PDA

View Full Version : Advice for rifle choice


MDH33
02-21-2013, 08:44 AM
Please go easy on this noob. :o

I'm trying for elk and deer tags for this season (first time) and I have been looking at rifles and trying to decide on a caliber/model. I was hoping some of you long-time hunters could offer some advice.

For now, the hunting I see myself doing will be backpacking in the mountains here in CO. Since I am not a highly experienced shooter, I don't plan on attempting really long shots. Also, I don't have a budget to buy a separate rifle for every type of game, so I'm hoping to find something that will work for both elk and deer, be fairly light to pack with, and be forgiving and fun to shoot so that I'll practice with it often. Inexpensive and readily available ammo might be nice too. I guess for a budget, I would like to keep it under $1500 for the rifle and scope.

Any and all advice appreciated. :thumb:

Snowrun
02-21-2013, 09:13 AM
Remington Model 700 in 30-06 is a great all around gun. I prefer the rifles with wood(CDL) or fiberglass stocks (XCR tactical). (I am not a fan of the new plastic stock versions).
308 Winchester is also another pretty universal caliber. It is a bit on the light side if you are going for a trophy bull, but will work wonders on deer and cow elk.
If you can tolerate more recoil then 7mm, 300 win mag/ 300RUM or 338 Lapua/338 RUM are some of the better choices for Bull Elk. They of course all tend to be heavier rifles and have more recoil. Recoil can be a real turnoff and hinder good marksmanship training for beginners so try one of the bigger calibers before you just buy one. Also don't go cheap on the glass. Many people will spend a thousand bucks on a rifle and then put a 100 dollar scope on it. As a general rule the scope should cost as much or more than the rifle.

AHorseThief
02-21-2013, 09:24 AM
Are you looking to go new or would you be open to used? There are a ton of good deals on used firearms, typically with the scope already mounted. Being hunting rifles, many of them were only shot enough to sight them in.

As far as brand, that is as much a personal choice as anything. For newer rifles, I've really enjoyed shooting the Savage rifles with the AccuTrigger.

For caliber, I personally shoot 7mm mag, but I think something like a .270 would meet your requirements pretty well. It shoots flat, is widely available, and can easily take both elk and deer.

AHorseThief
02-21-2013, 09:27 AM
Forgot to add, if you are willing to come down to Lakewood, I live right next to BluCore Shooting Center and would be willing to let you take a crack my Ruger M77 in 7MM mag and my wife's old Remington in .270.

Jenny Cruiser
02-21-2013, 01:19 PM
338 Lapua...As a general rule the scope should cost as much or more than the rifle.:eek:

He said under $1500. :hill:

An old Weatherby would look great in your 40.

MDH33
02-21-2013, 01:38 PM
Thanks for the recommendations so far and sorry for the newb questions.

Speaking of scopes, what should I consider for power if I'm not likely to take shots over 200yds? Also, will some of the higher power calibers mentioned be overkill for closer shots?

Since I plan to backpack with it, I had been considering some of the shorter/compact models. I had noticed some with barrel length as short as 16". Will something with an 18-20" barrel behave drastically different than a 24" barrel in the same caliber? 30-06 for example?

MDH33
02-21-2013, 01:45 PM
Are you looking to go new or would you be open to used? There are a ton of good deals on used firearms, typically with the scope already mounted. Being hunting rifles, many of them were only shot enough to sight them in.



Forgot to add, if you are willing to come down to Lakewood, I live right next to BluCore Shooting Center and would be willing to let you take a crack my Ruger M77 in 7MM mag and my wife's old Remington in .270.

Thank you for the offer to try out yours. I may take you up on that.

I'm open to used for sure. Not sure where to look though. I'm leery to buy anything online without handling it. Any good shops that carry used?

AHorseThief
02-21-2013, 03:02 PM
Speaking of scopes, what should I consider for power if I'm not likely to take shots over 200yds?

I'd go with the tried and true 3X9.


Also, will some of the higher power calibers mentioned be overkill for closer shots?

On deer, yes.

Snowrun
02-21-2013, 03:52 PM
I'd go with the tried and true 3X9.



On deer, yes.

Agreed 3X9 or 4-14.5 is what I typically run with for a general purpose hunting rifle. I am a big Leupold fan as far as scopes. (I would mention Schmidt and Bender but they cost more than most cars I have owned).
Most of my scopes are 50mm objectives however 40mm is usually more than enough.

I also prefer 30mm tubes over 1 inch tubes on scopes. The light transmission is essentially the same, however the amount of elevation you can dial on a 30mm scope will allow for a much greater range.

With scopes you get what you pay for. Glass clarity/light transmission, calibrated turret adjustments, the ability to hold a zero, parallax adjustments,customer service etc....

When it comes to cost you also have to consider the amount of money you will spend on the trip itself. If you spend hundreds on the trip and end up missing a shot because of a bad rifle/scope combo you have wasted all that money.

Also I have Remington 700's in 308 win and 300 win mag if you would like to try them out as well. Maybe you me and AHorseThief can head out to Colorado Rifle club together. (I am a member and it will save us the 36 dollar an hour cost for Blue Core)

MDH33
02-21-2013, 06:50 PM
That's very generous of you guys to offer your time and rifles for me to try. Ammo is on me if we can set something up for some range time :thumb:

Uncle Ben
02-21-2013, 08:24 PM
Remington Model 700 in 30-06 is a great all around gun. I prefer the rifles with wood(CDL) or fiberglass stocks (XCR tactical). (I am not a fan of the new plastic stock versions).
308 Winchester is also another pretty universal caliber. It is a bit on the light side if you are going for a trophy bull, but will work wonders on deer and cow elk.
If you can tolerate more recoil then 7mm, 300 win mag/ 300RUM or 338 Lapua/338 RUM are some of the better choices for Bull Elk. They of course all tend to be heavier rifles and have more recoil. Recoil can be a real turnoff and hinder good marksmanship training for beginners so try one of the bigger calibers before you just buy one. Also don't go cheap on the glass. Many people will spend a thousand bucks on a rifle and then put a 100 dollar scope on it. As a general rule the scope should cost as much or more than the rifle.


