Most accurate hunting rifle under $800?


October 20, 2010, 07:23 PM
Curious to see what others would buy if they had 800 bucks to buy a new deer rifle based SOLELY on accuracy (not asthetics, where made, resale value, brand loyalty, etc.). Also what caliber for an all around rifle used from eastern hardwoods to western mountains for mule deer.


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October 20, 2010, 07:31 PM
Weathby vangaurd/Howa. Same action and barrel. 7mm rem mag. Have enough money left over for the scope too.

October 20, 2010, 07:34 PM
+1 on the 7mm.

October 20, 2010, 07:48 PM
This is not a differing opinion, just an additional choice. stevens 200, .308, bell and carlson stock, Nikon prostaff. Either his choice or mine gets it done for a great price.

October 20, 2010, 07:51 PM
Stevens instead of Savage? I heard the triggers weren't quite up to par?

October 20, 2010, 10:28 PM
Most accurate, probably Savage or maybe the Marlin XL/XS7 line.
270, 308, 7mm-08.

October 21, 2010, 02:08 AM
I get good groups from my Winchester Model 70s, so I'm partial to them. Caliber? Take your pick from .243 on up. I love my .243 but to be honest, if I were to buy a rifle for deer only, it would be a quarter bore like a 25-06 or maybe a .270 or 7mm-08. If I was going to be shooting them at long distances I might look at a 7mm mag or 30-06. Really any of them will make dead deer though.

October 21, 2010, 02:26 AM
A Finn 7.62X54r M-39 Mosin Nagant or a Finn M-28/30 Mosin and dies/components/powder for LOTS of ammo.

Gun and ammo.

October 21, 2010, 07:14 AM
With modern CNC machining anyone can build an accurate rifle and sell it for $300. Anything over $300 or so is paying for features that some want, others don't.

The average shooter can't shoot well enough to tell the difference between a Stevens 200, Marlin XL-7, Tikka, Ruger, Remington, Winchester, Weatherby, or most any other rifle out there. I've seen 1/2" groups fired from all of these brands as well as most others. Pick the features you want in a rifle. Most any of them are capable of more accuracy than the average shooter can take advantage of.

October 21, 2010, 07:34 AM
Savage...........7mm-08, no need to over gun yourself with the 7mag.

October 21, 2010, 08:49 AM
TonyM The stevens is well less than half the price for less purdy finished finished savage. If the trigger is not to your likeing then a replacement trigger can be installed at home for under a 100 bucks. You got a shooter then with a grood trigger to for less than 400 bucks.Rifle should be under 300 at a good dealer. Don't pick a 243 for mule deer. If weight and recoil is a big concern then any from 25cal to 30 cal on mag in a short cartridge will do. My always goto is a old rem 788 but you can't buy them cheap enough compaired to low priced good new rifles.

October 21, 2010, 09:07 AM
TonyM The stevens is so much cheaper in cost than the savage, just does have the fancy finish or trigger, still the stevens is a good shooter. You can buy the rifle and get a really good aftermarket trigger if needed for less than half the price of the savage models. I also have a stevens 223 and it's shoots fine. If wieght and recoil is a concern look for a short action model with most any caliber from 25 up 30 caliber. If not then the 7 rem mag is still hard to beet. I own both a 308 rem and 7mm rem mag in a ruger and both kick the same to me as wieght is different.

October 21, 2010, 09:12 AM
I'd get a Marlin XS7 in 7mm-08 and a Leupold 2-7 VXII scope and go deer hunting. $800 should cover a few seasons worth of ammo too. If the budget is $800 for just the rifle, I'd get a Sako A7.

October 21, 2010, 09:17 AM
Tikka or Sako A7

October 21, 2010, 09:36 AM
Tikka T3 hands down. Those things are scary accurate. I'm saving right now for one of the stainless ones with the fluted barrels in 30-06. At 5.8 pounds guaranteed to shoot moa or less, that would make one heck of an elk rifle.

October 21, 2010, 09:38 AM
Savage in .30-06. Pedestrian? Perhaps, but Savage rifles shoot extremely well and that Accu-Trigger is terrific.


October 21, 2010, 10:20 AM
Thompson Center Venture. I was initally skeptical, but was happy to be proven wrong.

Loyalist Dave
October 21, 2010, 10:38 AM
Do you have to spend the full $800 when answering the question? How about a handi-rifle, in .25-06, .270, or .308, with a good Leopold scope? Mine have been surprizingly accurate in .223 and .308.


