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Old July 11, 2014, 12:48 PM   #1
bbaggs75
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Looking for an Economic Rifle

I'm looking for a rifle that is under $500. I want a rifle in either .30-06 or .270. It needs to be a high-quality low-price rifle. So far I'm looking at the Ruger American, the Marlin XL7, and the Savage Axis II. I've read good and bad things about all three and am looking for some input. I need more than just a single word answer. I need to know why I should go with the any rifle. I'm looking for something that I can hunt with, but also shoot at over 500 yards. I want it to be accurate, reliable, and accurate. Very accurate.
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Old July 11, 2014, 12:56 PM   #2
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Just put this in another thread. Howa 1500/ Wetherby Vanguard suits just what you described IMO.
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Old July 11, 2014, 01:08 PM   #3
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One of our local gun stores has the Savage Axis with a cheap scope on them for just over 400 bucks, in several calibers ...... full size or youth.

They have a couple of Mossberg ATR's, also scoped with bargain basement glass, for just a hair over $300.

It'd be darn hard to beat that price point, even with a used gun.
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Old July 11, 2014, 01:11 PM   #4
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Vangard/Howa (same rifle, different name) is a step up from the Axis. I've only seen one that didn't shoot sub-MOA. The one that didn't needed just a simple stock bedding job to become a sub-MOA shooter.
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Old July 11, 2014, 01:32 PM   #5
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I have a Mossberg 100ATR in .30-06 that is a consistent sub MOA shooter. It shoots a 150gr Hornady Interlock at 3/4" groups at 100yds. I paid $317 out the door for mine and I'm very happy.

For a $300-$500 dollar range look at the T/C Venture of all the budget rifles I've shot and held it has the nicest trigger and smoothest bolt of them all. I'd reccomend a Weatherby/Howa but my Weatherby S2 will not shoot to the same POI for its life.
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Old July 11, 2014, 01:40 PM   #6
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Of the three you listed, I'd pick the Savage Axis II over the others. I'd also choose it over the Howa/Vanguard rifle. (and I say this owning a Howa 1500 and being quite happy with it)

"More than one word answer" why: Savage only does rifles. Their reputation for quality and accuracy at a decent price point is pretty much unmatched. And the Savage Accu-Trigger is, in my opinion (my very novice rifle guy opinion...), the best low-buck trigger that any rifle has ever seen. It's not the best trigger ever, but it's -BY FAR- the best deal in a low-dollar setup for a trigger I've ever come across. And if you want to wring accuracy from a rifle, the trigger is, IMO, a pretty big part of that.

Savage over the Mossberg: the Mossberg rifles don't impress me in the slightest. They make a solid shotgun and I wouldn't be surprised if eventually... they just go back to doing what they do best.

Savage over the Marlin: Marlin's bread & butter is a well-done lever gun, Savage is a bolt action rifle maker. I haven't had the chance to play with a Marlin bolt action rifle, but it'd have to under-cut the Savage heavily in price before I'd ever consider it.

Savage over the Ruger: Ruger makes a nice array of products all across the board that incorporate decent serviceability at a working man's price, but SO many of their newer products have teething issues that almost seem like beta-testing by the buying public. Again, Savage is a bolt action rifle maker and I don't see them ever sitting behind Ruger in a bolt action rifle.

Savage over the Howa/Vanguard: this is going to be a far closer race, in my opinion, until you get to the price tag... and then it's just not going to be close. A Howa is a fine platform to build a rifle, but the package deal of the Savage Axis just seems to be unmatched in what you get for the outlay of cash. Of course, that's with regard to the Weatherby Vanguard. If you compare it directly to the Howa package as Legacy Sports offers them, now we've got a real race on our hands as the price is going to be much closer.

In the end, though, you're choosing between a flourishing American builder with a long history and an importer offering a Japanese rifle. I re-iterate, I have a Howa and I've been much impressed with it, but I bought a stripped down closeout rifle for low bucks and mounted my own optic to it, you're talking about purchasing a package deal that's ready to run.
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Old July 13, 2014, 11:45 AM   #7
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Having had a Vangard in .243Win. I would definitely vote against buying one!
Weatherby claims 1.5" at 100 yards out of the box.
While it did that for the first 3 rounds, any more rounds out of it opened up grouping exponentially!! (aka 4-6 were 5", 7-9 were 12") This is after letting the barrel cool for about 5 minutes between groups.
Was the only gun I was ever happy to see go!!!

Having shot the Axis, American, and some others, I think I would personally save a bit more and get a Tikka T3 Lite.

If I had to stay below $500, I would probably get the Mossberg 4X4.

