View Full Version : first rifle: stevens 200 .308 or 30-06

June 15, 2011, 09:20 PM
hey everyone.

i think i'm going the way of the one rifle shooter. hopefully i can bag a hog one day, but before that happens i will probably be spending a lot of time at the range. and i'd like to work my way out to say 600 yds.

from what i've read, the stevens is a savage with a cheap stock. so, while keeping it sub-$800, i think i'm going to replace the stock with a choate tactical or maybe a B&C medalist. i still haven't done any research on optics so i'm open to any suggestions.

my biggest head-scratcher is deciding on a .308 or a 30-06. this being the only rifle i plan on purchasing, i'm hoping to make the right decision. i've shot a .270 but looking for a little more. never shot a .308 or an 06.

economically speaking, which one would you guys suggest in terms of cheap decent ammo, shooting pigs out to 600 yds, and longevity of the rifle as it relates to corrosion and wear from shooting? the .308 or 30-06?

anyone have any tips or warnings with changing out the OEM stock with a choate or B&C? should i do the detachable mag conversion like with SSS or CDI?

June 15, 2011, 09:42 PM
Either will do fine, but if you are going to shoot more at the range than hunt I'd go with the 06 (I meant to say .308). Stevens rifles are great if you are going to tinker with them. Other than that I'd just buy the Savage rifle you want from the start.

The two stocks you chose to put your rifle on are inletted for a varmint contour barrel. The Stevens is a lighter contour so you will have a lot of gap in the barrel channel. I think you would be better off buying a something like the Savage M10 Precision Carbine (http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.aspx?Item=233585223) with Accustock than to buy a Stevens and start swapping parts out. With the precision carbine you'll get a much better trigger and stock to start with and by the time you upgrade the Stevens you will probably have spent nearly the same amount of money.

Stevens 200 .30-06/.308 AVG $300
B&C Medalist $230-250
Choate Tactical $220
Replacement Trigger (optional) $100
Replacement Barrel (http://www.midwayusa.com/viewProduct/default.aspx?productNumber=762388) (optional) $140
Replacement recoil lug (optional) $20+
Replacement bolt handle (optional) $20+

So you'll be looking at around $550 in the Stevens by the time you just upgrade the stock. You can get around $20 for the Stevens stock which still puts you at $530 roughly. The bad thing is none of this includes a scope or mounts.

June 15, 2011, 10:08 PM
thanks taylorce1.

i considered going with a savage for a bit, but the reason i want to build the rifle is for the tinkering. that probably doesn't create the cheapest scenario though.

total build cap right now is $1k including optics. i've never built a rifle before, but here's what i've got so far.

action & barrel: stevens 200 .308 (22" SA) or 30-06 (24" LA) ~$400 (includes tax+fees)
stock: choate tactical $220
trigger: timney or rifle basix $110 (the stevens 200 is basically a savage pre-accutrigger)
scope, rings, base: ? open to suggestions ?
bipod: harris (the choate has an adapter for the harris i believe)
recoil lug: keep it OEM?

and i might do the SSS detachable mag mod at a later date, which is catered for the choate stock.

i'm pretty sure there are holes in this build that i haven't accounted for yet. wha'ddya think?

June 15, 2011, 10:33 PM
I recomend the SSS competition trigger which is better trigger IMO. If you are going to get the Timney or Rifle Basix there is a cheaper option. The two triggers you mentioned are basicly Savage 3 screw triggers, you can pick up a tuned Savage 3 screw from Northland Shooter Supply for $50.

I wouldn't change out the recoil lug unless you are going to change the barrel either; with the stock you want to use I'd be swaping the barrel out real fast. That said the aftermarket ones are much better than the original factory lugs. I've used both the Stockade and SSS recoil lugs. The Stevens bolt handle is very short and I prefer to use either the Stockade or SSS tac bolt handle as well.

