A newbie's impression of various rifles:

Guy Miner

Master Loader
Apr 6, 2006
Almost a year ago, a 50 year old young woman started shooting pistols with me. She was new to shooting, except for some fun with a .22 when she was a kid. Quickly she learned the basics of handling a semi-auto, (didn't care for revolvers) and bought two: a .45 1911 by Ruger, and a .22 Ruger pistol. Both stainless. She's put hundreds, probably thousands, of rounds through them now, and is quite a competent gun handler.

One day at the range she said, "Hey Miner, did you bring one of your rifles?" Well ya, of course. And more than one. So we shot some rifles. I was astounded as we worked our way up through the various rifles, topping out at my .375 H&H Ruger Number One. With my bear loads... She loved it! :shock:

So, slowly, I've been coaching her on rifle shooting as well. Today she wanted to go shopping for hunting rifles. Apparently at 50, she's decided to become a hunter. She wants to hunt here in Washington for bear, deer and elk. Then maybe branch out. Dreams of Africa are already mentioned. Okay. I can work with that. We went to several local gun stores - and I was cracking up at her opinions. These are what they were, earlier today, take 'em from a novice, but a novice who can out-shoot many of us with a .45 handgun, and is learning with a rifle...

BTW - I told her that in my opinion the cartridge didn't matter at all during this trip, I just wanted her to shoulder and look at a lot of different rifles. Turns out (no surprise) she's got expensive tastes.

Marlin bolt action: "Eww"
Savage bolt action: "Eh" (granted, it was a bottom of the line Savage in a plastic stock)
Remington 700 - not a nice one - synthetic stock, matte finish: "Eh"
Remington 700 CDL - "Oh, it's like yours, it's okay." :(
Nosler in .300 WSM - "Hmm. Not bad, do they make it with a wood stock?" Why yes they do...
Tikka synthetic - "Eh"
Tikka wood - "Hmmm"
Kimber with a gorgeous wood stock - "Oh... Nice!"
Kimber Mountain Ascent (or whatever they call their ultra-light) - "Hmm, no."
CZ .308 Win with full-length stock - "Kind of klunky." Sorry CZ guys...
SAKO with wood stock - "Miner I love this rifle!"
SAKO Finnlight - "Oh my gosh, this is just like the one I loved, except lighter!"

So... There ya have it. Glad I don't have to buy her danged hunting rifle! :mrgreen:

I was hoping to have her look at a Winchester Model 70, particularly a Super Grade, and a Ruger 77 Hawkeye - but she didn't like the store that carries those. They were apparently rude to her when she was shopping for a 1911 six months ago... So, she bought elsewhere. She is considering a trip to Bend, to try the various Nosler rifles. I'm half surprised she hasn't mentioned going to the SAKO factory too.

Of my rifles she's tried:

.375 H&H Ruger Number One - "I love this rifle!"
.375 H&H Win 70 - "It's good. I like the Ruger better."
.30-06 Rem 700 CDL - "Eh, I like the Ruger better." :(
.25-06 Rem 700 CDL - "You shoot big game with this?" :oops:
.308 Win Rem 700 Green Machine SWAT rifle - "OMG, this is so cool! Can you teach me to shoot like a sniper?" :grin:
.223/5.56 Bushmaster AR-15 16" with small Leupold atop: "OMG this is fun!" That's at 15 - 300 yards with excellent shooting...
.22 Marlin 39A - "Cool, and fun!"

So - I dunno guys. There ya have it for what it's worth. Hope nobody's ox was gored. My 700 CDL went down, not quite in flames but down.

It was a FUN afternoon of rifle shopping. What a hoot.

Out of the mouths of babies...
Always find it interesting how many gun shops have not figured out women are the fastest growing segment in hunting and shooting.
She sounds fun, good on you Guy.

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Sounds like an excuse to put some pretty walnut on a Tikka or Savage. She seems to have a thing for furniture and light weight, as does my wife. A shorter stock with lightening drilling, strategic sanding and a racy grip scratched her itch. Put it on the same Savage 308 she started with, but made it a whole "new" rifle.
Ya, I noticed the same thing. What was interesting is that it turned out to be the "feel" of the walnut that she liked, more than the looks. She appreciated the nice looking wood, but really just didn't like the inexpensive molded synthetic stocks. She's a big fan of the McMillan stock on my "Green Machine" rifle.

It's her money - but since I introduced her to the shooting world, I feel a tinge of responsibility and will work on making sure she gets to handle some more rifles before she commits.

