Best starter guns for an adult newbie

I would suggest either a Ruger 77 or Winchester model 70 in any of the following: 7x57, 7mm-08, 270 win, 30-06 or 300WSM. These are listed in order of least to most recoil with mid weight bullets - all are very tolerable for new shooters. These are all also very capable cartridges but if you plan on elk I might lean towards the 300WSM. Top it off with a Leupold scope and you’re all set.
There is a great deal more to hunting than just the guns/rifles. Any of the suggested cartridges will get you started and you can develop your own ideas once you have done a bit of hunting.

To be a successful hunter you must spend time outdoors and learn from what you see, hear, and, yes, smell. You will have a great time and learn a great deal. Meanwhile, you can also learn to shoot. If you can find a mentor who you like and trust you will be miles ahead. My $.02.
A BB gun is also a great start to leaning firearm safety, how to shoot, and overall they are really fun. We still shoot BB guns around the yard quite a bit.
+1 on a .22 LR. Everyone needs one. After that, then something in the 6.5 CM to .270 category. It is one thing to be able to take some recoil. It is another to take the recoil and be accurate. Work up the ladder for that.
So I'm interested in taking up hunting one day. However, like a lot of people, I didn't learn from my family as my parents aren't big on the idea of hunting. So I'm wondering what's the best group of rifles to look into if I ever want to get serious about hunting.

I'm fairly heavy so I THINK I can handle some recoil with practice but nothing obscene and my most likely quarry will be deer of the whitetail size range (maybe elk if I ever feel like going out West).
For the game you mention I would choose the 25/06 or 270 win or the 280AI
All would be a good choice with the 280 being better for elk sized game loaded with a good 160gn projectiles.
I find magnums overrated for the average person.
I agree with the above comment, Get a 22 rim fire to practice on and 308 or 7-08 to hunt with. When it is hunting time, sight your rifle in with good ammo that uses a GOOD bullet like Swift. The bullet is the deal breaker not the rifle or the calibre. ( The bullet is the only thing that touches the animal.)

- Most of the lower price rifles are excellent hunting rifles.
- A two inch group off the bench at 100 yds is "good to go".

Enjoy the sport of shooting and hunting, and please don't listen to half of the advice you will get.
The bullet isn't the only part that touches an animal. Take @CoElkHunter for example he ties a slice of bread to the muzzle of his beloved 338WM to lure the deer closer so with him it is the barrel that touches the animal first. That way he knows his rifle will do the job.
He learnt that trick off 243 owners and now he is able to say his 338WM is a great deer rifle.
Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha
A Howa 1500, in 308 Win very good quality low cost rifle in a caliber you can get ammo
almost everywhere.
I bought one for my son. He loves it. Cheap, bloody accurate,fits home well on the 308 does everything he needs including PG in Namibia.
Join a gym club, get some shooting time in .Try get someone to take you hunting, go observe.

Rifles like .308, .30-06 probably do what you hope to do.

.270, .280 or .280ai could all be good choices.

If you are unlikely to handload rethink this and consider .308, .30-06, .270 as these a might have better availability in factory ammo options.

But, I would think .7mm-08 could be ideal, fairly common in the states I think and suited to Whitetail, punches above its weight and is easily tolerable recoil which may benefit a new hunter in gaining accuracy and confidence.
I will follow my previous post.

My path to hunting and shooting in terms of inventory was gradual.
First firearms bought for my shooting was:
22lr pistol, 22lr rifle, 9x19 pistol.
For start, all was for purpose to learn shooting and training.

next (very soon) step was:
308 win, rifle, varmint type, and upland OU shotgun 12 GA
This was after i was confident I can hit the target with 22lr and was ready for hunting.
Rifle was used for training, and all round hunting, shotgun was used for small game and clay targets.
This covered a wide range of activities for some time. Big and small game hunting, birds, target shooting, clay pigeons, occasional competition, and training. (lets say, "quality trigger time")

next step was:
DA revolver, 357 mag, of course

and then there was a next step, then the next step, then the next step... etc so the inventory evolved, and was more specialized.

Coming back to original post, from OP, short and economical, one rifle approach to start hunting would be 308 win rifle, in my view.
I think one of the best rifle values available today is the new Savage 110 with a scope combo. A Vortex (Apex model) or Bushnell (Engage model) scope is available. Get one in .270 Win, .308 or .30-06, and your set for most big game hunting in the lower 48, for under $600 bucks. For a .22 rifle, the Savage 93 bolt action is hard to beat for under $150. A Remington or Mossberg pump action 12ga shotgun are good entry level shotguns at a reasonable price point. You can always go up in quality, features and price, but for someone just starting out in the shooting/hunting pastimes, these are well built, reliable and economical choices.
Last edited: are located near West KY feel free to shoot me a message and if you are in driving distance there is a great range here local and i have a decent collection of different calibers and types of rifles. You're welcome to come down and test drive a few and see what you like. There is no replacement for actually getting behind a few rifles to figure out what you want and what you like.
Tigris115, I'm making an assumption that you are a woman. If that is incorrect please forgive me. However your question about a good starting rifle caliber is relevant regardless of your sex. Your first rifle should probably be a 22 L.R. why, ammo is cheap and every lesson you learn is applicable to a larger caliber. A 308, 7mm - 08, 6.5 x 55 or similar will get you started.
A dude actually
Buy two rifles. First get the best full sized .22 rimfire you can find /afford. Buy all the .22 ammo you can find/afford. Shoot and repeat. Use the same type sights/scope you plan to use with your centerfire rifle. Use GOOD hearing and eye protection. Repeat using field positions and bipods/tripods/sticks until you are proficient.

