View Full Version : Advice for 'budget' .308 bolt rifle

April 21, 2010, 12:23 AM
So I've finally decided to buy my first bolt action rifle. After filling my gun safe with handguns galore, it's time to expand my rifle collection. I'm looking for a .308 rifle to target shoot with. No hunting for me. I'm brand new to these type of rifles and the .308 caliber. I know that ammo is expensive as well as optics so my budget right now is not much for the rifle itself. From what I've read, here are some choices for a brand new rifle that is around $300-400.

1. Howa 1500
2. Weatherby Vanguard
3. Marlin XS7
4. Stevens 200
5. Savage Edge

I know that Remington, Tikka, FN and Savage (accutrigger) are about $100-200 more. I'd like to save that money for ammo or optics. Or do you think that a used Remy or Savage for $400 is worth it?

Are there any pros or cons with the above choices? Any other options I'm missing?

thanks in advance

April 21, 2010, 12:57 AM
Marlin or Howa are the 2 best in that list; better one of them new than a used rifle. buy a picatinny rail mount for the scope, buy the best quality 40mm or larger objective scope you can afford, even if it is a lower power with out bells and whistles, the light gathering ability of a scope is vital in low light.

April 21, 2010, 01:20 AM
There are several versions of the 700 that can be had reasonably.

April 21, 2010, 01:45 AM
Howa 1500, absolutely no questions about it. The Weatherby Vanguard is essentially the same rifle.

April 21, 2010, 01:49 AM
If you are located in teh south by an Academy Sports and Outdoors they have Remington 700ADL for $349.99. cant beat that.

Other than that look at Savage or Howa. bTW the Weatherby vanguard action is made by Howa, they are essentially the same gun.

April 21, 2010, 05:35 AM
Yes the Weatherby Vanguard and the Howa 1500 are the same barreled action, but the Vanguard might have a more rigid stock. If you just want a cheap cartridge, consider a 223 chambering.

April 21, 2010, 10:00 AM
I've always had good luck with used bolt rifles. There's really not much that can go wrong with them that can't be easily corrected.

April 21, 2010, 11:16 AM
thanks for everyone's input so far.

Here are my replies to-

kenno- I agree that Howa is probably the best on the list. I also agree about new rifle instead of used. Just don't know what kind of 'break-in' was done. Then again, for a $300-$400 rifle, it maybe doesn't even matter?

Javven- I'll try looking for a cheaper Remington 700. I know the 770 is not worth the time.

Scorch- yes, the Howa is nice (but it's also on the upper range of my budget-- around $400).

TDK- I live in Las Vegas so no Academy here for me. That is a cheap price for a Remington 700ADL.

Abel- I know that Howa and Weatherby are almost the same rifle but thanks for pointing out the minor difference. Also, I want a 308 because I have enough AR rifles in 223 and want something with more 'kick' on the range and for those 'zombies'. :D

uncyboo- used rifles are a great deal but since this is my 1st one and I'm not much of a gunsmith, I wouldn't know how to fix any 'problems'.

I've added the Savage Edge to the list which is a new model that just came out. There is a good review on Gunblast.

So I'm leaning now more towards the low end of my range- around $300 and have narrowed it down to the Savage Edge and Marlin XS7. I've read good things with both.

Just to let you all know, I'm more of a semi-auto guy- handguns and rifles (AR and AK). But I figured I need to fill the 'bolt-action' niche in my aresenal. I just bought 600 rounds of cheap (but corrosive) 308 ammo. Just enough to get a feel for my new bolt action. But if I don't like the rifle or caliber, I can always sell my rifle when I'm out of ammo. So I want to spend as little as possible on the rifle but enough to not get turned off to bolt action.

So Savage Edge vs. Marlin XS7.....maybe I should make a poll....

April 21, 2010, 03:18 PM
I know that Remington, Tikka, FN and Savage (accutrigger) are about $100-200 more. I'd like to save that money for ammo or optics. Or do you think that a used Remy or Savage for $400 is worth it?

Hard to beat a used Remington 700 (mid 90's and older) for shooting tight on a tight budget. The things will flat out SHOOT.

April 21, 2010, 03:47 PM
that crap about any scope with more than a 40 mm objective. It's the QUALITY of the scope not the size of the objective.

Case in point 2.5-10x32 NF....bright enough to shoot in any legal light.


My Marlin 270 XLC and a five shot group from a freshly cleaned barrel. Nikon Coyote 4.5-14x40 (FORTY) scope.



April 21, 2010, 05:15 PM
you can get used savage 110/111 accu triggers for around $300.

are you set on a bolt gun?

the h&r single shot rifles are pretty accurate.

April 21, 2010, 07:21 PM
Why would you buy such a cheap gun for target shooting? If you're looking for accuracy, it's gonna cost ya.

April 21, 2010, 08:56 PM
I don't really want a single shot gun. I'm so used to semi-auto, that bolt action is different enough for me. The Savage Edge has a removable magazine so that is appealing to me. I'm looking at a few used Savages but still weary of buying used (unless it's too good a deal to pass up).

Accuracy can still be found on these 'budget' rifles. I'm not looking for 0.5 MOA. Around 1 MOA is fine with me for punching paper. It seems the Marlin XS7 is a 1-1.5 MOA rifle while the Savage Edge might be even < 1 MOA if you believe the gunblast review.

April 21, 2010, 10:58 PM
"Why would you buy such a cheap gun for target shooting? If you're looking for accuracy, it's gonna cost ya. "

I'm sorry but that just isn't true. You can get good accuracy with a lower priced gun no problem. If I were to suggest a gun it would be a Savage or a Stevens. I haven't owned any of the other guns on your list but here is what my Savage .243 will do with handloads. This is my first 5 shots ever handloaded for this gun. It's a .46" group at 100 yards Oh I also have a Stevens in .223 and it will shoot sub moa at 200 yards, last group I measured was 1.38" center to center. Now if that isn't accurate I don't know what is.

April 22, 2010, 04:39 PM
Savage .243 will do with handloads.

April 22, 2010, 09:22 PM
What do you mean by "exactly"

April 22, 2010, 09:35 PM
The T/C Venture was on sale in my area for 379.00 recently. They are guranteed to shoot MOA with good ammo. If i was looking for another bolt action rifle, I guess i would have to give them a look.

TX Hunter
April 22, 2010, 10:01 PM
I would buy the Stephens Rifle, its basicly a Savage 110, and thats an excelent rifle.

April 27, 2010, 08:47 PM
well, I finally made my decision- I bought a Savage Edge XP .308. I couldn't resist the price for the package- includes scope and mount. Paid only $270! I know I'm taking a risk with a new model that just came out. Hopefully it's 'still a Savage' and will be accurate and reliable. I'm picking it up this week so I'll post more details then.

thanks for everyone's input. :D

April 27, 2010, 09:05 PM
Let us know how it is. I've been really curious about those. I know a lot of people don't like the looks of them but I dig it. I held one a couple of weeks ago and I really did like the feel of it.

Willie D
April 27, 2010, 09:09 PM
There is a good review on Gunblast.

There are no bad reviews on Gunblast.

I love reading their stuff but it's usually only a small step up from an advertisement.

April 27, 2010, 11:41 PM
Honestly, I think one of the best choices in that price range is the Savage Model 10 with the accu trigger they sell at Walmart. It's right at $400 with a cheap Simmons scope. They are accurate and nice handling rifles and the accu triggers are great. My next choice would probably be the Marlin or Stevens 200. I just think the Savage Model 10 is a better rifle. The Stevens is basically the same but I think the accu trigger is well worth the extra money.