Budget Setup For Beginner (Need Advice)

Kwfranklin88

Private
Minuteman
Jan 11, 2020
74
11
12
Alabama
I’m new to long range shooting. I want to get a rifle, scope, and reloading equipment to get started and see if I like it. I need the cheapest setup possible that will work well enough for me to learn on. I don’t have much free time or money. I don’t want to invest a lot and end up only being able to shoot once or twice a year. I enjoy hunting so if I don’t get into the long range game I can always use the rifle for hunting. I need a good hunting rifle anyway. I’m not worried about tiny groups. I just want a good dependable setup that will consistently shoot moa or better. So far I’m leaning towards a Ruger Predator that I can slowly upgrade as I go. I’m not gonna put very much money into it though. I will mostly do the diy upgrades. Maybe get a Magpul hunter stock at the most. The reason being if I enjoy long range shooting and have the time to do it I will use the rifle as a hunting rifle and build a good long range only rifle. As far as optic goes. I need the cheapest possible that will get me out to 800 yards reliably and consistently. I need an optic that will track good enough to teach me how to use the turrets. The only scopes I’ve used are 3-9 duplex reticle hunting scopes. I need to learn how to holdover and adjust turrets for shots. I just want a single stage press to start with to learn the basics of reloading. I am thinking the lee anniversary kit with a digital scale and calipers. I’ve been doing a ton of research for a couple of months. I really want to learn these valuable skills. I’m also keeping an eye out for used equipment. If I find a good used deal I will definitely go that route but I’m hoping to get started as soon as possible. Sorry for the long post. Any advice is greatly appreciated.
 

bgavin

Sergeant of the Hide
Belligerents
Minuteman
Mar 19, 2018
417
167
49
AL
I would go with a tikka ctr with a trigger spring in you caliber of choice.

The reloading kits are all good but there were quite a few things I wanted to immediately upgrade in all I looked at. I bought all separately so I had what I wanted.

I went with mostly rcbs
Rock chucker
rcbs dies
hornady digital caliper
lyman prep station
rcbs chargemaster lite
 

Romeo458

That Guy
Belligerents
Minuteman
Sep 20, 2019
177
180
49
NEIA
To be perfectly honest dad's old hunting rifle in 270 or 30-06 will consistently get you to 800 yd and is just as good or better than any new rifle that you could buy. If you need to buy a new gun then I agree Tikka is a good gun, I also like Bergara.

And if you want a cheap but good scope that has a milling reticule SWFA fixed 10 power or fixed 6 power. They are nothing in price but they're pretty stout and I like mine so far.
 
Last edited:

Kwfranklin88

Private
Minuteman
Jan 11, 2020
74
11
12
Alabama
I would go with a tikka ctr.

I bought all separately so I had what I wanted.
I would love to have a tikka but since I’m just doing this for fun I don’t want to spend that much. If I can find a deal on one or end up with a bigger budget then I definitely will get the tikka. I thought about buying the reloading stuff separately also. I noticed each kit has short comings. So I will lean towards that route. Thanks! How do you like the reloading equipment you listed? Any complaints or regrets? Would you buy it again?
 

Kwfranklin88

Private
Minuteman
Jan 11, 2020
74
11
12
Alabama
If you need to buy a new gun.
Thankfully I do need a new gun. The only rifle I have is a bolt action 7.62x39 with 16” barrel.
So I’m hoping to get a good double duty rifle that I can learn on and hunt with. If I get into the long range stuff seriously then I will get a dedicated rifle and use this budget gun for hunting.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Romeo458

Romeo458

That Guy
Belligerents
Minuteman
Sep 20, 2019
177
180
49
NEIA
Thankfully I do need a new gun. The only rifle I have is a bolt action 7.62x39 with 16” barrel.
So I’m hoping to get a good double duty rifle that I can learn on and hunt with. If I get into the long range stuff seriously then I will get a dedicated rifle and use this budget gun for hunting.
Yeah, that one's not the best for the range you are looking at. Hell of a little hunting gun though.

If you don't want to spend a ton of money savage makes good rifles and you can definitely find one that will fit the bill, and if you want to down the road they are easy to do upgrades on. My brother started with a savage 3006 and after a while I had it re barreled just for something heavier than the sporter profile that was on there but it was a damn accurate rifle before that.
 

Bcamos

Private
Belligerents
Minuteman
Aug 30, 2012
105
101
49
30
Texas
You didn't state a budget, so it's hard to make a solid suggestion. But if I had to make a blind guess, I'd say go with a used Bergara HMR in .308 or 6.5CM. Then use an SFWA fixed 10X for your scope, or a used Vortex Viper HST. They'll be around the same price, the Viper HST will give you the ability to zoom while still being a decent scope but the SWFA will have much better glass and they're built like tanks. The Bergara HMR fits exactly what you're looking for (Hunting & Match Rifle), and they come with a pretty decent chassis/stock already, so it's not something you'll need to upgrade later.

I'd also suggest waiting on the reloading gear for now just to increase your Rifle/Scope budget a bit. Factory ammo can give you pretty great results while you're spending the time to learn your new rifle. Once you've got some trigger time, you can slowly get into reloading and you'll already have brass saved up from all your factory ammo. Not to mention, if you decide that this will only be a hunting rifle and you're not into long range target shooting, reloading won't be much of an advantage and a wasted cost in the long run.
 

