Looking for Compact Bolt Action - suggestions?


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LooseGrouper
April 22, 2008, 11:29 PM
I'm in the market for a relatively light, compact bolt action rifle in .308. I want a .308 because I want to consolidate & simplify my ammo needs. The primary use would be mostly whitetail, maybe a few feral pigs, with the possibility of a once-every-5-years elk trip.

I'm thinking that 6-7 lbs with optics, 20 inch barrel, & priced at or below $800 is realistic. I'm not opposed to buying used, but for some reason .308 rifles don't show up very often on the "previously loved" racks in the shops I frequent.

So far the only things I've found new are the Howa and Ruger compacts. The Howa Ranchland looks promising, but they don't seem to be available yet, and all the Howas I've handled always seem heavy. The Ruger compacts only have a 16.5 inch barrel (lost velocity for those may-never-happen Elk trips?), and also don't seem to be the same bang for the buck as the Howas (almost $300 more).

So, should I buy the Ruger, wait for the Howa, or look into something else that I'm not currently aware of?

Thanks in advance for the help.

LG

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pgeleven
April 22, 2008, 11:40 PM
remington 700 sps tactical. about $500 should put one in your armory. its weighed at 7.5 lbs without mount rings and scope but its a handsome devil
http://www.snipercentral.com/images/reviews/spst4.jpg

jmr40
April 23, 2008, 12:04 AM
The Savage Scout rifle is close and the scope can be mounted conventionally if you want. Savage shows them at 6 1/4 lbs but mine actually weighs 7 lbs., 8 lbs with a conventional scope and rings.

Remington model 7 is a possibility but will be a bit overweight as well.

The Kimber Montana meets all of your criteria except price.

The Howa is a lot heavier than you want I think. Hogue stocks are heavy.

Weatherby makes the Vanguard in a youth model that comes with a 20" barrel and 2 stocks. A short youth stock and a full size one. Not sure of the weight but probably a little heavier than you want.

Tikka T-3 Lites can be set up to weigh right at 7 lbs scoped if you choose your optics carefully. I have never seen one but they offer a version with a 19" barrel that is a little lighter. I have been tempted to get the barrel on my .308 shortened to 19-20" to make it a bit handier.

The Steyr Prohunter comes in .308 with a 20" barrel and can be had used for around $500. They are also a bit heavy however.

On the used market if you can find one Ruger used to make a ultralight with iron sights in .308 with an 18 1/2" barrel and the same gun with a 20" clean barrel. My brother has one of each.

rangerruck
April 23, 2008, 12:26 AM
a ruger or savage scout is pretty compact as well...

dscottw88
April 23, 2008, 12:30 AM
+1 for Rem 700.

Funderb
April 23, 2008, 12:31 AM
mosin nagant m44.

spend some time leaning how to use a drill press if
you want to scope it.

(7.62x54r is cheaper and almost identical to .308)

vzenmn
April 23, 2008, 12:32 AM
Remington 600. Assuming you don't mind buying used and can live with an 18" barrel. I have a Mohawk 600 in 308 and it is a great little rifle.

Fumbler
April 23, 2008, 01:25 AM
A Tikka T3 Lite with a 3-9x40mm scope should be just a few oz over 7 lbs.

It has a 22" barrel, but considering the weight it is a very handy rifle.
I think it's a good compromise between a true compact and a typical bolt action.
Plus, it should be more accurate than the Howa or Ruger.

ArmedBear
April 23, 2008, 01:43 AM
The Howa is a lot heavier than you want I think. Hogue stocks are heavy.

Howa has a new 20" short-action with a Hogue stock called the Ranchland Security Rifle. Weighs in about the same as a Model 7 (but costs half as much).

I'm intrigued.

jmr40
April 23, 2008, 08:09 AM
ArmedBear, I am intrigued by the Ranchland Howa as well. I don't believe there is any way they can get the weight even close to a model 7 though. They don't list the weight on their website but their standard rifle is listed at 7 1/2 lbs which is optomistic in my opinion with a Hogue stock. I like the Howa/Vanguard actions but they are probably the heavieast made on a production gun. I also like the Hogue stock but they are usually 1/4 to 1/2 lb heavier than any other stocks. I know the barrel is 2" shorter but would be surprised if you could get this gun under 8 lbs with a scope.

Franco2shoot
April 23, 2008, 01:07 PM
Wally world has a Mossberg that can be had with a scope for 3 bills. Only problem is finding a Wallyworld in your area the will order it for you. I saw the same thing at "Dick's" in synthetic stock, and about 20 bucks more for Walnut.
KKKKFL

Essex County
April 23, 2008, 03:52 PM
All I can say is I'm very pleased with the Browning A Bolt for short action rounds......Essex

Auburn1992
April 23, 2008, 04:21 PM
I am really liking my Ruger compact m77

ArmedBear
April 23, 2008, 05:28 PM
jmr40-

This gun has a lighter contour barrel, not just a shorter one. I'm not sure about the stock; it might be lightened up. It can't be exactly the same stock as the standard one, simply because the barrel wouldn't fit right.

But I haven't held one myself.

woof
April 23, 2008, 05:57 PM
Skipping the elk every five years, consider the cz carbine in x39. Handle one and you'll want it. Probably coming soon in 6.8 spc

ArmedBear
April 23, 2008, 06:38 PM
The only question I have for CZ is WHY didn't they make a bolt that doesn't hit a scope mounted appropriately for the comb height?

WHY?

I'd buy one if it were not for that.

LooseGrouper
April 23, 2008, 10:17 PM
Thanks for the suggestions, folks.