Hmmmm....I totally agree on the Rem 700 in 30-06 for a all around great rifle for any game in North America. You can find used 06's everywhere and since it's a NATO round, ammo is cheap and plentiful. John's list is good but he left out the Winchester Short Mags. Nearly identical ballistics to their long cased brothers but done in a short action rifle more efficiently. Mag's are over sold to the "bigger is best" crowd and few of them ever are used to make ethical long distance shots that they are designed for! Again, one long gun in the cabinet...30-06 is hard to beat! Scopes, I have to pull my punches as I once was but will never ever be a Leopold fan again. Customer service is the best out there but I would rather have a scope that doesn't need to get sent back! Nikon is my choice for medium priced optics. If they can hold up to what I shoot they can handle normal recoil!

Squishy!
02-21-2013, 08:41 PM
I shoot a Savage 300 Winchester short mag and I love that gun. I've hit good paper (and prairie dogs) at longer distances than I expected. Mine has the accutrigger as well and man I LOVE that trigger, but that caliber lets you know (for a few days) when you don't have it pulled tight to the shoulder. Before that I shot a Ruger 308 Win that I think I like more than the 300 WSM. It's controllable on the fly, accurate, and its range is quite impressive.

Scopes I've used include Burris. That's it. It's what my Dad bought and I'm not complaining. :thumb: what I really like though is the ballistic crosshairs. Easy to aim and judge range quickly.

Snowrun
02-21-2013, 09:07 PM
Hmmmm....I totally agree on the Rem 700 in 30-06 for a all around great rifle for any game in North America. You can find used 06's everywhere and since it's a NATO round, ammo is cheap and plentiful. John's list is good but he left out the Winchester Short Mags. Nearly identical ballistics to their long cased brothers but done in a short action rifle more efficiently. Mag's are over sold to the "bigger is best" crowd and few of them ever are used to make ethical long distance shots that they are designed for! Again, one long gun in the cabinet...30-06 is hard to beat! Scopes, I have to pull my punches as I once was but will never ever be a Leopold fan again. Customer service is the best out there but I would rather have a scope that doesn't need to get sent back! Nikon is my choice for medium priced optics. If they can hold up to what I shoot they can handle normal recoil!
I have had experiences with the Nikon scopes as well. In regards to Leupold I have managed to break a few var-x III scopes. The Mark 4 tactical scopes have been bullet proof.
I also agree that there are some great short magnum cases as well. In regards to Savage they are putting out some very accurate and reliable rifles. My preference toward Remington is because I am most familiar with them and there are a ton of great after market parts for them.
There are some 6.5 calibers I have been kicking around for my next bolt gun. From a bullet external ballistics stand point it is incredibly efficient. (super high BC vs bullet weight). I just can't decide which cartridge (6.5 Creedmoore, 260 Remington,6.5-284, etc) that is why I didn't throw it into the ring. Also they tend to be a bit on the small side for Elk but perfect for deer.

I don't own a Burris but I have heard good things about their upper end scopes. In regards to BDC(ballistic drop compensator) reticles and knobs I avoid them. They are calibrated to a single cartridge at a given velocity, altitude and atmospheric condition set. (yes I know the Marines issued them to some shooters in Iraq.) I you plan on using a reticle for holdovers I prefer to use some form of mil-reticle and calculate the hold over for the conditions I will likely be shooting in for that day. (You can get very powerful ballistics software for most smart phones these days). I like shooter for iphone and Applied Ballistics for Android.
I apologize for the info overload. (I really love rifles)
:D

MDH33
02-21-2013, 09:24 PM
What is he availability of ammo like for some of the less common calibers? Seems like a lot of the shelves are empty right now. I would hate to pick something up and not be able to get enough ammo for it to become familiar shooting it prior to the season.

Snowrun
02-21-2013, 09:29 PM
What is he availability of ammo like for some of the less common calibers? Seems like a lot of the shelves are empty right now. I would hate to pick something up and not be able to get enough ammo for it to become familiar shooting it prior to the season.

Most of the local Walmarts still have 30-06 and 7mm in stock. I can still get 308 win but I have to usually order it online.

(www.gunbot.net) <<<<<<you can also find 5.56 and AR mags here. (for guys that are looking)(I use it to find 308)

To compare ammo prices here are a few other links
http://www.ammunitiontogo.com
http://www.luckygunner.com/

AxleIke
02-22-2013, 08:48 AM
I have Remmington 700 30-06 with a Leupold scope. I got the fiberglass stock and stainless barrel just for ease of cleaning and care. It is a good gun.

Been dragged through the muck, snow, and dropped several times in bad falls in the steep timber. Pretty easy to clean, and doesn't show scratches easily.

My biggest complaint is the lack of a bolt lock. The bolt often gets popped open by pack straps.

10 years ago, the scope and rifle were around 750. I'm not sure what they are now.

IMO, the 30-06 is a great rifle, and ammo is cheap. 180 grain rounds do fine on even large bull elk.

FWIW, I have never had occasion to take a shot at more than 100 yards in about 10 years, but we hunt GMU's that are usually in very tree'd areas.

Fishy
02-22-2013, 09:44 AM
IMO, the 30-06 is a great rifle, and ammo is cheap. 180 grain rounds do fine on even large bull elk.

FWIW, I have never had occasion to take a shot at more than 100 yards in about 10 years, but we hunt GMU's that are usually in very tree'd areas.

Agree with everyone else about the .30-06. There's a reason why .30-06 is so popular. It shoots easy and doesn't break your arm or wallet. Growing up in the North East, a 7MM mag is a little overkill for those whitetail, but still very popular. But, the mule deer out here are much bigger. I've seen a 7MM mag waste a lot of whitetail meat if the shot is just slightly misplaced. And, that thing barks pretty loud!

Shooting a few would really help. Some rifles fit better than others. Being able to shoot relaxed and and confident in any caliber (big or small) is always better than nervous and "flinchy". You'll shoot 2 boxes of .30-06 to every 7mm box and spend the same money. That's more practice for when your knees knock together and you scramble to find that monster in your scope!;)

Corbet
02-22-2013, 11:42 AM
.30-06 for a one gun hunter in CO or North America for that matter IMO.

On a budget I'd buy a Savage 16/116 FHSS. I prefer a plastic stock in the field and a stainless barrel. Both offer advantages in bad weather. Savage is know for out of the box accuracy. They also have a unique trigger design.
http://www.savagearms.com/firearms/models/

I hunt with a Browning, Stainless Stalker .30-06 that I like very much. If I would have had a couple hundred more to spend I would have got a Kimber Montana.