Steel head

Feral kitten
Belligerents
Aug 3, 2014
4,651
5,345
219
Washington
Super cheap
Savage or rem 700 with a used HST.
My first was a Savage in 260 with an HST.
busted my 1000 cherry and got hits past 1400 with it.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Kwfranklin88

Kwfranklin88

Private
Minuteman
Jan 11, 2020
74
11
12
Alabama
You didn't state a budget, so it's hard to make a solid suggestion. But if I had to make a blind guess, I'd say go with a used Bergara HMR in .308 or 6.5CM. Then use an SFWA fixed 10X for your scope, or a used Vortex Viper HST. They'll be around the same price, the Viper HST will give you the ability to zoom while still being a decent scope but the SWFA will have much better glass and they're built like tanks. The Bergara HMR fits exactly what you're looking for (Hunting & Match Rifle), and they come with a pretty decent chassis/stock already, so it's not something you'll need to upgrade later.

I'd also suggest waiting on the reloading gear for now just to increase your Rifle/Scope budget a bit. Factory ammo can give you pretty great results while you're spending the time to learn your new rifle. Once you've got some trigger time, you can slowly get into reloading and you'll already have brass saved up from all your factory ammo. Not to mention, if you decide that this will only be a hunting rifle and you're not into long range target shooting, reloading won't be much of an advantage and a wasted cost in the long run.
Would the fixed 10x scope be a hassle not having zoom? I wouldn’t be doing any competition shooting. Just 100 yard groups and shooting out to 800 or so to learn ballistic compensations. I’ve never used a fixed power optic. It seems like it would be hard to reach past 500 with 10x but then again I’ve never tried it.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Bcamos

Bcamos

Private
Belligerents
Minuteman
Aug 30, 2012
105
101
49
30
Texas
Would the fixed 10x scope be a hassle not having zoom? I wouldn’t be doing any competition shooting. Just 100 yard groups and shooting out to 800 or so to learn ballistic compensations. I’ve never used a fixed power optic. It seems like it would be hard to reach past 500 with 10x but then again I’ve never tried it.
Most times, people that aren't competing just end up leaving their optic on the highest zoom setting anyway and don't even realize it lol.

For hunting, zoom is a must because 10x is way too much for that frequent 50-75yd shot but a fixed 3x might not be enough for that occasional 250yd shot.

For just plinking around I doubt that you'll be hindered by a fixed 10x. It's certainly enough magnification to hit steel out to 1,000yds as long as you're not shooting smaller targets. If you think it won't be enough, SWFA also sells a 12x and I believe a 16x.

While fixed magnification certainly isn't the ideal configuration, the glass clarity and tracking are going to be leaps and bounds above anything else in your price range. So the real question would be, do you want to go with limited features for better quality, or lower quality with more features?
 
  • Like
Reactions: Kwfranklin88

Steel head

Feral kitten
Belligerents
Aug 3, 2014
4,651
5,345
219
Washington
Would the fixed 10x scope be a hassle not having zoom? I wouldn’t be doing any competition shooting. Just 100 yard groups and shooting out to 800 or so to learn ballistic compensations. I’ve never used a fixed power optic. It seems like it would be hard to reach past 500 with 10x but then again I’ve never tried it.
10x sucks for hunting but it’s totally enough for 800 yards targets.
 

2aBaCa

Major Hide Member
Belligerents
Minuteman
Jan 27, 2019
1,815
1,528
119
Behind enemy lines Northern Commiefornia
My reccomendation on a budget is to get shooting, you can be all in for under a grand. Shop for an inexpensive 308, 6.5cm, 243, 260. Or something with affordable quality ammo that you can upgrade incrimentally.

FORGET about reloading until you really get into the hobby. It will only cost you MORE time and MORE money. Unless your shooting thousands of rounds a year it doesnt pay off. There is plenty of quality ammo.
 

Kwfranklin88

Private
Minuteman
Jan 11, 2020
74
11
12
Alabama
Most times, people that aren't competing just end up leaving their optic on the highest zoom setting anyway and don't even realize it lol.

For hunting, zoom is a must because 10x is way too much for that frequent 50-75yd shot but a fixed 3x might not be enough for that occasional 250yd shot.

For just plinking around I doubt that you'll be hindered by a fixed 10x. It's certainly enough magnification to hit steel out to 1,000yds as long as you're not shooting smaller targets. If you think it won't be enough, SWFA also sells a 12x and I believe a 16x.

While fixed magnification certainly isn't the ideal configuration, the glass clarity and tracking are going to be leaps and bounds above anything else in your price range. So the real question would be, do you want to go with limited features for better quality, or lower quality with more features?
Awesome! Thank you! Very informative!
 
  • Like
Reactions: Bcamos

Flatwater77

Sergeant of the Hide
Belligerents
Minuteman
Jan 10, 2020
107
114
49
Kearney, NE
If you are looking for a really good value in glass, take a look at the Nikon FX1000 scopes on Eurooptics. Nikon is getting out of the scope business but they will continue to honor existing scope warranties. I just picked up a 4-16 illuminated for $380. The 6-24 is less than $500. I don’t think anything else can even come close to quality and features at that price...
 

bgavin

Sergeant of the Hide
Belligerents
Minuteman
Mar 19, 2018
417
167
49
AL
I would love to have a tikka but since I’m just doing this for fun I don’t want to spend that much. If I can find a deal on one or end up with a bigger budget then I definitely will get the tikka. I thought about buying the reloading stuff separately also. I noticed each kit has short comings. So I will lean towards that route. Thanks! How do you like the reloading equipment you listed? Any complaints or regrets? Would you buy it again?
I still have all I listed and completely happy.

I have a rcbs primer but got a lee that sits on the table and like it better. I had the advantage of trying a friends equipment before buying so I got to try out everything I bought first.

