A Rifle for Every Purpose

If you didn’t grow up around firearms, but it’s a hobby you want to be a part of, selecting the right rifle can be daunting. To a newbie, there are so many makes, models, calibers, grains, and opinions about them all, to sift through. 

Different calibers have different uses, whether it’s for game, self protection, military, sporting, long distance, stopping power, quick shot.

If you’re searching for a rifle for hunting purposes, I’ve compiled a list of personal favorites, their picture, pricing, and described why they’re a favorite of mine.

For Deer
(whitetail, blacktail, mule deer, Pronghorn Sheep, etc)

If you are going to be shooting at 150 yards or less:

I suggest a Marlin 1894. For the cartridge, use a .44 REM MAG. If you’re a stout person (and you don’t mind more of a kick) go with a grain weight of 240; If you’re like me, and you don’t want it smacking your collarbone, go with a grain weight of 220.img_1529

Rifle cost: $699.99

Ammo cost: $30.59 per 20 rounds

Why: This is a reliable gun, it continues to appreciate in its value, and it is well balanced. By well balanced I mean, the heavier a gun is, the less it kicks. Heavier is better, but to an extent, because you don’t want a rifle that is too heavy to comfortably tote with you in the woods. This rifle is a carbine so it holds several rounds. Personally, I favor this gun above others because it is a lever action. This means that follow up shots are smoother, more efficient, and also quicker. I also love the old American West aesthetic and persona that it carries. 

The Budget Version

Try a Rossi Handi Rifle, using a .44 REM MAG as a cartridge. A good starting point for your grain would be a weight of 240, regardless of your size.

Rifle Cost: $229.99

Ammo Cost: $30.24 per 20 rounds

Why: It is a single shot, which means it’s safer for new enthusiasts or children to operate. It is simple, easy to maintain, and it is a good quality for it’s price.

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If you’re going to be shooting at more than 150 yards:

I suggest a Remington 700 SPS. For the cartridge, use a .270 WIN with a grain weight of 105. If you want a milder round, go with a grain weight of 95.

Rifle Cost: $731.00 

Ammo Cost: $17.29 per 20 rounds 

Why: It is a high quality make, it is reliable, and lightweight. The ammo itself has the energy and speed to stay flat, and do adequate damage to down a deer sized animal faster than most. It is also very cost effective ammunition.

The Budget Version?

Try a Remington .783. For the cartridge, use a .243 WIN. If you’re a stout person (and you don’t mind more of a kick) go with a grain weight of 150. If you want something milder, go with a grain weight of 130.

Rifle Cost: $399.99 

Ammo Cost: $8.99 per 20 rounds

Why: This round won’t destroy all the meat in your deer upon impact. It doesn’t have the energy a comparable .270 does, so it doesn’t ‘implode’ the animal. If you’re on a budget, it definitely makes sense for you to try to save meat. 

For Varmints

(rabbits, squirrels, beaver, groundhog, fox, coyote, raccoon, opossum, mole, rat, prairie dogs, etc..)

If you are going to be shooting at 150 yards or less:

I suggest a Rugar M-77. I would pair that with a .22 Hornet in a grain weight of 39. For a more mild round, go with a grain weight of 27.


Rifle Cost: $859.99

Ammo Cost: $19.84 per 20 rounds

Why: This is a high end rifle, it’s quality is exceptional, leading to a better all around package. The balance it has when fired, keeps the rifle at a manageable weight, while minimizing its kick. 

The Budget Version?

Try a Marlin XT-17. For your cartridge, use a .17 HMR, with a grain weight of 17, regardless of your size.

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Rifle Cost: $259.99

Ammo Cost: $13.76 per 50 rounds

Why: This is a proven and reliable piece, and it is cost effective. 

If you’re going to be shooting at more than 150 yards:

I suggest a Remington 700 SPS Varmint. For your cartridge, use a .243 Winchester, in a grain weight of 105. For a milder round, use a grain weight of 75.

Rifle Cost: $761.00

Ammo Cost: $22.29 per 20 rounds 

Why: This is a good piece of equipment, especially for the price you pay. The stock barrel is a heavy bull barrel, which means that the barrel won’t loosen up nearly as quickly compared to other rifles. This means that the rifle will hold a tighter pattern, for longer, in repetitive firing situations.

The Budget Version?

Try the H&R Handi Rifle. Pair that up with a .223 Remington in a grain weight of 62. For a milder kick, get a grain weight of 55.

Rifle Cost: $299.99

Ammo Cost: $25.48 per 20 rounds 

Why: The rifle itself is pretty adequate for the initial cost, and the round is a mass produced, meaning that it is popular, and it won’t be going anywhere, anytime soon. It is a NATO cartridge, meaning there is always a surplus of this round in any given state. 

For Large Animals

(Black Bear, grizzly bear, moose, elk, cougar, etc..)

 

If you are going to be shooting at 200 yards or less:

I suggest an H & R Handi Rifle. For the cartridge, use a 45-70 GOVT. The grain weight of this can vary from 180 to 380, so start with a grain weight between 280 and 300. This rifle is good and cost effective, so I won’t be listing a budget version.

Rifle Cost: $299.99

Ammo Cost: $32.89 per 20 rounds

Why: This is the most cost effective rifle and cartridge you can get for hunting a large animal at short range. It’s ability to take a heavy grain ensures that penetration of the animal will instantly drop it after imploding vital organs. 

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If you’re going to be shooting at more than 150 yards:

I suggest a Remington 700 Long Range, paired with the 7mm REM MAG. The grain weight should be 140, or 120 if you want mild.

Rifle Cost: $862.00

Ammo Cost: $36.94 per 20 rounds

Why: This has more than ample stopping power, up to 600 yards, to drop a large animal. Generally I try to avoid long action magnum cartridges because they’re loud, and they really kick hard, but compared to others, this is an all around large game hunting cartridge and rifle combination.

The Budget Version?

Try a 30-06 Rugar American, paired with any 30-06 ammo. Start your grain at weight 160, or 140 if you prefer a milder cartridge.

Rifle Cost: $489.99

Ammo Cost: $35.04 per 20 rounds

Why: Cheap does not mean low quality with this one. The 30-06 round is the standard, of which many other rounds have worked to improve on, with very few successes (and even that is based solely on preference, and opinion). The round is also pretty common, one you should be able to pick up almost anywhere. 

If you’ve paid attention, you’ll notice that I have a preference when it comes to brand names. As you work with different firearms, you’ll start to develop your own preferences. If you walk into a gun shop, and it only carries certain brands, leave. It’s okay to visit specialty shops after you get some experience in, but don’t let a company trying to make a dollar push you in the wrong direction.

*Ammo prices came from CheaperThanDirt.com (Dec 2, 2016)

** Gun prices came from their retailer’s site, or Cabela’s (Dec 2, 2016)

That’s all for me! What are your preferences and why? As always, thanks for reading!

 

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