The $1000 Hunting Rifle System
By the Guns and Shooting Online Staff
Guns and Shooting Online member Ryan Brown suggested that we write an article about buying a rifle and optics for the hunter on a fixed budget. Here, in Ryan's words from his e-mail, is the way he put it:
"What equipment would you purchase given a certain budget? For instance, let's say you are buying equipment for a combined elk and deer hunt. I would love to see what you would purchase given a budget of $1000 and $2000. I would limit the equipment to rifle, scope (with mounting hardware), binoculars, one box of shells and a rangefinder (if desired). Go with these assumptions: Price of new rifles at market rate, price of scope and hardware at a known site such as Midway USA or similar source. Assume that all ammunition will shoot a sufficient MOA (1.5" at 100 yards). Remember that this is a combined hunt, so you will need to find a load that can cleanly take both deer and elk at a variety of ranges. For the binoculars and range finders, find the prices in any outdoor store or catalog (Cabela's, Midway USA, etc.)."
We do our best to honor member requests, which have previously resulted in a number of Guns and Shooting Online articles. At a "shooters coffee" staff meeting held the same day that we received Ryan's e-mail, we decided that Ryan's suggestion had merit and was worth a staff survey article.
Our decision was to address the $1000 and $2000 packages in separate articles. Participating in this $1000 survey were Guns and Shooting Online Owner and Managing Editor Chuck Hawks, Senior Editor Randy Wakeman, Gunsmithing Editor Rocky Hays, Chief Executive Technical Advisor Jim Fleck, Technical Advisor Bob Fleck and Technical Advisor Jack Seeling. All prices are approximate at the time of publication. Here are the Guns and Shooting Online staff selections for a $1000 package suitable for Class 2 and Class 3 mixed bag hunts.
There you have it, five no frills hunting systems for approximately $1000 in a store or catalog near you. Weatherby Vanguard and Savage bolt action rifles were our choices in this price class and synthetic stocks are, unfortunately, universal. No one felt that a rangefinder was a crucial piece of gear for the hypothetical budget mule deer and elk hunt and even a binocular proved to be beyond the budget limit for one of us.
Nobody chose a package deal that included a rifle, mount and scope, although many rifles are available in such packages. We all have our individual preferences in scopes and mounts and are perfectly willing (actually prefer) to do our own scope mounting and bore sighting.
Also worth comment is the fact that all respondents chose mainstream, all-around calibers. It is hard to quibble with the likes of the .270 Winchester, .308 Winchester and .30-06 Springfield for general CXP2/CXP3 big game hunting and ammunition is available practically anywhere.
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