Good entry-level precision rifle?


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Nightcrawler
July 29, 2006, 10:30 PM
Okay, so I'm thinking that (well, down the road a bit) I want to get a good, accurate precision rifle and learn how to use it.

Now, as much as I'd like a custom Robar SR-100 left-handed in .300 Win Mag, I can't really justify $4,000 on this. So, I'd like your advice as to rifles, chamberings, and optics.

Couple things. If it's a bolt gun, it MUST be left-handed. I'm not spending hundreds or thousands of dollars of my hard-earned money on a gun that's backwards for me to use.

Secondly, I don't handload, so anything with very expensive ammo (say .338 Lapua) is probably not going to be the best choice for me. Good luck finding a left-handed .338 anyway.

So, what rifles do I have in mind?

Well, for starters, the Savage 10FLP Left-Handed (http://www.savagearms.com/10flp.htm). Savage is one of very few rifle houses that makes a "service" type bolt gun left handed. The Savage is also comparatively inexpensive, and I've heard good things about them.

Another rifle, completely different, that I'm considering is the DPMS Panther LR-308 (http://www.dpmsinc.com/308_series.asp). This AR-type autoloader has gotten nothing but good reviews and is reportedly very accurate.

For optics, I'm considering primarily offerings from Burris and IOR Valdada. I especially like the Valdada 2.5-10x. It has half-MOA clicks and is available with an illuminated reticule, and I think it'd be a good match for either of these guns.

So, preferances?

Well, honestly, if I were going to get a bolt gun, I'd prefer a .300 Win Mag, just to get that extra oomph. Good luck finding a left handed "service" bolt gun in .300, though. Savage does make a left-handed .300 Win Mag rifle (http://www.savagearms.com/111gl.htm), but it's a hunting type with a wooden stock. Would this be accurate enough for precision work, with a change of the stock, or does it have too thin a barrel?

I'm leaning towards the DPMS. It's not that I have anything against bolt guns. It's just that I'm unfamiliar with them. The only bolt action rifle I have any real experience with is the Mosin-Nagant M1944 carbine. On the other hand, I'm quite familiar with M16 type rifles. I know how to clean them, the manual of arms is second nature, and I understand that they can be less troublesome than some bolt rifles. (Correct me if I'm wrong, but I understand that with no stock bedding issues and such things are simplified.)

So, what do you think? Would you make any other recommendations on either the rifles, the caliber, or the optics? What are your picks and why?

Thank you.

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MachIVshooter
July 30, 2006, 12:39 AM
Couple things. If it's a bolt gun, it MUST be left-handed. I'm not spending hundreds or thousands of dollars of my hard-earned money on a gun that's backwards for me to use.

IMO, a right-handed bolt gun is great for a left handed shooter if you're doing bench work. I am right-handed and prefer lefty rifles for bench shooting-you don't have to do much rebuilding of your position, since the off-hand is not supporting the rifle. It is faster, as well.

For a budget-minded, purpose-built off-the-shelf bench gun, I would suggest the Armalite AR-30. Comes in .308, .300 WM or .338 Lapua with a 5-round detacheable box for ~$1,500. I have it's big brother, the AR-50, and I love it.

rangerruck
July 30, 2006, 12:40 AM
Savage , or if you can fidn it, cz LHR. The Savageis very fine accurate, easy to change out bbls if you ever need to, and has a great trigger. if you look throught their catalog, not the website, gander mnt. usually has them) you can pretty much order your Savage just the way you like.

Nightcrawler
July 30, 2006, 12:51 AM
So I could order a left-handed Savage .300 Win Mag with the heavy "police" barrel and the synthetic stock? Coolness... :cool:

GW
July 30, 2006, 01:57 AM
Savage is a great choice. That accutrigger is really something!

C-grunt
July 30, 2006, 03:10 AM
I have the Savage 10FP in .308 and love it. Its definitely accurate, grouping 3/4 inch groups all day long and has done 1/2 inch a few times. You could spend the extra money on a nice HS or MacMillan stock and a good scope.

Also, unlike the AR platforms, there is no gas blown back into the action making it a lot easier to clean.

Another thing...the accutrigger adjusts down to 1.5 pounds. Its light and crisp.

Lebben-B
July 30, 2006, 09:42 AM
A precision rifle needs precision ammo. For an "entry-level" precision rifle, my caliber(s) of choice would be .308 or .30-06 because it's easier and less expensive to find match-grade ammo for it, thus you can shoot it more often.

