Best Bolt-action Deer Rifles Under $400


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SHusky57
July 18, 2009, 01:17 AM
At the top of my price range, Weatherby Vanguard.
Interested in a Tikka T3, but I think it tops my price range.

Mossberg 100 ATR.
Marlin XL7.
Remington 710/770 (not a fan of most Remmy products nowadays, they seem sub-par whether it's the 870's or UMC ammo).

Just curious if you were on a $400 budget, what you would get? I'm thinking Mossberg 100 ATR + Better Scope FTW.... although I've heard the Marlin XL7 is a much better gun.

I've already got a 30-30.... I've got some cash lying around and I was thinking "I could get an AR-15" or.... "I could get a rifle, a shotugn, and some ammo for the same price" and I'm leaning towards something more like the latter.

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Arkel23
July 18, 2009, 01:19 AM
I'd get the Weatherby Vanguard.

unlearned69
July 18, 2009, 01:22 AM
I had a Stevens 200 that was an excellent rifle. It's not on your list, but they are very nice for the money. I've handled a couple XL-7's, and they seem very nice for the money. I'd go with either one of those or the Vanguard. Any of the three should be a great rifle.

Edited to add: I have handled a couple of the Mossbergs, and I was not impressed. Same for the Rem 710/770.

cyclopsshooter
July 18, 2009, 01:25 AM
old remington 700

shaggy430
July 18, 2009, 01:26 AM
Save a little and get the Tikka. You'll be glad you did. By the way, Remington makes excellent products. Don't judge them by the 710/770.

frankiestoys
July 18, 2009, 01:28 AM
Savage makes a good bolt action, shop around.

jpwilly
July 18, 2009, 01:28 AM
I have the Mossberg ATR but in the under $300 category today the Marlin XL7 would get my $ but for $400 I think that Weatherby Vanguard is a lot of rifle. The other would be the new T/C Venture (http://www.tcarms.com/firearms/venture.php) with a 1" 100yrd garantee!

BENELLIMONTE
July 18, 2009, 01:59 AM
Check out the discontinued Rem 700 ADLs at Wallyworld. I picked up my current 243 Win for a closeout price of 300.00. Also the Weatherby Vanguard (300 Win Mag) I bought at Joes is also a very good rifle for the price. But the best for the price if you really hunt around is Tikka T3 Lite Hunter. My T3 in 270 winchester is by far the most accurate, smoothest bolt and lightest trigger out of the box I have. You may have to pay 450.00 or a bit more but it is definitely worth it.

thetoad45
July 18, 2009, 03:21 AM
I own two Marlin XL7's. Very nice

natman
July 18, 2009, 06:18 AM
The Vanguard is a good rifle, but I'd go with the Marlin XL / XS 7 and put the money saved towards a Leupold scope.

Quality on the Mossberg is not up to these other two and the Remington 710 family is junk.

jester_s1
July 18, 2009, 11:37 AM
At that price point it really doesn't matter. You're going to get a decent barrel and a flimsy injection molded stock with every maker. Stay away from the Remington 710. If you don't care what you have and only plan to go through a box of ammo every 3-4 years, it's ok and super cheap used. Otherwise, get something better.

Does the $400 budget include glass? If so, then it's time to start browsing the used racks at your local gun shop.

TexAg
July 18, 2009, 12:14 PM
In with the poster above, you can still get Rem 700 ADLs new. I got my .30-06 ADL with iron sights for $325 last year.

jpwilly
July 18, 2009, 12:51 PM
At that price point it really doesn't matter.

It does matter. Even at the $400 and under price range there are big differences in features and quality.

Remington 770 package w/scope: Molded swivel studs, Detachable magazine, button-rifled, w/scope $350 otherwise very inexpensive metal reciever the bolt lugs engage in a specially made barrel extension so the reciever doen'st take the stress of fireing...is really just a bolt guide (much like an AR-15). Pretty accurate but a throw away rifle.

