This article was written by guest author Jay Chambers from Minuteman Review
Hunting is a great way to connect with nature and use skill to acquire the food you place on your table. However, many beginners often feel overwhelmed by the options in front of them when it comes to purchasing their first hunting rifle. It truly isn’t as complicated as it might seem though. There are just a few key points to keep in mind and some excellent rifles to choose from.
One important thing to keep in mind is that you don’t have to break the bank to acquire a quality rifle. There are good rifles made by respected brands for under 500 dollars. This isn’t to say that a 2000 dollar rifle has no benefits over a 400 dollar one, just that the extra money is unnecessary.
You should also consider what caliber is best for you. This is largely dependent upon what you are hunting. For small animals, a .22 is often ideal. It is plentiful and affordable, you can plink all day without worrying about the cost, and the recoil is low which makes practicing easy. For larger animals, calibers like 30-06, .30-30, and .308 Win are commonly used. There isn’t necessarily a perfect caliber, and they all offer something a little different. You can read more about what you plan on hunting to find the perfect caliber.
You should also check what your local laws are. As an example, some states restrict hunting with certain types of firearms, such as semi-automatic rifles. With standard bolt-action rifles though, you shouldn’t run into any issues.
The Savage line of hunting rifles offers some of the best bang for your buck. They make versions of it in various calibers and configurations. They have models with more ergonomic stocks that offer more comfort for shooters. They also offer left-handed versions which makes a big difference for many southpaws. Most of them run in the 300-550 dollar range. A couple models will go a bit higher at around 800 dollars. These are made for more precision and with more finely tuned parts, but as mentioned before, a beginner can eschew the fancier weapons. The cheapest model will do you quite well.
These rifles are not going to be the premier choice of shooting competitors, but they are still great. They shoot accurately. Their stocks are comfortable enough. They are durable in the elements. At the end of the day, they will reliably put your shots where you need them to go.
This rifle is cheap enough to be a budget rifle, but it still offers a few bells and whistles. For one, the barrel is free floating. Free floating barrels do not have as much pressure on the barrel which makes them more consistently accurate when firing. The trigger is one of the best among less expensive rifles. It is also adjustable which allows you to make the pull heavier or lighter depending on what feels best for you. The stock is well designed with a cushy buttstock. The Ruger American excels in those areas and is solid everywhere else.
Tikka T3 Light
This rifle is a bit more expensive than the others on this list, coming in at around 700 dollars. Tikka is owned by the Italian company Beretta. When civilians and military forces alike have had help in need, Beretta and Tikka have historically supplied high quality firearms for a number of purposes.
The T3 is incredibly accurate. They all come off the assembly line with a 3-shot sub MOA. This essentially means that if three shots are fired at the same point, they are guaranteed to land within 1 inch of each other at 100 yards. The barrel is free floating which helps it achieve those sub MOA groupings. It comes with a light trigger that can be adjusted. One benefit of the gun is that its receiver and action are incredibly tight and durable.
For those with a bit more money to spend, this might be the best option on the list.
We’ll end with a discussion of the best .22 rifle for a beginner. As previously mentioned, the .22 is by and large the go to caliber for hunting small game and varmints. While small, it packs enough punch for these small animals. The recoil is low, which makes it a great rifle for teaching people who are new to rifles in general.
The 10-22 is one of the most popular .22s around. It is incredibly versatile. They are manufactured in a number of configurations. Some are outfitted to be optimized for more tactical options like attachments and adjustable stocks. Some are outfitted to be as precise as possible. The best options for a beginner though are the basic ones. You can find the simple version of the rifle with either a wooden or a synthetic stock for quite cheap.
They are semi-automatic and generally come with 10 round magazines. Because the gun is so popular, there are a lot of aftermarket parts and accessories if you want to customize the gun or buy a larger magazine at a later date. They are constructed simply which helps them to function reliably. You should clean and maintain any rifle, but the 10-22 is a little less reliant on your tender, love, and care than others out there.
As a final piece of advice, pick the rifle that suits you best. Once you have an idea of what you’re looking for and what you need, sometimes the deciding factor can be whatever feels right. All of these rifles are high quality, and they will all get the job done.