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Old 04-02-2012, 12:25 PM
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Default What recommendations do you make for a rifle

A buddy is looking to find a suitable rifle to help control the predators & varmints on his land in the Va. Mountains. Coyotes etc. May even be used for deer hunting. What manufacturer produces a quality rife suitable for suggested game, what caliber & please suggest a good scope too. This buddy is not on an unlimited budget. I'm not educated on the long guns and associated hardware so we need your help, Thanks
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Old 04-02-2012, 12:37 PM
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If the .223 caliber is legal to hunt deer with in his state I would recomend the weatherby vanguard in .223 Rem. the new generation of this rifle garuntees sub moa accuracy out of the box. the previous generation garunteed sub 1.5 moa. the new ones can be had for under 500 and i see the used ones all the time at cabelas for 350 ish. I have owned mine chambered in .30-06 for probably 5 years now and its perfect. if .223 isn't legal for deer hunting where he lives stick with the vanguard but in .243. as for a scope. tasco's and bushnell's generally wont break your bank i can be had in various powers such as 2-7 on up to 6-25. good luck.
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Old 04-02-2012, 01:08 PM
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I personally feel the .223 is a little light for deer, but the .243 Winchester (or 6mm Remington) would fill your requirements very well. I would recommend one of the Savage rifles, depending on light or heavy barrel desired, but all are very accurate as Savage has a reputation for having one of the most accurate barrels in current mfg., and the accu-trigger is great. I would put a Nikon Buckmaster 6-18 SF scope on it to fit all the distance requirements he has. I have used this combination for Prairie Dogs out to 500+ yards.
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Old 04-02-2012, 01:28 PM
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If I'm not mistaken, Virginia law requires .23 caliber or greater for deer hunting. So if he is going to hunt also, then he needs to go with the .243 or similar caliber. If strictly for coyotes and other pests, go with the .223 since ammo is cheaper. Here is something to know about VA law.
LEGAL STATUS: The coyote is legally classified as a nuisance species and may be killed at anytime, except coyotes may not be killed with a gun, firearm, or other weapon on Sunday.

I guess that means if you have cows and a coyote is attacking one of your calves on Sunday, you have to wrestle the coyote to the ground and choke it to death.

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Old 04-02-2012, 01:44 PM
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If your friend is not into rifles I'd get a H&R Handi Rifle combo in 20 ga and 308. Put a Tasco 3x9 on the rifle barrel and it will handle anything in the VA mountians short of Big Foot. A friend needed a pest and deer rifle to leave at his cabin. He simply bought a $90 Mosin Nagant. With the iron sights that rifle is paper plate accurate at 200 yds, which strangly enough is about the size of the kill zone on a deer or coyote.
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Old 04-02-2012, 02:03 PM
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If he has any taste, I'd get a Winchester M-70, probably in their Featherweight Classic version. Mine's a .270, but I think he needs a .243, judging from your description. Keep in mind that VA has black bears and probably feral pigs. Both can be dangerous. Deer hunting apparently requires at least 6mm/.243 caliber, and rightly so.

Also look at the CZ line from the Czech Republic, perhaps the CZ 550 American. And look at Sako rifles, from Finland.

If he lacks the artistic soul to want a fine rifle, look at Howa and Savage products, perhaps with synthetic stocks. Howa makes the Weatherby rifles, and their basic rifle is essentially the Weatherby Vanguard, which also see. My DIL traded me a Howa 7mm-08, and I quite like it. Has a black synthetic stock.She killed a deer with it and it was DRT at about 80 yards, one shot.

Good optics aren't cheap, and I suggest the better Nikon items if money is tight. Buy Leupold for really good value, durability and performance, or Zeiss or Swarovski for the ultimate! Those who haven't used the best Euro optics in the field are usually astonished by their performance!

He should have a good binocular. It is very bad form to "glass" for game with the 'scope on the rifle! I suggest the Swift Audubon 8.5X44 roof prism model if on a budget. Nikon's best are also good. Zeiss, Leica, and Swarovski are again the ultimate, if he wins a sweepstakes. I sacrificed in other areas to buy Zeiss and Leica poducts, and haven't ever regretted it, but i'm very discerning in what I buy. My binoculars must also excel in birdwatching and in astronomy.