Mossberg ATR: LBA adjustable trigger, internal mag, molded swivel studs, Barrel nut, target crown muzzle, the stock feels decent. It appears to be 1.5 MOA with most ammo at 100yrds. $250

Marlin XL7 an adjustable trigger, internal mag, steel swivels studs (not plastic), barrel nut, fluted bolt, enclosed bolt shroud, target crown muzzle, the stock feels decent too. Better overall quality that the Mossy and Rem. It appears to be 1.5 MOA with most ammo at 100yrds $300ish

Savage 111FCXP3 Package w/scope: Detachable box magazine, NON AccuTrigger, NON AccuStock, berrel nut, flimsy stock, free-floating, button-rifled, and swivel studs. $380

Weatherby Vanguard: Adjustable trigger, Internal mag (hinged floorplate?), hammer-forged barrel, steel swivel studs and probably the smoothest bolt in this price range. Good quality made by Howa. 1.5MOA or better. $399

T/C Venture: Detachable box magazine, Adjustable Trigger, free-floating, 5R-rifled, (barrel nut?) and swivel studs. 1MOA Guarantee! $420

I currently own the Mossberg ATR and a Savage 10.

rangerruck
July 18, 2009, 01:26 PM
don't forget howa, ... and really , any of the new ones are good, the crappiest of them all would be anything remington lately... God only knows what they
been thinking. I would proly look for a tikka, howa, wetherby, mossy, marlin, or if you can find it , a smith/wesson i bolt.

Dookie
July 18, 2009, 02:22 PM
Savage, Steven, Howa, Weatherby Vangaurd, and 700. Savage and stevens are the same rifle except the stevens does not have the accutrigger. I have one in 300 win and was able to adjust the trigger down to 2.5 pounds and is very crisp, will hold 2 inch groups at 200 yards with me shooting and the factory synthetic stock.

Marlin and Mossberg will not be as nice as any of these.

I would suggest getting the Stevens 200 as it will run you under 300 and you get the Savage barrel and action. If you want to swap stock or trigger out later it will be no problem whatsoever. Then top it with a Leupold 3-9 and you are out the door for less than $700 and ready to roll.

CZ223
July 18, 2009, 05:31 PM
when it comes to good, quality, inexpensive rifles. I have not shot the Mossberg and the Marlin but they seem very well made and the only reason I haven't bought either of them is that the cartidges they are available in, have not appealed to me. I decided to wait for the XS7 to come out in 223 or 308 before I buy. They may be out but I am broke right now.:( My list would be as follows:

Savage in 243 or 270 available at Wal-mart, with 3-9 simmons scope for $349.

Stevens (Savage without the accu-trigger) shop gunbroker.

Mossberg Under $300 at Wal-Mart

Marlin right around 300 I think at Cabelas. The Marlin has a factory authorized coy of the Accu-trigger as well as a "barrel nut" that makes it very similar to the Savage. I can't wait to see if people start swapping barrel egulary as they do with the Savage.

wickedsprint
July 18, 2009, 07:32 PM
Remington model 700 ADL/SPS when they go on sale. I've purchased an ADL Synthetic clean barrel for $299 at Walmart when they went on sale to make room for the SPS version.

altez
July 19, 2009, 12:38 AM
Another vote for Stevens 200 ... Wish I found THR before my first rifle purchase. I originally bought a Rem 710. :|

kludge
July 19, 2009, 12:42 AM
Stevens 200.

chevyforlife21
July 19, 2009, 01:01 AM
i have a savage 111 .243 its super accurate ive hit the same bullet hole at 100 yards with remington and winchester cheap ammo.the stock is pretty flimsy but my main problem is it always has problems feeding from the mag the spring will get stuck not matter how much oil but anywways its a good cheap real accurate rifle

jester_s1
July 19, 2009, 01:09 AM
Entry level rifles are better than they have ever been before, and perfectly serviceable. I still defy anyone to show how one sub-$400 rifle is significantly better than another (except the cheapo Remingtons which are junk). Yes, small variations exists in features but they all work and all have acceptable deer popping accuracy.

Glass on the other hand is a different story. With that budget, I'd be looking for a $150 beater to put a $250 scope onto, and I would expect a reliable weapon. The more I learn about glass, the more I see how little the gun matters and how much the scope does.

ReadyontheRight
July 19, 2009, 01:42 AM
Watch Wal-Mart. They are likely to clearance out their current stock in August or September to prepare for the 2009 hunting season.

Personally, I would look for a used Winchester or Remington to get iron sights.