Pay attention to the safety designs of different models. Make sure you like that aspect of what ever you choose.

Scope, I'm a Leupold user and have no complaints. Nikon, Burris, and Vortex would be other companies I'd look at personally. You generally get what you pay for there. You want something with a 3-4 power low end as that is most likely the setting you'll take actual hunting shots with. Higher setting are nice at the range for sighting in. I'm not a fan of the fancy reticles personally. As a rule of thumb I'd plan to spend 50% of the cost of a rifle on the scope or more. Sight yourself in a 200yards and know how to adjust each way in the field based on ballistics of your hunting rounds.

All and all most guns shoot better than the hands they are in anyway.

You want to budget a good pair of binoculars too if you don't already have some.

Corbet
02-22-2013, 02:29 PM
I will also add its hard to find another round that has more of a variety of factory loads available than .30-06. I like 180g for Elk personally. Smaller for deer. And for a large hunting caliber its a cheap as anything.

Red_Chili
02-22-2013, 03:17 PM
As squishy said you really cannot beat Savage and Burris for really inexpensive but accurate shooting. .308 is very accurate though it drops more than a WSM. I personally do not care for. 30-06. There are fare more consistent and accurate yet reasonable rounds available... but the ought 6 has brought home meat.

Do NOT assume you won't shoot longer distances. Don't limit yourself right out of the gate. A Savage Accu-Trigger . 308 with a Burris 4.5-14 x 42 ballistic plex reticle scope will do it ALL and not kill the pocketbook. Savage builds the most accurate barrels and reliable actions to be found in inexpensive iron.

Red_Chili
02-22-2013, 03:19 PM
Remember when you find no elk and the deer elude you... there is always Wyoming antelope. You will thank me you will be able to reach them.

wesintl
02-22-2013, 03:50 PM
I'm a fan of the .06 if you're only going to have 1 rifle or your first. The recoil is manageable and the brass and availability is the greatest. close seconds are .308 and .270. All of them will kill elk, deer, antelope, pigs, etc. Your familiarity with and shooting it will provide the greatest accuracy. After having one and finding out what you like you might personalize one for a certain species of find something you like better.

It's like buying 40. later you decide a 60 is nice for exp trips since it hauls more. Then you buy a hilux for chores around the house your doing, then 80 or 100 for the wife and kids. Do you need all those, no. You can make the 40 work for everything. Other things may do better for specific things but in the long run it's tough to beat a 40 and it's always reliable. same with an .06 You may eventually decide on something else like a 300mag, 338, 7mm or something you just happen to like but it's always good to have that solid base to make/base your decisions on.

MDH33
02-22-2013, 08:59 PM
Thanks for the insight and advice, good stuff!

I like the looks, weight and reviews of the Savage 11 Lightweight hunter in 30-06. Prices on Gunbroker look like it's in the $800 range which will leave me some budget for a scope. Now if I could find one locally to check out. Any recommendations for a good local shop?

wesintl
02-22-2013, 09:10 PM
pre 64 winchester model 70.. u have plenty of time to locate a nice one...

Uncle Ben
02-23-2013, 12:13 AM
pre 64 winchester model 70.. u have plenty of time to locate a nice one...

Actually, probably one of the best forest gub ever made was the Winchester 94 in 30-30 or
.32 Winchester. My fil's 32 has taken more game than anything in his gub cabinet!

Jenny Cruiser
02-23-2013, 06:14 AM
There are two guns I love to shoot. Lever action rifles and black powder revolvers. I don't know what it is, but they're great. The Savage is a great rifle, you can't go wrong with something like that, or anything previously mentioned. However, since you're not going gun crazy why not get something different. How about a Browning BLR Lightweight Takedown in 30-06? It's a lever action you can do anything with it. This isn't my pic, it's one I pulled off the web of a moose taken with a BLR '06.

MDH33
02-23-2013, 07:55 AM
I really like lever actions but haven't considered one since it didn't seem like there were many options for an elk/deer gun as far as calibers go, 30-30 and 45-70 but is there anything between that will do both? .32 win spcl, .35 rem, how easy is it find (rifle/ammo), and is it enough for elk? I hadn't looked closely at the BLR's but those could work. Looks like the prices for used are pretty fair too.

I like the Model 70 too, but seems like finding a lightweight in good shape that's within my budget might be hard, and I have no experience purchasing older firearms and would be concerned about buying something with issues.

I think my biggest criteria is still that it needs to be easy to carry, which makes that Savage lightweight appealing since it's 6Lbs and a 20" barrel. Biggest problem seems to be that every manufacturer is back ordered on new stuff.

Corbet
02-23-2013, 08:14 AM
A savage should not be too hard to find. All the gub shops down here have them on the rack now. I have not bothered to check closely what calibers though. I'd just call around. No one is in fear of the government taking away hunting rifles at this time.

I like lever actions too but the recoil of a 45-70 is stout. And a 30-30 is on the light side IMO for Elk. It will do the job but you have to be that much better with your bullet placement. There is not really anything between. Plus due to the rifle's magazine design your limited with bullet design for safety reason.

loudbay
02-23-2013, 08:35 AM
.270 and 30-06 are still fully stocked on most of the ammo shelves I've visited recently. This would be my choice. I've also fondled a Howa (Japanese) bolt rifle recently. I have to say it was pretty smooth, inexpensive, and has a fine accuracy reputation. Same barreled action as the weatherby vanguard and comes with the houge over mold stock that felt great, and would be fine for hunting duty. $530 or so with a starter optic (nikkor stirling, gets good reviews on the aussie forums, but not really sold here in the US) that could at least let you shoot while you wait for a killer Nikon or Leupold deal...

Good luck, have fun!
M.

Edit: That being said, can't go wrong with a Savage!

Corbet
02-23-2013, 11:35 AM
Also keep in mind the lighter the gun the more recoil you will receive. Not an issue in the field. You notice that at the range. A limb saver butt pad is a good investment. I can shoot my 06 all day now.

AxleIke
02-23-2013, 11:54 AM
Also keep in mind the lighter the gun the more recoil you will receive. Not an issue in the field. You notice that at the range. A limb saver butt pad is a good investment. I can shoot my 06 all day now.

IMO, for a hunting rifle, lighter is a very big plus. Sure, sighting it in is a PITA, but when you spend a week tromping through the woods, the extra ounces make a world of difference.

