Why is it so hard to choose a good rifle?


December 23, 2008, 08:42 AM
In the past month, I have handled north of 100 good bolt actions none of which I wanted to buy. I may just be wishy-washy and succumbing to analysis paralysis. May be that there are just that many good rifles out there which is not a bad thing at all--just makes it tougher.

I already know I want a 308 which is making the decision a little harder because locally there are not that many 308's on the shelves. I found a sweet Model Seven in 300 WSM, and I told the gentleman behind the counter that if he had one in 308, he could sell it right now, cash in hand. He goes into the backroom and a few minutes later emerges with a box and my pocket begins to burn.

We open the box and I am like a child at Christmas who receives...a pair of socks. It was a 700P. It feels twice as heavy as the Seven and three times as unwieldy. I thank him for his effort and move along. He tries to get me interested in Brownings, but I tell him I favor Remingtons. His next breath is Winchester and I tell him I favor Remingtons.

The only 308 I have found locally that I am halfway considering is a little Weatherby Vanguard in 308 for $399. Price is decent, but I just can't bring myself to get it because I feel like I am settling for less. I guess I am just airing my thoughts.

There's a gun show this weekend, so I guess I will go fondle some more guns, but I know I'll come home empty handed since the price won't be right. I was hoping to have the gun before the new year, but now I think I will just wait until Jan/Feb and see if there are any private sellers.

I feel like the lonely fellow in the classifieds who has had this ad for about three months: "Wanted: Remington 700 or Seven in 7mm-08 or 308."

I know someone is going to suggest buying off the Internet, but I won't buy a gun sight unseen.

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December 23, 2008, 08:51 AM
Easy answer... there are a lot of good rifles to choose from...

Complicated answer: There are so many good rifles to choose from, but price, look, style, available calibers, SS or blued, barrel length, price point vs budget, standard barrel or heavy or somewhere between... etc... it can be difficult depending on what you want to use the rifle for...

my opinion... and .02 :D

I understand your afinity for Remingtons... now get your yellow pages out and go down the list of ads in the gun section, ask about the rifles you like, get prices, write them down and go from there...

I love my 7mm-08...

Cheers and good luck...

Hostile Amish
December 23, 2008, 08:56 AM
If you handle an A-Bolt, you'll immediately buy it. Trust me on that.

December 23, 2008, 09:27 AM
IMO, choosing a Weatherby Vanguard is not settling for less. It boils down to you either waiting until the Remington that you want shows up, or being more open minded and giving other brands a chance that are available now. If a rifle feels good in your hands, and it's not a Remington, at least give it consideration. Rifles in that price range are all pretty much even as far as durability and accuracy is concerned.
I'm a Remington fan but today's rifle brands all have something to offer.


December 23, 2008, 09:29 AM
Compliacated answer: There are so many good rifles to choose from, but price, look, style, available calibers, SS or blued, barrel length, price point vs budget, standard barrel or heavy or somewhere between... etc... it can be difficult depending on what you want to use the rifle for...



I think I am just going to double my budget (bring it to $2,000 for rifle, scope and doodads,) and then throw caution to the wind and have my local gunshop order the Model Seven in 308. That way I can stop pussyfooting around.

December 23, 2008, 09:51 AM
i think the problem is because so many rifles are very good. when you have 80+ of pretty much the same thing, just with different window dressing, it makes it tough. i just gave advice on a different post. i will repeat it in a condensed version here. 4 things to make, or break a rifle for you. 1) F I T ! definitly the most important.
2)weight, someday, you are going to have to CARRY that thing 4 or 5 miles.
3) an adjustable trigger. this needs to be tuned TO YOU!
4) ACCURACY. not necessarily in that order. accuracy in a hunting rifle does not HAVE to be 0.25 moa. a target rifle, is a different story. but the rifle NEEDS to come up and land in the sweet spot on your shoulder every time with your hunting gear on.
find the ones you ike the looks of (wood or synthetic stock, blued or stainless, etc.) and then rally start comparing the above.

oh, and GOOD LUCK!

December 23, 2008, 10:49 AM
Its hard because you want them all!:evil:

December 23, 2008, 10:56 PM
Not all, but the best at the best price, moooose.

December 23, 2008, 11:00 PM
Look at it this way..

Remington..and Savage.. both have aftermarket drop in barrels manufactured to perform flawlessly with reloads..

Cz is another good brand.. but I know of no one that makes many aftermarket parts for that brand..

December 24, 2008, 12:07 AM
I love A-Bolts, but the Vangard was pretty comfortable and the one I had, a .223, was delightfully accurate. Of course, my A-bolt Stalker 30-06 is amazingly accurate.
I think there is alot of good options in bolt action rifles. My favorite for several years was my Tikka 695, until it got some real competition from a then new A-Bolt.

December 24, 2008, 12:12 AM
Agreed with all above. It helps to know what it's "mission" will be, what you are planning on using it for the most. Even then, with the selection out there, there are probably many guns that can do the job. Just narrow things down & go from there. Good luck!

