Winchester, Remington, Savage, Weatherby, Sako, or CZ bolt actions?


Mitchell Gard
January 1, 2012, 06:46 PM
Now I know this comes across as an extremely broad subject, and it is. I'm relatively new to the bolt action rifle world an have been religiously researching and browsing rifles. I intend to buy a new bolt action in the near future but I've been feeling a bit overwhelmed with the seemingly infinite choices. I'll be purchasing a rifle to hunt for white-tail deer primarily, but I don't necessarily want to be tied down to just that. Most shots would most likely be taken at 100-200 yards with optics. But as many know, things can change in any number of ways and I also enjoy range shooting. I'm leaning towards .270 win or .30-06. I also don't want to spend over 2000 on the rifle itself (scope excluded). Back to the topic at hand. How does one decide between the numerous makes available? What kind of experience do you guys have with these popular companies? And lastly, if you own one, what are your thoughts?

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January 1, 2012, 06:53 PM

Handle a lot of them, only consider buying what feels good to you. Does it come up to the shoulder & give you a good cheek weld at the same time?

My personal choices, which certainly may not be yours, are either Tikka or CZ. I have multiple examples of each, but in the left handed configuration. Another caliber that I'd urge you to take a look at, particularly in the circumstances you've outlined, is the 6.5 X 55mm Swede. Outstanding accuracy & the ability to kill far better than the bore diameter would lead you to believe. Either brand should be easily available in your budget range.


Mitchell Gard
January 1, 2012, 07:08 PM
I literally know nothing about the 6.5 x 55mm swede do I'll definitely look into that a bit more. Is that a caliber i'd have trouble finding or have to chop a leg off for? I was looking at Tikka earlier today actually, I saw the link on the sako website and looked from there but didn't give it much thought. I'll take another look.

January 1, 2012, 07:11 PM
6.5x55 ammo is not available everywhere. Also if you are not a reloader, the US branded ammo is severely underloaded.

January 1, 2012, 07:18 PM
Pick the features most important to you. With that budget I'd quickly narrow my choices to either Sako, Winchester or possibly Kimber.

Remington, Savage, Weatherby, and Sako are all pushfeed actions. Each has their strengths and weaknesses. You could argue that any are good enough, for much less money. But I think the Sako is the best of the bunch, and within your budget. With a $1,000 budget we could eliminate the Sako and the choices would be harder.

The Winchester, Ruger, CZ, and Kimber are all controlled round feed actions. For the most part it will probably never matter, but a CRF action is the more reliable, rugged, and foolproof of the 2. Everything else being equal I "prefer" CRF, but I own and trust both types.

Of the CRF rifles the current prodution Winchesters are the best of the bunch, with Kimber being close. In some ways the Kimber is better. If you value a small very lightweight gun Kimber is the only game in town under $3000.

My personal choice is the Winchester. I've never owned a Sako, but there is no denying they are great guns. Maybe the best of the best in production rifles at that price. Winchester or Kimber would be my choices for several reasons. A Winchester set up the way I want it is a little cheaper,(right at $1,000) they are USA made, and CRF is a feature important to me.

A Kimber is a little more expensive, around $1,200-$1,300 But their sythetic stocked rifles can be scoped and still weigh under 6 lbs. Mine is 5 lbs 14 oz with a scope on it. They are putting the best looking piece of wood on their wood/blue rifles of any manufacturers if that is the way you want to go.

Ruger and CZ make good rifles for the money. With a budget of under $1,000 I'd easily recommend either. But they are not in the same class as Kimber or Winchester, both are well under your $2,000 budget. In fact you can get a good rifle and scope for under $2,000.

Mitchell Gard
January 1, 2012, 07:19 PM
I don't do any reloading and I honestly don't know anything about it but it's certainly a future option. The biggest road block with that is the learning curve. I don't personally know anyone that does it so I feel it would be pretty difficult to get started on

January 1, 2012, 07:19 PM
IMHO...if your new to hunting and bolt actions you wont need to spend any where near 2 grand for a fine deer hunting rifle in almost any calibre you choose. as far as brand...all of the brands you mentioned make great rifles...go handle all of we are blessed to have a great number of great shooting arms for what i consider reasonable prices...its a personal choice

January 1, 2012, 07:23 PM

I beg to differ. Although I do roll my own, I've never seen 6.5 hard to get. True, it might not be at Elmo's Gas-N-Go on the outskirts of Fugbuck Arkansas, but in anything approaching a sporting goods store that handles firearms, you'll find it. And, with a max range listed by the OP of under 250 yards, the fact that it might not be loaded to the last PSI of pressure doesn't mean much.

And the reason it's a whole lot easier to find these days, rather than 25 years ago, is that the combination of low recoil, outstanding accuracy, and excellent terminal performance is winning over plenty of shooters. It truly is worth a look.


January 1, 2012, 07:29 PM
How did this become a 6.5 Swede thread? Its a great round, sure. But if it were really any good, you could get a 6.5 Swede in the X-Bolt or M77 Hawkeye. And you can't. So there you have it.

Mitchell Gard
January 1, 2012, 07:39 PM
JMR40, I really appreciate your in depth reply. I honestly hadn't given much thought to Kimber rifles, I've heard pretty consistent negative feedback on their handguns but I understand often time a company can be worlds apart worth itself on both so I'll take a look at them. I've read a great deal about the pre 64 model 70's by Winny. And though I don't have much hands on I feel that I'd agree about the Crf and claw extractor. Unfortunately things get a little disorienting when each company has one or two things I like more than the others. In definitely getting a walnut stock and weight isn't really an issue.

CB900F, what makes the 6.5 such a desirable round? Can you tell me a little about it?