AxleIke
02-23-2013, 11:56 AM
pre 64 winchester model 70.. u have plenty of time to locate a nice one...

My old man has a couple of those, and yes, they are a very good choice. They are hard to find in good shape however. His are all from his father, and were well treated.

Jenny Cruiser
02-23-2013, 12:42 PM
I really like lever actions but haven't considered one since it didn't seem like there were many options for an elk/deer gun as far as calibers go, 30-30 and 45-70 but is there anything between that will do both? .32 win spcl, .35 rem, how easy is it find (rifle/ammo), and is it enough for elk? I hadn't looked closely at the BLR's but those could work. Looks like the prices for used are pretty fair too.

I think my biggest criteria is still that it needs to be easy to carry, which makes that Savage lightweight appealing since it's 6Lbs and a 20" barrel. Biggest problem seems to be that every manufacturer is back ordered on new stuff.

I've got a .450 BLR you're welcome to shoot. There's 15 calibers to choose from if you go BLR. Weight will only help you be more accurate. You're only talking about a difference of about 1lb or so. People argue about old vs. new, but it doesn't really matter. The new ones have an aluminum (lightweight) receiver whereas the old ones were steel. The old ones look better IMO. They all shoot the same. Something like a .300 WSM is great, but a 30-06 is all you'll ever need. Most people who aren't gun freaks are happiest with whatever is the best deal. Something like this: http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.aspx?Item=329890073

Everything I've ever taken big game wise has either been with an old Colt .243 or Parker Hale 7mm Rem Mag. The rest just sit there looking pretty.

wesintl
02-23-2013, 02:05 PM
My old man has a couple of those, and yes, they are a very good choice. They are hard to find in good shape however. His are all from his father, and were well treated.

Let me know if any are for sale :p:

There are always some on cabelas gun lib.
http://www.cabelas.com/product/Winchester-pre-64-Model-70-270-WCF/1366013.uts?Ntk=GunLibrary&searchPath=%2Fcatalog%2Fsearch%2F%3FN%3D%26No%3D20%26Ntk%3DGunLibrary%26Ntt%3Dpre%2B64%26Ntx%3Dmode%252Bmatchallpartial%26WTz_st%3D%26WTz_stype%3DSP%26form_state%3DsearchForm%26recordsPerPage%3D20%26search%3Dpre%2B64%26searchTypeByFilter%3DGunLibrary%26x%3D0%26y%3D0&Ntt=pre+64

I can see martin toting around a pre 64 before anything new like a fancy savage lightweight :hill:

This is your huckleberry. pre64 odd-6 featherweight
http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.aspx?Item=329974820#PIC

MDH33
02-24-2013, 06:53 AM
Anyone familiar with Green Mountain Guns? I'm going to head down there this week and see what they have in consignment. Good stuff on Gunbroker too, thanks for the links. I might go that route after I've had a chance to handle a few different models. Any other suggestions for local shops that have a decent selection of rifles?

Jenny Cruiser
02-24-2013, 08:32 AM
You could look up a gun show or two. Be prepared for crowds though. :(

MDH33
02-24-2013, 09:03 AM
You could look up a gun show or two. Be prepared for crowds though. :(

Yeah, I tried last weekend. Total mayhem, I couldn't even find a place to park so I gave up and left.

MDH33
02-24-2013, 09:47 AM
What do you guys think of the Ruger No.1? Here's a 30-06 with a leupold scope within my budget on gunbroker:

http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.aspx?Item=330406677

And another full stock version:

http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.aspx?Item=329438163

Uncle Ben
02-24-2013, 10:20 AM
What do you guys think of the Ruger No.1? Here's a 30-06 with a leupold scope within my budget on gunbroker:

http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.aspx?Item=330406677

And another full stock version:

http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.aspx?Item=329438163

Great guns but if you are willing to consider single shot break actions then you should seriously look at TC Encore's! Then you can have one receiver and different barrels! I have had several Encores and Contenders over the years and they are great gubs! My newest custom Carbine began life as a Encore Pro-Hunter. It is my favorite gub of all time....till I get something different. :rolleyes: I'm not home or I would post a picture...

MDH33
02-24-2013, 06:10 PM
Great guns but if you are willing to consider single shot break actions then you should seriously look at TC Encore's! Then you can have one receiver and different barrels! I have had several Encores and Contenders over the years and they are great gubs! My newest custom Carbine began life as a Encore Pro-Hunter. It is my favorite gub of all time....till I get something different. :rolleyes: I'm not home or I would post a picture...

Those look really interesting. looks like there's even muzzleloader barrels available.

Thanks for all the great suggestions everyone. I wish I could shoot some rounds and figure out what I like, but with the info, I feel like if I make a purchase right now, it will do what I need and I can always add to the collection in the future. :thumb:

wesintl
02-24-2013, 07:42 PM
I'd stick with a bolt for a 1st, I'm not a fan of lever actions. My personal pref though growing up with 30-30 win and a cheek pad. Hated it, I do like the single shot break actions but that is a different type of hunting.

Uncle Ben
02-24-2013, 10:05 PM
Those look really interesting. looks like there's even muzzleloader barrels available.

Thanks for all the great suggestions everyone. I wish I could shoot some rounds and figure out what I like, but with the info, I feel like if I make a purchase right now, it will do what I need and I can always add to the collection in the future. :thumb:

I actually have a .307Win blued Encore I would make you a smoking deal on. It has open sights but I think I have some rings I'll toss in too. .307 Winchester is essentially the same as a .308. Mo better is I can let you play with it for a bit and see if a single shot break action is for you. I also have walnut stocks and a set of synthetic thumb hole stocks you can play with.

DaveInDenver
02-25-2013, 06:19 AM
FWIW

Savage Model 10 .308 Accutrigger ($595): http://cologunmarket.com/firearms/private-party-firearms/savage-model-10-308-accutrigger_i2132

MDH33
02-25-2013, 10:01 AM
I actually have a .307Win blued Encore I would make you a smoking deal on. It has open sights but I think I have some rings I'll toss in too. .307 Winchester is essentially the same as a .308. Mo better is I can let you play with it for a bit and see if a single shot break action is for you. I also have walnut stocks and a set of synthetic thumb hole stocks you can play with.

