Getting Started -- $4,200 Budget, Western NY

Discussion in 'The Basics, Starting Out' started by tensix, Dec 18, 2011.

  1. tensix

    tensix Member

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    I'm just getting started with long range shooting and big game hunting. I'm 21 and planning on purchasing a rifle for myself as my 22nd birthday present. I'm currently deployed to Afghanistan with the USMC so I figure it would be a good use of my deployment money. I'm willing to budget up to $4,200 between rifle and optics. If the quality is there and I can justify it mentally, I will spend up to $5,000 (that's one full stateside paycheck if you're wondering).

    I would like to shoot something chambered in a .300WM although the less-powerful .308 or .30-06 are okay by me. I love the two .30-06s that I've shot. I have shot up to 600 yards (paper targets) with a .30-06 and I've qualified on my M16A4 at 500 yards. I would like to extend this range to 800 to 1000 yards as a technical challenge to myself.

    I am planning on purchasing the rifle for both hunting and target shooting. I have never gone big game hunting but I intend to start next fall once I return stateside. I am done putting it off because of the cost or because I can't find people to hunt with. I have hunted small game with both a bow and a .22LR. I'll go it alone if I have to.

    I am looking for a quality rifle that I can rely on for years as well. I own a Remington .32 single shot from the late 1870s that still shoots reliably (and groups at 2 inches at 100 yards!) which belonged to my great-great-grandfather. I would like a rifle that I can at least share with my child someday.

    I have looked at the following rifles:
    Remington Model 700 Sendero SF II
    Remington Model 700 SPS
    FN A1
    Weatherby Vanguard Series 2
    Savage Arms 11/111
    Savage Model 10 FPXP
    Steyr SSG 04
    Tikka T3
    Sako A7 ST

    What suggestions or input do you all have? Am I missing a rifle that I should consider? Are there any on here that are not worth the money? What modifications to any of these rifles would you make? I love the looks of the Steyr SSG 04 and it feels natural to hold one (I have held one but have not fired one). I did not like the stock on the 700 SPS but I would probably replace it if I went that route anyway. I also love the feel and the look of the Weatherby wooden stocks although I'm not sure a wooden stock is the way to go with the weather as it is in Rochester, NY.

    In addition, I am NOT knowledgeable about optics. The only rifle I have ever fired with an optic (apart from the RCO on my A4) was a .30-06 with a Bushnell. It seemed to be a quality scope. I have heard great things about Leupold from friends and coworkers but would like additional input before I make a purchase.

    Finally, are there any good gunsmiths in Western NY who would be willing to assist me? Anything within 300 miles of Rochester is within the distance I'm willing to drive if I can be assured a quality product.
     
  2. T3-OleMan

    T3-OleMan Well-Known Member

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    Welcome tensix. Thanks for "standing on that wall". :)
    I'll get back to you on my history (choices)and you may can learn something from my research and get to your purchase point quicker.lightbulb
     

  3. T3-OleMan

    T3-OleMan Well-Known Member

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    tensix, try these, will tell you what I did. gun)

    http://www.longrangehunting.com/forums/f65/greetings-south-carolina-68742/

    Tikka T-3 SS Lite_338 WM Dec 2008 cost me $575.


    http://www.longrangehunting.com/forums/f18/nf-swaro-zeiss-scopes-wwyb-69398/

    The ZEISS cost me $2,228 mailed to me (Dec 2010 I think).

    Hope this helps you some......you might can get comp today for $3K and have $2K for 185 GMX Superformances and some reloading stuff. Keep us posted and feel free to contact me on anything I did.
    -----------------------------------------------------------
    ADDED:

    With the above set up I'm good to 800 Yds and maybe >>>>> 1,000???? MAX!

    http://www.longrangehunting.com/forums/f18/zeiss-victory-swarovski-82363/

    For a range finder: here is a lot of good info!!!

    http://www.longrangehunting.com/forums/f18/buying-insurance-timber-accurate-range-73823/


    http://www.longrangehunting.com/for...er-guide-vs-leica-crf-1600-rangemaster-73650/

    Good luck.
     
  4. AJ Peacock

    AJ Peacock Well-Known Member

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    Welcome to LRH and thanks for being THERE for us.

    My standard recommendations follow.

    Budget 1/2 your money on scope+base+mounts. A good base and mounts are going to run you $300 or so, so you have $1600-1800 for a scope. And $2100 for a rifle.

    That amount will get you into an excellent scope, that will last a lifetime (NightForce NXS etc.).

