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First off, a HUNTING rifle needs the safety in the correct position and that is ON THE TANG. So that leaves us with 'original' Ruger Model 77, the, Ruger American, the Browning A-Bolt and X-Bolt rifles, and Savage bolt actions (too many model numbers and names to keep track of!)

The Savage is out for me because I'm not a fan of the 'sliding plate' extractor. Just a personal 'issue' since one broke on me leaving a fired .30-06 case in the chamber and ending that day of shooting.

The Ruger American, while very accurate and affordable is 'out' for me, too, as it also has a sliding plate extractor AND when the gun is on 'safe' the bolt is NOT locked down. That's a problem on a hunting rifle. The bolt WILL get lifted by brush and such and you WILL lose a cartridge that way. Hopefully you notice all this happened before it is time to take a shot and the rounds in the mag are still there. I'm just not a fan of a gun where the action isn't "locked" when the safety is on.

So we are left with the 'original' Ruger 77 and the Brownings (A-Bolts/X-Bolts). The 77 is my favorite gun, and it pains me to say this, but it must be taken "off safe" to unload the chamber. Not a huge deal, but it can be a safety issue (guns can and have gone off when going from safe to fire position.) The Browning A-Bolt is in the same category - must be 'off-safed' to unload the chamber.

That leaves the Browning X-Bolt. Tang safety. Bolt remains locked when on safe. And it can be unloaded with gun still on safe by pushing in the 'button' at the top of the bolt handle. I like that. This would be my pick if I had no guns and was starting from scratch today.

Honorable mentions are the Rem 700 series guns. Safety isn't on the tang, but pretty dang close. Bolt does lock on safe (on older guns; I hear that is not true on the newer guns?) Win 70 series guns. The three position safety is great, but it isn't on the tang, and that's a "criteria" for me. The Mauser 98 style action and extractor is a plus on that gun, too. A classic. Ruger Hawkeye and Ruger Mark II - basically the same attributes of the Win 70 guns, but they say Ruger on them, so that makes me happy ;o)

So many hunting rifles to chose from. A guy or gal just needs to figure out what most matters to THEM and then shop accordingly.

You didn't ask for cartridge recommendations, but since so many have chimed in, here goes:
* For a young shooter, old shooter, or a lady shooter: .243 Win (or 6mm Creedmoor if you just have to have something that says "Creedmoor" on it.)
* For a grown, adult man: .270 Winchester; does it all for North American hunting, without being abusive to the shoulder. (The .30-06 is a very close second; the .308 Win is perfect for a 'short-action' rifle; 7mm-08 Rem is also very good; Sentimental favorite? The .25-06 Rem; it punches far above it's weight class but the kick is very easily manageable.)
* For big stuff (Alaskan bears & African trips): .375 H&H Magnum; a classic cartridge that can be legally used to hunt all game animals, world-wide. And, surprisingly, it isn't too abusive if put into a 10lb gun with a Limbsaver recoil pad.
 
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