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Need recommendations on a good versatile hunting rifle

Discussion in 'Hunting, Fishing & Camping' started by Goaltender66, May 17, 2002.

  1. Goaltender66

    Goaltender66 NRA GoldenEagle

    Hey! Nice club you all have here. I love what you've done with the place.

    After hearing Ted Nugent on Hannity's program and checking out his new book, I am interested in learning how to hunt. Phrases from his book (such as "Pure, real, honest-to-God freerange protein is the rocketfuel for my spiritual campfire.") seriously pique my interest.

    So, a buddy of mine hunts regularly and has agreed to show me the ropes, as it were. He does pretty well with whitetail and for the sake of discussion I'll assume that will be my standard quarry. But I could also see going after other game as well. Nothing huge or predatory (like bears), but along the same ilk as deer and such.

    I would like to procure a fairly versatile hunting rifle to this end. For the moment, cost is not a factor, but rather reliability and accuracy. I would also like something that would be fairly friendly for handloading if/when I take that up. Mainly I want something that can work across a wide variety of game and situations.

    So, any thoughts?

  2. sooner pete

    sooner pete STOOPS FOR PRES

    Mar 5, 2002
    Everyone has there favorite rifle set up,so you'll get a wide range of replys.Mine is the model 70 winchester,sporter classic 06.Scope is 10.5+ 10+50 leupold,with leupold base and rings.I reload and crono my own loads and i get the best out of that rifle from reloading.You can buy a good rifle,but you can't buy ammo thats perfect for that rifle unless you reload. Until you get set up reloading the hornady light magnum is a good load. Good luck...

  3. mpol777

    mpol777 Feral Member

    Jul 23, 2001
    Cochise County, AZ
    for a starting hunting rig the main focus should be on function rather than form. so i would look at bolt action rifles such as:

    remington 700
    winchester 70
    browning A-bolt
    savage 110 series

    these are all super reliable designs that are proven to be accurate. there are many different models in each, but for a first time deal i'd go with a "lower" end (read: not as pretty). also with the exception of varmint rifles portability is key. you don't really want a heavy bbl for deer hunting. it'll only make you tired.

    for whitetail some of the most versatile cartridges are the .270 and .30-06. .308 is similar to 06 in perfomance, but i like the 06 better for hunting so that's what i'll suggest. there are tons of different cartidges that are good for whitetail. the question comes in when you look at what else you're going to hunt. if it's going to be smaller than a deer than .243 or .270 is a good choice. if it's going to be bigger (ie elk) than 06 would be better.

    the 06 can be loaded to go from varmints to bear. IMHO it's the best all-around hunting round for north america.

    my suggestions would be:
    remington 700 ADL
    browning a-bolt hunter
    savage 111 or 110
    winchester 70 classic

    any of these in .270 or .30-06 will provide you with a reliable, accurate, versatile rifle. if you get hooked you'll probably start to specialize (ie varmint rifle, deer rifle, bear rifle, etc.) but that can come later.

    the optics you put on are IMO more imortant than the actual rifle. no matter how nice the rifle is you can't hit what you can't see. don't be stingy with your optics. spend the money for a good scope. you don't need to go out and get a $1500 swarovski, but $300-$500 for a quality scope is more than worth the money. personally i favor leupold.
  4. goalie,

    im gonna pretty much side with mpol, but a little different.

    first off id say buy something with a composite stock stainless barrel, it just makes sense for durability reasons and hunting in bad weather should that become an issue.

    my reccomendations: not in any peticular order

    winchester model 70

    ruger m77 mkII

    browning a-bolt II

    caliber- .308 .270 30.06

    scope: leupold vari xIII some where in the 3.5 x 10 x 50 range.

    or a nikon titanium.

    they make both scopes in silver to match the barrel of the gun if you go stainless.

    personally i own the ruger m77 mk II i love the gun now that i put a hogue overmolded stock on it with a full aluminum bedding block, and a timney trigger.

    now they have changed the stock on the ruger it is much nicer on the newer models. so the only thing you would probably want to change is the trigger. mines a 30.06

    browning a bolt II without the boss system my dad owns and its a sweet sweet gun, really nice action, very short. and its a tack driver. dads browning is a .270 shoots a little flatter than the .06

    i dont have to much personal experience with winchester model 70's but i know many people that own them and love them. its a good all around gun.

    hope this helps ya out.
  5. jmt_usa

    jmt_usa Shilly Savior?