As far as bases go I've used EGW 20 MOA and Druasight one piece bases. The last base I bought before the EGW's was the Burris Tactical two piece. I ususally use Weaver or Warne QRW or PRW rings

Optics is up to your choice. I'd look at Vortex, Leupold or Nikon. That said the last scope I bought for my Savage LR .243 was the Weaver Tactical Grand Slam 3.5-10X40 with mil-dot reticle. It seems like a very good scope for the money as well, and it had good reviews over on Sniper Central.

Most Harris bi-pods will attach to the factory sling swivel stud.

June 15, 2011, 10:38 PM
.308 and.30-06 are for all intents identical, except for the '06s ability to handle heavier and longer bullets due to the added case length. .30-06 is more versatile in my opinion, but the deer or hog on the receiving end won't care to ask which you used. .308 rifles if built on a shorter action can be lighter, and you'll find "carbine" type rifles more often (a la' Remington Model 7 compared to a Remington 700).

Take your pick.... neither is a bad choice.

June 15, 2011, 10:50 PM
More surplus ammo availabnble for 308 (7.62NATO). Cheaper practice shooting.

June 15, 2011, 10:58 PM
thanks for the input guys.

is swapping out the barrel a plug and play type of mod or will i need tools or have to go see the gunsmith?

i'm pretty hands on but i live in an apartment and only have basic tools. nothing specific to gunsmithing. i'll probably buy a book on rifle anatomy one of these days.

reason i'm so bent on the choate is due to the many comments on the 06's recoil. and the choate is supposed to be supple enough to kind of counteract that. but if you guys have any other suggestions on stocks i'm all ears.

if this ends up being too difficult or expensive, i'll probably end up shopping for a mosin nagant. but sporterizing that will probably cost more.

June 15, 2011, 11:05 PM
I reload for 30-06 and I personally think its more versitle therefore a better cartridge. You can get higher velocities across the board and shoot the heavier bullets better than the .308 can. If you reload I would go with the 30-06 if not, it really wouldnt make much diffrence.

June 15, 2011, 11:39 PM
As to caliber, I would recommend the 30-06, I think you will have a better choice in lead free bullets in that caliber but I could be wrong. Go to your local gun store and see how large a selection they have in each caliber (308 and 30-06).

I kind of agree on purchasing a Savage instead of the Stevens. You could look at the Savage Axis a bit cheaper than the Stevens 200 and can be had in Short action (308) or Long action (30-06) and since you are dropping a new trigger into it, the lack of the Accurtrigger in the Axis would not be a problem for you to replace.

I get the feeling this is going to be a long range rifle and not a hunting gun, not sure you will find any pigs exposing themselves to hunters at 600 yards in LA or the burbs.


June 16, 2011, 09:15 AM
Barrel swaps are pretty easy if you have the correct tools. You'll need at a minimum a barrel nut wrench and go/no-go gauges. Optional tools you'll need is an action wrench or barrle vise to help make your life easier. Go over to Savage Shooters Forum and you'll find all the info you need on doing a barrel swap.

June 16, 2011, 10:38 AM
More surplus ammo availabnble for 308 (7.62NATO). Cheaper practice shooting.

+1 on this.

June 16, 2011, 10:45 AM
I put a B&C Medalist on a Stevens 200 and it works fine, couldn't be happier with it. I put a Rifle Basix trigger on it and have been very happy with it until a few weeks ago. It started firing if you closed the bolt hard enough (started a thread on it, but never got to do the work on the rifle). My opinion on the trigger is currently in limbo.. haha. Yes, you will have plenty of space between the barrel and stock. Doesn't look bad, but doesn't look quite right either. The I bought the Stevens over a Savage so I could tinker.. it's been fun, but I haven't completed my rifle yet.

.308 vs. .30-06... flip a coin. They are so similar it's not a big deal. Also you could search here as this has been discussed in great length multiple times. I would recommend the .30-06 to you simply because you mentioned the .270 isn't quite enough for you as the .308 is a little less powerful than the .30-06. the .270 is enough to take elk at reasonable ranges, so I'm not sure why you feel its not enough, but that's neither here nor there.. To each his own. They are all great cartridges.