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Old 04-02-2012, 02:08 PM
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If he has any taste, I'd get a Winchester M-70, probably in their Featherweight Classic version. Mine's a .270, but I think he needs a .243, judging from your description. Keep in mind that VA has black bears and probably feral pigs. Both can be dangerous. Deer hunting apparently requires at least 6mm/.243 caliber, and rightly so.

Also look at the CZ line from the Czech Republic, perhaps the CZ 550 American. And look at Sako rifles, from Finland.

If he lacks the artistic soul to want a fine rifle, look at Howa and Savage products, perhaps with synthetic stocks.

Good optics
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Old 04-02-2012, 02:14 PM
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Since deer are in the mix too, get a .243. If it were just the smaller stuff, I'd say .223

Maybe something like a Savage Axis and a Redfield 3-9x scope.

both have a good reputation and are budget friendly.

Last edited by forresth; 04-02-2012 at 02:19 PM.
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Old 04-02-2012, 02:17 PM
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LEGAL STATUS: The coyote is legally classified as a nuisance species and may be killed at anytime, except coyotes may not be killed with a gun, firearm, or other weapon on Sunday.

I guess that means if you have cows and a coyote is attacking one of your calves on Sunday, you have to wrestle the coyote to the ground and choke it to death.

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Old 04-02-2012, 02:31 PM
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A word about ammo: don't scrimp and buy the cheapest. If he has a .243, I think I'd buy Federal Premium with the optional Nosler Partition bullet, if he might need to kill a bear or boar with a .243.

This assumes that it shoots well in HIS rifle. The integrity of these bullets makes them worth the money. They aren't needed on coyotes and other smaller animals.
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Old 04-02-2012, 02:33 PM
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If you could find an older Remington 700 in 243 & a used Leupold 3X9 that would do the job very nicely! Both the Remington & Leupold have quality you can depend on!
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Old 04-02-2012, 02:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas Star View Post
If he has any taste, I'd get a Winchester M-70, probably in their Featherweight Classic version. Mine's a .270, but I think he needs a .243, judging from your description. Keep in mind that VA has black bears and probably feral pigs. Both can be dangerous. Deer hunting apparently requires at least 6mm/.243 caliber, and rightly so.

Also look at the CZ line from the Czech Republic, perhaps the CZ 550 American. And look at Sako rifles, from Finland.

If he lacks the artistic soul to want a fine rifle, look at Howa and Savage products, perhaps with synthetic stocks. Howa makes the Weatherby rifles, and their basic rifle is essentially the Weatherby Vanguard, which also see. My DIL traded me a Howa 7mm-08, and I quite like it. Has a black synthetic stock.She killed a deer with it and it was DRT at about 80 yards, one shot.

Good optics aren't cheap, and I suggest the better Nikon items if money is tight. Buy Leupold for really good value, durability and performance, or Zeiss or Swarovski for the ultimate! Those who haven't used the best Euro optics in the field are usually astonished by their performance!

He should have a good binocular. It is very bad form to "glass" for game with the 'scope on the rifle! I suggest the Swift Audubon 8.5X44 roof prism model if on a budget. Nikon's best are also good. Zeiss, Leica, and Swarovski are again the ultimate, if he wins a sweepstakes. I sacrificed in other areas to buy Zeiss and Leica poducts, and haven't ever regretted it, but i'm very discerning in what I buy. My binoculars must also excel in birdwatching and in astronomy.
I also recommend CZ Rifles. Great value and excellent craftsmanship.
I have two, one in .17HMR and another in .204 Ruger that is used to dispatch squirrels and coyotes.
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Old 04-02-2012, 02:50 PM
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T/C Contender or Encore and a .22 barrel to start. Then something a bit heavier and then something even heaver.

There's just something about a single shot that makes one a better hunter...
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Old 04-02-2012, 02:50 PM
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Default Quality suggestions for a rifle!

As usual, you guys are great. I had advised him I thought a .243 caliber would be a suitable round but was not sure of the quality of the currently produced rifles & scopes so this will certainly give us some guidelines with which to begin our search, thanks to all! Anyone else have suggestions?
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Old 04-02-2012, 04:01 PM
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I would help him search the used racks for a old push feed Winchester M70 in .243 Winchester. Or a JC Higgens or Griffen and Howe built on a commercial FN Mauser. The post 64 Winchesters and many other 70s era rifles are much better made than any of the new plastic budget rifles. They are some of the best values going for a good hunting rifle, I found my 1974 M70 in .30-06 with a Leupold 3x9 for $450.

