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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What's up LIF? As the title states, I am looking for my first rifle and had a few questions to ask some senior members of the firearms community. First off, I am a decent sized guy at about 6'3" and teetering the 200lb mark. I am looking for a powerful rifle that will get the job done at some fairly decent distances. I have fired smaller caliber rifles (.223, 22LR, etc.) that have acceptable distance, but seem to fall short on the stopping power. I have asked around, demo-ed a few rifles, but can't seem to come to a final conclusion on what would keep me at a safe distance far from the theoretical "zombies." I have the list narrowed down to the 7.62 NATO cartridge, as that seems to be the select round for Marine snipers (not sure if by choice, though) the .300WM, and (my personal favorite in terms of bad-a** names) the lovely .30-06. I am not 100% on any of these calibers, as all my research has been close-range or on paper. My paper research makes me crave the .338LM, as it is just an all around beast of a cartridge, but I would also like to keep the recoil manageable. Just remember, everything is relative, and calibers may have slipped past my eye that would suit me perfectly. Any and ALL input is needed as I don't want to end up making the wrong decision, and realize too late. Thanks ahead guys!
 

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Hope you have a lot of money.

7.62x51/.308 is probably going to be the cheapest to shoot at around $0.50/rd for milsurp, and the costs of the other just go up from there. .300WM is at it's cheapest about $1/rd+. .30-06 in between the two, and be the most flexible caliber in terms range of uses. .30-06 milsurp seems to be drying up. .338? Not too common. Tough to find, and over $2/rd. At those prices, you either burn a lot of money, or your shooting day (and practice time) is real short.

Being your first rifle, you are probably going to want to shoot it. A lot. At least at first. You really have to be honest with yourself. Are you planning on hunting eventually, or just stick to target/plinking? Do you want this for bad ass or CDI factor? Seen it on Top Shot? Keep in mind, on LI, you are limited to 200 yds max, with very few exceptions at Calverton on certain parts of certain days, during certain parts of the year. Any of those calibers will be very accurate at 200 with the right (not cheap stuff) ammo.

You might want to look into a Mosin. Can be had for a little over $100 to buy, and 7.62x54R, which is a fairly stout cartridge in it's own right, can be had for about $0.20/rd. Not as accurate as the others, but accurate enough (easily MOM, Minute-of-Man, at 200). And you can shoot it all day for cheap, if your shoulder can take it. I always thought my .30-06 kicked harder than my Mosins, but that's just me. .300WM is too much money, too much recoil to shoot locally. I've since sold my '06 and gone to .308.

My $0.02.
 

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VMTCMT is right, Mosin's are great for cheap mil-surp guns.  They're strong, durable, and double as a club.  The 91/30's don't even have that bad recoil considering the steel butt pad.
 

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Umm, what are you planning to kill? Considering that there are no places on LI to shoot farther than 300 yards, long range stuff is really pointless, and even if there were a horrible disaster that rendered LI a wasteland for survival, you're never going to be effectively engaging anything past 500 yards. Also, a rifle in a big, expensive cartridge, is not something that you will get much range time out of. Unless you're frequently going hunting out west for elk or something, all these big cartridges are just a way to spend lots of money. In reality, a .223 bolt gun would give you plenty of range time, and easily let you shoot nice groups at 300 yards. I really don't think the need for a long range disaster survival rifle exists on LI, maybe if you lived out west and needed to defend property and hunt. Disaster survival on LI is more like keep your home secure and have enough supplies to get through whatever happens, looking out the top floor window picking off 'hostiles' is the stuff of movies.

I'd say get a .22 and spend lots of time practicing, get a .223 and enjoy it's accuracy without killing your shoulder and dumping money. Get a Mosin for kicks because ammo is affordable and they're fun to shoot, with plenty of bang and oomph. Not as fancy as buying a big magnum chambered rifle, but a hell of a lot more practical, and probably still less expensive in the long run.
 

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Mr. ¼ MOA
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Welcome to LIF!

My first rifle was a 10/22. My second rifle was a .338 Lapua
Magnum.... so go figure.

It's like everyone telling me, why do I eat steak for breakfast
when I should be eating cereal and oats. I'm not the type of
person that conforms to what society generally accepts as the
norm... to me, the norm is whatever I am serious about doing
and putting forth the efforts to meet those challenges to
accomplish the results I'm looking for.

That being said... I think you need to know what your goals are
first. It sounds like you really don't know what you want, but at
the same time you are willing to jump to higher levels because
ultimately that's where you want to go.

