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Thread: First Rifle - Absolute beginner

  1. #1

    First Rifle - Absolute beginner

    Hi all,

    I should be able to apply for my FAc early in the new year having satisfied the requirements of my local club. The question is what should I buy? Requirements are as follows:

    • cheap to run,
      suitable for bunnies, corvids, fox and deer,
      good target rifle for 25 metre;
      good target rifle for 1000 metres

    My thinking is a CZ .22 for small game and indoor range and a heavy barreled 308 for deer and 100 - 1000 metre targets. Would I be better with two 308, one specifically a field rifle and one a target rifle?

    Budget is an issue - I am 47 and as from the 31 December will be jobless (nice Christmas present.....!) I am thinking of spending 500 - 1,000 in total. The former being the minimum, the latter is pushing it a bit. The budget is the same regardless of buying new or secondhand, the important thing being the quality of the rifle. I would rather spend 400 on a quality secondhand rifle than 500 on a nice shiny new one that will not last.

    All advice and opinions greatly received. I would love to get out stalking but will not be in a position to go on paid stalks for some time. What other options are there in the South East?

    Thx in advance


  2. #2
    You are on a bit of a tight budget there, Second hand CZ American bolt action, in .22LR/Mag...poss .17HMR, .300 Win mag for deer & all other possibilities, Heavy barrel .223 for target with twist rate for 70+ gn heads, ??, can't see you covering your needs with a grand. Steve.

  3. #3
    The Parker Hale .308 Scout looks to be a nice one, within your budget, light enough to stalk with, but heavy enough for a bit of target work.

    Don't think too much about the rimfire, you can pick up a s/h bolt action for peanuts from many gunsmiths.

  4. #4
    Bummer about the job....

    Does your budget exclude scopes?

    If it doesn't, I agree with Finnbear that you're probably going to struggle to get a rimmy AND a centrefire AND 2 x scopes, at least one of which has to be plenty good enough for foxing/stalking, especially bearing in mind the adage 'spend as much as you can afford on a decent scope and use the change to buy the rifle'....

    Don't want to sound negative, so I'd look for a decent scope first (2nd hand 'quality' rather than brand new 'indifferent'; a number of members recommend McTains (?) for second-hand glass - not sure if I've got the name right, but I'm sure someone will correct me! ), then focus on getting the centrefire sorted. Cheap .22's ain't that scarce!!

  5. #5
    I know - it is a tall order. Sadly the budget includes everything including scopes.

    I have been looking at MacLeod's website, they seem to some second hand S&B for about 150 ish. Not heard of McTain's but will look them up. MacLeod's also seem to have a parket Hale as does Chris Potter in Tunbridge Wells. They seem to be well built underrated rifles.

    I agree that at least one good scope is important. I am hoping to get away with two rifles (although three would be better!)

  6. #6
    Mrs Finnbear has a Parker Hale .308, It's a good shooting rifle, better since loads have been tailored for it.

  7. #7
    Wildgoose, have you had a browse through the Classifieds on this site? It might give you a realistic idea of what your budget will achieve. There have been some real bargains in the past. As others have said, cheap rimfires are easily obtainable. Take a bit of time to find the right Centrefire/Scope combination.
    Sorry to hear about your work situation, good luck for the new year!!
    Cheers, Pete.

  8. #8
    My very humble tuppence worth.
    A Cz for bunnies, a 22 is cheaper to feed but does not have the longer range of the 17. If shooting 100 bunnies on a budget get the 17, if hoping to shoot thousands buy the 22, or find an outlet for your bunnies and buy your 17 ammo from the proceeds.
    For a full bore rifle look at a second hand Remmy or a Howa. Both can be worked on when funds are better.
    308 is always popular but balistics are marginal for 1k yards shooting. Perhaps a 6.5 would cover your needs. You could go low bullet weight for fox and utilise better bullets for target work.
    A bunny-basher would be happy with an inexpensive variable mag scope as there is no recoil to speak of. A F.B rifle with a scope suitable for 1k shooting is more taxing as 25x mag is generally thought of to be just about acceptable depending on reticle choice( finer is def' better). Maybe look for a second hand mid-range Tasco/Nikon type scope.
    I really hope you find a couple of outfits that turn you into a commited shooter and I hope that things pick up for you in 2010.
    Best of luck, Longlowdog

  9. #9
    Parker hale M82 .308 win should do you nicely.

    Talk to Norman clarkes, the go to guys for all things Parker hale.

    Very accurate rifles in the right hands, good quality barrels and should be well within budget.


  10. #10
    I'm not hugely experienced myself, but I'll give you my tuppence worth too... Having recently been through the rifle buying process a few times, I have spent a lot of time looking at what you can get for your money.

    As a few others have said, I wouldn't worry too much about the rimmy - I bought a cz .22 with variable scope, mod and a few extras for around 550 quid, but if I was on a budget I could have got a pretty similar second hand setup for closer to 200 quid.

    Whether to go for a .22 or .17hmr is up to you - I spent ages mulling over the faster flatter shooting .17 vs the .22 and decided on the .22 due to the effect of wind on the .17 and the price of ammo - if you want to plink hundreds of shots on the short range, then especially for a man on a budget then the .22 seems a sensible option.

    With you remaining 800 quid you can certainly get a decent setup if you take your time and shop about, but you might struggle to get something that will have a scope capable of 1000 yard shooting depending on your requirements.

    I picked up an old .243 from another site member for 250 quid, and there is no reason why you couldn't get a decent 308 for a similar figure or slightly more if you keep looking and asking around and wait for the right gun to come along. The .308 could be a good option as you can get decent premium ammo for use on deer and foxes (or maybe even get away with Partizan if you can get it a 10 quid a box) and for accurate range work, but similarly if you just want to use the .308 for a pop and a bang at 100m you can get military surplus ammo for pennies which isnt as accurate, but depending on how your rifle likes it can still be reasonably accurate if you dont mind the odd flyer.

    Assuming you spent 200 quid on your .22 you could get a reasonable second hand set up for 800 quid with a scope that would be fine for stalking but might be pushing it for regular target shooting to 1000yards (but would be fine for up to 500 yards). Alternatively, you could spend 300-350 quid on a second hand rifle leaving you 450-500 quid to search for a decent second hand scope, maybe a schmdit and bender. I'd definitely echo what a lot of others have said in that spend as much as you can on the glass, as that will affect your ability to shoot well a lot more than an expensive rifle!

    Lastly, I'd say is your budget taking account of all the 'sundries' - as I know I've spent a fortune on all the extras from bipods, to binos and sticks and cases, about 150 quid on a cabinet and god knows how much on new clothes, boots, wellies etc...

    Working on a budget and having come from a similar situation, (obviously it depends on your priorities, but) I would focus on getting a cheap .22 for bashing bunnies and plinking on the short range and a .308 (or .243 6.5X55 .270 etc) as a decent deer setup that would also be good on the range up to say 500-600m. Apparently there is new home office guidance regarding taking 'lesser' species when a rifle is conditioned for a main reason - meaning you could probably still use your large calibre big bore rifle for charlie (ok there might not be much left of him, but its not like you want to save the meat - the only problem may be using it on land that it not been passed for a larger calibre). If you want to regularly shoot to 1000 yards, then save up for a new scope (you could spend your 1000 again just on the scope - even second hand) and maybe even a second target rifle to put it on, but I think that after 6 months or a year of rifle ownership, you will know exactly what you want from your guns.

    Good luck in finding the right set-up, and stick around!



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