The new marketing strategy to tout these cheaply made plastic stocked abominations use buzzwords like "light weight" to glorify the thin flimsy hollow stocks, "all weather" for the thick paint like coatings over the rough metal work (bead blasting cures many ills). The one thing they can truly tout is the out of the box accuracy, but with a few little old school rifleman tricks like hand loading,and pressure bedding, those old girls can shoot with the new plastiques and look better doing it.


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Old 04-02-2012, 04:04 PM
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There are loads of suitable rifles available at most pawn shops and in the used rack at your local gun store. Hunting season is over so there are some pretty good bargains to be had. Any decent bolt action should do the trick. If cost is an object look for one with some finish wear. As long as it is mechanically sound with a good bore it should do the job. I recently bought an almost new 1980 vintage Remington 700 in 22-250 with a 3x9 Refield scope for $450 from a local pawn shop. I also bought a late 60s Remington 700 in 7mm mag with a 1x4 Redfield scope for $275 awhile back from a different pawn shop. It had some finish issues but once I refinished the stock it looked good and shot well. There were a lot of rifles to choose from. Don't forget to negotiate. They do drop their prices.

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Old 04-02-2012, 04:06 PM
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I'm gonna take a little departure here and recommend a Marlin 336 in .30-.30. I'ts plenty accurate for game, easy to mount a scope on (I'd go Nikon 2-7x myself, or the Burris with the rangefinding reticle). Light, easy packing, easy handling, inexpensive (comparably) ammunition, easy to manipulate....
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Old 04-02-2012, 04:16 PM
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I'm gonna take a little departure here and recommend a Marlin 336 in .30-.30. I'ts plenty accurate for game, easy to mount a scope on (I'd go Nikon 2-7x myself, or the Burris with the rangefinding reticle). Light, easy packing, easy handling, inexpensive (comparably) ammunition, easy to manipulate....
I was thinking about that, but 30-30 doesn't have near the range of a 243. If you'd consider a 30-30, why not an SKS?
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Old 04-02-2012, 04:39 PM
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If he lacks the artistic soul to want a fine rifle, look at Howa and Savage products, perhaps with synthetic stocks.
CDNN currently is running a sale on .243 Howa rifles for $329.99.
Comes with 22" barrel and a sand color Hogue stock with recoil pad and sling swivel studs installed.

Natchezss sells a lot of refurbished Nikon scopes at good prices. The one I got looks new except for a tiny mark on the tube.
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Old 04-02-2012, 06:00 PM
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243 Winchester or 260 Remington caliber will do just fine. I own a cabin over in Rockbridge County and I hunt with a 7mm-08 but I wouldn't hesitate to use any of the three mentioned. Dick's Sportiing Goods occasionally runs sales on Remington 700's. They have the cheap "tupperware" stock with is admittedly not real good but he can always find a better stock later. Otherwise as previously suggested find a good used 700.
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Old 04-02-2012, 06:58 PM
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In the mountains of Virginia, or west Virginia, it is a rare thing to get a realistic shot of more than about 50 yards, with a typical max of 100. What works there, and has for a long time, is a short barreled lever gun in 30-30, the quintesential brush gun. If he likes bolt guns, the .243 is a great choice, and as Richard suggested, it's hard to beat the Savage with an accu-trigger. Having said that, there are good reports from Mossberg rifles, and the new Ruger "American" as well. As for a scope, I like a long eye relief 1 1/2 or 2 power scope on a forward mount on any of these guns, there's just a lot of advantages to that set up. A forward mounted red dot is another good option, in my view. If he can't but a new gun, it might be a good idea to look around for something locally, hopefuly establishing a relationship as well. Flapjack.
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Old 04-02-2012, 07:21 PM
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It's too bad that the 257 roberts fell out of favor. It's a wonderful chambering.
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Old 04-02-2012, 07:26 PM
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and as Richard suggested, it's hard to beat the Savage with an accu-trigger. .
The things have been getting rave reviews on the websites I visit. The general consensus is that they are probably the best bang for the buck going. One guy who knows rifles claimed it might be the best production trigger being offered.

