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Old December 2, 2023, 12:46 PM   #1
taylorce1
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What's your favorite cheap rifle?

Let's be honest we'd all love to own high end or custom rifles. However, it always seems like the discussions here are focused on the budget end of the rifle spectrum. I know "used rifles" will be the number one pick, and I don't disagree. However, lets try to keep the discussion to new rifles under $600.

In the past I would have said Savage especially the Stevens 200 was the best buy for cheap rifles. The Savage 110 isn't as affordable as it used to be, and I still can't bring myself to buy an Axis. Now I'd probably go with the Ruger American Predator for a budget buy in a bolt action.

H&R Handi Rifles were another favorite, but now I'd like to try a CVA Scout. The .35 Whelen and .44 Mag have my interest, maybe a .300 BLK. I do miss the days if the $250 Handi rifle and the barrel accessory program.

I also miss the affordable Marlin Model 60, I bought a couple for barely over $100 years ago. The Nephews now have them, thankfully 10/22 rifles can still be had for less than $300 at times.
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Old December 2, 2023, 01:01 PM   #2
rc
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I can't believe what people are giving for used model 60s that are not as well designed as the Ruger 10/22.
https://www.gunbroker.com/item/1020333282
In rimfire rifles, I was impressed with the Marlin 880 and 882 SS rifles I got for around $200 each that are now going for over $300. Their magazines have more than doubled in price too with Ruger not producing any.

In new rifles, the Ruger American seems to be the one to beat for quality vs price.
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Old December 2, 2023, 01:41 PM   #3
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The Axis 2 is actually a significant step up from the Axis. And you (I) can still use the action to make a pretty darn good custom rifle should one choose to. It still gets my low-end rifle of choice award.
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Old December 2, 2023, 03:40 PM   #4
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Ruger Americans, CVA
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Old December 2, 2023, 08:41 PM   #5
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I haven't bought a new rifle in a long time now. But for me, if it doesn't have a wood stock, and preferably Walnut, I'm just not interested. The Ruger 10-22 is fairly decent and I respect them. However, I've always prefered certain Marlin model 60 variants, which I believe are not currently being made.
For new centerfire rifles, I rather doubt there are any under $600 that I would be interested in buying even if I felt the need.
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Old December 2, 2023, 10:27 PM   #6
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I replaced the triggers for a friend and his wife's Axis. Made them shootable. My first rifle was a Remington 788, bought in 1972. It has a Ramline stock and replaced the trigger. Still in the safe. I bought a Ruger American in 6.5 Grendel and added a Boyd's stock a bolt. Shoots well, but all my others are Rem 700 or Savage 110.
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Old December 2, 2023, 10:31 PM   #7
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I like the Ruger 10/22 for a rimfire, can't hardly beat it for the money. And I don't own one, but I would probably not be opposed to buying a newish Henry leveraction in a .22 rimfire or 22.mag.

When it comes to centerfires, I hate cheap plastic stocked rifles for my own use. And I don't care much for the budget boltactions, however, they will get you by and do a good job of it for most people who are not picky. But for me, I want blued steel and walnut, which probably means searching the gunshows, and sometimes hole in the wall gunshops. Unfortunately, decent used blued steel and walnut rifles, seem to be a lot more scarce than they used to be.
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Old December 3, 2023, 08:22 AM   #8
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My favorite cheap rifle is a Savage 12 FV - Actually two 12 FVs - one in .223 and the other in 6.5mm CM.
They are made by Savage especially for Cabela's and mine cost $319 each on sale. I bought them on the same day - couldn't pass up the sale.
They both shot great out of the box and are very accurate.
For a comparison, I also have a 12 LRP in 6.5mm CM that also shoots great but cost over $1,100.
The cheap 12 FV 6.5mm shoots as accurately as the much more expensive 12 LRP.

Both my 12 FVs now have over 5,000 rounds through their barrels.
I expected that from the .223, but am amazed that I got that much use out of the 6.5mm CM.
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Old December 3, 2023, 09:41 PM   #9
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So searching rifles today, found some "walnut" stocked rifles for under $600. Mainly Howa 1500 and Mini rifles as well some Winchester XPR and Mossberg Patriot. I've never been around the XPR or Patriot, just have the stagpanther .375 Ruger saga to make me leave the Mossberg on the shelf. Henry had some nice wood stocked single shot for those that have to have wood.

CZ 600 rifles have a pretty low price tag on them right now with a rebate. There are a lot of Howa nd Weatherby Vanguard rifles in the sub $600 range still.
However, most of the above will not entice the need the need for wood.
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Old December 3, 2023, 10:12 PM   #10
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Norinco shorty SKS

10/22 model 1103
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Old December 3, 2023, 10:39 PM   #11
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Can't pick a favorite in the "cheap" realm. (Are there really any "cheap" rifles of any substance any more?...)
I am not very satisfied with much of what is on the market now.

What I can pick is least favorite:
Savage Model 64.
The old, re-branded Cooey 64 is a terrible design, a stupid design, a ridiculous design, finicky, janky, hard for children to use, unreliable, unremarkable, cheaply built, nasty, and fed by the worst .22 LR magazine on the market.

What idiot thinks it is reasonable in the modern world to have to disassembled your semi-auto rifle to the point of removing the barrel, in order to clean the bolt?
Every Savage 64 owner that I have talked to has gone to mentioning getting cut by the magazine within 4 sentences (written) or 20 seconds (verbal). On top of being terrible in manufacture, materials, and reliability, it is also a great blood-letting tool.

