Hunting/medium range rifle

Hunting/medium range rifle

This is a discussion on Hunting/medium range rifle within the Defensive Rifles & Shotgun Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; So some years ago I got myself a Savage 111 .30-06 package deal (plastic stock, detachable mag). The intent of which was whitetail and long ...

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Thread: Hunting/medium range rifle

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array Daddy Warcrimes's Avatar
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    Hunting/medium range rifle

    So some years ago I got myself a Savage 111 .30-06 package deal (plastic stock, detachable mag). The intent of which was whitetail and long range SHTF work. Let me say I don't like this rifle. The trigger pull is heavy (really heavy), the recoil is unpleasant, and the group is about 4" at 100 yards. It came with a pre-installed scope that has not impressed me in the least. All I can say is I've learned a great deal about firearms since then.
    Since I bought it I've still not been hunting once (never in my life in fact). This year the stars seem to be lining up this year and I'm hoping to take a deer and some pheasant in the next season.

    Since I really have no love of this gun (even named it Hillary) the thought crossed my mind that I might replace it with an AR upper chambered for 6.8mm (.23 caliber and above required in KS) or other deer round. Advantages are mostly my familiarity with the platform, and semi-auto. Also, it can come mail order. Cost about $550 from Model 1 and then a reasonable optic. Disadvantages, cost, uncommon round, limited round performance data.

    Option 2: replace scope, work on trigger (or have trigger worked), install new recoil pad, hope accuracy improves. Cost, probably less than option 1. Advantages: might like the gun after, cheap, common round good for most critters in the 48. Disadvantages, could mess up the gun, still going to have a healthy recoil, prejudice against the weapon.

    Option 3: Get an entirely new rifle (this time with quality in mind). I'd try and go for a common deer round. .30-06, .308, or .270 come to mind. Advantages: I'd have a good quality rifle with longer range capabilities. Disadvantages: probably the highest cost option.

    Option 4: take the MAK-90 instead.

    What are your thoughts?
    Is it reasonable for a non-smith to do a trigger job on this rifle? (smiths are not readily available and the closest is out of my price range)
    Another option: drop in trigger
    I hear nothing but good about Savage but my experience has been anything but good. Did I just get the wrong model, pick a lemon, or not just know what the heck I'm doing with a bolt gun (operator headspace and timing will get you every time)?
    What else might I consider to salvage the Savage?

    Is the 6.8mm a sufficient round for large whitetail and mule deer?
    What other caliber might I consider in an AR platform for this work? (common ammo is preferable)
    Last edited by Daddy Warcrimes; April 11th, 2007 at 03:01 AM.
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  2. #2
    kpw
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    New scope, trigger and aftermarket stock. It would be a new rifle all over again. The '06 is my favorite caliber, it can be loaded mild to wild for just about anything. The new stock would go a long way towards taming the recoil. For whitetails, stick to 150 and 165gr standard loads. The high energy loads are nice but increase recoil substantially.

  3. #3
    VIP Member Array Rob72's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daddy Warcrimes View Post
    Is it reasonable for a non-smith to do a trigger job on this rifle? (smiths are not readily available and the closest is out of my price range)
    Another option: drop in trigger
    Assuming that the difference between the 111 and the 110 is long/short action, then a resounding "YES!!". I did a light stone and polish on a 110 for a friend's son, a few years ago, and he just about fainted in ecstacy! A Spyderco triangle and square stone set is really all you need, just take your time, be slow and steady. I believe Power Custom's stoning fixtures have specific jigs, but you're looking at $160 or so, and I assume you don't have a dozen rifles to work?

