animal was moving. The low power scopes have a very wide field of view. The low power scopes are also light weight and have a low profile (usually lacking a front objective) This makes the scope less likely to snag on brush etc and also less prone to being bumped and broken. The 50 mm objective is IMO a huge mistake. Any advantage afforded by the bigger lens is offset by the fact that you need to use high rings which raises your head off the stock (contributes to bad shooting form) and the zeroing/accuracy issues involved with moving the line of sight that far above the axis of the rifle. Don't get me wrong, I own several 3-9 and 3.5-10 scopes but all my serious guns that go on my big money hunting trips wear a 1.5-5 power and its carried on 1.5 power ALL the time. Just remember that no amount of magnification will ever compensate, in any way, for a lack of shooting skill. Buy quality glass. It makes a difference. For me the bottom end starts with Leupold. FWIW, I feel a good set of binos ($700 or more) is more important than a scope. A good set of binos will allow you to see and find more game, will not fatique your eyes, and will make you more effective. I can shoot quite nicely with open sights out to 300 yards, Thank You... But of course the correct answer is to buy both. You'll get some people who disagree with me on this but most of em don't own good binos and have never hunted with good glass. It makes a huge difference even in the eastern whitetail woods. A decent set of 7-50 or 8-42 binos will allow you to see deeper into the woods with clarity and resolution than with your eyes. And don't glass with a riflescope...its dangerous and very bad form. And if I'm in the woods and see you staring at me through a riflescope I'm very apt to "point back!"

05-29-2002, 14:17
For what its worth, I think Jethro gave the best answer, and like his response better than mine. You need to know the weapon. A rifle fast becomes more than a gun, which is why so many are telling you their rigs and feel so passionately about it. One just needs to see what a rifle round does to appreciate what a rifle round does. They are all very potent, and learning to shoot that potency well is your respondsibility when shooting game.

06-03-2002, 09:10
Lots of good replies. Something none have mentioned so far. Are you right or left handed? If you are left handed, DO NOT get a right handed bolt action. You'll regret it.

The terrain you'll be hunting in should be the determining factor on what type of rifle you get... and also what type of sights you use. If you're going to be hunting in farm country, then a bolt action with a good 2-7 or 3-9 scope is a good choice. Buy the best scope you can afford...don't skimp on the optics. If you'll be hunting in mostly heavily wooded terrain, a pump, semi-auto, or a lever-action might be a better choice. After the first salvo of shots on opening morning, the deer will be headed for the nastiest, densest cover around. Shots over 50 yards are rare in this heavy cover. The deer will see you before you see them, and you may have to shoot at one on the move. A light, fast moving carbine is just the thing for this type of hunting. Any scope should be a low magnification... 1.5x or 2x is best. A better choice in dense woods is a peep sight with a front sight like a Williams "fire-sight". I'm not a big fan of riflescopes. I hunt in some awful conditions and my favorite tactic is to track deer into the nasty stuff, and in my experience scopes are more trouble than they're worth. A good peep will never fog up, get blurred from rain or snow on the lens, won't snag on brush, and will always keep it's zero, no matter what.

Caliber isn't really that important, IMHO. Where I hunt, the deer are rather large... 250 lbs not being too rare. A .243 class is a little on the light side for a big northern buck, but may be OK for the deer in your area. A .260, .270, .280, .308, 7mm-08, or .30-06 are all good choices. You definately don't need a magnum of any kind!

If you go with a lever, I'd go with Marlin. My "go to" all time favorite, amongst my nine deer rifles, is my Marlin 336 in .35 Rem, with a Williams peep & fire sight combo.

To be honest, if I were just starting out, and knowing what I know from 38 years of deer hunting experience, my rifle would be a Marlin 1895 guide gun in .45-70, with a ghost-ring or a Williams peep sight.

And I second Jethro's advice, all of it, but especially on the binoculars. A good set of binoculars, and the right clothing (I like wool) and warm boots, are more important than the gun you use.

BTW, I quit using a rifle about 1996, and now hunt mostly with a handgun (got 8 deer, so far). More of a challenge. After 30 years of hunting with rifles (I started at 14, and have never missed a single day of deer season, EVER, for ANY reason... including school or work!) I was getting bored. It was just too easy. And totin' a light Ruger Blackhawk all day beats any rifle I've ever had.

If you want to try hunting the northwoods where the deer are BIG, and there's plenty of them, you can come up here and hunt with Deadeye and myself anytime. We're very picky on who we hunt with, but I'm sure he'll second my invite. And we'll start you out right.... we'll let you have the honor of doing all the draggin'. :) A non-resident license is $130 over the counter (no "draws" or lotteries), and if you were born after Jan 1st 1973, you need a hunter's safety certificate to purchase a license. I've got two empty bedrooms in my house, so we've got room. There's about 900,000 acres of public hunting land nearby and where we hunt, in a national forest, is only 5 miles from home.

P.S. A few years ago, WI hunters set an all time U.S.A. record by killing almost 700,000 whitetails in one season. That's a lot of venison.

06-06-2002, 01:14

First, thanks for all of the great responses. After reading through everything, I've decided to go with the 30-06. I suppose it's boring, but there is a Garand in my future as well, so it dovetails nicely.

As for make, well....I decided on the Remington 700 ADL with a walnut stock. I know the synthetic stock is probably more practical, but I just have a thing for wood stocks.

Glass: I appreciate Jethro's comments and have taken them to heart. I'm not looking to do 400 yard miracle shots. In addition, my accuracy requirement was so I could do some fun bench shooting in addition to field stuff (after shooting an AK for a 18 months, anything would be an improvement). The jury is still out on my scope selection, but I've seen some things from Tasco. Will that get me laughed out of the woods?

Thanks to all for the great advice. I'm grateful.


06-06-2002, 09:10
I have a Tasco Pronghorn 3-9X my .22 magnum (came with the used gun).
It's marketed as a big game scope, but wouldn't put one on a deer rifle...not the best clarity, and I don't trust it to stand up to 30-06 recoil without going out of zero. They're cheap, so you could try it and always upgrade later. Unless you're on a budget, though, I'd say get a Leupold. Get decent rings too.

06-06-2002, 23:49
Invest in optics and rings ad least as much as you will pay for ADL 700!

06-07-2002, 01:26
agreed. I wouldnt bother with Tasco. I would go leopold. if a you need a cheaper scope, buy a simmons high end scope. They arent as good at light gathering as the leopolds but they will handle the abuse well.

06-08-2002, 01:30
You've gotten some great suggestions for rifles already so I won't keep going on that one.

Ditto what folks have said about optics. This is such a common mistake that I'm going to echo what has already been said.
Plan to spend just as much on your optics as you do on your rifle. You might have a small disparity in price, but it shouldn't be much. While price is a poor way to buy optics, it can tell you in a hurry whether you are being a cheapskate with the wrong thing.

You can't shoot what you can't see. 99% of the difference between a good Leupold and an ok Tasco is the ability to gather light. If you were to make all of your shots at noon from under 100 yards, you'd never see much difference. But most whitetails are taken in low light and you will go absolutely bananas when you can see a deer perfectly in your binoculars, but your scope is too dark to shoot them.