The bolt action rifle – picking the right one

So a few months back my buddy and I were sitting on the patio drinking a beer when he blurted out, “Let’s go hunting this year”.  Now he had been many times but me, not once.  However, it sounded fun.  There was one major issue….I didn’t have a hunting rifle.  So for the next couple of weeks I scoured the internet trying to find one.  I also talked with quite a few people who were experienced hunters.  I heard two overwhelming things from them.  1. Go with a .308 Winchester or 30-06 Springfield.   2.  Savage is a good, inexpensive gun.  I finally decided on the .30-06 only because of the versatility of the round and the different bullet weights available (150 -210 – based on what I could find anyway).

Now off to find a rifle.  This is the fun part, and the hard part.  There are so many to choose from that will chamber a .30-06.  But again, I did not want to spend all my money.  So I started looking at “Combos”(A combination rifle and scope).  Some may say you should stay away from Combos because the scopes aren’t worth the tax you pay when you buy the rifle, but I was intrigued nonetheless.  They couldn’t be all that bad if most major manufacturers offered some sort of combo deal, and they are specifically packaged for the shooter new to hunting.  Back to the part about Savage being a good gun.  I finally found one at a local Dunham’s.  The model 111 was chambered in .30-06 with a Bushnell scope.  I started talking to the sales guy and telling him the story about finding a good rifle.  He offered me an additional $50 off based on the newspaper add.  I was practically sold, but wanted to be sure so I asked to see many more.   After about a half hour, I came back to the Savage 111.  With the discounted price well below MSRP and the good things I had heard about it, it was hard to pass up, so I bought it.  Out the door with the rifle, scope and a hard case, I had spent less than $400.  That’s not bad  for a brand new rifle and scope.

About a month goes by and I have yet to try out my new rifle.  My friend is over again, and we decided to hit the local range.  This process being new to me, I let my buddy take the lead.  He fires off a group which is a few inches left, and about 2 inches high.  He shows me how to adjust the scope for windage (Left to Right).  But we leave the group high because the range only goes to 75 yards.  So at 150 yards, the rifle would be dead on.  I take the rifle, set the target, and get to work.  I was amazed at how accurate it was for such an inexpensive rifle.  We made one adjustment to the scope and we were right on the money…. for not alot of money.

The rifle handled well in other areas too.  The bolt is smooth, the detachable box magazine convenient, and recoil was very manageable.  I know that some people may say, yeah great, but the stock is synthetic.  Yes, wood is beautiful, but you also need more of it to handle recoil, meaning the rifle is about 2- 2.5 lbs heavier.  In addition, wood is not impervious to the elements like synthetic is.  For a first time rifle, I’ll take the synthetic.

So… A great day at the range, a new rifle, cash in my pocket…..Does it get any better?

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