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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Alright, so I've been hunting for years now, mostly a shotgun hunter. I'm hunting an area that is new to me which may require 300+ yard shots. As a result, I'm looking for a bolt-action rifle to do the job. I'm in college right now, so obviously cost is a huge factor. I was looking at the Marlin Xl7, but I don't know which caliber I should go with for such ranges. I was thinking about going simple with 30-06 or .270, but a friend recommended the 7mm-08. What do you guys think?
 

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It would depend on what you're wanting to hunt. If big game animals then I'd get something like a 7 mm Rem. Magnum for 300 yards+ shots.
 

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Welcome to ShootersForum, DZ. I think you'll find this is just about the friendliest and most informative gun site on the web. :)

The Marlin XL7, or for short-action rounds like the 7mm-08, the XS7, is arguably the best rifle for the price to be found on the market today. Of the cartridges mentioned so far, the actual difference in trajectory, energy or effectiveness on big game animals like deer or wild hogs is very little. If you're used to the recoil of a shotgun with slugs, they'll all feel like 22's to you! ;)

I've shot a 270 Winchester for 20-odd years. I've taken I-don't-know-how-many deer with it, 3 wild pigs and even a handful of ground squirrels at fairly long range. For what you're after, it would be nearly impossible to choose a better cartridge...but the 7-08 is just as good, really. So is the 308 Winchester and 30-'06. You can't go wrong with any of those. I wouldn't necessarily go with a 7Rem Mag for a first gun, just because they make a whole lot more noise n' recoil for only a little bit more range and energy.

Whereabouts are you located and what animals will you be hunting?
 

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.270, 7mm-08, .280, .308, ..30-06, are all absolutely suited to what you describe. You can pick one, hunt for a lifetime, and never regret any choice you made.

There is WAY more importance put on caliber choice than is necessary. It just isn't really that important, so your preference, or history, or a name you just like, is a fine way to choose between them. Just don't let anyone tell you there is only one choice that makes sense.
 

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One consideration

Or a bit of information anyway is chamber length. Your 243, 7/08, 308 can be had in a shorter action than the 270, 280, '06 rounds.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Welcome to ShootersForum, DZ. I think you'll find this is just about the friendliest and most informative gun site on the web. :)

The Marlin XL7, or for short-action rounds like the 7mm-08, the XS7, is arguably the best rifle for the price to be found on the market today. Of the cartridges mentioned so far, the actual difference in trajectory, energy or effectiveness on big game animals like deer or wild hogs is very little. If you're used to the recoil of a shotgun with slugs, they'll all feel like 22's to you! ;)

I've shot a 270 Winchester for 20-odd years. I've taken I-don't-know-how-many deer with it, 3 wild pigs and even a handful of ground squirrels at fairly long range. For what you're after, it would be nearly impossible to choose a better cartridge...but the 7-08 is just as good, really. So is the 308 Winchester and 30-'06. You can't go wrong with any of those. I wouldn't necessarily go with a 7Rem Mag for a first gun, just because they make a whole lot more noise n' recoil for only a little bit more range and energy.

Whereabouts are you located and what animals will you be hunting?
I'm hunting wide open swamps in central Wisconsin for whitetail. However, I'm still waiting on my bear tags, and would like the versatility to do both. From what I understand, any of those calibers would still be fine for both.
 

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With your recent mention of bear too, I'd agree that the '06 might be the best way to go. For deer any number of different loads would work well, with 150s & 165s being the first I'd look at. Switch to 165s, 180s or 200gr for bear season and you will be covered fine, even for those big 600+ pound Wisconsin bruins. :eek:

Best of luck with your new rifle! :D

Wisconsin Man Bags Monster Bear
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Alright, so a trip to the gander mountain website, to be followed up by a physical trip to gander mtn. and my local gun shop, reveals that I have a few choices.

1. The marlin xl7 in 30-06. Does NOT come with a scope, $330.
2. A Remington 770 Sporter in 30-06 WITH 3-9x40mm (only a cheap remington brand scope) for $350.
3. A Remington 700 ADL in 30-06 with the same remington brand scope, $530. However, this rifle has a camo stock, which I'm not a big fan of.

