I just checked budsgunshop.com and that rifle is $490 delivered. You have to pay a transfer fee but no sales tax. Good luck.
Sorry, I am a bit late jumping in here. Don't be afraid of a used rifle, 700 or whatever. A lot of time the common calibres like 270/308/30.06 are hunting season guns that see very little use. A good used 06 around here, in Montana, will sell for $350.00 with a scope.
Good news is my father's going to pay along with me for one of the better model 700's other than the SPS, and preferably with a wooden stock. I'll let you know how it goes later this month.
Thanks a lot guys!
EDIT: A bit of a change guys. I took a look at the tires on my Cadillac and the tread is really low, they're going to need to be replaced. So far my parents haven't put any money into the car (it's been all me) and I'm going to need to do this. There are a few other things that are starting to go on the car that will need to be fixed soon, such as the brakes. Luckily I can do this work myself, but I'm going to have to pay for this. I don't see any way I can afford this new rifle, so now I'm looking for a used one, despite the fact I'd rather have new.
Sorry, I know it seems like I'm jumping around here, the money just isn't there though. Would you guys say I could find a used Springfield 1903, a Krag or one of those old British Enfield's from WWI out there and for a reasonable price (less than $300)? I saw a few of these at the gun show's I went to recently, but at that time I wasn't looking so I don't know the prices that these typically go for.
Thanks guys, sorry for the hassle
If you don't, I would think twice about buying a rifle in an antiquated cartridge like the .303 or 30-40 krag. They will be quite expensive to feed unless you reload.
An m1903 in .30-06 would probably be the least expensive to feed of that bunch since the .30-06 is such a standard.
Scopes are classified primarily by aperture. When you hear 20x40 or 30x60, they're talking about the entry and exit lens diameters in millimeters. The first number is the sight lens (the end you look into), while the second is the target lens (on the other side). A larger target lens collects more light, so the scope is more useful in low-light situations like deer-hunting at 4:00 in the morning. A larger sight lens (really a larger combination of both) gives you a larger off-angle view, so you can still see the crosshair even if your eye isn't completely in line with the scope's lenses, allowing you to acquire your target more rapidly and easily, especially when you're in an odd position like up a tree. The downside of a larger scope is the size, and also the cost as making a perfect big lens is more difficult than making a perfect small lens (it's kinda like diamonds; your average quarter-carat flawless diamond is nothing special, but a 2-carat flawless diamond is very difficult to come by).
Beyond that, zoom capability is also tracked. Each scope size has its maximum; larger lenses can usually zoom her. A scope may say it is 2-9x; that simply means it provides a zoom level from 2x to 9x magnification. When you use a scoped weapon, usually you need magnification, so very few scopes are 1x.
When you buy a scope, look through it (duh). Most sights are your standard wire crosshair, though "tactical" sight pictures such as a T-bar or triangle are also available, often on the same model. If the scope has a focus adjustment, set it so that the sight picture and field are both in focus (your eye can focus independently to bring one or the other into clarity, but you want both otherwise the sight picture can literally disappear on you when you focus on the field). If the scope does not have a focus adjustment, try moving it closer or further away from your eye (to prevent smacking yourself with the scope, it's generally mounted about a foot away from your eye). If you simply cannot get a sharp picture, try another scope.
Once you've found one that gives a good picture, adjust the scope through its zoom range while looking through it. The scope should hold focus as you zoom. Cheaper scopes are generally deficient here and will move out of focus as you zoom in (this is both a function of lens quality and tolerance of distances between lenses in the scope); a focus control is a workaround and totally adequate for stand-hunting with a bait (just focus in on your bait, set and forget), but if you're on the prowl for your deer you don't want to be fiddling with your scope, you want to be taking the shot.
Lastly, a good scope adjusts smoothly but resists incidental changes from minor bumps. You do not want a scope that takes a pair of pliers to adjust zoom or focus, but at the same time a slight nudge should not bump the scope out of focus. Really good ones have adjustable tension or a set screw that allows you to sight in and lock down.
If you find a scope with these qualities at a price you can afford, that's your scope. This will hopefully not be the most expensive one in the case, but you're probably looking at about $200 minimum. Better scopes than that zoom her, have larger lenses and more precise tolerances, but the law of diminishing returns kicks in and there will be a point at which you cannot see an increase in picture quality in the next most expensive scope until you zoom out to 20x and sight on a target a mile away (that's world-class sniper shooting right there). Depending on your hunting grounds and preferred game, 200 yards is about the longest practical shot you can take, and that's quite a ways; imagine trying to bullseye your average pistol target from across two football fields. You should be able to find a $200-300 scope that will do the job admirably and will take you as a shooter a long while to outgrow.
I'd get an Enfield #4. Impact Guns has them for $160 in "fine" condition, for example. They have good aperture sights and are heavy enough for comfortable shooting despite the hard buttplate. The ten-round mag is fun, though it will need replacement for hunting in most states. Properly scoping an Enfield is a challenge, however.