I think one of these low-end bolt gun companies (Mossberg, Stevens, Remington, etc.) would mop up if they included iron sights.

I have no desire to build, tune and store another gun/scope package. Especially on a cheap gun. I like what I have. If I buy a new scoped rig, I will want to put $$ into both the rifle and the scope.

I think any new shooter shout put in some trigger time with iron sights. It's very difficult for me to recommend a fine cheap rifle but then have to tell the new shooter to invest almost as much on a quality scope. "Which one?" "Uhhh Leupold...it's what I have". Then I have to explain "bore sighting", "sighting in", "scope covers", "eye relief", and a back-up gun in case their scope fails.

I WOULD buy a few $250 to $400 new bolt rifles if they had iron sights - for plinking, taking out new shooters, loaning to friends, storing as a "truck gun" or "cabin gun", etc.

These gun companies seem to be very sheep-like.

They just look at what one another are doing and follow the herd. None of then seem to ever ask us shooters what we would buy. They don't seem to understand that their biggest market is those of us who already have guns.

There IS a market for an inexpensive, iron-sighted American bolt gun. We will buy then for fun. We will buy them for family and we will recommend a good bolt gun with good iron sights to friends.

jpwilly
July 19, 2009, 02:11 AM
There IS a market for an inexpensive, iron-sighted American bolt gun.

Yip, for me they are called Mil Surps or C&R's. I have quite a few and can shoot them all. Nice rant though.

crazy-mp
July 19, 2009, 02:13 AM
Remington 770

I picked one up 2 years ago before Christmas, it was around 350 and there was a 50 dollar rebate at the time. So I got a new .243 with a 3-9 scope for a little over 300 bucks.

Everybody wants to gripe that its a throw away gun, ok I will give you that, but how many rounds does it take to burn up a barrel?

The point they should be making, and most are not because they have never fired one, is that this bolt gun is cocked when you rotate the handle up, unlike most other Remington bolt action guns which cock when putting the bolt down. SO working the bolt feels a little different and when they are new they are a little tougher and not as smooth.

Plus you wouldn't feel so bad when you take that gun out and get it scratched up, beat up, rained on, or your buddy drops it at the range, hey its a throw away gun right?

jpwilly
July 19, 2009, 02:33 AM
but how many rounds does it take to burn up a barrel?

A 243 will "burn up" a barrel (start loosing accuracy) as early as 850rnds but usually by 1500rnds you'll notice. YMMV

Plus you wouldn't feel so bad when you take that gun out and get it scratched up, beat up, rained on, or your buddy drops it at the range, hey its a throw away gun right?

Yes, that rifle is probably a throw away but many rifles aren't as they can be re barreled. I don't think anyone who gets any one of the above rifles is going to treat them with kit gloves. These are value rifles and will be used as such. But why ride a donkey when you can get a horse? The Remchester 710 and 770 should cost $199. If I was going to spend $400 today it would buy a lot more than that.

Knowing what I know now I would have purchased a Savage w/accutrigger instead of my Mossberg ATR a couple of years ago. It too is probably a "throw away rifle" as I don't think anyone is making replacement barrels for it (unless something out there is already a fit) But it does have a barrel nut and real reciever so it could possibly be done. Also BTW it's been a really good rifle for only costing $250 + Accessories so I'm not bashing it either. 3 shot groups are consistantly under 1" at 100yrds with me shooting and my father in law can do 1.5" with it. Bolt is smooth trigger is good (but well short of an accutrigger). The cheapest thing about the rifle is the integrated swivel studs...an easy fix.

http://i124.photobucket.com/albums/p38/jpwilly/DSCN0053.jpg

I love my New Savage 10FP by the way but it was well over the $400 liimit and isn't really a deer rifle either (at 14lbs)

http://i124.photobucket.com/albums/p38/jpwilly/DSCN0110.jpg

shaggy430
July 19, 2009, 02:38 AM
A 243 will "burn up" a barrel (start loosing accuracy) as early as 850rnds but usually by 1500rnds you'll notice.

Not really.

jpwilly
July 19, 2009, 02:46 AM
A 243 will "burn up" a barrel (start loosing accuracy) as early as 850rnds but usually by 1500rnds you'll notice.

Not really.