If I went with the marlin I'm thinking of getting a Barska 6-24x50mm scope for 100 bucks. Gander Mountain® > Barska Varmint Riflescope - Hunting > Shooting Gear : Firearms, Ammunition, Black Powder, Firearm Accessories

I know you typically get what you pay for with scopes, that was just the first one I found. Which option do you guys think is best?
 

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Option 1 would be my choice.

I think a 6-24x50 is not the scope you want. When you start getting into magnification ranges above 12x, the quality of your glass really starts to come into play. I think you would be best served with a 3-9x40 scope. You'll probably use the lowest mag setting for 99% of the time you're in the woods hunting and 9x mag will get you out to 300 yds without a problem. You shouldn't be shooting beyond that until you've spent hours at a range practicing. I recommend a Nikon Pro-Staff or a Bushnell Trophy XLT as the lowest quality scopes to look at.

My friend had the Remington branded scope on an ADL she just purchased. The ADL shoots really well but she had to replace the scope before a year went by. It is a re-badged Barska.
 

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Stay with the Marlin XL7 30-06 for $329....seen them priced lower, but a decent price for the rifle. I own a Marlin XL and a XS rifle and they are both accurate with a their standard factory trigger, which is quite nice by the way. As to a scope, for the $200 more you'd spend on the Remington 700 with a scope.....well, you can buy a very decent scope for under $200, least ways this is what I've found to be true. This is especially true for is a 3-9 or a 4-12 power scope and it should be a much better scope than one furnished with the Remington rifles.
 

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The 30-06 is a great all around caliber....the options and availability of off the shelf rounds is pretty extensive. I am not a fan of the 06. I like flatter shooting rounds. I am not sure if the Marlin you are looking at is found in the .300 WSM. I would prefer this over the 06. The rounds are a bit more.

As far as scope, here you do not want to skimp on. The scopes that are sold as ready to hunt packages are usually not up to par. IMO the scope is the most important part of the equation. I am partial to Leupold....the entry level Leupold is the rifleman and I have seen it on sale at Bass Pro for$179. I have one of these scopes and it has been good so far. I usually go with the Vari X II series or better.....those are around $300.

Good luck and happy hunting
 

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The Marlin is your best choice IMHO, with the extra $$ going to a quality scope, as already mentioned. $200-$300 will buy you a good scope with a little "looking" and right now the best scope I've seen for two Benjamins is the closeout special on the Bushnell Elite 4200 3-9x40 at Cabelas. I own two of these scopes and in my opinion they match up very well with a VXII 3-9x40, perhaps even a tad better. There's also a deal on shipping now; $5 for any order over $150. (code: WFALL)

For the type hunting you are talking, the scope you mentioned, a Barska 6.5-24x50 is not at all suitable, IMHO. You need a decent quality 2-7 or 3-9 and most certainly don't need anything higher than 3 at the lowest variable setting. The FOV (field of view) of a 6.5-24 is suitable for extreme long range shooting and not at all suitable for hunting wooded terrain or swamps. The FOV range for a 3-9x40 Leupold VXI is 43' @ 3X and 17' @ 9X. The Barska would be only 15' at 6.5X and only 4' @ 24X. All these FOV measurements are at 100 yards.

Leupold VXI scopes are on sale there too, at $159 for a 2-7x33 or $179 for a 3-9x40 with free shipping on either. Simply google Cabelas, click on Bargain Cave and then on Optics and shop away....lol.

Either the Bushnell Elite or the Leupolds would be light years ahead of the Barska you mentioned, I promise. ;)

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I'm not sure, I've always enjoyed the Leupold scopes that I have tried over the years, but the Leupold's in my price range only have 1 MOA adjustment, when many others are down to 1/4 MOA. Also consider that I am planning on hunting in dense woods, I've got my stand set on the edge of a swamp looking out over a vast field. I could need to take a 300 yard shot.
 

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I'm not sure, I've always enjoyed the Leupold scopes that I have tried over the years, but the Leupold's in my price range only have 1 MOA adjustment, when many others are down to 1/4 MOA. Also consider that I am planning on hunting in dense woods, I've got my stand set on the edge of a swamp looking out over a vast field. I could need to take a 300 yard shot.
DZ, I cannot over-emphasize how well-advised you would be to listen to the good folks on this site, as there are literally centuries worth of experience that you're drawing from. I hunted 10 seasons just north of Neillsville, WI and most of the deer I've killed with my 270 Win came from the sloughs and oak ridges in that area.

