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Thread: economical dependable Alaska Rifle/scope/cartridge combo

  1. #1

    Default economical dependable Alaska Rifle/scope/cartridge combo

    My nephew is moving up north this coming Fall and is going to attend school at Alaska Anchorage. Of course we started talking rifles and hunting and he asks/ tells me this...

    ...I have about $550.00 saved to buy a new rifle and scope to hunt with while I'm up there for college, what would you suggest?

    He wants a dependable all weather rifle that is capable of handling all alaska species (even though he will probably only hunt caribou and maybe moose due to cost and logistics)

    ....Here was my Reccomendation, what do you guys think?

    1.Weatherby Vangaurd synthetic in .300 WBY mag. - sportsmans has them on sale for 339.99.
    2. Burris Fullfield II 3-9X40 - 125.00 new off ebay.
    3. Talley lightweight rings bases - 40.00
    4. Ammo - since I shoot the WBY, I offered to give him 60 loaded rounds I have as a graduation gift - (168 grain barnes TTSX loads)

    Thats just a tad over 500.00 for a powerful, accurate, dependable rifle/scope/cartridge combo.
    375 Ruger Hawkeye...Mice to Moose, Impala to Buffalo....1 GUN.....WORLDS PURSUIT

  2. #2
    Member Matt's Avatar
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    Does he reload? If not, I'd skip the 300 WBY cartridge as factory ammo prices are a joke and the extra performance I doubt would be noticed if he just hunted with a rifle chambered in 300 Win. Mag. And I would take a nice, used Leupold scope over a Burris any day of the week, but that's just my opinion.

  3. #3

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    I figured the 60 rounds would be enough for that time (assuming he gets sighted in before he leaves and nothing major happens to cause a severe loss of zero)

    Any thoughts on the Nikon Pro Staff or New redfield, both available in 3-9X or 4-12 in the $125-175 range.
    375 Ruger Hawkeye...Mice to Moose, Impala to Buffalo....1 GUN.....WORLDS PURSUIT

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    Member Daveintheburbs's Avatar
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    This should be fun. We get to have the same old arguments about rifle make, best caliber, best weight of bullet and best scope at the same time!

    My.02$ would be to find any number of turn key used rifles once he gets here. There are a wide variety of combinations that would work so go for what he likes/can afford.

    I would stay away from calibers out of the mainstream, but that is just me.

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    Member marshall's Avatar
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    This is a bit like one rifle for Alaska on a budget.

    I like the 338WM with 225gr bullets. That weight has good tragictory and retained energy down range. Tin Star Range has one on Gun Broker for $556.00, that's $271.00 less than Ruger's list price. I've bought two rifles from him this year, his margins are slim.

    http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/Vie...Item=209084163
    http://www.ruger.com/products/m77Haw...eets/7126.html

    I recently took a good look at the new Red Field 3-9X40mm with it's Accu-Range reticle. With the cross hair zeroed at 200 the circle around it provides for a 100 yard hold on top, a 300 yard hold on bottom, the dot is 400 yards and the tip of the post is 500 yards. The ballistics of the 338WM is well matched for the reticle, $149.00

    http://www.redfield.com/_media/downl...n_3-9x40mm.pdf

    In closing I'm a little over budget but he gets an american made Leupold scope with a different name and a life time warrenty. A stainless steel sythectic all weather control feed american made rifle with the ability to load 250gr bear killers if he wants to.

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    Kind of hard to beat a cheap 308 or -06 for a first rifle. I like to play with all sorts of whiz-bang cartridges but my kids will each get something affordable to start out.

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    Member marshall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by idahotrophyhunter View Post
    Any thoughts on the Nikon
    I don't care much for Nikon scopes. They have a ton of refurbished optics for sale on the net. That means they had a ton of failures that were returned. I can't say the same for any other scope out there.

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    Member GrassLakeRon's Avatar
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    Well the Weatherby idea is a good one. What does he want to hunt? Boo and Sheep? 300 Wby is good for the long shots. Is bear on the menu? If so I would want something bigger. Cabelas has sales that have nice rugers and savages for that price as well. 375 H&H would be good all around. Load to 375 Win. for the small stuff and full power loads for the big stuff. Gunbroker has some deals on 375's right now....

    Ron

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    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    I'd say that'll do just fine.

    .300 WBY ammo is high...but so is all of the rest of it. They do have some .300 and .257 ammo that costs about the same as .300WM now... using a Norma sourced bullet.

