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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is my first post here, so I apologise if this is a question that has been asked a million times.

I am from Australia, and I will be getting my rifle licence very shortly. Most of my shooting will be target shooting at the local range at distances of 100 - 300m (110-330yd).

I am looking for a decent and accurate rifle over that sort of distance without ruining the bank balance (around $800USD).

I want a bolt action centrefire, and was thinking the Remington 700 SPS, SPS Varmint or VTR in .223 or .243 might be a good choice for value for money. I would also couple it with a scope - something like a 4-12x Bushnell.

Would this be a sensible choice for a first rifle? Which one would be best? I am not 100% set on Remington, but they seem to have a good rep, which is why I was leaning this way but I am open to other options.

Any advice would be appreciated.
 

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First: Welcome to our forum!:) Remington rifles are okay, but you might want to look at other brands such as Browning, Savage, Sako, just to name a few. Your choice of the .243 Winchester is also fine if you are going to just use it for targets. Personally if I were going to include hunting; I'd chose a 7mm-08 or even a .308 Winchester (7.62 X 51 m/m NATO).
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
First: Welcome to our forum!:) Remington rifles are okay, but you might want to look at other brands such as Browning, Savage, Sako, just to name a few. Your choice of the .243 Winchester is also fine if you are going to just use it for targets. Personally if I were going to include hunting; I'd chose a 7mm-08 or even a .308 Winchester (7.62 X 51 m/m NATO).
Thanks for the quick reply - I was also looking at the Ruger 77, Browning X Bolt, CZ 527 Varmint or Tikka T3 Varmint - any of these to consider or discount?

Savage rifles are quite rare in Aus, Sako and Winchester are getting a little on expensive side - though the Sako A7 looks good.

I am somwhat new to rifles so I am still on a bit of a learning curve.

Hunting is not so common in Australia, our laws are quite strict. You can only hunt if you know someone with a property of a minimum size who will let you hunt on their land. So hunting is not a priority, though I would like to do it, so I would not rule out the possibility completely (kangaroos, foxes and rabbits are the most popular sport over here rather than buffalo or deer).
 

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Ruger has a tactical model in the common 223 and 308. They also have a third model, #17140, in 243. It's a 20" heavy barrel with 1:9 twist, a Hogue stock, and Harris bipod. The 1:9 twist might be fast enough for the 105gr bullets.

Have a look and see what you think.
 

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Quinn, all of my serious big game rifles are Winchester model 70 Winchester rifles, with Control Round Feed magazine, 3 position safety (the only real safety) Now for varmint/predator hunting I like those Ruger rifles a bunch, once again Control Round Fed magazine and 3 positon safety and Big Claw Extractor. The Mauser style action!!! Remember this FACT Quinn. The Winchestger rifle already has ALL THE BELLS & WHISTLES on that rifle from the factory, only Ruger comes close to matching a Winchester model 70 with Pre-64 type action. You only get what you pay for and a Winchester is tops in my book.

I also have a couple of CZ rifles with set triggers for varmint hunting/predator hunting, very accurate out of the box too. Then I have 3 Savages purchased new last year for varmint/predator hunting.........we do a lot of that around my place.

However, if you want the "Rifleman's Rifle" then get yourself a model 70 Winchester in the .270 cal, .308 Winchester cal or the .30-06 caliber and you will never regrett doing so I promise you that for a fact.:) I too use those Bushnell rifle scopes in the 3200 series "Tactical" 5 x 15 power scopes with adj AO and mil-dots to longer range shooting.
 

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Get something sensible and buy a 378 weatherby magnum....:D......

Okay...Do not do that....;)

I think you have some nice choices. 800 dollars can buy you a nice rig with a scope attached to it.

I don't know what you plan on hunting but if it's going to be big game you may opt for something a bit bigger than the 243. But from what I can see even that would suffice for your big game in austrailia other than maybe the asiatic water buffalo, feral cattle and camels. I don't know how likely it is that you will hunt those, but if you will, the 308 maybe the better choice. Anything else you have in austrailia the 243 is plenty gun. But not to start a debate, there are folks in the US who use the 223 for smaller big game such as whitetail deer, so that might even suffice for your need there with the right bullets depending on how big your kangaroos are (I have no idea how big they get) and the legality.

If you only plan on targets I'd get the 223, or even the 22-250 and the 204 ruger depending on availibility of ammo. But the 223 would be extremely hard to beat for target shooting. Ammo is cheap, plentiful (I'm guessing this is the case even in austrailia), and fun to shoot. Especially if you're limited to 300 meters, the 223 would be perfect for me.

But if you're looking for sensible "non-mainstream" factory calibers you could also look at the 17 fireball, 220 swift, 257 weatherby, 6mmBR, 7mm mauser and etc. But I think your choices so far are wise and sensible ones.

You could get a savage or a T/C encore for the ease of barrel change too. They make it "easy" to swap barrels for different chamberings. Aside from that, in all the years I've been around guns, I learned one thing for certain. The brand rarely matters. Pick the guns up in the store and see how they feel, preferably one with a scope mounted. That's what matters the most.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Thanks guys - at least I am on the right track. Remember that I will mostly be target shooting, not game hunting, so .308s etc would be overkill.

I am still getting my head around the rate of twist and how it affects the bullet. The Remingtons all have a 1:12 twist for the .223 and the .243 is 1:9 1/8".

It looks like pretty much all the Ruger M77 range in .223 and .243 has 1:9" twist - what is the advantage of the 1:9 vs 1:12 - is it for stabilising heavier bullets at longer distances? I would probably use 80gr or 100gr rounds.
 

