Best .30-06 bolt for around $500 or less


November 27, 2004, 11:29 AM
So I've been trying to decide what deer rifle I'm going to get for Christmas. I'm looking at various models in .30-06 and so far I've looked at Savage 111, Remington 700, Winchester Model 70 synthetic, Weatherby Vanguard, Howa 1300 and Ruger MK77. They all seem like they'd make good deer rifles but I'm having trouble deciding.

What do you think is the best deer rifle for around $500 or less. I'm not restricting it to the above guns so feel free to throw anything out there. For a couple of days I'd decided on the Savage 111 package gun because my budget is basically $400 or less but now I'm thinking I could possibly go $500 through the mircacle of layaway. I like the savage and it feels good but it might be worth it to invest in something a little nicer.

So whaddya think?

brad cook

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Black Snowman
November 27, 2004, 11:35 AM
I'd look at Tikka T3s, CZ 550s, Savage or Howa (same action as a Vanguard), new or used, in that order. These are going to be your best bang for the buck IMHO. I really like the design of the Tikka, I like the quality and set trigger of the CZs and the Savage and Howa are a well know value.

November 27, 2004, 12:30 PM
Have been a mod. 70 fan for more years than I care to admit, but the last mod 70 I purchased has been somewhat of a disappointment. It is the only rifle I own that will not shoot moa or less 5 shot groups. Finally got it down to 1.25 moa after much fine tuning but that is the best it will do. It is a good looking rifle and all the bells and whistles are in the right place, just doesn't shoot up to snuff.

Picked up a Savage 116 pre-accutrigger in .338 Win Mag and it shoots .58 moa all day long w/225 gr. Hornady or Nosler handloads. Haven't bothered to try other weight bullets since these shot so well.

The 338 shot so well that, when I needed a varmint rifle, I chose the 10FP in 223 Rem. (w/accutrigger). Came from factory with 1.5# trigger and shot all factory ammo I put through it into 1" or less @ 100 meters. Ordered out dies, bullets, etc. to start loading for it, but deer season interrupted this endeavor, so looking forward to trying to get the bug hole groups w/handloads after deer season.

It is no secret that the Savages are not exactly a thing of beauty, but, if you want a shooter, they seem to have a reputation for great "out of the box" accuracy which has proven to be the case with the two with which I have had first hand experience.

Another plus, IMHO, is the three position safety which can be used to lock the bolt when hunting yet still allows unloading the rifle with the safety on (even if the safety is not on the back of the bolt, where it should be ;) ).

Keep hearing of a Savage package rifle complete w/scope priced under $400 that is within your preferred budget which would certainly be worth looking at.
I think that Walmart is one vendor offering this package.

Good luck w/your new rifle.


George S.
November 27, 2004, 12:55 PM
The Savage 111 package can be had for under $400 in .30-06, 270, 7mm and 300 Win and is probably a good deal for the money. From what I have read, the scope is a 3-9x40 and bore-sighted out of the box.

I would also consider a Remington 700ADL with a synthetic stock but they would run in the $420-450 range and you would still need a scope and rings. The 700's are great rifles and would last years and years.

A Ruger 77 Mark II in .30-06 will run around $500. A Remington 700BDL or a Winchester Model 70 Classic Sporter can go over $600. Of course these rifles will need optics.

November 27, 2004, 01:16 PM
Walmart has had some serious closeouts lately on the Vangards and Savages.
I bought a 243 package Savage for $250.00 here. It turned out to be the most accurate rifle I have ever owned. The local (to me) Walmart still has several Vangards in 30-06 for $250.00. Might be a good idea to check the stores in your area for a deal that will be hard to pass up.

Good luck in your search.

November 27, 2004, 01:20 PM
Winchester Mod 70 black shadow. My stepdad has one and it shoots <1" groups at 100 yards with my handloads. Savage rifles are usually very accurate as well.

Smokey Joe
November 27, 2004, 01:55 PM
Just recently picked up a "new" used Ruger M77 Mk II Target, in .243 Win, and I love it. It is built amazingly like the Mauser. Ol' Bill Ruger took a bunch of ideas from Paul Mauser when he designed it. Controlled feed, bolt is similar, even the bolt release is same as the military Mauser. It is so darn accurate that I took it deer hunting this yr although haven't had time to design a load it specifically likes--it printed <1moa with the first load I tried. And it looks good, too. And it comes with the special Ruger base/ring assembly needed. You will need to get a 'scope for it.

Not to crow or anything, but used, with a Leupold VX III 2.5-8 'scope, mine was a shade over $400, including sales tax. Cried all the way home about that. Cried some more, coming back from the range. It is a tiny bit heavy, but I'm in good enough shape to handle it. And it's a feather compared to the Savage 12BVSS in .300 WSM that I also carried in the deer woods this year. Now there's a heavy gun--But it handles a larger heavier cartridge, and it too is accurate. You'll pay a good deal more than $500 for the BVSS, unless you happen on a screamin' deal.