Then go buy a modest recoiling centerfire and lots of ammo. 7mm-08. .270, .280, 7x57 or similar will do just fine. Shoot a lot. When flinch or bad habits rear their head go back to the .22.

Practice, Practice, Practice. Once the mechanics of sight alignment, getting steady, and trigger control are second nature and ingrained in muscle memory go forth and hunt, a lot.

Totally agree with these caliber recommendations, and I would also include, as @Shootist43 did, a 6.5x55 Swedish Mauser. That latter has almost no recoil, even when firing 160 gr bullets (as heavy as you can get in that caliber). 140 gr factory ammo is relatively easy to find for 6.5x55 (before the rona, now it's like everything else, hit or miss), and is what most people shoot.

Even a 308 can have pretty snappy recoil, depending on how light it is. As big of a fan as I am of 30-06, not necessarily a great place to start for your first center fire rifle. Again, depending on weight, recoil is not mild. It isn't SO bad, but it will still let you know that you have just put a round or three downrange.

If you want a light gun, I would narrow down to 7mm-08, 7x57, and 6.5x55. Even in light rifles, there is almost zero recoil in any of them. I taught my daughter how to shoot with a cheap, crack-barrel 7mm-08 and 6.5x55.

Good luck.

Oh. And manufacturer? That entirely depends on your budget and aesthetics
I will echo what others have said about the importance of just getting outdoors. I spent countless days when I was first getting into hunting sitting against a tree with my Marlin and just watching and listening to everything around me.

I am not sure how limited your budget is or if there are any restrictions on the type or quantity of firearms you can own. I know you are looking to hunt deer, but I think starting with small caliber rifles on small game will help you to build accuracy and hunting skills. If you are going to get a centerfire for big game, hard to go wrong with any non-magnum .30 cal or under. My personal favorites in that camp are the 30-30, .280 AI, and 6mm Rem AI, though you might want to avoid the 6mm since you will probably not get into reloading for a while. Availability is important so maybe go to your local gun store and see what ammo they have in stock. Say what you will about the 6.5 Creedmoor, but it is a readily available, lower recoil option that is very capable for deer-sized game. Also, do not rule out a shotgun. Not only is shooting clays addictive, but a shotgun gives you incredible flexibility for self defense, wing shooting, and big game hunting with slugs. Oh, and stay away from all belted magnums and any rifle with a muzzle brake.
Typical rifles learning path of country boy (not done by all) :
BB Gun -- shoot a lot and you will begin to see the BB in flight. Shoot small critters like sparrows, rats, snake heads, etc.
.22 rifle -- shoot targets, bugs, rats, prairie dogs , etc until you feel OK with 100 yard shot on a quart oil can. If you have the space and terrain hunt small game like crows, rabbits, squirrels, and such. Plan to eat the edible game. Do not shoot protected birds and song birds.(my dads rules)
When you are ready for big game like feral hogs, and deer, choose a light recoiling rifle such as a
7 mm 08,(buy American) Learn the rifle inside and out. Get instruction from a n experienced friend or pro. Shoot a lot. Go hunting! Bring home the bacon! Join a hunting/outdoor club if available.

Have fun .
@tigris115 Only because you are a new shooter and don't own any rifles I would recommend two a .22 and (This hurts me to even type this) a 6.5 Creedmoore. The 6.5 CR is one of the most the popular rounds on the US market and is a very effective round for deer and hogs.
Great info above! Don’t know what area you plan to hunt for whitetail, but they can vary greatly in size depending on where you hunt. South Texas 100-125 lbs while Canadian can weigh over 300. Both will give up the ghost with a quality expanding bullet put in the right spot. Elk, the cartridge, bullet, and placement become much more critical. Thought I have a 7mm-08 for my granddaughter, for myself I prefer a 30 caliber, ie, 30-06 or 300WM. Elk ranges can be long too.
Just my mirroring previous suggestions (all bolt guns):
22 LR for cheapest learning trigger time, squirrels, rabbits, PDs, etc.
223 for coyotes, bobcats, turkey, small deer (if legal).
30-06 for everything else up to DG or over 1,000 lbs (eland, giraffe, water buff, etc). You can buy ammo most anywhere from corner country stores to Walmart to specialty stores as well as world wide. It can handle heavier bullets (180+) better than the 308.
Buy only the best scopes you can afford. I have stated this here many times, but a bad shooting rifle can be tweaked to shoot, but a bad scope is just a paper weight. A scope will push your killing accuracy much further than open sights. No one wants to wound an animal only to lose it.

Best of luck picking your first rifle! You won’t regret it!
As @Nevada Mike stated, hunting is about a lot more than the rifle. It's dedication, ethics, marksmanship and a whole lot more. Seeking a mentor who can walk you through the steps of getting started along with what to (or not) do along the way will speed up your growth.

If you have the means, I would highly recommend the class at FTW Ranch SAAM New Hunter Training. And you don't need to bring a rifle to attend, they will provide one for you.


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