Well, I'm with her on the furniture. I know all the arguments about synthetic and even of laminate stocks. Nevertheless, a pretty piece of wood with some fine figure will grab my attention every time. Pity that the gun store that wasn't visited had acted rudely to the lady. I'm in agreement that a surprising number of stores seem not to have figured out that women's money spends as well as men's ducats. I know that with your guidance she'll find something she likes. Great account, Guy.
Very cool Guy. Those Kimbers are some nice rifles and their trim'ness has to be appealing as well.
I think the scales were heavily tipped towards the $1800 SAKO rifles by the end of the afternoon.
Guy, this is interesting as Brooke has been working with a group of approx 40 young people, I think they are like 18 to 25 or so and half of them are females. They have all hunted since they were very young and they overwhelming choose Sako as their rifle of choose. Scotty, please correct me if I am wrong, but I think her group choose a Sako 338 win mag spitting out 225 gr A Frames as their one rifle for everything in Alaska rifle

My hats off to you Guy for taking the time to work with this lady, I am sure with your guidance she will be hunting with a rifle that fits her and that she likes in no time.

kudos's to Guy
Great post Guy. In my short time here on the plant, I have found it very hard to predict what others will like. I prefer function, fit and low maintainence, most also prefer something pleasant to look at. (y)
yukon huntress":1tkqgk5s said:
My hats off to you Guy for taking the time to work with this lady, I am sure with your guidance she will be hunting with a rifle that fits her and that she likes in no time.

kudos's to Guy

Thanks! I found it incredibly interesting that on her first day of shooting rifles she not only chose to try a .375 H&H, but really enjoyed it.

That was very similar to the day she came to the basic pistol class with no pistol of her own. She tried .22, 9mm, .38/357 and finally wanted to try my .45 1911. She shot it well and very quickly declared "Miner, I love this gun!" Then went out and bought one for herself.

So, who knows what she'll end up with? When I know, I'll let you all know. Given the way she shoots her handguns, I expect good things from her, with a rifle. She's shooting mine pretty well so far.

Regards, Guy
Guy Miner":s3u06iqu said:
Well, she did like the SAKO, in wood or synthetic...

She could do so much worse.....nothing wrong at all with a SAKO!

I dread the day I see the Carbonlight on a shelf up in Fairbanks...it'll most likely come home with me and my piggy bank will be hemorrhaging to death!
That is pretty funny, it is neat to see what someone likes who hasn't become like the rest of us with various preferences and even prejudices. And yes the Sako's are very nice, if they made a lefty Finlight I would have one :)

It is interesting to see she didn't like the Tikka, my wife really likes hers even with the synthetic stock. I offered to make her gun nicer but she has forbidden me to change anything on it :)
Guy -

First of all, kudos for being so willing to help train and assist in equipping new/novice shooters. Its that kind of attitude that will win over the general public!!!

I'm personally not as particular as some where it comes to weapons but even I have "personal standards." The fact is I envy her getting to try out all of these guns BEFORE buying them.

Unto each his own as the saying goes.

Thanks for sharing Guy!

Great job Guy!

It's amazing how quickly women can pick up shooting and good firearms handling form. I would rather work with women than most guys when they are new shooters, as they do not let ego and machismo get in their way, and take instruction much better. And most women handle recoil better than most men; but each is still an individual and has their own recoil tolerance level that must be tested in increments until their threshold is reached. Sounds as though you went through this process with care and diligence, and the lady has enjoyed the process!

It will be interesting to see what she chooses for her first hunting rifle.

I know my wife went through my collection and has indicated her favourites based on feel and recoil. When I first showed her the Steyr Mannlicher Mountain Classic in 7mm-08, I couldn't get her to let it go, and it became her wedding present. So, very similar...quality taste in rifles.
Sako makes very fine rifles indeed.
Weatherby is pushing their Vanguard Camilla very had. I've just saw pictures and lacking female form I don't know what to think of it...
Ya, she wants to try the Weatherby Camila. We didn't find one while shopping.

It was also interesting at the range when she tried my Ruger Number One, in .375 H&H. I think all I had on hand were full-load 300 gr cartridges... She liked the simple operation; drop the falling block, drop the big ol' cartridge into the chamber. Close it and shoot.

The recoil didn't seem to phase her - but it does have a pretty nice Pachmayer recoil pad.

Still struggling a bit with a scope the last time we went to the range. Sights she deals with just fine, but the whole "scope thing" isn't coming along as smoothly as I'd anticipated. She's getting it. Just needs more range time. And no, we haven't gone back and tried the .375 again. I'm keeping the training to modest recoiling rifles for now.

This thread reminds me of a few years back. "This ones ugly" "That one is OK" ... etc.
Kinda made me chuckle a bit. She really liked the little 243W in a Mod 7 SS with a grey camo stock and said "I'll just take this one." So I had it all set up as a small "wheeler gun" and just lke that ... it's hers.

Fast forward 5 years and when I brought home a 300WSM BAR Short-Trac in Walnut, she asked "do they make those in a 243W?" Guess what she shes been shooting the last few years. A BAR Short-Trac Walnust finish in a 243W. Well she's been filling her deer tags just fine with it.

I just had to laugh when for her it was assumed that any gun in the safe would "Shoot". As I look in, there are a couple that are still in the works for the "right" load but all in all most all are ready to go.

This is a good thread - going done memory lane.