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Old December 31, 2018, 10:08 PM   #1
Elliottsdad
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Budget .308

Looking for a cheap .308. Just for range giggles, defense, and a cheap prep. Can't hunt with it here.
Anyone have experience with the Mossberg Patriot rifles? Are they any good? I'm seeing them for $400ish online, and that seems pretty cheap for a U.S. rifle.
I'm also seeing the Mossberg MVPs for a few bucks more, and they can accept AR-10 mags, which is a really nice bonus. Are the MVPs the same action as the Patriots? For that matter, does Mossberg make a decent bolt action at all?
The Savage Arms Hog Hunter in .308 is $500 ish, which is tempting (I know from past experience that Savage does good work), but it would be nice to save the hundred bucks.
Thoughts? Anything else, or better, in this sub $500 arena?
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Old December 31, 2018, 10:59 PM   #2
kilotanker22
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The Mossberg rifles are pretty decent. The ATR and the MVP are based on the same action I believe.

For like $450 you can get a winchester XPR with a Vortex crossfire 2 scope. Also the Savage 110 apex Engage hunter in 308 for around the same price with the bushnell engage scope on it. You can get Thompson Center Compass right now at Dicks Sporting goods for $250 (at least the Dick's in my area)
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Old December 31, 2018, 11:25 PM   #3
BigBL87
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I personally just bought a Savage 10 FCP for $379, but looks like they're out of stock for that price. I'd check in at this link from time to time, they were out shortly after I bought mine then came in stock, so they may get more.

https://www.sportsmansoutdoorsuperst....cfm/ID/209695

Outside if that, for under $500 the ones I looked at in addition the the above were (with finalists having a *):

Savage Axis II
*Savage 11 Trophy Hunter
Thompson Center Compass
*Thompson Center Venture
*Ruger American
Winchester XPR

My purpose is a very occasional hog hunt when visiting family in Arkansas and just for general messing around and having something that can reach out more than my AR if needed. I based my list on a good deal of research, both professional reviews and reading a variety of forums.

I have nothing against Mossberg, the one shotgun I own is a Mossberg 500. Just haven't heard awesome things about their rifles. Not terrible things either, just not as much praise as the ones above get on a consistent basis.
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Old December 31, 2018, 11:38 PM   #4
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FWIW, from what I've read you could use it to hunt coyote if you wanted to, so that would be a hunting option. Probably a bit of overkill for a coyote, but dead is dead if you aren't trying to preserve the fur. I've considered using mine for coyote but think I'll stick with my AR.
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Old January 1, 2019, 01:34 AM   #5
GarandTd
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I've been going around to various stores handling all of the cheapest budget rifles. So far this includes the Thompson Center Compass, Mossberg Patriot, Savage Axis II, and Remington 783. I didn't like the safety on the Compass. The Mossberg had the worst feeling stock and the bolt seemed way too loose. I can't pinpoint why, but I didn't like the Savage much though it felt better than the TC or Mossberg. The Remington 783 felt the best. It had a sturdy feeling stock and the smoothest bolt of all of them. I have yet to get my hands on the Ruger American and I haven't shot any of the others. Only fodled them at the store.
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Old January 1, 2019, 01:56 AM   #6
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I own an MVP by Mossberg. the bolt does wobble a lot when open, but it hurts nothing I detest the fact that the safety doesn't lock the bolt shut. But the rifle is quite accurate and I like the fact it takes AR10 mags or M14 mags interchangeably.
The Patriot uses the same action and bolt as well as the same quality of barrel, but doesn't use the NATO magazine.

If I were you I'd stay FAR away from the Remington 783

A close look at a Ruger American may be worth your time too.
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Old January 1, 2019, 02:53 AM   #7
kilotanker22
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Thompson Center Venture might be a good fit for you as well. I own one. The bolt is smooth, and the inline feeding is very smooth. At least in the wsm I have.

