In the grand scheme of things, it wasn’t long ago when I acquired my first deer hunting rifle. If memory serves right, then the acquisition happened about three years before I started this blog or about seven years ago. I find it amusing looking back telling the story about how it happened. Not because it’s a funny story, but rather how bizarre the order of events seems to me now.
The ordeal happened shortly after becoming a new gun owner. I recall having had a few conversations with a close friend regarding deer hunting and somehow arriving at the conclusion that I needed a deer rifle. I didn’t know much about hunting or rifles, but that didn’t stop me from heading down to a local big box sporting goods store to get one. When I arrived, I asked the salesman behind the counter if he could recommend an entry level deer hunting rifle for somebody who was curious about hunting and not looking to spend too much. He quickly suggested a Remington 770. It was inexpensive and came from the factory with a scope. Again I had no idea what to look for so I agreed. The clerk then asked which variant I wanted as he had three different ones to pick from. One was chambered for .308 Winchester (308), another for .30-06 Springfield (30-06) and I can’t remember the third option was. I do remember being completely lost and asking the clerk what I think most folks in a similar position would ask, “Which one of those is best for deer hunting?” The clerk authoritatively declared 308 as the best. However, two other customers disagreed and resolutely claimed 30-06 was superior. Having no opinion on the matter myself, I chose the one chambered for 30-06 because it got two thirds of the available votes.
It’s bizarre to me because that is an impulsive gamble where I relied on input from random people without knowing any of their qualifications. While I may still suffer from an impulse buy here and there, I’d like to think that more recent impulse buys are at least based on some prior knowledge and not quite so wild gambles. Nevertheless, the gamble, for the most part, paid off. I ended up picking up the rifle that I harvested my first deer with a few years later for right around $350. I’d call that a win.
The rifle is a very basic bolt action rifle, but let’s walk through it quickly anyway. This particular variant begins with a 22″ barrel that’s been cut to a hunter profile with a crowned muzzle. Following the barrel back we find the beginning of the black synthetic stock. As we continue towards the stock we encounter the action which is based on a Model 700 action with 60 degree lift bolt. The action is okay. It’s smooth enough, but tends to stick if not lifted, pulled or pushed at the right angle. It’s not perfect, but for the price it’s pretty darn good. Above the action we have a Picatinny rail which has an unmarked Bushnell 3-9x40mm scope mounted with unmarked rings. Below the bolt we have a trigger which is surrounded by a trigger guard that is part of the synthetic stock. The trigger itself is pretty good. I mean it’s a bolt action trigger and as such there is virtually no travel. However, it is a little bit on the heavy side for my liking coming at an average of 4 lbs and 10.6 oz to break. Moving back we have the a pistol grip contour to the stock that is followed with the butt of the stock that includes a slightly raised cheek piece and ends with a factory recoil pad.
The scope is what one would expect given the price point of the rifle. It’s an entry level 3-9x40mm scope with a simple duplex crosshair reticle built on a 1-inch tube with capped elevation and windage adjustment turrets. The glass quality is fair. The magnification right which is found just in front of the rear ocular lens housing is smooth albeit a little on the stiff side.
The entire 8.5 lbs package is ready to go out of the box. While the zero on the scope can benefit from a little fine tuning once ammo has been selected, the factory bore sighted 100 yard zero is pretty spot on. There are no bells and whistles. Zero frills. Sure that leaves a little to be desired, but it is functional and it will put meat in the freezer.
It’s too bad this rifle was discontinued in 2014 as I think it’s a good option for folks looking to give hunting a try without investing too much. There are certainly some other great alternatives available in the market today. That said it wouldn’t hurt to check the used market for a deal on one of these.