Guys Iím the market for a new hunting rifle. With young kids, I donít hit the range as much as I used to any more so Iím not looking to build the ultimate tack driver shooting 1/4Ē groups with hand loads, but I would like to get the most ďbang for your buckĒ rifle. Iím thinking along the lines of a Savage 111 trophy hunter xp, Ruger American, Weatherby Vangaurd S2, or something along those lines. The Savage comes with a Nikon scope for $440 from Buds, which seams hard to beat. Other option I was considering was a Ruger American and throwing a Vortex Diamondback on it for around $500. Open to suggestions. Iíve been keeping my eyes peeled locally for a nice used deal but the time of year isnít the best for that. I may just wait till after season this year and see what pops up then but Iíd like to get something before the end of season so I could take my son out for the late doe season and get him his first deer.
What type of country will you be hunting in and what do you believe will be the average range you will try to acquire your game at? This is very important, as if will play a big part in the style of rifle that will best fit your needs.
Do you have a preference in caliber or are you looking for suggestions with that as well.
No bean field hunting. Shots for me will be 200 max and 50 to 75 for him.
Don't discount .30-.30 or some of the military calibers either. Cheap for practice, low recoil for a lack of flinching, and easy shooting are look-fors. I would second the Savage suggestion as well - I love Savage rifles. They shoot WAY above their price point and are stone reliable.
The 30-30 is a good gun for your son to use for that ramge of shots.
Call me crazy, but this year Im going to try out my 7.62x54 Mosin Nagant for deer hunting. For $150, its cheap and accurate and don't have to worry about scratching it. Im going to be hunting from a shooting house with a rest so the weight is not an issue.
If you or your son will be shooting at 125 yards or less, I suggest you consider a lever gun with a 20" or 24" barrel. The 30-30 is a solid performer on any size deer or even black bear within that range. In fact now days, the last 5 years or so, many hunters, including myself have moved to a .45 Colt lever gun. The .45 Colt, especially if you reload, is an extremely versatile caliber. Even if you don't reload, the available commercial ammo can be had in a large variety of loads. Standard handgun loads will easily give you a 255gn Cast Bullet at 900/100 fps out of a 20" barrel. Heaver loads from Buffalo Bore and others will give you .45 Colt 300gn Cast Bullet at 1300/1400 fps. That load will bring anything you can hunt, in the lower 48, down with authority, within 125 yards. I have a Rossi 92 Lever Gun with a 20" barrel and love it.
I'd suggest the Savage Edge/Axis line for entry level bolt action rifles under 300.00. The .243 caliber will do your son fine. There's also plenty of good price friendly scopes out there also that will pair nicely to this rifle.
Take your time...Don't live to fast..Troubles will come and they will pass..
Drilled and tapped for scope mounts
New modern design, silky smooth bolt operation
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I like 30-06 or 308 Winchester YMMV!
ďWhen the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.Ē ― Jimi Hendrix
Others to consider in .243 bolt action around the price range as the Savage Axis: Marlin X7, Remington 770, and Mossberg ATR. The nice thing about the 770 and ATR is that you can find them factory scoped ready to zero and hunt right off the shelf. I own a Mossberg in .270 and a 770 in .243. They both get it done. The actions aren't glassy smooth as your high-end bolt actions, but it's nothing a bit of fine sanding or repeated use can't fix. As others have mentioned, lever actions are great, lightweight rifles that'll get the job done, but they've become pricey (brand new) as compared to the quality of the "bang for the buck" synthetic stock bolt actions out there. Good luck this season!
Savage axis. They have them at my local Fleet Farm for under $300 with a shitty but usable scope in a myriad of calibers. The only problem with it is the Bushness scope is touchy. I bought one in .243 for my 14 year old this year. I had it dialed in at the 3X setting. Moving it to the 9X shifted the POI 4". If left at the 3X postition (all we need where we hunt) the POI is solid, and the rifle is a tackdriver. I was getting 1" groups at 100 yds with factory ammo. (Federal Game Shock 100gr). It was bore sighted from the factory, but if you aren't confident with sighting it could take a while. I wouldn't have hit paper at 25 yards withough adjustment. I re-bore sighted it at 25, and 4 rounds later (2 groups of 2) I was an inch and a half low at 25, and nutz on at 100.
Cheap, accurate, light, comfortable, decent trigger, detachable 4 round magazine, free floated barrel and has the Savage castle nut barrel mount, so all you need is a new barrel and some go/no go guages to change it to pretty much any of the Savage offered .30 cal cartridges.
Crappy scope, doesn't have the Savage Accutrigger, molded plastic stock feels kind of cheap (but is light. Very light) and no iron backup sights.
I plan on getting a Nikon Prostaff 3-9X for this one, and I'm still under $500 for a very nice deer rig with usable glass on top. I also plan on getting one in .30-06 for me for next year.