June 16, 2011, 12:54 PM
thanks for the replies.

it might sound cheesy but the main reason for going with a 308 or 06 over a 22 or 270 is the recoil and blast. correct me if i'm wrong, but if i can tame a 308, then shouldn't shooting a 270 accurately be that much easier?

this being a one-rifle situation, i want get as much exposure as i can, and i figure taming a beast makes it easier to tame lesser beasts.

the other reason is for pigs. i've heard and read that they are tough as nails, and either you have to be super accurate, which i am not, or you have to blast them with a cannon.

so right now i'm looking at a stevens 200 308 or 3006, a rem 700 sps tactical 308 20" bbl, or looking for a mosin nagant.

if i go the stevens route, then i'll probably be throwing another stock on there unless i feel the recoil isn't too bad. i've read the 700 tactical's stock is alright, and at roughly $550-650 plus tax and fees, it's around the same price as a stevens with an aftermarket stock. this is before the optics, trigger, or swapping out the barrel, bolt, recoil lug, or anything like that.

June 16, 2011, 02:32 PM
Just an FYI Thegunsource.com has the .308 Stevens for 303.00 and about 20 some bucks to ship. Mine came in 4 days and was factory direct. I know people have had issues with them but I have never yet.

+1 on getting a savage like the 10fp better stock don't need to change, fabulous accutrigger, thicker contour barrel. I bought a stevens but I wanted to be able to poop on it and not care. Save yourself some hassle and start with a solid platform.

June 16, 2011, 04:32 PM
You will kill pigs just as well with either caliber.
I think the real decision making issue is what is the biggest game you are likely to hunt? If pigs and deer are it, the .308 will do fine.
But, I am a 30-06 fan because of it's versatility. Cost of ammo is about the same with both. Although if reloading, the .308 requires a little less powder.
As for recoil and blast, wear proper hearing protection for either.
I am not very big and recoil from my 30-06 is not a problem. I'll admit though, the heaviest loads with the heaviest bullets like 220 or 240 gr. do make a noticable kick but those would only be used for some sighting in and hunting critters that can eat you.

June 16, 2011, 08:44 PM
Either one is really a great choice. I prefer the .308 and surplus ammo is certainly a bonus if you plan on shooting a lot.

Each round has pros and cons over the other but it really comes down to a personal choice as both are great rounds.

June 16, 2011, 08:49 PM
I prefer the .308 and surplus ammo is certainly a bonus if you plan on shooting a lot.

Guys, he can not use surplus ammo!!!!!


June 16, 2011, 09:00 PM
.308 and.30-06 are for all intents identical, except for the '06s ability to handle heavier and longer bullets due to the added case length. .30-06 is more versatile in my opinion, but the deer or hog on the receiving end won't care to ask which you used. .308 rifles if built on a shorter action can be lighter, and you'll find "carbine" type rifles more often (a la' Remington Model 7 compared to a Remington 700).

Take your pick.... neither is a bad choice.

What he said. Flip a coin...

June 16, 2011, 10:23 PM
I am curious at why you think you have to shoot at 600 yards for hogs? Have you ever shot at this range in competition or on the hunting fields? If you have, you know finding a rifle with the all the mods, stocks and other things you are considering, including a scope under $800.00 is highly unlikely!

I am talking about field shooting, accurately that is humane to the animal, and not a stunt effort, but pure quality shooting. It is not that easy to do in the real world with the best of rifles ... Just wondering...