The only thing I want different is a autotrickler v3 but that's not happening for quite a while. I got bit by the suppressor bug around November and went on a TBAC buying streak. Bank Account has to recover from that. Ha
 
  • Like
Reactions: Kwfranklin88

Reverie Ranges

11B3HB4 1997-2007
Belligerents
Minuteman
Dec 16, 2019
106
63
34
Vancouver, WA
I would recommend Rem 700 in whatever cal you find is best for what you are using for. 308 is a common well versed cal. Don't worry about throwing money into reloading stuff unless you are REALLY into shooting frequently. Save your brass if you decide that is the direction you want to go.
 

bgavin

Sergeant of the Hide
Belligerents
Minuteman
Mar 19, 2018
417
167
49
AL
I would recommend Rem 700 in whatever cal you find is best for what you are using for. 308 is a common well versed cal. Don't worry about throwing money into reloading stuff unless you are REALLY into shooting frequently. Save your brass if you decide that is the direction you want to go.
Good advice.

I shot factory ammo for several years before I started reloading. I have a shooting buddy that let me use his equipment to start off and see if I would stick with it before I went out and bought everything.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Kwfranklin88

Gobears16

Sergeant of the Hide
Belligerents
Minuteman
Jun 13, 2018
183
94
34
Walnut Creek, Ca
Well lucky for you there are lots of good options out there. 5 years ago it would be tougher to do what your trying on your budget. Most all of the newer OEM rifle producers are pumping out sub MOA rifles. For under $500 I’d pick a 6.5 creedmoor in Ruger American. My buddy has one and it’s silly how accurate it is with factory Hornady American Gunner.

If you can save a little longer I’d buy a tikka CTR in 6.5. It’s a great dual purpose rifle. And the upgrades down the road are great and more and more aftermarket parts are being made.

As far as optics this is were I would spend as much money as you can and buy a used one in the classifieds on here. Ditch the idea of reloading for down the road and use those funds to buy better glass.
 

flyer

Unicorn hunter
Belligerents
Minuteman
Apr 25, 2018
2,168
1,235
119
Once you can afford paragraphs, you might get better help.
 

Flatwater77

Sergeant of the Hide
Belligerents
Minuteman
Jan 10, 2020
107
114
49
Kearney, NE
I started reloading with a Lee Classic kit. It is a fine way to start. My advice would be to immediately sell the scale on eBay and buy something like an older Ohaus or RCBS mechanical scale. Just don’t get one that has oil dampening. The electronic scales are fine but the cheap ones are prone to drift. I would also buy a Franklin Arsenal electronic caliper and powder trickler.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Kwfranklin88

JC0352

Private
Belligerents
Jul 14, 2011
399
234
49
38
Louisiana
Others have said it already, but ditch the idea of getting into reloading if you’re already short on money and time.

I think a lot of us start out similar to this. Once you get into it, it’s amazing how much more money you find yourself willing to spend, lol.
 

chevy_man

Gunny Sergeant
Belligerents
Minuteman
Jan 25, 2019
619
401
69
The Ruger will shoot. They're amazingly accurate for a cheap rifle.

Get a 6.5 Creed and don't worry about reloading. Reloading equipment is a chore to sell and goes slow. 6.5 factory ammo is cheap and plentiful to get started. Much cheaper than equipment gathering dust also.

Swfa will work. There are some budget scopes that work but aren't great to see through. Can't hit what you can't see. The PX here always has plenty of used stuff for sale. Sig tango 4 is my personal cheap favorite.

On the scope, spend more on the scope and put it in $40 Weaver rings if you need. There is rarely the occasion to need a $100+ pair of rings but everyone will guilt you into thinking you need to buy mega $$$ rings for a rifle that isn't getting abused. (I have more than one $1k scope in $40 rings and they work just fine, hell my $2500 scope is in $100 rings only because it's an odd size).
 
  • Like
Reactions: Kwfranklin88

Kwfranklin88

Private
Minuteman
Jan 11, 2020
74
11
12
Alabama
If you are looking for a really good value in glass, take a look at the Nikon FX1000 scopes on Eurooptics. Nikon is getting out of the scope business but they will continue to honor existing scope warranties. I just picked up a 4-16 illuminated for $380. The 6-24 is less than $500. I don’t think anything else can even come close to quality and features at that price...
Awesome thanks!
 

Kwfranklin88

Private
Minuteman
Jan 11, 2020
74
11
12
Alabama
Once you can afford paragraphs, you might get better help.
Sorry I do not have perfect grammar. I went into the military at 18 instead of college. I can afford a full custom rifle. I’m just trying to get a cheap hunting rifle that I can try out long range plinking with. I just started a business last year and I have 3 kids. Time is my issue not money. I don’t want to invest $3k on a rifle that I just look at in the safe.
 

Kwfranklin88

Private
Minuteman
Jan 11, 2020
74
11
12
Alabama
The Ruger will shoot. They're amazingly accurate for a cheap rifle.

Get a 6.5 Creed and don't worry about reloading. Reloading equipment is a chore to sell and goes slow. 6.5 factory ammo is cheap and plentiful to get started. Much cheaper than equipment gathering dust also.

Swfa will work. There are some budget scopes that work but aren't great to see through. Can't hit what you can't see. The PX here always has plenty of used stuff for sale. Sig tango 4 is my personal cheap favorite.

On the scope, spend more on the scope and put it in $40 Weaver rings if you need. There is rarely the occasion to need a $100+ pair of rings but everyone will guilt you into thinking you need to buy mega $$$ rings for a rifle that isn't getting abused. (I have more than one $1k scope in $40 rings and they work just fine, hell my $2500 scope is in $100 rings only because it's an odd size).
Great! Thank you!
 

