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Im a college student in AZ and I want to get my first rifle. As a college student I do not have much money. I am looking very closely at the Mosin Nagunt because it is durable, cheap, accurate, and the ammo is cheap and large. I want to use it for fun but in the future I would like to go hunting. Is there any gun that is similar in price and just as good? Thanks in advance!!!!
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Surplus rifles can be fun, but quality varies a LOT. Make sure the bore isn't rusted out. This applies to Mosins, Mausers, Arisakas, Enfields, Carcanos, and every other ex-military arm.

Accuracy can range from excellent to terrible... and sometimes they don't function at all.

But if you find a good one they can be a bargain. It seems the Russians in particular were very rough on their infantry rifles. Good luck...
 

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Welcome to the shooters forum, John.

For your first rifle I'd consider a little more user friendly item. An entry level rifle like the Ruger American is worth looking at. For not much more than the Mosin you would have a new rifle with the choice of chamberings. Putting a scope on one is a breeze and they have a reputation for accuracy.
 

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I was looking at a used 243 Ruger American a couple days ago with a serviceable scope on it. Never looked at one closely before, for $200 that'd make a good rifle on a student budget.
 

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Welcome to the shooters forum, John.

For your first rifle I'd consider a little more user friendly item. An entry level rifle like the Ruger American is worth looking at. For not much more than the Mosin you would have a new rifle with the choice of chamberings. Putting a scope on one is a breeze and they have a reputation for accuracy.
I second the Ruger American. Surplus rifles are cool. And can make good general use rifles, but they generally need a little tweaking and cleaning up to be really good.

I've seen some Mosin's turned into excellent shooters but the individuals had double or triple their investment and a bunch of time into them.

There are other options such from a few other manufacturers. I'd avoid the cheaper Remington's though. I was not impressed at all by the quality of the rifles. The 700 is a good one and you can find some cheaper models at Walmart...


As far as cheap ammo. Go with a military round. Such as .308 win or .223 Rem. You can get decently accurate FMJ plinking ammo for $0.30-0.50 a round for both of those cartridges. The .308 is a better all around use hunting cartridge.


My basic recommendation is this

https://www.budsgunshop.com/catalog/mobile/product/5118/ruger_american_308_vortex_scp_blk

Not horrible price and comes ready to go out of the box. The scope that comes with it is a good scope too.
 

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I would also say get a Ruger, Savage, Remington, or Mossberg
bolt-action as a first rifle.

Those Mosin barrels start to heat up after the first shot, and are
very whippy. Plus, surplus ammo IS cheap, but it sucks. For what it
will cost you to get a Mosin M44, which is a shorter, more practical
carbine version, (but still very heavy) you can get a good used Savage
or Ruger and a decent scope.
 

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Question? I understand this is your first rifle, is this your first opportunity to do much shooting? The reason I ask is because while it is certainly possible to go from zero to 308, 243, etc... it can also be a really good way to develop a flinch if you haven't don't much shooting. Please don't take that as derogatory either, we all flinch to some extent. Heck, I load my own 12 gauge shells, 3/4 oz of lead at circa 1300 fps, just because I don't like getting the crap beat out of me and after a few boxes of run of the mill 12s in a Winchester 1200, guess who had two thumbs and a flinch, this guy.

If your new to shooting and new to rifles, Id personally recommend something between 22lr and 223 Remington. Honestly, If I ever get to start someone off their first centerfire will probably be a 22k hornet or a 222 triple deuce. If you've got a little experience under your belt though I might look at something like a 222, 223, 204, or even 22-250, 6.5 grendel if ammo is available in your area (it is in mine), or 243. I looked at the Arizona hunting regulations and you can do an awful lot with a 223 or 22-250 in your neck of the woods. Everything legal to take with a rifle from coyote on down is a decent amount of potential game. Savage makes the Axis is just about every flavor Ive listed and anyone else will probably list, there is also the Ruger American series with a similar lineup. If rimfire sounds better for now then savage 93, Ruger 10/22s, and even the old Marlin bolt guns and Henry lever rifles are a good bit of fun.

Something you might not hear from others that I personally think would be a really fun first rifle for an adult shooter is a CVA single shot 44 magnum scout. The recoil won't be obnoxious and a limbsaver would make it a downright pussycat, cost per shot is not prohibitive and is cheaper than most rifle rounds (save 22lr and 223), the capacity to shoot 44 special means rabbit size game isn't completely out of the question while the ability to shoot 44 magnum means some bigger game is an option as well. 44 Magnum is also fairly easy to reload (its what I learned on as a matter of fact) should you ever get into rolling your own. For me though, the first rifle is a special thing. Thats a firearm you aren't really allowed to sell, it has to be something you cherish despite its limitations and personally I would be much more likely to look fondly at a single shot 44 than a frankly, disposable 223, 243, 308, or 22-250, that however is a matter of opinion.