Bad rifle.
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Old December 4, 2023, 08:25 PM   #12
taylorce1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankenMauser
Can't pick a favorite in the "cheap" realm. (Are there really any "cheap" rifles of any substance any more?...)
I am not very satisfied with much of what is on the market now
I can't say I disagree with you. The rifles I like these days start over $1,000 and only go up. I definitely have a couple of safes full, so I'm more discerning these days.

The reason I asked the question is I have a buddy that is looking at a .223 rifle for his son. His boy will be old enough to hunt big game in CO in a couple of years and wanted a trainer for him. His budget was under $600 and locally he had the Savage 110 Apex or Ruger Predator, I told him to get the Ruger.

We got to talking how it seemed like there wasn't much that could be had for under $600 anymore. That's when I chimed in my last two rimfires I bought were close to $600 before optics. Then we compained about stuff that should be in a political forum that got us to this point.
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Old December 4, 2023, 10:14 PM   #13
MarkCO
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Quote:
The reason I asked the question is I have a buddy that is looking at a .223 rifle for his son. His boy will be old enough to hunt big game in CO in a couple of years and wanted a trainer for him. His budget was under $600 and locally he had the Savage 110 Apex or Ruger Predator, I told him to get the Ruger.
Good choice. Those are in the American line. They are solid and what I posted I prefer. I've not worn one out, but I have had 6 of them. Put a LOT of rounds downrange and then sell them off used.
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Old December 4, 2023, 11:35 PM   #14
FrankenMauser
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Quote:
The reason I asked the question is I have a buddy that is looking at a .223 rifle for his son. His boy will be old enough to hunt big game in CO in a couple of years and wanted a trainer for him. His budget was under $600 and locally he had the Savage 110 Apex or Ruger Predator, I told him to get the Ruger.
I agree. Ruger is the better buy.
But not my favorite. I can still nitpick it and complain.

As I type this, I am also having a discussion with a friend. We are "gaming out" how he can squeeze a certain rifle into NRL22 "Base" class without having to settle for a crappy scope.
Rifle + scope = <$1,300
That can be difficult today, unless you're willing to go through 'cheap' rifles like disposable underwear and just toss out the ones that are soiled.
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Old December 5, 2023, 03:23 PM   #15
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Favorite "cheap" is an Armalite AR-7 I picked up used in '79 for $20.
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Old December 5, 2023, 05:31 PM   #16
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RC said " In rimfire rifles, I was impressed with the Marlin 880 and 882 SS rifles "
As am I . I have two 880s and a 882SS. they punch well above their cost.


Frankenmauser said " What I can pick is least favorite: Savage Model 64. "

I completely agree. A good friend owns one, and we spend more time trying to get it to work than actually shooting it. Id like to wrap it around a tree.
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Old December 5, 2023, 10:25 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rc View Post
I can't believe what people are giving for used model 60s that are not as well designed as the Ruger 10/22.
price.
That one went for a lot and it's a Remlin on top of it. I'd give more for a model 60. They're more accurate out of the box than a 10/22 but that's not saying much. I wouldn't buy a 10/22 to start with. I had one, don't want another.
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Old December 6, 2023, 01:09 AM   #18
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I do not need a new rifle. I do not hunt and do use my existing rifles all that much.

However, there is really only one thing I would kind of like to try.

I can get a 6.5 Grendel Upper for $222, a magazine for less than $20. Then there would be dies, brass and bullets.

I have lowers currently sporting uppers that I have no urge to use. So a new upper is a pretty much a new gun for me to play with.

I would say the above meets the cheap new rifle criteria.
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Old December 6, 2023, 09:24 AM   #19
ernie8
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The best cheap rifle I ever bought new was an entry level Mossberg [ with scope ] in 7mm/08 on sale for $184.00 about 5 years ago . I took a few hogs with it , 3 whitetails , and a large Mule deer . Then my wife took two whitetails with it . A Niece took two whitetails . I gave it to a friend's young daughter and she got a nice buck this year . A lot of meat for the price .
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Old December 6, 2023, 09:57 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by ernie8 View Post
The best cheap rifle I ever bought new was an entry level Mossberg [ with scope ] in 7mm/08 on sale for $184.00 about 5 years ago.
I got my oldest a Mossberg Patriot in .243Win. He loves that rifle and it shoots lights out. I got it at industry price, which was under $150. They are in the $400 range today. They offer a lot of calibers and models up from the base.
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Old December 6, 2023, 01:01 PM   #21
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Western Auto Model 100's
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Old December 6, 2023, 01:38 PM   #22
Ricklin
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Center fire? Blued steel and walnut from the used rack, new glass and GTG.
Rimfire: 10-22
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Old December 6, 2023, 01:51 PM   #23
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Quote:
I got my oldest a Mossberg Patriot in .243Win. He loves that rifle and it shoots lights out. I got it at industry price, which was under $150. They are in the $400 range today. They offer a lot of calibers and models up from the base.
Patriots are hands down the worst designed and engineered rifle I've ever seen. But if they work for you--more power to ya.
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Old December 6, 2023, 04:59 PM   #24
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I recently got an unfired but previously owned Remington 700 SPS, Buckmasters edition, 243 for $400. I’m super impressed with the accuracy, 1/2 inch at 100 yards for 5 shots, with a foggy Bushnell Banner 3x9. It would be my favorite right now.
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Old December 6, 2023, 05:03 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by stagpanther View Post
Patriots are hands down the worst designed and engineered rifle I've ever seen. But if they work for you--more power to ya.
Can't disagree with you, but I have seen too many shoot tiny little groups to object too much. I don't own one and I have tried to talk my son into letting me sell it and replace it with a Bergara, Weatherby, Browning in the mid-tier range. He won't let it go.
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