Look very hard at the bore of any of the old milsurps.
.303 Brit ammo actually isn't that expensive right now. Sportsmans Guide has Pakistani surplus .303 for $73 for 320 rounds. That's way cheaper than, for example, surplus .308.
Last edited by Mike Barham; 05-07-2008 at 06:57 PM. Reason: corrected factual error
You pretty much have to order online to get the good prices. This isn't a problem if you live in America.
7mm-08 is a great caliber also out of the box savage accuracy wins hands down
So I do have one (1) question: Have you actually held one of these rifles?
You mentioned hunting as a possible use for the rifle at some future date. There are a number of standard "positions" for shooting a rifle. At the gun range a lot of people do the "bench rest" thing -- which is fine for sighting in a rifle because you want to minimize the variation introduced by anything other than sight settings. Out in the field you may well have to use what for most people is the "most difficult to hold on target" position: standing.
So, were I you, buying a rifle that would have to "do me" for a number of years, before I worried about caliber or action or price or make or model or which is good or which has problems, or other specifications, I would find a rifle that "fit" me. This has more to do with length, weight, balance, the amount of "drop" to the stock, straight-stock versus pistol grip, et cetera than it does particular model or caliber. You might start with your friend at the gun shop and see if you can "shoulder" a variety of what he has in stock. You don't need to even work the action or "dry fire" anything to start with; just see if you can comfortably "hold" on target for 30 seconds to a minute in an "off hand" position. Once you find something that fits, then start working towards the "best" caliber, price, et cetera.
Okay, here's a tip on scopes...
Price is not a reliable indicator of quality these days. There are some really good Japanese and Taiwanese scopes that cost less than $50 and some crappy (my opinion) American made ones that cost ten times that amount. (Of course, you can also get $50 crap and $500 excellence too.)
My personal favorite is a Tasco that I bought, on sale, for $26 at a gun show; my least favorite is a Weaver that cost 7X that amount. The difference? Well, I discovered that the hard way. My wife and I have several "matching" rifles (its a long story, suffice to say that I can have any firearm I want -- so long as I buy her an equivalent one first). We used to target practice by shooting at dimes at 100yds. When that got too expensive, we swiched to pennies. Then we got a new set of rifles. Her new gun did a fine job of turning coinage into jewelry; with mine, I couldn't get reliably closer than about two inches! We had mounted the "cheap Tasco" on her gun; the Weaver on mine (I said "equivalent"; not "identical")
One of our local sporting goods stores has a whole display of scopes mounted at the front of their establishment. They are set up so that you can look through them and see the outside world. Two of these scopes happened to match the ones on our new rifles. With them solidly affixed to an immovable surface, I discovered the source of my accuracy problems. When I looked through the Weaver at the object across the street on which it was trained, moving my head even slightly made the crosshairs shift an inch or more in the field of view. Moving my head changed the sight picture! With the Tasco, moving my head made no difference in the perceived point of aim. Sure, move it far enough, and the image in the scope would start to "go dark"; but the point of aim remained the same.
In my day job, I do networking. One of our emergency restoration devices is a Free Space Optical Transmission set. These are basically lasers that you aim at one another across open distances of up to 400 yards. The lasers are invisible (infrared) and you have a 2-inch circle you have to hit at the far end. The whole kit was about $10,000 for the "low end" unit we bought. To aim accurately across the open spaces, the company shipped a couple of telescopic sights that, on the open market, are about $250 each. When we set the gear up to try it, we discovered that one could get as much as 1/4 inch shift in the point of aim, by moving one's head, just sighting from one side of our office to the other (about 20 feet). Move that shift out to 400 yards, and you get a 15 inch displacement in the aim point! I brought in the Tasco (from my wife's rifle ) for long distance set up.
A Scope Primer:
So, in picking a scope, here are the critical things:
1) Pick one designed for the caliber you are using. Generally speaking, I like to go heaver rather than lighter -- despite opinion to the contrary, a high power rifle scope will work on a .22; a .22 scope on a high power rifle will shift adjustments randomly due to recoil and, eventually, leave you with scope parts lying about in unauthorized places.
2) Pick the right eye relief. The more the rifle "kicks" back toward your shoulder when you fire it, the more space you want between it and your eye. Here again, a .22 scope on a high power rifle will cause problems -- in fact, it might not fall apart because of repeated recoil; if your head is hard enough, it might break against your eyebrow on the first shot
3) Pick the right tubes. Generally speaking, larger tubes gather more light (are brighter), are more robust, and are easier to mount.