January 1, 2012, 07:57 PM
You could try and locate a Cooper for under $2000. Here is a 270 Win:

January 1, 2012, 09:52 PM
Get yourself a Weatherby Vanguard Deluxe, and spend the rest on a good scope and optics.

Mitchell Gard
January 1, 2012, 10:27 PM
GWAR, that's actually the rifle I wasreferring to in the OP when I said Weatherby, good call. I'm hoping to have a Leupold VX 3L 3.5 x 10 x 50mm soon, unfortunately probably before the rifle.

January 1, 2012, 11:17 PM
It would be hard to beat a .30-06 for your first bolt gun, it's very versatile, with many different bullet weights, and ammo is easy to find. Any of the brands you mention would likely be a good choice, go to a large gun store and look and handle them.

January 1, 2012, 11:32 PM
IMHO The Sako 85's are the BEST factory production rifle on the market bar none.

1. They have the best accuracy guarantee (by a country mile).
2. The best trigger on a factory rifle
3. The best fit and finish of any factory rifle
4. You never hear of a Sako having to go back to the importer/factory for a problem.
5. I dont really know about the states but my guess would be they have great resale value like they do here in Australia.

I would buy a Sako 85 with a Zeiss Conquest scope and you will have one of the best factory rifle/scope combinations you can buy.

Because you want a hunting rifle have a look at the Sako Finnlight

IMHO the Zeiss Conquest is the best value for money higher end scopes on the market.

I also think you cant go wrong with the 6.5x55. If you don't want to spend that much on a Sako, have a look at a Tikka T3 (they are made by Sako).

matt 7mm
January 2, 2012, 04:46 AM
personaly i would go for a savage 14 in short action or 114 in long action or rem 700 those can be had in 600 to 800 dollar range. nothing wrong with winchester m70 or ruger77 i just never cared for the feel of them but that is pure personal preferance.those coopers look realy nice if you are willing to spend that much but thats on my someday list.for a mid range deer rifle like your a considering i would look at a 7mm-08 but your cartridge options are virtualy endless 6.5x55 sounds good as well as 260 rem

January 2, 2012, 06:13 AM
Depending on what type of deer you are hunting you might want to consider a .243, it's a dandy whitetail cartridge that can double as a varmint round and it's available at any wally world or backwater bait store. The .243 may be a bit small for large mule deer but is softer recoiling than the 06. But if you want to hunt larger game like Elk or Moose the 06 will easily kill every game animal in North America. If you get into handloading you can tailor 06 loads to do pretty much what a .243 can do, or any other round for that matter. Which ever cartridge you choose make sure your first rifle is chambered in a common caliber that can be found anywhere ammo is sold. Basically go to wally world and if they don't have the ammo on the shelf don't buy the rifle. Unless of course it's a minty pre-64 Winchester in .257 Roberts for $400. :)

As for rifles I'm a die hard Winchester Model 70 man for two reasons, I like the Mauser styled extractor, not because I hang upside down while hunting but I don't have to chamber a round to capture it in the bolt and extract it. Second is the 3 position positive wing safety that actually blocks the sear, and not just disables the trigger.

Sav .250
January 2, 2012, 07:08 AM
Take a step back. Your selection is to narrow and your price ($2000) is to high. Asking for opinions is fine but not all have tested/used all available bolt
Go to Gun Shows(if you have any) where you can handle just about everything. Plus, Gander Mountain,Bass Pro Shot,etc as well.
Beside cal, fit/finish comes into play. Some time your "eye" will tell you,"that`s the one."
There is a wide range of calibers that you missed that are equal to and some times better than your two choices.
Good luck. :)

January 2, 2012, 07:53 AM
I would just get a Thompson Center Icon for less than $500. Guaranteed to shoot 3-shot, 100yd MOA groups. That is more accuracy than you need at immense savings, and then when it gets rained on and dinged up, you won't feel bad that you have messed up a $2000 gun.

I think it's also a good practice to get into the game cheap, and then once you know more about what you like, dislike, etc, that is when you spend the big bucks to get just what you want.

January 2, 2012, 08:48 AM
This is the same information I used to make my decision on what rifles to buy. Have a look at this web page and then see if you can find anything remotely comparable with any other production rifle. Then we'll talk again about who makes the best production rifles. I don't think it's even close personally.

Wake Up!!!
Do you really think they were shooting factory rifles that they just got out of the box??? I can just about Guarantee the only part that is Savage on those rifles was more then likely the action (target action). The reason Savage won that was because they paid the most money for the best shooters.

Sorry I OWN both Savage and Sako and Savages are a good rifle but they don't hold a candle to a Sako. and I can guarantee 99% of people that own both would go for the Sako as well. So tell me what is better on the Savage then the Sako? Not the barrel (have a look down a Savage barrel, then a Sako barrel with a borescope). The Sako (and Tikka's) triggers are by far the best on the market (the easiest to adjust too). The Sako's 60 degree (and Tikka's 72 degree) bolt throw are twice as smooth as any Savages 90 degree bolt throw and I would bet the tolerances on the Sako's are about the best you will find on any rifle. Now the Fit and Finish on the Sako is as good and even better then many high dollar custom rifles. Lastly What is the Accuracy Guarantee again on a Savage (oh thats right 1.5 MOA at 100 yards with 3 shots with Match Grade ammo), Sako put there money where there mouth is with the best (by far) Accuracy Guarantee of any Factory production rifle on the market. 1" (Sub MOA) at 100 yards with 5 shots with any HUNTING ammo (not Match Grade), even there lightweight sporter barrelled rifles carry this guarantee. Also the Sako TRG is probably one of the most used Sniper rifles in the world, how many countries military are using Savage? Over here Sako's and Tikka have been around in this country along time and just about every quality hunting guide use Sako's (that says something). Like I said I do own a Savage 12 with the DBM with a heavy barrel in 243 that use to copper foul really badly (until it had a couple of hundred shots through it) and it does shoot well but it took me a number of range trips and a truckfull of handloads to find one it really liked (never had that problem with my 5 Tikkas, 2 Sako's and a Brno/CZ). I also own a Savage model 93 in 22mag and it has been a great little gun and to be far I have had issues with a Remington and Howa I own. My father uses my Savage now as I have a Tikka Varmint in 260 and the Savage doesn't shoot anywhere as good as that.