Of course I don't buy new guns, I prefer the older Savage/Stevens that I can get for under $300.
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Old July 13, 2014, 05:47 PM   #8
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Put me in for Savage as well

Accurate rifles right out of the box. I can get an Axis at my local Gunshop for a tad over $300. Take the money you saved and get good glass.
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Old July 13, 2014, 05:56 PM   #9
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500 yards with a budget rifle is kindof pushing it. you cant have great quality and low price all in one anymore. I would suggest the Ruger american. yes it has a lot more plastic in the design than most and it sure aint pretty but where they cut costs with synthetic stock and mags, they don't with the actual operation part of the rifle. I believe a user here, Duzell, uses a Ruger American in 243 at long ranges routinely and likes it. If I was looking at a lower end rifle the American is what I would choose. Marlington rifles are not exactly well spoken of whenever I see it discussed(then again I'm not very interested and don't spend a lot of time discussing them) and I just never liked the looks of savages so I don't really pay any attention to them.
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Old July 13, 2014, 06:48 PM   #10
RC20
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If you are going to do the long range then you really need a more dedicated rifle for it and that will cost more.

Unfortunately no one makes a target 270 or 30-06 (in US, I think Sako or Tika does overseas but you can't get them here)

You would have to put one together (least expensive would be a 1903 receiver with a custom ordered heavy barrel).

Target, varmint, sniper 308 of some type. I think Savage does that, I don't think Ruger does.

I would check contours, if they use the same blank for 270 and 30-06, you might be able to get a heavier barrel in relating to caliber going with a 270.

A Winchester Model 70 (used!) might get you there as well. While the pre 64s are supposedly better, for the average user the newer ones are solid as well and reputed to be pretty good accuracy (I have not had one so that’s an unknown)

Get a Pre 64 and its god some collector value and in those calibers in the $$750 are, 270 and 30-06 are common and not as high priced as the rarer calibers.

PenciL hunting barrel are not stable, they tend to hold only good for 3 shots and not more (until they cool off a lot)

Last edited by RC20; July 13, 2014 at 06:55 PM.
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Old July 14, 2014, 12:04 AM   #11
tahoe2
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Howa / Vanguard !!
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Old July 14, 2014, 12:10 AM   #12
FiveInADime
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RC20
If you are going to do the long range then you really need a more dedicated rifle for it and that will cost more.

A Winchester Model 70 (used!) might get you there as well. While the pre 64s are supposedly better, for the average user the newer ones are solid as well and reputed to be pretty good accuracy (I have not had one so that’s an unknown)
A used 80's-90's push-feed Model 70 would be an excellent base for an accurate rifle and if you're lucky you may find one that shoots sub-MOA without any smithing like my M70 .243Win.
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Old July 14, 2014, 12:25 AM   #13
Jim243
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Quote:
I'm looking for something that I can hunt with, but also shoot at over 500 yards. I want it to be accurate, reliable, and accurate. Very accurate.
Any of those mentioned will be fine for hunting, I am not sure why you think that you need to hunt at over 500 yards. Hunting rifles are not long range target rifles or vis versa. The calibers you mention will do 500 yards without problems, but accuracy at that range is more to do with the shooter and ammo used than what brand of rifle.

I would suggest a Savage, but the Axis does not come with the Accutrigger. A Savage Long Range Hunter would fill the bill, but does not come in those calibers and is MSRP of $1,140.

You really need to define your NEEDS better as to what you are looking for.

Jim
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Old July 14, 2014, 05:54 PM   #14
Unlicensed Dremel
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Your answer (among the choices you listed) is:

Marlin XL7

The other two you mention have something very undesirable in a hunting rifle: a detachable mag to lose.

I do hear very good things about the Ruger American...if you could just weld the mag in.

But better yet, spend an extra $50 ($410 instead of $360), and get the superior T/C Venture - 5R rifling in a $400 rifle? You kidding me? I'd be on that like a duck on a june bug if I didn't already have a bunch of rifles, and an aversion to ugly plastic. I may get one yet though in 6.5x55 and get a new stock for it.

But honestly, you're not limited to those rifles with your budget, if you go used. You said $500, not $400 or $350. You can get a used rifle of very high quality if you look around for that price, since those chamberings are so ubiquitous... usual suspects: Winchester 70, Browning A-Bolt / A-Bolt II, Remington 700, Ruger M77, etc.

Sure the basic Howas / Vanguards are just in the price range as well, or a fancier one if used.
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Old July 14, 2014, 05:59 PM   #15
tahunua001
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excuse me? detachable mags in hunting rifles are bad because you might lose them? in a flush fitting mag you are as likely to lose your floor plate as you are a detache mag. I have been hunting quite a bit in my short years here and I have never lost a magazine, and I have been hunting in rough hard terrain, thick brush, long hikes, banging my gun off rocks and tree trunks... plenty of those rifles used detachable box mags.
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Old July 14, 2014, 06:03 PM   #16
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Quote:
excuse me?
You are excused.

Quote:
detachable mags in hunting rifles are bad because you might lose them?
Affirmative... and for no gain, mind you.

Quote:
in a flush fitting mag you are as likely to lose your floor plate as you are a detachable mag.
I don't see how - it's connected. So, negatory.