December 24, 2008, 07:19 AM
Oh Doc Jude, I wasn't necessarily looking for suggestions, I was just venting a bit about the difficulty I was having on buying a rifle and thought a few guys might chime in.

But, FWIW, the rifle is being purchased primarily for deer, maybe black bear, and perhaps elk in a dream. It will be taken to the range probably six to eight times a year at most.

I know what I want--a Rem Model Seven in 308, but there is not one in stock locally and I am hesitating having it ordered. I think I am going to do two things. First start calling gun shops within a 100 miles, and/or wait until Jan/Feb.

December 24, 2008, 07:36 AM
I have a model seven 270wsm, and love it!!! Best gun I have ever shot.

December 24, 2008, 07:42 AM
I am glad you like it. I am sure I will like mine. A local gun shop has one in 300 WSM for $599, but I just don't need the extra ooomph. I considered it but had to pass.

December 24, 2008, 09:39 AM
I wouldn't buy a WSM caliber no matter what the price--facotory ammo for these is getting scarce compared to venerable .308/.270/.30-06. Find a dealer that will order what you want.

December 24, 2008, 09:46 AM
Yeah, I know. Sticking with the .308.

December 24, 2008, 07:07 PM

I think this calls for a road trip.

Gas up the ride, swing by the bank for a pocketfull of cash, pack an overnight bag. And go motorin'.

Check out all the shops within 100-200-300 miles, take a week off, enjoy it.

Chances are, you'll come across something that you'll see as "the one", and pick it up to carry home.

Or not... But at least you will have a very good idea of what's out there, what's common, what's not, and how the prices are.

I don't mind driving an hour or two a couple of times a year to see what's out there. Couple of times I left my pocketfull cash at home- wished I hadn't.

December 24, 2008, 08:02 PM
Time to find a better gun store!

I think you need to write a list of features you really desire in a rifle.

1. .308win
2. Stainless?
3. Blue?
4. Composite or would stock?
5. Blind magazine or removable clip?
6. Factory iron sights with scope mounts?
7. No iron sights?
8. User adjustable trigger?
9. Muzzle break? (yes, even on a .308)
10. Bull barrel varminter or hunting taper lightweight?

Ok you seem to like the Rem model 7. That answers a bunch of these questions..

I needed to buy an upgrade rifle for my younges boy since he sold his .243 Rossi. He wanted a good trigger, composite stock, a little on the light side, .270win or 25-06, and it needed to be accurate within budget.

Hunting accurate. Not a match winner. I'll admit, I'm not a Remington fan. I don't like plastic pistols either. Don't hold that against me. To be honest I almost went for a used Rem 700 in .270 advertise here on THR.

So, It's easy to find most of our option list in any of the entry level bolt guns. Didn't need to be stainless, but that would have been a bonus. So I read some write-ups... The Savage 110, (even a savage without Accutrigger has an adjustable trigger), and the Marlin XL7 came with the features he wanted and within budget. Both are quite accurate out of the box.

I was wanting him to have a detachable magazine or at least a bottom release floor plate, (I like my Ruger77), but the XL7 has a blind box magazine like the Remington 700. OK, not a big deal. The Tikka T3 was the next step that we'd looked at but was out of budget for an extra clip at $65.

I called my local store asking about availability of the XL7 since much of what I read was that they were hard to find. Not in stock, but a phone call back from them was that the distributor had one and I could have it in four days.

My point is, if you've made up your mind about the brand and model, since you've held one in your hands, then find a store that will order you one in the caliber you desire. Simple as that.

Still, don't knock the Tikka, W-Vangard, or the Savage models. I know several people that are very satisfied with them. (by the way, the Marlin XL7 has an Accu-like trigger that I've adjusted to be a very crisp 3 pounds for my sons hunting rifle.) It even has a fluted bolt. The scope mount comes with the Marlin, otherwise it's takes a standard Win 70 mount. For us, it appears to be the best bang for the buck. Sorry, it's not available in .308 yet.


December 24, 2008, 09:08 PM
I think your at a point were you need a custom Rifle.

December 25, 2008, 11:08 AM
While the thought is entertaining, MT GUNNY, I would be into it for at least four grand if I go that route. I thought about it, but the rifle would be at least $2,800 for a low end custom I looked at and I would not put a $500 scope on a gun like that. If I went custom, I'd go "whole hog" and do it right.

Nope, the Model Seven will do just fine. Maybe a custom rifle in twenty years when I'm in my mid-fifties, Lord willing a lot of things.

I am done pussyfooting around. I get some money today from a grandmother, my sister is paying back for a water heater I got her when her's rusted out a week ago, and those two things put me where I need to be to drop the hammer when I need to. I am still waiting though. There's a gun show this weekend that will give me a chance hopefully to give a bunch of guns a fondle, and then in January, I am calling every gun shop within a hundred fifty miles to see if they have a .308 Model 7 in stock. At that point, if I can't find one immediately, I will just have my gun shop order it. I still want to see it before I buy it though.

