That is how the post usually starts. Then it goes something like this:
"I want to get a Remington in .338LM because that's what the SEAL's use. My sister's boyfriend has a Counter Sniper scope on his SKS and it looks really cool. I think I am going to get one of those too. Does this sound like a good idea? I have shot some cans with my friend's AK before, but I haven't really shot rifles before."
The thread will usually progress to guys recommending a basic .308 bolt gun setup to get the kid started, but he just really wants some whiz-bang shit to impress the other guys at the range. Rarely do these kids seem interested in learning the "Art" of long range shooting. They are the same guys you will see banging away at 50 yards with a .300WM.
Now I have NOTHING against anyone wanting to own a certain firearm "just because". Lord knows I have several "just because" guns in my inventory. They are usually something that I got a crazy deal on or that hold some sentimental or intellectual value. They may get taken to the range on a rare occasion, but their main purpose is to fill the need to "own" that many of us overgrown kids have.
My concern is that once in a great while there are kids that truly do want to learn the art, but because they see all the other kids at the range with no idea how to use the pile of parts they loosely refer to as a rifle, they think they need to sink a boatload of cash into crap to keep up.
May of these guys did not have the advantage of growing up in the country or having parents who were shooters. Sometime in my youth my father gave me one of the greatest material gifts a man can ever give to a boy. He gave me a Remington bolt action .22LR. It was a "youth" rifle (Remington 581 with a short stock). He converted it to single shot and put the magazine away. I shot cans, junk, targets and the occasional trash bird and rabbit with it. I loved that rifle as much as a boy can love anything before he discovers girls. It was my ONLY rifle until I left for Parris Island and that world of the United States Marine Corps.
In short, don't get sucked into the equipment race. It won't get you to where you want to be.
My suggestion to the new shooter is to purchase a good .22LR bolt action rifle. A Savage or Reminton is a great start. Install some mid level glass ($200 is NOT mid level), a good bipod, a sling, and a couple bricks of match ammo (Wolf Match Target is my favorite). Start at 25 yards and learn how to punch holes wherever you want them. If you are one of those Alpha Males who has to have the BEST of everything, then get a custom Remington 40x in a McMillan Stock and slap a S&B Scope on it. You will drop several thousand dollars into that, but still have a TRAINER than will challenge your skill.
Once 25 yards gets boring, push it back to 50 yards. Then 100 Yards. At 100 with sub-sonic match .22LR loads you will begin to notice that if you don't pay attention to the wind you will start to miss. At 200 yards the wind will be playing with your little, slow moving .22LR the same as it would at 1000 yards for a 175gr .308 (about 9.9 MOA for a 10pmh full value). You will need to be just as exacting with your wind calls, but you will be spending FAR less than the $1.50 a shot that match ammo for a .308 typically runs.
Add into this the fact that 1000 yard ranges are a bit hard to come by in some areas of the US. There are scores of ranges where you can get to 200 yards and all I have seen will allow the .22LR.
With the.22LR you avoid the ammo costs, the recoil and the muzzle blast of the .308.
After a year of hard shooting with the .22LR you will develop some good skills with the rifle.
Sure you may go to the range and see other kids snicker when you break out your "little" .22. If you look closely though you will see some old guys with a gleam in their eye. You can walk away from the line at the end of the day snickering when they can't figure out why their pile of parts "won't shoot" and you were cleaning targets at 200 yards with the wind blowing.
If your ego tries to block you from getting a "little" .22LR, just remember that before a Marine Sniper gets behind a M40 at the Basic School he has to spend some time on the Remington .22 trainers.