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  #1  
Old 07-25-2012, 11:09 PM
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Los Osos, CA
Posts: 17
Hey all!

Hi there, just started getting back into shooting. Grew up in Georgia and shot all my life until I moved to CA.

I went to the range last weekend and shot about 150-200 rounds. I've had the same .22 since I was 5. It's an Ithica single shot lever action and it's definitely seen better days, it's just to small for me now. I really had a great time at the range so I joined the club and went shopping for a new rifle. I picked up a Savage Mark ii GXP and then ordered a Harris Bipod. I'll be using this at the range and for squirrel/wild hog hunting. My goal is to try and get comfortable shooting out to 200+ yards at the range.

I'm still getting my act together. I won't have the rifle for another week so I've got some time. My budget is pretty limited, spending $160 on the gun alone sent my wife into a hissyfit (gun hater). Are there any absolute essentials I should pick up and have in my range/hunting bags that would make my life easier?

It's good to be getting back into this after almost 8 years off. I'm pretty sure the off-time was due to women though, so I'm not totally to blame!
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  #2  
Old 07-26-2012, 09:25 AM
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Falls Church, VA
Posts: 3,265
Re: Hey all!

If $160 pissed your wife off, you need to be ready for a regular dose of that as this sport is not cheap. Of course, the positive side of that argument is all the making up!

For your rifle, here's a general list of stuff you might want to have and or do:

Rifle:
1. Optics - buy the best scope you can put on the gun. The old adage of 'buy once, cry once' definitely applies here.
2. Trigger Job - most factory triggers are too heavy. Lightening the trigger pull is something you can probably do yourself. Look to get your trigger pull at 2.5lbs or less.
3. Stock - generally speaking, factory stocks are not that great. If this is true in your case, replace the stock with a decent after market stock (check out Stocky's New Rifle Stocks - America's Gunstock Specialist!)
4. Action Bed - once you have your rifle, take it out and shoot it. If it does not shoot up to your expectations, you might want to consider bedding the action into the stock.

Gun Box (recalled from memory and in no particular order)
1. Cleaning Materials - cleaning rod, nylon brushes (don't use metal ones), loop for patches.
2. Bore Cleaner - I use a cleaner made for removing copper (Sweets). Copper is your enemy. Don't worry too much about powder solvents.
3. Bore Guide - a nice tool that makes bore cleaning easier and will help save the throat in your barrel.
4. Tools - hex keys, screwdrivers etc. - anything you need to tighten/loosen every screw/bolt on your rifle.
5. Torque Screwdriver - always good to have action screws, screws for bases and rings exerting the same pressure. http://www.midwayusa.com/product/718...ch-screwdriver


Other Stuff
1. Spotting Scope
2. Rear Bag (I use the 'Holland Field Bag' Shooting bags and rifle rests, by "dog-gone-good" )
3. Bipod - get a Harris that both swivels and has notched legs. A 6-9" is my go-to but I also have a 9-13"
4. Chronograph - even if you don't reload, it is VERY helpful to know the velocity and consistency of the ammo you are shooting (a Shooting Chrony is a good inexpensive option Shooting ChronyŽ Models & Master ChronyŽ Models )
5. Ballistic Software - given good data (ballistic coefficient of the bullet, velocity, atmospheric conditions), ballistic software will help you develop a drop chart for longrange shooting. If you have an iPhone or Android phone, you can get 'shooter' inexpensively Shooter - Ballistics Calculator for iOS and Android alternatively, you can use JBM online for free: JBM - Calculations. What's nice about programs like 'shooter' is that they are portable and can be taken with you to the field.
6. Weather Station - some device that can provide you with at least temperature, barometric pressure and wind speed. Altitude is also good to have. Kestrel makes the best but there are probably less expensive options.

What else could you need? MORE RIFLES. ONE IS NOT ENOUGH. If your wife is not happy about that, have her call me.
__________________
I'm not gonna shoot here. I'm gonna shoot waaaaaaaay over there!
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  #3  
Old 07-26-2012, 12:13 PM
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Los Osos, CA
Posts: 17
Re: Hey all!

Quote:
Originally Posted by trebark View Post
If $160 pissed your wife off, you need to be ready for a regular dose of that as this sport is not cheap. Of course, the positive side of that argument is all the making up!

