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Old July 26, 2014, 11:11 AM   #1
rantingrelentlessly
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what .308 would you buy?

Ok, so here's my situation. I have $1500 to spend on a new (to me) rifle. I had my heart set on a Springfield M1A standard loaded at a local gun shop. I've been looking at a lot of guns online and now I'm not sure what I want. I would prefer a semi auto but bolt action is not a deal breaker. .308 or larger is a must. Should i put all my money into the gun and buy optics and accessories later? Also there is a gunshow coming to town in a few weeks. Should I wait and buy a gun there? The rifle i buy will mostly be used for target shooting out to 500 yds max, but i plan on using this as my main deer rifle. M1A seems like a good fit but does anyone know of something that might work better?
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Old July 26, 2014, 11:32 AM   #2
emcon5
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What are you trying to do?

Frankly I think the M1A is overpriced for what you get. I would rather have a lighter, more accurate bolt gun for a lot less money.
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Old July 26, 2014, 11:43 AM   #3
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your going to be hard pressed to find a better package than this

Granted its a bolt action but you get good glass, the caliber you want and a few hundred dollars left over for ammo.
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Old July 26, 2014, 12:23 PM   #4
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Really depends on purpose. Not knocking the M1A, I want one actually, but they are heavy and would not be a ideal hunting rifle. If you want a hunting rifle on the other hand, a Ruger American or older Remington 700 is hard to beat. Then you would have enough to buy some nice optics. If the range is your only purpose, I'd go with the M1A.
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Old July 26, 2014, 12:25 PM   #5
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The Springfield M1A is a nice rifle, after mounts & scope your up there in price. Just remember the scope should have more potential in accuracy then the rifle. I learned the hard way in upgrading. My advice would be to save & get the best scope & mounts you can efford, for what ever rifle you deside on.The next step will be in reloading,trying everything to get more accurate in your shooting. It never stops,so get use to spending $$$$. Hope I helped in some way. Chris
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Old July 26, 2014, 12:39 PM   #6
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You aren't planning on shooting too far (500 yds max), and it sounds like a deer rifle.

Ruger Scout would fit the bill.
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Old July 26, 2014, 01:09 PM   #7
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SIG

the sig saur 3000 SSG a bolt rifle is absolutely fantastic in the accuracy dept., but you would not want to carry this beast as a deer rifle.
First time at the range with Federal Gold match ammo and I got 1/2" groups at 100Yds and a 3 shot group of 3/4" at 300 Yds.
Topped with Nt. Force NXS 8X-32X

Wanting a target rifle that is also a deer rifle is a contradiction of sorts.

Why not buy a used bolt gun and save a bit more and then get a Real target rifle IE Savage F/TR in .308?

IMHO JD
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Old July 26, 2014, 01:28 PM   #8
rantingrelentlessly
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Thanks Ruger480. I think this package is just what I need.
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Old July 26, 2014, 02:44 PM   #9
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I have an M1a Loaded and really love it. However, I am a veteran who trained on the M1 Garand. So, I have a thing for battle rifles.

The M1a is a little heavy, which also helps absorb recoil.

M1a is fun to shoot and makes one feel powerful.

Some military surplus ammo is still out there for M1a, not to mentioned factory reloads.

M1a is a little bit of a high maintenance bitch.... Need various maintenance tools, have to clean out the gas cylinder, be prepared to replace the SAI extractor.

M1a wasn't truly designed for a scope, although there are bolt on options raising the weight to about 14 lbs.

M1a limited to 168 gr. bullets max in all practicality, because of the semi-auto mechanism.

Bolt rifle is going to be a lot easier to maintain.

Bolt rifle probably designed for scoping.

Bolt rifle lighter.

Bolt rifle can handle heavier bullets, if designed for it.

Bolt rifle inherently more accurate.

Instead of $1,800 for an M1a, I would recommend starting with a $400 .308 Bolt action that will be more accurate. More money left over for ammo and a scope.
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Old July 26, 2014, 04:22 PM   #10
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If you wind up getting one, be sure to give us a range report!
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Old July 26, 2014, 05:06 PM   #11
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I'm a bolt-action rifle shooter and think it's an ideal rifle for a person who is getting started with shooting and maintaining a hunting rifle, not to mention expert hunters and shooters.

You have enough money to buy a really nice rifle and suggest you go to a good local dealer and try hefting and mounting all kinds of rifles to see how they fit your body. It's hard to see how rifles without scopes on them will handle with a scope, so look at used rifle that have them mounted and if you can't warm to the used models try to find a new one that is similar to the used one that fit you well and seemed nicest to handle.

After that, go to the gun show and see what else strikes your fancy, but don't buy anything! Either go back to the dealer, or try more dealers with good repute in the area. You can't handle too many guns before deciding on the one to buy.