Thanks Kevin. I am going to look around a bit at some of the shops and see what's available and what feels right. I'll let you know if I decide to go the single shot route. :thumb:

Red_Chili
02-25-2013, 02:06 PM
Martin, for your purposes I would stay with bolt action and nothing fancy. .30-06, .308, .270, .300WSM if you want BANG for your buck...

Green Mountain is fine. They do stock some reloading stuff if you want to look into that. Frankly you should check Big R up here! I picked up a Savage AccuTrigger in .243 for cheep, even the 3-9x40 Nikon drop compensation scope it came with is fine. Super accurate, super cheap. Drop-A-Lope at 500 and no pain for it. As long as you don't try to run Remington factory garbage through it.

No, .243 is not big enough for elk IMHO... good deer round though.

Big R often has a sale going on this and that. Talk to Bobby (the manager) and tell him Bill the mini horse guy sent you... :lmao:

Corbet
02-27-2013, 07:02 PM
The Big R down this way has a good selection of Savage stuff so I'd 2nd that resource. The Sports Authority generally is also deep in Savage.

MDH33
02-28-2013, 10:33 AM
I checked the Big R up here. I guess I like old-school. Not a single wood stock to be seen. And the ammo shelf = empty. :eek:

Red_Chili
03-01-2013, 06:54 AM
Ammo shelf being empty due to conspiracy websites :lmao:
Wood stocks are highly overrated for field work. Really. If you must, there are some cool thumbhole laminate stocks out there and you can use one down the road. Come on by sometime and I'll show you what I did with my Ruger M77 MkII .308. :D

DaveInDenver
03-01-2013, 07:03 AM
I know what you're saying Martin about wood stocks and blued guns, but stainless and composite are getting more common because they are an improvement functionally. I wouldn't get too wrapped around the axle on it. Does it really matter that your rifle is visually period appropriate for your FJ40?

Uncle Ben
03-01-2013, 07:23 AM
Stainless doesn't rust and synth stocks dont scratch. Since big game hunting happens in the high country in late fall your gub will get wet and trees branches, rocks, and even your knife and other hardware on your belt will scratch the stock. Synth is also a little bit lighter and it absorbs a small bit of recoil.

MDH33
03-01-2013, 02:18 PM
I know what you're saying Martin about wood stocks and blued guns, but stainless and composite are getting more common because they are an improvement functionally. I wouldn't get too wrapped around the axle on it. Does it really matter that your rifle is visually period appropriate for your FJ40?

No, it doesn't matter. Just a visual/tactile thing.

MDH33
03-01-2013, 02:36 PM
Stainless doesn't rust and synth stocks dont scratch. Since big game hunting happens in the high country in late fall your gub will get wet and trees branches, rocks, and even your knife and other hardware on your belt will scratch the stock. Synth is also a little bit lighter and it absorbs a small bit of recoil.

Makes perfect sense. I guess I could just forgo the grief of scratching the heck out of a shiny new rifle and get something meant to absorb the abuse. I certainly won't be hunting from a truck, so it's going to be subjected to bumps, bruises, mud, rain and snow.



Speaking of seasons, I'm getting ready to do my license applications and my head is spinning with all the preference points - seasons - GMU's - ABC choices - leftover - over the counter - ... Anyone have advice if I'm planning to apply for both Elk and Deer but I'm open to several different units and seasons? I'm not real clear on the stats I'm seeing for the hunt codes and whether I would be wasting choices on the application. Also not clear about getting multiple tags by applying for the draw and purchasing over the counter.

DaveInDenver
03-01-2013, 03:01 PM
No, it doesn't matter. Just a visual/tactile thing.
I wouldn't pass up a nice used rifle if it has a wood stock, I agree they look classic and they worked fine for centuries. Just that what you are looking for is a tool not a collectable.

AxleIke
03-01-2013, 05:21 PM
My dad has a wood stock/blued rifle, while my brother and I have stainless/synthetic.

His looks way cooler, and is, IMO, a classic. However, in the timber, snow, muck and rain, mine cleans easier, ESPECIALLY in the field, and takes a lot less maintenance when back at home before going back in the safe. After a fall/dropped gun, I can wipe my bolt, chamber, and magazine out very quickly, while he has to make sure he gets his really clean/dry to avoid rusting inside, even over the few days of a hunt.

That said, I'd buy a wood/blue'd gun in a heartbeat, just love the way they look.

wesintl
03-01-2013, 06:49 PM
I prefer a wood stock. I like the feel and weight stability for freehand shooting you'll likely do in the field vs syn. Some see the downsides of a wood stock but I like the character, Scratches, dents etc. They all tell a story and remind me of hunting trips over the years. Not that there is anything wrong with Syn and stainless. My next rifle will be a Weatherby Mark V accumark 30-378 and its syn stainless

Red_Chili
03-02-2013, 12:14 PM
I do have to confess that the laminated thumbhole stock I put on the Ruger does feel awfully nice and the weight causes almost absolutely no felt recoil in. 308...

wesintl
03-02-2013, 03:36 PM
you still like kick start dirt bikes and mini horses though :D

Rezarf
03-11-2013, 07:00 AM
Martin I got my Rem 700 with a Nikon Monarch 2.5-10 scope, badger ordinance rail and rings, for $650 shipped off of AR15.com, there are some great deals if you go used. Mine had a box through it to sight it in, otherwise it was new. Its a 308 and a tack driver. Everyone's buying tacticool guns right now the hunting market is strong and not priced at idiot prices.

The stock leaves something to be desired otherwise it's a fine bolt gun.

MDH33
03-12-2013, 05:33 PM
Drew, have you used the .308 on Elk? I've been considering a .308 but it doesn't seem like it's as popular as some of the other suggested. Also worried about being able to find ammo for it. Actually saw an older Winchester 88 .308 recently that looked old school cool and the price was right.

wesintl
03-12-2013, 05:59 PM
It's a fine caliber as bill noted it shoots slightly flatter than the .06 and doesn't have as much recoil. Any lost energy down range is minimal and most people can't effectively shoot past 300 yards anyway.

Corbet
03-12-2013, 06:07 PM
.308 is fine for Elk. Ammo should not be too much harder to fine than other hunting rounds. Some assault rifles are chambered .308 so demand might be a little higher than normal but not where I would not buy a .308 hunting rifle as a result.