I don't buy new firearms unless forced by circumstance. Like cars, the initial depreciation is rough, and I let someone else do that if possible.

Snake Jenkins
November 27, 2004, 02:01 PM
CZ 550 would be my first choice.


November 27, 2004, 02:10 PM
I have a Winchester M70 Black Shadow in .30-06 and I'm quite happy with it. with handloads consisting of Hornady's 150gr Spire Point, various brass, Winchester large rifle primers, and Hodgdon's H380, I get consistent 3 shot groups of 5/8" at 100 yards.

Trigger pull is a slight bit heavy at roughly 5 pounds, but it is consistent. There is no over-travel or "mushiness"; it breaks very cleanly. To me, it's not worth the effort and money to improve.

One of the main reasons I bought this rifle over a Remington 700 in .30-06 was the extra 2 inches of barrel length the M70 has over the 700. Also, when cycling the bolts of both the Remington and the Winchester, I found the Winchester to be smoother.

The ONE problem I have with my M70 is that the scope bases are slightly (very slightly) off the centerline of the bore to the left. This doesn't in the least bit affect accuracy or my comfort, so I never sent it back to Winchester for correction.

To add to this testimonial, If I find another Black Shadow floating around here, I'll buy it.

In all actuality, any of the choices you've listed would be satisfactory. Find the one with the stock that fits you best, and that is, overall, the most asthetically pleasing to you.

Hope this helps you decide.

Smokey Joe
November 27, 2004, 02:49 PM
"In all actuality, any of the choices you've listed would be satisfactory. Find the one with the stock that fits you best, and that is, overall, the most asthetically pleasing to you."

No better advice. Used, not new, would be my dictum, but you already knew that.

November 27, 2004, 03:13 PM
RE: Wal*Mart deals -

The Wal-Mart around the corner from my house has the Savage with scope for $350 in .270. I believe that is their regular price and not a closeout. It's a brand new one so they haven't had anything long enough to close it out. They said they can special order a .30-06 for me if I want. They didn't have any Vanguard's but I'm not particularly enamored with the Vanguard after checking one out at another gun store.

I may need to drive down to the older Wal*Mart in town and see if they're having any good closeouts.

I looked at the Tikkas at Praco Gun Shop after hearing a lot about them here and other places. It's indeed a very nice feeling gun with a SWEET trigger but I'm thinking those were over $500. I may be mistaken. My memory sucks. I need to go recheck that.

Thanks for all the opinions. Keep 'em comin.

brad cook

Quintin Likely
November 27, 2004, 03:36 PM
I'm a big Savage fan myself. I've seen too many of them shoot good to think otherwise. Fit and finish probably leave a bit to be desired of, but I can get over that. Above all else though, like someone mentioned above, the most important thing is to get a rifle that fits you best. Point 'em, handle them, shoulder them up, see how they fit and buy whatever suits you best. We're not gonna be the ones shooting that thing. :)

November 27, 2004, 04:26 PM
Impact Arms has Remington 700 BDL's for just under $400.00 very good buy, if your really going cheap the ADL's are about $100 cheaper. ( I would spring for the BDL ).

Either way, it a very good price, on a quality rifle with a lot of potential if you want to upgrade or fiddle later.

November 27, 2004, 07:49 PM
Yep, Savages are pretty good. I'm thinking of getting the 116FSS in 7 mag. No real good reason to do so, other than the Christmas bonus is supposed to be pretty darn good.

November 27, 2004, 09:50 PM
How is the trigger on the Remington 700s and the CZ 550?

Quintin Likely
November 27, 2004, 10:04 PM
On my Remington, it's heavy. Like 6 or 7 lbs heavy. It breaks clean though. Once I get a torque wrench that I can adjust low enough to re-tighten the action screws properly, I'll tweak it down from lawyer weight to shooter weight.

November 27, 2004, 10:11 PM
Keep an eye on Praco's used rack, DigMe. They have good stuff pop up occasionally. Also, try Guns & Gold over off 84 and Hewitt drive, past the Ace hardware on the right a ways. They have some good lightly used stuff (as does the Ace Hardware).

November 27, 2004, 11:03 PM
My trigger on my 700 is OK, a little heavy, I can feel a spot on it but I think it will go away with use. It isn't ever going to happen though I have designs on a new trigger already. My 700 is a 308 with an 5-R Milspec barrel and I am chasing really small groups, best to date is .4 MOA with match grade ammo, but I am on the perverbial quest to get it down to .25 MOA, and I will settle for routine .3's.

So for a hunting rifle my trigger is fine, and I would work and adjust it, but I am pretty sure I can trim @ least .1 MOA with a better trigger, as I said that was my best to date, but I am averaging about .5 MOA, and have to work real hard with the trigger not to get a flyer and blow the group ( I always shoot 5 rounders ).

So my nit picky reason for replacement is not a good basis for comparision.

Greg L
November 28, 2004, 11:55 AM
If you're not insisting on a new/modern rifle you could try to find something similar to my 30.06. It's a Columbian Mauser chambered in 30.06 that I picked up a few months ago for $140 otd. Very accurate & very smooth action.