Here is a few threads that you might want to look at (never hear of those problems with a Sako or Tikka),3771526.0.html,3755642.0.html,3765457.msg35954771.html#msg35954771,3760490.msg35927856.html#msg35927856

January 2, 2012, 09:22 AM
I have similar questions as Mitchell, but a $1,000 total budget (gun & scope). I want to go west for muley, antelope and elk.
Also concerned about recoil. Have read a lot. My experience is I can shoot 20ga sabots all day through my 870. My son's Mossburg 12ga shooting 1oz slugs is too much if more than a couple. My questions:
- Will dropping to a 308 from a 30-06 make a big difference?
- Would a gun with a 26" barrel@8.5lb be better than a 22" barrel/7.5lb with a integral muzzle brake at managing recoil?
Hard for me to find a shop to shoot options...

January 2, 2012, 09:28 AM
Consider having a custom rifle built. With that budget, you can pick the action that comes closest to the features you want. Have a gunsmith install a barrel in the caliber you want. With the barrel contour and length you want. And then have a nice stock put on it customized to fit you. I think you should be able to do this for around $2K if you don't get too fancy with the wood.

Like I said in my previous post. First decide which features you want. You've already said you want walnut/blue. That narrows the choices. Is CRF important? Two position Safety or 3 position? 60 degree bolt lift or 90 degree? Is USA made important to you? Do you value rugged and reliable over accurate? Which stock design feels best in your hands?

Once you start sorting out which features are "important to you", then it will be a lot easier making your choice. All of the guns discussed can be a good choice. But some of the features offered on some very good guns, are not important to me.

Everyone has to make their own choices. I've owned all of the guns suggested so far except the Sako. All are good in their own way, but the Kimber or Winchester have the design features that are most important to me. That does not mean everyone will come to the same conclusion. That is why they make so many different guns with so many different features.

January 2, 2012, 09:39 AM
I have similar questions as Mitchell, but a $1,000 total budget (gun & scope). I want to go west for muley, antelope and elk.
Also concerned about recoil. Have read a lot. My experience is I can shoot 20ga sabots all day through my 870. My son's Mossburg 12ga shooting 1oz slugs is too much if more than a couple. My questions:
- Will dropping to a 308 from a 30-06 make a big difference?
- Would a gun with a 26" barrel@8.5lb be better than a 22" barrel/7.5lb with a integral muzzle brake at managing recoil?
Hard for me to find a shop to shoot options...

Dropping down from a 30-06 to a 308 will make a difference. A heavier gun with a muzzle brake will also make a difference some stock shapes also reduce felt recoil. IMHO maybe you should look at getting a brake on your 30-06 and a good recoil pad is probably the go as well (I would go the pad first). The problem is humping around a heavy rifle on foot all day gets old very quickly and a 26" barrel IMO is to long for a foot hunting rifle.

January 2, 2012, 09:55 AM
I also agree Sako makes the best production rifle on the market today from a features and accuracy perspective and they have been producing top notch quality rifles for a considerable time.

If you want a custom rifle the Cooper suggested above is a really well respected alternative.

You can't go wrong with 30-06, but if this is your first, I'd recommend looking at .308 as a lighter recoiling, short action alternative. I own both and prefer the .308 to the 30-06, primarily for shorter action. -That is personal preference.

You really need to handle the rifles before making a decision. Fit of a rifle is very important to shooting it accurately. Comb, LOP and the actions can all be very different and make a difference in how you shoot and handle the rifle.

Mitchell Gard
January 2, 2012, 10:34 AM
Sakos are certainly nice and offer a wide variety of effective calibers, the only issue is they're at the very top of my price range, even used. Can anyone attest for the ruggedness of a Sako? Their accuracy and quality is without question but how long will one last with appropriate care and maitenance.

January 2, 2012, 10:57 AM
Their accuracy and quality is without question but how long will one last with appropriate care and maitenance.

Probably close to five generations. Maybe more.

January 2, 2012, 11:00 AM
Gotta say...there's simply not that much practical or even noticable difference in using the modern bolt action hunting rifles. What is most important is how the rifle fits easy it is to carry on long walks and swing up into natural shooting sight position without having to shift your face on the stock, and, secondly, the trigger pull, which should not be over about two pounds. You can even get used to some creep in the you practice, you'll learn to automatically take that up in your initial trigger pull.

Ditto with the cartridge...there are few that won't work, as long as you choose the proper bullet and velocity for the game you are hunting. Hand loading gives you an edge here.

I load for a wide range of rifle cartridges from .223 to .300 Win Mag. I used to use a .30-06 until the .308 Win came out, which gives the same performance.

But my favorite is the 6.5x.55 Swede, which has, every time, given me one-shot kills on deer and a 450-lb spring black bear. I load 140-gr Nosler partition bullets. Light recoil and amazing accuracy to long ranges!

Mitchell Gard
January 2, 2012, 11:33 AM
I'm not worried about the carry weight at all given that my current profession has me doing lots of long distance movements with tons of weight. So that's not an issue. And unfortunately adjusting cheek weld has become a reflexive norm for me because my current issued rifle doesn't "fit" per say so I'm always having to adjust after shouldering.