Uncle Ben
03-12-2013, 07:19 PM
.308 has a great trajectory! My .460 SW actually has near the same trajectory as a .308 with the downrange energy of on 06! Unfortunately, The cost of ammo, especially non NATO rounds, has made the cost per shot over $3 per round! In short, .308 is a fantastic all around non magnum round! Basically a short 30-06. 300 WM is a 30-06 on steroids!

MDH33
03-12-2013, 07:31 PM
That's sounding like it fits the bill. :thumb: Thanks for all the info guys.

I just submitted my license application this morning for deer and elk, so I'm looking forward to the season. the Unit I want to hunt is not an Over The Counter Unit, so I hope to get lucky in the draw.

Uncle Ben
03-12-2013, 09:56 PM
That's sounding like it fits the bill. :thumb: Thanks for all the info guys.

I just submitted my license application this morning for deer and elk, so I'm looking forward to the season. the Unit I want to hunt is not an Over The Counter Unit, so I hope to get lucky in the draw.

What unit? Go to Co DOW and find out how many preference points it really takes to be in the raffle drawing. Here is a direct link....http://wildlife.state.co.us/Hunting/BigGame/Statistics/Pages/Statistics.aspx

MDH33
03-12-2013, 10:09 PM
What unit? Go to Co DOW and find out how many preference points it really takes to be in the raffle drawing. Here is a direct link....http://wildlife.state.co.us/Hunting/BigGame/Statistics/Pages/Statistics.aspx

Unit 39, where I will be working this summer. I did as much research as was available and it looked like 0 preference points were required, but increased the odds.

Uncle Ben
03-12-2013, 10:15 PM
Unit 39, where I will be working this summer. I did as much research as was available and it looked like 0 preference points were required, but increased the odds.

Thats a good area but lots of red necks. :rolleyes: You need to chat with Yoder and/or myself as we both have hunted that area. Snow gets real up there! :thumb:

MDH33
03-13-2013, 09:27 AM
Thats a good area but lots of red necks. :rolleyes: You need to chat with Yoder and/or myself as we both have hunted that area. Snow gets real up there! :thumb:

Yeah, it's a pretty busy place, but I figure I get to scout it all summer, so hopefully I'll find a good out of the way spot to avoid the crowds. I'll be backpacking in more than a few miles too, so that should eliminate some of the pressure too I hope. Would love to pick your brains some more.

Corbet
03-13-2013, 09:37 AM
Yeah, it's a pretty busy place, but I figure I get to scout it all summer, so hopefully I'll find a good out of the way spot to avoid the crowds. I'll be backpacking in more than a few miles too, so that should eliminate some of the pressure too I hope. Would love to pick your brains some more.

Just remember the farther your go in the farther you have to pack an animal out. Without a horse its a big job. Three of us plus Porter got my cow out in one trip two years ago. But it sucked even though it was probably only 1.5 miles.

Red_Chili
03-13-2013, 12:43 PM
Funny you should bring that up. Concern about mountain lions snacking on mini horses had me worried and trying to think up countermeasures. Then I happened on why you often see donkeys grazing with horses...

They have been known to kill mountain lions. No joke. And gelded jacks are not hard to live with.

Then thinks I, gee, another possible use for a donkey... one could get way back in there, bring along some comforts, and have a fairly easy way to get the carcass out.

Yeah, yeah... I can hear it now. "What's that in the woods??"

"Some jackass.


and his donkey..."

wesintl
03-13-2013, 08:30 PM
lol. yer too funny Bill

AxleIke
03-13-2013, 08:58 PM
Funny you should bring that up. Concern about mountain lions snacking on mini horses had me worried and trying to think up countermeasures. Then I happened on why you often see donkeys grazing with horses...

They have been known to kill mountain lions. No joke. And gelded jacks are not hard to live with.

Then thinks I, gee, another possible use for a donkey... one could get way back in there, bring along some comforts, and have a fairly easy way to get the carcass out.

Yeah, yeah... I can hear it now. "What's that in the woods??"

"Some jackass.


and his donkey..."

:lmao::lmao:

Oh MAN! Bill, that is a classic right there.

Corbet
03-13-2013, 09:41 PM
Fear of a big cat sneaking up is part of the reason I brought Porter out two years ago to help pack out. He had a better set of eyes, ears, and a nose to keep a look out while we quartered it. Then he carried 30lbs of meat in his pack. Only bad part is he did not want to leave the carcass. He had that look of "I'd be just fine here for a few days dad".

A mule/jackass/donkey could do much more. I just don't want to deal with large livestock year round for a week worth of luxury.

AxleIke
03-14-2013, 07:37 AM
Fear of a big cat sneaking up is part of the reason I brought Porter out two years ago to help pack out. He had a better set of eyes, ears, and a nose to keep a look out while we quartered it. Then he carried 30lbs of meat in his pack. Only bad part is he did not want to leave the carcass. He had that look of "I'd be just fine here for a few days dad".

A mule/jackass/donkey could do much more. I just don't want to deal with large livestock year round for a week worth of luxury.

Yeah, we've considered Llamas for the same purpose, but have never gotten them due to that reason: the rest of the year, you have a royal PITA to deal with.

In Bill's case, he has horses already, so the donkey isn't that much more work, and, like he said, the donkey can act as a protector for his mini-horsies during the rest of the year. Win Win for Bill.

I do hear ya on the cats. The last two years we've seen big cat tracks on the ground when packing out. For the first trip out, we just keep the rifles loaded, but on subsequent trips, we go to chest holsters and revolvers to keep the weight down.

Longest I've ever packed an elk: 4 miles. I really didn't like that by the second trip.

Uncle Ben
03-14-2013, 10:51 AM
Yeah, we've considered Llamas for the same purpose, but have never gotten them due to that reason: the rest of the year, you have a royal PITA to deal with.

In Bill's case, he has horses already, so the donkey isn't that much more work, and, like he said, the donkey can act as a protector for his mini-horsies during the rest of the year. Win Win for Bill.

I do hear ya on the cats. The last two years we've seen big cat tracks on the ground when packing out. For the first trip out, we just keep the rifles loaded, but on subsequent trips, we go to chest holsters and revolvers to keep the weight down.