For your rifle, here's a general list of stuff you might want to have and or do:

Rifle:
1. Optics - buy the best scope you can put on the gun. The old adage of 'buy once, cry once' definitely applies here.
2. Trigger Job - most factory triggers are too heavy. Lightening the trigger pull is something you can probably do yourself. Look to get your trigger pull at 2.5lbs or less.
3. Stock - generally speaking, factory stocks are not that great. If this is true in your case, replace the stock with a decent after market stock (check out Stocky's New Rifle Stocks - America's Gunstock Specialist!)
4. Action Bed - once you have your rifle, take it out and shoot it. If it does not shoot up to your expectations, you might want to consider bedding the action into the stock.

Gun Box (recalled from memory and in no particular order)
1. Cleaning Materials - cleaning rod, nylon brushes (don't use metal ones), loop for patches.
2. Bore Cleaner - I use a cleaner made for removing copper (Sweets). Copper is your enemy. Don't worry too much about powder solvents.
3. Bore Guide - a nice tool that makes bore cleaning easier and will help save the throat in your barrel.
4. Tools - hex keys, screwdrivers etc. - anything you need to tighten/loosen every screw/bolt on your rifle.
5. Torque Screwdriver - always good to have action screws, screws for bases and rings exerting the same pressure. Wheeler Engineering FAT (Firearm Accurizing Torque) Torque Wrench


Other Stuff
1. Spotting Scope
2. Rear Bag (I use the 'Holland Field Bag' Shooting bags and rifle rests, by "dog-gone-good" )
3. Bipod - get a Harris that both swivels and has notched legs. A 6-9" is my go-to but I also have a 9-13"
4. Chronograph - even if you don't reload, it is VERY helpful to know the velocity and consistency of the ammo you are shooting (a Shooting Chrony is a good inexpensive option Shooting ChronyŽ Models & Master ChronyŽ Models )
5. Ballistic Software - given good data (ballistic coefficient of the bullet, velocity, atmospheric conditions), ballistic software will help you develop a drop chart for longrange shooting. If you have an iPhone or Android phone, you can get 'shooter' inexpensively Shooter - Ballistics Calculator for iOS and Android alternatively, you can use JBM online for free: JBM - Calculations. What's nice about programs like 'shooter' is that they are portable and can be taken with you to the field.
6. Weather Station - some device that can provide you with at least temperature, barometric pressure and wind speed. Altitude is also good to have. Kestrel makes the best but there are probably less expensive options.

What else could you need? MORE RIFLES. ONE IS NOT ENOUGH. If your wife is not happy about that, have her call me.

Awesome info, I REALLY appreciate it. I'm not sure if I want to dump a bunch of cash into this rifle, but I know I'll probably mod the trigger at the very least. Now that I have a safe set up I've started dumping all my spare cash into old pill bottles. I think what I'll probably do will be to save for a really nice scope first. After that I'll build the trigger then I think I'll be holding off until I figure out what custom LR rifle I want to build.

Either way I'm working on building a shooting nest-egg. The deal with my wife is any side work I do I get to keep the cash unless we need it for bills. She wonders why I suddenly have about 200% more side jobs now that I'm shooting again...

Eventually I want to get into reloading, but I'll hold off on that until I start shooting bigger guns. As for a spotting scope, I have a decent pair of binoculars now and the range I go to has about 6 nice Barska scopes. I've got most of the cleaning supplies, but I'll need something to remove copper.

I've never used shooting software before but I have both iOS and Android devices so I'll give'em a shot! A chrono/weather station would be nice, but if they're not absolute necessities I'll probably wait on them until I can get some cash stashed. My goal is to get around $3500 saved, $2500 for a rifle and $1k for decent optics. We'll have to wait and see how that works out.
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  #4  
Old 07-26-2012, 03:42 PM
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Falls Church, VA
Posts: 3,265
Re: Hey all!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Madcat View Post
Awesome info, I REALLY appreciate it.
You're welcome. You have chosen the right online forum to find answers to your questions. One of the great things about this forum is that you can receive real help here. If you ever happen to visit Snipers Hide, you will see that new guys are often flamed for asking 'beginner' questions.

Quote:
I'm not sure if I want to dump a bunch of cash into this rifle
Regardless of whether its this particular rifle or a rifle in the future, all the advice I have given you is a solid start for ANY rifle.