My local Turner's often has a rifle/scope combo for $500-$600-ish in a number of calibers.
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Old 04-02-2012, 07:35 PM
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Unless he'll be hunting in farm fields or huge meadows or similar wide-open spaces, he'll be much better served with a relatively low magnification scope such as the Leupold 1-4 or 1.5-5x. A wide field of view is way more important for hunting coyotes than high magnification. A four power scope is plenty of magnification for any ranges at which he ought to be shooting at deer size animals with a .243.
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Old 04-02-2012, 08:16 PM
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Default Remington 7600 in 270

I picked up one very cheaply several years ago and it is surprisingly accurate. For some reason they do not hold their resale value as well as a bolt gun. With 90 or 100/110 gr bullets they are humming along and mine shoots a 1" group at 100. I have read that some people have cycling problems with the 7400/7600 but when mine is worked with "authority", it cycles fine.
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Old 04-02-2012, 08:47 PM
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A 22 magnum should suffice for coyotes and most nuisance animals. Ammo is cheap. Rifles aren't that expensive either. Marlin sells a stainless bolt action model that comes with a scope already on it and bore sighted. These are what 250 ish, maybe 300, haven't priced one in a while.

For deer any centerfire rifle will suffice. Military surplus bolt actions will work well and are cheap. Carcanos, Mosin Nagant, a sporterized Enfield, a Mauser, even a Yugo SKS... any of these will do. You don't really need optics if the range is close, but a Centerpoint Scope from Walmart will do fine. The best of them runs 70 bucks or so. Keep the receipt in case you get a bad one. You'll need a mount or to have a gunsmith rig one, but still not that hard for most mil surplus rifles.

The pair as a complete package will cost less than what an expensive optic, let alone a rifle, will cost. Maybe 500 dollars total invested, give or take.
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Old 04-02-2012, 09:29 PM
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I latched on to this CZ 527 Varmint with Kevlar stock chambered in .204 Ruger.
Straight across trade for a S&W M19 non pinned barrel.

Bushnell Elite 4-12 and home made stix. Not a deer rifle but great for coyotes and ground squirrels.

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Old 04-02-2012, 09:46 PM
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The .223 and smaller calibers are marginal on coyotes --- sure, it's possible to kill them with a .223, and I've killed plenty with .223s, but competitive predator callers prefer more potent calibers. The .223 is not adequate for ethical and humane use on deer.
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Old 04-02-2012, 09:57 PM
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In Virginia, a deer rifle must be .23 caliber or larger.

Depending on where he is in the mountains, shots can be 25 yards to 250 yards or more.

I'm right in the heart of the Blue Ridge and own 20 acres. It is about 300 yards from my back door to the edge of my property, which is where the treeline starts. The deer come out of my neighbor's woods and feed in my pasture.

This is a good time of the year to haunt gunshops and pawn shops for a .243, which I feel is a good comprimise rifle for your friend's needs.
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Old 04-02-2012, 11:49 PM
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The .223 and smaller calibers are marginal on coyotes --- sure, it's possible to kill them with a .223, and I've killed plenty with .223s, but competitive predator callers prefer more potent calibers. The .223 is not adequate for ethical and humane use on deer.
maybe for the muleys of AZ but here in WA a .223/5.56 would have NO problem dropping a blacktail. not to mention .223 is probably the most used varmint round being used. as for the OP a rifle chambered for .25-06 is another to think about.
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Old 04-03-2012, 12:26 AM
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As many have said, the 243 is perhaps the best caliber if the emphasis is to be on varmint shooting but some use on deer. I second the recommendation of the Savage: they're cheap, VERY accurate, and their new trigger is said to be about as close to perfect as you're liable to get.
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Old 04-03-2012, 12:39 AM
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I think your buddy should consider shooting distances. 100 yards? 200?

Will he be on foot? Horseback? ATV?

How well can he handle a semi auto rifle? Bolt action? Lever action? Single shot?

Answers to those questions MAY help in deciding.

A good alternative might be a Ruger Mini Ranch or Mini 30. They aren't known to be the most accurate rifles but will do just fine around 100 yards.

If 223 is legal to hunt with there stick with that. Or go to the Mini 30 and 7.62 X 39. Other calibers are great but you must consider the cost compared to 223 or 7.62.