Mitchell Gard
January 2, 2012, 11:34 AM
And I'm certainly a little interested in the swede. Do you know much about them being underloaded? I don't reload.

January 2, 2012, 11:40 AM
Calibers are one thing, rifles are another.
My pick is a Sako in .308 with a Nikon Monarch scope (mine). The Sako 85 has probably the smoothest action of any production rifle (followed by the M70 Winchester) and while some may describe it as a push feed, it is closer to a Mauser than a Remington plus it has a detatchable magazine.
To help you understand the various type of actions, the Mauser has a 'claw' extractor (Winchester for eaxample) the holds the round from the mag and is one of the most reilable systems out there and is prefered by most Dangerous Game Guides. It sereved the German Army through 2 wars in the mud and snow.
The 'push feed' (Remington, Savage for example) only has the extractor hold the round after it is in the chamber. The push feed style is considered to be more acurrate than the Mauser style and is slightly lighter.
The Sako is kind of a hybrid in that is combines the best of both. Most rifles have a 90 degree lift for the bolt, while Browning, Wearherby and Sako have a shorter bolt throw, somewhere around 45 degrees give or take making them quicker on a floow up shoot.
IF you can find a GS that has a good selection, try them all or at least as many as you can. All bring something to the table and my choice may not be the best for you.
Once you decide on the type of action, handling and comfort then decide on the caliber. NO ONE caliber does it all.

January 2, 2012, 01:07 PM
Fullboar1, take a peek here:
Team Savage Takes National Title, Breaks 1,000-yard Record (

They specifically state they use STOCK Savage rifles.

January 2, 2012, 02:09 PM
I would just get a Thompson Center Icon for less than $500. Guaranteed to shoot 3-shot, 100yd MOA groups. That is more accuracy than you need at immense savings, and then when it gets rained on and dinged up, you won't feel bad that you have messed up a $2000 gun.

I think it's also a good practice to get into the game cheap, and then once you know more about what you like, dislike, etc, that is when you spend the big bucks to get just what you want.
I agree with eldon519. The TC Icon is tops in my book. Machined on piccatinny rail was a big plus for me. It does deliver the minute of angle right out of the box.
I would get the Icon Classic if I do it again. It has the hinged floorplate. I don't care for the plastic mag.

January 2, 2012, 02:13 PM
Sakos are certainly nice and offer a wide variety of effective calibers, the only issue is they're at the very top of my price range, even used. Can anyone attest for the ruggedness of a Sako? Their accuracy and quality is without question but how long will one last with appropriate care and maitenance.
I don't know what they are building to day but my Sako Finnbear has been hunted almost every year since 1967. Not as pretty as it used to be but sighting in this year it shot .475".
The best gun I ever bought.

Welding Rod
January 2, 2012, 02:41 PM
For the money, I really like the newer Winchester Model 70s... other than the scope mount system. I have never cared for the idea of holding a scope on with 4 tiny in-line screws.

Then again, for the money I really like <the good QC variants of > the walunut stocked Ruger Hawkeyes.

I would also take a close look at the TC Icon.

I bought a Tikka once. It was not as accurate as I have commonly heard. Honestly, I felt so damn guilty about buying a foriegn built rifle that I just couldn't enjoy it and promptly traded it off for a Ruger Hawkeye that shoots every bit as well.

If your needs could be met with a .308 I would consider it. Personally I enjoy shooting the 308 / short action more than the .270 or 30-06 / long action.

January 2, 2012, 05:14 PM
Lots of good choices. My suggestion:

Howa/Weatherby Vanguard, or Remington 700. 308. Burris XT bases. Warne Maxima rings. 3-9X40 scope, Nitrex TR1 or Bushnell 4200. Whole rig would be $600 - $1000 depending on the rifle model.

Then shoot it. Get to know it. Find out what you like. Both these rifles have tons of aftermarket goodies available, but you might decide they're fine as they are. Or you might want something else, and you can either swap it or keep it as a backup.

January 2, 2012, 06:25 PM
Never mind the 30-06. My friends 308 had less recoil than my 270.
308 is pleasant to shoot.

January 2, 2012, 07:11 PM
Your leaning towards the .270 Win or 30-06 Spfd are very good choices. Both are excellent cartridges for what you stated you were going to do with them. Both cartridges are available almost anywhere ammunition is sold. The 30-06 can be found in bullet weights from 125 grain to 220 grain from the factory. I have had both in the past, but now only have the 30-06.

I have had both Remington and Winchester rifles. Both are good. Currently I have only a new Winchester Super Grade. It is one that was made in your neighboring state to your south. The only thing really new about the model 70 is the trigger. That is something that can be debated for a long time. Solid and dependable is what I have to say about mine.

Mitchell Gard
January 2, 2012, 07:40 PM
Txace, how do the bolt throws compare on the Remington and Winnys?

January 2, 2012, 07:42 PM
Handle as many rifles as you can, the rifle will choose you, just like the wand chose Harry Potter.

January 2, 2012, 07:44 PM
comparing these to SAKO? I think you're talking two different levels of rifles...a Tikka maybe...

Mitchell Gard
January 2, 2012, 08:06 PM
What can you tell me about SAKO tundra?

January 2, 2012, 08:06 PM
So the OP is looking for his first center fire rifle to deer hunt. From the vapor of this thread. A Sako is his only logical choice. It is the epitome of center fire rifles. I'm so glad I learned this, albeit so late in life.

January 2, 2012, 08:08 PM
Fullboar1, take a peek here:
Team Savage Takes National Title, Breaks 1,000-yard Record

They specifically state they use STOCK Savage rifles.

