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I'm totally clueless, and figured someone here knows more than me.

Discussion in 'Long Guns' started by MississippiCelery, May 2, 2016.

  1. MississippiCelery

    MississippiCelery Distinguished Poster

    I've never owned a hunting rifle, and never intended to ever actually go hunting (deer) until recently. I've always been simply a pistol shooter. I know very little about different rifles, hunting ammunition/calibers, and optics. I don't plan on ever attempting very long distance shots, and assume the longest I'll be going for is 100-150 yards.

    That said, I'm looking for a hunting rifle and scope. I don't want to drain a bank account for something that I may end up not enjoying, but I also don't want to go so cheap on it that I end up with something I'll want to upgrade immediately if I do find myself enjoying this activity. If anyone has any suggestions on rifles and optics, I'd appreciate the information. Thanks in advance.
  2. GunnyGene

    GunnyGene Distinguished Poster

    Just about any long gun (including shotguns) can be used for whitetail deer and similar game at that range.

    A 30-30 lever action is a popular rifle, and of course many bolt actions. Expect to spend around $700 for a new rifle and decent scope. Regarding the scope, there is no need to pay extra for a magnification adjustable scope. A 4X is fine and less likely to be a problem.

    You might also take a look at the used rifle rack at your local shop if $$ is an issue. If buy used have it checked out by a knowledgeable friend or a gunsmith before you buy if possible.

  3. sand_man

    sand_man Grouchy Old Fart MSGO Supporter

    Best bet is to try as many of your friends and family guns as you can. That way you can decide which action and caliber fits you. If recoil is an issue then you don't need a magnum rifle. Once you find the one you want then practice enough to get good with it. Remember, a couple of shots the evening before season is not practice.
    Janet, BasMstr, 45flattop and 3 others like this.
  4. MississippiCelery

    MississippiCelery Distinguished Poster


    I was looking yesterday at Ruger American Predator 243. I guess that would be ok? It seemed, based on prices, to be a better than bottom of the barrel, but not top of the line.

    Good news on the scope, because some of those prices were insane. Any particular brand to buy/not buy?
  5. sand_man

    sand_man Grouchy Old Fart MSGO Supporter

    Stay away from bargain scopes. A lot of guys spend a lot on a rifle and scrimp on the scope only to have it fail at the worst time. Best advice is to buy as much scope as you can afford. The Ruger has some good reviews but I have never shot one.
  6. GunnyGene

    GunnyGene Distinguished Poster

    One other thing: You don't need a hi-capacity magazine for hunting. Most time's you'll only get one, maybe 2 shots before the deer vacates the area. I have several friends that hunt with single shot breech loaders, including in-line blackpowder rifles, and they always bag a couple deer every season. The big plus with these type rifles is that you get a longer hunting season in MS. :)
  7. DoyleAlley

    DoyleAlley Distinguished Poster

    Sand_man is right. If you search for some of the "pawn shop" deals posted in the last week or so here you'll see lots of examples of very good used rifles. Buy a decent quality used rifle at a bargain price, then put the rest of your budget into good optics.
    Janet, stewbaby, 45flattop and 3 others like this.
  8. Sum Gy Custom Firearms

    Sum Gy Custom Firearms Distinguished Poster

    Pretty much any reasonably accurate centerfire rifle is capable of whitetail deer to 200 yards! Budget guns are the break open single shots and I have a few and have hunted with many of them with no complaints. Used they can generally be had very reasonable. I don't recommend scopes as all of our eyes are different. I suggest looking through as many as possible and picking the one that suits your eyes and budget best.
    maxhush, BasMstr, 45flattop and 4 others like this.
  9. Sneaky

    Sneaky Distinguished Poster

    Don't buy any scope that comes in a bubble pack, and try to stay away from ones made in China. Lower cost scopes that are made in the Philippines are usually a better bet. Of course there are always exceptions, so that's just a general rule of thumb.
    Janet, 22lrfan, para40 and 4 others like this.
  10. Sum Gy Custom Firearms

    Sum Gy Custom Firearms Distinguished Poster

    Another plus for the break open guns is I have never seen one with the barrel shot out of it! I can't say that for bolt guns, semi autos or pump guns!!!!
    maxhush, BasMstr and CajunBP like this.
  11. Jarhead5811

    Jarhead5811 Rational Anarchist MSGO Supporter

    I started hunting with a Marlin .30-30 lever gun and got a Remington 742 semi-automatic .30-'06. I now prefer to hunt with my Encore single shot .30-'06.

