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Centerfire Rifles - Manually Operated Lever action, bolt action or other non gas operated centerfire rifles.

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  #1  
Old 11-01-2022, 8:05 AM
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Default Entry level bolt action questions

I took my girlfriend shooting and her favorite rifles were my bolt actions. The only issue is both are .30-06 (03A3 and REM 700) so the recoil was a little much. She said she wants to get a bolt action with a scope. She really liked shooting my 700 from the bench, so I figured another one like it would be a good place to start. It’s a Long Range model with the 26” heavy barrel. I was thinking a Bergara in 6.5 Creedmoor would be great, or maybe .223 Remington. She is a left handed shooter, so we would prefer a left handed rifle.

Any recommendations?
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Old 11-01-2022, 8:12 AM
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Left handed bolts are not easy to find.

Both the wife and son are left handed. I got a left handed Savage in 30-06. Funny thing is my son is so used to shooting with right hand bolts and reaching over to cycle the bolt that the lefty bolt feels strange to him.

For caliber I think the 6.5 or .223 is a great idea. 308 and 30-06 are expensive and have more recoil. 223 is the way to go for cost and recoil unless she really wants to reach out to 400+ yards. If she’d be shooting mostly at 300 or less then I’d go with the .223.

Last edited by Ora Serrata; 11-01-2022 at 10:31 AM..
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Old 11-01-2022, 8:18 AM
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You have several good options here for her. The .223 Remington is an obvious choice, and with the heavier, higher-BC bullets (80+ gr), it can reach out there to about 600 yards or even a bit more.

My wife has no trouble shooting the 7mm-08 Savage 11 with a 24" varmint barrel, due to the barrel's weight. The 7mm-08 with the 139gr bullet is a pretty soft shooter anyway, much like the 6.5 Creedmoor.

A Remington 700 Varmint in .308 Win (26" barrel) would also be a very good choice. I've shot one of those and find it to be very comfortable, especially compared to a lighter-weight hunting rifle like the Ruger American in .308 Win.

A .243 Win would be another very good choice. Even rifles with sporter barrels chambered for this cartridge tend to be pretty low recoil.

And, of course, the already-mentioned 6.5 Creedmoor would be a fine choice as well.

As for rifle models, I haven't shot a Bergara, but they've gotten high marks. Any quality rifle is a good choice, and there are several, but for lefties, I would look at Remington and especially Savage.
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Old 11-01-2022, 8:22 AM
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If you're bench shooting, one of the affordable 22's would be good way to go(there's a number of nice 224 calibre cartridges). 223 would probably be the most affordable of those.

In regard to the rifle, let her pick it. Take her to a few LGS and let her handle and shoulder some rifles.

I bought my wife a couple of rifles, but only after she had shot the same rifles. Otherwise, she picks her own, that fit her and her likes.
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Old 11-01-2022, 8:31 AM
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I would also suggest a Savage in .223. Ammo is more plentiful than about anything else, less expensive and very pleasant to shoot. Left handed Savages may be easier to find.

It is great that she is enjoying this hobby with you.
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Old 11-01-2022, 8:32 AM
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Take the time and go to sportsman warehouse and bass pro.
They might have some left handed bolt she can try.
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Old 11-01-2022, 8:32 AM
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.223 would be easier on the wallet and recoil.
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Old 11-01-2022, 8:36 AM
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Tikka's come in left handed models. I have a Savage left handed .308 for my wife and she loves it so far.
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Old 11-01-2022, 8:43 AM
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Old 11-01-2022, 8:53 AM
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I do load for my .30-06 but it’s not left handed and she feels way more comfortable shooting left handed.

I have some reloading stuff for .223, so I think it would make the most sense. I’ll call around to some local shops and see if they have any lefty .223s.
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Old 11-01-2022, 9:13 AM
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For sure a 223 or 5.56 would be nicer to shoot and left-hand models easier to find. Put a 3x9 scope on it and ready to go.
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Old 11-01-2022, 9:30 AM
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Savage for the win!

https://www.savagearms.com/content?p...ummary&s=57247
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Old 11-01-2022, 11:02 AM
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My wife likes black powder rifles, especially Hawken types. Those are available righty or lefty

She's a crack-shot with her TC Hawken
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Old 11-01-2022, 11:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bhobbs View Post
I do load for my .30-06 but it’s not left handed and she feels way more comfortable shooting left handed.

I have some reloading stuff for .223, so I think it would make the most sense. I’ll call around to some local shops and see if they have any lefty .223s.
Can she not shoot those rifles left handed without a left handed bolt?
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  #15  
Old 11-01-2022, 11:56 AM
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She can and does ok with it but I want something she feels is hers and not just something of mine she can use.
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Old 11-01-2022, 12:24 PM
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Depends on the rifle. Not all stocks are ambidextrous. The Monte Carlo style stocks would not be comfortable to shoot left handed; while possible the cheek weld would be uncomfortable.