Don't buy the most expensive gun you can afford unless you're absolutely convinced it's the one for you, in the caliber you will enjoy for a while. A rifle doesn't have to be the newest whiz-bang daddy on the block. The tried and true models may suit you very well.

Don't think that you're married to the rifle forever. Unlike wives, you can trade them and not get hurt too badly. I've had over a hundred guns, but never more than 30 or so at a time. It's more like a journey than a marriage.

Good luck and good shooting!
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Old July 26, 2014, 05:11 PM   #12
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Get a DPMS.
Many models to choose from, including the lightweight Sportical, for about a grand.
My son's LR-308 has a 24" bull and is a heavy beast- but shoots better than 3/4 minute.

For an optic, Midway has the Vortex Viper 6.5-20 on closeout for $300 with free shipping (ordering another myself). You can't beat the value for that price....

My only beef with the DPMS is the factory trigger, which we upgraded- and there's enough left in your $1500 budget to do so.
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Old July 27, 2014, 08:23 AM   #13
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People shoot more accurately with money spent on a good rifle and ammo than what's spent on a scope. The repeatability range of scopes is less than 10% that of rifles and ammo. You can get scopes with 1/2 MOA maximum slop for a couple hundred bucks. A brand new rifle guaranteed to do that will cost a couple thousand of 'em. Then how much will ammo cost that shoots no worse than that in the rifle?

Do what you want with your hard earned sheckles.
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Old July 27, 2014, 08:59 PM   #14
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I also recommend get what your heart is singing for.

I have 3 .308s.

One is my 'hunting' rifle: a 1957 Savage 99 Featherweight in .308 with a 4x ScopeChief scope mounted. Although, to be HONEST, I didn't need to get it. I just 'wanted' it. I won't be hunting past 250 yards anyway, so there was little the 99 could do in .308 than the 99 I already had in .300 could do ['54 Savage 99eg].


Second was/is a Saiga 16.5" sportster in .308: definitely a 'brush gun', as the iron sights make accuracy over 200 yards [with my eyes] problematic. Man is that FUN to shoot! I would compare that most to a M1A scout rifle, due to the semi-auto, detachable mag, short barrel, sporter-stock configuration. Mine does NOT have a pistol-grip, but wooden stock. I am NOT saying it is 'just as good'. I am not claiming it is 'better'. I am stating that it is as close to a 'modern' MBR as I feel the need for. The Kalashnikov action makes it reliable.


The last one is something to make purists wince, if not get them upset. A Garand in .308. Yep: I know. Please, no flames. I understand the 'purist' attitude about the .30-06 chambering. I just wanted ammo simplicity, and I am a shooter-not a collector. I don't own ANY .30-06 rifles, so saw no need to add that to the ammo stockpile for one gun only. I had 2 .308s already. ammo simplicity was the goal.

This Garand is a '43 Springfield that was purchased with the .308 insert pressed into the chamber. Off it went to Fulton Armory for a true 7.62x51 chambered Criterion chrome-lined barrel installed. SO, I did NOT ruin a perfectly good Garand. Someone else did that when it was first converted. I just made it safer.

I will say that the Garand in .308 is a LOT of fun to shoot. I am VERY happy with it, and enjoy it more than the detachable mag Saiga. More than the Savage? Maybe. But I am more accurate with the Savage and have greater ammo selection available to me.

If you want hunting AND sporting, why not a bolt/lever and a semi?

You can't get the M1A for low enough to get a good bolt/lever also, but there are other options to consider.

Evaluate why you want it and go from there.

However, of your heart is set on an M1A, I advocate getting the M1A if you can afford it. Later in life, life bills us in larger and larger amounts and it may be harder to pony up for the M1A, but you may be able to get a decent $600 bolt rifle at that point.
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Old July 27, 2014, 09:19 PM   #15
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Armalite AR-10 would be my preference. I love mine. I have never cared for the M1A because in my opinion it is inferior to the M1 Garand. The improvements that the m14 has over the Garand are in my opinion no longer "improvements" when you lose full auto capability.
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Old July 27, 2014, 09:38 PM   #16
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The M1A is a nice rifle, and can deliver good accuracy. As an all around rifle that does a lot of things well it would be a good( but as mentioned somewhat expensive) choice, especially if you had to choose one rifle to do all things. As mentioned before, it is somewhat heavy, especially once you add an optics mount and optics. The iron sights on the rifle are excellent, and shooting with them can provide a great deal of satisfaction. Every six months or so I'll take the mount off of mine and shoot it with the open sights just for the fun of it. Good magazines for it are not cheap and the cheap mags are not worth the money. The rifle Ruger480 pointed out to you would be an excellent choice also. It all depends upon what you really want. If the M1A is what you really want, then I'd drop the coin on it. Mine is a little over 20yrs. old, and I have yet to feel a single tinge of regret for buying it. Whatever you decide, enjoy it and give us a range report.
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Old July 28, 2014, 02:15 AM   #17
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If you ever wanted an M1A and have the coin to get it now, do it. I bout my Scout when I got out of combat engineer school with the Marine Corps and was young dumb and had nothing but expendable income. I don't regret it one bit. I killed my first deer with it in its original configuration, swapped it over to a Blackfeather Stock, and now it sits in a Juggernaut Rogue chassis. Looks nothing like it did a year ago but I am still just as happy with it, I just can't resist the urge to tinker with things. People complain about the weight but even lugging it around hunting I never felt over burdened and I am not an exceptional strong guy.