When it comes to caliber, it doesn't matter a whole lot because anything from the 243 Winchester to the 338 Win Mag will meet the goals you listed above, no problem. Whether you choose a 7-08, 270, 308 or 30-'06, or any one of dozens of other options, you'll be fine. The Marlin "X" gun is a very good rifle for cost-conscious hunters. However, when it comes to the optics you put on that rifle, I have to say you're not even in the ballpark.

I would rather have a $150 rifle with a $300 scope, than a $1,500 rifle and a $100 scope...and that is the truth. When it comes to "glass", you put the very best you can afford on your gun and you take care of it. I strongly recommend products along the lines of the latest Redfield, Nikon Buckmaster, Burris Fullfield, etc. Look to spend $200 - $400 on a quality scope. (Yeah, I KNOW that's as much as the gun costs, but with scopes, what you "see" is what you get!)

You'd be better off with a high-quality 2-7x scope than a cheap(er) sight with greater magnification. I've hunted for almost 30 years and in my opinion there is very little big game hunting that calls for more than 7 power magnification. I shot a 3" group at 287 yards with a 7x scope this summer...that'll do. Higher magnification does not equal more accurate shooting; it takes quality rifles/scopes and lots of trigger time to do that.

The Marlin in 30-'06 is halfway there to hitting a home run! Put a decent scope on it and handload some great ammo and you'll be trotting around the bases! Hmmm, it must be MLB playoff season? :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
DZ, I cannot over-emphasize how well-advised you would be to listen to the good folks on this site, as there are literally centuries worth of experience that you're drawing from. I hunted 10 seasons just north of Neillsville, WI and most of the deer I've killed with my 270 Win came from the sloughs and oak ridges in that area.

When it comes to caliber, it doesn't matter a whole lot because anything from the 243 Winchester to the 338 Win Mag will meet the goals you listed above, no problem. Whether you choose a 7-08, 270, 308 or 30-'06, or any one of dozens of other options, you'll be fine. The Marlin "X" gun is a very good rifle for cost-conscious hunters. However, when it comes to the optics you put on that rifle, I have to say you're not even in the ballpark.

I would rather have a $150 rifle with a $300 scope, than a $1,500 rifle and a $100 scope...and that is the truth. When it comes to "glass", you put the very best you can afford on your gun and you take care of it. I strongly recommend products along the lines of the latest Redfield, Nikon Buckmaster, Burris Fullfield, etc. Look to spend $200 - $400 on a quality scope. (Yeah, I KNOW that's as much as the gun costs, but with scopes, what you "see" is what you get!)

You'd be better off with a high-quality 2-7x scope than a cheap(er) sight with greater magnification. I've hunted for almost 30 years and in my opinion there is very little big game hunting that calls for more than 7 power magnification. I shot a 3" group at 287 yards with a 7x scope this summer...that'll do. Higher magnification does not equal more accurate shooting; it takes quality rifles/scopes and lots of trigger time to do that.

The Marlin in 30-'06 is halfway there to hitting a home run! Put a decent scope on it and handload some great ammo and you'll be trotting around the bases! Hmmm, it must be MLB playoff season? :D
I just ordered the Marlin in 30-06. I'm going to Cabelas to get a 3-9x40mm Leupold tomorrow. Its about 200 for the scope, 330 for the rifle. Combine that with the Brewers playoff tickets I just got and my scholarship checks are burned :)
 

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I just ordered the Marlin in 30-06. I'm going to Cabelas to get a 3-9x40mm Leupold tomorrow. Its about 200 for the scope, 330 for the rifle. Combine that with the Brewers playoff tickets I just got and my scholarship checks are burned :)
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA.... but what a way to go!!! :D :D :D
 

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See if you can find the Bushnell Elite 4200's online. They are a steal if you're willing to go to the $200 price point. I do not recommend the Leupold's in the $200 range or less. I feel they are overpriced for their optical quality. The Nikon Buckmaster, Burris Fullfield II, Elite 3200 or 4200, and the Discontinued but still available Viper Vortex are a batter value.

Leupold's make a well built physical scope but their glass doesn't compete until you get past the VX-II range. The VX-I and Rifleman are not worthy of $200 when there are so many other choices available.

YMMV
 
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