    Jan 10, 2002
    Come&Getit: 23607.3012
    Real meat!!!

    Such an excellent reason to hunt.

    Get the rifle I have below.

    Save your money for a bow and muzzleloader too.

  6. jamieray


    Feb 14, 2002
    model 7600 reminton in 308 you can hand load the 308 to take just about anything that walks on this earth and the 7600 is a slick little rifle i got 3 of them on in 280 on in 308 and one in 30-06 but the 308 is my meat gun
  7. BWR55

    BWR55 Re-member

    Mar 28, 2002
    Rochester Hills, Michigan
    My caliber choices would be as follows. If you are hunting strictly Elk size game and smaller the .308 winchester round will do it all. If however you plan to do some Canadian hunting for grizzlies, or want to do some moose hunting. A lot of the guides and hunting camps in Canada allow a minimum of the 06 and would prefer nothing less than the .300 Win. Mag. The .300 mag can also be used on everything that walks this earth. Very versatile. Both of these rounds are readily reloadable. The .300 is also the one to choose when making those 300 yard shots that most of us only dream about. hehe.. The brass for the .308 is very abundant and can be had really cheap if you get spent military brass. You'll have to remove the primer pocket crimp if using it but it works fine. As far as the firearm, pretty much any of the big name bolts would work fine. My preferance would lean towards the Remington 700. I also like the Ruger Stainless. Happy hunting!
  8. Deuce


    May 1, 2002
    What do you mean by "versatile"?

    If you're looking for the ONE perfect rifle, it doesn't exist.

    .243 is versatile as it can be used for whitetail and varmints ... very flat and you can easily find guns with heavy bbls if you like.

    I wouldn't call .30-06 versatile as, for the most part, it's simply a whitetail gun as is the .270, although, many recommend it for Elk as well.

    7mm is versatile as it is quite acceptable for whitetail (provided you're not overly recoil sensitive) and Elk will fall just as easily ... at the very least, it'll take a little guess-work out of longer shots with it's signifcantly flatter trajectory.

    .300WinMag is very versatile as you can still shoot whitetail, Elk, Moose and others with a trajectory just as flat, if not flatter, than 7mm with comparable bullets ... but, now you're getting into some more recoil.

    .338 and .375H&H are typically only bought by those who expect to do more long-range big-game hunting ... again, more recoil.

    BTW, when I say "more recoil", that usually dictates more weight to lug around as well which you should be mindful of.

    But, don't forget the lever guns. Typically much larger bore, heavier bullets traveling at slower speeds. However, some swear that some of these guns can drop anything that walks or crawls. These are great guns for under 100yds shots. If you're primarily hunting whitetail, you can get a .44mag Marlin 1894SS with a 20" bbl for under $500 and forget about the scope ... no recoil and you can drop a black bear if you want and it only weighs 6lbs. Or, you can step up to a .45-70, the Marlin 1895GS at 7lbs, with an 18.5" bbl makes an excellent brush gun ... comparable recoil to a .270 (in common loads) and with Buffalo Bore loads you can drop ... well, anything you'll ever have an opportunity to shoot. The only thing about these loads is that, for pretty much any shot over 100yds, you might need your old trigonometry book and a good calculator and, if far enough out, the bullet might just bounce off your target, although some lever guys claim to drop Elk at 300yds with 'em ... you won't be doing that anytime soon.

    Basically, if you're gonna be bushwhackin' it most of the time and you're gonna shoot at least 10 whitetails for every one bear or whatever, get the Marlin 1894SS .44mag and spend another $50 (close to that anyhow) for AO ghost ring sites ... relatively cheap ammo for practice and before you know it you'll be shootin' 2" groups at 100yds (with open sights). If you're gonna be posting along fields for whitetail and you're gonna buy an 1895GS for bear, then get a .243 (no heavy bbl). If you're gonna be posting along fields for whitetail and you want to shoot bear and elk and maybe moose with the same gun, get a .300WSM. If you're gonna be bushwhackin' it most of the time and you're gonna shoot less than 10 whitetails for every one bear or whatever, get the Marlin 1895GS.