June 17, 2011, 06:11 AM
I see lots of new shooters who have this idea of longrange shooting right out of the gate. It just doesn't work that way. The biggest factor in long shooting is THE WIND. Trajectory compensating and range estimating is mechanical and range finders take most of the work out of the question.
A factory lightweight rifle is not going to be a consistent longrange hitter regardless of what stock or trigger you add to it later. I have several .30 caliber rifles capable of hitting small targets at very long range and none of them would be considered hunting rifles although I've used a couple of them to hunt with.
I don't intend to bust the bubbles of a bunch of newbs but consistent long range performance comes at the price of weight and expense of quality parts. When you and your rifle can consistently hit an 8" square a majority of the time over 300 yards, then it's time to step up to 400. You'll find it twice as hard to hit that same target @400 yards as at 300 due to wind and wiggle.

June 17, 2011, 09:52 AM
I'd go with the 30-06 for simplicity's sake: one barrel twist to choose from, one spec (compared to the differences between .308 and 7.62NATO chambers), and a 30-06 can use any bullet a .308 can use. 30-06 is kind of blah due to its ubiquity and age, but it is hard to beat.

June 17, 2011, 10:43 AM
I am curious at why you think you have to shoot at 600 yards for hogs?

WB, I think you are jumping the gun a little.

hopefully i can bag a hog one day, but before that happens i will probably be spending a lot of time at the range. and i'd like to work my way out to say 600 yds.

Bagging a hog and working his way out to 600 yards at the range is two different things. That is my take on it anyway, and I still feel that there are very few hunters that try to set themselves up for the long shot. However having the skills to make a long shot in the field is never a bad thing.

I still have a lot of faith in people to do the right thing. I think as the OP starts shooting and practicing for the possibility of hunting, he will realize his limitations and hunt within them. There is nothing wrong with having goals such as bagging a hog, or shooting 600 yards, and there still is nothing wrong if those two goals can come together successfully.

June 17, 2011, 12:44 PM
thanks for the input.

yeah i don't really plan on shooting a hog at 6 football fields away. but i'm hoping to buy a rifle that could do that, should the need arise. i know it's the shooter not the rifle, but i'm a pretty bad shot as it is so i'd really like a rifle that could meet me halfway to accuracy.

i've checked a few websites and the .308 does seem relatively cheaper than the 30-06 round. and .308 surplus rounds seem to be in abundance, while 30-06 surplus rounds seem to be far and few between. anyone have any more input on this?

i'm leaning more towards the .308 just because the rounds seem cheaper and of more abundance. and it can fire the current NATO round. that might not be of significance, but if the world's militaries do evolve to a different round, it's reassuring to know that there will be a huge surplus of cheap ammo flooding the market when it happens.

the 30-06's ability to fire rounds of a wide variety of grains would be nice though. decisions decisions.

some quick questions though. how important of a factor is stock quality to recoil? the general consensus seems to be that the factory stevens 200 stock is pretty bad, especially at 30-06.

i've narrowed it down to the stevens 200 in the 30-06 or .308 caliber round. if i went this route, i would most likely take it to the range to check the recoil and feel of the stock. if it's bad then i'll probably add an aftermarket B&C medalist or choate tactical.

the other option is going with the remington 700 sps tactical 20" bbl .308. i like the shorter, lighter construction, and the fact it has a rather substantial bull barrel. from what i've read a thicker barrel stays cooler and shoots straighter. correct me if i'm wrong.

the sps tactical supposedly has a decent factory stock and a decent trigger.

that's all i've got so far. i'll probably bite the bullet within the week so your added input would really help. scouring the forums seems to lead to an abyss of mods and possibilities. i may be in over my head.

Clifford L. Hughes
June 17, 2011, 04:42 PM

Having shot both the .308 and the 30/06 while I was a member of several Marine Corps' rifle teams, I have found them kissing cousins: If you have one, in most cases, you don't need the other. Both the M1 Garand and the M14 shot possibles at 1000 yards. Something that you must consider when choosing a caliber is bullet weight. The .308 Winchester peforms better with bullets up to 180 grains. It will shoot the 200 grain but the bullet intrudes into the power room and the bullet's velociity suffers. On the other hand, the 30/06 can handle bullet weight up to 220 grains. Either caliber will take wild boar out to 300 yards if the shooter does his part.