October 21, 2010, 11:09 AM
Weathby vangaurd/Howa. Same action and barrel. 7mm rem mag. Have enough money left over for the scope too.
I paid $500 for my Howa 1500 in .308. After about 80 rounds downrange I am able to consistently get .5-1 MOA using a shooting rest on a bench. This is using 150 grain NBT store bought ammo.

Art Eatman
October 21, 2010, 11:52 AM
Hard work to find a rifle in today's world that won't shoot inside of two MOA--which is plenty good for Bambi.

So, basically, whichever rifle that fits your body and is within your price range will work as good as any other.

October 21, 2010, 12:14 PM
So, basically, whichever rifle that fits your body and is within your price range will work as good as any other.
It's really not the answer I'm sure you wanted to hear, but I think it's the right one. All or them shoot well, may as well get the one you want. It will be accurate enough.

October 21, 2010, 01:52 PM
remmy 700 in 7mm08

Uncle Mike
October 21, 2010, 01:53 PM
As Art and wanker said...most ALL production rifles will stay inside of 2"@100y, many doing much, much better.

The question is, which brands and models are doing it at the time you intend to purchase, not all brand exhibit the same accuracy, with regards to production and quality control, year to year.

Truth be told, pretty much all the brands produced currently are shooting well, some manufacturers are producing models that have been 'consistent' as to accuracy like the Savage line as well as the Marlin X-series line of rifles.

Best bet is to fondle all the various models and see which one sparks your fancy.

As for the caliber, the 7mm Magnums will do all you ask of them, with your mentioned quarry in mind, but a less powerful cartridge like the 30-06, 280, 7mm-08, or 308 would do you well and offer less cost and recoil in addition.

October 21, 2010, 04:10 PM
i'm looking for my first hunting rifle...

bud's has the tikka t3 lite for $535 in certain finishes/calibers right now. supposedly guaranteed under moa out of the box.

o Unforgiven o
October 21, 2010, 04:34 PM
Remington model 700 VTR in .308 would be my choice.

October 21, 2010, 06:06 PM
I hunt with a Tikka 6.5x55mm, which is very accurate and just a nicely designed modern gun.

Just about any new bolt action is going to be more than accurate enough for hunting out to 300 yards. You might also look at a CZ550.

October 21, 2010, 06:08 PM
At the carolina shooter forum there is a weatherby 7mm rem mag with scope for 300 bucks.

October 21, 2010, 06:33 PM
Tikka T3 30-06

October 21, 2010, 07:00 PM
In my experence I will have to agree with the tikka crowd, although I doubt you would have any issue with the accuracy on a Savage either, I have had mixed luck with the rem 700s, poor luck with the winchesters (New Haven not FN) I got decent groups out of my marlin XS7 although I think they could have been better if I was using 165 gr. Never had a savage group worse then 1.5 in with any load I put through it, but the Tikka 6.5x55 holds .75 inch groups with cheap off the shelf stuff! I think once I cook up some nice handloads I will be well under the half inch mark @100 yds. Don't listen to the magnum crowd, mule deer don't have bulletproof armor, a nice 7-08, 6.5x55, 308, 30-06 or 270 will drop them very dead very quick without giant muzzle blast, mule kick recoil, or $40 a box ammo. I get good 6.5x55 for $13 a box for import and $16 a box for Super-X

October 21, 2010, 10:57 PM
Wearthby Vanguard in .270 I use one in .243 but I think the .270 is a little more versitile and has less bullet drop at the long ranges.

October 22, 2010, 01:35 AM
My Savage/Stevens 243 win and under $300.00 for it & no game has ever complained about the trigger pull or the accuracy or the price that i paid for it. An excellent gun for the price

October 22, 2010, 10:11 PM
Remington 700 Sps varmint .308

October 23, 2010, 12:15 AM
rem 700 is good got one shoots bug holes, savage 11 or 10 model is another choice, CZ is great, but I would point towards Thompson Center I love my ICON, and I love life time warranty it came with, they guarantee to shoot bellow 1 MOA and if it doesn't they will replace it no matter how worn your barrel is...

October 23, 2010, 09:37 PM
I have a Savage .243 with a BSA Sweet 243 scope. I have taken bambi out at 400 yds with this set-up!

October 24, 2010, 08:00 PM
Tikka .308 is a great and inexpensive rifle. Will shoot ~ 1 inch with factory ammo. hard to beat.

