I see many, many post on the topics of "I'm new" or "which gun" or something asking guidence on purchasing a new rifle. While I'm not an expert, I don't have a degree in guns, well maybe a fever for them; I'm not a professional hunter, Realtree is asking me to do a video hunt; I do love guns, hunting, shooting and sharing what little knowledge I have floating around up there with young or new hunters.
First off I'll tell ya I'm not a "one brand guy". I own or have owned Remington, Winchester, Ruger, Savage, Mossberg, Krag, Browning, Thompson Center, CVA, Stevens, Traditions...you get the point. I don't believe you have to spend 1000's or even several 100's of dollars to have an effective hunting rig. I don't belive you need to spend as much on your scope as you do the rifle in order to kill game. What I believe in is:
-researching products before you buy: know what your going to use it for and know whats out there to get the job done. Sporstman clubs can be better than any web site but be cautious, I have seen a few that are more about showing what they have than sharing what they know.
-rifles: Buy what you can afford. Be realistic when you purchase a firearm or scope or whatever you're after. Sure a custom Cooper rifle looks pretty cool and you'd definitely be the talk of camp but it won't kill any better, for the average hunter, than a rifle you can buy at Wal Mart or Gander Mtn will. Another point is used firearms; If ya know what you're looking at and what to look for, there are some great deals out there on used rifles. Use caution or ask someone you trust and is knowledgeable on firearms to help you look for one.
-recoil...buy what you can handle: If you are new to shooting, be aware of recoil. Don't run out and buy a .338 WinMag for your first elk hunt if you've never shot a 30.06. If you're afraid of whats going to happen when you squeege the trigger, you're already starting off on the wrong foot. A few years back I bought a Browning Abolt in .300WSM and right off the bat a ran some 180gr through it...OUCH! My buddy shot it with no problems. I didn't like it...sold it a few weeks later. Go online and look up "felt recoil". There are some very good charts and articles on rifle recoil. Don't think "I'll just put on a ??? recoil pad and I'm golden". If ya don't like the recoil before the pad, chances are you're not going to like it after the pad. I have a Ruger .308 that has mild recoil. It doesn't bother me at all. However, with a good recoil pad on it, I find summer practice with a tshirt on is more enjoyable than without it.
-triggers: I am big fan of the Savage Accu Trigger. I just bought a Savage 220 slug gun with it and boy is it nice...right out of the box too I might add. Next I think Winchester produces a great trigger...clean & crisp. I like my Ruger, after I had it adjusted down to 3lbs. I haven't tried the new trigger Remington is using now but the older ones were ok, nothing great and some say they're dangerous. I never had a problem with an unintentional fire but I know those that did. All were adjusted by a "gunsmith" they knew. I would not hesitate to buy a used Remington. I would recommend having it check by a qualified gunsmith though. If there is any doubt...switch it out. Replacement triggers are much better than the old Remington triggers, imo, and are cheap.
-scopes: The most expensive scope I own cost $175. It's clear as a bell. It's a Redfield I bought at Wal Mart 15yrs ago. I hear people say, "you put a cheap scope on that and you blow it apart. It won't handle the recoil". The first two scopes I ever bought were 4X32 Tascos. I paid $19.95 a piece for them. At 18yrs old, 24 yrs ago, that's all I could afford. One went on my 12ga slug gun and the other on my 30.06 Remington. The 30.06 had it's pulled and swapped with a Bushnell Banner 3-9X40 I bought at Kmart for $89 (one of the nicest scopes I ever bought). It remained on there until some ####! stole it from me. The Tasco however has been on a muzzleloader I have since the swap. The other sat on that 12ga until last yr when I sold the gun. They are both crystal clear. As long as you stay with the big name brands you won't have a problem; Tasco, Redfield, Bushnell, Nikon, Simmons, Pentex...all great scopes that have something offered for those on a budget as well.
-slings: I have tried many and while I love look of leather of my wood stock rifles, this is what I use...www.sloganoutdoors.com. Thses are the best I have ever used. I have met the man that made them, owns them and sells them. He is down to earth and offers a great product.
I hope I offered some advise on here that may help someone. If I forgot something let me know. If I can I'll add to this. For the vetern reading this, introduce someone new to the sport. Take a minute to pass some knowledge. If ya see someone at the range doing something and ya know a better way, offer some help. I know a lot of young "internet hunters". They didn't have a Dad, or Grandpa, or anyone to show them the ropes. They know what they learned from the internet. These people are more then willing to have a mentor.