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I'd like to become a first time gun owner. I want a rifle on the less expensive side, but good quality and can take down a deer with accuracy. I've shot guns before but I really don't know much about brands, caliber, and ammunition. Any suggestions? It would be much appreciated!
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Darn near any centerfire cartridge and gun is suitable for deer hunting.

Check the university library for gun magazines, periodicals, etc., if they have any. Anything with the picture of a deer on the front ought to be a good place to start.

You get your hunter safety education card yet? Another good source of info.

Best of luck.
 

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A trip to the gun range (rifle range) is another of the first steps
 
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Good day to you. Glad to see your interest. On your question you will receive a wide variety of opinions. Some will be based on personnel prejudice & some on actual in the field experience. I would like to think my opinion is based on many years of field experience. I have used many different cal's over the years like 338 mag, 7mag, 7x57, 30-06, 308, 243 & others. Since you mention price also I would recommend a Savage model 16 which is stainless. I have found stainless to be considerably more rust resistance than blue steel. I would also recommend the 260 Rem. I have used this cartridge for years to take large deer & many elk. Just used a different bullet for each species. This cartridge will give moderate recoil , a flat trajectory & will take heavy game cleanly. Hope this has been helpful.
 

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Katabalooza, young sir, I wonder if you know what maze you have now entered into with that question. Good luck with navigating it and staying sane.... :) Do you have an idea how many different cartridges are listed in the Gun Digest? You will be firmly advised to buy any one 97% of them.

Places to learn what to buy as a first timer are:

A. Gun experts posting in Gun forums.
B. Guns and ammunition salesmen at pawn shops.
C. Guns and ammunition salesmen at Cabelas.
D. Opinion and advice by gun writers in gun magazines.

The above is where 97% of gun owners get their advice from.

Smiling. Being serious too. The above post by Dom is of immense value. It is simple and logical and 100% valid, coming from a sincere individual. If I were the moderator in chief I would lock the thread right here and say: There you are - go out and do it. Such a decision would be kind to your mind.
 
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Just remember, there are the same number of opinions as there is population here so expect to get a LOT of advice!! It's all worth exactly what you pay for it too!
 
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Don't ask others for there favorites !!!!! Make up your own mind stick with your decision . Please try all calibers you are considering ! I would suggest a entry level of whatever manufacturer you choose . They are all making good rifles today !
 

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My vote would be for a Ruger American Rifle in .308 Winchester. You can't beat Ruger's quality. Price is good. Ammo for .308 is plentiful and it is very easy to reload for. I've had two Rugers in this caliber and both have shot very accurately.
I second the vote. The .308 Winchester is a great round that will take game animals up to Elk size, so it would be ideal for Whitetail Deer. As stated, it is easy to reload, has a mild recoil, and is very accurate. I have two .308 rifles and they have never failed me; I can reduce the load to .30-30 levels and still receive great accuracy with enough power for taking Deer.
 

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I know there are alot of opinions about .308. It's a great cartridge. It has alot going for it.

Since you seem like you are looking for value, .308 is great because there is alot of .308 ammo out there for all kinds of applications. I personally would pick the 30-06, but that's because I like vintage 30-06 rifles.

If you stick with .308 or 30-06 you are going to have an easy time finding a rifle at the price you want to pay and an easy time finding reasonably priced ammo.

here's the rub though...
If you have never shot the .308 before, make sure you get some trigger time on that caliber before you buy. 5 or so rounds in a row should be enough to give you an idea. Recoil can be different for all people. As a first time gun owner, you may want to choose something with less recoil. Or you can use a slip on recoil reducer. You just do not want to develop a flinch when you pull the trigger.

When I bought my first deer hunting rifle, it was a 30-30 Marlin 336. I did not consider recoil at the time of buying. It turned out to be a great caliber for Michigan deer and it has mild recoil. I don't think a .308 would have bothered me, but who knows.
 

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I've bought several inexpensive...

"starter" rifles and have not found a single one that would shoot well without hand loaded ammunition
.
 

