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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I'm going to purchase a rifle or two in the near future when I move to an area where it's legal to hunt with one. I have some specific topics I will take into account below. Maybe it's the wrong order to decide on a caliber before a rifle? Hopefully your recommendations will narrow down the field.

  • I have no pre-conceived idea about or love for a particular caliber. I hunt deer and bear (currently with bow or 12 ga.) When I move to VT, maybe moose? I'll also be hunting coyotes/coys.
  • I'm a traditionalist, and would not consider an AR platform gun or anything synthetic stocked. I'm also prefer open sights to a scope. (If/when I were to get a black powder rifle, it would be a Hawken .50 cal.)
  • I'm not opposed to buying a used rifle. (Both my Ithaca shotguns were pre-enjoyed.) I'm not hung up on a rifle manufacturer, and budget is an issue that may eliminate the two guns below.
  • I like the Winchester Model 94. (I just like lever action guns, probably due to my love of westerns and Civil War movies.)
  • I also like Remington 700's. To me, they "look like" a rifle.
  • If I never bought another rifle, this would give me two caliber options. If I could afford a third rifle, some I've talked to say that .234 is nice all around.
  • Maybe this should have topped the list, but I'm most concerned about ammo availability. If availability made a rifle purchase more expensive, then so-be-it. (I'm not opposed to learning how to re-load, but would rather not calm this supply fear that way.)
  • It would be cool if one of the rifles took the same ammo as a future revolver purchase.
  • Anything else I should consider?
Your feedback is GREATLY appreciated!
 

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Hard to beat the Remington 700 BDL or ADL with walnut stock and blued finish. A .270, .308 or 30-06 will easily handle all of the large game you've mentioned and ammo will be readily available. You will never be able to appreciate the full capabilities of a nice rifle like this without a scope, however if you are dead set on no scope, you should at least install a quality adjustable peep sight.

If you are wanting to shoot coyotes just for fun, the above rifle will do the trick. If your intent is to harvest the fur it will do too much damage. A smaller caliber such as a .223 would be much better and could also be purchased in the Remington 700 platform.

Hang on to your 12ga, and get yourself a good .22 rimfire if you don't already have one and all bases should be covered.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hard to beat the Remington 700 BDL or ADL with walnut stock and blued finish. A .270, .308 or 30-06 will easily handle all of the large game you've mentioned and ammo will be readily available. You will never be able to appreciate the full capabilities of a nice rifle like this without a scope, however if you are dead set on no scope, you should at least install a quality adjustable peep sight.

If you are wanting to shoot coyotes just for fun, the above rifle will do the trick. If your intent is to harvest the fur it will do too much damage. A smaller caliber such as a .223 would be much better and could also be purchased in the Remington 700 platform.

Hang on to your 12ga, and get yourself a good .22 rimfire if you don't already have one and all bases should be covered.

Thanks Fishindude! I have a Ruger 10/22! I wish I'd inherited my dad's Remington .22 pump! In my NY woods or in VT, it's very unlikely that one would get a clean, safe shot with a rifle past 100 yards due to vegetation and trees (unless it's across a field.) but I'll keep an open mind to the scope. Is there another rifle and/or caliber that would go in a revolver too? .45? Is that readily available?
 

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A 308 will do everything you want a rifle to do, and the 30 cal gives you a wide range of bullet weights.

My second choice would be a 7mm/08.
 

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Coyotes, deer and Bear can be hunted with success with a 243. Bullet weights from 70 to 100 grain. I reload for my Remington 700 243 85gr HPBT Serra game king bullets.
With the right bullet you can sew the smallish hole in a Coyote shot with a 243 and sell the hides. I also inherited my dads Rugar 77 tang saftey in 243. My brother owns a Winchester Model 70 in 243.

As for the Winchester 94 you don't have a bunch of choices as for caliber, 30-30 32 winchester special and the 307.
A Marlin 336 you can get the 35 Remington, 45 70 a big bore works well on moose.

Even the lever action Savage 99 will give you a choice up to 284, 308, 358 win. and the 375.

I can see a Hawkins BP rifle but would not limit my self to a 50 cal, plenty of used ones on the market in 54 cal.

I also would keep a open mind on a scope for when your eyes start going south and you start wearing glasses. I have a peep sight on My T/C hawkins that still works for arounf 50 yard shots.
a Lyman # 2 peep site also works for the Win. 94 in 32 Special.

Any thing over 50 yards I will not take the shot unless I am equiped with a scope.
My Remington Model 7 is equiped with a Pentex light seeker 2x7. works well.
My Remington 870 Slugger shot gun wears a Bushnell 2x5 dusk to dawn. both work well at over 100 yards.

