Hi there, 21, 6'2" 170 lbs. Live in PA and plan on hunting this season.
Buddy took me to a range with his german 1939 mauser 98 and his brothers cheap 30/30 with an aftermarket scope rigged on.
I was fairly accurate with both considering it was my first time. Missed the paper at 50 yards twice then hit it in the third to fifth circle (of 6 circle maybe 12" diameter target paper) for the next 5 or 6 shots. Hit a little tighter at 100 yards for the next 4 shots. Hit one bullseye (100 yard with the mauser) which buddy claimed was his even though he hadn't shot since we last checked the paper. I actually was better with the mauser then the 30/30... mostly because the 30/30 had obstructed sights and the scope was about 3" too far back which combined with the table being so low made it almost impossible for me to shoot using a handrest on the table because I'd have to slouch and put my eye right up to the scope which resulted in a nasty welt above my eye.
Anyhow. The whole point is Im learning to shoot to hunt deer this fall. I need my own gun. I'd be happy with a mauser if I could get one cheap (I'd say 350$ is the most I can spend, cheaper would be better if I didn't sacrifice accuracy) and if I could find affordable ammo... my buddy pays ~ $1.50/shot and I will need to shoot a lot as I'll want to practice with my first gun quite a bit before I go hunting. Every advice article I read says a scope is near, required though.... but My buddy says he's never had the chance to take a shot over 100 yards in 8 years hunting... so although I'd LIKE to keep my achievable range at 300 or better, if it means less accuracy at 150 or less, then I'd much rather have a quality bolt like a mauser. Oh and if it does have a scope I'd really prefer if it was offset with quality sights as well.
I'm not even decided on ammunition yet, 7mm, 8mm, .308, 30-30, 30-06, 270... I've had lots of recommendations and in truth I don't know enough to decide. Recoil on the mauser wasn't a problem for me, but I don't know that I'd like much more than that. From what I've held, I like guns that are lighter in the front and heavier in the back (IE I dont like synthetic stocks). And as I said, the mauser seems quite expensive to shoot, so anything cheaper/shot would be nice or if someone knows a good place to get surplus/cheap ammo...
Also, please dont recommend that I learn on a .22 or .243 or something like that, I wouldn't feel comfortable hunting deer with a round that small considering my lack of experience and I dont want to have to buy two guns.
Thank you for any help or recommendations.
And finally, my work schedual is very very very intense, so gun shows are almost impossible for me to attend. Any recommendations on where to shop for/buy guns... I am willing to get whatever licenses needed to buy online if you have links to good online shops where I can get a gun cheaper then retail after I've checked it out in the store and decided on it.