I have read the article and of course they would say they are STOCK rifles. A STOCK rifle is one that was pulled from the box like everyone else gets not put together in the Savage "Custom Shop" by Gunsmiths. Do you think that they didn't have hand-lapped barrels, custom cut tighter chambers than stock, trued and bedded actions ect I could go on forever but I can guarantee they were not STOCK rifles.

January 2, 2012, 08:09 PM
they are box-stock rifles sold by Savage. They are hand-lapped tight chamber etc. from Savage. They are target rifles you can buy yourself - they do cost about $1200 though :-) Savage model 12 target, palma etc.

Mitchell Gard
January 2, 2012, 08:19 PM
Keep in mind lower unit it's not my first centerfire but it is my first deer rifle.

January 2, 2012, 08:22 PM
Ahhh..well, sako for sure ! jk...couldn't help myself

Mitchell Gard
January 2, 2012, 08:32 PM
I definitely am leaning for that or the Model 70. I'm not sure that I've heard anything bad about either so far. I understand the two rifles are at two different levels of the spectrum(m70 super grade included). I'm a bit curious about how the rifles hold up over long periods of time, such as the stocks and finish, and the essential working parts.

January 2, 2012, 08:46 PM
look at the price of a SAKO from the 1960s or 1970s - that ought to answer your question of durability - or from the 1980s or 1990s....

January 2, 2012, 08:46 PM
Well I have a 1940s model 70 that is a tack driver, and other than decades of field use is as sound as the day it was made.. You don't have to do much research to see the endurance of the model 70...which, btw, is made in America.

Mitchell Gard
January 2, 2012, 08:54 PM
I do my best to shop American but unfortunately a lot of countries bring more to the table in some instances. I won't sacrifice quality for Origin. Fortunately that does t sound like the case with the Model 70's. And let's be real, it's not like a lot of these nice rifles are being made in communist countries or mass produced in 3rd world countries by 6 year olds.

January 2, 2012, 09:04 PM
No, I agree and if I'm honest I own a few Sakos and have nothing bad to say about them. I have an extensive collection of arms from many manufacturers from many places, I was being sarcastic as the thread seemed to drift to the "sako" ultimate choice. Fact is, as I stated many entries ago, with the budget you mentioned you have many choices, and given we live in a world where there are so many fine alternatives, I suggested, as have many others, that you go shopping and handle as many of these as possible. Then make your own choice. The deer will be just as dead....

January 2, 2012, 09:29 PM
You certainly don't have to buy the best, most expensive rifle to have a perfectly serviceable rifle. There are plenty of rifles under $700 that will serve you well, your children well and your grandchildren well.

If you want to spend all of that $2000 budget by all means, buy yourself a Sako or Cooper. Just don't think you MUST spend that much money to get a good rifle that will do everything you want it to to and last several life times.

Mitchell Gard
January 2, 2012, 09:30 PM
My biggest worry is not being able to get hands on the rifles I want. With something like a model 70 I don't foresee it being an issue but some of the others. Oils be. I haven't really checked out the actual gun stores in my area, I haven't lived here long, but I did have the opportunity to check out a local gun show a couple months ago and it was rather pathetic as gun shows go. It was advertised as a "Gun Show" but turned out to only have 2 or 3 tables with any modern guns. About 2 tables with antique guns, and all the rest were junk/knick nacks, cheap knives, and homemade looking jewelry. The overall fire arm selection was terrible compared to all the ones I've been to in Indiana and my home state of Georgia. (moved because of military and don't like north Carolina much at all)

January 2, 2012, 09:35 PM
Buying a Winchester Model 70 is not settling by any means IMO. They are made by FN now, and FN has been making Mauser style bolt action rifles for well over 100 years. They have been making rifles and actions for various other companies for many years as well and many of their sporting rifles over 60 years old are still around and still in the hunting woods.

Mitchell Gard
January 2, 2012, 09:36 PM
Yea I completely agree hoofan. That's my MAX but I'm not going to go out of my way for it.

January 2, 2012, 10:30 PM
I guess what I was trying to describe was that the SAKO is superior in *almost* every way to these other rifles discussed....but at a price! it is not in the same price-class. The Tikka T3 is a much more comparable rifle as far as price is concerned. I would be willing to bet that an out of the box tikka would outshoot the "big-3" more than 90% of the time - all hypothetical of course....I like the model 70 a lot - controlled round feed and all...however once you see how the SAKO/Tikka action works you will see that the action uses the feedlips as part of the feeding mechanism in a way that it will feed upside down (you could call it CRF because it is - just not in a pre 20th century Mauser way), etc just fine. The action is modern, trigger is superb - why do you think there are no (I'm sure someone makes 1, try find one lol) aftermarket triggers for Sako/Tikka????

Anyway - there are no pre-64 and post-64 Sakos or Tikkas...why is that such a big deal with the Winchesters?????

Of course take this as you may with a pinch of salt, and by all means go feel them and see what fits! Thats the most important thing!

January 2, 2012, 10:43 PM

The reason it's such a big deal with Winchesters is because in 1964 the company radically changed the design of the gun. They didn't change the model designation, but pre and post 64 model 70's are two different rifles in the opinion of most who follow that gun.


January 2, 2012, 10:59 PM
so why does every Winchester fan drool over the pre-64 guns...?

Mitchell Gard
January 2, 2012, 11:04 PM
Up until the last few year the model 70's were still post 64 which they modified to meet military standards. It doesn't have Crf but instead is pushfeed. The pre 64 has an ultra reliable extractor claw and is crf. So they're considered far more reliable than the post.

I'm pretty sure this is correct but anyone feel free to correct me.

January 2, 2012, 11:18 PM
What model# designates the push-feed Winchester and the CRF Winchester?