Regarding the Mosin (7.62x54) and CZ (7.62x39), thanks for the suggestions, but as I said in the original post, I want to cut down on the number of calibers. I probably should have mentioned that I'm getting rid of a decent, but somewhat large and heavy, .30-06 so I can do this.

I've actually handled one of the Rem 700s. Nice, but heavy and balanced a little too far forward for my taste. Finding a used Rem 700 "non-tactical" would be great, but used .308s just don't seem to show up around here very often.

ArmedBear, the Howa you mention is the one I was refering to, I believe. If I can ever get a hold of one, and they actually are just a little over 7lbs, then it will probably be what I'd go with. Just too much gun for the money to pass up.

What are your thoughts on the Ruger's 18in barrel vs the 20 inch? Noticable loss of velocity?

LG

jmr40
April 23, 2008, 11:49 PM
I'm sure the Howa will be a fine choice. I would personally prefer it to the Ruger, especially with the price difference. In your origional post you stated you were looking for something weighing 6-7 lbs scoped. If the Howa weighs a little over 7 without a scope that will push it to 8 1/4 to 8 1/2 lbs with a scope and mounts. About what I had figured on. While there is nothing wrong with that, it no longer qualifies as a lightweight rifle in my book.

ECVMatt
April 24, 2008, 12:10 AM
I really love them all. I guess I am sick in the head. I love the looks and compact size of the 660. The bolt is a little hard for me to work. I love the size, weight, and handling of the Ruger Frontier. I just started getting used to the scout scope, but I am liking it a lot. The Model Seven is proportioned nicely and although it is a compact rifle, it looks like a full sized model. I wish Remington made a model Seven w/ a scout mount in place. If I had to just pick one.....I really couldn't.

I don't have a crono, so I can't comment no the loss of velocity, but my sight in and hold overs all seem to be pretty close to a full sized rifle, so I guess it is pretty close.

I would like to see a CZ 527 in 6.8. That would be a dandy little shooter.



Matt

Warner
April 24, 2008, 12:44 AM
+1 for the Ruger Compact, but you're losing some of your desired barrel length.

I have one in .308 and it's been a reliable tack-driver.

W

ArmedBear
April 24, 2008, 12:59 AM
I love the size, weight, and handling of the Ruger Frontier.

Me too, and the Leupold scope that mates with it is perfect, too.

The only thing is, I wonder if my back pocket becoming so much lighter would throw off my balance when shooting it...:D

Avenger29
April 24, 2008, 01:01 AM
Remington Model 7.

9mmepiphany
April 24, 2008, 02:04 AM
the Tikka T3 Lite seems to fit your requirements the best and is still in production...the Savage scout would be a close 2nd choice.

a little harder to find than the Rem 700, but much more in line for your needs, would be the 676...the moderenized Rem 600/660

ryoushi
April 24, 2008, 09:55 AM
You want compact? Browning A-Bolt Micro Hunter. .308 Win., 20" Barrel, (don't go any shorter with a .308) weighs 6.6 lbs. and has a street price of $600.00 http://www.browning.com/products/catalog/images/035020l.jpgBolt.

woof
April 24, 2008, 10:04 AM
I couldn't agree more about the bolt on the cz carbine. I suppose they are used to iron sights and didn't see it as a problem. Why they haven't corrected it with newer models is more of a mystery. You can get a bolt modification for $40 that will clear normal mounts, or use high mounts which I don't like. The iron sights "are" great so you might be surprised whether you really need a scope. There are also forward mounting possibilities. Someone on THR suggested using just one ring in the forward position, but mounting a scope on one mount with one ring just seems like asking for trouble to me. If they offer this carbine in 6.8 I may have to have one and it will have to have the bolt mod.

rbernie
April 24, 2008, 10:07 AM
I have a Ruger Frontier in 308 and one in 7mm08; I really like the Frontier (and I got both for less than $500 each, NIB, by the way) but they're a bit chunky and won't make your weight criteria. The Model 7 probably will make the weight cut-off, but it doesn't balance well for me and there's just something about them that I don't cotton to. The Tikka T3 Lite is probably the best option, although it has a 22" tube and a bit too much plastic for my taste. The Browning looks like a good possibility, but I've not handled or shot one.

The Kimber 84 will definitely be everything you want, excepting for the fact that it sells for about $1100 NIB. Were I looking for a real lightweight 308 boltgun, given what I have shot and/or handled to date I'd save my pennies for the Kimber.

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
April 24, 2008, 10:45 AM
+1 on the Browning Micro Hunter and Browning Mountain Ti,

http://www.browning.com/products/catalog/family.asp?webflag_=001B&catalog_=B

and also everything that JM40 said:

The Savage Scout rifle is close and the scope can be mounted conventionally if you want. Savage shows them at 6 1/4 lbs but mine actually weighs 7 lbs., 8 lbs with a conventional scope and rings.

Remington model 7 is a possibility but will be a bit overweight as well.

The Kimber Montana meets all of your criteria except price.

The Howa is a lot heavier than you want I think. Hogue stocks are heavy.

Weatherby makes the Vanguard in a youth model that comes with a 20" barrel and 2 stocks. A short youth stock and a full size one. Not sure of the weight but probably a little heavier than you want.

Tikka T-3 Lites can be set up to weigh right at 7 lbs scoped if you choose your optics carefully. I have never seen one but they offer a version with a 19" barrel that is a little lighter. I have been tempted to get the barrel on my .308 shortened to 19-20" to make it a bit handier.

The Steyr Prohunter comes in .308 with a 20" barrel and can be had used for around $500. They are also a bit heavy however.

On the used market if you can find one Ruger used to make a ultralight with iron sights in .308 with an 18 1/2" barrel and the same gun with a 20" clean barrel. My brother has one of each.

Samgotit
April 24, 2008, 11:07 AM
edit

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