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.