    The Vanguard is a very nice "budget" rifle. If he can wait a bit you can likely pick up a used something or another when he gets here but the Vanguards reportedly shoot very well.

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    All of the suggestions have been good, so I'll chime in with mine. .30-06. It's killed everything that moves up here and ammo is plentyful and found everywhere. As for a bigger caliber, remember stopping a bear is different than killing one.
    I may be slow, but I get where I'm going!

  11. #11

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    I would stay away from a Weatherby chambering if on a budget - ammunition is expensive as compared to others. I agree with the others on the venerable '06. I too would stay away from a Nikon as Marshall noted. If you see a lot of "refurbished" scopes it is for a reason. A Burris or even the entry level Leupold Rifleman would be preferable in my opinion over a Nikon.

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    Member AKDoug's Avatar
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    Nikon has a ton of refurbished scopes because they just send out new stuff for warranty rather than fix it right away. I sent back a rangefinder and received a new one back instead of repaired. The three Leupold scopes I have sent in for warranty were also sent back right away, but I got my old scopes back fixed. Just different business models. Start a thread about Leupold customer service and be ready to be flooded with stories of their great service AND a ton of people like me that have sent scopes back. I happen to like the mid-level Nikon scopes. For cheap scopes I have had great luck with Vortex scopes.

    Back to topic. My kids have been given "normal" cartridges to start off with. Easy to find ammo for and the ammo is cheap to encourage practice. .270's and 30-06's around our place. I wouldn't have a problem putting an inexpensive Weatherby, Savage, or Marlin bolt gun in their hands to start out. They happen to have Rugers because I got smoking deals on them.
    Bunny Boots and Bearcats: Utility Sled Mayhem

  13. #13

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    Given how happy I am with my Marlin XS7 in .243, for a first rifle gift for someone I would pick them up a Marlin XL7 in 30-06, but a simple scope that will hold zero and is waterproof and send him on his way. Hunting in AK isn't cheap so might was well leave him with a little gas money.

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    Member 1Cor15:19's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by idahotrophyhunter View Post
    My nephew is moving up north this coming Fall and is going to attend school at Alaska Anchorage. Of course we started talking rifles and hunting and he asks/ tells me this...

    ...I have about $550.00 saved to buy a new rifle and scope to hunt with while I'm up there for college, what would you suggest?

    He wants a dependable all weather rifle that is capable of handling all alaska species (even though he will probably only hunt caribou and maybe moose due to cost and logistics)

    ....Here was my Reccomendation, what do you guys think?

    1.Weatherby Vangaurd synthetic in .300 WBY mag. - sportsmans has them on sale for 339.99.
    2. Burris Fullfield II 3-9X40 - 125.00 new off ebay.
    3. Talley lightweight rings bases - 40.00
    4. Ammo - since I shoot the WBY, I offered to give him 60 loaded rounds I have as a graduation gift - (168 grain barnes TTSX loads)

    Thats just a tad over 500.00 for a powerful, accurate, dependable rifle/scope/cartridge combo.
    Everyone is on some kind of budget. Cheap rifles abound; the trick is to find a good value. I like your recommendation, but it would not be mine. Before we get very far I'd ask does the young man hunt big game in Idaho (L48)? If so, what combination has he used? That will be very telling on what he needs and what he should buy.

    I'd buy a used rifle for under $300 (a Rem 700 ADL in 30/06 or 270 would be ideal--they're around but you'll have to shop a bit) spend under $200 on a used 3-9X40 Leupold Vari-X II/VX II (a fixed 4X would cost less and be just as effective) and put it in a set of $40 Talley Lightweights. That's a very durable rifle that will come in under $550 and will kill caribou & moose (and everything else in AK) as well as a 300 WBY with less expensive ammo and minimal recoil. If he must have a new rifle then the Vanguard is a good choice (though on a budget the 300 WBY would be my last choice), but I think there are better values to be had on the used market. Personally, I'd rather have great products that are lightly used than new stuff that is just satisfactory, but maybe that's just me.
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    Any of the .300 mags will do the job. The Weatherby mag will be the most expensive to shoot and recoil the worst. Is your nephew recoil sensitive? If so then a lighter caliber needs to be looked at. Does your nephew know what to look for in a used gun? If not then is there someone up here that can help him make a decision on a used gun? If not then maybe the rifle needs to be purchased and brought up here, Besides he may save some $$$ buying a rifle down there as the economy up here is not as hard hit as down there.