Mitchell Gard
January 2, 2012, 11:33 PM
Not sure what you mean, the pre-64 Model 70 is the CRF and the post-64 is the push feed. Winchester did, however, go back to the pre-64 style sometime around '08 I believe. After they were bought out by FNH and they began production at the factory in, what I believe, Columbia SC.

January 2, 2012, 11:38 PM
Actually I owned a 1992 era Model 70 Super Grade that was CRF. May have been reintroduced earlier but probably not more than a couple of years earlier though. Between 1965 and the early nineties the Model 70's were push feed.

January 2, 2012, 11:42 PM
The truth is any Sako, Savage, Tikka, Winchester, Browning, Howa, Weatherby ect will serve you well. I have owned just about every brand of Bolt Action and like I said if you can afford the 2 grand and justify spending that then IMHO the Sako 85 with a Zeiss Conquest will be about the best factory production rifle you can buy and for the money you really cant beat the Zeiss Conquest line of scopes (everything about a Sako is quality).

If you don't want to spend that that much then look at a Winchester Model 70 (Weather Warrior), Sako A7 or a Tikka T3 IMHO you cant go wrong with any of these. Or if you just want a rifle you can take into the bush and give it a flogging without worrying to much about it then I would look at a Howa 1500 / Weatherby Vanguard (the new S2 look really good), Marlin XS7/LS7 or a Savage 10/110 (with the accu-trigger).

Like some others have said the Sako uses what I would call a semi controlled feed or a partial controlled feed and what I like about it you can just drop a round in and close the bolt (you cant do that with a controlled round feed). The Winchesters are made in America but what I understand are not American owned (FN Group).

January 3, 2012, 01:37 AM
hmee, I have a savage FP10 (308) and it shoots 3/4", like the SAKO TRG-S (270) and tikka T3 (300WM). none of them seem to not be able to break the 3/4" mark...I do have two AR rifles that break .5", WOA Varmint and a Rock River Predator pursuit....I guess I got lucky - I do remember being really pissed at the Savage FP since it has glass on it that cost 3x as much as any of the others....

Oh yea - a DPMS LR-308 24" that shoots 3/4" too....go figure

January 3, 2012, 04:06 AM
With a $2,000 budget you really can't go wrong with any of the manufacturers you listed. I've hunted with Remington 700, Winchester Model 70, Tikka, CZ, Marlin, Carl Gustav, Weatherby, Sauer, Howa, Ruger & Sako centerfire rifles. All these rifles were accurate enough to get the job done, so I guess it all comes down to personal preference.
After 30 odd years of hunting, I recently decided to purchase a new deer hunting rifle with a similar budget to yourself. After considering such rifles as CZ, Cooper, Kimber & Sauer, I settled on a Sako Bavarian .308 with Kahles 2.5-10x 50mm scope. I couldn't be happier with my Sako, but even I admit its not going to kill deer deader than a Savage- it just looks better:D

January 3, 2012, 09:59 AM
Sako uses what I would call a semi controlled feed or a partial controlled feed and what I like about it you can just drop a round in and close the bolt (you cant do that with a controlled round feed).

I can with my CZ, in fact the owner's manual specifically states that you can.

I usually don't beause I am so conditioned to the fact that you usually can't or shouldn't with a mauser style bolt.

January 3, 2012, 10:08 AM
Below is a 1971 Finnbear in 30-06.

It is somewhat illogical for you to suggest a Sako will hold up worse than the other brands mentioned.

If a rifle starts out better, it will typically last longer than something of a lesser build. It isn't like Sako is a 4 year old company.

Edited to add: They also hold their value EXTREMELY well. Far better than most of the other brands mentioned.

January 3, 2012, 10:33 AM
It never fails. Someone always has to claim they have special knowledge that no one else has. Yes I have read dozens of reports and they use STOCK rifles. And Savage did not hire any of those shooters. They formed their own group. So you wake up.

You don't have a clue what you're talking about. The DBM you have does not have the Target AccuTrigger, which is a huge step up in quality from the trigger on the DBM. But you're comparing that trigger to the Sako trigger. Try again and next time compare the best Savage rifles to your Sakos. The DBM is a long way from being the best. Also maybe someone should explain the fact that a stiffer action makes for a more accurate rifle and a DBM removes a large amount of the steel needed to make the Target Action stiffer.

Next time try buying the best rifle and you won't have to make up evidence trying to prove your point. Everyone knows Team Savage was formed by a group of shooters who had nothing to do with Savage until they started winning. Then Savage latched onto them. Those guys never won anything before they became part of Team Savage. So how you figure Savage just hired the best shooters is beyond me.

Here we go another F Class know it all.
So when did they form there own group? The truth is they all have been shooting for Team Savage (Savage Sponsored) for alot of years. Here is comp results from 2006 and 3 out of 4 (the 4th member Monte started shooting for them in 2007)were shooting for Team Savage back then they just never won any Teams events until recently (you just never heard of them until they win something then Savage media department makes sure everyone hears about it).

I have been around F Class long enough to know what sort of gun it takes to win in an international comp and I can tell you they are not out of the box rifles that you or I would could buy off there website. If you put a team of good shooters together and pay them for alot of trigger time then they become great shooters like Savage has done most of there competition would be self sponsored teams (except for a couple of bullet makers. Have a look all of Savage shooters are shooting for there country USA F/TR Team so they must be pretty good, they have also been shooting in that game for a while. Owning (a Stock) Savage F Class rifle didn't turn them into the best.

So how many other rifle companies sent teams to shoot F Class F/TR (Palma)?
None-Zero, so keep drinking that kool aid pal. (I am not taking anything away from Team Savage I know what it takes to be really good at F Class or any shooting comp especially in the USA).

