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Forum Index > Precision long range hunting and shooting > Recommendations for a beginner?

Recommendations for a beginner?

26 Jun 2012
@ 11:14 am (GMT)

Robert Dinsmore

I was wondering if you would mind making a couple of recommendations for me. I am interested in purchasing my first hunting rifle. I would like to have something of an "all around" rifle, that I could use for target shooting as well as hunting. Most of the deer around here are taken within a hundred yards (some less, and likely none more than 200), but I would like to try distance shooting, at least at the target range. There is a 1000m range nearby. (Not that I'm likely to be able to do that now, but it gives me a goal)

I've shot several different calibers over the years, the most powerful being a 300 win mag. I found that after 4-5 shots, while not sore, I didn't particularly want to shoot it more. I'm looking for something lighter.

I've been reading your site and others, and I believe I've narrowed it down to four chamberings: 270 win, 7mm-08, 308 win and 7mm Rem Mag. Can you make a recommendation as to which of these would be the most versatile / most accurate in your experience?

My second question is: what rifle I do you recommend? I would like to get one with a heavy barrel, as I have read that you can fire more rounds before loosing accuracy and having to wait for the barrel to cool. Also, it should help with recoil, and I am more interested in target shooting than hunting, so I am not overly concerned with the weight. If possible, I would like to keep the cost under $1000 US.

Thank you for your time and consideration,


28 Jun 2012
@ 03:31 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: Recommendations for a beginner?
Hi Robert, all of the cartridges you have mentioned have great accuracy potential. But if you want a heavy barreled rifle on a limited budget, the selection drops to one cartridge based on available options, the .308 Win.

The .308 Win is a good beginners cartridge, it will allow you to learn to reload with ease, you'll see plenty of tips on this forum and with the rest of the info on the site, you can build a solid foundation.

Rifle options are fairly straight forwards.

The most accurate out of the box rifles are the Tikka's. The U.S Berretta website is pretty poorly delivered, much like their worldwide service and customer attitude but you can glean prices. The T3 Scout would suit your purposes, a 20" barrel (which is ample), a fully adjustable trigger which you'll need to adjust to 1.5lb after you receive it. Out of the box, unless there is a flaw with the rifle, factory ammo will shoot half minute, though you may have to experiment with brands. But .5" is about right as far as a goal to work towards goes.

Tikka make a stainless varmint rifle but I don't see it listed on the U.S.A website. They also make a Tactical rifle which is basically a varmint with some stock add ons, this is another very nice rifle. There is a blued varmint model on the U.S site but not available in .308. Perhaps Berretta is deliberately trying to run the Tikka factory into the ground.

Remington have several options that would suit your budget and although this is my favorite brand, the Remington's need tricking up which may not be where you are at. Over the last 2 years, I have not seen a 24-26" barreled rifle beat my last three 20" barrels for velocity. The longer barrels simply help steady the rifles in the field. I think with Superformance powder you could see some gains from a longer barrel but I have yet to really push this to see what happens (burn rate same as 2213sc / H4831sc but kernel size is much smaller).

If contemplating Remington, these are the factors to keep in mind:

No triangular barrels as these often double group.

Its best to bed all Remington's, it simply takes away one variable from testing. Yes you may find a tack driving load for the factory rifle, but why risk wasting lots of ammo to get there.

The Hogue / Tactical is difficult to prep for bedding but it can be done, please see our bedding instructions if going this route.

The M700 Varmint is a nice rifle once tricked up, as is the Tactical.

A Boyds laminated stock is a nice upgrade (still best to glass bed). RRP U.S $99.

50% of the current Remington triggers are not up to the task. The triggers are hopeless out of the box and need a work over, but only so many will get down to 1.5lb (which you'll need for longer range work) without safety problems or creep issues which cannot be resolved. In such instances, a replacement trigger is required.

OK, hope that gives you are starting point.

30 Jun 2012
@ 04:45 am (GMT)

Robert Dinsmore

Re: Recommendations for a beginner?
Thank you very much. I will definitely try to find a tica varmint to look at. I was surprised you didnt mention Savage with the new accustock. Have they not been working out as well as expected?
18 Jul 2012
@ 04:32 am (GMT)

Robert Dinsmore

Re: Recommendations for a beginner?
Thought I'd let you know how I made out. I found a used remington 700 BDL with a 24 in Varminter heavy barrel in 7mm-08, that was several hundred dollars less than new. It should be enough to start with, and I will be able to afford a new stock/bedding much faster than if I had bought new. Thanks again.
18 Jul 2012
@ 09:35 am (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: Recommendations for a beginner?
Thats good new Robert.

Sorry, the reason I didn't recommend the Savage was that a great many rifles I have seen lately have had chatter marks down the bore (looks like the skin of an earthworm). The rifles shoot well when riding on the tops of the chatter marks but as soon as these high spots wear down, accuracy can wane.


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