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View Full Version : Mirror mirror on the wall, which bolt's the finest of them all?


Pond, James Pond
July 10, 2012, 05:49 AM
I'd now like some help choosing a rifle.

Calibre:
After much deliberation: .308. Best locally available and greatest choice locally in reloading components and data. Not too heavy on the old shoulder!!

Type:
Bolt action. Would like varmint/bull barrel but cost probably says "no".

Purpose:
Learning how to shoot a rifle properly.
Mainly target shooting but something with more than paper-punching energy at greater distances.
Starting with short range (50-300m), and hopefully progressing beyond (Up to 1000m).

Budget:
Small. Up to €600. For context a Savage Axis with starndard barrel is €575! Remington Model 700 VTR reduced at €890!!! (€990 reg) is an outlier purely because I like it, but probably not realistic due to price, hence not listed in the poll (everybody needs a dream). Secondhand options also available.

Additional details:
I already have a .22 bolt action and will be doing a lot of ground work on that, so no need to point out that a .22 would be the best place to start learning. I also want the CF to learn with in parallel with the onus being on the .22


Which would you choose and why?
Please stick to the list. I cannot buy what is not available.
Please list any features you find appealing useful.
First-hand, personal experience preferable.

phil mcwilliam
July 10, 2012, 06:05 AM
Out of your choices I voted CZ, only cause I just bought a CZ550 chambered in .375H&H Magnum. But if I lived in the Baltic area as you do, I'd be looking for a second hand Sako which are made in Finland.

taylorce1
July 10, 2012, 08:10 AM
I'd rate the top three CZ, Zastava, then Marlin. Both the CZ and Zastava are Mauser 98 and built like tanks and are going to provide excellent service and reliability. I like the way the Marlin is put together over the Axis, and the fact that the Marlin is a short action.

I don't know anything about the single shot rifle but the fact you get a suppressor makes it something I'd look into. I wish the US was as forward thinking as other countries about the ownership and use of suppressors for hunting and shooting.

BigMikey76
July 10, 2012, 09:09 AM
I voted for the Marlin. I gave some serious thought to the X7 line when I was shopping for my first rifle, and it is still very much in the running for my second. The only reason I did not get it is because I found a great deal on another rifle that I just couldn't pass up ($470 on a rifle whose MSRP was over $700!).

When I was doing my comparison shopping, I had the opportunity to handle both the X7 and the Axis. There is no comparison. The fit and finish of the X7 is leaps and bounds beyond the Axis, but the price, as your list shows, is only a little bit higher. The extra €15 is a small price to pay for a substantially better rifle.

I have no experience with the others on your list. I have heard great things about the CZ, but since that is not first hand, I will make no further comments.

JTJones
July 10, 2012, 11:17 PM
I voted for the Zastava. I have the Remington model 798 which is made by Zastava. I have shoot .5 inch groups with it at a 100 yards and its just a pleasure to shoot. I am so impressed with the rifle. I am going to buy a interarms which is another Zastava rifle on gunbroker that is fully camo chambered in 270 win. The 798 I have now is a 300 win mag. If you like mauser actions you will love this gun.:D

pabuckslayer08
July 11, 2012, 05:37 AM
Rifes these days its all personal preference in that price catagory. They will all shoot a fair group at 100 yards, plenty good for a beginner. Buy what you can afford and set aside atleast 200 dollars for a scope. Dont buy a cheapo because simply they are junk. Get atleast a Nikon Prostaff, Leupold VX1, Redfield something like that.

Pond, James Pond
July 11, 2012, 07:47 AM
The scope is taken care of, already!!

A Burris 4-12x50 XTR!! :D
I got it from clearance stock and hence at less than trade price!!:eek:

For some reason it makes more sense for my shooting to be limited by me, the rifle and then the scope, in that order, rather than me, the scope and then the rifle!!

I may try my luck and make a cheeky offer on that Remington VTR...

Is it really worth potentially 30-50% more than the others, in terms of the performance it delivers?

In looks it definitely is, but I have never bought anything on looks alone... OK, perhaps a few things....

Pond, James Pond
July 11, 2012, 08:22 AM
I can also confirm, after getting a short, but efficient email from Zastava Arms in Serbia, that the Zastava M70 listed above was made in 1982!!!

Smokey Joe
July 11, 2012, 11:49 AM
Pond, James Pond--If you are serious about shooting long distances, you will have to go with the target barrel. I voted for the Savage, because those are accurate enough to start with, at least, right out of the box, AND, barrel switching is easy to do at home, with the appropriate bbl nut wrench and a headspace gauge. So you could start with the (less expensive) standard barrel, and switching to the heavy barrel is easy if/when you get that far in your target shooting.