I dont know what a DBM has to do with anything I was comparing The Savage 12 I own (with accu-trigger) to the Sako 85's and Tikka T3's I own and guess what they also have DBM and they shoot lights out (so I don't have to use the cut out for the DBM as an excuse). Yes you said you have read dozens of reports, I suggest you actually go and to your range and shoot in a couple of comps and you might learn something instead of spending all your time on the internet (take your favourite hunting or varmint rifle with some match grade ammo and go and shoot some F Class Open you might learn something or even get to compare the triggers of a Sako and Tikka against you beloved target accu-trigger (I have). You can get the Sako's and Tikka's with a really nice (adjustable) set trigger (just click it forward for a few oz trigger pull) and IMHO nothing compares to them not even the "target" accu-trigger) but set triggers are NOT allowed in F Class and trigger pull must be at least 500 grams in F Class but F Class Open trigger pull can be as light as you want.

Actually that's exactly how my Savage operates. In fact there is no other way to load it.
Is that how much you really know about rifles (no shame really everyone has to start somewhere)? I was compairing the Sako feed system against a CRF, try dropping a round in the top and closing the bolt with a CRF. The Sako is the best of both worlds in it is a push feed and a CRF (it's handy incase I want to hang upside down and fire off a few rounds). Please own both Savage and Sako rifles (or even use both rifles) then see for yourself.

January 3, 2012, 10:41 AM
I can with my CZ, in fact the owner's manual specifically states that you can.

I usually don't beause I am so conditioned to the fact that you usually can't or shouldn't with a mauser style bolt.

I remember when I was young I took one of my dads beloved Model 70's (with out him knowing) hunting and broke the extractor slaming the bolt down on a round I had dropped in.

January 3, 2012, 11:01 AM
so why does every Winchester fan drool over the pre-64 guns...?

Many shooters, myself included, think that a controlled round feed rifle is better than pushfeed. In 1964 Winchester changed to pushfeed. From 1964-1992 the only option for a USA made CRF rifle was to buy an older pre-64 Winchester. Prices skyrocketed. They were buying them, not because they were really better guns, but to get CRF. Many only used the actions for the basis for a custom rifle.

In 1992 Winchester went back to CRF. Ruger also upgrded their 77 to the 77 MK-II which was CRF. Kimber is now making CRF rifles. Now that there are many more options for CRF rifles pre-64 Winchesters have lost much of their appeal. The fact that rifles made after 1992, especially the newer FN produced guns, are MUCH better than any pre-64 has hurt their status. Some of the pre-WW-2 rifles, and some in rare chamberings and vaiations command collector prices, but a standard grade pre-64 Winchester is now only worth about what any other 50+ year old rifle in the same condition is worth. There are still a lot of guys trying to get collector prices for shooter grade guns, and a few dummies are paying them.

If you want a hunting gun, buy a new Winchester. If you know what you are doing, and want a collector piece then get a pre-64. Just make sure you know what you are doing. There are subtle differences between a gun worth $5,000 and $500.

Fred in Wisc
January 3, 2012, 02:15 PM
Gotta go with the Sako, I've had one for over 25 years and it's my favorite deer rifle out of the whole collection. Also completely agree with your 270 or -06 caliber choice. You can buy that ammo anywhere from Alaska to Africa.

I have some Savages, too. Accurate guns, but it's like driving a Hyundai compared to the Sako's Mercedes. The ownership experience isn't all about making tiny groups off a benchrest. The elegance, fit and finish and precision build of the Sako make it a joy to own and use.

Can we lay off the F-Class now? This is about hunting rifles.

Big Bad Bob
January 3, 2012, 02:25 PM
I have Olin Corp. Post-64 Winchester Model 70 in .300 WSM and I love it, hands down favorite bolt gun I own, but with that being said if I were to buy another bolt rifle, it would a Tikka or Sako.

January 3, 2012, 04:21 PM
The rifle winnng at long range competition has as much influence on my gun buying decision as the car winning on Sunday at NASCAR. Neither is relevant to my needs.

I've owned several Savage hunting rifles. While they shot acceptable, they were no better, nor less expensive than many other rifles I've owned. There are other rifles, with features that make them much better choices in a hunting rifle.

BTW I can shoot .5" groups at 100 yards easily with my Savage.

Congratulations, I can do the same with my Winchester's, Remingtons, FN's, Tikkas, Howa's, and even my Ruger. And they have other features that make them better in the hunting fields. None of the 3 Savage rifles I've owned could quite do it. While the Savage's were good, I've found I have always done better with other brands.

January 3, 2012, 06:00 PM
Something to consider, given you have a VX3L that your going to put on this gun, is the scope height and clearance of the bolt. I know my Rem 700 with it's 90* bolt comes very close to the scope. It still works, but I like the shorter throw bolts like the Browning, Icon, Weatherby and such much better. I just thought I'd throw this out there since you said your new to the bolt action scene.

Mitchell Gard
January 3, 2012, 10:04 PM
Cj_74, can you vouch for any of the Savage package deals?

January 4, 2012, 06:58 AM
While I had good luck with my Icon, bought it last fall, I didn't know at the time that Remington owns TC. It is only a matter of time until their quality drops.

January 4, 2012, 08:09 AM
Savage 111 (blued), 116 (stainless) if you want polymer stock, and 114 if you want wood stock.
30-06 is a very versatile and easy to find all-round hunting round.
You can find a round suited to just about anything in this caliber.

The savage package deals are an excellent entry level configuration. The scope is usually a 3-9x40 bushnel.