The Rugers are a little spendy but can be found used. But it's an investment that will serve him well for many years.
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Old 04-03-2012, 01:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by true_shooter View Post
maybe for the muleys of AZ but here in WA a .223/5.56 would have NO problem dropping a blacktail. not to mention .223 is probably the most used varmint round being used. as for the OP a rifle chambered for .25-06 is another to think about.
This is the voice of inexperience, or indifference to ethical and humane hunting. The .223 has insufficient delivered energy at all but powder-burn range to be an humanely, effective, one-shot, dead-right-there round on deer of any subspecies, or any animal of similar size. Shoot enough coyotes, javelina, feral dogs, or etc.,weighing +/- 30 lbs., to test the theory, and you'll find that the .223 is at its upper margin of efficacy, in the hands of an expert marksman, at fairly close range, when wielded against fairly small and lightweight animals. It may be legal, in some states or circumstances, to use .223 or equivalently puny cartridges to hunt deer and similarly-sized game, but it's unethical and an embarrassment to the hunting community to endorse it.
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Old 04-03-2012, 01:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by true_shooter View Post
maybe for the muleys of AZ but here in WA a .223/5.56 would have NO problem dropping a blacktail. not to mention .223 is probably the most used varmint round being used. as for the OP a rifle chambered for .25-06 is another to think about.
May we hear, please, the extent of your experience with
"... NO problem dropping a blacktail." I'm willling to stand corrected, if any actual evidence is explicated ...
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Old 04-03-2012, 02:23 AM
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A buddy is looking to find a suitable rifle to help control the predators & varmints on his land in the Va. Mountains. Coyotes etc. May even be used for deer hunting. What manufacturer produces a quality rife suitable for suggested game, what caliber & please suggest a good scope too. This buddy is not on an unlimited budget. I'm not educated on the long guns and associated hardware so we need your help, Thanks
With the thoughts of hunting deer along with predator control, I will steer to the .243 over the .223. I have seen several really big bucks in Va. and a .223, though lethal, would likely result in more work tracking the animal and possibly losing it. The .223 simply does not have the KO power that I look for in a deer rifle. The .243 is barely there; a .308 is a better choice still.
I choose the .243 because you can hit flies on a **** at 200yds with them. Beavers making nuisance dams, 'yotes, and other unwanteds will be easily in the rifles' covered range.
With cost being a factor, I will vote for the Savage, or the Howa 1500. Slightly more expensive are the Remington 700 and the Winchester 70.
I own the Howa 1500, and the rifle is brutally accurate. Using box Federal 100 gr ammo, I regularly see.75MOA, and carry this to 200yds. At 300, I am seeing 1MOA. The Savage has the accu-trigger, and it is a fantastic rifle, with very good accuracy. I bought my son one, and he has been very successful- his is 30-06. The trigger is superb, and the rifle is very accurate.

Crazy as it sounds, check Wal Mart for prices. And, Dick's Sporting Goods had some awesome prices in Fredericksburg 2 weeks ago.
Good luck!!
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Old 04-03-2012, 02:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jkc View Post
This is the voice of inexperience, or indifference to ethical and humane hunting. The .223 has insufficient delivered energy at all but powder-burn range to be an humanely, effective, one-shot, dead-right-there round on deer of any subspecies, or any animal of similar size. Shoot enough coyotes, javelina, feral dogs, or etc.,weighing +/- 30 lbs., to test the theory, and you'll find that the .223 is at its upper margin of efficacy, in the hands of an expert marksman, at fairly close range, when wielded against fairly small and lightweight animals. It may be legal, in some states or circumstances, to use .223 or equivalently puny cartridges to hunt deer and similarly-sized game, but it's unethical and an embarrassment to the hunting community to endorse it.
I must say I agree with this sentiment. If....... IF a hunter were able to take 100% neck/ head shots, then a .223 is sufficient. But to consider things like property lines to not cross, clean quick kills, and swamps and impenetrable forest to dig thru, I want my game to drop right there with as little tracking as possible. I do not want them to get away injured.
Having seen a large Ca. muley take a tough to place 30-06 round 2 years ago, and the subsequent 1hr tracking job to catch up to him (He was in sight almost the whole time, and he was just so determined, he would not stop. We second shot him to end the whole fiasco) I can't endorse the little bullets for deer, or hogs.
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Old 04-03-2012, 05:28 AM
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I would either get something in .243 or a caliber I had good luck with, the .257 Roberts. One in a Ruger bolt action proved to be a very accurate and relaible rifle.
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Old 04-03-2012, 08:54 AM
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Hi:
LIMITED BUDGET! I am there.
Consider a Marlin Model 336 (used) with a inexpensive scope. 30/30 cartriges are easy to reload plus most any small "Mom & Pop" country store will carry 30/30 ammo.
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Old 04-03-2012, 09:12 AM
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If i may offer my own 2 cents smitholdtimer does your buddy like older rifles? Why not a nice surplus military rifle.
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Old 04-03-2012, 11:50 AM
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Default This buddy is a N.C. resident but ownes a nice cabin in the SW mountins of Va.