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Thanks guys - at least I am on the right track. Remember that I will mostly be target shooting, not game hunting, so .308s etc would be overkill.

I am still getting my head around the rate of twist and how it affects the bullet. The Remingtons all have a 1:12 twist for the .223 and the .243 is 1:9 1/8".

It looks like pretty much all the Ruger M77 range in .223 and .243 has 1:9" twist - what is the advantage of the 1:9 vs 1:12 - is it for stabilising heavier bullets at longer distances? I would probably use 80gr or 100gr rounds.
If you decide on a Ruger Model 77 be aware that the trigger is NOT adjustable for trigger pull. As for twist-rates either will work for the .223 Remington. For the .243 a twist rate of 1-in-9" will stabolize the bulllets you wish to use.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks again everyone, that clears a few things up. I am still tempted by the Rem 700 SPS/Varmint, but I now have a couple of other options to consider. Just got to wait for my licence app to be approved so I can go shopping and hit the range.
 

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Quinn, If Marlin XS7 rifles are available there, then you may want to give their .243 a look. Here in the U.S., sells for around $320. Marlin borrowed Savage idea of a barrel nut and other features. Rifle has a nice adjustable trigger and seems to have earned a decent reputation for accuracy right out of the box. My 25-06 XL7 Marlin, while hardly a good looking rifle, has impressed me for its accuracy. With cost of this rifle, you would have more money available for a quality scope.
 

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Rugers with the LC6 trigger are non-adjustable and usually very stiff. A replacement spring from ErnieTheGunsmith will solve that problem. The Ruger Tactical uses an adjustable two stage trigger. I've never tried one so can't comment. The Remington has traditionally had a good and adjustable trigger.
 

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Just my 2 cents worth but given the choice between the Ruger and a Tikka Varmint, the Tikka would be my choice. I'd also favor the .308 over the .243, especially if there's ANY possibility of shooting farther than 300 yards.
 

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If I were you, I'd try to find someone local with a few different rifles that you could try, (you supply the ammo of course). Sometimes you don't pick a rifle, it picks you! Sounds like you are on the right track, just be sure before you buy one that ammo is going to be available & you may want to get with someone local that can teach you how to reload.
 

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I'd go with a .223 just for inexpensive ammo, and buy whatever brand you like the best among those available in Australia.

Got a few of the above brands and can't really badmouth any of them. It's your money so make sure you don't buy a rifle you think is ugly ;)

Good luck and let us know how it goes.
 

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I suppose target shooting with a .223 out to 200 yards is ok but if you want to hunt big game animals and go out younder way with your targets, one must move up in caliber. Now I have a 25/06 that served me well for target shooting, varmint/predator and the taking of whitetail deer as well as antelopes. It's your choice and there are lots of good rifles out there for your needs. Good Luck!:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks everyone for the replies - as with everything, everyone has their own opinions. There is a good variety of rifles and ammunition available in Australia (obviously not as vast as the US though).

Another name which has come up in previous posts is the Marlin XL7 - this looks to be a good and pretty rifle, so it is definitely worth more consideration.... Just when I thought I had made my mind up.

I know that I may end up with hundreds of different answers, but being a newbie, I don't mind hearing various opinions and considering different options.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
OK, I have narrowed down my choices to the Remington 700 SPS Varmint .243, or Marlin XS7 .243. Obviously the Marlin is cheaper, but which would be better for a medium range target rifle? Is the Remington worth the extra cash?
 

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Quinn,

Both will serve you well and the cartridge itself is easy to work with. At the reloading bench the .243 is a simple, straight-forward cartridge to load for and at the shooting bench you'll have little problem learning to shoot it well. The only one who can answer your question is you; and even then, only after you've held, and preferably shot, both rifles.

I will say that I don't think of the .243 as a "target" round, but my dad shoots one and has taken 20+ white-tailed deer with it, over the years. I'm not sure how much you will find in the way of match-grade ammunition for the .243, so you may discover that to really enjoy it, as a bench/competition gun, you'll need to reload your own rounds. However, with a well-constructed bullet of ~100 grains, its performance on medium-sized, thin-skinned game is proven.

Be sure to reply back when you've got your license in hand and pick out which rifle you decide to buy. Pictures are always good! :)
 

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Thanks for the quick reply - I was also looking at the Ruger 77, Browning X Bolt, CZ 527 Varmint or Tikka T3 Varmint - any of these to consider or discount?

Savage rifles are quite rare in Aus, Sako and Winchester are getting a little on expensive side - though the Sako A7 looks good.

I am somwhat new to rifles so I am still on a bit of a learning curve.

Hunting is not so common in Australia, our laws are quite strict. You can only hunt if you know someone with a property of a minimum size who will let you hunt on their land. So hunting is not a priority, though I would like to do it, so I would not rule out the possibility completely (kangaroos, foxes and rabbits are the most popular sport over here rather than buffalo or deer).
Hi Quinn as a fellow aussie I think your going to struggle getting a new rifle for $800 here in australia. But dont let that get in your way. Any of the remington rifles are quite good! I have the VTR in 308 and its a very well rounded rifle, I take it to the range quite a lot(its my primary range rifle). You can get some used rifles at gun shops cheaply that have barely done any work. Bushnell scopes arent bad, but if your looking for real quality I would look at a leupold scope, they arent that expensive in price...

Hunting on the other hand in australia isnt that bad. There are a few places in australia that you can still hunt on you just need to know where they are... But it does help to have property to shoot on...
Where in australia do you live? I might be able to guide you to some places that you can hunt on...
 
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