    If I were starting out fresh, on a budget, I'd probably get something in a .308 (ever so slightly less powerful than a .30-'06) or possibly a 7mm-08. While I prefer a single shot for the light weight and easy handling, I think most any of the currently available bolt action rifles would be fine for your purposes. I personally would lean toward the Savage.

    Keep in mind unless it has been seriously neglected you could probably get a nice deal on a used rifle that would functionally be just as good as new.

    Also, I'd think as a pistol guy you might like a black rifle. So, if you could find it in your budget or at possibly at some later time you might consider an AR10 in .308 or AR15 in .300 blackout. It'd make a nice multi-purpose weapon.
  12. Jarhead5811

    Jarhead5811 Rational Anarchist MSGO Supporter

    For a scope I like Leupolds but they aren't real budget friendly.

    As far as a budget scope goes I like Nikons and don't mess with anything cheaper.
    maxhush, Quickeye, 22lrfan and 4 others like this.
  13. mascott

    mascott Distinguished Poster MSGO Supporter

  14. charlie2t

    charlie2t Distinguished Poster MSGO Supporter

    Sneaky gave you some really good advice, also stay clear of (Trashco)-TASCO. They are bad about not holding a zero and if you send them back to the manufacturer under warranty they will claim they they could not find anything wrong with the scope.They send it back with an explanation like, "must be scope be mounted wrong or someting, maybe so!" Had this happen on two of their higher end target scopes.I would advise you to look for a bargain on the rifle and spend your $$ on a decent scope.
    fordpkup, para40, Sneaky and 2 others like this.
  15. Vick

    Vick Distinguished Poster

    That Ruger .243 bolt action you found would make a dandy first hunting rifle...reasonably light, easy on the shoulder, and of good quality. Nikon scopes are of good quality and would do well for a first scope; they can often be found at very reasonable prices...a 3x9x40mm would make a very versatile rig on the .243 rifle.
    maxhush, fordpkup, 22lrfan and 2 others like this.
  16. BasMstr

    BasMstr Distinguished Poster

    If you plan on hunting public land, I'd advise going with a single shot breech loader so you can hunt primitive weapon season (MS Wildlife, Fisheries, & Parks). I've got an inexpensive Center Pointe on my .45-70, and it's held zero for 8 - 10 years, and I shoot mine all throughout the year.
  17. GunnyGene

    GunnyGene Distinguished Poster

    Gotta also add to my previous - regarding ammo. You should plan on spending a minimum of $100 initially on ammo just to sight in and get acquainted with whatever you decide on, rifle and optics wise. Buy a box of several different loads and compare them for accuracy & precision (tight groups), etc. It can be a lengthy process given the variety of ammo available. Keep in mind that for hunting purposes you want a bullet that will kill with one shot, but not destroy too much meat (placement, thus accuracy, is important for this). Many people get ammo that will blow a deer in half and then complain about the quantity of meat destroyed by it.:groan:
  18. sand_man

    sand_man Grouchy Old Fart MSGO Supporter

    Single shot H&R/NEF are good choices. If you can find one in 35 Remington then grab it as it can be used in regular season and PW season. If you get a single shot in a large caliber then as a novice hunter you might not like the recoil. As I said before, try different guns out that belong to others. You might find yourself with a new expensive hobby!
  19. phillipd

    phillipd Distinguished Poster MSGO Supporter

    Celery, where you located?
  20. 95 taco

    95 taco Blessed are the peacemakers

    Look for a Savage axis or ruger american rifle in either .308 win or .243 win.
    The base rifle will run 450-550 new, they are both bolt action with magazines, both are 1-1.5 MOA shooters by most peoples accounts, so they will be plenty accurate.

    For scopes look for a Nikon prostate or buck master, magnification is up to you but i would recommend 2-7 or 3-9.
    Scope should cost 100-165 (per amazon), Nikons are good scopes and have a good warranty also.

    As far as choosing a caliber .308 will have more kick, knockdown power, and longer effective range, as well as the ability to find cheap ammo (E.G. Monarch, tulammo, 9.99/20 at academy), however you have more recoil.

    .243 is a good "all around" round, you can use it for varmints without damaging all the meat, deer, most pigs, etcetera, and it has less perceived recoil than the .308.
    However .243 is a little less common and a little more expansive per round than 308. ($13-$16/20)