The trigger can be adjusted for pull weight, take up and over travel. It has a 1 MOA garantee.

As wyosmith said the Ruger American may be a nice fit to your needs as well. It also has a 3 lug bolt and 60 degree lift, and full sized bolt body. Has a very smooth bolt travel.

The TC venture I have has a hard lift. Presumably, because of the smallish bolt handle. And the fact that you only have 60 degrees of lift to re engage the locking mechanism.

Local to me. The TC Venture and the Ruger American can be had for around $375. Both include bases so a scope and rings is all you would need from there.

I feel like the Ruger has a better trigger than the TC Venture. While the Venture has a better barrel. The Winchester XPR might be worth a look as I stated earlier. It has an excellent factory trigger. Although that rifle. Or at least the Barrel is made in Portugal I believe.

The Savage axis 2 is worth a look. The stock is a travesty, but the accutrigger in my opinion is the best factory trigger on a price point rifle. The Winchester being a close second.

In all honesty. Any of the price point rifles listed in this thread will suite you well. The main question is which one you like best....

For what it's worth though. For your budget range. You could likely find a lightly used, better quality rifle for the same money.

Browning X-Bolt comes to mind. Or a Winchester Model 70. Remington has gotten a bad rap the last few years, but the still turn out some nice pieces. And there are thousands of golden era model 700's on the used market. Well inside your budget.
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Old January 1, 2019, 07:29 AM   #8
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The OP isn't very far from THREE "rifle states" so could fairly easily check the used market. Between Xmas and "tax deadline" there are often some really good deals on center fire rifles and most used 308's haven't been shot all that much.
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Old January 1, 2019, 08:13 AM   #9
Don Fischer
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I've got two Partiot's an an older 700 ADL. One Partiot, a 308, all I've shot in it are cast bullet's. The other, a 243 and the 700 ADL both shoot right at 1/2" with handloads. The Patriot hasn't had a thing done to it but the Rem needed extensive bedding work. Finely found a wood take off stock for the Remington and like it much better. Both Patriot's have wood stock's, matter of fact every rifle and shotgun I own have wood stocks! Never have had the Savage but have never read anything but good about them. If it felt good to me, I'd do it. Only seen photo's of the TC and for whatever reason it doesn't appeal to me. Neither does the Rem 783 or the Ruger American. The wood stocked Ruger.s are beautiful but I've had two years ago and both were hard to get to shoot well, not a clue about the American but everyone seem's to like them. I think your gonna find that the best one of the lot to get is the one that feel's best to you. Were I you I'd simply eliminate anyone I couldn't find local and actually put my hands on. Accuracy wise, from reading, it doesn't seem to me like one has much advantage over the other!
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Old January 1, 2019, 09:22 AM   #10
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Here are some rifles to consider based on your use and their pros and cons:

Savage 12FV from Cabela's/Basspro - This is a damn good shooting rifle. Heavy Varmit barrel but hefty at 26", so home defense will be less then ideal. Stock is not very nice but sturdy enough to slap a bipod on and it shoots well above its price. Action feels a bit rough and its an internal mag with 4 shot capacity. Accutrigger is solid as stated above. It makes a nice project as well over time if your looking to have a rifle that you can fiddle with and build up. As mine sits it shoots 3/4 MOA all the way out to 800 yds with Factory match ammo and better with handloading. My biggest gripe is the occasional ejector issues which are fixable with some google fu and a dremmel/patience.

Rueger American Predator ( gen 2ish )- Not really sure its called gen 2 but its what I call the new line that take the mags. This rifle will probably be your best all around choice and can be found with a Vortex scope package for 500ish bucks. The only bad thing about this rifle is the stock. Otherwise its a gem of a find. Bolt throw is rough for about 100 cycles but smooths out. Accuracy is ridiculous and the threaded heavier countor barrel is suitable for range work and toting around. Trigger adjusts and just like any factory trigger will have some creep/play but can again be easily fixed with some you tube and a small amount of time. As it sits you wouldn't be disappointed though. The unique bedding system Ruger uses allows the flimsy stock to perform. It sports a 22" barrel which will allow easy control in home defense and still toss out projectiles on the range with ease.