Texmex

Private
Minuteman
Nov 7, 2019
4
5
6
If you are really cash strapped I would strongly consider getting a 308 instead of 6.5 Creedmoor if you will be shooting a lot. You’ll need to rebarrel after 2,000-2,500 rounds with the creedmoor which, given the cost of a new barrel and the smith work needed, probably will cost more than your rifle. A 308 will give you 10-12k rounds before the barrel is gone most likely.

Plus there is tons of great factory ammo for 308. Like others said, at a low price point you are better off shooting factory ammo and putting the reloading budget into the rifle or glass. Do a little looking to see how much cheaper you can reload compared to factory ammo. I think you will see it isn’t much. People reload (at least in common calibers) not to save money but to perfect a load for their specific rifle and conditions.
 

Lag1791

Private
Minuteman
Sep 12, 2018
9
9
6
Similar to my situation. I wanted a rifle for cheap and I wanted to get into reloading. I ended up buying a TC-Compass in 6.5 CM. cost me $280.00 I bought a trigger kit and upgraded the bolt knob. For Glass I went with Athlon Aries BTR which was really more than i wanted to spend but is a quality optic IMO for the price point. The TC_compass will shoot about .5-.6" (3-shot) group at 100yards. After that the barrel heats up, but will still be at about an 1" with 5 shots. For me that was running 140gr ELD-M ammo with H4350.

While shooting the TC-compass I am buying (pc-by=pc) the custom rifle I want. More of a heavy bench rifle. I will keep the TC-compass for hunting duty cause it is nice and light. If you want to learn more about the TC Compass and reloading take a look a Jonny's Reloading video's on YouTube. He got me into reloading and I learned allot from his videos and Panhandle precision videos.

As far as reloading. I went with the Lee Classic cast press. It is a nice entry level single stage. That said If i had to do it again I would have spent a little more and got something better. I, planning on selling my Lee Classic and upgrading to a Mech Marksman. For powder measure I use a Lyman Gen6 Digital powder measure and when I precision load I verify weight on a GemPro 250 scale. I prime off press with a Frankford arsenal hand primer. I like it cause I can sit in front of the TV and prime all my brass while watching a movie.

All in all for reloading, I have quite a bit of money tied into it. Reloading to me is therapy so i love it. I don't really do it to save $$. More of a hobby!
 
  • Like
Reactions: Kwfranklin88

flyer

Unicorn hunter
Belligerents
Minuteman
Apr 25, 2018
2,168
1,235
119
Sorry I do not have perfect grammar. I went into the military at 18 instead of college. I can afford a full custom rifle. I’m just trying to get a cheap hunting rifle that I can try out long range plinking with. I just started a business last year and I have 3 kids. Time is my issue not money. I don’t want to invest $3k on a rifle that I just look at in the safe.
This is better than the wall of text in your first post.

Ok, first let's talk about optics.

You can go cheap with a more or less hunting style scope for around $200 and get pretty decent glass that will get you out to 800 yards with some amount of inconvenience. You can step up in to entry level "tactical" scopes with a first focal plane reticle, parallax adjustment, locking turrets and zero stops but that is a bit risky if you spend under $1,500. I think there might be good options around $700 with the Meopta Optika 6 range but I haven't had my hands on one. Nikon has some cheap scopes but they are leaving the rifle scope market so service and warranty are big issues.

The benefit of spending more is that you can start training with controls that are going to be very similar to what you would find on a high dollar "precision rifle" and a scope can move up with you as you buy better rifles to put under it.

The benefit of spending less is if you start with a rifle like a Savage 12FV or other budget gun, a $200 scope is appropriate for a budget hunting gun and you can leave it on there forever.

Now ballistics. .308 Winchester is pretty good and 800 yards is well within it's capabilities. 6.5 Creedmoor is better and makes 1,000 yards kind of easy by comparison. Quality box ammo is about the same cost (Berger 140 grain 6.5 Creedmoor is a bargain with 140 grain hybrid bullets and Lapua small primer brass). Reloading is going to cost about the same too. Once upon a time surplus 7.62x51 ammo was the cheap way to shoot a .308 but it's not a very good bargain now and not really precision ammo.

Barrel life is a small issue. After 3,000 rounds through a budget gun, you're either going to be ready to step up to a nicer rifle, ready to quit thinking about long shots or maybe ready to buy a nice Pre-fit barrel replacement (this is why Savage can be a nice entry level option, easy barrel replacement).

Now for reloading. If you buy a 200 round case or two of Berger 140 grain 6.5 Creedmoor, you'll have some very high quality brass by the time you are ready to reload.

Case prep can be expensive if you take it to benchrest levels of sorting, annealing and fancy dies.

Some people have good luck doing the minimum.

Lee makes a lot of really good budget tools. I would probably start with a Lee universal decapping die, Lee case trimmers (not the type that you use in a reloading press), a Lee bench prime and a Lee Ultimate reloading die set (to get the collet sizing die) or maybe a Hornady match reloading die set to get a bushing sizer and a micrometer adjustable seater.

You will need a lube pad, a tumbler, a sifter or an ultrasonic cleaner. Inside and outside chamfer tools, primer pocket uniformers, maybe a flash hole deburring tool.

To weigh powder, get an Ohaus 505 scale. You always need one, even if just to confirm weights done by an automatic powder scale.

You should probably get a Hornady Lock & Load headspace gauge and bullet comparator with a decent digital caliper (or dial if you like that).

You'll need a powder funnel and reloading blocks too.