October 24, 2010, 08:17 PM
DIM, I didn't know about that warranty from Thompson Center. I have an Icon in .308. Bought it a couple years ago because I liked it. Never have shot it. Thanks for letting us know.

October 26, 2010, 01:14 AM
A Savage with the accutrigger in .308.

October 26, 2010, 07:31 PM
Thanks for all the replies. Basically I'm looking for a new rifle cause I WANT one, but don't NEED one. I have a XS7 in .243, two 7 mags (an old one with a aftermarket trigger, and a new one with an accutrigger) and a .300 win mag (Browning white gold medallion). All shoot pretty good, ironically I like the XS7 trigger best.
I'm looking for something with more knockdown than the .243 and less recoil than the 7 mag or 300. I like the idea of a .25-06, but hear that to realize their potential you need a 26 inch barrel. I'd also like a somewhat lighter gun. I guess what I'm looking for is the "unattainable"-- the reason for different calibers, action/barrel lengths, etc.
Why isn't there a ".25/08"-- a .25 caliber in a .308 case???

Loyalist Dave
October 26, 2010, 07:47 PM
Why isn't there a ".25/08"-- a .25 caliber in a .308 case???

It's called the .257 Souper, but it apparently didn't have much of an advantage, so never caught on.

I like the idea of a .25-06, but hear that to realize their potential you need a 26 inch barrel.

Not really..., to realize maximum potential, by handloading with a slower burning powder to get best results..., you need the 26" barrel. A 22" barrel will give you a nice handling gun with good performance. I have shot my gunsmith's rifle..., he swears by the .25-06 and he's a small guy, loves the cartridge

October 26, 2010, 10:14 PM

October 26, 2010, 10:29 PM
Howa M-1500 sporter with hogue stock, caldwell bipod, winchester sling, and Nikko Stirling Gameking 3.5-10x44 scope.. Warne steel rings.

In action. South river gun club. 100yds. re zeroing.

best group. Hornady 150 grain superformance SST 100yds.

Will post a fairly good 5 shot in 1 second. need to take a pic of it.
got it..

October 27, 2010, 02:08 PM
Tony I bought the XS-7 in 308 and so far I really like it. It is very accurate for me. I am a novice shooter at best and I use a rolled up blanket or coat to rest the fore end on while I am at the bench and I can get 4 shots to touch if I settle down and relax. I bought he gun for 320 and a nice Vortex scope in 4-12 for less than 200(i wanna say I was about 150 ish on it) So all in all I think I have a pretty reasonable set up capable of every animal in North America.

October 27, 2010, 02:18 PM
Weatherby Vanguard in 300 weatherby mag is a tack driver. With a good rest and decent scope, you can shoot patterns the size of your fingernail at 100 yards as long as you don't let the barrel heat up too much. And with this cartridge you can easily shoot much longer range with massive power to kill pretty much anything that roams North America, and still be accurate as all hell.

October 27, 2010, 02:46 PM
I'd buy a .270 rifle in most any make/model recommended in this thread. I have more than one .270 rifle, but my next one will be a stainless/synthetic configuration for work in wet weather. That is what I'm lacking in .270 rifles right now.

October 28, 2010, 10:23 AM
Marlin lever action in 338 Marlin Express.


October 28, 2010, 12:58 PM
A Finn 7.62X54r M-39 Mosin Nagant or a Finn M-28/30 Mosin and dies/components/powder for LOTS of ammo.

LOL! As someone that owns a M-39 and a M-28 (earlier model than the 28/30) I can tell you that the Finns know how to make an accurate rifle. And the artic birch stock on my M-39 is amazing when you consider this was a standard issue rifle handed to an infantry soldier.


For modern guns I'll stick with the Finns again. My WW2 era M-28 I mentioned above has a Tikka barrel on it and they are still making accurate rifles today. My T-3 is very accurate and not picky about what ammo it likes either. But it will shoot 117gr hornady ammo scary accurate for a stock rifle using factory loads.

October 28, 2010, 01:24 PM
.243 would be fine for Mule deer as long as you do your part. They're big, but not that big. I would go with something common like .270 in an Accu-trigger Savage or Howa with a Nikon Prostaff 3-9x40. For $800 you could put together a nice rifle with a good scope.

October 28, 2010, 02:39 PM

I use an older .300 Savage Model 99, 150 gr. Hornady SP, knocks 'em flat. Simplicity at it's finest!:cool:

November 3, 2010, 12:48 PM
Another for the Sako A7. The only production company to offer a 5-shot 1 moa guarantee. And they perform.