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My choice would be in this order, 30-06, 308W & 270 and of course in a bolt action rifle. I prefer the Winchester M70. Whichever rifle you select will last several lifetimes. I have been shooting the 30-06 for 60+ years and was able to take a nice 6x6 bull elk back in 58 in the Wind River Mountains of Wyoming. Good luck with your selection.
 

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Welcome to the forum.
What i found is if you pick a gun by what it is chambered in it is a nightmare to choose one.
If you pick one by advice it is a nightmare to choose one.
Either of those options can easily leave you with a gun you find hard to like.
If you choose a gun because you like the gun ' the actual gun then there is a lot more chance you will like it and shoot well with it.
Make shore what it is chambered for fits in with the legal limits were you want to hunt and take it to the range and shoot the crap out of it .:)
If someone says its no good 'prove them wrong.
If you like cowboy guns don't hesitate on a lever action, hint , hint ,30-30 winchester 94 ae ( ae means you can put a normal scope on it )
I just hope you end up with one that makes you smile when you look at it and think 'thats mine!
Cheers and we are looking forward to hearing about what you choose.
ps. second hand is good in the gun world most of the time.
 

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Welcome, I live in WV and have hunted here for 30 years. I would suggest 270, 308 or 30-06, each of these calibers will do well anywhere in this state and elsewhere for that matter. Honestly, the calibers are endless.

As for brand, I'm a Browning fan, but I would go for a less expensive brand to start with.

Ammunition - i would suggest bullets weights from 130 to 180, depends on the caliber.

Most prefer bolt actions, but thats up to you.
 

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The number one thing that I would do is find out what is legal where you hunt. Not all places allow centerfire rifles and some only allow certain (typically pistol) ammo. If you can use them, the Ruger American or Savage Axis chambered in .308 Winchester are both amazingly good deals.
 

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Obviously some initial biases and "desires" get in the way some of my order of selection, but this is the general order:

First - I choose the caliber (based on what I want to hunt with the rifle). Sometimes I might have a caliber or three in mind;

Second - I choose the type of rifle (lever, bolt, single-shot, semi-auto);

Third - I choose the rifle with those configurations.

Again, sometimes the order of selection gets muddied some, but that's what it boils down to in the end. You've shot a rifle or two you said, so you have some general idea what you might be looking for. Now decide what you want to hunt - what the game size limits are - and get a couple of calibers in mind. If you think you may only have one rifle in your life, maybe a 30-06 bolt-action would be the ticket.... or a Marlin lever in 30-30, for example... or a single-shot 243 or 25-06.... and others. Start with a rifle and cartridge that is popular, so you'll likely always be able to find ammo. Lots of things to consider. Go to the range and gun shops and make some acquaintances.

Depending on the type of person you are (if you're anything like us), before long you'll have several, all in different calibers.

ON EDIT: Welcome from New Mexico!
 

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Tons of great advice and useful information in these comments. This is one of the things that make this forum truly great! Just thought I'd add a few more points. In my opinion, I think a rifle for a beginner should be #1 able to get the job done out to a decent yardage, light enough on recoil not to make the beginner gun shy,not be overly expensive and have a plentiful supply of ammo. My first centerfire rifle was a Marlin 336 in 30-30. It was a great beginner rifle and I took my first two deer with it. It cost me new about 99 bucks and you could get ammo for it almost anywhere. It was one of my first to reload for and components were also plentiful and it was easy to load for. I think that it may sometimes be a little underpowered for some type of hunting, but still maybe one of the best to start on. My next was a Ruger 77R .308. Also plentiful ammo and reloading components and felt it could reach out much farther than I could with the 30-30. My third centerfire rifle was an old army surplus in 6.5X55 Swiss. Great rifle, but at the time, ammo was almost impossible to find, as was any kind of reloading component. I found it very fustrating to have a good rifle and not be able to find ammo to shoot in it. So, I just feel that a beginner should start with something very common and easy to feed. Just my opinion and no offense meant to the thousands of great guns and cartridges out there. Have fun and enjoy shooting!!
 
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