For distance shooting, you'll also need a higher grade 'scope, but again, that is a purchase that can wait until your present 'scope starts to limit performance.

The Savage Accutrigger takes a little getting used to (took me about 3 shots to be used to it!) but is very nice for a factory trigger. Easily user-adjustable. A target accutrigger is available, that adjusts far lighter, if/when you want to switch.

Good luck in your search! Please keep us posted on your decision process! Oh, and when you do make the purchase, we will need a range report, WITH pictures! :)

BigMikey76
July 11, 2012, 12:36 PM
I may try my luck and make a cheeky offer on that Remington VTR...

Is it really worth potentially 30-50% more than the others, in terms of the performance it delivers?

It really depends on what you are comparing it to. If you are comparing the 700 vs the Axis, hands down the 700 wins, and I would say it is worth the extra money to get a gun that has proven it will stand the test of time.

When you bring the Marlin X7 into the mix, it is not so easy to say that. The X7 is a well constructed gun (calm down Remington fans. I am not saying the 700 isn't well constructed, just that the X7 is), and I have seen very few negative comments on it. The fact that it is so much less than the Remington makes it even more attractive, and I would probably pick the Marlin in that match up.

If you can get lucky on that "cheeky offer," then the Remington may be the way to go, otherwise, I still say Marlin.

Scorch
July 11, 2012, 12:59 PM
Given the choices listed, I voted for the CZ. If the Remington you are dreaming about were in your budget I might recommend it, but the CZ is a good rifle and you will be happy with it.

Pond, James Pond
July 11, 2012, 03:35 PM
Thanks for the input folks!!
As usual, it is very welcome and gets me a-thinkin'!!

I understand that target barrels are best for what I want, but they COST!!!

Here's the bind I'm feeling:
The VTR is way more than I want to pay. But it looks great! However, I won't buy into that unless it can deliver something the others can't, aside from aesthetics.

Can it give me more range, accuracy and consistency, with its funky sorta target barrel than the others listed?

If I get any of them, I will learn on it.
I will get to grips with the principles of rifle shooting and I will improve.
I will shoot 300m.
Perhaps I'll shoot more, but not anywhere near to consistent 1000m hits.

Will the Rem get me closer to that 1000m before it peaks?
And if so, how much closer?
How close would any of them get me?

That is the crux of it. That could be worth the extra 40% to me...

The Marlin.
They have a .308 in stock and that could work for me, provided they are also parts stockists. I'll try ot have a look at it in the flesh.

The Savage:
I don't yet know if they have a target barrel rifle in stock in their other shop and how much it might cost. Won't know for a couple of weeks.


One more's entered the mix:

A second hand, seven year & allegedly 100 round old CZ550 Lux with a Walther scope included.

I reckon I can knock the guy down to €500 as the stock looks a bit ropey.

With the fine Burris on the way, that Walther would be relegated to a box, somewhere, but the 30mm mounts would work for the Burris too!

BigMikey76
July 12, 2012, 07:39 AM
Will the Rem get me closer to that 1000m before it peaks?
And if so, how much closer?
How close would any of them get me?


My personal opinion is that the funky barrel on the VTR is a more of a gimmick than anything. If it does make any real world difference, one would have to be a pretty well seasoned shooter to really see a benefit from it. I doubt that it will help a developing shooter get out to 1000m distances any faster than the other options.

The new rifle in the mix is intriguing. A CZ550 for less than a Savage Axis? I would probably jump right on that, assuming that the rifle is in good condition. As far as the stock being a bit "ropey" (I assume that means it is pretty beat up - please correct me if that is a misinterpretation), I would not worry about that unless it has structural damage, like splits or deformations. Cosmetic issues won't effect the performance of the rifle, and you can always refinish or replace it later on if it really bothers you. As long as the working parts of the gun are in good order and the barrel is good, it sounds like a pretty good deal.

jmr40
July 12, 2012, 08:44 AM
Those prices don't make a lot of sense. Must have something to to with import taxes. The Savage Axis is a cheap budget rifle. It will shoot, but is no where near the quality, nor will it last as long as the CZ.

Of those choices, and at those prices I'd consider nothing but the CZ. You are getting the most gun for the money in my opinion.

Living here in the USA the CZ, wouldn't be my first choice, but it is no doubt a fine gun, and I think your best option.

kraigwy
July 12, 2012, 01:00 PM
How can anyone come up with a list of bolt action rifles and leave out the greatest of all, the Model 70 Winchester.