Yes really. The throat and lands get tore up. The 243 has a sharp shoulder, a short neck, and small bore plus it shoots it's pills at a good clip all are factors as to why the .243 will wear out even good barrels much more quickly than the 308. The first inch of lands are usually gone by 1500rnds. Will the barrel still shoot, yes but it's going to start loosing accuracy.

ReadyontheRight
July 19, 2009, 02:49 AM
There IS a market for an inexpensive, iron-sighted American bolt gun.

Yip, for me they are called Mil Surps or C&R's. I have quite a few and can shoot them all. Nice rant though.

Me too, but I would certainly rather support new production.

jpwilly
July 19, 2009, 02:54 AM
Me too, but I would certainly rather support new production.

Agreed putting some iron sights on the rifles couldn't cost much at the factory. They could drill and tap for scope mounts and let us decide...I would be in for seeing some selection in the low doe section with irons. But since they don't exists my Mil Surps do a fine job of it.

natman
July 19, 2009, 04:02 AM
Entry level rifles are better than they have ever been before, and perfectly serviceable. I still defy anyone to show how one sub-$400 rifle is significantly better than another (except the cheapo Remingtons which are junk). Yes, small variations exists in features but they all work and all have acceptable deer popping accuracy.

Glass on the other hand is a different story. With that budget, I'd be looking for a $150 beater to put a $250 scope onto, and I would expect a reliable weapon. The more I learn about glass, the more I see how little the gun matters and how much the scope does.

I think if you compared a Mossberg and a Marlin side by side you'd see the difference in quality. I agree that the Remington 710/770 family is junk. Given that Remington owns Marlin I can't understand why they are still offered.

The scope is important. I'd much rather have a Marlin and a Leupold than a Remchester with a cheap scope..

jpwilly
July 19, 2009, 11:22 AM
^^^
Yes, the Mossberg ATR is a step behind the Marlin XL7 and if I were buying today the Marlin would get a good look vs say a Savage or Stevens. (Allegedly the Savage barrels will screw onto the Marlin actions and barrel nuts)

I've gotten decent performance out of the Centerpoint scopes. And because the factory claims .416 Rigby proof + Airgun rated. The scopes must be reinforced against recoil in both directions. My 2 have held zero and the adjustments have been repeatable.

That said there is no comparison when it comes to the glass. Nikon (Prostaff, Buckmaster, & Team Primos) Bushnell 3200 and a few of others offer scopes with good clarity & contrast with 90% and better light transmission in their inexpensive lineups.

Art Eatman
July 19, 2009, 12:53 PM
"Deer rifle". That says to me that it's a rifle which will get sighted in and then fired a very few times during the season. Further, anything inside 1.5 to 2.0 MOA is adequate accuracy for 90% of deer killed.

Does anybody know of a brand-name rifle that won't last a lifetime with that sort of use, and which won't be adequately accurate?

natman
July 19, 2009, 03:47 PM
"Deer rifle". That says to me that it's a rifle which will get sighted in and then fired a very few times during the season. Further, anything inside 1.5 to 2.0 MOA is adequate accuracy for 90% of deer killed.

Does anybody know of a brand-name rifle that won't last a lifetime with that sort of use, and which won't be adequately accurate?

I see your point, but I still rather buy a Marlin rather than take a free Remington 770. Besides it would be hard to hit the deer with the 770 in a paper bag, which is the only way I'd be seen with one. :D

bang_bang
July 19, 2009, 04:00 PM
I like my "budget" deer rifles. Out of the 3 rifles I use for deer season, the most costly would be my Remmy 700...around $430 brand new several years ago. The least expensive, my Stevens Model 200, happens to be my favorite.

These are not "cheap" guns. The Remmy 710s or whatever have had horrible reviews, but my hunting buddy owns one. It seems to be reliable and accurate enough for him to drop deer after deer. I just don't like the action on those rifles. The action on my Stevens is almost as smooth as the Remmy, but both don't even come close to my Winchester Model 70.

jpwilly
July 19, 2009, 04:09 PM
"Deer rifle". That says to me that it's a rifle which will get sighted in and then fired a very few times during the season. Further, anything inside 1.5 to 2.0 MOA is adequate accuracy for 90% of deer killed.

Does anybody know of a brand-name rifle that won't last a lifetime with that sort of use, and which won't be adequately accurate?

