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Joined: 11/21/2011
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Hunting For A Rifle

I'm on the hunt for a new rifle. The primary use of this arm is deer and hog hunting. However, it will need to be sufficient for a few one-off hunts for the following:

* Kudu
* Impala
* Leopard

What I'm looking for is:

* Lever action
* Wood
* Pistol grip
* Stainless
* Scope-friendly
* ...uh, preferably not made in Japan like the Browning BLR although I love the look of...

http://www.browning.com/products/catalog/imagepreview.asp?cat_id=034&typ...
http://www.browning.com/products/catalog/imagepreview.asp?cat_id=034&typ...

I also like the look of the Marlin 336 in stainless but it's a 30-30 (insufficient power - maybe not depending on range??).

I posted this same message to another forum and was harassed saying that I shouldn't be factoring in the look and style into a purchase. However, to me firearms are not solely function - they are form too. *If* I can't find the form I want then I'll reevaluate as necessary.

So I'm looking for feedback on two things. Rifle suggestions and caliber recommendations.

Much appreciated.

-Bit

hunter25's picture
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Location: Colorado western slope
Joined: 11/13/2009
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Well first of all welcome to

Well first of all welcome to the BGH forum! Hopefully some one with more information then me can help you out as I' a little stumped with your list of qualifiers. Throwing the Browning out really makes it a lot tougher. They did make the Browning in Belgium I think from 69-73 but not sure which calibers were available back then. 

Good luck with your search and I hope you find what you really like and want.

Critter's picture
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Welcome to the forums.  With

Welcome to the forums.  With that being said and with the animals that you have listed I personally believe that your only option would be the Browning BLR Lightweight Stainless.  The reason I say this is the availability of the larger calibers for when you are hunting kudu and the leopard.  I personally would go with the .325 WSM just for those reasons.  Also if you are looking at a close in range under 100 yards then the .450 Marlin would be a good choice.  Also if you are looking at the Marlins then the .45-70 goverment, .444 Marlin, and the .450 Marlin should fit you needs. 

Ca_Vermonster's picture
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Location: San Diego, CA
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Welcome to the site!  You

Welcome to the site!  You have certainly come to the right place to get information on a wide range of hunting topics!  This one is no exception, and it looks like you already got a couple of good responses.  I wouldn't be able to add anything above what they said, so i will defer to them.

Make sure to check out the rest of the site, and if you get a chance, and some stories and photos of your local hunts.  Lots of deer and pig fans on here, so have at it.  We'd love to see them!

Tndeerhunter's picture
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Location: Tennessee
Joined: 04/13/2009
Posts: 1110
No BLR??

Shame you do not like the Browning BLR, made in Japan for the last 35+ years now. I've owned several and still own three that would fit the bill for your needs; a .325WSM, .450 & .358 Win. Critter has given you some good advice. If you are firm in your non-BLR convictions, you only have one other standard factory type to look at, the Marlin in 45-70, .450 or .444. I happen to own all three of them as well and although they are great guns, they ain't in the same class as a BLR. The 45-70, .450 and .444 will work for all you need to 150-175 yards with proper loads. You'll need 350gr A-Frames (or their equal) in the 45-70 & .450 at around 2150 FPS (or 400gr A-Frames @ 2000FPS) and at least a 265gr FN at around 2350-2400 FPS in the .444 for the larger species you've mentioned. The models to look for are the XLR models with 24" barrels, laminate stocks and SS. Be aware that the better choice for someone not handloading is the .450 and Marlin has ceased production of the .450, while the BLR is still available in .450. For deer & hogs at short range, there are much milder loads that will do the job just fine.

If you change your mind about the BLR, I'd go with the .325WSM for sure. Using good 220gr loads it brings nearly 4,000 FPE (at the muzzle) to the table. Winchester makes a special PP bullet and Woodleigh also makes a stout 220gr bullet as well. There are also 200gr Partitions, Accubonds and TSX bullets which would all work as well, I'd think. The .325WSM is a very powerful round, nipping at the heels of the fine .338WM for loads from 180gr to 225gr. All would take, with proper shot placement, all the game you've mentioned including Leopard. There are also milder 150 & 180gr loads for the .325 for deer hunting, but I'd use (do use) 200gr for large hogs.

The BLR has a smoother action and shorter lever throw than the Marlins and comes in many configurations including a SS takedown model. 

 

BikerRN's picture
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USED

Used Winchester Model 88 or BLR seems to be about the only options.

I'm not sure what calibers the 88 came in though. I do know I had one in .243 Winchester so that does lead me to believe it might have been made in other traditionally bolt action calibers.

I looked at the BLR, and while I like the platform, I find myself liking single shots and bolt actions more. To each their own I say. Good luck in finding a rifle that meets your needs and desires.

Biker

Don Fischer's picture
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Location: Antelope, Ore
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Welcome to BGH! Back in the

Welcome to BGH!

 

Back in the early 70's Sako made a lever action and I think it was made in 308. Avery nice rifle that handled very well. If you could find one of them, that really was a nice rifle. Shoot, maybe they still make it? It was called the Forester

hunter25's picture
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Actually I think the Forester

Actually I think the Forester was the medium lenght bolt action. I think the lever gun was the Finnwolf. 

Just read the whole Sako story in the American Rifleman that came in the mail today.

Don Fischer's picture
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Location: Antelope, Ore
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I do believe you are right.

I do believe you are right. Frind of mine bought one while we were in Germany. Beautiful rifle. There was the Vixen L461, Forester L579 and the Finbear L461. I had two Finbears, a 7mm mag and a 338mag, and I had a Harrington Richardson Ultra 300 in 270 win, I think thats what it was, that was built on a Finbear action.

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Joined: 11/21/2011
Posts: 2
All of the responses are

All of the responses are greatly appreciated. Each of you has certainly given me more to consider.

When I pull the trigger I will update this thread.

Thanks again!

-Bit

tim
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Location: north idaho
Joined: 06/11/2004
Posts: 601
the win model 88 did come in

the win model 88 did come in .308

 

also don't forget to factor in the new hornady leverolution ammo. 

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