I like to use two presses. One dirty for depriming, collet bullet pullers or crimp dies, low precision tasks. One for clean stuff like resizing, bullet seating, etc. Your clean press should be nice. I like an "O" style press with a perfectly aligned ram and minimal play. The Lee Classic Cast is a nice one and not too expensive. I prefer the one without the Breach Lock die threads. If you want quick change dies (to maintain die adjustment), I like the Hornady system which will screw in to that version of the Lee Classic Cast or an RCBS Rock Chucker.

That list is pretty easily $5-600 for a fairly basic reloading setup. You could spend thousands more if you add neck turning, concentricity gauges, annealing and an auto-trickeler.

All of this means you need to think about when you are going to see your pay off. You can reload really good ammo for about $0.75 each or you can buy that Berger for $1.30 each and maybe sell off the once fired Lapua SRP brass.

Ammo made with that $600 reloading setup could probably be more accurate than box ammo in your rifle after you do some load development but it's a big investment in time and money that you'll never get back if you decide that reloading is not for you.

Now the gun. If you go in spending $700 for a nice scope, $100 or more on rings, $260 on a case of ammo and $600 on reloading gear, that's $1,660 before you buy a gun or any reloading components.

You could go entry level like the Savage 12 FV. It has a reputation for accuracy, pretty good aftermarket support, easy barrel changes (no lathe required) and a pretty nice trigger. That could put your total budget around $2,000 except you still need a case, range bag, spotting scope and other accessories if you are starting from scratch.

If you increase your budget to $2,500 you have a lot more options for guns that might be a little nicer.

If you go with a $200 scope, cheap rings, a $260 case of ammo, leave reloading for another day and buy a Savage 12 FV, your budget might be $850.

I'm of the opinion that it is easier to save up money and get nice stuff than to struggle trying to work inside a small budget.

That said, I do tinker around and try to save money. The thing is my results are mixed and I usually spend more than I intend.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Kwfranklin88

2aBaCa

Major Hide Member
Belligerents
Minuteman
Jan 27, 2019
1,815
1,528
119
Behind enemy lines Northern Commiefornia
The way I see it is there are 3 tiers

<$1k: $500 rifle+ $500 scope n rings
Entry level hunting rifles. quality low end scopes. Burris, vortex, athlon, etc.

<$2k $1000 rifle+ $1000 scope n rings
Nicer mag fed chassis stocks, Tikka, Bergara, RPR, Howa HCR etc. A really nice mid tier scope.

>$3k $2000+ rifle $1000+ scope n rings
A nice production rifle, custom action with barrel in a stock or chassis of your choice and high end optic.

Got to as many gun shops as you can and molest as many rifles and scopes as you can.

Pick one, you really cant go wrong.

As far as reloading, take it from someone who enjoys it but also has a full time job and kids.

Wait.

It is a hobby of its own. It is very time consuming. You can easily spend more time loading than actually shooting.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Kwfranklin88

remmynikon.308

Sergeant of the Hide
Belligerents
Minuteman
Feb 1, 2019
163
342
69
a while back i bought a savage 12fv on sale at cabelas for 350 bucks and bought a bell and carlson stock for like 300 bucks, and put 300 in scope. with everything i was less than a grand and the thing shoots pretty well.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Kwfranklin88

EnsEntium

Hunter
Belligerents
Feb 14, 2017
15
14
6
Having 3 kids myself I fully understand time being an issue. I definitely would suggest quality factory ammo and spend more time shooting. Put the money towards a class or higher quality optic you can rely on.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Kwfranklin88

Kwfranklin88

Private
Minuteman
Jan 11, 2020
74
11
12
Alabama
This is better than the wall of text in your first post.

Ok, first let's talk about optics.

You can go cheap with a more or less hunting style scope for around $200 and get pretty decent glass that will get you out to 800 yards with some amount of inconvenience. You can step up in to entry level "tactical" scopes with a first focal plane reticle, parallax adjustment, locking turrets and zero stops but that is a bit risky if you spend under $1,500. I think there might be good options around $700 with the Meopta Optika 6 range but I haven't had my hands on one. Nikon has some cheap scopes but they are leaving the rifle scope market so service and warranty are big issues.

The benefit of spending more is that you can start training with controls that are going to be very similar to what you would find on a high dollar "precision rifle" and a scope can move up with you as you buy better rifles to put under it.

The benefit of spending less is if you start with a rifle like a Savage 12FV or other budget gun, a $200 scope is appropriate for a budget hunting gun and you can leave it on there forever.

Now ballistics. .308 Winchester is pretty good and 800 yards is well within it's capabilities. 6.5 Creedmoor is better and makes 1,000 yards kind of easy by comparison. Quality box ammo is about the same cost (Berger 140 grain 6.5 Creedmoor is a bargain with 140 grain hybrid bullets and Lapua small primer brass). Reloading is going to cost about the same too. Once upon a time surplus 7.62x51 ammo was the cheap way to shoot a .308 but it's not a very good bargain now and not really precision ammo.

Barrel life is a small issue. After 3,000 rounds through a budget gun, you're either going to be ready to step up to a nicer rifle, ready to quit thinking about long shots or maybe ready to buy a nice Pre-fit barrel replacement (this is why Savage can be a nice entry level option, easy barrel replacement).

Now for reloading. If you buy a 200 round case or two of Berger 140 grain 6.5 Creedmoor, you'll have some very high quality brass by the time you are ready to reload.

Case prep can be expensive if you take it to benchrest levels of sorting, annealing and fancy dies.

Some people have good luck doing the minimum.

Lee makes a lot of really good budget tools. I would probably start with a Lee universal decapping die, Lee case trimmers (not the type that you use in a reloading press), a Lee bench prime and a Lee Ultimate reloading die set (to get the collet sizing die) or maybe a Hornady match reloading die set to get a bushing sizer and a micrometer adjustable seater.