    Best bet, get the 1895GS and a .300WSM w/3.5-10x50 vari-x III. You'll be covered for whitetail and anything else in the brush or wherever (including Kodiaks and Polar bears), and your long-range high-speed beef. Oh ya, don't forget to pick up a Glock 20 too for hogs.

    Remember, while .454's and .375's sound cool and will drop just about anything, they won't be worth much when you're fatigued from lugging 'em around and you can't hit anywhere near your target 'cause you're flinching so bad anticipating the punishing recoil and impending, earth-shattering, BOOM!

    Good Luck and Have fun!
  9. shrpshtr


    Jan 25, 2001
    Sumter, SC, USA
    all i shoot in long guns is Remington. i have a 700ADL and 7600 both in .270. i haven't found anything that the .270 caliber couldn't handle. i shoot light grain (130gr) for deer and medium (180gr) for big hogs, etc. the 7600 is by far one of the most accurate off-the-shelf long guns i have ever seen. you can modify the triggers on all Remingtons very easily. i would recommend synthetic stock for the rough weather situations.

    for scopes, i really like the Simmons Aetec that is on my 700ADL. for the money, it is fantastic. i have put that combo (700 & Aetec) through all kinds of crap and it stays true. i only spent $700 on the 700ADL w/the scope mounted. HTH!
  10. SteelGuitar

    SteelGuitar ignorant bigot

    May 14, 2002
    whish i was back home
    Blaser R93 is my choice.
  11. TJC

    TJC "No Compromise" Millennium Member

    May 16, 1999
    New Hampshire
    Remington 700 in SS, cal. '06. Remington Order #9717.
    Top it off with a nice Leupold in the 2-7 variable range. It will be all the gun you need for many different hunting trips.
    Only thing I would change would be the scope if you are going to be hunting where shots are longer than say 250. You might want a bit more magnification.

    The same gun as above but in 7MM Rem. Mag. is also very nice but depending on where you live and/or hunt, 30-06 ammo is usually more plentiful than 7MM. If that will not be a problem, you may want to consider the 7MM.

    Actually, my new choice that I added is a Weatherby MK V in the Accumark model in .340 W'by mag. topped with a Leupold 4.5x14.
    This might be a "bit" much for whitetails, but it WILL handle just about anything.
  12. duncan

    duncan Millennium Member Lifetime Member

    Feb 15, 1999
    See my post on the Rem 700 ADL. Get one in .308 and you'll have fun!

    It will be my first hunting rifle but bought a Bush AR-15 for range fun.
  13. smeet5150

    smeet5150 Southern Son

    Mar 25, 2002
    Lake Cumberland
    REMINGTON 700 in either 30-06, .270 WIN, or .308 WIN will fit your needs very nicely.
  14. 180 grain for a .270? Not in a factory offering and not a "medium" load.

    For deer and bigger go .270 and up. For deer and smaller go smaller than a .270. A bolt from any major manufacturer will do.
  15. vart


    Feb 17, 2000
    The Palouse
    You'll likely have noticed by now that picking a hunting caliber is as imprecise a science as picking a defensive caliber; too many variables.
    However, anybody that tells you that a .30-06 is little more than a whitetail round should not be allowed in the woods. You live back East, and unless you get a wild hair to come out here and hunt moose or elk, a smaller caliber is better.
    I try to hunt with the minimum caliber that is still effective. I shot my first elk with a .257 Roberts and a 120gr bullet. One shot and it dropped like a rock. That .257 Roberts was my only gun for elk, deer, antelope, coyote and bear for many years. It always worked.
    Here's a picture of it:<img src="" width=301 height=629 >
    I now shoot a Ruger in .30-06 and have found it to be extremely versatile and accurate. I shoot nothing but factory ammo and get 1/2" groups at 100 yds every time with cheap Federal Classic 150gr bullets. At $12 a box, I use them for target and whitetails, coyotes and ground squirrels.
    The 270 is another fine cartridge that is adequate for elk and fine for deer, sheep, and bear.
    Hunting strictly for deer, the 243 is a great round, too. As is the 260.
    I haven't had time to really get into the science of ballistics, bullet drop, recoil, and all that other stuff that won't help you sneak up on a deer. What I've learned is that a succesful hunt is about 10% rifle, 50% hunting skill, and 40% luck.
  16. Roger C

    Roger C

    May 9, 2000
    VA, USA
    Dittos. I just picked up a 700ADL in .30-06, and have a Simmons Whitetail Expedition mounted on it. The .270 is an outstanding round for whitetail, very flat shooter.

