Hunting & Fishing How do I choose a new rifle? (Long read, sorry!)

Scott674

Private
Minuteman
Jun 24, 2010
7
0
MN
I'm new to shooting. I don't know what drew me in, but I think it was one of Dr. Jim Clary's F-Class articles. There's a 500 yard cornfield in front of our house and I've always thought it would be cool to hit a pop can or something on the other side of it in the fall when the field is bare. So after spending some time reading about target shooting, learning about F-Class, Benchrest, Palma, 3 Gun, High Power, etc... I decided I really wanted a rifle of my own that was capable of pulling off a long shot. I had set myself on a Savage F/TR in .308. That looked perfect. A moderately priced ready-to-go long distance rifle. However, I'm poor, and even if I could afford the rifle, I wouldn't be able to afford everything, like a quality scope, getting into reloading, and whatever else that comes with it.

So, I settled for a Savage .17 HMR. I picked it up this Spring. Cheap gun, cheap scope, cheap ammunition. I love it! I've been having a blast with it. I've learned how difficult it actually is to place shot after shot in the same spot. So far, I think my best 5 shot group was on a target with a center ring about the size of a dime. 4 shots hit the ring itself, none fully inside the ring though, but there was that one flyer an inch away from the rest. There's ALWAYS one flyer with me... I think I’ve got to work on my flinching (don’t poke fun for flinching at a .17).

Anyways, my friends go out to South Dakota and shoot some Prairie Dogs every year. They invited me along and I absolutely loved it. Though I didn't hit many at all, it was still a lot of fun. It was pretty windy, and almost all shots were beyond 150 or 200 yards. I'm not that good a shooter yet, but I think if I had a level shooting bullet I could have done much better.

So, I've decided that I want a new center fire. I'm not ready yet for 1000 yards, but I want something that will do better with Prairie Dogs, as well as possibly some Coyotes closer to home. I'm looking for help deciding what to get. I've done a lot of looking and realized that it's probably best to just go and get one because I could spend years looking at everything that's available. It's so overwhelming. I'm looking at a .22 caliber round, either .223 or 22-250. I've looked at other rounds too, I kind of like the sound of the 6.5 rounds.

I've narrowed it down to 2 rifles that I'm really looking into now. I like the Savage 12 low profile that has a detachable mag and a 26” bull barrel. I also like the DPMS Bull 24. 2 completely different guns… The Savage would be in .223 or 22-250, and I think it should be the more accurate of the two. I look at it as almost the magazine version of the F/TR. I really was wishing I had a semi auto though when shooting at prairie dogs. Cycling the bolt threw my hold off every time. So I also like the DPMS. If I went that route, I’d most likely go .223, but I’ve also been looking at the 6.5 Creedmoor. From what I’ve read, the DPMS rifles are as or almost as accurate as a bolt action.

I’m sure you all know how a guy can talk himself dizzy in a circle thinking about this stuff. Such as: “If I went with the Savage, it would be because it should have an edge on accuracy. That being the case, I’d probably go with the 22-250, as it should be a more accurate round. Then, maybe later I could get the DPMS in 6.5, since I’ve got the .22 covered with the Savage. However, I’d like to have a rifle that fires cheap ammo, so maybe I should get one in .223. If I got the DPMS in .223, then I’d have two guns in a .22 caliber. If I did it with the Savage then I’d have the less accurate round in the more accurate gun.” AHHH!

What do you think? I’d probably mostly shoot targets. Once or twice a year I’ll go out and find some prairie dogs. I may get into coyote hunting. It’d even be nice to at least have the option to take a deer too, though I don’t see myself deer hunting any time soon. What do I do? Throw out any ideas/recommendations you may have. I’d like to keep the price of the piece to at or under $1300.
 

hoguer

The Dude
Full Member
Minuteman
Jan 26, 2009
1,080
5
Central Valley, CA
Re: How do I choose a new rifle? (Long read, sorry!)

Lol, where to begin...

Go with the Savage LP 22-250. Learn your shooting tech. on a bolt gun.
Look to be going NIB for $790 on gunbroker.

Ken Farrell 20MOA SS rail $75

Seekins Precision 30mm Rings $129

=$994

That leaves you about $300 for a scope... and im not going to even start on that!
 

Scott674

Private
Minuteman
Jun 24, 2010
7
0
MN
Re: How do I choose a new rifle? (Long read, sorry!)

I guess I didn't say it, but I meant under $1300 for the rifle itself. I'll look at that Savage though. Thanks!
 

doc76251

Gunny Sergeant
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Dec 5, 2003
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Virginia Beach, VA
Re: How do I choose a new rifle? (Long read, sorry!)

