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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello all, I have decided to branch out into rifle shooting and was looking for some advice on what a good rifle would be to start out with. Something that is quality, but not to terribly expensive as I am on a budget. I've grown up shooting, shoot handguns regularly, but have decided I want to start going over to the rifle range. I want something bigger than a .22 but not a caliber that's going to break the bank everything I pull the trigger. I was thinking possibly of getting something in .223. And while I certainly enjoy shooting a good AR, I was thinking more of a good bolt action, rated for longer ranges. I also will be wanting to put a good scope on it so any advice there would also be greatly appreciated. Thoughts please?
 

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You're on the right track. :)

Go to a shop where you can handle a number of bolt-action rifles in your price range. When you find the rifle you like, at a price you are comfortable with, buy or order one in 223. I have been very happy with the accuracy from Savage rifles, but there are several other makes and models that are just as good.
 

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+1. What Broom said. Excellent advice. Savage, Ruger and Marlin are all making serviceable rifles in your price range. .223 is a very good starter cartridge for the range. If, later on, you might want to hunt with this rifle, now would be a good time to consider caliber choice before you make your purchase. :)

Best of luck and from all of us out here in the shooting fraternity, WELCOME!
 

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You do not mention hunting, just enjoying putting some groups on target at a reasonable price. I personally would go for a 22 Hornet. Just as much fun to shoot on a range and if you reload, which I think you might eventually get into, then the Hornet is just a tad cheaper to reload than the 223 ...less powder that's all. Not hard on the pocket at all. OK I realise you can probably buy ex military stuff in 223 but it is not going to be much cheaper than a reloaded Hornet.

NOW !! if you in the back of your mind you thought about hunting with the gun as well then I think you should go a step up from the 223 into the 6mm or even 257 category.
 

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I own several rifles from rim-fires to magnums - but the rifle that I shoot, and enjoy shooting the most is a bolt action in .223 Winchester.

Here's my pet load for shooting at the range:

Hornady 55 grain V-Max, pushed by 12 grains of AA5744 powder for 2022 fps velocity.

It's inexpensive to load, and uses half the normal amount of powder to obtain 2/3 normal velocity. - The paper never knows the difference, as the load is quite accurate.
 

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You might like this Savage:

Savage Arms

Less than $600 with scope and it has the AccuTrigger. I think it's a deal!

P.S. Make sure you get a 1:9 twist barrel so you can shoot some of the heavier bullets.
 

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Elk Whisperer (Super Moderator)
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We "see" a lot of these first time buyer questions and I'm one of the first ones to recommend a .223 . . . . . . . . and yes .223 ammo is cheap and plentiful, a .223 is pretty easy to reload for and the average .223 is pretty accurate, but . . . . . . . . .

If later you feel the need to hunt, you'll be looking at another rifle in a bigger caliber as most states don't allow the use of calibers smaller than .243 (6mm), so I'm going recommend that you get a .243.

It's scarey :eek: accurate, is a breeze to reload for with bullet weights from 55 to 105 grains and can be had in many variations of barrel length/weight and stock configuration. It's quite capable of taking deer size game and even "deer" as big as elk with proper shot placement and bullet selection. Recoil is very manageable even in the lighter weight versions and negligible in a heavy barreled varmint rifle. Every sporting goods store worthy of the name has at least one box of .243 ammo on the shelf and every major ammunition manufacturer in the USA makes .243 ammo in every bullet weight available.

There are many good rifles available and it was suggested to go down to your local gunshop and try on a few to see which one feels good. Savage, CZ, Winchester and Remington all make many styles of .243's, so go try one on.

RJ
 

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Another vote for a .243. It is a good compromise between targets, varmint/ predators and big game. The next pick would be 25 Caliber something like a .257 Roberts or 25-06. Of course there is the 6.5 mm to consider. How many guns did you want buy?.... just kidding, look at something in .243. :)
 

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I personally don't have a soft-spot in my heart for my 243. But agree that it is a nice "one size" compromise for many many things.
 

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My soft spot is only this big.



100 yards, five shots, one OOPS!

RJ
 

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The 243 is a great round BUT the price of ammo and reloading components is twice that of the 223. If you want to shoot a lot than the 223 gets my vote.
 

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The 243 is a great round BUT the price of ammo and reloading components is twice that of the 223. If you want to shoot a lot than the 223 gets my vote.
That's why I went from a .243 to a .223 for my range gun. - My hunting rifle is a 270 WSM.