Tikka T3 would be my second choice, but its made by the same company.

As far as caliber, the .308 is plenty for mule deer. If you get into moose or elk, id opt for a 7mm.

November 3, 2010, 01:12 PM
Remington 700 Sps varmint .308

I don't think that a varmint gun with a 26" barrel and that'll weigh almost 10lbs with scope and 5 rounds would be considered a "hunting" rifle. Unless you do a lot of truck hunting or tree stand shooting, many people wouldnt want to lug that gun around, especially out west in the the Rockies. Just my $.02

November 9, 2010, 09:33 PM
my two best rifles below that price range are a Tikka T3 lite ss in 6.5 x 55 and a cheap Stevens 200 in 7-08, both tack drivers, low recoil, ideal.

November 9, 2010, 11:57 PM
I'm looking for something with more knockdown than the .243 and less recoil than the 7 mag or 300.

6.5x55 Swede
.270 Win
.280 Rem
.284 Win

7mm-08 is what I would recommend, but all of the ones I listed could be the one you're looking for. The 7mm-08 is within 100-200fps of the 7mm Rem Mag (139-140gr), and still works in a shorter barrel.

The 6.5x55 Swede has been getting the job done for a very long time, but ammo can be harder to find.

The .280 Rem will get within 100fps with 139's but requires more powder and barrel length than the 7-08. Not nearly as popular as the .270 Win, and fairly identical ballistics.

The .284 Win can match the 7 Mag with 139gr bullets and is just a hair shy (~50fps) with 162gr bullets. Ammo can be hard to find. It's only made once a year AFAIK.

Another flat shooting cartridge is the 6.5-284, but ammo is $$ unless you reload.

Why isn't there a ".25/08"-- a .25 caliber in a .308 case???

As mentioned .25 Souper, but there is no advantage over the .260 Remington (,308 case necked down to 6.5mm). If you have the 300 WM for larger game, then the .260 would be an excellent choice. It's the ballistic twin of the 6.5 Swede, although you don't hear much about the .260 being a mule deer gun.

November 13, 2010, 04:10 PM
6.5x55 ammo is really not that rare or expensive. All the real gun stores carry it here in south Alabama, + I buy Prvi ammo cheap in bulk from ammo to go. I get it for $13 a box which is less then the $14.75 a box for cheap no-name 270 ammo at the local discount stores. 6.5x55 has virtualy no kick, kills like thors hammer within any realisitc range, and when loaded to modern pressures it can deliver stagering performance. When loaded with 85-87 gr bullets it matches the 243 for varmints, with a 120gr ballistic tip it runs neck and neck with the factory 25-06, but the load that you will want for thick bodied deer is putting a 140gr controled expansion bullet like the partition over 42-46.5gr of RL 22. This will shoot flat, hit hard, and drive through a mule deer at almost any angle. 140s in the 6.5 cal penatrate deep enough for elk hunting, I am loading some for my next monster hog hunt, so mulies should be no problem within realistic ranges.

November 13, 2010, 04:54 PM

This 30-30 Glenfield carbine by Marlin has put lots of meat on our table since I bought it in 1979. I limit my shots to about 175 yards or so. Getting closer is a significant part of hunting that the main stream press has ignored. The current trend is to sell short magnum rifles to extend "reach". Unfortunately, many hunters have fallen for the hype and forgotten how to get closer for a sure shot.


November 13, 2010, 05:57 PM
I genraly agree with you TR but I have hunted places where a close up shot was just not possable. Out in the desert of west Texas the deer are extreamly cautious and I never managed to sneek within 300 yards of one, and the feild I am hunting now is a mile in every direction, that short mag range can come in handy for a good rifleman. That said my fav way to hunt if given the choice is up close. There is more braging rights in sneeking close enough for a 50 yard shot then there is in taking a 500 yd shot.

November 14, 2010, 08:54 AM
I bought a Savage Model 11 in 308 that was used but never fired. It is one of the Savage package deals with the inexpensive Bushnell scope. Picked it up for around for $279. It shoots aroun .60moa with 150gr Remington Core Lokt.

November 14, 2010, 09:25 AM

November 14, 2010, 12:41 PM
As far as accuracy i have a rem 700 in 7mag and a weatherby vanguard in 223. These are my two favorite rifles without a doubt. Both of these rifles are far more accurate then i am and i really like the way they point. I also like having the safety located on the side of the rifle rather then in the center which is why i chose them over savage and such. Find something you like that is a quality arm and you cant go wrong.

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