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Old December 31, 2012, 01:45 AM   #1
CobraEleven
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Bolt-Action .308 under $500?

I've done the research, and decided on a bolt .308 for a hunting rifle. I've looked at a variety of options on the low-cost end, up to and including the scout rifles. I'd like open sights, but that seems to not be much of an option. I can get a local gunsmith to add them for about $150 all-told. I'm currently in Alaska, but I'm military, so I'll be relocating to the lower 48 in a couple of years. I'm looking at hunting up to moose size (if I decide to go on a brown bear hunt, I'll up-size the weaponry!). Bear encounters will be handled by bear spray/side arm, so that's not a factor. Any suggestions on a rifle? I'm leaning towards the Ruger American. And before the magnum crowd comes out, I can easily shoot 4" groups (= shot in the vitals) from field positions at 200 yds (about as far as I would look at taking a shot) with a .308. I don't know I want to move to shooting a cannon when I can place the shots I need to with a .308.
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Old December 31, 2012, 02:35 AM   #2
Ignition Override
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This will appear archaic and unusual, but have have you handled a Spanish FR8? They are handy, many have very bright bores and sell for about $425.
The large ring 8mm action makes it safe for both Nato 7.62 and modern .308.

Most of the misunderstandings are people believing anything they hear, as they are confused about the small-ring Spanish 7mm actions, used in the Spanish "Nato" rifles and the FR7 was modified from these. The reduced load in Spanish "Nato" rounds were designed for these weaker, small-ring 7mm actions. This also made people jump to conclusions.

One benefit of the much stronger FR8 is that three of the rear sight settings are aperture adjustments. These are still seen on Gunbroker.
Notice similarities between the new Ruger Gunsight, older FR8s and Enfield "Jungles". Just a coincidence?

With a matching bolt and nice field gauge results, our very experienced gun smith also considers the FR8 quite safe for .308.

Last edited by Ignition Override; December 31, 2012 at 02:41 AM.
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Old December 31, 2012, 05:27 AM   #3
dbaum
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Field and stream just had a review of bargain priced rifles in 308 and had mostly good to say(especially accurracy)of several models under $500. Marlin x7,howa hogue m1500,the ruger you mentioned and a T/c venture all under 500.
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Old December 31, 2012, 05:29 AM   #4
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The Marlin x7 had under 1" groups and a price of about 330$.
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Old December 31, 2012, 07:49 AM   #5
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A friend of mine found a Savage Axis for no more than $300, and it prints about 1" at 100yds. They're not as customizable as the more expensive lines, but aftermarket parts (like triggers and stocks) are starting to show up.

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Old December 31, 2012, 08:19 AM   #6
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There are plenty of bolt action rifles nowadays for under $500.00, many of them already listed. The Savage Axis, the Ruger American, the Mossberg ATR, Marlin X7, Howa, T/C Venture, the market is full of them.

I bought two Savage Axis rifles this year for teenaged grandkids. The Savage is the only one I've found in a left-hand bolt, and wouldn't you know it, my eldest two grandsons are left-handed.

I'll probably buy another rifle to put under the tree next year, but that kid is right-handed, so the Ruger American might get the nod. I've had very good luck with both Savage and Ruger rifles and these two new rifles seem to have a lot going for them.

I agree with your caliber choice. The .308 Winchester is a wonderful all-purpose cartridge, fully capable of everything but the big bears. (and it may be capable of the big bears, but I suspect I'd want something bigger).
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Old December 31, 2012, 09:34 AM   #7
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I have a howa 1500 in 7mm-08 and really like the rifle, I hated the trigger tho! I put a timmney trigger in mine so the cost ended up being more than I had planned. a lot of folks would have been happy with the stock trigger that was in my gun, I have been spoiled with good triggers over the years making it the first improvement I do on a new rifle, some factory triggers adjust fine and make good triggers and some simply don't. I think the howa 1500 is a good gun for the money, I also would look at the weatherby vangaurd S2, its made by howa for weatherby and is gauranteed to shoot an inch or under at 100 yrds with premium ammo, also might consider a tikka t3 they shoot very well and last I checked were reasonably priced, you have some good options out there, good luck with whatever you decide
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Old December 31, 2012, 10:03 AM   #8
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The Howa is a very solid rifle and well worth the money. I don't have any experience with their latest triggers but have made others acceptable. The Timney is outstanding, but the cost of your rifle just went up considerably. Howa actions aren't exactly lightweight either.
Both the Savage Axis and the Tikka T3 are very good right out of the box and the Savage can be had for much less. Both the Tikka and Axis have recoil lugs built into the stock. Aftermarket stocks are somewhat limited.
I agree with PawPaw, you can't go wrong with the .308
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Old December 31, 2012, 10:12 AM   #9
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Something else you might want to consider is to cruise the pawn shop racks. Year-before-last, I bought two bolt .308s as used rifles from the pawn shop. I found a very nice, 1983 model Rem700 ADL in .308, and paid 400.00 for it. I also found an abused Savage 10 that I paid $300.00 for. After taking the Savage apart, it became apparent that all the abuse was external and I was able to put it back in working order fairly easily and inexpensively.