    If your rifle is held in a synthetic stock by a couple of screws, pulling the action against the plastic stock body- that can be another problem, you need "bedding". Brownells has the goodies for that as well. If possible, get hex-head action screws (after your bedding operation), and an inch-pounds torque wrench, and try setting it in around 60in#. I like an 11 degree muzzle crown on my firearms, but I've already got the pilots and cutters- that may or may not be a worthwhile investment for you.
    Heres a parts list:
    http://www.brownells.com/aspx/NS/sto...EDDING+SLEEVES
    http://www.brownells.com/aspx/NS/sto...LAS+GEL%7e
    http://www.brownells.com/aspx/NS/store/ProductDetail.aspx?p=797&title=GUNSMITH'S+PREMIUM+ CERAMIC+STONE+FILE+SET

    The torque wrench you can shop around, and usually find a basic one for about $30. It is fun and rewarding to "work your own", but it does take time. The Brownells tech line can answer your questions, and may have other/better suggestions. I would not spend the $99 for the comp trigger, unless you're reaaalllly in BR/long range, and/or you get it bedded and figure out what the maximum potential accuracy of your rifle is, from a good base, then decide.
    Last edited by Rob72; April 11th, 2007 at 02:33 PM.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Array gregarat's Avatar
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    Some years ago, I bought a Ruger M77 Mark II. It shot lousy group, out of the box.
    All I had to do was, get a new trigger (Timmeny), and work out some good handloads. Now it shoots .5 at 100y.

  5. #5
    Distinguished Member Array USPnTX's Avatar
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    I'd stick with the Savage. Definitely modify the trigger and invest in a better stock. I think you will see a world of difference. As for the caliber, you picked the best one for North America. If you are into handloading you will find that you can do some amazing things with the ought six.
    "Do not fear those who disagree with you; fear those that do and are too cowardly to admit it" - Napoleon

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    VIP Member Array cvhoss's Avatar
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    The one thing you mentioned that would prevent me from keeping this rifle and working it over is the accuracy. Even with bad bedding and a junk trigger, it should be able to do better than 4" at 100 yards from a good rest. I would suggest getting it on a good, solid rest and firing again at 100 yards. Maybe even get someone else to shoot it and see if it was just me. If the best it would do is still 4", I probably wouldn't sink any money into it and just trade it off. If you did get it to group decent (2Ē or less), then Iíd suggest following the other posters ideas Ė replacement stock and a good trigger job or aftermarket trigger. For varmint or target shooting, I'd suggest a Jewel trigger (my personal favorite if they are avaiable for a Savage), but for a rifle you're going to drag through the woods, you really don't need a 1# trigger. Should you decide to buy a new rifle, recent production Savages are fine rifles and the ones I have been around have been VERY accurate, usually 1" or less at 100 yards from a bench rest. The Savage AccuTrigger is not bad, especially for a rifle predominantly used for dear hunting. And, if you should decide to buy a new rifle, Iíd also suggest you think about one in 308 Winchester. It has the advantage of being a short action, the same bullet choices as the í06, only marginally less power than an í06 and if you reload now or start at some point, you can occasionally get some good buys on once fired military brass.

    One other thing regarding the accuracy of your current rifle. You mention it came with a scope you arenít impressed with. Before you accuracy test the rifle, you may want to put a different scope on it if you have one laying around or see if you can borrow one from someone and try shooting for group. Iíve seen cheap scopes that would not hold zero and they would bounce POI all over the place. It could be that all you need is a different scope and a trigger job. I see youíre in Kansas. Donít know if youíre close to S.E. Kansas or not, but if you are, Iíve got several scopes lying around and Iíd be glad to let you borrow one to give it a try.

    Good luck.
    Hoss
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  7. #7
    kpw
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    I'll take a cheap rifle with a good scope and mounts over the opposite anyday. They are that important. I had the same rifle you do some years back. Ditch the scope and factory mounts. Watch your forearm on the rest when you shoot. Mine was flimsy enough to contact the barrel unless I moved the rest back towards the action. I hated that stock. Felt recoil with it was horrible. Just about any aftermarket stock is a big improvement. My '06 Savage was accurate, sub MOA with some loads, others were sub grapefruit. It was picky but shot very well with loads it liked.