As to the OP, don't stand next to him unless you are imune to lightning strikes.

Pond, James Pond
July 12, 2012, 01:27 PM
As to the OP, don't stand next to him unless you are imune to lightning strikes.

You'll have to clarify that one, I'm afraid...
I may be wrong but it doesn't sound too complimentary... so I'd have to wonder why...

Those prices don't make a lot of sense.

Small market, not much choice and, yes,taxes... lots of taxes....

I doubt that it will help a developing shooter get out to 1000m distances any faster than the other options.

That's what I needed to know. If it won't help me improve faster (never thought that likely) or eventually shoot further before upgrading (it has a longer, heavier barrel than the other options)

The new rifle in the mix is intriguing. A CZ550 for less than a Savage Axis? I would probably jump right on that, assuming that the rifle is in good condition. As far as the stock being a bit "ropey" (I assume that means it is pretty beat up - please correct me if that is a misinterpretation),

Yes. Ropey does mean looking beaten up, and used.

In the photo it looks like the lacquer has come off and it look a bit bleached in places, but the photo is no RAW format, so it may just be the light!!

It is second hand, so I guess that explains the price. New, the Lux is about €80-90 more than the Savage. Now it's the same amount cheaper.
He's dropped the price already a bit since I first saw it a couple of months back, so perhaps the lack of takers could work in my favour.
I'll try and see it early next week...

kraigwy
July 12, 2012, 03:38 PM
As to the OP, don't stand next to him unless you are imune to lightning strikes.

You'll have to clarify that one, I'm afraid...
I may be wrong but it doesn't sound too complimentary... so I'd have to wonder why...


Simple enough, it means the Gods of Bolt guns is just likely to rain down bolts of lightning on those who shun the Winchester.

My hair is thin enough of top and I don't want what I have left senged because I was standing too close.

Pond, James Pond
July 12, 2012, 03:58 PM
Simple enough, it means the Gods of Bolt guns is just likely to rain down bolts of lightning on those who shun the Winchester.

My hair is thin enough of top and I don't want what I have left senged because I was standing too close.

Ahhh! I see!
Well, in that case any bystanders would be safe and sound.

The reason it's not listed is that, unfortunately, no-one seems to import Winchesters.

I've not seen any Winchesters on sale bar the "Winchester Wildcat" .22 and that is made by TOZ!!

If they were about, I wouldn't be surprised if they were out of my price range, much like that Remington...

Willie D
July 13, 2012, 09:22 PM
Those particular Marlin and Savage models are their bottom of the barrel offerings over here, retailing for <$400.


Of those listed I'd go with the CZ 1st then maybe the Zastava followed by the IZH (which I know little about). The first two are rock solid old-school rifles with the CZ possibly being a bit more refined.


All of those rifles can hit a target at 1000m, none are particularly well suited for it. You need to start shelling out the big bucks before you get a rig that does well at 1000m and add to that a whole lot of practice. Don't want to be a naysayer but I think you may be putting the cart before the horse.

It's tempting to want to get a "do everything" rifle but that really never works out (esp. on a budget). The Marlin or Savage are probably nice in the accuracy dept. but with a bit more experience you'll probably recognize them for the junkier starter rifles that they are where as the others will likely be "keepers" in your collection.

Pond, James Pond
July 14, 2012, 01:41 AM
Don't want to be a naysayer but I think you may be putting the cart before the horse.

Don't get me wrong. Whilst 1000m is my ambition, I don't expect this rifle to be the one to make it a reality.

What I want is a rifle whose qualities will mean all my shooting practice and learning will have the greatest benefit to my burgeoning craft, rather than one that may hold me back after a while.

It most likely won't be the rifle that sees me hit a 1000m target, but I'd like to be a decent investment for that goal, in the interim...

For that reason, your input was very helpful.

FrankenMauser
July 14, 2012, 02:01 AM
The Marlin.
They have a .308 in stock and that could work for me, provided they are also parts stockists. I'll try ot have a look at it in the flesh.

That's the problem with the Marlin. If there aren't any locations to service it, you'll be completely out of luck if there's a problem with it.

Given the variable quality coming out of the X7 factories (Ilion New York and Mayfield Kentucky) since Remington took over, there's no good way to tell if yours would be a shooter or a lemon.

I love my XL7. But, in this case, I must say don't do it.
If you get a bad one, you'll be stuck with it.


I'd go with the CZ or the Zastava.