    The 300WM is a fine cartridge to start with. I'm partial to the Rem 700, although I've shot and appreciate other rifles. I own a Savage and it's plenty accurate, but I like the feel of the Rem 700 better. In the end, it is a personal choice. The Rem 700 has a larger selection of stocks, triggers etc etc available for it than other platforms. Getting an SPS and a good McMillan stock, Timney trigger and nice bottom metal (Wyatts box), topped with a Nightforce scope would set you up better than 99% of most guys starting in long range hunting. Then you'd have a platform that you could have re-chambered for most of the serious Long Range cartridges available (300RUM, 338 Edge etc.) if you decided to step it up in a few years.

    Do you reload? You'll want to budget enough money for 100 good brass and reloading dies etc.

    Hope this helps. Use this forum to ask your questions, there are WORLD class gunsmiths and WORLD class shooters on this site that are never shy about helping someone out.

    Stay safe and Merry Christmas,
    AJ
     
  5. T3-OleMan

    T3-OleMan Well-Known Member

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    tensix, when do you think, in the fall 2012, you will be back to USA?
     
  6. tensix

    tensix Member

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    Thanks for your responses! I'll read over the other posts and I'm sure I'll have some more questions in the next day or so (although I do apologize if it's a few days again before I respond--the internet here is less than reliable). I hope that someday I'll be able to help other newcomers. Are there any good books?


    Real quick:
    AJ: I used to reload with my .32 but had to give that up when I enlisted. I intend to start again with my new rifle. I couldn't imagine shooting a factory load past 600 yards and expecting it to work consistently. Unfortunately, I will be unable to reload until I am done with my service in 2013 (powder on base is frowned upon).

    T3: Yes, I am set to return stateside in August 2012. I've been here 5 months already. I am getting a two week R&R period in March/April which I hope to take full advantage of. I was hoping I could get in contact with a dealer and a gunsmith while I was over here and see if I can't have a rifle ready by April. That way I can take it for a test drive and have it worked on or adjusted while I'm back in the 'stan until August.
     
  7. BountyHunter

    BountyHunter Writers Guild

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    couple considerations considering your budget and skill level.


    1. Look at the savage target action Fclass, Benchrest and Palma rifles. You can get them in 308 for right at $1000. Another barrel in 300 Win will cost you $350. $60 for nut wrench and go guage and swap barrels in 5 minutes.

    Savage Models 12 and 112 Review good article here on how they work.

    A 308 shooting the Berger 185s is a good LR round and you will learn wind doping. Easy to reload Win or lapua cases, either Varget, IMR4064 and RL 15 powders, BR 2 primers and the Berger 185, 178 Amax or 175 SMK. Used Savage target action guns are around $875 to 900. On the 300 Win, same on cases, F210 primers, H4831 powder and either the 190-210 grain bullets from Berger, Hornady or Sierra are the tickets. The savages are great and very accurate guns that are routine winners at Fclass matches.

    Fred Moreo of Sharp Shooter Supply normally keeps a couple target actions for sale that are already tuned and tweaked for just over $500, add his trigger and pick your stock and barrel(s).

    2. Most military bases are running F class matches and you can shoot the 308 in the F-TR matches. Lot of experience learned fast and easily with guys who will go out of their way to work with you. You will find them on the west coast too. Look here, Benchrest Central and Long Range Target shooting.com for a listing.

    3. $300 for bases and rings is Rolls Royce level and not remotely needed for your budget now. The burris double dovetail bases $45 and set of signature rings with inserts $50 will give you the needed 20 MOA. They are as durable as any $300 set up and do not require lapping in. Just not picatanny rails to swap and add optics. However, this is not a tactical gun and not needed. Later if money is no object, then add a picatanny and high end tactical rings if you must have them.

    4. Used Nightforce 5-22 can be had for around $1400. You will be hard pressed to beat that scope, especially at your skill level now. Watch here, Benchrest central, 6mmBR.com and snipers hide for used ones.

    5. I used to have my reloading setup at a friends house or in a cheap storage unit. Take the extra $ for reloading equip as you will need it. If not Black Hills offers the best and relatively cheapest ammo for you to try. Go to 6mmbr and look in the articles for plans on a cheap fold up reloading bench. I have one I use at the range and matches, works very well. It is built of the Black and Decker folding little work bench. Good solid press, set of dies, caliper, and other misc tools will be $400-500 starting so plan on that.

    6. Several 100 yard ranges in PA, Williamsport, Read range and another out west. They shoot 1000 Yd BR and F class matches.

    7. Some of the best LR smiths are in PA such as Kevin Cram (Montour Rifles here on this board), Mark King (King Custom Rifles) and Bruce Baer at Baer Custom Rifles. Joel Russo here makes an excellant wooden stock. you can google any of them.

