First hunting rifle recommendations

Just Gina

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Greetings, All!

I was raised in a hunting family however, until last year when Mike took me, I had never been hunting. I have carried a gun for years and on a regular basis, aside from my pistols, I shoot my AR-15, and my Boyfriends's .308 off the bench and I can hit the center of a quarter at 100 and 200 yards with it. I have also shot his .416 Rigby. That being said, I am looking for a rifle that would be more comfortable and fit me better to hunt deer, hogs, and (someday) plains game with.
I have had recommendations for a Weatherby Camilla, Savage Lady Hunter, and I have heard Ruger makes a M-77 compact, but have not had the opportunity to hold any of these. Does anyone have any other recommendations as I am looking? Recommendations for a female who is 5'5" 125# would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you all in advance for your help!
 

Ray B

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I teach hunter education (for the Washington State Dept of Fish & Wildlife). Part of the course involves the handling/practice loading/unloading, carrying the gun over a field course and live fire. In years past I was a certified handloader and was allowed to use handloaded ammo for the live fire. A few years back the dept attorneys limited the live fire to factory ammo. Through the nearly 30 years I have been doing this I had access to dept guns as well as using my own. I've had several students much smaller than you, and much larger than you. The favorite rifle for the course was a Remington M700 short action 308 that I got when I was about 14 and the stock was trimmed down to fit my stature, both length of pull and sanding down the stock so that the grip and foreend were much thinner. It seems at the time I was about 5'5" and about 110 lb. The students younger than 18 prefer it on the field course to any other, which include Ruger Americans and Savage bolt actions. Back in the day I loaded the 308 to 30-30 ballistics and it was also a favorite on the live fire course- sadly, now I'd have to use full power loads, so most of the younger kids use the 223s.

That M700 was a first year production and I've heard that the current Remingtons are lacking in attenytion to detail. I have heard good things about Savages and Rugers, but also if you are willing to spend a little more, the Sako 85S in 7/08 with the lightweight stock would be my first choice of new guns today. Best Wishes on you hunt for the perfect rifle.
 

Pheroze

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I got when I was about 14 and the stock was trimmed down to fit my stature, both length of pull and sanding down the stock so that the grip and foreend were much thinner.

This sounds like what I have been told is required. My gunsmith was saying custom stocks are becoming much more common with women. I understand the fit is harder due to various anatomical differences in the neck and shoulders. And some of the new, smaller rifles don't allow for that. If your budget allows that may be worth considering.
 

375 Ruger Fan

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Since you shoot your boyfriend's 308 so well, I'd put that model of rifle on your list.

As much as I like Ruger's, I'd suggest avoiding the Ruger Compact. That rifle has a 16" barrel and the report (noise) is louder than normal from a 20 or 22 inch barrel.

The Remington Model Seven is a scaled down version of the popular Model 700. A Model Seven in 7mm-08 or 308 might be a good choice. https://www.remington.com/rifles/bolt-action/model-seven/model-seven-cdl

Both Vanguard and Howa offer youth size rifle options with a shorter LOP (length of pull) and those are good options. These are basically the same action as the Weatherby Vanguard Camilla, just in a different and more economical package.
https://www.legacysports.com/catalog/howa/howa-hogue-youth-scope-package/
http://www.weatherby.com/products/rifles/vanguard/vanguardr-synthetic-compact.html

Craig Boddington had a couple of articles you might find helpful.
http://blog.lg-outdoors.com/choosing-the-right-cartridge-craig-boddington/
https://www.americanrifleman.org/ar...two-sevens-the-7-mm-08-vs-the-7x57-mm-mauser/
 

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firehuntfish

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Since you shoot your boyfriend's 308 so well, I'd put that model of rifle on your list.

I agree..... The .308 is a great caliber for an all-around hunting rifle. I would also have you consider the .270. My wife shoots an old hand-me-down Remington 700 in .270 and she absolutely loves it. She has taken everything from hogs, whitetails, & muleys, to plainsgame as big as kudu....We have done a couple of minor upgrades including a bedding job, and adding a custom bolt and trigger, and that rig is a tack driver that she is extremely comfortable with...

As for the model, that would have to be decided within your personal budget. Lots of very affordable factory rifles now that are manufactured at 1" moa @100yds... 375 Ruger Fan has suggested a few good ones...!
 

mdwest

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My wife is 5’3” and roughly your weight.

She has several rifles, but her current favorite is a Ruger M77 FTW in .308

The FTW has 3 spacers in the butt of the stock that allows you to easily adjust the length of pull on the rifle. She removed all three and the LOP is just about right for her.
 

Hogpatrol

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I'm a skinny lightweight and not a big fan of the straight .308. My vote goes to the Remington Model 7 in 7-08. Put it in a Boyd's AT-ONE stock and adjust to suit. There are other pistol grip inserts and buttplate that can be also be adjusted up or down.

https://www.boydsgunstocks.com/

Here's one variation in a long action R700 clone.

