Most accurate .223 bolt gun for $500?


March 26, 2008, 04:08 AM
Well my SKS should be here in a week or two and I've been thinking that I'd like a bolt action .223 for target shooting/varmints. Any suggestions on the best new or used options for under $500? MOA at 100 yards would be nice, doable in that price range?

I just read an article on the savage model 25 but no one has one locally yet and I'm not sure what actual retail would be. I'll be going to a gun show in a couple of weeks so any suggestions on a good older models to look out for would be good too.


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March 26, 2008, 05:24 AM
options for under $500? MOA at 100 yards would be nice, doable in that price range?

I picked up a 700 SPS Varmint at Dick's on sale with 4X-12X scope for $479 plus a $30 rebate at the time - last Oct. Should still be able to pick a SPS at a shop for $500 , maybe a little more. The accuracy of mine has really been impressive!

squirrel sniper
March 26, 2008, 07:07 AM
You could pick up a Stevens 200 for $300 and have extra money for optics,ammo, etc.

March 26, 2008, 07:43 AM
Cz 527

March 26, 2008, 10:19 AM

March 26, 2008, 12:14 PM
I can't imagine any 223 from a reputable manufacturer not shooting MOA for $500. I know my Stevens 200 shot about 3/4 out of the box. I don't like the Savage 25 because you can't change the barrel yourself.

March 26, 2008, 12:38 PM
Howa (from Legacy Sports or Weatherby Vanguard series, depending on which stocks and options you like), Savage, CZ 527.

As much as I like the Howas, and as accurate as they are, I'd lean Savage or CZ due to their excellent factory triggers. Savage Accu-Trigger can be adjusted down to the ounces range, and CZ's have single-set triggers.

Howa triggers are user-adjustable and mine breaks clean, but it's a hunting rifle trigger (single stage, adjustable from about 3-6 lbs.). For varmints and targets, a super-light trigger option can make accurate shooting less fatiguing and more fun, and with the Savage and CZ, you don't have to go aftermarket to get it.:)

The only downside to the CZ is that AFAIK the 527 requires high scope rings, even with a smaller scope. If you're going to use a 50mm objective anyway, then that won't matter.

March 26, 2008, 12:53 PM
I have a winchester model 70 in 270very,very good shooting gun.
Don't know what the price would be.
Don't know if they make it in 243

Essex County
March 26, 2008, 01:26 PM
CZ or Savage. I own both and either will make you verry happy. Essex

March 26, 2008, 01:42 PM
The Stevens Model 200 is more or less a Savage 10/110. No accuTrigger, but you can install a Rifle BasX trigger to fix that and still stay in your $500 budget.

March 26, 2008, 03:18 PM
Well, if a Stevens 200 will do what I want for that kinda money, I can't see buying a used gun. What will a used CZ 527 run anyway? Obviously there are a lot of variables that will affect the price but whats a ballpark number?

Essex- What models do you have from CZ and Savage?

Thanks guys.

March 26, 2008, 03:23 PM

I don't have a number to give you for the CZ527. Mine's a left bolt anyway, so that skews things right there. Just buy it.

As soon as CZ releases a 550 in LHB, I'm gonna own at least one.
(Mommy, mommy, listen to da funny mans! He said he'd get just one!!) No, you malignant little brat, I said at least one!!


March 26, 2008, 03:47 PM
I got one of these in heavy varmint barrel , synthetic stock with miunts/rings and a Leupold 4x12 scope for 549.99 last fall. It was a package deal on a website on here.

March 26, 2008, 03:53 PM
I was just about to start a new thread but I'll say it here first. Yesterday I went to Sportsmans warehouse nd looked at a cz 527 american that was on the counter set up with a scope as a package deal. The guy came over and told me about it and then showed me a 100 yard 3 shot target with only one hole in it. He swears it was real and not a hoax so there you go. Once at my local range I witnessed a guy put 2 shots in one hole with a Howa at 100 yards so there ya goagain.

March 26, 2008, 03:59 PM
Two shot groups don't count. Neither do three.

I'd sure like to see a link to how to adjust a Howa trigger, both of mine stink. Probably the only two guns of mine that aren't sub-MOA. And the 25-06 is my favorite gun in the world; I've made my best shots with it....mule deer @ 412, Sika @ 350.

March 26, 2008, 04:38 PM
Howa, Savage, CZ, and Remington all make reliable accurate rifles. That said, I lean towards CZ. I just bought a CZ 527 Laminated Varmint from a fellow THR member. As soon as it comes in and I get a chance to shoot it, I'll give you a full report.

March 26, 2008, 04:38 PM

You can buy a trigger here, pick the pull weight:

Timney makes one, also.

As for how to adjust the factory trigger, it's in the Weatherby Vanguard manual. I guess Howa doesn't tell you. I'll see if I can find the manual; I can't find an on-line PDF.

March 26, 2008, 05:05 PM
What about a Tikka T3 in .223? There are many differant models but I don't think any of them come with a scope. There is a Hunter model with a very nice looking wood stock and those are selling on gunbroker for about $550...there is also the T3 lite synthetic stocked version that can be found for about $480 just some ideas...

March 26, 2008, 05:41 PM
Yet another vote for a Savage or a Stevens. I have a Stevens 200. It's very accurate (sub-moa with ammo it likes). I have a Savage Mod. 12. Almost as accurate. It's a little more picky about ammo than the Stevens. The Savage cost quite a bit more, is a fine gun for the price, and is less accurate than the Stevens. IOW, the Stevens is a steal.

But what's in a name? I have a Savage 111 .30-06 that is mediocre at best.