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    Senior Member Array briansmech's Avatar
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    the savage 110 is a great gun. the only diff between the two, i think, is the mag style.

    that being said, the savage 110 my friend had went from really bad groups with a cheap scope on it, to ~.5 after he put a leupold, i think 4X, on it, with really long eye relief and mounted differently. the action on it was really, really long, and they were mounted too close, i cant recall the specifics. but after he changed optics and probably more importantly, the mount, it was a different gun.

    trigger pull, i dont recall what my opinion was there, cant help ya

  9. #9
    Senior Member Array Geezer's Avatar
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    Since you've already named it hillary, I doubt that there is anything you can do to change the way you feel about this rifle. It can't be trusted. I'd vote for another rifle, high quality scope and rings.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geezer View Post
    Since you've already named it hillary, I doubt that there is anything you can do to change the way you feel about this rifle. It can't be trusted. I'd vote for another rifle, high quality scope and rings.
    Just don't name it William Jefferson........


    The tyrant dies and his rule is over, the martyr dies and his rule begins. ― The Journals of Kierkegaard

  11. #11
    Senior Member Array Daddy Warcrimes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rock and Glock View Post
    Just don't name it William Jefferson........
    Not a chance. My guns all have girls' names...... wait, might have to rethink that.

    The consensus seems to be to upgrade what I've got. I think that's what I'll try. If it works out, she gets a new name (open to suggestions. Bridgette, Veera, Loretta, Sue, and Betty are taken. Marylin and Jayne are reserved for handguns). I've yet to read anything bad about the Savage design. My experience with this gun was very disappointing at first; the firing pin was broken, when that was replaced, the magazine well popped out of the receiver when a shot was fired. I'm also not ruling out lack of skill on my part, but I'm more accurate with an AR.

    Side note, my handguns are named after men in pop culture that have taken womens' names. Betty, Loretta, and Sue. I've got a shiny nickel for anyone who can name the 3 sources, or a quarter for all of them (offer expires 3 July 2007, hint: Bridgette is a Chinese MAK-90).

    Scope and rings, I like the idea. This seems like an easy fix (operator level) and in the worst case, the scope can be used on a better gun.

    Stock replacement is also appealing. If I feel better with a new scope, that will change too. I'd like wood, but while I'm finding plenty of stocks for the 110, the 111 seems to be less favored.

    I've seen some online guides for the trigger work, I'll study up and see if it's something I can do.

    Rob72, I have no idea what you mean by bedding. I'm not going to mess with the barrel.

    Step 1, shop for scopes. Step 2, work on trigger (looks like I can get 3 pounds without cutting, good enough for the likes of me). Step 3, range time. I'll experiment with the ammo while I'm at it. Step 4, new furniture (if I can find any).

    Thanks for the advice all. I'm still interested in alternative calibers for the AR if you can recommend any.
    "and suddenly I can not hold back my sword hand's anger"

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  12. #12
    VIP Member Array Rob72's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daddy Warcrimes View Post
    Rob72, I have no idea what you mean by bedding. I'm not going to mess with the barrel.
    When a rifle is "bedded", it involves using (generally) two rigid pillars, as bushings between the triggerguard and action,and filling the space between the two (in the stock) with fiberglass/polymer. This does a couple of things- when you tighten the triggerguard screws, without the bedding reinforcement, your stock will flex. And, since most guys don't torque both screws, one is usually tighter than the other. This means that your action is being pulled high (if the rear screw is tighter), or low (if the front screw is tighter). What bedding does is eliminate a lot of variables.

    I mentioned it, because you can do it yourself for about $60. OTOH, if you buy a real stock,it will have a milled aluminum action block, which does all of the things I mentioned, without your having to work for it. All you have to do is torque set your action in place. You pay for it. Plan on about $200. At this point, most guys gasp and grab their chest. I guarantee, if you torque your action in place, you will have a 1MOA rifle. The only assumptions on my part, in the guarantee, are that 1) your barrel/action are good from the factory, and 2) you have a properly, adequately, mounted ,decent scope.
    http://www.brownells.com/aspx/NS/sto...NTHETIC+STOCKS

    If you spend $80-90 for a new Ramline or Choate, you'll be in the same spot, or marginally improved.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Array Daddy Warcrimes's Avatar
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    Think I got it.