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Can she not shoot those rifles left handed without a left handed bolt?
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Old 11-01-2022, 12:32 PM
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Ruger American Predator Left-Handed in 6.5 Creedmoor

RUGER AMERICAN RIFLE PREDATOR LH 6.5CM MODEL 16977

Put it in a chassis if you want to use AICS magazines.

Brownells, MDT and Indian Creek make chassis for the Ruger American. And I know at least Indian Creek offers a left hand version.
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Old 11-01-2022, 1:12 PM
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Id buy a 223, 243, 6.5 Grendel. A Creedmoor might be too much unnecessary recoil for a new shooter at short distances. A decent 223 can grow with just about anyone.
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Old 11-01-2022, 2:04 PM
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Is she left handed or cross dominant? I am cross dominant and loathe lefty bolt actions, it just feels so unnatural with my left hand. For a semi auto I definitely want left handed controls, ejection is irrelevant either way for me. If she’s a true lefty then a left handed bolt is probably the way to go, but otherwise I’d have her handle one to find out.
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Old 11-01-2022, 2:22 PM
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She’s cross dominant but she feels much more comfortable shooting left handed. She hasn’t been shooting very long, so maybe we can try to get her to shoot right handed. I’ll work with her next time we go out.
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Old 11-01-2022, 2:35 PM
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One of my favorite rifles is a Marlin 891T. A bolt Action Tube Fed rifle that will shoot .22 anything, .22LR, .22long, .22short, .22CB's. And it holds more than 10 rounds in the tube, it holds 25 rounds Short, 19 rounds Long, or 17 Long Rifle.
It has Ramp front and adjustable open rear sights.
It should cost under $300.

The other option would be a Savage Axis XP in .223
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  #22  
Old 11-01-2022, 2:46 PM
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I have a Savage M10 in .223: 22" barrel, 4-round box mag, nice wood stock. It's a very accurate rifle. Not sure if Savage still makes it though--haven't looked recently. Savage is certainly worth the money.

I agree with others regarding .223. Yu can get a variety of bullet weights, and ammo is easy to get. My Savage eats everything I feed it.

Occasionally, Savage has rifles that come with a scope, which is ideal for new shooters. Also, Savage may have a rebate that can save you some money.

My LGS had a very nice Bergara .243. The action was buttery smooth and the cost wasn't horrendous for such a nice rifle. Bergara is certainly worth a look.
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Old 11-01-2022, 2:52 PM
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As a lefty, I have been shooting right handed bolts so long (45 years) that LH bolts are really weird to shoot. I only have two LH bolt guns (AR50 and 700BDL in .270) and don't shoot them often. I suggest having her shoot a couple LH rifles before deciding that she wants one. In my opinion, it's better for lefties to learn to shoot RH rifles because, they are more common. I'll also suggest a good bolt action .22lr like a Mossberg 44US or similar. If she wants a centerfire rifle, 223 is a good choice out to 500 yards or so or a .243 if she wants the to shoot out to 1000 or so. The .243 would also be a better deer rifle should she decide to take up hunting.
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Old 11-01-2022, 6:01 PM
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Since she’s cross dominant ergos really matter. For instance a tang safety is far preferable if she’s going to shoot left handed. It’s rifles, so switching to right handed shooting with a scope isn’t difficult, but if she’s interested in any other type of firearm then it matters more.

As a cross dominant shooter I just got used to shooting rifles and shotguns left handed. I shoot left handed break action shotuns, a right eject semi auto shotgun with the safety reversed (and stock adjusted for cast on). I shoot pistols right handed in a weaveresque stance. Semi auto rifles are annoying unless they have ambi controls, having to reach over to work a charging handle or safety is no fun. Bolt action rifles I prefer righty guns, especially for shooting from a bench. On a bench the right handed bolt is actually perfect, what I look for there is how the safety is set up because that does make a difference.
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Old 11-01-2022, 7:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bhobbs View Post
She’s cross dominant but she feels much more comfortable shooting left handed. She hasn’t been shooting very long, so maybe we can try to get her to shoot right handed. I’ll work with her next time we go out.
I am also cross-dominant, right-handed but left-eye dominant. Turns out I shoot a rifle better right-handed, so I trained my right eye to behave. :-) However, if she shoots more comfortably left-handed, then yes, she should try seriously shooting left-handed. Lefty rifles are out there, rest assured. Whatever works best for her is what she should do. But you know that already.

Yes, you can download the .30-06 to .30-30 levels or even lower, safely. There's "The Load", which is 16 grains of 2400 underneath a 150gr bullet. This works pretty well as a a reduced load for full-power military cartridges like the .30-06, .308 Win, 7.62x54R, .303 British, 7.5x55 Swiss, and so on.