Longest I've ever packed an elk: 4 miles. I really didn't like that by the second trip.
We debone and pack out meat mostly. Elk is common to take 4 trips per critter.

wesintl
03-14-2013, 11:56 AM
donkeys, llama's, guns... you just need a mask to scare a man eating tiger...
http://www.outlookindia.com/images/sunderbans_mask_20090330.jpg

Rezarf
03-14-2013, 12:51 PM
Drew, have you used the .308 on Elk? I've been considering a .308 but it doesn't seem like it's as popular as some of the other suggested. Also worried about being able to find ammo for it. Actually saw an older Winchester 88 .308 recently that looked old school cool and the price was right.

So far my elk adventures have been wonderful hikes while holding a rifle :thumb: That said, at the distances the .308 looses steam, I'm no longer comfortable taking the shot.

For me NATO calibers are what I'm sticking to as they're typically the easiest to source from regular places.

It's a fine caliber as bill noted it shoots slightly flatter than the .06 and doesn't have as much recoil. Any lost energy down range is minimal and most people can't effectively shoot past 300 yards anyway.

Yeah, I'm comfortable at 300 yards, but I think most shots will be closer or a LOT farther, like across a ravine or canyon. Shooting well at long distances obviously increases your odds of filling the freezer.

AxleIke
03-14-2013, 02:51 PM
So far my elk adventures have been wonderful hikes while holding a rifle :thumb: That said, at the distances the .308 looses steam, I'm no longer comfortable taking the shot.

For me NATO calibers are what I'm sticking to as they're typically the easiest to source from regular places.



Yeah, I'm comfortable at 300 yards, but I think most shots will be closer or a LOT farther, like across a ravine or canyon. Shooting well at long distances obviously increases your odds of filling the freezer.

300 yards! That is outstanding Drew! You are one steady dude.

I can barely hold steady enough for 100 yard shots, and that is at a range. With adrenaline pumping, and out of breath from hiking a ridge at 11,000 feet, I completely missed at 50-60 yards this past season, though, to assuage my ego, it was a moving shot.

I've made a 100 yard shot (longest I've ever even seen an elk out hunting), but that was leaning the rifle against a tree. Free standing would have been another miss.

Needless to say, I'm impressed, you are a much better shot than anyone I've met before :bowdown::bowdown:

Do you have a good local place to practice? After last season, I decided I need to be getting out more, as my accuracy has gotten a lot worse since high school when I actually knew how to shoot.

I'd love to find a really private place to go up in the forest, to avoid exhorbitant range fees, and avoid other people all together, but I imagine that is a pipe dream in this day and age.

Uncle Ben
03-14-2013, 03:15 PM
300 yards! That is outstanding Drew! You are one steady dude.

I can barely hold steady enough for 100 yard shots, and that is at a range. With adrenaline pumping, and out of breath from hiking a ridge at 11,000 feet, I completely missed at 50-60 yards this past season, though, to assuage my ego, it was a moving shot.

I've made a 100 yard shot (longest I've ever even seen an elk out hunting), but that was leaning the rifle against a tree. Free standing would have been another miss.

Needless to say, I'm impressed, you are a much better shot than anyone I've met before :bowdown::bowdown:

Do you have a good local place to practice? After last season, I decided I need to be getting out more, as my accuracy has gotten a lot worse since high school when I actually knew how to shoot.

I'd love to find a really private place to go up in the forest, to avoid exhorbitant range fees, and avoid other people all together, but I imagine that is a pipe dream in this day and age.

300 is not that uncommon is it? Last years trophy hunt non trophy buck I popped was 382 yards. Distance you will end up taking the shot is very dependant on the area you are hunting. Unit 39 will likely have shots 100+ yrds.

zornff
03-15-2013, 07:39 AM
All the calibers listed here are great. No matter what you end up with you need to get out and shoot it a lot. Hitting a paper plate at 100 yds is not acceptable, shooting with holes touching is. I have seen too many people shooting 6" groups @ 100 yds and think they are good to go. Whatever you buy figure out what ammo you are going to use, buy plenty of it, and spend time on the range.
Personally I like the rem 700 platform in .308, but 300 win.mag is a top performer for sure.

Uncle Ben
03-15-2013, 07:51 AM
All the calibers listed here are great. No matter what you end up with you need to get out and shoot it a lot. Hitting a paper plate at 100 yds is not acceptable, shooting with holes touching is. I have seen too many people shooting 6" groups @ 100 yds and think they are good to go. Whatever you buy figure out what ammo you are going to use, buy plenty of it, and spend time on the range.
Personally I like the rem 700 platform in .308, but 300 win.mag is a top performer for sure.

Sound advice for sure! I'll add that many hunters go to the range once a year and "sight in" their rifles. The rifle is a tool....what needs to be sighted in is the hunter! Hitting your mark in the controlled conditions at the range does not condition you for hitting that prize elk in his home! They don't get big by being stupid! Shoot often so knowing where your gub hits is embedded in your mind so you can focus on other things!

AxleIke
03-15-2013, 08:25 AM
300 is not that uncommon is it? Last years trophy hunt non trophy buck I popped was 382 yards. Distance you will end up taking the shot is very dependant on the area you are hunting. Unit 39 will likely have shots 100+ yrds.

Eh, for 561 and 46 it is. Very little of those two is up above timber line, and we usually hunt 561 4th season so the snow is so deep we can't get into the really high stuff.

Generally we see animals in the timber, or on the edges of small meadows, and shots are under 100 yards.

I forgot about you in my previous post, as I know you've taken and made a ton of long shots.

So, I'm impressed with both you and Drew! :bowdown:

I evidently need a LOT more practice.

MDH33
03-15-2013, 11:53 AM
Once I decide on a rifle and scope, it would be fun to get a group together for a range day. Hang out, try out various rifles, get some practice, get some tutorials, etc.

Uncle Ben
03-15-2013, 12:57 PM
Eh, for 561 and 46 it is. Very little of those two is up above timber line, and we usually hunt 561 4th season so the snow is so deep we can't get into the really high stuff.

Generally we see animals in the timber, or on the edges of small meadows, and shots are under 100 yards.

I forgot about you in my previous post, as I know you've taken and made a ton of long shots.

So, I'm impressed with both you and Drew! :bowdown:

I evidently need a LOT more practice.