Although he is the proud owner (making payments) of this very nice cabin in the Blue Ridge Mountains he isn't in the High Cotton part of the income bracket and says he already has a combo rifle/shotgun. It is a 20 gauge with the rifled or smooth barrel he will use and only needs to obtain a suitable scope. He will soon learn if that's good enough. Again thanks for all the suggestions which have been conveyed on to him to aid in his decision making!
I was sure that I wasn't qualified to help him decide and you all have been so very helpful with the information you have shared.
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Old 04-03-2012, 06:36 PM
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I just got an email from CDNN, and they have the new Ruger American rifle in 30-06 for 339.00.
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Old 04-03-2012, 07:45 PM
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This is like asking what car should I drive to work?

As other members stated, several great options with none of them being out of bounds.
I ask myself, I have one choice, One rifle. Deer, Bear, Coyote and even a hog or 2.
I have several long arms, but I am going with Winchester Model 94 chambered in 30-30. Hornady 160 grain! 2" MOA @ 100 yards.
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Old 04-03-2012, 09:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rojodiablo View Post
I must say I agree with this sentiment. If....... IF a hunter were able to take 100% neck/ head shots, then a .223 is sufficient. But to consider things like property lines to not cross, clean quick kills, and swamps and impenetrable forest to dig thru, I want my game to drop right there with as little tracking as possible. I do not want them to get away injured.
Having seen a large Ca. muley take a tough to place 30-06 round 2 years ago, and the subsequent 1hr tracking job to catch up to him (He was in sight almost the whole time, and he was just so determined, he would not stop. We second shot him to end the whole fiasco) I can't endorse the little bullets for deer, or hogs.
In my "advancing years" I do not want to wade through the sawbriars and cane thickets of MS in search of a shot Bambi. I particularly hate the sawbriers. they are unbreakable and the thorns are a good 3/4" long. You have to get wrapped up in a couple of vines to really appreciate their ability to cause pain and suffering!

I endorse the theory that "A big hole results in a DRT deer." So while a 243+ cal is probably the caliber of choice for your friend, for "close work" (out to 150 yds), I have two that I use... a 9.3X62 with a 286 gr sp and a 460 S&W w 200 gr that have resulted in impressive instant deadness. I am too old for fun and games in the bottoms! These big bores are hardly a varmint rifle but do great on Bambi.
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Old 04-03-2012, 10:41 PM
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on the matter of minimal deer caliber, I'd steer someone buying a deer rifle toward a .243+. If they already have a .223, I wouldn't speak badly of them for using it to hunt white-tail.
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Old 04-03-2012, 10:58 PM
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I'm going to second the .30-30 or even the .35 Remington in a good lever gun such as the Winchester 94 or 336 Marlin, or maybe even one of the stainless Rossi's in .30-30.

The 94 carries so much better because of it's light weight over a 336 Marlin- both are lighter than most of the SKS rifles.
(plus, there isn't much cheap 7.62x39 ammo out there right now, and hunting soft or hollow-point ammo usually found is as expesnive or more so than .30-30 ammo)

Both calibers have plenty of range for woods hunting, but will hit like a ton of bricks on deer, bear, coyote and even an occasional groundhog. Follow up shots on a lever are going to be good and quick for a first timer, and most will hold between five and seven rounds in the magazine. Also, a lever action rifle will have plenty of curb appeal to a new shooter, and others in the household may find it a bit easier to swallow than a "black" rifle of any kind. .30-30 is available everywhere, even if it isn't the cheapest, it is the American caliber.
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Last edited by Andy Griffith; 04-03-2012 at 11:01 PM.
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