    New questions;
    I'm betting a $40 scope is not going to improve my performance. I also believe that my ability does not justify a $2000 scope. What should I look at? Is a $200 Leupold going to be as reliable as their better models?

    Leupold seems to be the most known quality name. I've heard good things about US optics (but they seem a little difficult to find). What brands/models should I look at?

    3" eye relief seems to be the standard, is there any disadvantage to a longer relief? Thinking back I remember the scope on occasion impact my glasses during recoil; that can't be good for accuracy. Thinking more, the cheap slip on recoil pad is probably a contributing factor.

    What should I look for in rings? Is there any reason to replace the base mounts? It's got what I assume is a standard size slotted dovetail 2-piece mount.

    I'm going to assume liquid/ball bearing dampeners and barrel vibration dampeners are unlikely to perform as advertised.
    "and suddenly I can not hold back my sword hand's anger"

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  14. #14
    VIP Member Array cvhoss's Avatar
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    You can get a decent scope that doesn't cost an arm and a leg. My most expensive scope is a Leupold VX-3 8.5-25 X 50 mounted on my best varmint rifle. However, the scopes on my deer rifles cost a lot less. My Marlin 1895 SS in 45/70 has a Tasco 3-12X40 scope on it and once settled in, has been flawless. In that rifle, recoil is substantial as my handloads are a 300 gr. HP at a shade over 2000fps. My other deer rifle is a Rem. 700BDL in 300 Win Mag. That rifle wears a Simmons 44 mag scope that has been on it for 20+ years and has never shifted or failed. This on a rifle that I can only fire about 20 rounds from at a setting before my shoulder hurts too much to shoot any more as my loads for it kick a 165 gr. HP out at around 3200 fps. Simmons doesn't make the "44 mag" scope any more, but I believe that this model is what replaced it. I probably have less than $200.00 in each of these scopes including a good set of rings (maybe the most important part of the scope setup). One thing you need to realize is that with most inexpensive scopes, you may have to fire a couple of rounds after adjusting the crosshairs to "bounce" it into position. Once they settle, they should not move again unless you move them. I normally give my rifle a couple of good bounces by dropping the butt onto the bench from 6" or so high after I adjust the crosshairs. This helps bounce them into position and it takes fewer rounds of expensive ammo to do the job.

    To try and answer some of your specific questions:
    Is a $200 Leupold going to be as reliable as their better models?
    Probably as reliable but not as sharp and bright as their higher end models.

    What brands/models should I look at?
    Hard to go wrong with a Leupold. I've also had good luck with the upper end Bushnells and Simmons. Tascos can be good or bad. My experience has been that they are fairly reliable, but their clarity doesn't come close to some of the other brands. IMO, you can afford to sacrifice a little clarity on a scope for a deer rifle to save some money. I use my binoculars to count antler points, not my rifle scope. For small critters (varmints) at long distances and for precision bench shooting, the clarity becomes much more important.

    3" eye relief seems to be the standard, is there any disadvantage to a longer relief?
    The only reason you'd want a longer eye relieve was if the firearms required the scope to be mounted further away. Some shotgun scopes mount in this manner.

    What should I look for in rings? Is there any reason to replace the base mounts?
    Yes, replace the rings unless you know they are a good set. My personal preference for rings are the Burris Signature rings but I've also had excellent results with Leupold rings. Avoid inexpensive aluminum rings -- go for steel.

    Hoss
    Last edited by cvhoss; April 12th, 2007 at 04:39 PM.
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    kpw
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    The scope and rings are a good place to start. For $200 you can find some decent scopes. New Sightron S2 3-9x42mm can be had around that. I like Leupolds a lot but I don't go below a VX II. They both have lifetime warranties. Eye relief is important and I like around 4" at mid power range for the scope. As for rings, I like Talley one piece and Burris. I've also used Warne with good results. I wouldn't use the factory bases either. It's not a lot more for good bases. If you go with the Talley's, you don't need bases. Bedding your rifle is not hard but you do have to study up on it. Lots of information on the net.

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