Thing is, hunting only lasts for a few weeks out of the year, but shooting paper is a weekly thing for me, I do a lot of it and shooting a .223 lets me do it a lot more.

I probably would have been much better off to get a .223 for my first rifle instead of the 45-70 I bought as a teenager.
 

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Ruger American. The bang for the buck is amazing and there is a pretty wide selection of calibers, including .223 if i'm not mistaken. Seems like they cover .17 to .30 pretty well. Many package guns come complete with a scope.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks everyone for the advice. Dollar Bill, that Savage rifle does look like a solid deal, I think I'll look into that. Alot of you mentioned hunting. I have honestly never been, unless I wanna be a smarta*s and count plugging squirrels with the old .22 on my uncles farm haha. It's certainly not that I have any qualms about it, I've always wanted to go sometime, but I'm primarily a range guy and this rifle will be for that. And with the apparent descrepency between the cost of ammo with .223 and .243, I'll probably end up going with the .223. I went with a 1911 .45 when I bought my first pistol, wanting a big bore gun, and I still cringe whenever I see the register figure upon buying a couple hundred rounds haha. I just started reloading my .45, my uncle owns a press. Would it be difficult to retrofit to be able to load .223 as well?
 

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A set of reloading dies in .223 caliber is the main thing required. Lee die sets are inexpensive and do a great job. - Maybe 30 bucks online.

Powder lasts a long time with .223 and bullets are cheaper, especially if you can buy a few hundred at a time.

My cheap reduced power load mentioned a few posts back is very accurate in my gun, the paper doesn't know that you are using half the usual amount of powder.

The main thing is to have fun.
 

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Check the used market. I'd rather have a good-quality used gun than a not-so-good-quality new gun.

Give a lot of consideration to the .308 Win, especially if you think that you might want to try your hand at hunting.
 

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Thanks everyone for the advice. Dollar Bill, that Savage rifle does look like a solid deal, I think I'll look into that. Alot of you mentioned hunting. I have honestly never been, unless I wanna be a smarta*s and count plugging squirrels with the old .22 on my uncles farm haha. It's certainly not that I have any qualms about it, I've always wanted to go sometime, but I'm primarily a range guy and this rifle will be for that. And with the apparent descrepency between the cost of ammo with .223 and .243, I'll probably end up going with the .223. I went with a 1911 .45 when I bought my first pistol, wanting a big bore gun, and I still cringe whenever I see the register figure upon buying a couple hundred rounds haha. I just started reloading my .45, my uncle owns a press. Would it be difficult to retrofit to be able to load .223 as well?
If it's a standard reloading press from practically any manufacturer, it will use 7/8- 14" dies, which is what everyone makes. You will also need the correct shellholder for the 223 case.

Best dies for the money probably goes to Hornady these days.

For brass, once fired and prepped is a good way to go. Something like this is a good deal ($0.16/case)and you won't need to buy primer pocket swaging tool:

https://brassmanbrass.com/product/0g-223-lake-city-head-stamp-brass-match-prepped-500-ct/

I would expect to get around 7-8 reloads from these cases.

For most target shooting, Shooters ProShop Nosler blems are a great deal. I buy them whenever what I shoot is available. These are a flat base bullet which is my choice for out to 300 yds as boat tails are harder to make accurate and have no appreciable advantage in ballistics until you get pretty far out there.

Nosler 22 Caliber 55 Grain Flat Base Spitzer (Blem) - 100ct
 

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Sorry but there is no getting around the fact, that a .223 is a great fun rifle to shoot and hunt varmints/predators in the fields. However, as our Moderator "Recoil Junky" mentioned, YOU will need a larger caliber to hunt deer or other big game with down the road. The 7 x 57 mauser, .270 Winchester, .308 Winchester, 30/06 and even the 7mm mag are all great for the likes of the bigger game aspect of hunting.
 

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I don't know what you will be shooting or hunting, IMO a 243 is hard to beat, bullet weight 55-105 gr = varmints to deer & paper also.
 

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For high volume shooting the .223 has the edge from the economic standpoint. For versalitity in covering the bases, especially for a one rifle battery, still think the .243 would be hard to beat.

There are other chamberings that shine brighter in selected areas but few that do it all as well.

Just my 2 cents.
 
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