With that said, I'm thinking that the .223 Rem will be the best choice for her, for her first rifle, or a .22 LR (I like .22LR rifles, too). This way she gets her proper rifle-shooting technique which will carry over if she wants to shoot a more powerful cartridge later on.
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  #26  
Old 11-02-2022, 8:09 AM
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Yeah, I’m leaning towards .223. Seems like the best way forward.
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Old 11-02-2022, 10:12 AM
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I'd recommend Tikka T3x in 243 of 7-08. Great quality, accuracy and trigger.
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Old 11-02-2022, 1:46 PM
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But not entry level.
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Old 11-02-2022, 1:51 PM
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Get her a left handed sps varmint 700 in 223 and put a heavy scope on it. Sportsman's has them.
They weigh 8.5 pounds already so adding a heavy scope will further aid in recoil reduction.
Also chop the stock if needed so it fits her. A poorly fitting gun is no fun to shoot for anyone and worse for a beginner.
The advantage with the 700 is you can change barrels bolts stocks and triggers as needed and they retain there value.
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Old 11-03-2022, 7:38 AM
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That's why I brought up earlier, to let her go to the LGS and handle some rifle to find one she feels comfortable with.

Good point that you can chop/modify stocks to fit. Take-off stocks are easily available if ever need to go back to original configuration.

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Also chop the stock if needed so it fits her. A poorly fitting gun is no fun to shoot for anyone and worse for a beginner.
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Old 11-04-2022, 9:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bhobbs View Post
She’s cross dominant but she feels much more comfortable shooting left handed. She hasn’t been shooting very long, so maybe we can try to get her to shoot right handed. I’ll work with her next time we go out.
As an aside, a lefty friend of mine recently had a rifle built on a left bolt-left port action. All his other rifles are right-handed. He finds the left handed action unnatural, and though he's keeping it, says he kind of regrets going lefty on the new rifle.

I'm not suggesting one way or the other, just throwing this out there. Let your wife decide (but see if she can at least sit behind, if not shoot, a left handed rifle.)
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Old 11-04-2022, 3:34 PM
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Good luck finding a new lefty rem 700, they are almost impossible to find. Used there a few out there but still difficult. Probably going to need to look at bergara or savage. Definitely get the 556.
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Old 11-04-2022, 4:23 PM
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My 2 cents:

If she likes shooting from the bench then a heavy barrel won't walk bullets and she will be happier. But shooting off hand will not make her happy.

If you get a lighter barrel, it's more fun to carry to and from the range, to shoot off hand, even partially rested, seated, etc. But when on the bench the bullets will start to walk when she heats it up good and hot, and not be happy.

I'd tailor it to the shooting she likes NOW. And not for unknown future capability that may or may not happen.
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Old 11-06-2022, 9:35 AM
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Neither of us hunt, and the most we walk with our gear is from the truck to the bench, so weight isn’t much of an issue. The heavy barrel has more benefits in this case.
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Old 11-06-2022, 10:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmykan View Post
Ruger American Predator Left-Handed in 6.5 Creedmoor

RUGER AMERICAN RIFLE PREDATOR LH 6.5CM MODEL 16977
I would begrudgingly recommend a 6.5 creedmoor as a starting bolt gun for anyone due to so much more ammo cost and recoil than a 223.

I don't know why they don't offer the left hand predator in 223, but if they did, it would be my recommendation.
I think the 223 predator is an excellent starting bolt gun for anybody who can shoot a right handed rifle.
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Old 11-23-2022, 8:20 PM
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223 and check out Sportsman’s warehouse for the lefty. ��
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Old 11-24-2022, 8:00 AM
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Get a lefty used if you can and save some money.
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Old 11-25-2022, 9:01 AM
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If, when she wants more gun than .223, muzzle brakes make larger calibers pleasant to shoot.
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Old 11-25-2022, 2:18 PM
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First question- What does she want to shoot at? Just poke holes in paper? Steel targets? Varmints? Small game? Big game? And at what ranges?

Pick a suitable chambering for the task, keeping in mind ammo availability and cost.

You might look long and hard at a Savage in 308 Win. Priced right and generally tack drivers right out of the box. ( https://www.savagearms.com/content?p...ummary&s=57010 ) 308 Win is commonly available, usually not the most expensive box of cartridges on the shelf, and especially if you reload, being a 30 cal, the range of available bullets means it can be loaded for anything from light varmint to bull moose.

Just my 2 cents worth.
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Old 11-25-2022, 6:51 PM
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If she's never going to hunt, it's hard to even come close to everything the .223 offers. I don't even know why you'd look elsewhere.

If she gets to the point some day that 500+ yard shots are easy for her, you'll want something a little nicer than an entry-level rifle and you can ponder a cartridge change, but until then I can't see any other logical choice all things considered.
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