    I was happy with my Marlin 336C in .30-30 for a long time, but wanted to move up to a bolt action this year.
  17. 3MartiniLunch

    3MartiniLunch Vegan Slayer

    Jan 21, 2001
    who makes a 180 grain .270, or for that matter a 150 grain spitzer?
    150 gr. round nose soft point is the biggest I've seen (for pumpguns, but I have a bunch for my Model 70 b/c I thought at the time that they might deflect less in the brush)
    Will a 180-grainer even fit in the magazine, or is the bullet set way back into the case neck?

    forgot to add:
    go with .270, .308, .30-06, or smaller in any name brand bolt action, or Marlin or Winchester lever action in .44 mag or .30-30. I'm partial to the Win. M70 in .270. You will get pretty tired of carrying a heavy full sized bolt rifle once you compare to a mountain rifle or a lever gun, especially while dragging a deer.
    I have no personal experience with the smaller calibers (.257 roberts, .243, .260, 6mm), but know people who love them for whitetail. The '06, and to a lesser the degree the .270, tend to make a lot of hamburger out of whitetails if the shoulder is hit. I disagree with the poster that they're 'primarily' a deer cartridge. They're both well suited to elk and smaller black bear (and the '06 for sure to caribou), and are really overkill for small whitetails. They'll suffice for bigger, meaner things with good shot placement (read: hunting an unspooked stationary target, not a charging grizz).

    Will you be hunting in the mountains or farmland? The last couple years I've been in Blacksburg hunting the National Forests, and I can tell you the deer are much smaller than in PA...almost all (even 10 pt bucks) sub-150 lbs dressed. My .270 and my .50 CVA muzzleloader both wreck 'em. For that matter, so do my friends' 30-30's. It's also pretty thick, with steep ravines and hillsides, mountain laurel, and rhodedendron. These factors combine to limit shots (and often sight distance until the leaves fall) to under 100 yds. 75 yds is the longest shot I've had at a VA whitetail (got her btw...right on the money), and 20 to 40 is more typical...not far enough to worry about group size or bullet trajectory within reason, and not far enough to even justify a scope if you're a good iron sight shooter (I'm not).
    If your planning on hunting private farmland where you'll have shots across fields, then yes get a scoped bolt action. And PM me with information on how to join you.
  18. mpol777

    mpol777 Feral Member

    Jul 23, 2001
    Cochise County, AZ
    i can't think of any animal in north america that cannot be taken with the .30-06. i think that's fairly versatile.
  19. You cannot go wrong with a remington 700 BDL in .30-06 Springfield- the all-versatile hunting rifle in my safe for any game up to Eland and Gemsbok. I have even used 150 grainers for springbok up to 300m. Who says you need a magnum cartridge when you can get results like that?
  20. Rabon


    Apr 19, 2001
    Alaska U.S.A
    I will differ somewhat from most here I think your first hunting rifle should be a very nice rifle because it will be the one you compare any others to, and if you get it right you will probably keep it for life. As you are interested in an all around rifle for use in the Lower 48 I think the 30-06 is hard to beat. As for the action type for an all around rifle I think the Bolt Action and the Single Shot are good choices. Stainless Steel and injection molded stocks work fine but so does a Massey Ferguson farm implement ;). I would look for nice wood and blueing. The rifles I would probably look at would be the Ruger #1B Sporter in a Single Shot, in the Bolt Guns I would look at Model 70 Supergrade, the C.Z. 550 and the Sako. BTW look at the offerings from Dakota Arms they are way expensive but very nice to look at:) .
    Have a nice day, Rabon...