Agreed the practical nature of a hunting rifle even a P.O.S. provided it goes bang and can hit what your aiming at will work.

Doesn't mean we shouldn't make comparisons. $350 will still buy you a Marlin XL7 and cheap scope...WHY would anyone then go out and get the Reminton 770 for the same money?? Buyer beware!

jmr40
July 19, 2009, 05:24 PM
The only problem with buying a cheap rifle that you only plan on using a few times a year is that people often decide they like hunting and shooting a lot more than they thought they would. After a few months they end kicking themselves when they realize that for only a few dollars more they could have had a much better rifle.

Or they decide that they no longer want to hunt and shoot, and when they try to sell a rifle they no longer use, they find it is virtually worthless.

snakeman
July 19, 2009, 05:32 PM
stevens 200

crazy-mp
July 19, 2009, 05:36 PM
A 243 will "burn up" a barrel (start loosing accuracy) as early as rounds but usually by 1500 rnds you'll notice. YMMV


The average deer hunter will die, or upgrade to a better gun before they shoot that many rounds. Yes I am sure you have personally fire 10K rounds of .243 in a years time, but the average hunter will only shoot their deer rifle a few times before the season begins, (if they are smart) and then 5-10 times while hunting, so lets just say 40 times in a year, 2 boxes right? That works out to be around 20 years, if the hunter goes every year and fires 2 boxes each year. Most hunters that I know only fire the gun when there is a deer in the cross hairs.

If they are looking for something to get them by for a few years and they are not a competitive shooter, the 770 is hard to beat, especially out of the box, I didn't know that savage made a bolt action center fire gun under 400.00. Then if you wanted a scope that would cost even more.

jpwilly
July 19, 2009, 06:08 PM
The average deer hunter will die, or upgrade to a better gun before they shoot that many rounds....
...Most hunters that I know only fire the gun when there is a deer in the cross hairs.

That's too bad. Many people I've know who shoot .243 also use them for varmints, punching paper, and therefore load development etc etc. 1500rnds isn't hard to do.

I get out and shoot around 12 times a year and generally bring 3-4 firearms. I shoot a couple hundred rounds per firearm mostly my reloads. I'm by no means a professional shooter.


I didn't know that savage made a bolt action center fire gun under 400.00

You can purchase Savage combos with cheap package scope and Accutrigger at Wal-Mart for $399. Maybe the wally worlds in your state don't sell firearms but here in AZ many do.

skoro
July 19, 2009, 06:50 PM
At the top of my price range, Weatherby Vanguard.
Interested in a Tikka T3, but I think it tops my price range.

Yes, the Tikka is a very nice weapon. The action is buttery smooth.

I was in your position a year ago. I wanted the Tikka but it was just out of reach. I got the Vanguard and have no regrets. I really like this rifle. Don't scrimp on the scope. This rifle deserves some good glass. I got a Nikon Team Primos that I'm very pleased with.

jester_s1
July 19, 2009, 07:53 PM
Agreed that barrel life is simply a non-issue in cheap guns. If you are too tight to buy a quality rifle, then you are too tight to practice with it.

Where the cheapo stuff lets you down is a few years down the road when something comes out of adjustment or breaks. The Rem 710 is a prime example with the plastic bolt part. In others, the flimsy stock is going to be unstable which can be a big deal on longer shots, and cheap glass is a well documented failure point.

For low cost and high performance, the old .30-30 lever gun is still tought to beat. I wish someone made one with a peep sight in the rear, but even still it's a 150 yard gun for anyone with talent.

crazy-mp
July 21, 2009, 01:29 AM
You can purchase Savage combos with cheap package scope and Accutrigger at Wal-Mart for $399. Maybe the wally worlds in your state don't sell firearms but here in AZ many do.

I thought wally world was an amusement park from National Lampoons?


http://www.eq2daily.com/images/Wally.jpg

Actually my state does sell guns at Wal-Mart, well most do except for the ones that were not making enough money. Sorry I cant quote all the gun prices from Wal-Mart the best I can do is give a ball park price for the ones I have bought there.


A 243 will "burn up" a barrel (start loosing accuracy) as early as 850rnds but usually by 1500rnds you'll notice.

If you use a slower burning powder like H1000 and heavier bullets 95-100 grain, it will put less wear on your rifle, and not loading to the max helps too.