You will need a lube pad, a tumbler, a sifter or an ultrasonic cleaner. Inside and outside chamfer tools, primer pocket uniformers, maybe a flash hole deburring tool.

To weigh powder, get an Ohaus 505 scale. You always need one, even if just to confirm weights done by an automatic powder scale.

You should probably get a Hornady Lock & Load headspace gauge and bullet comparator with a decent digital caliper (or dial if you like that).

You'll need a powder funnel and reloading blocks too.

I like to use two presses. One dirty for depriming, collet bullet pullers or crimp dies, low precision tasks. One for clean stuff like resizing, bullet seating, etc. Your clean press should be nice. I like an "O" style press with a perfectly aligned ram and minimal play. The Lee Classic Cast is a nice one and not too expensive. I prefer the one without the Breach Lock die threads. If you want quick change dies (to maintain die adjustment), I like the Hornady system which will screw in to that version of the Lee Classic Cast or an RCBS Rock Chucker.

That list is pretty easily $5-600 for a fairly basic reloading setup. You could spend thousands more if you add neck turning, concentricity gauges, annealing and an auto-trickeler.

All of this means you need to think about when you are going to see your pay off. You can reload really good ammo for about $0.75 each or you can buy that Berger for $1.30 each and maybe sell off the once fired Lapua SRP brass.

Ammo made with that $600 reloading setup could probably be more accurate than box ammo in your rifle after you do some load development but it's a big investment in time and money that you'll never get back if you decide that reloading is not for you.

Now the gun. If you go in spending $700 for a nice scope, $100 or more on rings, $260 on a case of ammo and $600 on reloading gear, that's $1,660 before you buy a gun or any reloading components.

You could go entry level like the Savage 12 FV. It has a reputation for accuracy, pretty good aftermarket support, easy barrel changes (no lathe required) and a pretty nice trigger. That could put your total budget around $2,000 except you still need a case, range bag, spotting scope and other accessories if you are starting from scratch.

If you increase your budget to $2,500 you have a lot more options for guns that might be a little nicer.

If you go with a $200 scope, cheap rings, a $260 case of ammo, leave reloading for another day and buy a Savage 12 FV, your budget might be $850.

I'm of the opinion that it is easier to save up money and get nice stuff than to struggle trying to work inside a small budget.

That said, I do tinker around and try to save money. The thing is my results are mixed and I usually spend more than I intend.
Extremely helpful! Thank you sir! I will be waiting on reloading. I want be shooting as soon as possible. The only reason I’m even considering reloading is for the accuracy benefits.
 

Kwfranklin88

Private
Minuteman
Jan 11, 2020
74
11
12
Alabama
The way I see it is there are 3 tiers

<$1k: $500 rifle+ $500 scope n rings
Entry level hunting rifles. quality low end scopes. Burris, vortex, athlon, etc.

<$2k $1000 rifle+ $1000 scope n rings
Nicer mag fed chassis stocks, Tikka, Bergara, RPR, Howa HCR etc. A really nice mid tier scope.

>$3k $2000+ rifle $1000+ scope n rings
A nice production rifle, custom action with barrel in a stock or chassis of your choice and high end optic.

Got to as many gun shops as you can and molest as many rifles and scopes as you can.

Pick one, you really cant go wrong.

As far as reloading, take it from someone who enjoys it but also has a full time job and kids.

Wait.

It is a hobby of its own. It is very time consuming. You can easily spend more time loading than actually shooting.
I know I would enjoy reloading. I enjoy making my own arrows for my bow.
I will be waiting for sure though. I was mainly wondering if the budget reloading kits were worth it.
 

Kwfranklin88

Private
Minuteman
Jan 11, 2020
74
11
12
Alabama
a while back i bought a savage 12fv on sale at cabelas for 350 bucks and bought a bell and carlson stock for like 300 bucks, and put 300 in scope. with everything i was less than a grand and the thing shoots pretty well.
Awesome! What kind of groups are you getting with factory ammo?
What scope did you get?
 

Kwfranklin88

Private
Minuteman
Jan 11, 2020
74
11
12
Alabama
Having 3 kids myself I fully understand time being an issue. I definitely would suggest quality factory ammo and spend more time shooting. Put the money towards a class or higher quality optic you can rely on.
Yea I plan to take some classes after I get comfortable and consistent with the rifle at 100 yards.
 

flyer

Unicorn hunter
Belligerents
Minuteman
Apr 25, 2018
2,168
1,235
119
I know I would enjoy reloading. I enjoy making my own arrows for my bow.
I will be waiting for sure though. I was mainly wondering if the budget reloading kits were worth it.
I look at the budget kits and while they will reload ammo, usually the choice of scale is not great, the case prep equipment is incomplete and they usually have an on press priming tool.

They force you in to one method and corners are cut.

It's better to figure out how you want to reload and then look at how to get value priced and high quality tools for the job.

I made a list of reasonably priced tools that get the job done. Not the best of the best but nothing bad.

You should read reviews and watch product videos.

If your goal is precision, you want to treat every case nicely and exactly the same.

Brass is an interesting material that is springy, ductile, gummy or brittle depending on how you treat it. You need to understand what is happening to it as it is fired, extracted/ejected, annealed and formed. Following directions will produce ammo but without understanding you won't know when to deviate from them.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Kwfranklin88

2aBaCa

Major Hide Member
Belligerents
Minuteman
Jan 27, 2019
1,815
1,528
119
Behind enemy lines Northern Commiefornia
I know I would enjoy reloading. I enjoy making my own arrows for my bow.
I will be waiting for sure though. I was mainly wondering if the budget reloading kits were worth it.
It's a rabbit hole. Just like buying a budget rifle and scope. If you get serious you will eventually get something better until you have replaced everything.
 