    I personally like the .300WSM and I believe you can get a Vanguard in that caliber as well as .300WM if your dead set on a Vanguard. I would also recomend a rifle in stainless over the blued though I don't see any Vanguards in stainless. You may find a used Tikka T3 or Howa with a quality scope that may fit his budget. Just my opinion.

    John
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    Member tyrex13's Avatar
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    I think the new Redfields are great for the money, I put a 2-7 on my 10/22 and am very happy with it.

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    I must second the whole 30-06 idea. I moved up here a few years ago and visit the Lower 48 often, and I must say that Alaska shooting prices are nothing short of abusive to the customer. I honestly don't know how the stores get away with it. So, on that note, stick to calibers that are, as another posted stated, in the mainstream. (Even 30-06 ammo is costly here.) In fact, I think reloading is the only viable, economic option for ammunition.

    As for a rifle, even though Im a Winchester fanatic, and since you're on a budget, I would urge to take a look at the Savage 110 series. I have a Savage as my hi-power match rifle, and it has been a superb rifle. They are usually sold in a hunt package with a cheap scope, which you can just replace with something better. Because I don't use a scope, I don't feel I should recommend one.

    In regards to prices: again, prices are obscene. Don't wait until your nephew is here to buy one; buy one in the Lower 48 and bring it up. At a minimum, I'm sure you'll save enough money to justify buying an airline case and paying the baggage fee.

    On a side note, I recently graduated from Univ. of Alaska Anchorage, and I have to say that it's a great school. I don't know why the locals knock on it so hard. My experience there was far better than my experiences at larger, state universities in the Lower 48. I"m sure that you're nephew will be well served by UAA.

  18. #18

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    idahotrophyhunter,

    My thoughts... I looked up the 300WBY ammo on MidwayUSA.com. The prices are from 39.99 to $95.99 for 20 rounds. $39.99 isn't bad but it's probably not what he'll want to use, or maybe it is. While your nephew is a student and will be on a student's budget, I recommend a rifle cartridge that is in the lower price range. After all, you don't want him in the "one box of bullets a year" club. When I was a student I would skip meals so I could afford to buy a box of ammo (glad those days are gone!). My personal recommendation is that you think cheaper ammo while he's in school and on a restricted budget. Aside from the price, local availability can be an issue and I can't comment on that since I don't live in Anchorage.

    Good luck!

    AJ

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    Mail order pricing for ammo is close to irrelevant in Alaska, as shipping changes the equation and thus buying internet/mail order is not economic. MidWidenells.com may sell .3000 UltraFragmium for 25 cents a box, and that box would still be somewhere around $60+ to your door. Unless you buy in pallet quantities it rarely makes sense to order your own ammo up here.

    If you want him to shoot 60 rounds in 4 years, then .300 Weatherby is a great choice. Or you supply him with ammo and consider that a continuing gift, but he will probably not shoot more than you gift him. If you want him to shoot more, then .30-06 or even .308 is a better choice. I like to relax and have fun at the range; if shooting is only part of hunting for you and him then this is not a consideration.

    Vanguard is good if you want new. I would check the local shops for a used Rem, Savage, Winchester, Ruger with iron sights. Wasilla High School gun show coming up too, and plenty more shows before fall. I like iron sights as a backup, and would not choose a rifle without them. None of the new inexpensive rifles have iron sight models, so while great values they hold little attraction for me. If the rifle had a hard, thin factory recoil pad I would probably get him a new Decelerator or similar pad.

    Then I would go to a local shop and buy the new Redfield 2x7 or 3x9 (USA made by Leopold with lifetime warranty). I thought I wanted the Accu-Range reticle until I saw one; it is 'cramped' and too busy for me so I would get the standard plex. If I had found a rifle with iron sights I would save my money and give my nephew the Leopold QRW bases and rings as a graduation gift (or starting college gift if he has taken a break since HS) and have the local shop mount and bore sight everything. I know GNG carries the Redfield, and I am sure others do or could order them as well.

    [edit: Sorry, you're not in Alaska, so our gun shows are irrelevant to you. Oops. In this case you might also make sure he has the ammo with him when he comes up, because shipping ammo still concerns you due to cost.]

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    And if he likes bird hunting, get him a single shot .410 or 20g H&R/NEF and have him find ptarmigan. Much more likely, cheaper, easier than caribou or moose. Afternoon drive even from Anchorage. The H&R/NEF are inexpensive, small and light.

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