21 replies [Last post]
Joined: 12/30/2010
Posts: 6
I could use some advice on buying a new rifle.

I am new to hunting, but keep finding more and more opportunities to try for different game. I bought a shotgun for deer in a slug zone and birds. I have a top eject 30-30 I took out coyote hunting and a 10/22. I definately could use something with a little longer range for coyote size game. I may also hunt deer in a rifle zone next year. I also plan to do a lot of target shooting during the summer for practice. I was thinking about 200 yards or less. But if I get enough practice possibly more.  Here is where I have confused myself. I could get an affordable bolt action, maybe a Stevens .223. Then later in the year get another Stevens in .270 for deer season. Or a friend suggested since as of yet my skill level is definately under 200 yards, getting say a Browning or Winchester in say a .243. Use that for both for a year or so. Then get another deer rifle later since that would be used less often. It seems like it would be easier to have 2 rifles each sighted for its intended purpose, But the Brownings and Winchesters are just so nice and sure to last. I do not plan to reload. And .243s and .270s seem to be the most plentiful and the most affordable. A 25-06 was and has been mentioned as a good inbetween caliber but is hard to find. and when I have seen it, it's limited selection. What would you do? And why?

And please, feel free to give your opinion on a .243 for deer at 200 yards or less. But please don't fight over it. From what I have read on here and learned so far, It should be more than enough, but I'm still learning so opinions are still valuable to me. So far it seems like I would be happier with a .270 or .308 for hunting and target shooting at farther ranges though. This will also be my first rifle with a scope. Thinking low power for starters, Maybe a 2-7X32 nikon.

groovy mike's picture
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!
Joined: 03/19/2009
Posts: 2544

Welcome to the site!

I am not a fan of any caliber under 30.  That's just me.  I liek bigger bullets, but my advice to you is to go to a couple gunshops and handle at least half a dozen different models of rifle in each.  Sooner or later you will find one that feels right.  Don't buy it.  Go home and think about it for at elast 24 hours.  If ONE rifle keeps coming back to your mind. Go buy it.

Critter's picture
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!Moderator
Location: Western Colorado
Joined: 03/26/2009
Posts: 4413
A .243 is a fine round for

A .243 is a fine round for deer but I don't like them for a 200 yard shot on a deer size animal.  Yes, they can do it and have taken deer at that range and further but I like a little bit more power.  For a all around round for both varmets and deer I would go with the .25-06.  It is a great round and while it is a little on the light side for an elk it will work.  Now if money were not a problem I would go with a .22-250 for the coyotes and get a .270 for the larger game. 

jim boyd's picture
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!
Joined: 07/06/2010
Posts: 889
The Stevens is, in my

The Stevens is, in my opinion, the best low cost rifle out there.

Rock solid with a long pedigree of accuracy and the price is right.

I have had several and loved every one of them.

Triggers could use a little work but a gunsmith can immediately get that worked out for you.

I think two is a great idea... use the .223 for fun and varmints... and then get a 25-06, 7mm-08, .308 or something like that for deer.

What would be super would be to have two "like" rifles with the same scopes on them... both would feel exactly the same in your hands!

Great dilemma to have - good luck!

Tndeerhunter's picture
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!
Location: Tennessee
Joined: 04/13/2009
Posts: 1136
what rifle

When it comes to rifles, I say there's no substitute for quality. If you're already eyeballing a Browning or Winchester because you like the feel or quality there, I'm not so sure you'll be totally happy with a lower priced rig. Simply my opinion.

I'd have to say that for a single rifle option, I feel the 25/06 to be a good bit better choice than a .243. I like the added frontal area there and additional bullet weight for deer-sized game found with a .25 cal.

As far as finding ammunition, I don't think the 25/06 is all that difficult to buy for. When I pull up Midway's site I see two pages of choices including one starting at $14/box. I buy 90% of my ammunition through web sites and not at stores like Wally World, etc. Once you have your rifle dialed in, you're not going to be satisfied with just any ammo, anyway. You'll need to buy what worked best after trying a few brands and that might not always be possible to do in a store, either.

Just some things to maybe think about. Thumbs up

Location: Neveda
Joined: 07/22/2008
Posts: 234
If you are looking for a all

If you are looking for a all around caliber, look at the 260 rem

Gun: Savage Predator Hunter Max 1

You get a great trigger in a pillar stock medium barrel

They are great set-ups

Good luck



M. Bird

Location: Upper Peninsula of Michigan
Joined: 01/13/2007
Posts: 363
.260 Rem

I would also reccommend the .260 Remington. Great deer and black bear cartridge with low recoil in a short light rifle.  I do not hunt varmits/coyote but there are factory loads for that purpose. I shoot the Remington model 7, stainless steel w/ synthetic stock, scoped with a Leupold VX III  2.5-8 power,  sighted in at 200 yds..  My go-to load is the Nosler 125 gr partition.  The last three deer I have shot with that load have dropped in their tracks.

JJD's picture
Location: Right Side WA state
Joined: 11/07/2008
Posts: 208
I like the .243 myself,

I like the .243 myself, however I will qualify that with "reloaded" cartidges.  Most factory offering leave some to be desired in bullet wts and velocity.

As far as off the shelf offering of ammo, I believe the .270 is a great option for Deer/blk bear size game.  Do ok for the yodel dogs as long as you aren't planning on trying to salvage the pelts.  25-06 is a geat round as well, however, what ammo most places have on the shelf is pretty limited.

Reloading is a very practical option in big game rifles.  Get to messing around in big game hunting and shooting for a while and it's likely you will be reloading. :yes:

Joined: 12/30/2010
Posts: 6
Thanks for all of the advice.

Thanks for all of the advice. So far I think im going to go with 2 Savages or Stevens. I had the opportunity to shoot an A-bolt, a newer Winchester 70 and a Stevens 200 all in .223 at a friends amatuer competition. I liked the feel of the Stevens the best. I din't mind the trigger and I shot it the best. I did like the smoother bolt on the 70 though. But not $400 more. I am pretty sure the second one will be a .270 or .308 for deer. The first one I am thinking about a .223 or a .243. They recommended .223 for better barrel life since I plan to do a lot of practice with it. Does that sound like good advice?

expatriate's picture
Location: Arizona
Joined: 10/26/2002
Posts: 3206
I'd go for a .243.  It's a

I'd go for a .243.  It's a good deer round and if you're not a handloader you'll find that there are a lot of commercially available loadings for it because it's a pretty standard round that's been on the market for a long time.  You can get everything from 100 grain Barnes or Noslers down to 55 grain ballistic tips in off-the-shelf loads.  That covers everything from deer on down.  So for the game you're describing, that'd be my recommendation for one cartridge to cover it all with ammo that's easy to find.

jaybe's picture
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!
Location: S.E. Michigan
Joined: 10/19/2010
Posts: 832
It looks like you're leaning

It looks like you're leaning toward two rifles, and that would probably be the best, since very few calibers really can do both varmint and big game duty very well.

Having said that, I think the .243 comes closest to being adequate for both jobs.

Looking at the Hornady Ballistics chart (hornady.com), you can push their 58 gr. V Max bullet (varmint) to 3750 fps at the muzzle and it only drops 5" at 300 yards (plenty flat shooting).

On the other end, with their 100 gr boat tail interlock bullet (deer) it has 2133 ft lbs of energy at the muzzle and still has 1541ft lbs at 200 yards (sufficient energy).

  If you are thinking of two rifles and it may be longer than a year to get the second one, the .243 would do both jobs until you got the second.

Good Luck in your quest.

Keep us posted.