You can often find the savage package guns in gander mountain or cabelas for under $500. It is a very good price for what you are getting.

the lower priced remingtons cant really stand up favorably to the other rifles in that price range. Savage and Tikka will blow them away.
Ruger just released a new rifle line that looks to be priced under $500. It might be worth a look.

I just got a lefty savage 16 in 7mm-08, put an egw piccatinny rail on it, egw rings and a vortex crossfire 6-24x50 scope on it.
Im still only sitting at about $900 put into it.
Im planning to have it bedded into a custom stock and fitted with a heavy barrel and ill still be under $1500 for my total investment at that point.

January 4, 2012, 09:32 AM
While I had good luck with my Icon, bought it last fall, I didn't know at the time that Remington owns TC. It is only a matter of time until their quality drops.

Smith and Wesson owns Thompson Center....

January 4, 2012, 09:54 AM
I thot I remembered reading somewhere that Remington owned it. Sorry about that.

January 4, 2012, 10:32 AM
Another fine rifle worth considering is the Weatherby Mark V Synthetic.

January 4, 2012, 05:37 PM
When I was looking for a new .30 caliber rifle last year I decided to purchase a Thompson Center Icon in .308. I picked one up at a local gun shop for $800, but it had been there for a little while, it was manufactured in 2008. I would expect to find one for around $1000 or so. The one I have has their "ultra wood" walnut stock and blued finish.

Here's a link:

They put a lot of thought into that rifle and excellent craftsmanship. They're made in New Hampshire, so I "bought local". I've found it to be very accurate and it fits me well. I really enjoy shooting it and I took two deer with it on opening day this year. :D

You might want to check one out if you can find one.

Good Hunting.

Mitchell Gard
January 4, 2012, 08:00 PM
Well I think I have a really good deal locked on for a nice scope. But it's certainly not 100%

January 4, 2012, 08:13 PM
I strongly urge you to try the rifles in hand before you buy. You will know then for sure.

Mitchell Gard
January 4, 2012, 08:40 PM
I'm going to try my absolute hardest to do that tundra. I'm just mostly researching for a purchase within the next year. I'm going to focus on restoring my Mosin Nagant, when I get back from my deployment in Afghanistan I intend to make y final decision and purchase.

January 16, 2012, 09:34 PM
Mitchell Gard:

I have owned multiple Winchester, Remington, Weatherby, Sako and CZ (and Ruger) rifles. I have not owned a Savage rifle. Any company can produce a good rifle, and a few defective one.

My first consideration is that I dislike proprietary rings or ammo. That fact renders Sako, CZ and Ruger as non-starters. Why? Simple. Imagine being 500 miles from home, you drop your rifle with proprietary rings, damage them. Try getting those at Meijer or K-Mart. Most likely even the larger chains won't stock them. They were good, but.

I also prefer USA-made given the economy, I now demand USA-made. Again, Sako and CZ are out there as well. Weatherby Vanguard is now out (Japan).

I prefer a one-piece bolt. Savage and Remington are now out. I also dislike Remington's anemic extractor. I have broken more than a couple, one in the field, after the first shot was fired. Fortunately I made a 300 yard, 1-shot-kill. My M700 Police is wonderful, and I use it for varmint or target.

This leaves us with Winchester. Do a search of my name and Super Grade and you'll see they ticked me off for sending out a pathetically defective M70 Super Grade. Shameful. At best the customer service rep was rude. They nearly lost my business. The company replaced the rifle with a new one, and it is awesome. I also bought a M70 Stealth. Great rifle.

The current M70's are accurate, one-piece bolt, forged barrels, have claw-extractor and the ejector...forget about it!!! Watch that brass fly. :D

Get yourself new M70, a Leupold scope, and solid bases/rings. Check Federal Premium ammo for hunting, and pick up a reloading book. It's simple.

Post some pictures of your purchase.


January 17, 2012, 04:03 PM
Aren't Winchesters made overseas?

January 17, 2012, 04:15 PM
Aren't Winchesters made overseas?

South Carolina has tried to secede twice, but they are still part of the United States.

The Model 70s are made in South Carolina. The lever guns and the single shots are made in Japan.

January 17, 2012, 04:16 PM
Aren't Winchesters made overseas?
Every new Model 70 is fully manufactured and assembled in South Carolina.

Edit: HOOfan beat me to it.

January 17, 2012, 10:38 PM
After owning more bolt actions then I care to count I will give you a breakdown of the key players.
Winchster. Only owned one, would not group worth a darn at long range, but worked for over a decade without a hickup.
Savage. Owned five of them, ALL functioned perfectly and would group sub-MOA with at leased one type of ammo. Ugly as a $#!^ stick but that kind of performance for that price I will own more.
Remington, owned three, all turds, won't touch another one ever.
Marlin great lever guns, and their XS7 bolt action was much like a Savage, stupid accurate, ugly as sin and reliable as could be.
Sako/Tikka overall my top pick, though more expensive then my Savages I perfer a the trigger, synthetic stock and egronomics over the others. Slim, light, accurate, egronomic, refined, and reliable what more could you ask for.
Browning, never owned one myself but in my experence they are good all around rifles with premo fit and finnish.
Best calibers I have used over the years.
6.5x55 yep it is that good, all you will ever need in the lower 48 and it is very easy on the shoulder and the eardrums. It is remarkably efficient in terms of internal/external/terminal ballistics. Though it is NOT my top pick for non-handloaders due to poor selection of factory loads.
270 win, because it just does everything well. #1 pick for a non-handloader
270 WSM or 7mm Rem Mag both fill the same role just as well. Shoot super flat and hits really hard for mild kicking calibers.
308 perfect utility/survival caliber, also the best in auto loaders
30-06 Super versital especaly in the hands of a handloader.
Just my .02

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