As far as glass goes, If money were no object I'd buy a Schmidt and Bender, hands down the best scope I've ever used. Too bad it belonged to my rich uncle and I had to give it back. IOR/Valdada makes good scopes for not a lot of bank, relatively speaking. If money is an object, look into a used Leupy 10x. I've heard good things from guys that use Mueller's, but I've never used one myself so anything I say about them would be pure conjecture.

One thing that's often overlooked when setting up a long-range nugget buster is rings. Warne makes good, consistant ones. By consistant I mean the tolerances from ring to ring are tightly held, which means less work when mounting your scope. Should you go with the DPMS you mentioned, I've had good experiences from an Armalite one-piece mount that simply screws onto the mil-std-1913 rail atop the receiver.

Hope that helps,

Mike

stillwalks
July 30, 2006, 10:12 AM
sometimes you just get lucky.....i won a Winchester Model 70 Stealth in .223 at a SCI banquet......topped it with a meuller 8.5-25x 50mm.....when i got it diaed in....at 50 yrds.....6rds in the same hole.....can't wait til i get a chance on some varmints..:)

Fed168
July 30, 2006, 10:29 AM
Check out the Savage with the Accutrigger. It's a good rifle with a pretty decent trigger. Out of the box it also shoots quite nicely. A tad light in the stock, but balanced decently enough to shoot MOA.

Glass- a question of how much do you want to spend. I think a sleeper in the scope market is the Bushnell 3200 10x fixed. Looking at Barrett's literature, this is one of the scopes he ships on his .50 rifles. I shot a Barrett with one of these scopes- hey if it can take the .50 and stay up to speed, why not get one? The glass was on par with other quality scopes, and the price is not bad either. You'll have money left over for ammo.

Explore the option of quarter minute adjustments over half minute on the scope. Quarter minute allows for better, more precise adjustments, and finer tuning.

nipprdog
July 30, 2006, 11:14 AM
So I could order a left-handed Savage .300 Win Mag with the heavy "police" barrel and the synthetic stock?
no. go to the source.

www.savagearms.com

Nightcrawler
July 30, 2006, 11:23 AM
no. go to the source.

I've been to the source, that is, the Savage website. However, another poster said:

The Savageis very fine accurate, easy to change out bbls if you ever need to, and has a great trigger. if you look throught their catalog, not the website, gander mnt. usually has them) you can pretty much order your Savage just the way you like.

The implication being that I can special order a Savage rifle in a non-standard configuration. Such a thing is hardly unheard of these days, but I'd like to know one way or another.

dfaugh
July 30, 2006, 01:41 PM
Definitely look at the Savage offerings....I think they are some of the best values out there right now. My next gun will definitley by a Savage. The Accu-Trigger is a wondeful thing, and as you mention, wapping barrels is easy.

pcf
July 30, 2006, 01:55 PM
It may be out of your price range but the left hand Remington 40-XB and 40-XB KS are excellent rifle and run IIRC $1600-2000.

Slimjim
July 30, 2006, 02:29 PM
Remington 700P, will run about 6-700 dollars, and then put a scope on it.

Beetle Bailey
July 30, 2006, 02:49 PM
I know the .300 Win. Mag. has a lot more power (and I'm all for more power if there is little downside) but have you considered the .223 rem? Since you don't handload, why not get the more economical chambering? You can get a box of 50 rounds of Black Hills 52 grain match hollow points for $14 (blue box). I've used that in my Savage 10FP and the worst groups I've gotten at 100 yards are 3/4 inch center to center.

BTW, if you must have .300 Win. Mag. in a lefty Savage, why not just get the long action and rebarrel it? I haven't done it myself but from what I read in the magazines, it's a simple DIY to change the barrel on a Savage.

Slimjim
July 30, 2006, 03:14 PM
ID say he should go for .308, as its good out to 1000 yards, with the right bullet weight. Where as a .223 will be more effected by wind drift.

Nightcrawler
July 30, 2006, 06:57 PM
but have you considered the .223 rem?

Not really. Not enough range, in my opinion, for this kind of rifle. In any case I don't own a .223 and am probably not going to buy one. I do own a .308, though, so .308 is my mimimum caliber requirement.