:D Al
 
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Thanks Fishindude! I have a Ruger 10/22! I wish I'd inherited my dad's Remington .22 pump! In my NY woods or in VT, it's very unlikely that one would get a clean, safe shot with a rifle past 100 yards due to vegetation and trees (unless it's across a field.) but I'll keep an open mind to the scope. Is there another rifle and/or caliber that would go in a revolver too? .45? Is that readily available?
Personally, I like the Henry Big Boy

https://www.henryusa.com/rifles/big-boy/

Available in 44 mag, 357, and even 45 Colt. Never had the chance to own one, but have shot them before (thank goodness for friends with money). Keep an eye open, around here you can often find one after Christmas where someone has decided to "upgrade" to a semi auto.
 

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I have Rossi lever actions in 357, 44, and 45LC. have never shot a critter with one, have other stuff for that. Have the stainless 357 for coyotes or dogs. Would use it our small deer down here, not sure about your big deer. Extra barrel length does give it more umph. All are pistol calibers. Someone out there has more knowledge on the pistol calibers in a long gun.
 

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My personal favorite is a REM 700 bdl synthetic stock 270 cal 150 gr bullet with handloads it puts 5 shot groups at 150 yards that you can cover with a dime and it will take down any large game in the US.Factory ammo is easy to find and it has almost no recoil so you wont flinch at the shot.
 

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I can only speak to my own experience. I picked 30-06 caliber because of the availability and versatility of ammo. You can get loads with 110 grain bullets for prairie dogs all the way up to 220 grain for grizzlies (and mother-in-laws). You can buy ammo at any hardware.

I mostly shoot 165 gr. BTSP bullets hand loaded a bit less than max. You can find the most accurate cartridge for your rifle, especially if you hand load. This cartridge kicks about the same as my 12 ga. 870 with 3 inch shells.

I bought a Remington 7400 semiauto with plastic stock and forearm because it was cheap. It's functional but not very pretty. When I was feeling flush I found a Browning A-bolt Medallion in a pawn shop for $500.
https://www.browning.com/products/firearms/rifles/a-bolt/current-production/a-bolt-medallion.html
This is a beautiful gun with a high gloss black walnut stock, rosewood caps on the grip and fore end, blued metal, and engraving. It is also extremely accurate, the best of both worlds.

Be certain whatever you buy has a way to mount a scope. You may get to an age where you can't use open sights.

It would be cool to have a rifle that used the same rounds as my 357 but I'm not sure what I'd use it for.
 

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if your looking for a one does it all reasonably well 308 and done.

we could go on an on about 308 vs 30-06 but at a hunting range of 250 yards or less the difference is less than the width of your finger in trajectory and so close in energy that nothing will notice.

don't worry about different loads for different critters , pick a 165gr or 180gr load that your gun shoots well and learn it either will take white tail or black bear , maybe lean 180 for moose. again trajectory is a minor difference at a range of 0-250 yards

if you later get into varmint hunting then you will probably want a more fur friendly round but if you just want them dead 308 will do just fine.

bolt action sounds like your speed I would mount a rear peep site if your not much of a fan of optics it extends the sight radius Williams makes some good options. also a nice front sight post I have some with the globe covered front post that I like the sight picture of.

although you should look thru a good 2-7x32 scope Nikon and vortex have decent ones as does leopold 2-7 power is so handy leave it on 2x it helps with light gathering for low light shots and can get your range out to 250 yards easy enough I have taken my 2-7x32 to 420 yards easy enough on targets I don't shoot game that far

if you can get a threaded muzzle , do, with my 308 and 180 BTSP load I can watch the impact through the scope the muzzle brake takes about 50-60% of the recoil out.
my 308 is putting easily deer, bear or moose power down range and it doesn't beat me up much less recoil than my 12ga with slugs.
 

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270 is my preferred long distance round, but honestly, I haven't heard any here that wouldn't do a satisfactory job.
Thing is, the minutia can be talked about for as long as folks like, but most of the fingers typing and the eyes reading these posts are well past the days where they'll make much difference with one cartridge over the other.
 

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The .308 or 30-06. Both will meet your needs for big game.

The .243 for the rest. I can hunt flies with 85 gr. BTHP. It' incredible accuracy really requires a scope in order to shine.
 

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I like the 30-06 for bigger game, & .243 for others, too. I recently took a Coyote with a powerful pellet rifle.

As far as lever action , I like a Marlin 336 , better than a Winchester 94. I don't care for 30-30 caliber & would rather have .35, even though amo is harder to find.
 

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Not a fan of most lever guns for hunting, although the are "cool" if you like cowboy movies, etc. Most of them are pretty short range weapons and not very accurate.
 

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Not a fan of most lever guns for hunting, although the are "cool" if you like cowboy movies, etc. Most of them are pretty short range weapons and not very accurate.
That's all one needs if hunting in wooded areas.
With good loads and lots of practice they are capable of making clean kills out to 200 yards, although most are best at 100 or less, depending on the size of the game.
 

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Not a fan of most lever guns for hunting, although the are "cool" if you like cowboy movies, etc. Most of them are pretty short range weapons and not very accurate.
My son barrowed a Marlin 336 30/30 from a friend. Had a 3x9 scope on it and with 170gr. federals it was butt smoking accurate. I shot at dots the size of a nickle and he was hitting them at 100yds.
Very, very impressed.
 
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