Quote:
I have been hunting quite a bit in my short years here and I have never lost a magazine, and I have been hunting in rough hard terrain, thick brush, long hikes, banging my gun off rocks and tree trunks... plenty of those rifles used detachable box mags.
Give it time; you're young. Why on earth would people risk it? What do you gain? A faster unload?
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Old July 14, 2014, 06:16 PM   #17
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5R rifling is old tech hyped up. Its only benefit was for the army's old open based bullets and does nothing for OTM style bullets or closed based bullets. I've always prefered a detachable mag over a floorplate or blind mag, simply due to the ease of loading/unloading.

Of those I've only played with the axis and weatherby. I'm not sure of the larger calibers but two friends have the axis in .223 and they are both incredibly accurate for how much they cost. I started looking into making my weatherby .308 more accurate and instead just bought a savage max-1 in 6.5 creedmoor because it'd of cost the same. I've read (but never used) the ruger American was pretty accurate out of the box too. It's been rated over the axis in a couple of gun rags, but I never believe the performance stated out of them as the guys paying them are the same ones who stuff they're reviewing.

I know that boyds carries laminate stocks for the savage, I think they do for the ruger as well so you might as well add that to the cost of either and pick which one has the features you like.
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Old July 14, 2014, 07:03 PM   #18
Sure Shot Mc Gee
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One of these like oldscot3 suggested. The 300 WM would curb your need to purchase another hunting rifle. {its so eye catching handsome Sir!!}_

http://www.weatherby.com/product/rif...es_2_synthetic
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Old July 14, 2014, 07:26 PM   #19
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I can't speak personally to the 3 you suggested originally as I have never owned any of them.

I own 3 rifles that will do what you want. First a 30-06 TC Venture. It has been a very good rifle out of the box despite the aggravation of 2 lawyer motivated recalls. Hopefully that is all over.

Second a Weatherby Vanguard in .270. The rifle shoots way above my ability and I understand the new S2 versions have a fantastic trigger right out of the box.

Third a Model 70 Winchester in .243 which probably wouldn't make the 500 yard grade because of the caliber. I bought mine used for about $375. Took it home and cleaned the heck out of it an removed all the fouling in the barrel. Factory loads shoot under 1.5" at 100 yds and my handloads are even less.

Of the 3 you originally mentioned, all have good reputations overall. My advice would be to put your hands and eyeballs on them and choose the one that feels best and looks best to YOU!
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Old July 14, 2014, 08:11 PM   #20
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Per your specifications & in the price range you mention, look for a decent, used Winchester Mod 70 or Remington 700 ADL/BDL.

JIMHO...

..bug
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Old July 14, 2014, 10:03 PM   #21
tahunua001
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Unlicensed dremel,
it's a wonder that the millions upon millions of military surplus rifles out there with detachable mags even have them intact anymore, enfields, K31s, svt40s, G43s, M1 carbines, not to mention the AK47s and M16s that militaries of today use, I can't imagine the number of mags that go lost with those... those guns go through a lot more stress and abuse than your average hunting rifle. you're welcome to your opinion but you are describing a one in a million possibility for failure and passing it off as a design flaw.
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Old July 15, 2014, 02:28 AM   #22
semi_problomatic
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Tahuna, in military rifles the magazines are considered disposable items. They're stamped metal and expected to be tossed. You can buy them for $10-$30. Most of the hunting rifles I've seen are twice that and much harder to find.

I also have loaned a rifle to a friend and he'd lost the magazine for about a month because he was keeping them seperate and his wife moved them. FWIW, of course.

I still prefer detachable mags as I find them easier to load and unload. There's no fumbling around in the cold trying to hold the rifle and load it or picking up or trying to catch flying rounds as you unload it. I'm sure some will think it's just super easy and they can do it blindfolded with one hand tied behind their back, but I can't.
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Old July 15, 2014, 04:50 AM   #23
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If you want an accurate rifle straight out of the box that will require little to no modification I recommend a Tikka T3.
They have a very nice smooth action, and very well made barrels.
Beautiful triggers that are easily adjusted, and the plastic stock they come with are nice and light but still rigid.

Someone will say that they are no good as a hunting rifle as they have a detachable magazine and cannot be easily loaded through the top particularly easy, but neither is really a huge concern.

I know many many people who have them and are yet to loose a magazine, and the idea they magazine release may get caught in the bush is pretty moot. In New Zealand they are extremely popular and we have some extraordinarily thick bush here, and I've never heard of it being a problem.
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Old July 15, 2014, 05:57 AM   #24
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Looking for an Economic Rifle

The Weatherby Vanguard is a good choice.
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Old July 15, 2014, 07:36 AM   #25
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Out of the options, I'd go with a Savage but I've only ever handled 110s.
Another cheap choice is a NEF. Around $300 buys one new and will last for many years.

Detachable magazines in a hunting rifle? I don't see anything wrong with that although I like the hinged floor plates better. Detachable magazines in hunting rifles are popular with road hunters.
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