Mossberg Patriot- The package deal with these are very nice. The Night Train or whatever "special" patriot model scope deal that this comes in is a very attractive option. The bolt feels wobbly but rest assured the rifle can shoot. The scope it comes with is meh. Like all rifles in this price range you will probably not have a good experience with the stock. The LBA trigger is good not great.


T/C Compass- Light, threaded and a decent bolt throw/smoothness. Safety is love or hate. Barrel is as thin as they come but again...threaded. The lightest of all the rifles in this price range and you will feel it. Butt pad is the only thing that saves it in the recoil department. Will feel like it kicks harder then your avg 308. Magazine is proprietary I believe. Might be able to mod if you switch stocks. A shooter though. My buddy has one in 6.5 and at the range he has shot some 15 stringers and it rarely tosses fliers. Also the easiest to find at the lowest price point ( with rebates or just straight up sales ) Trigger is adjustable but still heavier then all but the non-accutrigger Savage axis.


Remington 783 - Middle of the road in all categories. You either love or hate Remington actions and the 783 feels like a less sturdy 700. Smooth but just...cheaper. Barrels are my main issue with these. The QC department at Remington has been suspect over the years and lots of reports of rust/pitting on brand new rifles. Stock feels sturdy compared to the rest in this tier of rifles. Trigger is ok. Accuracy is a roll of the dice IMO out of the box due to QC. Where the others are all consistent in accuracy Remmingtons are all over the place without work. SMiths love the 700 action but good luck on the 783s. I don't dislike Remington...just they need to earn my patronage back.


Savage Axis ii - The standard of the budget rifles in this tier. Good price, solid packaging deals, best out of the box trigger and consistent accuracy. Stocks are the main issue with no real comfort for range work. Otherwise most everyone who owns/buys one is happy with their choice.


My vote: Ruger American Predator.
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Old January 1, 2019, 12:30 PM   #11
MarkCO
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Have owned or played with them all at one point or the other, mostly in .243Win.

My 17 year old has a Patriot in .243Win and it is really decent. Accurate and reliable. Friend just bought his son a Savage in .243Win. Not as accurate, but was sufficient and reliable. The T/C Compass would not get under an inch with anything, and you could not pay me to shoot a 783 again.

I have a few Ruger Americans, in various calibers. The Predator is, IMHO, the best bet in the inexpensive bolt action rifle space. I have shot mine to hotter than I should have to check tracking and function and it passes with flying colors. Another 500 or so on my current one and I will sell it and get another. I do not think they are worth rebarreling or spending any time and effort on them. If that is the path you want to take, look at a Tikka or a Bergara.
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Old January 1, 2019, 12:59 PM   #12
GarandTd
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Wyosmith said,
Quote:
Of I were you I'd stay FAR away from the Remington 783
MarkCO said,
Quote:
...you could not pay me to shoot a 783 again
I'm not defending the 783 or challenging your negative experiences, but could you guys elaborate.

From the sounds of things, I should take a 2nd look at the Patriot. Maybe the wood stock version. The poly stock was a real turnoff on the Patriot, not because of the material, it was just the sloppiest stock out of the bunch.
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Old January 1, 2019, 01:43 PM   #13
thegatman
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MVP using AR-10 mags shoots the best for me. 308 is the caliber. Put a good scope on it.
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Old January 1, 2019, 02:11 PM   #14
RC20
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Savage 10T in various guises at CBP/Dicks

Shorter barrel at 24 inches, more tactical - 4 rounds.

Not sure you need a mag for a self defense bolt action.

Better would be one of the various Savage hunters with 22" pencil barrel and often a good sale on those at under $400.