Kevins750

Sergeant of the Hide
Hessian
Belligerents
Minuteman
Oct 5, 2018
258
78
34
Lemoore california
After going through this with a couple of work buddies lately....

For an out of the box accurate, light trigger, heavy barrelled rifle. Savage 10/110, 11&12 rifles are hard to beat.

Not the fastest, prettiest,or smoothest but they shoot.

For low budget quality optics, athlon,Weaver tactical, Bushnell, swfa are some of the better ones. Try to find used ones here, eBay or the vendors on here.

I can afford any reloading press I want, I started with an old RCBS press and
Moved to the Lee classic cast single.
I also have a Lee classic turret. Lee presses and Forster, whidden,Redding and Lee dies have made me some pretty accurate ammo.
 

DJL2

Talon 6
Belligerents
Minuteman
Oct 16, 2013
190
81
34
Georgia
It was already mentioned with Nikon, but look for optics that are going out of production.

I'm a weirdo and wanted a FFP, mil/mil scope that was relatively light weight and compact without being crazy expensive to do general purpose duty on my Winchester Model 70. My Tango4 ran me about $400 bucks IIRC...every other option I considered was 800+ dollars. My 3-12 SIG Tango4 might not be a top tier piece of glass, but it was incredibly discounted because that particular model/color was being discontinued.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Kwfranklin88

johnnybravoo77

Private
Minuteman
Dec 28, 2019
3
2
6
Im in a similar situation. And besides the great info already posted, I'll throw you my 2 cents of research over the past year. Im a long time hunter, and have been looking into long range shooting for a couple years.

Gun- Ive always kept up with with the firearms market. I think top contenders for lower cost would the savage 12v in 6.5cr. Tons of aftermarket support, and most upgrades can be done without needing a gunsmith. Second choice would be the ruger predator, as the aftermarket support is increasing pretty well. Other choices would the howa 1500, or a rem 700.

Rings/ base- do NOT go cheap on rings and base. Get the good stuff. It seems ridiculous at first, but peace of mind will win in the long run knowing these wont fail once set up properly.

Scope- It gets confusing, and there's more options every year. Good glass will potentially out last your rifle. If money isnt a huge issue, spend it here. 3-4x on the low end for hunting purposes. And depending on how much your willing to pay, 16-20x top end. You'll want an illuminated reticle if you get a ffp, not a deal breaker if sfp.

Im currently looking into a "dual" purpose scope now as well, and keeping a budget of around $6-700 in mind, my top contender is the meopta optika 6. Others are athlon midas, vortex viper, and leupold vx3i. There are great used deals in the classifieds here and a couple other forums which could potentially get you some great glass much cheaper than retail prices. Most manufacturers have lifetime warranties even if its bought used, so theres some peace of mind.

Ammo- factory. If you decide later to reload, ive seen complete setups being sold used at half price all over. You can then piece together everything you want at good prices.

In the end, you'll have a good accurate hunting rifle, and something you can start with in the long range shooting. Good luck!
 
  • Like
Reactions: Kwfranklin88

flyer

Unicorn hunter
Belligerents
Minuteman
Apr 25, 2018
2,168
1,235
119
For base and rings, I have recently gone with a Leupold Backcountry rail. It is 7075 aluminum, well machined and reasonably priced. I have heard about some people having luck with cheaper Weaver rails but for an extra $15-20, I think it is money well spent. I'm also trying a set of Vortex Tactical rings. They are China made but a six screw design and pretty beefy. I think I paid $28.50 for the set on clearance.

For consistency I bedded the rail and reamed the rings, so there is some cost to the epoxy and I'm lucky to know a guy who owns a 30mm ring reamer.

It's cheap but high end doesn't get a lot more that you need, it just gets fancier.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Kwfranklin88

Kwfranklin88

Private
Minuteman
Jan 11, 2020
74
11
12
Alabama
For base and rings, I have recently gone with a Leupold Backcountry rail. It is 7075 aluminum, well machined and reasonably priced. I have heard about some people having luck with cheaper Weaver rails but for an extra $15-20, I think it is money well spent. I'm also trying a set of Vortex Tactical rings. They are China made but a six screw design and pretty beefy. I think I paid $28.50 for the set on clearance.

For consistency I bedded the rail and reamed the rings, so there is some cost to the epoxy and I'm lucky to know a guy who owns a 30mm ring reamer.

It's cheap but high end doesn't get a lot more that you need, it just gets fancier.
Ok thanks! So I guess I should have worded the post differently.

Basically I’m trying to decide if I should get a Ruger Predator or Savage 12fv and upgrade slightly to make it more long range friendly. While keeping it budget and hunting friendly. So I have a dang good hunting rifle if I decide not to get into the long range game.

I know I will never recoup the money I put into a budget gun. An that gun will not take me very far if I do decide to get into the long range game.

Should I start with a better foundation like a trued Remington 700 action with a prefit barrel and decent stock?
So if I don’t get into long range shooting I have a great hunting rifle to pass down to the grandkids.

If I do enjoy long range then I have a better starting point to upgrade from. If I want to build a custom rifle I will already be familiar with parts and suppliers.

I want to start with a budget gun because it’s cheaper. I also know that the budget gun is kind of a waste of money in a sense.
 

Steel head

Feral kitten
Belligerents
Aug 3, 2014
4,651
5,345
219
Washington
After going through this with a couple of work buddies lately....

For an out of the box accurate, light trigger, heavy barrelled rifle. Savage 10/110, 11&12 rifles are hard to beat.