An inescapable fact is costs. Everyone wants to shoot a .50 BMG,
a 408 CheyTac or a .338 Lapua "Sniper" type rifle - but can you
shoot it enough to enjoy it's potential and still learn everything
about it without creating financial strain in your life.

For affordability most people go with a .308 for long range, at
least finding a 600-1000yd range is a 4+ hour drive, like in
Pennsylvania. Plan on spending weekend to make it worth your
while.

A 300 Win Mag is an amazing performer, but costs do jump a
bit from the .308 Win, and to truly enjoy it's capabilities, so does
the costs of these type of rifles.

.338 Lapuas and higher calibers are "dream" type rifles, but
expect to dream money flying out your pocket quickly too.

From what you've wrote, I think a .308 is a great start. I personally
prefer it over a .30-06 because the extra 100-150fps, recoil and
ammo costs doesn't justify because down range performance is not
any better.

Learning from a .308 Win is more predictable after you've learned
the behavior of this type of bullet and how it reacts in different
situations.

Remington 700 line of rifles offer great quality and affordability.
There are tons of options on tricking up Remy's to do virtually
anything you want.

Recoil is always something manageable with muzzle brakes and
rifle weight. Higher end long range rifle applications will have the
weight you want. Sportier hunting type rifles will not because they
are not meant to shoot hundreds of rounds on the bench. Stick
to bull barrels, not thin contoured ones. Bull barrels will offer much
better accuracy, and stainless steel better than blued steel.

Marines use .308 Win while the Army has stepped up to the 300
Win Mag. Both are formidable ballistics that will keep you happy.

My fiancé is a petite 115lbs. She shoots all types without any
complaints. Her favorite is an AR-30 300 Win Mag.
http://www.longislandfirearms.com/forum/m-1329937787.78237/

So, that being said... .308 Win, then a 300 Win Mag, then a
.338 Lapua. I wouldn't suggest a .338 Lapua unless you're
ready to travel to some nice shooting spots around the U.S.

Hope my 2 cents helped.

Peace,
GH-07
 

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Mosin is inexpensive $100-115 , check online for good prices, plus shipping and an FFL fee for the gun and Milsurp Ammo is inexpensive in bulk, a little pricey to ship, free if ordered from 'the sportsmans guide'.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Wow great input already guys! Much appreciated. .223 is nearly out of the question, because there are other firearms in my household, and 2 of them are .223. This is going to be a straight distance gun that I can hunt down some bigger game with when I'm upstate or in PA or down with the fam in NC. I have my homefront covered with the Mossberg, and the other members of my family have anything from Glock handguns, to LE M4s. I should have been more specific in my original post. You are correct in saying I am not certain on what to get, but I know it has to be something that can get the job done effectively at 500+ yards. Of the guns I have fired, the .308 does seem "fit" both me and what I plan to do, but I have this little thing in my mind just telling me it isn't enough. I have searched a decent amount of sites and found this to be a very common dilemma with many potential owners. My ultimate goal, be it with this gun, or another, is pure marksmanship. I am focused on accuracy and would like a gun that will "teach" me how to put a bullet EXACTLY where I want it, no matter the (acceptable) distance. I know NY is a PITA when it comes to things like distance shooting and all there other firearms restrictions, but I regularly travel the country visiting family. I will put a scenario below to hopefully paint a better picture for everybody:

A very slow day of hunting leaves me tired and kill-less. I spot a buck at ~550yd and he's the only one all day and moving relatively quickly, but constantly. There is a slight cross breeze of about 5mph and humidity is nearly peaked. I have one chance and the day will be over. I have to knock him down first shot and make it so he doesn't run off wounded, as 550yds is already ~1/3 of a mile. I will have to take the shot from a kneeling position and have almost no time for corrections before I lose the kill altogether. What will suit my needs best, without knocking me on my ass while kneeling, and still have a heavy enough bullet to cut through the breeze, and knock the buck down instantly (I know shot placement is key here). Would the .308, .30-06, or .300WM cover this situation any better than another, or would the difference be more of a personal preference? I know super newb here, but I am looking to do things right and not have to do the whole trial/error thing. Price of ammo isn't a significant factor (still a factor, though), as I reload with a close friend regularly. I also want a rifle that I won't grow out of quickly, if ever. Thanks again for all the input. It is much appreciated.
 