4) Pick the right mounting. More kick and "sharper" kick from a gun requires more strength and more "grip" in the mounting. The wrong mounting system can require you to over torque the mounts (and bend tubes) to make everything hold still. Further, a mounting system that allows adjusting the aim point on the scope is a good idea. Most scopes now come with "click stop" windage and elevation adjustments. Most shooters slap the scope on top of the rifle, then use these adjustments to "sight in" their scope. The problem is, these adjustments are typically designed to be some reliable fraction of a MOA (minute of angle) per click. This makes them ideal, once you know your gun, for adjusting your scope in the field to accommodate an estimated range -- provided that you didn't use up all of that adjustment to get your gun zeroed at 100 yards.
5) Pick the right power. The higher the power, the better you can see at distance. The higher the power, the harder it is to find your target up close. When that bear is charging you from 40 yards, do you really want a 12 power scope that will show a tick crawling on his hide but not whether said tick is between his eyes or on his rear end?
6) If you go with a variable power, be sure neither the focus nor the aim point changes when you change power setting. Also, be sure you can easily return the scope to the lowest setting w/o more than 3/4 to one full turn -- the bear isn't going to wait for you to fumble.
7) Finally, my secret tip, check to be sure the aim point does not move when you shift your eye positon. I know, in the ideal world we are supposed to put our head in the same position every time. Tell that to the buck you can only see when laying head down half across the log shooting left-handed (right-handed for me).
8) Ok, the last one was "next to final"; Check the scope for all of the above before buying. In my experience, make and model is not always reliable. I've seen name brand's where last year's model of scope was excellent; this years version had problems; and next year they fix the problems. Check what you buy and make sure it is compatible with your gun before you buy it.
Beyond the simple stuff listed above, you get into things like coatings, nitrogen filling, recticle style, et cetera. Some of these things make a difference to some shooters under some conditions. Know the purpose of each "option" the salesguy is hawking and decide if it suits your needs before you shell out an extra $100 to add a particular feature.
Okay, if you are still open to alternative rifle options, here is a short (for me) suggestion...
Look into a high power air rifle; they are:
1. Cheap to shoot.
2. Relatively quiet.
3. Truly Smokeless.
4. No muzzle flash.
5. Not classed as a firearm (except, unfortunately, in Mass and certain other socialist states).
6. Older technology than cartridge firearms.
7. First successful repeating military weapon.
8. An Historically significant technology -- (Lewis & Clark had a peaceful expedition primarily because of the air rifle they carried)
9. Can be shipped w/o FFL.
10. Decent for home defense.
Unfortunately, not legal for big game in the U.S. -- but used to hunt deer in other countries.
Something to check out -- at least for "fun."
My reason for choosing the Krag is...a) I liked the rifle overall when I shot it. Smooth and very neat looking. b) I love studying the Spanish-American war and the Krag was an instrumental part in our winning of the conflict. I'd love to have a piece of history from that war that I can actually use.
I like the Springfield and British Enfield's as well. Each time I used them I found that they were pretty accurate, but as someone else said, finding ammo for the Krag and Enfield isn't that easy unless you reload. My grandfather actually had a whole setup in his basement for reloading that he sold about ten years ago
I was really set on the Model 700, it's too bad that I won't be able to afford it. But I love history, especially the Spanish-American and First world war, and when I think about it I'd love to have something that saw that war such a long time ago, even if it is dated and not as good as these modern rifles. And again, I don't plan on taking up rifle's, I'm definately sticking with handguns, but until I turn 21 I don't have much of a choice.
Got to get to work, thanks guys!
My Dad carried a Krag during WWI. He trained in Southern California and, prior to his scheduled departure for Europe, and was assigned transportation duties (mule team) in support of the troops guarding the Mexican Border. Most of these troops (sorry, don't remember the division number) were Spanish American War Vets who, according to Dad, had been promised by T.R. that they would never have to "serve in a foreign war" again. So, they wound up chasing bandits (and others) on the Mexican Border. Before my Dad's unit was due to ship out, the war ended. Had he gone overseas, he would have had to turn in his Krag for an Enfield or other weapon; as it was, he was allowed to keep it when he mustered out. So, he brought it home and...
...had it turned into an ash tray! I've never understood that! My Dad didn't even smoke, but we now have this family heirloom that is basically a Krag barrel and action mounted (breech end) on a four-footed piece of cast iron with a stamped steel ash tray screwed into the muzzle. So far as I know, all of the parts work (yes, as a kid, I spent a lot of time investigating the action and trigger), but the stock et al are long gone. When I was about 13, I pulled the sights off of the barrel and mounted them on another gun because I figured they would serve better killing varmints than snuffing cigarettes -- but that is another story...
...Dad always said turning your rifle into an ashtray was "the fashionable thing to do" at the time -- I never got more of an explanation than that from him -- though, I am betting his first wife had a hand in it. At least nothing he brought home from WWII suffered the same fate.
You guys have given me more than enough information to make a decision. I'm going to start seriously looking around and I'll update this thread when I get whatever I end up purchasing or run out of money and end up with nothing
Thanks again guys!