Not the fastest, prettiest,or smoothest but they shoot.

For low budget quality optics, athlon,Weaver tactical, Bushnell, swfa are some of the better ones. Try to find used ones here, eBay or the vendors on here.

I can afford any reloading press I want, I started with an old RCBS press and
Moved to the Lee classic cast single.
I also have a Lee classic turret. Lee presses and Forster, whidden,Redding and Lee dies have made me some pretty accurate ammo.
This savage 11 shoots awesome but is a bit of a money trap and has ejection issues now on its third barrel.
FA4C886A-992C-424B-876D-7F909B0CC40C.jpeg
The cheap In cost of a savage has possible limitations in the future but isn’t an issue if your ok with that going in.

I’m still perfect satisfied with me Lee Classic Turret
 
  • Like
Reactions: Kwfranklin88

Kwfranklin88

Private
Minuteman
Jan 11, 2020
74
11
12
Alabama
Im in a similar situation. And besides the great info already posted, I'll throw you my 2 cents of research over the past year. Im a long time hunter, and have been looking into long range shooting for a couple years.

Gun- Ive always kept up with with the firearms market. I think top contenders for lower cost would the savage 12v in 6.5cr. Tons of aftermarket support, and most upgrades can be done without needing a gunsmith. Second choice would be the ruger predator, as the aftermarket support is increasing pretty well. Other choices would the howa 1500, or a rem 700.

Rings/ base- do NOT go cheap on rings and base. Get the good stuff. It seems ridiculous at first, but peace of mind will win in the long run knowing these wont fail once set up properly.

Scope- It gets confusing, and there's more options every year. Good glass will potentially out last your rifle. If money isnt a huge issue, spend it here. 3-4x on the low end for hunting purposes. And depending on how much your willing to pay, 16-20x top end. You'll want an illuminated reticle if you get a ffp, not a deal breaker if sfp.

Im currently looking into a "dual" purpose scope now as well, and keeping a budget of around $6-700 in mind, my top contender is the meopta optika 6. Others are athlon midas, vortex viper, and leupold vx3i. There are great used deals in the classifieds here and a couple other forums which could potentially get you some great glass much cheaper than retail prices. Most manufacturers have lifetime warranties even if its bought used, so theres some peace of mind.

Ammo- factory. If you decide later to reload, ive seen complete setups being sold used at half price all over. You can then piece together everything you want at good prices.

In the end, you'll have a good accurate hunting rifle, and something you can start with in the long range shooting. Good luck!
I’ve read a lot of post saying Savage has a lot of issues that hinder it for long range shooting. Upgrades are hard to find. Bolt and feeding issues. Trigger issues. I’m not familiar with this model. Do you think it would be a better foundation than a Remington 700 or Ruger predator?
 

johnnybravoo77

Private
Minuteman
Dec 28, 2019
3
2
6
I’ve read a lot of post saying Savage has a lot of issues that hinder it for long range shooting. Upgrades are hard to find. Bolt and feeding issues. Trigger issues. I’m not familiar with this model. Do you think it would be a better foundation than a Remington 700 or Ruger predator?
Ive read about those things, but... out of the box accuracy seem to follow the savage rifle pretty consistently. At $370 from cabelas, its a quick start. If you start getting into long range more, you'll want to purchase a custom action, and build from there. All of the above guns can be customized till your blue in the face, but youll spend just as much in gunsmithing, as you would just buying a new gun, or building off a custom action.

I would buy the gun you want to hunt with. Take that gun to range and have fun. You'll figure out the rest after that.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Kwfranklin88

flyer

Unicorn hunter
Belligerents
Minuteman
Apr 25, 2018
2,168
1,235
119
I don't know anything about the Ruger Predator.

On Savage, I know that barrel swaps are easy and that is probably the biggest accuracy upgrade you can do on a working rifle, the Accu-trigger is pretty nice so you probably won't be tempted to do more than a spring swap or a bit of shimming.

The biggest complaint I see with Savage rifles is heavy bolt lift. Some people try to fix it with a time and tune job from a good Savage gunsmith or a lift kit or an extended bolt handle. The thing is, it's a budget gun. While a heavy bolt lift might move your rifle off of your aim while you are cycling it and that will slow you down in a match, it's only a problem in a match or maybe trying to get a follow-up shot when hunting and that problem is only costing a second or two.

A Remington 700 isn't a better platform in my opinion, it just has more stuff that you can put on it, it winds up being more expensive and a little bit smoother.

A full custom rifle is a better platform and then using the Remington 700 footprint makes sense so that you can get an improved action with all of the accessories compatible (hopefully).

Also, I think a budget minded full custom is usually going to turn out nicer and cheaper than a cheap Remington 700 with a catalog thrown at it and a blueprint.

A lot of people are happy with a 12FV in a Boyds stock with a decent scope.

In 6.5 Creedmoor, with good ammo, that is usually enough to group at 1,000 yards and it's hard to argue with that.

There might be options that do better for less but so far I haven't seen any that have such an easy and obvious upgrade path.

I have a Savage (not a 12FV) that has a fluted bolt body (for looks), a Glades bolt handle, about $10 of shims and springs in the Accu-trigger, a nice recoil lug and a Pre-fit barrel. It's in a cheap chassis with a folding stock and a $700 scope but the whole budget is around $2,000. If you deduct the scope and the folding stock it's about $1,000 but it has a barrel that's better than what they put in an RPR. That's my version of throwing a catalog at a Savage. I'm going to use it for entry level, low budget ELR. I could have gone cheaper but I got the chassis for detachable magazines and the folding stock so it will fit in a normal sized case.