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Daughter wants to buy bolt action for her soon to be husband

Picton

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Not to ask the obvious question, but... does he hunt already? If so, he's probably already got his own preferences... If not, I'd go with .308 just for availability and because I'm used to it. The one time I went out in Wyoming, I was hauling .303. But we were after moose.
 

Mountain

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Myself and almost everyone I know who lives in And hunts Montana uses a 270. Drop an elk as well as not destroying all the meat on smaller game like pronghorns. Fast and flat for those cross canyon far shots. You just can’t beat it. T3 for the win. Also glass is huge. No 2x and I wouldn’t even go 3x9. This is 4x12 country. Half the critters I’ve shot in big sky country have been 400+ yards.

These were my first thoughts as well- 270 and T3. Tikka out of the budget so I'd look for Win, Rem, or Maybe the Ruger. Hey, it's NES where you will get a caliber recommendation whether you asked for it or not LOL. 7mm magnum is a great round for wide open spaces and effective on bull elk, but with lighter weight rifles it's unpleasant to sight in and not much of a range gun unless for "Ow, that was fun but I'm done." Might be a bit rough on the meat for medium size game.

Coming back to .30-06. It's still a great round with so many options for ammo that it can be used for almost any game in North America. You really can't go wrong. There might be more 'right' calibers for given applications, but .30-06 will do a very good job for many. I do like this caliber and reload for it but if this rifle will also be for some occasional range fun I'd recommend the .308. It can fire most of the same projectiles as .30-06 and is usually within 100 fps velocity of the .30-06. Yes, the case capacity is smaller but allowable chamber pressure is higher.

So... Hunting? 270. All around? .308. For a budget rifle I like the Ruger American but decent glass is going to put it over budget.
 

Fritz the Cat

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I would go 30-06. In all honesty there is little difference in performance of hunting rifles. Any new gun is capable of "minute of venison" accuracy.
Find out if there is a brand of rifle he prefers or has an opinion on? Maybe a bias based on what a relative or friend of his swears by?
I am partial to Savage rifles and my son prefers Ruger. My dad was a Winchester guy and my aunt swore by her Marlins. All these rifles have harvested lots of meat over the years. All are capable of the job. And each owner has his/her favorite brand.
 

84ta406

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I'd vote for .308 or .300WM if shooting from further ranges. I have a cheap Remington 783 in .300WM I was about to list up if you're interested in that.
 
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Just a quick observation. I can’t speak for other western states but in my region .308 Winchester is not popular. Currently it is not obtainable as is the case of virtually anything. My own LGS of choice is literally down to some of the proprietary Weatherby chambering and a few boxes of .338 Lapua. The largest sporting goods dealer in the upper mid west is Scheels. They are stripped bare for the most part. The gun/ammo buying panic hit us out here late but it’s on in a big way now. One poster noted that bolt action/Leupold combos are available in the 500-600 price range back East ( I assume ). If so buy several, and sell out here doubling your money. 😊
 

peterk123

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My thoughts are wait till they are living in Montana, I can only imagine some of the used hunting set up that could be found out there.
I also ask , is the future husband already a hunter?
i know people like to surprise people but I always think its best to give a gag gift like a cheap bb gun with a envelope full of cash ear marked for the rifle purchase and let them pick it out.
Loves to hunt, fish, and trap. Right now he hunts bow and uses a slug gun during the gun season.
 

whatluck

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My dad has a Ruger .300 Win Mag guide gun. Awesome, lightweight, accurate. Not sure how much you can load down .300 WM tho. Kicks unlike anything I've ever fired.
 

mac1911

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Loves to hunt, fish, and trap. Right now he hunts bow and uses a slug gun during the gun season.
I push for the gag gift and a envelope full of cash for a rifle! As mentioned a 270 is a nice option , my buddy snagged a really nice older sako with a really nice luepold scope , americase and 200 rounds of factory lapua and norma ammo. $500 out the door.
 

PappyM3

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6.5 creed is great. 30-06, 7mm/08, 270 win. Can all do some great long range stuff.

I like 6.5CM for a lot, but it’s not ideal for the longer range shots on elk. It can get the job done, but harder hitting cartridges are better.
 

BigTimber

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My dad has a Ruger .300 Win Mag guide gun. Awesome, lightweight, accurate. Not sure how much you can load down .300 WM tho. Kicks unlike anything I've ever fired.
Yup I hunted with a 300 win mag Out west once...once. Dropped a goat like a ton of bricks at near 500. Definitely gets the job done, but just not worth the mule kick imo. And I’m not a stiff recoil adverse type guy, but it’s just not worth it For me when I barely notice the 270‘s kick At all. First world problems for sure!
 

whatluck

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Yup I hunted with a 300 win mag Out west once...once. Dropped a goat like a ton of bricks at near 500. Definitely gets the job done, but just not worth the mule kick imo. And I’m not a stiff recoil adverse type guy, but it’s just not worth it For me when I barely notice the 270‘s kick At all. First world problems for sure!

