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Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Southern 2G & Northern 4D
I like wood too.
With a $1200 budget you shouldn't have any trouble finding a good used deer rifle. I would start my search at a good gun shop with a good reputation.
Varmintmist suggestion on a Leopold 2 x 7 is spot on. Keep the scope set to 2 power when hunting, if you need more, you will have time to turn it up.
I would look at 308's if your going to just hunt deer and black bear. If you think you may hunt elk sometime then look for a 06, if you have no problem with recoil. A good USA made Winchester, Remington, or Ruger will fill the bill for make.
If you have not done so, fire a couple of different calibers to see how you handle recoil.
Once you purchase the firearm buy 3 or 4 boxes of different brands of ammo to see what the rifle likes, along with different weights of bullets, 150 , 165, 180 grain. If you find one thats a real tack driver, go back to the shop and buy all he has with that lot number.
Take the rifle to a good gun smith and have him work the trigger to 3 pounds.
Once you have the rifle sighted in with the best ammo start practicing with it, standing , keeling, and sitting, get off the bench. You can use the ammo that doesn't shoot that well for this. Practice at 25 yards, 50 yards, out to 100 yards, using a 9" paper plate to just get the feel of the rifle. Right now you want to just hitting the plate consistently. "Aim small miss small"
Even after all this you may have enough money to take the wife or girl friend out for dinner.
Remember the age old saying, "Beware of the man with one rifle, he probably knows how to use it".
The way that you wander is the way that you choose,
The day that you tarry is the day that you lose.
Sunshine or thunder, a man will always wonder.
Where the fair wind blows.