Semper Fi.

Gunnery sergeant
Clifford L. Hughes
USMC Retired

June 17, 2011, 05:49 PM
Growing up in Alaska, I hunted moose with the .30-06 exclusively (180-200grs). However, now that I live in deer & elk country here in Oregon, I am switching over to a shorter, handier .308 w/ 165's this year. One reason being practice, I can buy US M80 7.62x51 surplus ammo for as little as 30 cents each, and since I have much less time to reload these days, I figure that this is the way that I can actually afford to get proficient again. So another vote for the .308.

June 17, 2011, 08:01 PM
30-06 for sure, so many more options of ammo for it anywhere from 55-220gr. They are prooven field performers not to say the .308 isnt but the 06 just fits your budget imo. As far as the rifle if you really want to tinker go for the build. Dont even buy the gun to start. Get online and just start buying parts and pieces, usually you can get a action and barrel for 200 bucks or so. Then Id get a Mcmillian Stock for it at around 200, Timney trigger at 150 or so, then get some Leupold rings and bases for it at 50 or so then get either a Bushnell 3200 or Nikon Buckmaster scope at 200 all that puts you up around 700 before tax and close 800 after tax then buy about 5 differnt ammos to try out with what you have left. With that setup you can sure find a 1.5" moa bullet to shoot which isnt too bad.

Jeff F
June 17, 2011, 11:30 PM
If I was going to have only one rifle for hunting it would be 30-06. You can find ammo in just about every backwoods mom an pop joint and IMO it is a more versatile round then the .308. I do like the .308, its a good cartridge.

Big Shrek
June 18, 2011, 08:00 PM
Maybe, if your budget is a serious consideration, you might want to look at the Marlin X-7 series that starts at only $299
.308 & .30-06 available...Boyd's Gunstocks makes some killer stocks for 'em, real wood...
other folks make synthetics if that's your style.

Pay less for the rifle, spend some of the savings on a serious scope. You'll be amazed at the combo.

.308 for less ouch from recoil.

.30-06 for killing everything in North America.

June 18, 2011, 08:16 PM
Depends on what you're going to shoot with it. If you anticipate the need for 200 grain or heavier bullets, get the '06.

If you're serious about the 600 yard stuff, the only 'cheap' ammo for you is going to be a reload. You'll need an indefinite supply, safe from the whims of marketing, which shoots exceptionally well in your particular rifle. Figure out what it is and lay in a good supply of components. Strive to keep your loading procedures consistent. You may want to spend some time visiting with a High Power or Benchrest shooter who rolls his own.

FWIW, I think you made a good choice. I've shot a lot of old 110's over the years and I never saw one that couldn't be made to shoot well. A good number were scary accurate right from the box.

August 24, 2011, 07:55 PM
I'm having this very same dilemma and can't decide on one..

The Stevens 200 is a steal for $300

August 25, 2011, 11:59 AM
Get the Stevens and shoot it before you go to changing anything. I prefer the .308, but it doesn't really matter. I just like the shorter bolt throw is all.

You might find that the plain ole Stevens is a pretty good shooter as is. It doesn't have the Accu Trigger, BUT you can still adjust it for weight very easily. 3 screws removes the action from the stock and then it's a simple screwdriver turn to set the trigger to your desired weight. Down to about 3 lbs or so, which is actually pretty light. Additionally, you can easily polish the trigger just a tiny bit to make it feel crisper. Don't overdo that part though. Just a gentle buffing. Most people find the Stevens triggers to be very nice at that point. I get sub-moa out of my .243 and 22-250 without a problem.

As for the stocks, yeah you can spend $200 or so on a fancier one. Or if you just can't stand that ugly grey piece of plastic (which gets the job done just fine), then go to http://www.boydsgunstocks.com/?Click=39698 and buy yourself a real pretty one for under $100. They are great. Already finished and they just drop right in. Real wood and lots of different styles.