20180310_090146.jpg
 

TXhunter65

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Another vote for the 7mm-08. I actually shoot the Savage Lady Hunter and love it. It was designed for women with a shorter stock and higher comb, will take any deer species in North America excluding maybe moose and any plains game in Africa. The kudu in my avatar was shot with the 7mm-08, and I know several people who’ve taken eland with it. It has very little recoil as is, if you add a muzzle break it has almost none. Comparing ballistics on the 7mm-08 to the 6.5 creedmore and the .308, I prefer the 7mm-08 especially for hunting. Definitely give it a try before you decide.
 

Shootist43

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Gina, like we told you previously and what Pheroze mentioned on this thread, the best fitting rifle for you would be one designed for a women. A cut down man's rifle might be usable but it will not be optimal. Since you are having trouble finding a Weatherby Camilla or a Savage Lady Hunter to handle as you put it, you may need some help from those manufacturers. Try contacting them to see if they can locate a dealer in your area that has one. You might have to drive a ways but it will be worth it in the end. Your only other option is to have your local dealer special order one for you. More than likely it will fit you just fine.
 

BRICKBURN

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Since you shoot your boyfriend's 308 so well, I'd put that model of rifle on your list...................

What he said. With whatever fitting you might need.
Good luck.. Share your targets from the new rifle
 

wesheltonj

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(1) I would agree either a 308 or 7mm-08. The 308 you are going to find more bullet grain options then the 7mm-08.
(2) I will go against the wisdom here, and recommended that you not buy a "ladies" stock gun. That's IMO going to be a harder re-sell when you want to trade up to a higher quality gun.
(3) If you want a nice starter gun, I would recommend a Tikka, made by SAKO just more of a basic gun. Of course, if you have the funds I would gee the SAKO.
(4) Now if you have the budget, and want the "custom" gun fit and made to your specifications, order yourself a Custom Blaser R8 and when you want to change to something bigger, say a 375 H&H, you just order the barrel for it. In the long run, this might be cheaper, one stock multiple calibers. (By the way, I don't tell my wife about this gun, she would make be buy one and sell all my rifles, she keeps telling me something about no more room in the house for anymore guns.)
 
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curtism1234

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While I like the 7mm-08 round, I would want to know the size of the hogs you shoot. If you are shooting the common 150 pound hogs, the 7-08 will be alright. If you are going to "preserves" or just holding out and shooting 250-300+ pound hogs, I would want a good heavy 30 caliber bullet. A 180gr 308win is about perfect for that.
The 308 does have some long range limits. IMO, it's a 350 yard rifle - which is all you need 90% of the time. You'll have to figure out if trying to get an extra 50-75 yards is worth getting a different cartridge.

I personally shy away from the Savage rifles nowadays because of their cheap detectable (probably easy to fall out and lose) magazines. The Browning x-bolt is unfortunately similar, but I would trust it more. I like the internal box magazines and the floor plates.

The Remington model 7 is a fine smaller rifle. That would probably be my choice.

Look around at different rifles. See how they feel to you and see where the safety is located. I think safety location preference is something a lot people ignore.

Good luck
 

Just Gina

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Wow! Thank all of you so much for your recommendations and all the great pics and info! We have today off and are going to go do a bit of looking around. :D
 

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@Just Gina I also agree with your first rifle being a 7-08 or a .308 Win, with a slight nod to the .308. Either one can be used up to elk size animals. Stock fit (length of pull) is important, and I would recommend a 22" barrel. I buy my guns for ME, not for resale value. Most of my rifles and shotguns have been modified to fit me.

... In years past I was a certified handloader and was allowed to use handloaded ammo for the live fire...
I've only been handloading for 51 years and have handloaded somewhere around 300,000 rifle, pistol and shotgun shells. I have never heard of a "certified handloader." In this day and age of lawsuits for just about anything and everything, I can see government and corporate lawyers being afraid of letting students shoot handloaded ammunition.
 

ActionBob

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Seriously if you like the Ruger 77, take a look at the Guide gun version, it's available in 30-06 which may just be the most versatile cartridge available below the 375. And that laminated stock adds weight if you are looking to cut recoil. It also comes with the stock spacers you can remove to fit.

Also look around for a used M77 Mark II. IMO the finest line of rifles Ruger made. Many variation were made including some compacts. I picked one up on a confiscation auction in 7mm-08 for the kiddos to use but it fits smaller women well also.

And get a good quality scope! My 5'3" ex tested the patience of a very helpful salesman who brought out several guns and then mounted up a couple different scopes...She ended up with a Ruger Guide Gun in 30-06 with a Leupold vx3 2.5-8.... I tried to get her to go with a Swarovski but she liked the little Leupold better.

It proved to be a deadly combo for her in Africa....
 

Bullthrower338

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I bought my mom a Tikka and cut it down to fit her. It is chambered in the 280 Remington and she shoots it lights out. Dad never wanted to cut her stocks to fit her and it hurt her accuracy, I have no problem doing such unless the gun is collectible.
Good luck,
Cody
 

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