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What caliber and make should I be looking at? This would be for upstate NY deer hunting. The guys I go with all use shotguns and I am currently borrowing a Savage Arms 30-06.

What rifle should I go with? I also need help with a scope.
 

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Giraffe Hunter
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For a first hunting rifle it's kinda hard to beat a savage axis in either .308 or .30-06.
Affordable, light, accurate and if you go . 308 you can get somewhat affordable plinking ammo for it.

Top it with a nikon pro staff or red field revolution 3-9 power and you got a decent setup for under $500
 

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Just zis guy, you know?
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Lots of factors to consider:

1) Where are you hunting? Range and terrain matter. If you're hunting over wide open fields or farmland, a bolt action in a longer range, flatter trajectory would be better. If you're hunting in thick woods where long shots are rare, a shorter barreled bolt or lever action will be easier to carry and use in the woods.

2) How far in do you go to hunt? If you're walking a mile, you don't want a 20" heavy barrel. You want something lightweight and easy to carry.

3) Budget. Probably most important. Many guys say plan to spend as much on glass as you do on a rifle. For the average hunter, in the woods, that's unnecessary. You can get very good mid-range optics today in the $200 - $300 range.

My setup: Marlin 336 in 30-30 with a Nikon Prostaff 9x
 

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30-06 would work for most any North American game. It can be a bit much for whitetails and your shoulder, but some of the new 125-140 grain rounds are more than comfortable to shoot a lot of. Many manufacturers make solid bolt action rifles in 30-06 or even .308 (cheaper ammo) in the $400-500 or less range (Savage, Remington, Mossberg). These can often be found as package deals with a basic scope that will be fine to start with (I have had one like this for 20 years and it still works). Good luck.
 

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when your looking to get a gun go to your local gun shop and find a gun the you like hold the gun point it up away from others and if it fits you you need to find out if you want a bolt action or a lever you then figer out what caliber you want it for I hunt with a lever action marlin 35 i like this gun for my kind of hunting but you need to find the gun that you like best for you every one is different and if you get a gun you don't like your not going to hunt with it
 
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I would recommend a good bolt action in .308. I prefer that over the 30-06 for several reasons. It's a little shorter, lighter round then the parent 30-06 while giving up very little performance and the rifle itself is has a short action which benefits the shooter as far as length and a smidge less weight while offering a little better loading, there is plenty of inexpensive ammo( both military and civilian) to use for plinking and just general range shooting, there are hundreds of choices of different ammo available, the .308 is an inherently accurate round as is the 30-06, our current military uses the .308(7.62x51), the round has the magic deer hunting number of over 1000 ft lbs of energy out well past 500 yards which is beyond range of any deer taken in NY. A good rifle and a good scope in that caliber will put venison on the table if you do your part.

Get the best glass you can afford for it.
 

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After you looked at the Remingtons, buy a Savage.
I have a light barrel Savage 308 with the Tupperware stock, it has maybe 1500 rounds through it (got it from a friend who used it as a range toy). The first cold barrel shot is dead on at 100, the next three will be touching, and then it all goes to hell because the barrel is hot, but that's not really relevant.
What's relevant is that you have to know and trust your rifle well enough to make the first shot count, because the odds of getting a follow up are very slim, and usually none.
 

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30-06 would work for most any North American game. It can be a bit much for whitetails and your shoulder, but some of the new 125-140 grain rounds are more than comfortable to shoot a lot of. Many manufacturers make solid bolt action rifles in 30-06 or even .308 (cheaper ammo) in the $400-500 or less range (Savage, Remington, Mossberg). These can often be found as package deals with a basic scope that will be fine to start with (I have had one like this for 20 years and it still works). Good luck.
I took my first deer with a 30-06 at the age of 18 and the last one at age 53. 30-06 is a great round. So's a 308 and the other rounds mentioned are fine for white tails. a 30-30 or 35 rem are great brush guns for deer. they are also lighter. But they are less versatile than a 30-06 or .308. It's a trade off.

Papa Bear's advice is good. Go to a LGS and handle them. A good LGS will also be able to see that the gun fits you. No online or box store is going to do that for you. Cabela's maybe, but they aren't a LGS around here.
It's a personal choice. My favorite and someone else's may be different, That doesn't make one of us wrong.
 

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Like others have said, you can't go wrong with a bolt action .308. I personally use a lever action .308, but it's a personal choice. Their are many good "budget" rifles out there and most of the LGS will carry them and if not they can order it for you. I got a deer last year and this year I got an 8 pointer using 308 on both of them. .308 is a great all around cartridge.
 

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308
30/06
35
30/30
270
45/70
44
I could go on and on about how grate this round is there all good it just depends on what you want to shoot your gun your caliber the make model gran of bullet your going to shoot out of your gun yes ask others what they like but don't ask others what gun to buy you need to go shopping you need to find your gun not your grandfathers gun or your dads gun not the gun your brother shot his first deer with or the guy on the internet tells you to buy its not and will not be your gun you need to find your gun so ask what they think of there guns and then find your gun
 

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I use a Marlin XL7 .270 bolt action. Pretty much drops the deer right on the spot.
 

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My 2 cents - Get something that you'll be able to get ammo for without any problems.

I have a couple of buddies that went store to store looking for 35 cal ammo with no luck. This is especially true with the difficulty in ordering ammo online.
 

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You can pickup up a .270 Mossberg Patriot rifle for $239 at (PSA) Palmetto state Armory..online. Then grab a Nikon buckmaster II scope for $129. Under $400 hunting rifle for NY whitetail and other game.
 

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My Marlin X7 in 30-06 is a great rifle. i actually like the fixed mag set up, one less thing to lose or forget in the woods. but i wish it had a trap door to unload easier or help clear the rare jams as i load it wrong. its solid and i do some great groups with it

My gf has a savage axis in 30-06. the stock feels cheap, the mag feels cheap. but for the price its a great rifle to start with. and she got her first deer opening day first time hunting with it

only thing i would do different was go for 308. only because tulammo makes a 308 that is around $8 per box of 20, great for practice. rarely do i see 30-06 for under $17 for 20 rounds.
 

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Sifting Through the Ruins
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Are you hunting in dense forest with brush? Open space, maybe corn or bean fields?
Are you sitting in a stand or still hunting (stalking slowly)
Mountains with long steep climbs or parking the truck and walking in 100 yards?
How old are you? Have you been experienced in shooting hard kicking guns successfully (12 guage trap and skeet counts!).
Is this your only rifle, or do you anticipate getting a whole host of rifles.
Do you have an AR? Consider 6.5 or larger replacement upper.

I would go with smaller bores, less recoiling guns for NY sized deer: .243, 7mm-08, 270, 25-06 all shoot flat, kill deer as good as any bigger caliber, and are available in stores. Any US made bolt action is hard to beat as far as the combination of all weather reliability and accuracy.

Nobody's one rifle is the "best". All work, its just personal preference.
 

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I hunt with a 30-30 lever with a 16" barrel. Nice and compact and light for moving around in the woods. Easy to strap to my pack for a few spots where I have a long hike in to a stand or hopefully a long drag out. Also something nostalgic about hunting with the same type of rifle a few generations of men in my family have used.

I have others guns that are more fun at the range though, so if you're looking for one and only one a .308 bolt is probably the way to go.

Ryan
 
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