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Try the mosin if your not happy you only out $100. Out of my whole collection my $120 mosin is my favorite to shoot. Also have you considered 7.62x39? Sorry if you already ruled it out.
 

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A rifle will not "teach" you how to shoot, only an instructor can do that, but you have to be willing to learn. As far as those "550" yard shots, in NY those will be very far and very few in between. A vast majority of shots in NY are under 100 yards!
If snipers use .308 why isn't it good enough for you? As soon as you walk into .33 and bigger caliber territory your rifle gets heavier, and ammo very expensive. I don't think even a big guy like you will want to lug a 10-12 pound rifle with a long barrel in the woods, it gets tiresome real fast.
Big calibers, high muzzle velocity, muzzle brakes, bipods, huge scopes, may impress with numbers and looks, but the hard recoil and the flinch some people develop only serve to amuse their friends when they can't hit the backer with a $4000 rig, and invariably start blaming the equipment. While other shooters can take a $300 9mm carbine and with iron sights hit an 8 inch target at 200 yards all day long (I've seen it, but didn't want to believe it).
Range guns and hunting guns are two different animals. Like Ghost said, range guns should have heavy barrels that can take the heat. Hunting guns are designed to put maybe three rounds in the bullseye before the heat makes the barrel "walk" all over the place. Every experienced hunter I spoke to has said they never fired more than two or three shots "in anger". If dint hit the animal with the first shot its long gone in the woods before you can shoot a follow up shot.
So before running out and spending thousands on a rifle that may become a safe queen because it hurts your shoulder, and you wallet, to shoot, do some hard thinking about what kind of shooting you really want to do.
 

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If you want something different than a 308 with a little more piunch, you could try a 300 WSM. Still fits in a short action, but the cartridge has better than 308 or 30-06 ballistics.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Mad Russian said:
A rifle will not "teach" you how to shoot, only an instructor can do that, but you have to be willing to learn. As far as those "550" yard shots, in NY those will be very far and very few in between. A vast majority of shots in NY are under 100 yards!
If snipers use .308 why isn't it good enough for you? As soon as you walk into .33 and bigger caliber territory your rifle gets heavier, and ammo very expensive. I don't think even a big guy like you will want to lug a 10-12 pound rifle with a long barrel in the woods, it gets tiresome real fast.
Big calibers, high muzzle velocity, muzzle brakes, bipods, huge scopes, may impress with numbers and looks, but the hard recoil and the flinch some people develop only serve to amuse their friends when they can't hit the backer with a $4000 rig, and invariably start blaming the equipment. While other shooters can take a $300 9mm carbine and with iron sights hit an 8 inch target at 200 yards all day long (I've seen it, but didn't want to believe it).
Range guns and hunting guns are two different animals. Like Ghost said, range guns should have heavy barrels that can take the heat. Hunting guns are designed to put maybe three rounds in the bullseye before the heat makes the barrel "walk" all over the place. Every experienced hunter I spoke to has said they never fired more than two or three shots "in anger". If dint hit the animal with the first shot its long gone in the woods before you can shoot a follow up shot.
So before running out and spending thousands on a rifle that may become a safe queen because it hurts your shoulder, and you wallet, to shoot, do some hard thinking about what kind of shooting you really want to do.
Not to be a dick or anything, but I realize you didn't read my original post thoroughly. I never said the .308 wasn't good enough, as that i one of the 3 cartridges I listed. A rifle does "teach" as you have to learn the feel of the rifle and the characteristics of the shots. That is why "teach" is in quotes. I am not looking at any .33 caliber guns. All I said was "My paper research leads me to crave the .338LM," meaning I want a gun in that caliber, but I realize it is not a feasible cartridge for what I am looking for. I am not looking to spend thousands on a rifle or impress my friends, and I take offense to assuming you know me based on what you perceive. I asked for valid info from experienced guys, not a lecture on why I shouldn't do this or should do that. So to sum it up, I DO NOT WANT A .33 CALIBER, I DO WANT A .308, .30-06, OR .300WM. Does this clarify? None of the guns I am looking at in those calibers weigh over 7 pounds, so I am not sure where you are getting your gun weights from. I don't care about the guys who can hit 200 yds with a 9mm. I am glad you told me range guns have heavier barrels, as I find it useless to fire 3 true shots and the rest are off. What is the point of the gun at that point? I have priced inexpensive rifles at around the $4-500 range from Mossberg, Remington, etc. I understand you get a lot of people who want to show off with their weapons, but please stop assuming that is what I am looking to do. I am looking to kill. I was raised in the military and have many family members in LE. I respect the weapon and know it is not a status symbol; it is a tool to end a life and this is not a decision I take lightly. When I go to kill, I want to kill, not injure. I am looking for info based on experience, not personal vendettas. Please don't jump down my throat again. I am a newb, but I'm not retarded.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
It seems people are digging the old Nagant's. I honestly have no experience at all with that type of cartridge. And for those prices, it may even be worth adding to the collection as a weekend sport rifle. Is there anywhere around that will have that old of a gun to rent for a day at the range? I am not a fan of buying ANYTHING without first trying it out. I am starting to lean more towards the .308, as it is the most readily available round and should get the job done just fine. Thanks for all the input guys!
 

