10/22 was my first rifle. I learned the basics from it.
I liked it so much I still have it
This is a discussion on Questions about buying first rifle within the Defensive Rifles & Shotgun Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; I would like to purchase my first rifle, my ideal and eventual goal would be to develop a degree of marksmanship where I can hunt ...
I would like to purchase my first rifle, my ideal and eventual goal would be to develop a degree of marksmanship where I can hunt game such as deer. My questions are regarding the first rifle I should purchase. I would assume I should start with a .22lr before moving up to a larger caliber such as .30-06 and other hunting cartridges. Most forums state that the Ruger 10/22 is the perfect first rifle and is good to learn the basics on, but some people say it's more of a plinking rifle. Should I instead focus on a rifle that's more accurate out of the box? Or is a 10/22 a good learning platform? (please note: Looking for something Under $500). Also, is a bolt action better to learn on/more accurate than a semi? or is the difference negligible at my skill level? (beginner) And one last question: I am right handed but left eye dominant which makes aiming a long gun hard to get use to. Anyone else have a similar problem and how to you deal with it?
10/22 was my first rifle. I learned the basics from it.
I liked it so much I still have it
Not too sure about which Rifle caliber to choose. I have my father's old Ruger 10/22 that I got when he passed on. I've been shooting that since I was very young and became very good with the platform. It's often said that a good .22 rifle is the ultimate utility rifle because it can be used for recreation/target, and if absolutely needed, hunting game as large as deer with success. A good .22 will serve you well. Another option I'm sure others far more experienced than myself will tell you is the .223/5.56 platform. I'm planning on getting one in the near future. Just need to do my research and talk to people experienced with them as to what I might be interested in.
As far as eye dominance goes. I'm right handed and left eye dominant. But using traditional sights on the old Ruger 10/22 I have always kept my left eye closed and just used the right one. Don't know if this is the right thing to do or not, but it's worked for me.
1. Yes. You should go with a .22 Lr FIRST. You can afford to shoot it enough to become a good marksman with it, it wont cause you to flinch, (like say a 30.06, if you shot it a bunch)
2. I am old school. If your goal is to become a marksman, and to shoot as well as you can, Id say get a GOOD bolt action .22. CZ have some of the best made, at reasonable prices, out there.
The 10/22 is a fine weapon. But lets all be honest about it; folks dont buy them to become good marksman, they buy them to blow thru lots of shells very fast. You can do that AFTER you learn to become a crack shot with a good bolt action.
My first rifle was a .308 for deer hunting. I purchased it used almost 35 years ago and I was about 21 or 22 years old. I had had a shotgun since my early teens but dad didn't like the idea of a rifle for a kid. Later I bought a 10/22 to plink with, small game hunting and so forth. I guess it all depends on your primary purpose for the rifle. Good luck finding the right rifle for the purpose you need it for.
The 10/22 is plenty accurate. I used one for years plinking and small game hunting. Really most any .22 rifle should be accurate enough to learn the basics.
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As can a decent Marlin, Winchester or Henry lever-action rifle. If you're willing, start in .22LR and then move up to .30-30 ... which is a fine hunting round for mid-sized game. Plenty of the Marlins available in .30-30, used, that'll be a great project and learning experience, along with saving you some cash. (Plus, the older models can get you away from the safeties of the newer models.)
Somewhat different skills, with a lever-action versus a bolt-action. A lever-action can be perceived as less threatening, as well, which might be a consideration in this awful anti-gun political climate we have these days.
If bolt-action is your thing, Ruger makes their American line in various calibers, including .22LR (sub-$300). Can start with a .22LR gun, then at some point move to a larger caliber when you're ready.
If a "serious" hunting caliber is your thing, you can still do lever-action with the Browning BLR. A good option, for this mix (lever + larger calibers). Though, this platform will be more expensive than other options.
'Beware the man with one gun." - ancient advice.
My first gun as an adult was a Crosman pump-up BB/pellet gun with a rifled barrel. Bought it to control garden pests like bunnies and other small critters. With good pellets and a cheapie scope, this gun was learned inside and out to the point that I knew that it could make a killing head shot on a squirrel at 20 yards but only a nonlethal body shot on a rabbit at 40 yards. "When your only tool is a hammer, all your problems look like nails." My point is that I shot it enough to know the limitations of the combined gun and shooter - and I think that's what you should strive for.
OK, on to your question. You're pointed in the right direction by seeking to gain experience and marksmanship with a rimfire before stepping up to a serious centerfire hunting rifle. So what makes the most sense?