The Nagant can be made accurateish but I would be lying if I said I ever saw one that really impressed me. If your alright with the idea of a used rifle and by looking at a Nagant i assume you are the options are well... there are a lot of them. I would look in reputable local shops for things like Remington 788s, Winchester post 64 model 70s, Older Remington ADLs, just about any Savage bolt gun or nice 99, Weatherby Vanguard or Howa rifle, all while pondering the merits of a single shot 44.

Best of luck!
 

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Welcome John.


i understand you dilemma. A few years back, 55+ years ago I was there.

I bought a Lee enfield in 303 ($7) . good surplus rifle.

I own most/all types of surplus rifles.

the Mosin carbines are nice BUT:
you really can't put a scope on it easily;
safety is impossible to use, try one before you buy.

Best Mosin were made for russia by Sako/Finland.

I'd second Monty's advise, get a new low cost bolt gun, lots of modifications can be upgraded. 243 win is a good cartridge for varmints/target/deer/antelope.
 

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Welcome to the forum!

My thoughts mirror what's been said above. As an alternate choice, I'd suggest looking at a CVA Hunter single shot rifle. It will run about 2 Benjamins NIB. If you've not done a lot of shooting before, I'd look at one in .243 and if you have a decent amount of experience then perhaps a .308. Either will work very well as a deer rifle.

Good luck with whatever you choose!
 

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I'm the only person here in the home town that does not own a Ruger American. Something of an exaggeration but have spoken to many shooters at the range without one single bad report (terrible unintentional pun). These folks are sharing wisdom on surplus firearms.
 
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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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I forgot about flinching... the smaller Mosins (38 and 44 carbines) with a steel buttplate WILL smack the snot out of you. Larger, full length rifles are less abusive, if you still want to go that route.
 

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Rubber recoil pads are @ 10$ for a Mosin, they also help extend length-of-pull.
One size fits all.
While the full length Mosin's are milder, they are almost prohibitively long.
The carbines are @ 8" shorter, which makes them a heavy, but OK, beater.
 

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Get a bolt action 223. Ammo is super cheap. There are a wide variety of inexpensive good quality guns available in 223 caliber. If you get into hunting it may or may not be suitable for whatever you choose to hunt. Worry about that when the time comes.
 

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I agree with Paul and revolver. I think a .223 would make a great first gun for you and by looking around you can probably find one local that you can handle and make sure it's what you want. I have a Remington sportsman 78 with a 3-9 Simmons on it that i gave $250 for.
 

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I was looking at a used 243 Ruger American a couple days ago with a serviceable scope on it. Never looked at one closely before, for $200 that'd make a good rifle on a student budget.
My wife shoots ruger american in a 308 for deer in Missouri its topped with a nikon 3x9x40 ypu wont be dissapointed start with 150 grain remington core lokts
 

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I've hunted in Arizona for many years, I love my state a lot. But shots at deer and the like out here can easily get you out past 200 yards and way, way beyond. That said, if I were you I'd look at an entry level Ruger, Savage, Remington, Mossberg. Trying to set up a milsurp rifle for hunting can get expensive real quick, especially since you're gonna need it outfitted with a scope. And since you won't know if it's a good one until after spending the money to set it up, you could very well end up with a dog, which could really be discouraging. Then consider the ammunition needed to legally hunt in Arizona, you can't use any of the inexpensive military FMJ's sold by the case, so you'll likely have to spend an arm and a leg for ammo also.

IMHO, you can't easily go wrong with a used Rem, Sav, Moss, or Ruger chambered in .270 win. or 30-06, even .243 win is plenty of cartridge for hunting Arizona big game. My DIL has killed a lot of Az. deer with her Ruger American chambered in .243 win., both mule deer and couse, never had to track any of them. She has killed deer as far out as 550 yards with her little .243 win..

SMOA
 

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Shop around and find a T/C Encore in any calibre. You can then add whatever calibre you want over the years.
I don't own a bolt gun, deer big animal calibre, have not done for many years now. I shoot an Encore exclusively, from 17 Remington, through, 22BR, 257 RRI(my own wildcat), 7-30Waters, 300H&H, 375JDJ this rifle in any of those calibres and more will do the job if you do and also instils in you the need to get it right first time..........
ONE GOOD SHOT !!

All shot with an Encore...........
 

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Another vote for a .243 Winny in a good, American-made bolt gun. You can find Rugers & Remingtons for $200-$250 used and they will last a lifetime. .243 is a mild cartridge that is suitable for deer/antelope & varmints while providing minimal recoil. Good luck, John!!!:)
 
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