A 21st Century Teenagerís First Rifle

By Jim Force

Vanguard Series 2 Synthetic
Weatherby Vanguard Series 2 Synthetic. Illustration courtesy of Weatherby, Inc.

His mom finally relented, after Brian shot his first deer last year, and agreed that he could get a rifle of his own. For three years, Brian has been using my firearms. Either a 20 gauge shotgun, .30-30 Marlin or, last year, my .308 Browning A-bolt that he used to harvest his first deer.

Brian and his Dad asked for my advice and assistance and the first thing I did was put the kybosh on Brian's first choice; a lever-action in 45-70. The 45-70 is a bit of a novelty round, expensive, kicks like a mule and not a great all-around caliber. Instead we narrowed his selection of caliber to .270 Winchester or 7mm Remington Magnum (he is 17 years old, 6í1Ē tall, weighs 180 pounds and should be able to handle the recoil of a 7mm mag). Brian did have a budget, which was under $500 for the rifle, so we started looking at used weapons or lower-end new.

While I donít particularly like plastic, the younger generation does and Brian wanted a ďblackĒ rifle. He also agreed that the most accurate and reliable weapon in his price range would be a bolt-action. Using the Internet, we did an extensive search and evaluation, looking at Mossberg, Savage, Browning, Thompson/Center, Weatherby, Remington, Ruger and Winchester. The final choice became a N.I.B. Weatherby Vanguard II.

Christmas came during this process and Brianís Dad asked me to select a rifle scope for he and Brianís mom to give to him for Christmas. Again, being somewhat budget conscious, I selected a new Redfield 3-9x40mm, an excellent value right now, as I believe Redfield and Leupold are giving more ďbang for the buckĒ to increase market share. Anyway, Brian loved it when he got it.

While schedules are complicated for all of us, especially considering that Brianís dad often works out-of-town, we finally found a Sunday when I could go to Brianís house and order the new rifle online. Itís not quite as easy as it sounds and we spent about three hours exploring all the sites with Weatherbyís for sale. Brian did decide that he wanted the weapon in 7mm Remington Magnum. I would have preferred he chose .270, but I wasnít going to tell a teenager what to do. That limited the selection somewhat. We finally found a Vanguard at a good price, in stock, and proceeded to order it, along with some Talley one piece bases/rings and two boxes of Fusion 175 grain ammunition.

After about a two week wait, the rifle showed-up at the local FFL dealer and Brianís Dad went to pick it up. It took about another two weeks for me to mount the scope. Finally, in late February, we went out to where we have a 100 yard target stand to sight-in Brianís new Weatherby. It was on the paperĒ in the eight ring with the first shot at 50 yards. 12 clicks and one more round got real close to the bulls eye. We moved back to 100 yards, made an eight click elevation adjustment and with the fourth shot, Brian put the bullet in the bullsí eye. He repeated a three round, 2Ē group, one of which was in the bullsí eye. Amazing out-of-the-box accuracy, considering we sit on a camp stool and use a homemade tripod! Brian loves his new rifle and scope and canít wait until Fall to use it on live game.

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