First hunting rifle recommendations

Spooksar

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TXhunter65

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fourfive8

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My choices for a new hunter would include such as 7-08, 7x57, 308 or similar. They will all work fine. Pick a rifle that fits you and put something like a reasonable 4x scope on it. Avoid the jumbo long range, adjustable knobby adorned, stunt shooter gadgetries like 4-16+x50+ optics! Practice a lot and use premium bullets for game. Not many weeds to get lost in unless they are grown at the coffee shop or here on the internet. :)
 

Hogpatrol

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Nothing like a twypo to liven up the thread.
 

Spooksar

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Ray B

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No malice intent - I hope that you didn't take offense. But it was a funny typo. I am sorry if it was received with other than light-hearted humor.
 

Hogpatrol

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Yes from the BS, sorry didn’t notice the typo, sitting on a beach in Jamaica drinking rum while typing

Yeah, rub it in. :LOL: While I'm freezing my balls off trying to get a rifle to shoot up here in the frozen northeast you're enjoying the sun. Thanks alot! :p:D

Seriously, ENJOY!
 

Spooksar

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No malice intent - I hope that you didn't take offense. But it was a funny typo. I am sorry if it was received with other than light-hearted humor.

No offence taken
 

Just Gina

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Back to the basics?

Very easy to get very quickly and very deeply into the weeds here ;-)

Maybe there is value in looking a little bit at the basics? What are we looking for in that first gun? In some semblance of order, it needs to work; it needs to kill; you do not want it to hurt you; it needs to allow you to grow with it; you need to spend your money where it is needed; you need to fall in love with it, and maybe a few other things like it needs to fit. In a way it is like buying a first car or a first motorcycle; there are classic mistakes: buying too big; buying too small; buying too expensive; buying too cheap; not buying what you need; etc. Let's try to take a look at these...

Need to work. About most any modern gun design in commercial production will actually work, regardless of brands, whether new or used. Where things require a bit more attention is that modern mass manufacturing (i.e. low cost) and quality control (or lack thereof) will occasionally turn out a lemon, even in a revered brand or model. For example the last few years of manufacturing of the Winchester 70 in New Haven, on worn out machinery and with a demoralized workforce, produced some guns that were objectively defective. On one of mine for example, the safety simply could not be engaged. It only took me 15 minutes to fix it because I knew how to take apart the firing pin and I knew what edge to file, but to many people this would have been an non-fixable issue short of returning the gun. It can happen with any manufacturer. The advice here is to buy your gun, new or used, from a reputable dealer that can perform a warranty exchange or repair, should you be unlucky enough to have a problem. A first time gun buyer should probably abstain from purchasing from a private party, unless you know the person well, or unless someone can assist you in making sure the gun is functional before you pay. Observe that so far brands or calibers have not even been discussed.

Need to kill. Well, that means two things: accuracy and caliber adequacy. Again, most any modern gun will be plenty accurate for hunting purposes, but a few will not. One would say beware of used guns in hot-rod calibers that burn out barrels in a couple thousand shot, but you are probably not in THIS market, and most people will never shoot a couple hundred rounds in most hunting rifles. In a used gun, check the barrel. Shinny? Sharp edges in the rifling? No rust or pitting? etc. In a new gun, back to the dealer/manufacturer warranty discussion.
The second, and much more complex discussion here is caliber. Everyone has (a) favorite caliber(s). Try to leave that aside and analyze your needs. For example you say "plains game." That covers a myriad of animals from a 50 lb duiker to a 2,000 lb eland... Hmmm... Let us tie in the discussion now the 'you do not want it to hurt you' and the 'it needs to allow you to grow with it'. You see, most caliber recommendation you will hear are made based on the recoil generally associated to a cartridge. This is why you hear now .308, 7mm-08, 7x57, .270 etc. These are all mild recoil calibers and good suggestions. But this is not enough. A more complete way to look at it, is that recoil - which you generally want appropriately mild in a first rifle - is a direct function of caliber indeed, but even more: bullet weight and gun weight. For example, an 8 lb 7mm-08 Rem. shooting a 140 gr (grain) bullet at 2860 fps (feet per seconds) will produce 12.6 ft/lb (foot/pound) of recoil, while a 8 lb .308 Win. shooting 180 gr at 2600 fps will recoil 17.5 ft/lb. 39% more! You will feel it. But, the same 8 lb .308 Win. shooting 150 gr at 2600 fps will only recoil 14.2 ft/lb. You will likely not feel the 10% increase in recoil, but the 7mm-08 is essentially maxed out with 140 gr bullets that are too light for heavy game when things do not turn out perfect, while a .308 has a lot of room to grow if you start with 150 gr. The same concept applies with the more powerful calibers, to the point that a .300 Weatherby, for example, is literally two guns in one between 150 gr bullets and 200 gr bullets. The advice here is: do not buy too big, of course, but do buy smart/big enough that our gun can grow with you as you learn to control recoil and as you hunt different animals. And for crying out loud, if you are a reasonably healthy young lady, yon CAN carry a 9 lb scoped rifle, so stay away from the foolishness of a 6lb. gun that will quick you into the next county everytime you pull the trigger.