I had one of those and it was not accurate but will go back to it and see what I can do as I am interested in seeing what reloads will do in it.
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Old January 1, 2019, 02:52 PM   #15
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The Ruger American is one of the best for the money. Ugly but hard to beat in accuracy dept.
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Old January 1, 2019, 04:11 PM   #16
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The Ruger American is the most bang for the buck in a budget rifle. I see the standard rifles selling at around $350 and the Predator for about $400. I really like the Predator that takes the AI magazines.


https://shop.whittakerguns.com/product/ss-5253

AI mag version. They are the same price, magazines are the same price, but they are much better magazines. The rifles come with a 3 round mag, but 5 and 10 round mags are available.

https://ruger.com/products/americanR...ets/26974.html
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Old January 1, 2019, 04:27 PM   #17
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I have the T/C Venture in .308 and it is a shooter. I really like it!

Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk
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Old January 1, 2019, 04:33 PM   #18
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RAR .308 can be had for $300 at CDNN. That's what I paid for mine a few years back. Honey of a rifle, great value.
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Old January 1, 2019, 04:57 PM   #19
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Garantd, I am a full time gunsmith so I get to see the "sick guns" all the time. The Remington 783 is one that gives a LOT of problems in about every area, from malfunctions in the action, feed and ejection problems and stocks that are not very good and have a tendency to crack and often just not fit well.
I would not classify them as dangerous, but about everything else you can buy is far better.
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Old January 1, 2019, 05:11 PM   #20
MarkCO
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GarandTd View Post
Wyosmith said,

MarkCO said,

I'm not defending the 783 or challenging your negative experiences, but could you guys elaborate.

From the sounds of things, I should take a 2nd look at the Patriot. Maybe the wood stock version. The poly stock was a real turnoff on the Patriot, not because of the material, it was just the sloppiest stock out of the bunch.
Not a gunsmith, but I do shoot a lot and I get to shoot and play with firearms that are in T&E more than most. I have seen the same things on the 783 in my own hands, and in acquaintances who bought them. Some countermen who have been around a while at the big box stores that sell various models are also a good barometer of the rate of issues.

If all of my rifles were lost for whatever reason, I'd have a half dozen RAPs and a half dozen Bergaras on the way ASAP.
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Old January 1, 2019, 05:26 PM   #21
GarandTd
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Thanks for elaborating.
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Old January 1, 2019, 05:30 PM   #22
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Also..if going 308...the RAP is going to last you 4-5K rounds ( any 308 for that matter) but especially in terms of RAP a even better value of a rifle if you just toss it after its used up. The barrel system on the RAP is not overly difficult to overcome and as inexpensive as good 308 barrels are I would not have an issue rebarreling it when it got shot out...and since I enjoy "polishing" turds sometimes...the RAP makes for a fun rifle to upgrade over the years. Now that said I am mapping out my next rifle and this is going to attempt to replace the weird affair I am having with my Ruger Precision Rifle with 3 barrels to play with....that thing is just silly fun to shoot and I know mine very well....but that's for a different post
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Old January 1, 2019, 07:40 PM   #23
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I have a Remington 788 in 308, 6mm, & 222. All are tack drivers. Very plain simple rifles that you can pick up at a gunshow for $450-500 for a decent one. And also I would not hesitate to purchase a Howa 1500 in 308. I have one with a 20 inch bull barrel is very accurate as well. Also budget priced.
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Old January 1, 2019, 08:11 PM   #24
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I also recommend the Ruger, had one in .243 and one in .223, both very accurate. The stock is a bit ugly but rigid and the trigger can be adjusted to a lighter pull if desired. Sent you a PM, I'm originally from Glenwood.
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Old January 1, 2019, 11:49 PM   #25
Elliottsdad
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I read all the comments here, and have spent hours reading reviews online, and I'm really leaning toward the Ruger American that takes the AI mags at this point. Thank you for all of your advice!
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