So wait. I can swap barrels on a Savage rifle myself? Really? Do you need a headspacing gauge or something?

dieseltrooper
July 30, 2006, 07:30 PM
I finally broke down and bought a lefty after years of trying to "make-do" with right-handed equipment. The closest to being "keepers" were the Ishapore Enfield and a Schmidt-Rubin straight pull in .308.
Now I've got a Remmy 700VS lefty I found on AR15.com. It has a Leupold MKIV mil-dot Illum reticle scope using badger rings. Also included in the package was a spotting scope, Dewey cleaning rod and a torque wrench for the rings. Encased in a hardcase with locks. Not cheap,but I finally have the "right" rifle for me.

Dr.Rob
July 30, 2006, 08:17 PM
Savage is a well made rifle and before they got popular ALL the Varminters were talking about what a tack driver the FP model was.

You really can't go wrong there.

Add a 4-16x Burris and you are a varmint punching hand of thor. (or whichever thunderbolt tossing deity you prefer)

Michael Courtney
July 30, 2006, 08:27 PM
I like the heavy-barreled Rem 700's in this role. Various cartridges are available, I lean toward the .308 for a starting precision rifle.

Put a 3.5-10 Leupold on it and it will be a decade or more before you outgrow it, especially if you put a Jewell trigger on it.

I've got two precision rifles that began as Rem 700 ADLs in .308 and 30-06. I added an HS Precision Stock, Jewell Trigger, and Harris Bi-pod, and tuned handloads are around .75 MOA. The heavy barrel will get you down to .5 MOA.

Michael Courtney

SL4SI
July 30, 2006, 08:29 PM
I've been looking at purchasing a Savage for a while. Are the law enforcement models available to non-LE?

rangerruck
July 30, 2006, 08:54 PM
proley the best thing about the savage is , if you get say a short action, you can get bbls in 6mm, 243, 7.08 308, 338 etc., and switch them out yourself, savage and other sellers sometimes sells seconds bbls for about 50 bucks.

DnPRK
July 30, 2006, 09:47 PM
Stag Arms makes a left-handed upper for AR-15 style rifles. Many AR-15 rifles have better out-of-the-box accuracy than bolt action rifles.

Nightcrawler
July 30, 2006, 10:03 PM
Stag Arms makes a left-handed upper for AR-15 style rifles. Many AR-15 rifles have better out-of-the-box accuracy than bolt action rifles.

Maybe, but as I've said I'm not interested in a .223.

In any case, I've got no use for a left-handed AR-15, a left-handed Remington 870, or any of that. I'm very used to the ejection port being right there where I can observe the chamber. I learned how to shoot a rifle on an M16, and the manual of arms for one is second nature. A backwards rifle will only complicate things.

I do, however, want a left-handed bolt action rifle, because with a scope on there it's very difficult to reach over the receiver and manipulate the bolt. I can do it just fine on an old straight-bolt rifle, like a Nagant, but on something with a downturned bolt handle and a scope it'll only make it needlessly awkward.

I really want a .300 Mag if I get a bolt gun. If I'm going to get a .308, I might as well get the DPMS semi, I think.

Quintin Likely
July 30, 2006, 10:29 PM
I dunno about rifles with the shifter on the wrong side.

I'll say this though - Buy a Remington if you want something that any gunsmith can work on and something you can bolt a bunch of different things on, triggers, stocks, scope rails, etc. Buy a Savage if you want a very good rifle at a fair price, even though it doesn't have quite the aftermarket support that the Remington 700 has.

army_eod
July 30, 2006, 10:41 PM
Remington 700 Police/Tactical with a Super Sniper 10X scope.

Easy.

http://pixpipeline.com/s/e5136dda88.jpg (http://pixpipeline.com/d/e5136dda88.jpg)

Nightcrawler
July 30, 2006, 10:51 PM
Not quite so easy. As you can see from Remington's LE Page (http://www.remingtonle.com/rifles/700.htm), they don't make a left-handed "tactical" model 700.

Beetle Bailey
July 31, 2006, 12:13 AM
So wait. I can swap barrels on a Savage rifle myself? Really? Do you need a headspacing gauge or something?


http://www.savageshooters.net/sharpshooters/Barrels.html

You need the headspace gauges, a barrel vise, and a barrel wrench. Oh, and the new barrel. Sharpshootersupply also sells a .300 Win Mag heavy barrel. Dunno if you can get one from the factory like that but I would email and ask.

