If you’re looking to purchase a rifle for the first time, you’re probably wondering where to start. I mean, there are hundreds of them out there, which might make you feel as if you’re drowning in an ocean. You might have questions about caliber, rifle features, and accessories.
Our pick for the best rifle for a beginner is the Remington 597, which comes in 3 styles. It’s a semi-automatic .22 Long Rifle caliber bolt-action rimfire rifle with a magazine. It’s designed for accuracy and the bolt, hammer, and sear are TeflonⓇ coated for increased reliability.
The bolt has a “stay open” feature which allows you to easily see when the rifle is empty. Plus, it comes with a limited lifetime warranty!
What to Consider Before Buying
If you’re looking to buy your first rifle, cost might be a factor. If so, you’ll want the best firearm you can get for your money. This means accuracy, ease of use, and reliability. As a beginner, you don’t want a complicated firearm to operate.
You will also want to consider safety, especially if you have a young family at home. For a rifle, this might mean a gun safe or locked cabinet or case, storing your firearm empty of ammunition, or other types of gun security.
The .22 Long Rifle caliber is a rimfire ammunition. This means the firing pin strikes on the edge of the round instead of in the center like most other rounds. There’s a slim possibility of a rimfire accidentally discharging if it’s dropped, though the chances of this actually happening must be one in a million.
This is also something to consider if a round accidentally runs through the washing machine or dryer.
If you’re on a limited budget, price and warranty are both things to consider. You’ll want to find the best rifle for your money, and a warranty means certain things that might go wrong will be covered by the manufacturer.
Check out this YouTube video by 40caliber101. He reviews the Remington 597, which he says was purchased for his daughter.
First, let’s talk about the different components to a rifle, so you’ll have a better understanding when you look at rifle listings.
There are two different types of rifle actions: bolt-action and lever-action. This is the part of the rifle that loads, fires, and unloads the rounds.
- Bolt Action This can be in either single shot or semi-automatic. In a single shot, you’ll have to open and close the bolt to load a new round in the chamber. Semi-automatics do this for you, using the gases released from the fired bullet; think of a semi-automatic handgun.
- Lever Action You’ve probably seen this in old western movies, where the cowboy has to use his fingers to open and close the lever action, loading a new round into the chamber. John Wayne had a special lever action rifle produced so he could swing the rifle around on the lever to chamber a round.
This is the part of a rifle that you press into your shoulder when firing. It’s analogous to the grip on a pistol. Stocks are often made of wood or synthetic polymer, the latter of which is often lighter than wood.
Some stocks also have hollows where you can store things like extra ammunition. Often, you can attach a carrying sling to the stock as well.
The barrel is what guides the fired round out of the chamber. Rifle barrels are ‘rifled’, which means they have a slight twist to the barrel to add spin to the bullet as it exits the barrel. Rifled barrels increase accuracy, especially over distances.
Rifle barrels also come in different lengths for different applications.
Features and Benefits
The Remington 597 offers numerous benefits for the new user. It’s easy to operate and reliable enough for someone new to rifles.
Twin Guide Rail Action
Remington’s 597 offers a unique, twin tool-steel guide rails to help load a new round from the magazine into the chamber. This prevents loading errors that might jam the firearm.
And the 597 has TeflonⓇ coated bolt, hammer and sear. This offers a smooth trigger pull and smooth, dependable operation.
This unique feature holds the bolt open when the magazine is empty, clearly showing the user that there are no rounds left in the firearm. Many semi-automatic handguns offer this feature and it’s an excellent idea in a rifle intended for beginners and experts alike.
We didn’t have any pictures of a hold open on the Remington, but here’s one on the AK-47 which uses the same principle.
The 597 comes out of the box with a mounted 3-9x 32mm scope. These numbers mean the scope has a magnification range of 3 to 9 and the 32mm objective lens means you’ll get more light into the scope in low light conditions like dawn and dusk. For more scope info check out our scope reviews.
Some retailers offer the 597 without the scope, but you’ll get a scope rail so you can easily mount the scope of your choice.
The Remington 597’s synthetic stock is designed to reduce the weight of the rifle. Since this firearm has a long, high-quality barrel (meant to handle heat during repeated firing), the stock reduces the overall weight. It’s also available in pink camo design, likely a hit with the ladies, though that will cost a bit more.
The 597 comes with a detachable 10-round magazine. It should be noted that some of the magazines have an issue and will only hold 9 rounds. But, the owner’s manual offers a quick and easy fix to allow the mag to hold all 10 rounds.
20-round banana magazines are also available separately for the 597, increasing your shot capacity for target practice, though you’ll want to check your state regulations for maximum magazine capacity when hunting small game.
This rifle is relatively inexpensive; in fact, you can sometimes find it for less than $200. Even the pink camo stock model is only just over $300. For a beginner just starting out, this is an excellent price for the features you’ll enjoy.
As previously mentioned, the Remington 597 comes with a limited lifetime warranty guaranteeing it to be free of defects from manufacturing and workmanship. Remington will repair or replace any rifle it deems to have issues covered under this warranty.
Alternatives to the Remington 597
If you’re not quite sold on the Remington 597, there are a few alternatives you can consider. Other manufacturers might offer different features on similar rifles, so it’s worth taking a look around.
This is a similar 10-round .22 Long Rifle semi-automatic. There are seven models to choose from depending on your intended use. The Compact model is priced in the same range as the Remington 597.
The Marlin 60 also comes with a scope, but it has a 14-round tubular magazine, which means the magazine does not drop out of the rifle. Its price is the same as the Remington. Marlin offers a limited 5-year warranty.
Final Thoughts on the 597
For the beginner who wants a rifle for target plinking or light hunting, a reliable, easy-to-use, and inexpensive rifle is probably the best bet. You’ll want one that’s easy to maintain, not requiring a NASA degree to break down and clean. You’re also looking for great features to augment your first rifle.
The Remington 597 might be an excellent choice. It features a dual-rail action for increased reliability and TeflonⓇ coated action parts for a smooth and easy trigger pull.
You’ll get a 3-9x 32mm scope with this rifle so you can get right down to shooting. Remington offers a limited lifetime warranty and the rifle has a great cost for its features.