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Discussion Starter #1
I've decided to purchase a centerfire rifle and would like your recommendations. I'm looking for something that meets the following qualifications:
1. Primary use-target shooting, possibly hunting/defense
2. Bolt action, custom for left-handed shooter
3. With scope
4. Commonly found cartridge, relatively easy to reload

Right now, I'm considering one of the following calibers: .223, .308, .30

I'm leaning towards having Ed Brown make one for me, but really don't know what else is out there.

What other brands, calibers, models, etc., should I consider.

Thanks,

Dennis D. Carter
 

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Hi Dennis,
The question you pose is certainly complex. First, lets start with caliber. If you plan on hunting deer, it is illegal in many states to use the 223 (check your regs to be sure). The 308 will give you a large assortment of ammunition options from inexpensive plinking ammo up to high quality match ammo. Plus, you can use it to take up to Elk sized game (although there are better options in this category namely 30-06 and the 7mm & 300 Win Magnums although they are not much fun to shoot for extended periods and ammo cost can be prohibitive). In regards to rifle options, many manufacturers offer Left handed bolt actions. You can choose from Remington, Browning, Ruger, and Savage to name a few. If you want a custom you have even more options albiet for more money. The major manufacturers build guns that are capable of impressive groups. So, I guess it is more of what you want out of the gun. As far as scopes go you also have many options. You should opt for the best optics you can afford. You cannot shoot what you can't see. Options to consider in this area are Nikon, Leupold, Ziess, Swarovski, and Leica to name a few. The real question comes down to, how much are you willing to spend? Once you know the answer to that the rest comes fairly easy.

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Discussion Starter #3
Originally posted by oldcolt:
Hi Dennis,
The question you pose is certainly complex. First, lets start with caliber. If you plan on hunting deer, it is illegal in many states to use the 223 (check your regs to be sure). The 308 will give you a large assortment of ammunition options from inexpensive plinking ammo up to high quality match ammo. Plus, you can use it to take up to Elk sized game (although there are better options in this category namely 30-06 and the 7mm & 300 Win Magnums although they are not much fun to shoot for extended periods and ammo cost can be prohibitive). In regards to rifle options, many manufacturers offer Left handed bolt actions. You can choose from Remington, Browning, Ruger, and Savage to name a few. If you want a custom you have even more options albiet for more money. The major manufacturers build guns that are capable of impressive groups. So, I guess it is more of what you want out of the gun. As far as scopes go you also have many options. You should opt for the best optics you can afford. You cannot shoot what you can't see. Options to consider in this area are Nikon, Leupold, Ziess, Swarovski, and Leica to name a few. The real question comes down to, how much are you willing to spend? Once you know the answer to that the rest comes fairly easy.

Oldcolt,
Thanks for the information. I've pretty much decided on either a .223 or .308, probably the .308. It just seems to me that the .223 just isn't that big and would be limited to just target shooting. I haven't hunted in over 20 years and am not sure I want to go out again. So, I'd be using it primarily for target shooting.

From Remington, Browning, Weatherby, etc., the price ranges are $800-$1,600. I also have a rifle gunsmith's number. I'm going to try to get in touch with him. The Ed Brown's are about $2,800. $2,800 sounds like a lot (but I've spent that much on a 45 so I don't think it makes much difference)


I know that Ed Brown recommends the Swarovski scopes. Whatever I get, I want a good scope.

Decisions, decisions.

By the way, can't wait to get that LB Premier II to the range next weekend.

Dennis D. Carter
 

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Hi Dennis,
Let me know what you end up getting. I am a lefty as well and have a nice LH Browning A-Bolt Stainless Stalker in 30-06 and topped it with a Leupold 3.5-10 scope. I primarily use this one for hunting though but I have been known to shoot targets with it on occasion. I just got my Premier II back today and it is purrfect (misspelled on purpose).

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Dennis,

American Rifleman has a nice piece on the Brown Savanna Rifle. (August 2001, Dope bag, page 80.)
I recently experienced Swarovski's Customer Service...They are the Wilson Combat of optics, plus they offer a free loaner while you wait. Whatever scope, just get a 30mm tube in Swarovski, Schmidt and Bender or Zeiss. Great prices on all of these at: www.swfa.com www.bearbasin.com

good luck,

J Scott
 
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Discussion Starter #7
I'm still researching. Hicks Design recommends a Remington action for his custom build rifles. Two reps at a local dealer have added to my confusion. One recommends a Remington 700 and the other recommends a Browning. The Remingtons I saw looked pretty solid. One heavy barreled model was very impressive. The Browning I looked at had a slightly different bolt than the Remington. You didn't have to raise the bolt as far and it didn't rotate as did the Remington. I was told this was an advantage because sometimes the bolt would interfere with the scope on the Remington. Anyone familiar with either the Remington or Browning? I'd appreciate your thoughts.
Thanks,
Dennis D. Carter
 

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Dennis,
The Browning has a 60 degree bolt throw. And it does rotate, but there's a non-rotating sleeve surrounding it. That's what you see. It's supposed to make it "smoother" to operate. I'm not sold yet even though I just bought a new Browning. I've had great luck with Browning guns from the factory. But it's hard to find someone to customize a Browning action.