Good luck and please post pictures when you decide on your purchase.

GW
July 31, 2006, 02:17 AM
I've been looking at purchasing a Savage for a while. Are the law enforcement models available to non-LE?

Oh yeah!
Got one myself from my local dealer and seen plenty at other shops as well.

rbernie
July 31, 2006, 10:16 AM
Can't go wrong with a GA Precision (http://www.gaprecision.net/content/products.php) in 308. Ammo availability is good and the rifle will be superb. It's $2300, but from what little I've seen of 'em, they truely will shoot 1/2 MOA all day long. One point that I heard Zak make about this kind of purchase a while back - it's 'A Good Thing' to never wonder if it's you or the rifle.....

Legionnaire
July 31, 2006, 12:16 PM
My vote: Remington VSF (available in LH version) in .308. Leupold scope with mil dots; get one with a 30mm tube and 1/4 click adjustments; magnification at least 10X. Mount the scope in Badger Ordnance rings on a Badger Ordnance 20MOA base. Install a swiveling Harris Bi-pod with pod-loc. Set the trigger to 3#. Shoot 175 grain Federal Gold Medal Match ammo. Good to go out to 900 plus meters.

Harold Mayo
July 31, 2006, 08:39 PM
Legionaire is probably right on if you're going with Remington. While I don't think that they make a left-handed PSS, they DO (or did) make left-handed Senderos and Varmint Synthetics. Barrel contour is the same and the only thing different is the external configuration of the HS Precision stock.

You should probably go with what you first mentioned, though. It's hard to beat a Savage for the money. I'd go with a .308 rather than a .300, though, because of the ammo costs and because I like to shoot and not to hurt.

Nightcrawler
July 31, 2006, 09:25 PM
Hey, thanks for the tip on the Remington left handed varmint models! After all, what's the difference between the PSS and THIS (http://www.remington.com/products/firearms/left-hand/model_700_VSF.asp)? The stock and finish maybe?

Harold Mayo
July 31, 2006, 09:31 PM
No difference at all...none that counts.

The HS Precision stocks are just slightly different and the PSS (or P) is parkerized while the VS-series is blued. That's it. I really like the look of the new VSF rifles with the sandy stock and fluting. The stock is a little different than earlier VS stocks, too, with a little wider and flatter (or maybe just flatter) forend and more of a palm swell. If you didn't like the stock, you could easily change it out with another HS Precision stock.

I started out with a VS in .308 and a crappy Springfield Armory scope.

Legionnaire
July 31, 2006, 10:44 PM
You're welcome! No functional difference; just the stock and finish, as Harold indicates. As far as I can tell, same barreled action. I don't disagree that the Savages are excellent for "bang for the buck," but I like the Remingtons.

jjohnson
August 14, 2006, 09:26 AM
Hey, Mr. Nightcrawler, kudos on your stories.... had to laugh a little (sorry, different thread) that some of it looks incredible but I've seen/done things that make me believe.

Anyway, I've had piles of these things - tactical type rifles - and for the money, the Savage is the best value for a rifle that comes out of the box as a natural shooter. Accutrigger is a wonderful thing, 'cause you don't have to immediately take your new rifle to a gunsmith to have the lawyer (I spit) spirit exorcised from the trigger group :fire: before you go to the range to sight in.

If it turns out you don't like it, getting rid of a left handed Savage would be cheaper than taking a beating on a left handed custom something that cost you way more. I'd go with the best scope I could afford without paying more than the rifle - I don't mean Swarovski, I mean maybe Leupold if you can swing it. I use quick detach rings so if I trade a rifle, MY scope stays with me and the scope I don't want goes away.... I've seen a lot of nice rifles wind up in the closet because somebody took a nice shooter, put a junk scope on it (wally world deer hunter $39 special) and decided it couldn't shoot. :barf:

Since you don't handload, you have two great choices - .223 and .308, whichever turns you on, which you know means mountains of surplus mil stuff at reasonable prices with premium ammo available for hunts.

The Savage isn't really pretty, and not butter-smooth action like you'd expect the SWAT teams to spring for, but it's a really good place to start, especially if you're at all cash constrained. I have nicer boltguns, and a couple I like better than my Savage for other reasons, but I have absolutely nothing to say bad about mine. Good luck and get back to creative writing, will you? :evil:

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