I'm a big fan of the 10/22 and have 5 of them. The run-of-the-mill 10/22 will put 5 shots into 1.5 inches at 50 yards with iron sights and decent ammo. My 'built' 10/22 with a good scope will shoot 3/8" groups at 50 yards with certain bulk-pack, non-target ammo. But more important than the potential accuracy of each, however, is being able to shoot to the particular gun's capability repeatably. That is simply a function of practice with the gun over a range of situations - different target sizes at different ranges. And I have a customized 77/22 with accuracy which falls between those two extremes - so the answer to one of your questions is that the specific action doesn't define an individual gun's accuracy.
I'll go out on a limb and guess that your serious CF hunting rifle will be a bolt action. Although the basics of marksmanship are mostly independent of action type, there is merit to the thought of practicing with the same action type as your hunting gun. For example, it's worthwhile learning to crank the bolt for a follow-up shot without taking the gun off your shoulder - which you wouldn't give a second thought to if you were shooting a 10/22 or other autoloader.
Reeling this back in, I'm inclined to steer you toward a bolt-action, and specifically to a CZ 455 American or possibly the new Ruger American. I've got a 455 in .22 mag, and the bolt feels like it runs on ball bearings. With your cross-eye dominance, my suggestion is to scope the gun at low power, and learn to use your weak eye but with both eyes open. Once you've mastered that arrangement, you're ready to step up to the centerfire leagues.
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I personally would buy a Henry Lever-action golden-boy rifle. I think the price is reasonable and it shoots very accurate and it is a fun .22 It feeds anything I put in it and never have had a single problem
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Get the Henry .22mag...a little more power than the .22, but if you intend to go deer hunting, many states will not permit deer hunting with a .22.
I'd jump into the Marlin 30-30, easy to shoot and a rifle that will make an excellent deer rifle...you'll have it for the rest of your life.
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NRA Life Member
I'm not going to recommend any particular rifle. In all honesty as a beginner any quality firearm is going to be more accurate than you are. That stays true for most folks for their entire life. So whether you pick anything that's been mentioned here or find something else, it will probably work. My first rifle was a single shot bolt action 22. It isn't "uber tactical" or anything, but it did teach me how to shoot.
The eye/hand issue is something that some of us have to learn to deal with. In all honesty- since you're just starting the best advice I could give is learn to shoot the rifle left handed. That removes any future problems you may run into should you start getting into tactical rifles with reflex sights, etc. That said, I have the issue and shoot right handed. I simply shoot rifles and shotguns with my left eye closed. (I shoot both eyes open using my left eye for handguns.) For most hunting and target shooting types of activities you'll never notice a problem.
I do highly recommend that you skip a scope when you get the rifle. Learn to shoot with the iron sights, and then add optics if you desire. You may not always have a scope and the skill of being able to deliver rounds with iron sights can't ever hurt you.
(And I lied- I am going to recommend a rifle. Skip the 22 and get a 30-30 lever gun. You can find new Marlin's in your price range, and used rifles cheaper. You can learn as easily with it as you can a 22. And in honesty as difficult as it has been to find 22 recently you may find you can actually shoot the 30-30 more.)
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I will contend that if you shop wisely you can get a .22 AND a hunting rifle inside of your budget.
SAVAGE MARK II F .22 LR 21" BARREL 10 RD NEW 22 : Bolt Action Rifles at GunBroker.com
Stevens 26300 300 22LR Grey/Blued 10rd Tapped : Bolt Action Rifles at GunBroker.com
Stevens 200 in 30-06 new : Bolt Action Rifles at GunBroker.com
New Savage Arms 111FXP3 308 Win w/ Scope 17673 : Bolt Action Rifles at GunBroker.com
Scoop them up and get shooting friend.
"For the Lord your God will bless you in all your harvest and in all the work of your hands." Deuteronomy 16:15
Yes, start with a .22 rimfire. Yes a 10/22 is a great rifle.
If you want to be a real sharpshooter, that is if you are really wanting to hit the mark dead center every time, then buy a bolt action single shot. One with a good trigger.
Good habits is what one needs to be a great shot & a good single shot will give you good habits.
A magazine or tube fed will work just as well....just think about the round in the chamber & not how many more that are in the magazine.
All the above is great advice. I might add joining a gun range/club for more hands on advice also. My first gun was a 10/22 second a Winchester mod.94 30-30 for Whitetails