Spend your money where it is needed
. Very simple here: you need to spend as much, and likely more money on the scope than on the gun. And spend money on the mounts too. You cannot hit what you cannot see. You cannot hit with the wandering zero. nough' said.

Get the gun you are in love with. You will not hit with a gun you do not like. You will kill like by magic with a gun that you trust. Yeah, really. Truly EVERYTHING ELSE (within reason, i.e. it is mere foolishness to shoot an elk with a .223) is secondary to that.

Oh yeah, we have not covered yet the 'it needs to fit you' thing. This is because, you see, countless kids of any gender have killed countless game with their Daddy's gun, that they drooled upon for 5 years, worshiped for another 5, and finally have been allowed to take on that first hunt after months of increasing hopeful anticipation. Never mind the gun did not fit them... Of course, by all means, do get a stock that fits you, but do not think that just because you are a young lady it needs to be pink or half the size of a man's gun stock. Fit has nothing to do with gender; it has to do with build, and many, many men are not built all that different from many, many women. Marketing geniuses not withstanding. Do not give up a "men's gun" there is essentially no such thing ;-)

Ah, but now we can get into the Savage vs. Remington vs. Winchester vs. blah blah blah LOL.

One parting thought: if you are not all that enthused about oiling your stock every year, cleaning your barrel after every shooting session, etc. give a good hard look at stainless steel guns and synthetic stocks. Not to mention that you WILL sooner or later hunt in the rain ;-)

Another parting thought: did you notice I spoke about used gun? Killer value (pun fully intended) in many cases, if someone helps you to buy, or if you can get a 10 day or a 2 day return-warranty (i.e. enough to go shoot a box of ammo with it). Spend half a day at the closest Cabelas or Sportsman Warehouse or such and touch a lot guns, new and used. You will know when you find the ONE.

Welcome!
This was great! Thank you very much!! I chuckled at the pink part. That is a personal preference of mine. NOT ever owning anything pink or purple or any variation of those colors of guns. Just not my thing. Thank you again for all the great information!
 

Dwight Beagle

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I’ve sold bolt action hunting rifles to quite a few women. There are exceptions to every rule but the vast majority of women do best with a stock designed for women, not just a youth/compact rifle. Just as important as a shorter stock is having one with a higher comb. Most women have longer necks comparatively than men and need a higher comb than men. Ergo Weatherby Vanguard Camilla, Lady Savage and new for 2018, the Weatherby Mark V Camilla. The thing I like about the Mark V Camilla is they come with 24” barrels instead of 20” barrels like the other two. You pay a premium though to get an extra four inches of barrel length.

If the OP is typical then one of the rifles designed for women will suit her best. My daughter is 27 and is 5’7” tall. She ain’t fat and she ain’t skinny. A rifle with a compact stock but standard comb fits her better than a Camilla or Lady Savage but she is the exception, she has a shorter neck than most women. I’ve also sold rifles to tall women with long arms, the solution for them was a standard length stock and a comb riser was added. Beartooth makes one for under $30.00 that works just fine. I wouldn’t use a Beartooth one on a shotgun because they alter cast, but they work fine on a rifle. In fact I have one on a scoped 30-30.

kv3kuF2.jpg


Someone suggested you not purchase a rifle designed for women Just Gina. I think that’s pretty stupid. You need to get what fits you best and if it is a rifle with a stock designed for women then so be it. You will be able to sell it easily should you choose.

Numerous cartridges have been suggested. I don’t think it matters whether you get a .308, .270, .280, 30-06 7mm-08 and so on, especially for game you will hunt in the U.S. Get what you want. Another person stated a 7mm-08 isn’t adequate for larger hogs. Baloney, it works fine on elk and will be dandy on the largest hogs.
 

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ActionBob

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curtism1234

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A person stated a 7mm-08 isn’t adequate for larger hogs. Baloney, it works fine on elk and will be dandy on the largest hogs.

That would be me. It works fine on some elk. I don't think comparing a small spike or cow to a full mature bull is an apples to apples comparison. I think the 7mm bullets on the market for the 7-08 are light construction and normally 150gr or lighter. I think the bullet, or at least parts of the bullet, will penetrate through a very large hog shoulder into the vitals and kill it fairly easily. The question becomes whether or not you can follow the blood trail if it runs 100-150 yards as pigs tend not to bleed well sometimes.