Remington actions are the best to work on. (I'm told). Their bolts will not interfere with most scopes (unless you mount a 50mm scope backwards). I can't recommend a Remington as the only one I had was a POS and wouldn't shoot less than 1 1/2 inch groups at 100 yards, even after about 300 dollars in gunsmith work on it! I'm sure that's a rarity, but you know the saying, once bitten......

So far, the two Brownings I've have shot under 1" with no work done to them. So I think I'll stick with them until I find a bad one.

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God Bless America!!

Danny
NRA, NAHC, Buckmasters
 
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Discussion Starter #9
Danny,
You're the second person I've heard from with a Browning. They must be pretty accurate out of the box.

I ended up ordering an Ed Brown Savanna in 308 caliber with a Swarovski Habicht AV 4-12x50 scope. I can't wait to get it!
Dennis D. Carter
 

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Dennis,

Please give us Range Report once you have this new rig. Your verdict will play a major role in my decision for a Brown.
As far as the Swarovski scope, I have yet to see anything better (for my eyes anyway).

J Scott
 
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Discussion Starter #11
J Scott,
I hope to receive it in about a month. I'll let you know. I only hope I can afford to buy ammo for it. If I had kids, they'd be starving until this is paid for.

There's another poster named Frank who has several Brown rifles. He's also had some Dakota's, so he's pretty knowledgeable about the quality of these high-end products. Drop me an email and I'll give you his email address.
Dennis D. Carter
 

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Gee. You don't respond to a post for a mere 3 1/2 weeks, and people just go on without you!

I didn't get to recommend a Savage Hunter series. Excellent rifle for the money. Accurate, well-built, available for lefties ...

Oh, well. The next hunting rifle I buy will probably be a Savage in .30-06. That's just too versatile a caliber to pass up, even if Jeff Cooper thinks the .308 is better.


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If God didn't want us to own guns, why did He make the 1911?
 
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Discussion Starter #13
The Savanna I ordered was delivered last Friday, a little over a month after I placed the order.

As with the Brown 45's, the workmanship is outstanding. I'm very pleased with the scope placement. When I first picked up the gun, it looked like the stock may be a little too short. I'm 6'2" and was quite surprised at how easily and comfortably it sighted. The Swarovski scope picture is sharp at both close and distant objects. The trigger pull is quick and crisp.

I couldn't take it to the range last Saturday because I couldn't find a cleaning rod and bore guide. But, that will be remedied by this weekend. I'm going try some 165 and 168 grain Hornady light magnums.

This is the second Brown product I've purchased, the other being a Custom Classic 45. With each of these, the workmanship and service have been outstanding. The orders were received promptly and I had the privilege of speaking directly with Ed Brown regarding scopes,ammunition, break in, and care.

Also, in a different post, I requested advice on reloading. I'll probably purchase dies after Christmas. Thanks for the input.

Dennis D. Carter
 

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Dennis,

Congrats on yet another Brown!

Are Hornady's LM what Brown recommends?

Good luck...however you won't need it.

J Scott
 
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Discussion Starter #15
Originally posted by J Scott:
Dennis,

Congrats on yet another Brown!

Are Hornady's LM what Brown recommends?

Good luck...however you won't need it.

J Scott
Thanks, I'm very pleased with it.

Brown recommended Federal Premiums. If I remember correctly, he said a nice range was 168-175 grain. The barrel has a 1 in 10 twist so it should be OK with anything up to about 200 grains. I thought of initially shooting some 147 grain Winchesters, but thought it best to work with a weight I'd like to use for both target and deer hunting.
Dennis D. Carter
 

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i would agree with you on the .30-06 being the most versatile caliber. over the counter cartridges range from the accelerators (a .22 caliber, 55 grain bullet in a sabot in front of the 06 cartridge) to a "light" magnum. they are capable of killing just about anything that moves in north america. maybe not bison -- but then again maybe so. if you are going to shoot targets, then the .223 should be acceptable with nominal recoil. mcole
 

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I quess then I have the best of both worlds. I own 2 Savages one in .223 and one in 30-06. The 06 is what I use to hunt deer with and the .223 chuck hunting and targets. They both shoot within 1" at a hundred yards with my reloads. Some days when I do everything right all rounds from either rifle will be touching each other.The .223 I usually shot 5 shot groups and the 30-06 3 shot groups. Both are sporter weight barrels because for the .223 I usually will walk a field and take the shots as they come but I still have a 12 power scope on it for the shots that are out there for distance. I can highly recommmend Savage as being very accurate out of box.:)
 
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Discussion Starter #19
I've finally had a chance to fire the Ed Brown Savanna I got a couple of weeks ago. I'm still breaking in the barrel, but it seems to shoot very well. To date, I've fired 70 rounds through it.

At 25 and 50 yards, it consistently shoots three and four shot groups measuring about 5/8". I've shot bullets ranging from 150 grains to 168 grains. It does OK with all of them but seems to like Sierra Matchking 168 grain BTHP's the best.

I'd like to post some pictures of the targets I've shot but can't figure out how. If you'd to see them, let me know. I'll email copies.

The rifle was delivered about a month after I ordered it and the workmanship is outstanding.

Dennis D. Carter
 

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I can't see how you could go wrong with either a Remington or a Savage.
 
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