VERY LONG, First world, impossible to do anything about right now due to lack of funds, gun related sad and pathetic tale of woe. Read further only after accepting the previous caveats.
So. I had thought I had solved a long running conundrum. I want ONE, REASONABLY INEXPENSIVE, do it all gun to cover my hunting needs. I haven't actually hunted in many years, (Decades to be honest) but I plan on taking it back up once we move to PA for "reasons".
My Old hunting rifle was an H&R Topper single shot in .45-70. GREAT rifle, but .45-70 has the trajectory of a Howitzer. I need something flatter shooting. After a bunch of study, consultation, and research, I settled on the following parameters.
A light, (Less than 6 pounds) single shot, easily scoped, rifle, with iron sights. Preferably with swapable barrels, in a flat shooting, light recoiling, center fire caliber good to 200 yards.
I narrowed it down to 7.62x39, .44 magnum, or .357 magnum. Finally settling on 7.62x39.
I found the PERFECT piece. The Rossi Wizard. It was all of the above things. It had 23 possible barrel choices, plus 3 shotgun barrels, and 2 Black powder barrels. It was only about $250, and the spare Barrels were only about $140. I could get a 7.63x39 barrel, plus ones in .44 and .357. AND a .50 Muzzle loader, so I could hunt during black powder season!!!
I talked to friends who have FFL's about it, and went into a few local guns shops and asked about it.
It's been discontinued. F%$^!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This leaves me with a few less than desirable, but potentially adequate options.
First: try and hunt the various gun auction sights, or gun stores for a used example. This is time consuming, VERY situational money wise, and no guarantee you're not buying someone else's problem.
Second: Try and find a used, H&R/NEF handi-rifle...(Also now discontinued) in the ULTRA rare 7,62x39 chambering, or in .30-06, or .308 and then buy an MCA chamber insert for 7.62x39. This also suffers from being time consuming. It also doesn't really give me the swapable barrels option, as H&R rifles had to be returned to the company for fitting, or had to go to a gun smith for it. Plus I would have to locate the other barrels!!!
Third: Get a Baikal IZH-18, CVA Axis or TC Encore. No. FAR too expensive, and NEITHER the CVA nor TC is in the caliber I want. This would require the same trick with the MCA chamber insert. Even USED these are expensive firearms. The Baikal has a very so/so rep.
Fourth : Get either a Vastava M-85 Mini-Mauser, or a CZ-527 carbine in 7.62x39. The CZ is prettier, the M-85 is cheaper, I LIKE the CZ better, but once again, EXPENSIVE, even used, Plus neither are single shot, and neither have multiple caliber options. (There are a few other bolt action rifles in 7.62x39, but they start at a grand!!!)
5th. Bite the bullet and try and sporterize an SKS, or get a Saiga hunter. I Really, REALLY want a single shot, (simplest, most reliable action of all) and both of these options are heavy (ish) Looking for south of 6 pounds. Plus, once again NO caliber option, and neither are really inexpensive anymore.
5A : Custom piece made by a gun smith. yeah, in a life where I had unlimited funds.....(siiiigh). A Martini-Cadet, Remington Rolling Block, or Ruger No.3 action, with interrupted thread multiple barrels with a cross bolt to keep the head spacing......(siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh) It's nice to have fantasies.
I DON'T want to settle on a different caliber. I picked 7.62x39 for a LOT of good reasons.
It's STILL Cheep.
It's plenty powerful for Deer, or Pigs.
I already HAVE a LOT of it.
I'm getting recoil sensitive in my "old" age.
It's accurate in the right rifle.
It's flat shooting at the ranges I'm comfortable hunting at.
No other caliber fulfills ALL my needs.
A sporterized Mosin-Nagant in 7.62x54R. Biggest down side aside from recoil, is it's not an easy gun to put a modern scope on.
A Marlin 336 in either .30-30, or .35 Remington.
A Savage 99 in .300 Savage, .30-30, or .308.
A Marlin 1894 in .44 magnum, or .357 magnum.
A Savage 170 in .30-30
Don't really like most other Bolt action rifles as hunters. They're boring. Not a fan of modern calibers, nor of .30-06. Don't NEED a 600 yard caliber.
Intrigued by .444 Marlin, .450 Marlin, .38-55, .270Win., .500 S&W Mag. .243 is a great round, but want a bigger bullet.
I will eventually settle on something.