The 7-08 is often compared directly to the 7mm mauser. I think it's a good comparison for trying to sell old timers on the round they are not familiar with, but the mauser cartridge throws a heavier cup / core bullet than its smaller cousin. I think of the 7mm and 30cal cartridges, the 7-08 is the weakest of the bunch. That being said, I am a fan and it can impress on thin skin game and some larger tough game with a heavier premium bullet. I just think there are better standard cartridges better for the latter tasks.
 

BeeMaa

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Just Gina - My wife, much like you is and experienced shooter, but it always seemed to be with someone else's gun. She is 5'4" 130# and will probably kill me for putting that on the internet.

I made a few recommendations to her including the Savage Lady Hunter, Weatherby Vanguard Camilla (Mark V was not yet available) and a few others that she wanted to look at. We are fortunate enough to have a gun shop that is willing to get in firearms for us to look at and possibly buy and they are within driving distance. This allowed my wife to compare the fit and feel of several guns and make the best possible decision for her. It turned out to be the Savage LH in 270 Win.

She chose the Savage because of the fit. She chose 270 Win for the availability of ammo, price of ammo, bullet selection and manageable recoil for her. These were all HER decisions, I gave advice/council when asked. I have since mounted a Trijicon AccuPoint on it and it is wonderful for her.

Follow your heart, get a rifle that fits in a caliber you are comfortable shooting. This is just what worked for my bride. Hope it helps you.
 

PARA45

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Go look and handle the Weatherby Camilla. This rifle was designed by females for female shooters. I belong to the Wetherby Nation, and the females that have shot this rifle like them very much. Even some of the male shooter have purchase this rifle also. I would agree on the 308, and maybe even a 30-06. Good luck on your quest, and let us know what you decide to get.
 

buffybr

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Was the purpose of your post an attempt to discredit my status/comment or did you just want to show your lack of knowledge?
My comment had nothing to do with discrediting your status. I only stated that I have reloaded a lot and for many years. The only "lack of knowledge" that I showed was that I have never heard of the title of "certified handloader." Mabe you could simply enlighten me on what a "certified handloader" is?
 

buffybr

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... It [7-08] works fine on some elk. I don't think comparing a small spike or cow to a full mature bull is an apples to apples comparison. I think the 7mm bullets on the market for the 7-08 are light construction and normally 150gr or lighter...

The 7-08 is often compared directly to the 7mm mauser. I think it's a good comparison for trying to sell old timers on the round they are not familiar with, but the mauser cartridge throws a heavier cup / core bullet than its smaller cousin. I think of the 7mm and 30cal cartridges, the 7-08 is the weakest of the bunch...
I would not hesitate to use a 7-08 on any elk. My "go to" hunting bullet for my 7mm Rem mag is the 160 grain Nosler Accubond. I have used that rifle/bullet combination for Montana elk, African plains game, Canadian caribou including two B&C bulls, and a B&C Canadian Musk ox. According to my Nosler sixth edition Reloading Guide, that the 160 grain Accubond bullet can be reloaded almost 100 fps faster in a 7-08 than in a 7x57 Mauser, and they list two loads for 160 grain bullets that are faster in the 7-08 than any loads for 160 grain bullets in the 7x57. Their fastest listed load for 175 grain bullets is in the 7-08, and they list 4 loads for 175 grain bullets over 2500 fps in the 7-08 compared to only three in the 7x57. That does not make the 7-08 the weakest of the bunch.

One of my quickest kills on an elk was a heavy antlered 340" mature 6x6 bull that dropped where he was standing from a 117 grain Sierra GameKing bullet from my .257 Ackley. I am not recommending this next cartridge, but I have several friends that hunt elk every year with their .22-250 or .220 Swift and have done so since before I met them in 1978. One of them killed a 400" class bull last year with his .22-250. Its more about pullet placement.
 

curtism1234

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According to my Nosler sixth edition Reloading Guide, that the 160 grain Accubond bullet can be reloaded almost 100 fps faster in a 7-08 than in a 7x57 Mauser, and they list two loads for 160 grain bullets that are faster in the 7-08 than any loads for 160 grain bullets in the 7x57. Their fastest listed load for 175 grain bullets is in the 7-08, and they list 4 loads for 175 grain bullets over 2500 fps in the 7-08 compared to only three in the 7x57. That does not make the 7-08 the weakest of the bunch.

I agree those loads can be made. Going back to a couple posts ago of mine though, are those loads realistic in factory 7-08 rifles the general public has? Unless you got lucky, it would take a custom barrel to shoot those heavy loads well. Most people are going to be limited to a 150gr partition, which I agree is nothing to sneeze at. I'd just assume use a 165gr or 180gr partition though.
 

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