I'm new to hunting and just ordered a gun and I just wanted to get some thoughts and opinions on it and my choice. It is too late to make any changes as the gun is already ordered but I would like to know if I made a good choice or bad for my circumstances.
Browning BAR .270 (new model)
Safari Stalker (yes that is correct, I'll explain later)
Here are my circumstances and the reason I chose this particular weapon...
My target animal is blacktail deer as that is what is common in my area (Sacramento, CA). Though Deer will be my most common game I also want to be able to take up to an Elk or Moose though that will be a rare hunt at best. I also intend to do quite a bit of range shooting, both to increase skill and also just because it's fun.
Though I am a rather big guy I consider myself to be a recoil sissy. I wanted something that has the potential to take down Elk but that would be most commonly used on Deer and I wanted something that has as little recoil as possible.
My priorities would probably be as follows...
Since accuracy was my main concern I focused on the .270 and the 7mm due to the ballistics. I had originally looked at the 7mm WSM but have since reconsidered due to the expected recoil as there is a rather significant difference between the .270 and the 7mm according to several charts I have looked at (approximately 20% increase in recoil for the 7mm). I was also concerned about meat damage being done to the rather fragile deer which seems to be fairly common with the WSM's. So along with the extra meat damage and recoil I decided that I would stay away from the mags and focus on standard calibers, not to mention the availability and price difference in ammo. While I don't expect to have problems finding WSM ammo at all there is certainly a much broader selection in standard calibers at every gun shop. So the final choice for me was the .270 due to the recoil, meat damage, and ammo while still capable of taking out up to an Elk if necessary though it's target would be primarily Deer (which fit for exactly what I needed).
I Decided on going with a browning rifle due to it's strong reputation for accuracy and quality. I know they can be a little bit more expensive but it is worth the price for me to have a high quality gun vs making a bad choice but paying less for that mistake .
I had considered the new Mountain Ti rifles from browning for a while. They are a bolt action and had many of the features I was interested in already straight from the factory (glass bedding, good recoil pad, light weight, synth stock, etc...). This had two draw backs to it, the first is that they only come in WSM's. But more importantly was the second drawback. There were no longer any available in stock to order. I should also mention that they have a very steep price tag($1600) which I didn't mind paying but certainly prefered to spend less on a rifle if I could. Also due to the weight of the rifle I wasn't sure how bad it would kick as a lighter weight rifle would kick harder.
I decided to consider other options at this point and found a BAR stalker on the shelf. I must say the rifle looked very impressive. While I wasn't looking for an auto-loader it does have the extra benefit of offloading some of the recoil into the reloading action which was a bonus for me. The lower the recoil on the rifle the more likely I will be able to shoot on target and that is 10x more important than the stopping power if you can't hit the right location. The BAR Stalker unfortunately also was no longer available in the caliber that I wanted. However the Safari Stalker was(this is a safari rifle with a synth stock and no BOSS system). While the BOSS system sounded interesting I wasn't sure that I wanted to further complicate my shooting with it or increase the noise, though it would have reduced the recoil a bit. I can always go back and have a gunsmith mod the gun for the BOSS system later or any standard brake if I decide I want to go that route. The BAR was also at approximately an $880 price tag which is significantly better than the Mountain Ti I was looking at earlier. I guess my biggest concern is the accuracy difference between a bolt action vs an autoloader, but I figured that perhaps the difference in recoil would make up any accuracy losses.
All in all I spent around $1400 for the rifle, scope etc... and feel pretty good about the choices I made, but as this is my first rifle I am purely basing my decision off of internet research and memories from shooting many years ago.
I should also point out that I intend to try out the Managed-Recoil loads. I know they won't work for elk or long range hunting but they would work great at the range and should work for most deer hunting as they are supposed to work well at any ranged at or below 200 feet.
What do you guys think of the choices I made and my reasoning behind them? Does it all make sense or am I completely off the wall? Also anyone with any experience using managed-recoil loads please leave your thoughts on them and possibly using them for deer hunting (obviously I would have to go to a heavier load for Elk). My sister wants to do a little shooting too so even if the managed-recoil loads won't work for hunting they still won't be wasted as she could use them at the range (or I would use them at the range).[/]