Hunting rifle

I’ve got a new rifle, specifically for (big game) hunting.

As I mentioned in my first-hunt post-mortem, the M1A was not an ideal hunting rifle. Sure you can go hunting with it and I may well use it again in the future. But my issues with it were:

  • It’s loud. It’s two-fold.
    • It has a muzzle brake and so when you fire the gases are redirected back towards you. Great for control, but makes the shot wicked loud.
    • The rifle is physically loud. The sling swivels, the safety… oh man, the safety was so loud when you clicked it on and off.
  • It’s heavy. I’m no weakling, but an 11-12# rifle carried around for a few hours of fast and heavy walking on rough terrain, especially in port arms position does tire your muscles out, at least to a point where that left arm gets tired enough and then it gets a bit harder to hold the rifle steady even from a partially braced position.
  • The magazine. Even though I was using the shorter 10-round magazine, when carrying the rifle in an “American style” sling position (muzzle up over shooting/strong shoulder), the magazine kept butting into my side right at my waist and hip area. Not a horrible thing but it just gets old.

So my criteria for a new rifle were to address the above issues. I also wanted a few additional things:

  • Synthetic stock. Wood is beautiful, but synthetic will hold up better to the weather and abuse.
  • Bolt-action. Never owned a bolt-action rifle, but I wanted to try one out. It would also help in the weight area since bolt-actions have less parts than a semi-automatic, thus less steel means less weight.
  • .308 Winchester caliber. I’ve got a lot of .308 for the M1A already, so what with the state of the ammo world these days might as well keep “standardized” on something I’ve already got. Granted hunting-specific rounds haven’t been as troubled as other “fightin'” calibers (e.g. you can find .243, .270, 7mm, etc., but hard to find 9mm, .45 ACP, .223/5.56x45mm, .308/7.62x51mm, etc.). I’m also
    • Furthermore, the M1A has some limitations as to the ammo it can use. With a bolt action I can use pretty much anything, including soft-points. The ammo I used for the hunt was about $45/box of 20. With a bolt action I could use something like Winchester PowerPoints, which are just soft-points for about $35/box. Every penny adds up.
  • Looking for something well-regarded and quality, but I didn’t want top of the line. You don’t give a 16 year old kid a million dollar Ferrari Enzo for his first car (well, at least I wouldn’t even if I had that sort of money); you buy them an inexpensive but fairly solid car that gets them around, lets them learn, but if they wreck it it’s not the end of the world. Being a new hunter, I want something that is good, can get the job done, helps me learn and gain experience, but if something goes wrong it’s not the end of the world. I can buy an Ed Brown later.

So what did I get?

A Savage Arms Model 11FXP3, with AccuTrigger.

I’ve been researching Savage rifles for a while. I was originally looking at their 10FCM Scout rifle because I like the Scout Rifle concept. I did a lot of reading on Savage’s and while their reputation wasn’t good in the past, their new stuff has been very well regarded, especially their AccuTrigger. What I often hear repeated is that for out-of-the-box trigger, accuracy, and shootability, the Savage rifles are top notch, even when compared to something like a Remington 700 (considered the gold standard). The big advantage of the Remington 700 is the massive aftermarket. So you could buy a 700, get some trigger work, barrel, you name it, and then have a fine rifle that will outshoot the Savage. But what do you want? out-of-the-box or custom work? Right now for me I want out-of-the-box. Again, that Enzo vs. first-time driver situation.

If you look at the Savage specs vs. what I was looking for, it fits the bill. Heck, I was having a fun time just clicking the safety on and off it’s so quiet by comparison! The trigger is mighty nice. I haven’t played with the adjustment yet, but hope to soon. For that matter, I haven’t yet taken it to the range to break it in and get it zeroed. I’ll report back afterwards.

You may have noticed the particular model I purchased was a combo unit with a scope. I wasn’t planning on buying such a thing and generally would have avoided it as I’d like to pick and choose the scope and get something “just right”. However, this was available and in fact was the only Savage in .308 I could find. No matter. The scope isn’t top of the line, but it’s a 3-9x40mm basic enough scope. It should get me on target and work “good enough” at this point in the game. By getting the combo it saved me some money, which is not a bad thing. I can use it for now, see how it goes, and I can always buy a new scope later on if needed.

So far I’m happy with my purchase, but the real assessment will come after I get to the range. 🙂

7 thoughts on “Hunting rifle

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  5. Grettings All

    In reading your post regarding what is a good all around hunting rifle, I have a Model 94 .3030 cal w/a Leipold 3*9*40.
    The problem
    i have always had with the Winchester 3030 is that the eject was the top eject forcing you to side mount a scope which if you have ever hunted with a side mount, you know ir sucks…..

    The New model 94 is a 45deg eject which allows for a top mount scope. They range from .22. cal through .44 cal. I had a friend that bragged he had a .458 cal Winchester but I have never heard of such an animal. I did shoot a couple of rounds out of a .458 cal years ago. Trust me, It is a real shoulder crusher.

    Like I said I usually start out my deer season with Bow, however, after 2 weeks go straight to my .54 cal Hawkins percussion. I also have a .357 cal long rifle that is a lot of fun. I read a post the other day where a person had been at Reds indoor and was complaining of burning eyes. YEPPERS….that would be the powder…..Lots of fun….but will irritate the crud out of your eyes.

    Good luck with your weapons hunting….that is just my 2 cents.

    • Thanx for the input. You know… I’ve lately had a hankerin’ to get a .30-30 lever action. I don’t know why, just want one for some reason. That’s cool to hear about the changes in the eject port. I guess I’ll look for those new model 94’s, or at least if I’m looking at a used gun to examine the ejector port. Good tip. Thanx.

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