I totally agree. You bring the thing to the range and zero from a bench and by the time you shoot a couple of groups you wanna put it away. I've never been hunting with him with that rifle, but he's certainly mastered it. Little 5'8 180 lb ex cop. The guy's pushin 70 and he could still knock the cheese sandwich out of your mouth.
 

HorizontalHunter

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Get a Savage Axis in 30-06 - wicked accurate (i.e. 3-shot cloverleafs at 100 yds cold bore) & they'll have $$ left over :)

I have the Savage Axis in 30-06 and I agree. It’s a great shooter and I am very happy with it.

Keep in mind that it is an entry level rifle and the trigger and scope leave a lot to be desired. I put a Timney trigger in mine and it was a huge improvement. For me the trigger was a must upgrade. You could also go with a Savage Axis II which has the AccuTrigger.

The Timmey trigger was about $100 so it is probably cheaper to go with the Axis II in the long run.

I also upgraded the scope.

Bob
 

BigTimber

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I totally agree. You bring the thing to the range and zero from a bench and by the time you shoot a couple of groups you wanna put it away. I've never been hunting with him with that rifle, but he's certainly mastered it. Little 5'8 180 lb ex cop. The guy's pushin 70 and he could still knock the cheese sandwich out of your mouth.
Ha! So true my 300 would leave me with my elbow hurting from where I had it on the bench, not to mention my shoulder. And it was the only gun that ever managed to scope punch me, and I wasn’t a new shooter when i did it. Only way I’d consider one again would be for grizz.
 

Darksideblues42

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If this is going to be a sentimental and practical rifle, something that will stand the test of time and put food on the table, while allowing him to work out some unique hand loads over time, well suited to many different game animals in the area, then he could do as my grandfather did and snag a Yugoslavian M48 or M48A Mauser.

Milsurp, will eat any 8mm ammo on the market, can brew up some unique loads, and can take nearly any game animal in North America.

My grandfather has taken mule deer, pronghorn, elk, feral hogs, feral sheep, you name it, all with a 1950's rifle he mail ordered for $35
 

Darksideblues42

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If this is going to be a sentimental and practical rifle, something that will stand the test of time and put food on the table, while allowing him to work out some unique hand loads over time, well suited to many different game animals in the area, then he could do as my grandfather did and snag a Yugoslavian M48 or M48A Mauser.

Milsurp, will eat any 8mm ammo on the market, can brew up some unique loads, and can take nearly any game animal in North America.

My grandfather has taken mule deer, pronghorn, elk, feral hogs, feral sheep, you name it, all with a 1950's rifle he mail ordered for $35
Should add, the Yugo Mauser action is every bit as robust as the original, so it can take some hot loads for sure.
 

Mtn_Guy

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Picton

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If this is going to be a sentimental and practical rifle, something that will stand the test of time and put food on the table, while allowing him to work out some unique hand loads over time, well suited to many different game animals in the area, then he could do as my grandfather did and snag a Yugoslavian M48 or M48A Mauser.

Milsurp, will eat any 8mm ammo on the market, can brew up some unique loads, and can take nearly any game animal in North America.

My grandfather has taken mule deer, pronghorn, elk, feral hogs, feral sheep, you name it, all with a 1950's rifle he mail ordered for $35

This.

I wasn't going to bring it up, but my sole bolt-action (now) is a no5 Mk1 in .303 British, and I'd absolutely take it out into the woods and expect myself to be able to take down some food using irons.

I love milsurps. About the only disadvantages they've got as hunting rifles is their weight and (normally) difficulty accepting optics. But for a guy like me, who's not bothered by weight and who's too dumb for optics, they're all I need.
 

Mark from MA

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All my Ruger Americans are top notch accuracy for budget rifles. They are light in weight so if you get a heavy hitter cartridge youll feel it.

itcan be made better with a Magpul hunter American stock for 180 bucks.

For those who are recommending 6.5.Its accurate for a deer rifle. But I think for Elk or Bear its a stretch and id go with a 7 wsm or 7 mag if I was out west.
 

teamRR

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I'm not a hunter so take this for what it's worth..

Everyone should own a .308. It's about the most versatile caliber: enough power to takedown about anything, reasonable recoil for lots of practice, a good usable range to say 500 yards that exceeds most shooters and the optics they are going to run on it, lots of cheap ammo options and availability.

A serious hunter may want that 300 wm, something else, for more power at range, but then they are mounting more scope, carrying extra gear like a spotting scope, traveling heavy so to speak. A .308 rifle with a 9x to 14x ballpark scope is going to be very capable, economical, and easy to carry for when you don't need anything more.
 

SS1

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Cabelas BPS has the camo savage axis on a Black Friday sale tomorrow in many calibers. For $300 scoped it’s an excellent choice and something I wouldn’t mind dragging around in the woods.
They also have a 75 rebate, So that it brings it down to $239
 
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