Those two are both great rifles now, and I've got less than $500.00 in either of them. Sometimes, used rifles are screaming deals.
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Old December 31, 2012, 12:00 PM   #10
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I also agree with Solocam, Weatherby makes a great rifle. I own a vanguard (not the V2) in the 30-06 caliber and absolutely love it. This thing shoots great and the accuracy guarantee is fantastic. I just bought my dad a Remington 700 SPS and ill be honest this is also a very good gun. It shoots VERY accurately and to me seems like a very solid gun. People are always comparing Vanguards vs. the 700 but honestly its all personal choice. the best thing to do is to go to a store and look at comparisons and choose the one you feel is best for you. But I'll be honest after seeing both a Remington in action and Weatherby I will lean towards the Vanguard, its a good gun and not to mention the price on them its well worth it. I will say though that the stock on the Vanguard to some feels cheap but i disagree.
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Old December 31, 2012, 12:23 PM   #11
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My deerslayer is a Savage Axis in aught6. It's a hardy weapon. Damn accurate with a Redfield scope, too.
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Old December 31, 2012, 12:36 PM   #12
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A used Win Mod 70 or Rem Mod 700ADL or a tang-safety Ruger Mod 77.
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Old December 31, 2012, 12:49 PM   #13
SSA
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Savage hog hunter has open sights and is under $500.
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Old December 31, 2012, 01:26 PM   #14
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I have two of the Ruger Americans, in 30-06 and 308. Both are very nice rifles especially for the price. I would highly recommend them.
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Old January 1, 2013, 12:07 AM   #15
reynolds357
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Savage 11 Hoghunter.
Ugly rifle, but seems to meet your specs.
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Old January 1, 2013, 08:45 AM   #16
Chet Punisher
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Yeah, the Hog Hunter by Savage meets your needs...

http://www.shootingtimes.com/2012/09...hunter-review/
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Old January 1, 2013, 08:55 AM   #17
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Quote:
And before the magnum crowd comes out, I can easily shoot 4" groups (= shot in the vitals) from field positions at 200 yds (about as far as I would look at taking a shot) with a .308.
Don't write off the magnums just yet - if it is a dedicated hunting rifle and you're buying good commercial rounds the cost difference between .308 and magnum rounds like 7RM and .300WM is minimal. The 270+ magnums are faster, flatter and harder hitting if you can handle the kaboom.

If it's not a dedicated hunting rifle and you're reloading / looking for cheaper ammo, by all means go 308.
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Old January 1, 2013, 10:33 AM   #18
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Own a couple of Stevens 200s, two Marlin X rifles, one Howa and one Axis in various cartridges. All shoot decently for accuracy. Of mine, I prefer the Marlins and the Howa. One of my Marlins is the 308 varmit heavy barrel model. Good accuracy with it and the 25-06 Marlin does well too. Like their adjustable triggers, something an Axis or Stevens lacks and you'll probably dislike their heavy trigger pull. Howa is good and this company makes the weatherby Vanguard rifles, little difference between the two brands, but should find the Howa at a lower price.

I've no personal experience with the Ruger American rifles other than handleing a few of them at gun stores. Would have bought one of them, but didn't want/need a cartridge they're available in. The American is getting some positive comments on gunsites about them.

Another inexpensive rifle not mentioned yet, is a Mossberg. Few I've seen at range I'm a member, their owners were happy with the rifle. All shot well when it came to accuracy. Gent I shoot with on a regular basis had one at range for a few weekends trying various hunting reloads in it. Rifle belonged to his son and he was breaking in the rifle and etc. This gent owns some very nice rifles, last 2 were Remington Custom shop rifles and has another on order by a custom builder out of Colorado. Anyway, this gent was favorably enough impressed with his son's Mossberg, to tell me he just might buy one himself. Only problem with Mossberg thats kept me from buying one, is method barrel is installed that makes it difficult to have rebarreled.
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Old January 1, 2013, 05:59 PM   #19
jmr40
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This is $439 at my LGS. Savage 11 Hog Hunter.





It comes with irons which will save you $125. It does not need magazines which will save you $30-$40 each. You know you'll buy at least 1 spare if you buy the Ruger.

Load it with 200 gr Partitions and it is a better grizz gun than many would think. Of course it is also availabe in 338 win mag if you're serious about big bear.
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Old January 2, 2013, 09:10 PM   #20
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TC Venture would be the first one Id look at
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Old January 2, 2013, 09:27 PM   #21
reynolds357
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Have they ever started making the venture with sights? If not, add $200 to the price tag.
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Old January 2, 2013, 09:36 PM   #22
emcon5
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This looks interesting:

http://www.americanrifleman.org/arti...on-783-review/
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Old January 2, 2013, 09:40 PM   #23
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Im a Remington 700 guy usually but I agree on the Savage Hog hunter ... its a very nice feeling gun. I like the stock on it better than the Axis I have. Even though the Axis shoots very accurate If I get the chance to sell my Axis and buy a hog hunter im all over it.

Also if you have a Academy sports near you they have the Remington 700 in 308 for $379 ...... its on their website.
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