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blown262 said:
It seems people are digging the old Nagant's. I honestly have no experience at all with that type of cartridge. And for those prices, it may even be worth adding to the collection as a weekend sport rifle. Is there anywhere around that will have that old of a gun to rent for a day at the range? I am not a fan of buying ANYTHING without first trying it out. I am starting to lean more towards the .308, as it is the most readily available round and should get the job done just fine. Thanks for all the input guys!
The Nagant is so inexpensive even if you could find a place around here to rent it, you could probably buy it for a little more. ;D Good luck with whatever you choose!
 

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Look at that new rifle from tc the dimension you can have 308 for deer and 223 for chuck hunting, thats the only
long distance shots i have made in new york was chuck hunting Almost all the deer i have killed upstate were inside
of 80 yards :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
liseverewx said:
The Nagant is so inexpensive even if you could find a place around here to rent it, you could probably buy it for a little more. ;D Good luck with whatever you choose!
Point taken! I never thought of it like that, as most places I have been charge about $75 for a day of rental. I've done some checking and found some online for as low as $70! I paid more for my re-curve bow!
 

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blown262 said:
It seems people are digging the old Nagant's. I honestly have no experience at all with that type of cartridge. And for those prices, it may even be worth adding to the collection as a weekend sport rifle. Is there anywhere around that will have that old of a gun to rent for a day at the range? I am not a fan of buying ANYTHING without first trying it out. I am starting to lean more towards the .308, as it is the most readily available round and should get the job done just fine. Thanks for all the input guys!
The primary advantage of the Mosin IMO is it shoots a fairly powerful cartridge that is available very inexpensively as surplus.

The downside (for some of us anyway) is that it's an antique, bolt-action military rifle. Which some people really dig, but that's a whole different thing..

The thing that nobody mentions is that there are OTHER more modern rifles that shoot the same cartridge, and are semi-auto. The most popular of these in the PSL, or Romak 3 ($800), a Romanian "sniper" style rifle patterned after the Russian Tiger Dragunov( $3K).

Personally, I would look into a VEPR- this is an AK platform rifle that is available in the same chambering, well made for an AK, and priced right around $1K. There are a bunch of guys on here who know WAAAYYY mnore than me about AK's, see what they have to say about VEPR.

If you are shooting a lot, the cost of ammo far outstrips that of a rifle, which you can recoup your expenditure on later in life. If you want a big bang, passable accuracy and affordable high volume shooter, I think VEPR wins.

edit: add link:
 

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Are you planning on mounting optics? I happen to love the 30-06 caliber and if you want an iron sighted gun there is nothing more fun than shooting a M1 Garand. You can get one from the CMP for 625 that will be a great shooter.

If you want a bolt action savage makes a great 30-06 target model with an effective brake, fluted heavy barrel, and accutrigger for around 900

The 7.62x54r round is a great middle ground between 308 and 30-06 and happens to be a quarter the price to shoot. If you was a semi auto I also love my Romanian PSL. It is an AK style rifle with a side rail for optic mounting and plenty of range for long distance. Plus you can grab a Mosin for $100 if you want a bolt action to shoot too...and they will share cheap ammo.

There are a ton of good options in different price ranges. If I were to buy one rifle right now in the 2000 range it would be a savage 110BA...comes in .308, 300 win mag, and .338 lapua...basically only made in the calibers you mentioned. Bolt action monster that is super accurate and beautiful.

Garand-$625
Savage Target-$900
PSL-$800
Mosin-$100
Savage 110BA- $1900
For .308 I would go with an M1A....best of both worlds (accurate and semi auto) -Start at about $1400 and go up to $3100ish
 
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