Hehehehe,

The great delima continues. FWIW you mentioned you don't reload that means you are stuck with factory ammo or cheap ammo. There is nothing cheap about 22-250. You can lean an awful lot about shooting with a 223 bolt gun and Savage make some fine rifles. Another bonus with the Savage is for the price of a bolt and pre-fitted barrel your into a .308/.243/7-08 or a whole crap ton of other short action calibers.

I'd look into the various Savage heavy rifles and pay particular attention to the twist rate so you don't end up with a rifle that will only shoot light or heavy boolets.

Nikon makes a very nice and very affordable optic and I have been very impressed with the tactical offerings from Millet recently. All are well in your price range.

Get into reloading it will save you monster $$$$$$ not to mention improve your performance.

Cheers,

Doc
 

Cinch

Team GFY
Full Member
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Jul 11, 2008
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Wyoming
Re: How do I choose a new rifle? (Long read, sorry!)

A Remington SPS Tactical or SPS Varmint would be another great one to look at.
 

hoguer

The Dude
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Jan 26, 2009
1,080
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Central Valley, CA
Re: How do I choose a new rifle? (Long read, sorry!)

If you are looking for a ACCURATE rifle out of the BOX, Get a savage, dont fall into the trap of the remington 700. they are nice guns, but need a LOT of work. You CANNOT beat a Savage for out of the box accuracy.

Look into the 12 in a 223, and get a nice Bipod. You dont need to put any more into it other than what i mentioned.

You will have:
SS action/Barrel
GREAT factory trigger
DBM, no need to upgrade
Nice laminate stock, if you dont like that you can always change it out later
Base and Rings are both Top Of The Line.

Dont need anything more. A similarly setup 700 would be quite a bit more $, i gues probably closer to your initial budget, and STILL NOT AS NICE

You will have a hell of a rifle thats ready to go, and put the extra money towards Reloading stuff or a better scope
 

Scott674

Private
Minuteman
Jun 24, 2010
7
0
MN
Re: How do I choose a new rifle? (Long read, sorry!)

Excellent information. I've looked at a lot of the 700s too, but for some reason I just like the Savage. I like the aftermarket availibility of 700 parts, but I just really like the Savages. I love the accu trigger on my 17. ffhogue you've got me wanting the Savage again. When I initially posted, I was leaning a bit towards the DPMS. I'd like to get into reloading too, someday, and I hear the semi-auto's can be tricky to reload for.

The 12 VLP DBM offers .223 in 7 or 9 twist. The 7 is too heavy, I'd go with a 9. 6mmbr reports that a 9 twist will take up to 73 grain bullets, I think, so that should be good. I probably will go with a .223, it's cheaper and there's a greater selection.

For a Scope, it's the same story. I've looked at so many... I'd love a Nightforce, but that'll be pricey. I want something graduated, with mil-dots, moa marks, a varmint reticle, or something. Not just a duplex. I was convinced that it had to have finger adjustable turrets (I hate my Nikon Prostaff coin turrets), but If I have something that I can hold over with, then the turrets won't be necessary. Maybe a Bushnell Elite, or a Nikon (other than the coin turrents, I really do like the scope).

How much does a reloading setup cost? Maybe I could go straight into reloading along with the new rifle, and go for the 22-250...
 

rrflyer

Gunny Sergeant
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Feb 7, 2008
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Re: How do I choose a new rifle? (Long read, sorry!)

you can get a basic reloading setup for less than 200 bucks pretty easily.

I like the 223 just because of the availability of ammunition.

I had a bolt gun and sold it to build a really really nice precision ar15. I hated shooting the ar15 for precision type shooting, so I sold it and bought a new bolt gun.

For 1300 bucks a savage or remington 700 will both do you well..in fact theres a remington SPS Tactical group buy going on right now for like 500 bucks.

Add 200- 300 for a used super sniper, nikon buckmaster or bushnell elite

And EGW base and set of rings for 100

and you've got a few hundred bucks left over for an upgraded stock, reloading setup etc...
 

hoguer

The Dude
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Minuteman
Jan 26, 2009
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Central Valley, CA
Re: How do I choose a new rifle? (Long read, sorry!)

The DPMS are a lot of fun, but maintenance/jamming and accuracy are not bolt action level. i have one w/ a 24" bull on it, and it is a blast to shoot, but its no bolt rifle, and i put WAY to much ammo thru it. lol. i know that shouldnt be a bad thing, but if your reloading i would stick with a bolt for practice and everything overall. a nice ar is great down the road, but stick with the Savage for now. You WILL NOT regret it.