It is not an easy or inexpensive rifle to mount an optic to. Good mounts are much the same story as magazines: good ones are expensive and cheap ones aren't worth the money. The iron sights simply cannot be beat though.
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Old July 28, 2014, 03:01 PM   #18
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An M14 type is a poor choice for hunting. It's very heavy, and sensitive to non-standard ammo (non-standard meaning anything sold as .308 win since the rifle is made for 7.62x51 NATO). Not to mention unbelievably expensive to put optics on.

Get one or the other: A full-powered "battle rifle" (in which case an AR10 type is always the frontrunner to me, and in .260 not .308), or a hunting rifle. Or get two rifles. Don't try to make one rifle fit both roles. But if you do, get an AR10 type in .260 rem to do that. An M14 type is fine and dandy for what it is - a fighting rifle that uses standard bulk military FMJ ammo, to make sure it runs like a top. But it's a relatively poor hunter generally-speaking.

So without knowing more, I'd say you need a light or medium-light turnbolt in .308 (which I have no use for but that's what you said and it's certainly a useful and fine round). Spend about half on the rifle, and half on the glass.

Since .308 is so ubiquitous in "tactical" rifle, check the used markets but watch out so as not to get one too heavy. Stay under 8.5 lbs un-scoped max.

See this contemporaneous thread, which essentially is the same topic (best rifle/glass I can get for $1,500) - or is your budget rifle ONLY?

http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=549869
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Old July 28, 2014, 03:56 PM   #19
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(in which case an AR10 type is always the frontrunner to me, and in .260 not .308
Agreed, I would take .260 (or 7-.08) over the .308- but good luck trying to find one- or even a barrel in .260.

Also, if the OP doesn't handload, the .308 would be a better choice IMO.
Very little in the way of .260 factory ammo, and at his max range of 500 yards the .308 is more than adequate.
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Old July 28, 2014, 04:14 PM   #20
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+1 on the AR10. Though I'm biased to ARs you really cant go wrong with it on your budget. If you don't like the AR10 then I'd highly recommend a run of the mill Remington 700 in .308. The timeless bolt gun that won't break the bank.
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Old July 28, 2014, 04:39 PM   #21
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Springfield makes a nice M14 pattern rifle, but you tend
to get a higher quality rifle from LRB, SEI, Fulton, JRA etc.
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Old July 28, 2014, 07:03 PM   #22
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An M14 type is a poor choice for hunting. It's very heavy, and sensitive to non-standard ammo (non-standard meaning anything sold as .308 win since the rifle is made for 7.62x51 NATO). Not to mention unbelievably expensive to put optics on.
I disagree. The weight is an issue for some and that's understandable. But for ammo selection you can safely use any factory .308 loads under 170gr or so. I took my first deer with a 165gr Hornady SST and he didn't run for more than 20 yds after being hit. An M1A will make a fine deer or hog rifle so long as the weight isn't an issue for the hunter.
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Old July 28, 2014, 07:50 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by C7AR15 View Post
the sig saur 3000 SSG a bolt rifle is absolutely fantastic in the accuracy dept., but you would not want to carry this beast as a deer rifle.

First time at the range with Federal Gold match ammo and I got 1/2" groups at 100Yds and a 3 shot group of 3/4" at 300 Yds.

Topped with Nt. Force NXS 8X-32X



Wanting a target rifle that is also a deer rifle is a contradiction of sorts.



Why not buy a used bolt gun and save a bit more and then get a Real target rifle IE Savage F/TR in .308?



IMHO JD

I can attest to the SIG as well, it is hands down one of the best platforms I've ever owned. 1000 yards is not difficult with it at all, 700 yards and under gets boring.
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Old August 9, 2014, 08:35 PM   #24
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With $1500 you can buy a good Ar15 and an accurate bolt action rifle if you want to.
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Old August 9, 2014, 09:02 PM   #25
gyvel
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Check out the CZ 550FS at Bud's Gun Shop right now. A very fine, accurate bolt action .308, and well below your projected budget.
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