Quote:
I know I'll probably mod the trigger at the very least
Good move. Trigger control and breath control are good skills to master in order to shoot accurately.

Quote:
Eventually I want to get into reloading, but I'll hold off on that until I start shooting bigger guns.
Start reloading as soon as you have your first center fire rifle. Reloading is a fairly steep learning curve so better to start reloading sooner than later.

Quote:
As for a spotting scope, I have a decent pair of binoculars now
Good pair of binos will work well for a spotting scope but when the distance gets longer, the magnification of a quality spotting scope really starts to pay off.

Quote:
the range I go to has about 6 nice Barska scopes
Barska and 'nice' are two words that do not go together. I assure you that ANY Barska product is crap. Get yourself to a shop that sells decent optics and you will quickly learn to stay away from Barska and Tasco.


Quote:
I've never used shooting software before but I have both iOS and Android devices so I'll give'em a shot!
Good. Software will help you in data analysis.

Quote:
A chrono/weather station would be nice, but if they're not absolute necessities I'll probably wait on them until I can get some cash stashed.
You can find a Caldwell weather stations for <$40. The basic chrono that I suggest is ~$99. I have often said that shooting without a chrono is like shooting with your eyes closed. Having said that, I will agree that they are not absolutely necessary, but they should be a close #2 on your list after quality optics on the rifle.

Quote:
My goal is to get around $3500 saved, $2500 for a rifle and $1k for decent optics. We'll have to wait and see how that works out.
$3500 will build you a fine rifle. I spent slightly more than that on each of these:

My 260 by MCR

My 300RUM by MCR

My 280 - Updated!
__________________
I'm not gonna shoot here. I'm gonna shoot waaaaaaaay over there!
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  #5  
Old 07-26-2012, 04:17 PM
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Los Osos, CA
Posts: 17
Re: Hey all!

Quote:
Originally Posted by trebark View Post
Awesome Information
Once again, thanks for the advice. It really helps. I've been a member of several forums that didn't appreciate newbie questions, but you have to start somewhere.

I'm making a list out of your recommendations and I'll shift my priorities a bit to include the Chrono/weather station sooner. I'll stay away from Barska and Tasco stuff. I really like Nikon for optics and at the current distances I'll be shooting the Binocs will be OK for now, but I'll plan to upgrade to a good scope when I move to a centerfire rifle.

Right now I'm going to work towards increasing my ability as a shooter. I used to have excellent control, but I have been away from the sport for so long I've lost a lot of "feel". I think the .22 will help considerably in improving my abilities, I know I'm not ready to shoot big iron at this moment. I can see how this could get addictive quickly, I was more of a hunter and less of a shooter when I was growing up. I'm really enjoying learning more about the mechanics/science of shooting this time though.

Right now I think my priorities are:
  1. Pick up Some copper cleaner
  2. Get some good glass for the .22
  3. Pick up a chrono
  4. Install a trigger (if needed, mine might have the accutrigger and allow me to adjust it, I'm unsure.)
  5. Grab a weather station
  6. Find a good spotting scope


I have all the tools etc. I just need to make a tool roll for them and include them in my range bag.
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  #6  
Old 07-26-2012, 04:41 PM
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Falls Church, VA
Posts: 3,265
Re: Hey all!

Looks like you have your priorities in pretty good order.

A few more suggestions....

Nikon is pretty good glass but take a look at Bushnell too. My cousin was pretty dedicated to Nikon until he started twisting the dials on the scope. He found the lines on the turrets vs. the reference mark on the body of the scope didn't always line up. When he made the switch to a Bushnell, he had comparable glass and much better turrets.

Also, read all the 'stickies' at the top of this forum:

The Basics, Starting Out - LongRangeHunting Online Magazine

They will cover all the basic you need to know in order to start getting back into shooting form.

Last - have fun and see if there's some way you can involve your wife. My ex-wife never fired a gun, but she sure had fun working with me to get all my gear together to go shoot and she enjoyed making lunches for the guys. I made sure they thanked her profusely. This helped pave the way for the acquisition and upgrade of firearms. (she is my ex-wife for other reasons - guns, shooting and hunting were never an issue).
__________________
I'm not gonna shoot here. I'm gonna shoot waaaaaaaay over there!
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