Of course it is a parade rifle so all the metal is hard chromed which may not be the best thing out in the woods looking for deer :uhoh: .

I call it my pimp gun :D .


November 28, 2004, 03:51 PM
I think I would get the Savage package at Walmart in your choice of caliber. Remove scope that comes with rifle for later use. Spend that extra money on a good scope.

November 28, 2004, 05:00 PM
I think I would get the Savage package at Walmart in your choice of caliber. Remove scope that comes with rifle for later use. Spend that extra money on a good scope.

reccomend the Simmons Aetec 2.8x10x44. clear, dependable,and 5" eye relief. :D nice to have on a lightweight 30-06. about $130.

ken B
November 28, 2004, 05:01 PM
Was at Wallyworld early today, and I saw this one there, but haven't seen it anywhere else.

It's a Mossberg ATI(?) in 30-06. Resembled an ADL in that it has the blind magazine like an ADL or certain Savages, 22" barrel with blued steel and synthetic stock. Came with two piece weaver bases.

not sure how good it is, but it was nestled in amongst the Vanguards and Howas and Savages and the price was only $248?! I thought of buying one for a 'brother in laws' rifle. If i hadn't got the other Vanguard the other day, I might've bought that one!

just a suggestion. If it is a good to great gun, $248 for a new gun leaves you $250 or so for the glass, which is dealer price on a new VX-2 Leupold 3x9, my personal choice...

just a thought..

Ken B

November 28, 2004, 05:09 PM
a friend (and co-worker) who is a serious shooter bought a savage 110FP in .30-06 about a year ago, and he said that it would shoot better than MOA out to 500 yds.

November 28, 2004, 06:15 PM
Get the Remington 700 ADL. I have it in .270 win and love it. Straight from the factory, my trigger is crisp and breaks at around 4 lbs. So far 3 shots, three deer down right where they stood. Can't ask for better than that.


Art Eatman
November 28, 2004, 08:11 PM
Something else to consider: Which of the various choices fits best?

If you mount the rifle to your shoulder with your eyes closed, and then you open your eyes, are you looking right down the gun to where the sights are (or scope would be)?

Is the length of pull right for you, considering what clothes you'd be wearing during most of the use?

Generally, triggers are easy to adjust, or they surely can be "tweaked" by a competent gunsmith.

It's difficult these days to find a rifle that WON'T be plenty accurate for hunting. For hunting, any group size inside of two inches will ruin Bambi's day. Inside of 1-1/2" will do in Wiley Coyote just fine. Besides, it's uniformity of the first shot from a cold barrel always going to the same point of impact that's important...

Just some points to ponder...

:), Art

November 28, 2004, 08:23 PM
Times sure have changed....

If I had 500 to spend...

I would look for a nice clean 1903A3.

This is a better rifle than any mentioned here so far.

November 28, 2004, 10:21 PM
Tikka T3 lite.

November 28, 2004, 10:34 PM
Bigjim - I won't even try to argue that the 1903A3 isn't a heck of a good rifle. It is. I've got one and shoot it several times each year.


The original poster was talking about deer hunting. I've also got a Tikka Whitetail hunter in .30-06, and not only will it outshoot my '03A3 any day of the week, it's a heck of a lot nicer to carry in the field.

If I needed to close with a whitetail deer and finish it off with a buttstroke to the head, then I'd go for the milsurp. If I wanted to lug the gun around for a while and shoot the deer from a distance, then I'd go for the Tikka.

And don't accuse me of being biased towards new guns. My deer rifle of choice this year was a Remington Model 81 (made in 1936), chambered in .30 Rem. :)

November 28, 2004, 10:57 PM
Tikka T3 lite.

Are these commonly found for $500 or less?

brad cook

November 29, 2004, 11:30 PM
I may have just found my gun, fellas. It's barely used and it's a beaut. Only problem is it's sold by an individual and it may not be there when we get the money together to buy. We don't have it immediately. I sure hope it works out because this will probably be the best bang for buck I could possibly get in this price range. I'll let ya know what it is if it works out.

brad cook

November 29, 2004, 11:41 PM
I think i payed 489 for my Tikka T3 Lite in .30-06, then i put a really nice scope on it which was about 350 bucks but the rifle alone was about 490.

November 30, 2004, 12:08 AM
At Mace Sports in NC they are about $475 for a T3 Lite, $60 more for blued Hunter, $60 more for stainless Lite, $60 more for blued Varmint, $120 more for stainless Varmint.
I got mine used, but basically new for $425

December 1, 2004, 08:55 AM we made an agreement on the rifle I mentioned above and now it's just a matter of payment and transfer.

It's a Remington 700 BDL in stainless with synthetic stock that the owner says has only had 2 boxes of shells shot through it. I'm paying $450. I could have had the Leupold VAR XII mounted on it for another $150 but I just flat couldn't afford it.

Here's a couple of pictures:

brad cook

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