December 25, 2008, 12:14 PM
Make sure your shop will order without obligating you to buy.

Just in case it comes in blemished or damaged. That way it's on the shop to correct, instead of you.

December 25, 2008, 12:28 PM
sounds like you have settled on a small , light rifle in 308. i have two suggestions for you, remmington old models, in 308. A 788, which for a factory rifle, has the fastest lock time ever invented on a rifle, and 9 - that's right, 9 locking lugs on the rear of the bolt, with a super straight lockup.
Or a model 600/660/mohawk.the 660 is a 16 or 18 inch bbl, and plain.
the 600/mohawk has a full length vent rib, and is so cool. Both have the butterknife bent bolts, which is also work too expensive to do these days.
this is a 788, in very nice shape.
this is what most 788's look like, plain.
here is a 660. lam stock
here is a plain stock, in 308

and here is the mighty 600/mohawk in 308 cal

December 25, 2008, 12:45 PM
If you liked the Remington 7 take a look at the Kimber Montana, www.kimberamerica.com It would be hard to beat a Tikka in accuracy for the price as well

rust collector
December 25, 2008, 01:38 PM
It's great to have choices, and reassuring that you have found one good fit already. I can understand buyer's fatigue, but it really makes sense to look them over before buying. Once determined to buy, find a place that has 3 or 5 of them stocked, and check them all out to find the best one.

If you like m-7s,you have probably looked at Ruger ultralights and Browning micro medallions. There are other lightweight rifles out there such as the Rem titanium and a raft of semi-customs by ultralight arms and others. Do look over a bunch of rifles to get a good idea of what feels good to you. It's more than number crunching.

A little more time spent now will protect a lifetime investment, but understand that there are few guarantees, so no way to eliminate risk. If the rifle you really like costs $300 more, you're talking $10 a year over the next 30.

December 25, 2008, 05:33 PM
It's really not that hard for most of us. Trying a hundred different rifles and not finding one seems like you don't really want a rifle to be honest.

If you want a model 7 in .308 just order one, the ones on the internet are just like the ones in the store.

December 25, 2008, 05:40 PM
It's really not that hard for most of us. Trying a hundred different rifles and not finding one seems like you don't really want a rifle to be honest.

Yeah, that could be part of it because it is just a want right now and not a need. But also this is one of the first guns I will have bought that wasn't an impulse buy. All the rest were purchased as whims although I had a general knowledge of the gun before buying. It's never taken more than a day or two to buy a gun. So, you are correct except it's not about not wanting a rifle, but more so about not needing it.

ETA: Darn double negatives

December 25, 2008, 06:19 PM
Make sure your shop will order without obligating you to buy.

First couple of guns I ordered through them they wanted me to pay up front, but I knew what to expect, so I did not mind. Now they just order it unless I have some oddball request that might gather dust on their shelves. I am pretty confident that they won't mind ordering a Model Seven in .308.

December 25, 2008, 06:25 PM
It sounds like you're set on getting a Remington bolt action...but perhaps sometime you'll have the chance to check out Browning's BLR's, available in a vast array of calibers including 308. I'm a proud BLR fanatic, and I wouldn't have it any other way. And one of the many fabulous things about BLRs is the fact that they will appeal to righties and lefties (shooters, not politicians!) if you ever decide to re-sell. They're constructed as leverguns but really their mechanisms are essentially bolt action, so they handle everything up into the big heavy hitter magnums, too. I could go on and on...but I'll refrain. Just a "someday maybe" suggestion...Good luck, and enjoy whatever you end up with! Life's too short for unnnecessary regrets and "wondering"...;)

December 26, 2008, 09:36 AM
thanks AKGuy, I like the BLR, but not enough to buy one. You may not want to hear it, but if I was getting a lever gun, I'd go with the Marlin 336 in 35 Remington. I may still buy a 336 yet but not this time.

If you all don't mind watching this saga unfold a few more days, I'll throw another wrench into my gun buying machinery. A cousin (who is one of the few other shooters/hunters in the close family) shows up for Christmas dinner yesterday and afterwards we step outside for a breath of "smoky" air. He had one of his turd eatin grins on his face and said come out to the truck. I never know what to expect from him because he has shown up with all kinds of dead animals in his truck.

Anyway, he pulls a guncase out from behind the seat and uncases a Remington 798 in 30.06. I had seen them at Academy and thought they were okay, but really just wanted a shorter and lighter rifle. Anyway, aforementioned cousin has always hunted with a "beat to hell" 7400 in 30.06 and swore he'd never own a bolt action. I asked why he bought it and he said he was in there buying some stuff, stopped at the gun counter on the way to check out, and let the gun counter guy sell it to him.

The more I held it, the more I liked it. The action left a little to be desired, but I figure that will work itself out. We're going shooting tommorrow if it doesn't storm, and I may have to consider it. It is definitely more economical than the Model 7 and I could use the extra money for better glass and more ammo.

I only wish I knew someone with a little Model Seven, so I could test it out too.

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