March 26, 2008, 06:05 PM
Tikka T3 in .223 comes with a 1 m.o.a. at 100 yds guarantee :-) and it's just a tad bit over $500. Super smooth bolt and detachable mag too :-)

March 26, 2008, 06:38 PM
Ruger 77 varment in .223 or Remmington 700 SPS I own both and they both make me look GOOD.

March 26, 2008, 06:41 PM
Rock River, DPMS or Bushmaster SS varmit barrel 20" or 24" upper for the AR 15 lower you should own.

March 26, 2008, 07:01 PM
I would go with a Savage with an accu trigger.

March 26, 2008, 07:47 PM
As for how to adjust the factory trigger, it's in the Weatherby Vanguard manual. I guess Howa doesn't tell you. I'll see if I can find the manual; I can't find an on-line PDF.

Nope, the Howa manuals didn't say a word. I should break down and get a Timney.

March 26, 2008, 08:33 PM

For accuracy vs price NOBODY touches savage

Pictured are all the groups I fired from my brand new straight outta the box $244 stevens200. As you can see some loads shoot better than others, but when fed something it likes MOA is very attainable.

The rifle now wears a takeoff 12FV bbl and a ultimate varmint stock and with invested in the gun itself it shoots like this.

Stevens 200 223rem $244

Bbl and stock sold for -$130

Savage 1-9 M12FV bbl +$200

SSS recoil lug +20

Choate stock +$175

gunsmithing charges +0.00

Total in rifle Less optics $509

Shooting circles around that guy at the range who always brags about his $1500 custom remchester priceless

next up a shilen select match 7.62x39 bbl:D

Savage Shooter
March 26, 2008, 10:38 PM
That was my price range when I first got in to this earlier this year I got a savage 12fv .223 for 458 at a local farm and home supply. thats with the 10% order charge for it. It is extremly accurate on thing I wouldn't get it if you are going to pack it very far I put a 6-24x44 scope on it it is a tack driver down side the gun weighs 10lbs.

March 27, 2008, 06:20 AM
O.K. I think I'm going to go with the stevens but I've got one more question. Which cartridge should be more accurate .223 or .308. I like the .223 cost wise for plinking but if I go .308 I could use it as a deer rifle, which I don't already have. If the .308 would be just as accurate and serve more than one purpose, than I might go that route. Thoughts?

March 27, 2008, 09:04 AM
I'd say Remington 700. But as you can see, pretty much anything is going to be accurate for you in this price range.

March 27, 2008, 11:19 AM
Howa 1500 or Weatheryby Vanguard. I have a Vanguard VGS 20" light sporter barrel in .223 I bought back in 1996, that will shoot 3 round groups of one .224 hole at 100yrds. The hole just gets a bit larger after 3 rounds as the barrel gets hot. 5 round groups average in the 1/4" range. A 1/4 or better MOA rifle for $500.00 I know how lucky I am.

I have made a lot of money off that little rifle, back in my first enlistment. I use to tell other Marines how accurate it was and when they called BS I would offer a friendly wager, go get it, take them to the range and then take their $$$.

While not every 1500 or Vanguard will be this accurate, every one I have seen was very very accurate once you found a load it liked and better than average with almost any load. I have personaly never seen a dog come from Howa. They make as good of a rifle as you can buy for that kind of money.

March 27, 2008, 11:33 AM
I have a Stevens 200 and it does 100 yard .6" groups with Sierra 40 gr. HP's over 26.5 grains of Varget. This is a pretty mild load. I got down to 3 pounds with the factory trigger. Making a new trigger return spring from .045 music wire gave me 2 1/2 pounds. I can't see any reason to spend the money on a Rifle Basix trigger.

March 27, 2008, 05:58 PM
CZ and Tikka + handloads with high BC bullets and fire formed brass....
If accuracy is what you're after.

I dont have experience with the stevens or savage rifles... but have shot several Cz and Tikka variants.

March 28, 2008, 01:08 AM
another vote for the stevens 200. I own the 308 version and would pick up one in a heartbeat again (especially if it had iron sights...). I am probably going to buy another one in 243 and mod it out with a bull barrel, thumb hole stock, bipod, yadda, yadda...

March 28, 2008, 01:21 AM
Kitchen- What kind of groups does your Stevens shoot at 100yds?

And where do you shoot when you want to shoot outdoors? I'm also a Washingtonian. I Usually go down around greenwater off of 410.

March 28, 2008, 08:12 AM
I'm up in silverdale and I usually frequent the olympic penisula across the hood canal bridge or I go to Poulsbo shooting club in kitsap county.

As far as groups go I have got about 1.2 MOA out of it with 150 gr federal soft points. I am going to go to a higher grain 168 to see if I can tighten them up and then I am going to start fine tuning my handloads with all of the brass I have collected.

March 28, 2008, 04:02 PM
I went on this quest about a year ago and came home with a Tikka T3 lite stainless. If you want to save a few bucks go with a Savage.

March 28, 2008, 04:07 PM
i picked mine us barely used for 465 OTD shoots light out literally, once hit a lightbulb at 350.

April 10, 2008, 08:00 PM
+1 for the Tikka.

April 10, 2008, 09:14 PM
Buy a used savage and re barrel it :)

You can keep it well under 500

Savage Shooter
April 10, 2008, 10:55 PM
I bought a savage 12fv .223 to say its a tackdriver is an under statement and i shoot wolf :D i love it one problem you might have is packing it around very far mine weighs 10lbs on the dot with my 6-24x44 scope and claw sling.:what:

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