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
July 21, 2009, 11:50 AM
The Mossberg ATR and 4x4 sounded like a decent/good rifle, UNTIL some of them released their bolts into a few people's cheekbones. Scary stuff, and allegedly a serious design flaw. :eek:

The T/C Venture is out because I think it will come in just a smidgeon over $400 street price; otherwise this would be the winner of the question.

So like others have said, Marlin XL7 or Stevens 200 - either of those is your answer. Wait, also the basic basic Howa 1500 should come in under $400, so it's every bit as good as the Stevens or Marlin I do believe - tough call. If you can get the Stevens-Plus (Savage) for under $400, then that's your answer, definitely.

And yes, the Rem 710/715/770/Sportsman/Whitetail hunter, or whatever they're calling it now, is inferior, but it's not THAT bad for the one-weekend a year deer hunter. It's reported to have good accuracy.

podedwards
July 21, 2009, 12:33 PM
I have a Remington 700 in 7mm.08 with a Nikon scope. I use it out west for long shots and it'll take down most anything. I paid $300 for it and $200 for the scope.

I like it because it's light, weather resistant and well made-shoots great with Hornady 180 grain bullets. Being light is very important, at least at my age, in hiking in and out of mountains.

oneounceload
July 21, 2009, 01:03 PM
I have a Remington 700 in 7mm.08 with a Nikon scope. I use it out west for long shots and it'll take down most anything. I paid $300 for it and $200 for the scope.

I like it because it's light, weather resistant and well made-shoots great with Hornady 180 grain bullets. Being light is very important, at least at my age, in hiking in and out of mountains.

Hornady doesn't list a 180 gr in 7-08. My 7-08 personally prefers 140 gr bullets


OP - if $400 is your limit for the rifle, what's your limit for the scope and mounts?

MikeBoyd
August 2, 2009, 03:47 PM
SHusky57, did you make a decision yet?

I own a 700 BDL that I bought in 1969 for a little over $100. :what: Academy here in Texas has the ADL with syn stock for $439. Mine is a .30-06 and still shoots very well and looks almost as good as it did the day I bought it.

I recently purchased a Marlin XS7 in .308 for my grandson and let the silver tongued man at Academy talk me into a Pentax Gameseeker 3-9X50 scope. I already had the rings, so it was less than $500 out the door. Academy did the rough bore sight and mounting for nothing. I put a laser round in the bore that night and tuned it in at a little over 100 yards, then took it to the field the next day. :rolleyes:

My first shot using Rem Core Lock 150 gr was 1/2 " left of center, with the next two rounds, after barrel cooled touching the hole of the first round. UNBELIEVABLE for stock ammo, new gun and using a picnic table and shell boxes as rest. :):):)

My thirteen YO grandson's first shot was a couple inches left and high of center, but definitely good enough to put meat on the table. :D

The Marlin was test fired from the manfacturer and I don't think they cleaned it. I always field strip and clean new guns before and after firing them. I am so impressed with the XS7 that I am thinking about picking up an XL7 in .270 for myself, when money drops from the sky soon. :o

I have read too much first hand negative problems with the ATR 100 to even consider it.:confused: The Marlins come with an adjustable trigger, fatory set about 3.5# which is nearly perfect for a hunting rifle. The syn stock seems very rugged and the finish and bluing on the metal work is excellent, not quite 700 quality, but still decent. I have not read one single negative, first hand experience from anyone considering the Marlin and highly recommend it. especially since Remington now owns Marlin!! ;)

Please let us know what you got and share the experience with us. Also, I highly recommend the Nikon ProStaff 3-9X40 scope, if you want to stay in your price range, I do like the Pentax and it's lower price if you're on a budget.

Happy Hunting, :p
Mike and Jonathan Boyd

jmr40
August 2, 2009, 05:54 PM
Walter,

You bought a quality rifle at a good price. I was referring to the Remington 770 series and the Mossberg. We at least agree on the 770. While I have my favorites I could live with any of the others on the list.

Dr_2_B
August 2, 2009, 06:57 PM
good information. I think we in the US are accustomed to very good stuff. Frankly, I believe we could get by with many standard rifles that aren't all that costly. But a nice scope is worth the money.

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