    For a great inexpensive stock look at the Stockys Stocks and his Bobby Hart LR stock. Costs $300, with chassis block already in it, laminated wood clear coated, sling studs and recoil pad. Drop your action in and go.

    BH
     
  8. ICANHITHIMMAN

    ICANHITHIMMAN Well-Known Member

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    Your in luck brother we are neighbors. My self and another member here would be happy to take you shooting when you get back, we are both vets to. I can help you with everything you listed by letting you try my gear before you buy anything else.

    There is a wealth of knowledge on this site so enjoy. Pm me if you would like. I can show you how to get discounts on stuff.
     
  9. roninflag

    roninflag Well-Known Member

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    TENSIX- get a sendero. get a leup 6.5-20 Lr with mil dots. get a swaro range finder.
     
  10. tensix

    tensix Member

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    Thanks for all the great advice everyone. I'm going to do a lot more research in the next few days and post questions as I come up with them. I'm glad this forum exists and I found it.

    ICANHITHIMMAN -- I sent you a PM but I'm not sure you got it. The internet here is shaky right now due to inclement weather. Let me know if you received it or not!
     
  11. ICANHITHIMMAN

    ICANHITHIMMAN Well-Known Member

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    I did not get it. Where are you?
     
  12. tyler.woodard04

    tyler.woodard04 Well-Known Member

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    look up dark eagle customs. there are here in NY and do great work
     
  13. sendit208

    sendit208 Member

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    First and foremost thanks for your service. Men and women such as yourself make it possible for us to even HAVE these discussions! THANK YOU!!

    Technical aspects of setting up a rifle aside, I think you need to first ask yourself what are you going to do THE MOST with your rig? General purpose hunting rifle with long range capability? Dedicated long range hunting? Still hunting in the NY woods? Just my humble opinion, but if I were you I would first consider all of the parameters of its use before you make a decision.

    Setting up a Sendero with a huge 3lb Nightforce, a bipod and possibly swapping out the stock for a more tactical shooting opriented one is going to be a big burden and hinderance while prowling around the woods in NY. However, conversely, opting for lightweight, whippy barreled Kimber that would be outstanding in the the NY white tail woods and scoping it with a 2-7 Nikon is going to limit you if you go on a Wyoming antelope hunt where you may opt to shoot at 500+ yards. Not as much as lugging a massive, heavy barreled rifle around with a 5-20 scope on it is going to be in the woods, but, do you see what I mean?

    With what you wrote, if I'm reading it correctly, I personally would research more sporter weight rifles in a good, all around calibers and stay in the 4-12, or 4-16 magnification range with scope possessing a good, uncluttered, but useable ranging reticle. But the advice of spending as much as you can on optics is a solid recommendation. Look in to rifles with awesome accuracy reputations such as Tikkas, Sakos, TC Icons and Savages, but again if I were you I would stay with the sporter weights, or medium heavy sporter weights in a long range capable caliber unless you are just wanting to set up a dedicated LR rifle. It DOESN'T HAVE TO have a heavy, or bull barrel, and weigh 15 lbs. to hunt with at long(er) ranges. It DOES have to be accurate to begin with though and now days there are plenty of factory choices that are PLENTY accurate to hunt with at longer ranges. Whatever you get, marine, SHOOT IT and SHOOT IT SOME MORE. Then go back and SHOOT IT SOME MORE. Know the rifle and it's capabilities ( as well as yours ) and you will do well. Saying what I'm about to on this site will probably result in rotten tomatoes being thrown at me, with hissing boooos included, but there is nothing wrong with a .270 Winchester. I've seen some longer(er) range miracles performed with it. It doesn't need to be a .300 Scud Killer Magnum, or .338 Abrahams Stopper to shoot long, especially in the hunting arena. Those bigger rounds most certainly have their merits if you are setting up the perfect, dedicated LR rifle, though. If you WANT to shoot deer at 1200 yards though, you better get the Abrahams Stopper simply for the ranging capability. But do you want to shoot NY white tails at 64 yards with it too? Those are just questions I would ask myself. To each their own.

    Just some advice from someone whos been in your shoes....more than a couple times. Good luck and come home safe Devil Dog !! Some of us have your six covered here till then. :)
     
  14. ICANHITHIMMAN

    ICANHITHIMMAN Well-Known Member

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    I think he is looking for a more static position rifle. I spoke with him of line as he lives about 20 min from me. He has another rifle a rem 700 that is his woods gun. Heck most countys here were he and I are at are still shotgun. I think he is looking fo a rolling hills, powerline type rig. I think he said his gandparents live in PA.