I agree that most shots are within 100 yards. In the thick quakies or edges of the dark timber you'll be lucky to see anything more than a glance of the animals at longer ranges. Many times you will hear or smell the animals and not see them. I like to hunt higher ground which gives you a second chance or and/or a choice on the animals when they think they think they are out of danger and stop to look back. If you don't know your tools trajectory you limit your options on that big bull or big buck when he looks back! Cows and does are best shot as close to the recovery vehicle as possible but big horns are worth the work! :thumb::thumb: The last bull I shot, two years ago, was with my .460 pistol at 220+ yards.....typical story as we were calling it quits for the day and just hiked back up the mountain to where the Cruiser was parked. Across the meadow just outside of the dark timber tree edge 4 bulls were crossing through. My partner clocked his too with a .325 mag Encore. Both were solid hits. I should finish the story as it plays into other comments on this thread about kitties. Unit 44 (other side of the canyon from 39) has a high population of cats (cougar and bobcat), and bears. We got both elk just before sundown. As a rule of thumb if you drop game in the evening do not quarter in the same place you gut them! Predators always love the gut dinner before the meat! We took turns gutting and butchering while the other stood guard with pistol in hand. It was scary as heck hearing what was happening a couple yards away at the gut piles while we worked to get the meat out to the vehicle! The next day we went back to see if we left anything we wanted and the amount of cat tracks was very unsettling! :eek: Dang I love hunting! Just retelling the story makes me itch to go again! :thumb::thumb:

nakman
03-15-2013, 01:15 PM
Do did you guys do a countdown or something, so you both shot at the same time? Or how else could you hit 2 from the same group?

Uncle Ben
03-15-2013, 02:18 PM
Do did you guys do a countdown or something, so you both shot at the same time? Or how else could you hit 2 from the same group?

Nope....Spot them, pull em up in your sights, call out the one your aiming at at pull the trigger. You just don't have much time unless they are grazing or bedding and they haven't scented you yet. Unless they see you, it takes a second for them to realize they are in danger....then it only takes them a nano second to completely disappear. Scott (my hunting partner) actually pulled his shot off just before I did probably because the difference of a scope on a rifle vrs scope on a pistol. In other words, calculating how much elevation you need rather than knowing from experience is a rare luxury. A good range finder is also essential as playing with it often trains your mind approximate distances. This particular time I under estimated the distance and shot a tad low. It was still a solid hit but I like to hit high or if I have a good rest to shoot from my favorite hit zone is just below the ear, straight back from the eye.

http://www.wildnatureimages.com/A%20to%20C3000/BULL-ELK-YNP..jpg http://www.elkhunting.com/content/modules/rhino.pages/files/uploads/elk-hunting/resources/types-of-elk/img-001.jpg http://cdn3.standard.net/sites/default/files/imagecache/max_800/2013/01/10/story-mule-deer-buck-174430.jpeg

MDH33
03-16-2013, 08:56 AM
I found a Ruger M77, stainless with a laminate stock that I really like. Not as light as a synthetic, but seems less likely to get beat up like a walnut stock. Anyone have experience with these stocks and how they handle the weather?

Snowrun
03-16-2013, 09:05 AM
I found a Ruger M77, stainless with a laminate stock that I really like. Not as light as a synthetic, but seems less likely to get beat up like a walnut stock. Anyone have experience with these stocks and how they handle the weather?
They are great. Some friends have said they hold up better in the weather than wood as well. I also have had some really good experiences with the M77.

Uncle Ben
03-16-2013, 09:06 AM
I found a Ruger M77, stainless with a laminate stock that I really like. Not as light as a synthetic, but seems less likely to get beat up like a walnut stock. Anyone have experience with these stocks and how they handle the weather?

That would be a great gub! Hawkeyes are indestructible through simplicity!

Mendocino
03-16-2013, 11:39 AM
I have a M77 in 243 that I have taken lots of deer with. It's a good choice depending on caliber and game.

Rezarf
03-16-2013, 12:06 PM
300 yards! That is outstanding Drew! You are one steady dude.

I can barely hold steady enough for 100 yard shots, and that is at a range. With adrenaline pumping, and out of breath from hiking a ridge at 11,000 feet, I completely missed at 50-60 yards this past season, though, to assuage my ego, it was a moving shot.

I've made a 100 yard shot (longest I've ever even seen an elk out hunting), but that was leaning the rifle against a tree. Free standing would have been another miss.

Needless to say, I'm impressed, you are a much better shot than anyone I've met before :bowdown::bowdown:

Do you have a good local place to practice? After last season, I decided I need to be getting out more, as my accuracy has gotten a lot worse since high school when I actually knew how to shoot.

I'd love to find a really private place to go up in the forest, to avoid exhorbitant range fees, and avoid other people all together, but I imagine that is a pipe dream in this day and age.

Buddy, you've filled the freezer before, not me ;)

I grew up on long guns with my pops. Please be clear I haven't taken an Elk at 300 yards, but I am comfortable with taking a shot at that range and not wounding/missing the animal due to confidence in my ability. Hitting it is another thing entirely ;)

FWIW, I would drop to a knee, lean on a tree, go prone... anything to get an advantage. A square static range and busting you butt up a mountain while huffing and puffing are VERY different situations for a shot. That said, if I had a clear shot at 300 yards, I wouldn't hesitate to take the shot based on my fundamentals. 300 yards with good glass and a good trigger aren't out of the reach for the average Joe with lots of trigger time down range and a little skill. Shooting is a diminishing skill, gotta practice to keep up your skills. I shoot year round, not as much as some but more than most.

And yes, I have a few spots out in the national forest that let you reach out and play at distance. Snap shooting at 10" reactive steel targets are the best way to gain confidence... it gives you some stress and reveals all your weaknesses.

Mendocino
03-16-2013, 12:43 PM
The last bull I killed was in Arizona at 743 yards with a 340 WBY. This was not my preferred distance, but all things considered it was the opportunity I had and the elk is in the freezer.

I do practice--a lot. If you want to see how you are at distance come test yourself here: http://www.competition-dynamics.com/

We also have some less intense, more local matches too. PM me if you are interested.

AxleIke
03-16-2013, 05:21 PM
Buddy, you've filled the freezer before, not me ;)


LOL! Thats just the law of large numbers bud! You go enough, eventually you find something! ;)

Jenny Cruiser
03-16-2013, 09:20 PM
[QUOTE=Uncle Ben;229087]Nope.... I like to hit high or if I have a good rest to shoot from my favorite hit zone is just below the ear, straight back from the eye.

It's nice when they drop without ever knowing what hit them. Meat tastes better too.:cool: