Premium rifles?


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Kachok
November 29, 2012, 12:50 AM
Ok so most of you know I am a budget rifle buff, if it has a reputation for reliability and accuracy and runs under $500 at the local Academy/Wal-Mart I have probably owned a few of them. Recently I have been fighting the itch for a high end rifle and wanted to hear from some of you who have experience with them. The most I have ever spent on a rifle is my FN Winchester 70 Featherweight ($486)
Saveing up for something in the $1,000-$2,000 range.
Sako 85
Weatherby MkV
Kimber 84
Winchester Super Grade
CZ550

BTW I have a weak spot for Mauser style actions.

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idcurrie
November 29, 2012, 01:44 AM
I really like the M70 Supergrade and the Mark V Deluxe.

I also really like the Browning Xbolt White Gold.

ColtPythonElite
November 29, 2012, 01:51 AM
Get a custom built to your liking.

Reloadron
November 29, 2012, 04:27 AM
Get a custom built to your liking.
What he said.

Ron

stubbicatt
November 29, 2012, 05:26 AM
Cooper?

Kachok
November 29, 2012, 08:41 AM
^ Have not seen a Cooper under 2k in years :(

helotaxi
November 29, 2012, 09:02 AM
Montana Rifle Company?

.333 Nitro Express
November 29, 2012, 09:33 AM
I am very partial towards Sako. I used to be in the firearm industry (product manager for about 7 years), and part of my job was to shoot scores of rifles, including custom brands, in every conceivable caliber and configuration. If it was produced, chances are I've put at least 50/100 rounds through it.

The feeling I always got was that Sako was like the best of custom rifles, but without the custom price tag. No, you may not get the super-fancy grade walnut stock, but as far as the barreled action go, it runs rings around any of the other brands mentioned here, IMHO.

Now, the difference between the 85 action and the 75 is that you don't quite get the same level of tailoring of action-length to cartridge-length--the 75 came in 5 action sizes, the 85 only in 3, if I remember correctly. But in truth, this only made a difference for the shortest cartridges--the dainty Action I was truly a joy to see and shoot. However, with the 85 you get controlled-round feeding, which you didn't with the 75.

Bottom line: with Sako you get a beautiful, hyper accurate rifle made in Europe, and serviced by a company (Beretta) that has been in business for 500 years and is not going anywhere any time soon. I myself am saving up for a Bavarian in 6.5x55 and a .375 H&H (haven't decided which model yet).

Picher
November 29, 2012, 10:11 AM
I didn't vote in the poll because all the rifles you suggested in your poll are excellent. You're the one who needs to make the decision. Since you already have a Winchester 70, it makes some sense to stick with the brand, at least for muscle-memory and if you like the first W-70, ergonomic reasons.

Although I like CZs, I think they are rather heavy. Weatherby MKVs are pretty, but the finish is shiny and scratches fairly easily. Sakos are great and though I don't own one (just 2 Tikkas made by the same company), have lusted for one since the 1950s.

Custom rifle? They're often not much better shooters than others you mention, maybe not as good...just more expensive and sometimes take forever to have made.

Guess I'd recommend the Sako after all. LOL

CraigC
November 29, 2012, 10:21 AM
The most comfortable and natural-pointing boltgun I ever handled was a custom shop model 70 .375H&H. Everything about it was just right. I would suggest finding which one calls to you the loudest.


They're often not much better shooters than others you mention, maybe not as good...just more expensive and sometimes take forever to have made.
Why do so many people think that accuracy is the only thing you're buying with a custom??? Premium barrels do tend to shoot much more consistently than factory barrels.

7thGenAustinite
November 29, 2012, 11:33 AM
kimber would be nice

Arkansas Paul
November 29, 2012, 11:43 AM
BTW I have a weak spot for Mauser style actions.

Try to find a pre 64 Winchester action and have it barreled and stocked to your liking. You could prolly swing that for $2k or under and it would be all you.

What caliber are you thinking by the way? Judging by your preferences, I'm going to guess 6.5x55 Swede. :)

helotaxi
November 29, 2012, 11:48 AM
Custom rifle? They're often not much better shooters than others you mention, maybe not as goodDepends entirely on who makes it. If it's a riflesmith that specializes in making really pretty rifles for the filthy rich to get their picture taken with it on a hunt and then hang on the wall, you're probably right. Those don't shoot very well, but they don't need to, they're not meant to be shot more than a handful of times and are made with the express intent of separating a man from his money and giving him something to brag about in return.

That said, there are true hunting riflesmiths that pride themselves on nothing more than the accuracy of the rifles that they deliver to their customers. You might get really lucky and find a mass produced rifle that shoots nearly as well, but you might hit the lottery, too.

My point is know what you're looking for in a custom and find the right 'smith that can deliver it. Their reputation and continued business depends on them delivering what they promise.

joed
November 29, 2012, 12:09 PM
I just had to chuckle about the $486 Featherweight. Bought one in stainless this weekend and it was close to 1k out the door. Hopefully I will get the tax back dropping the price to about $900.

Aside from the price I'm sold on Winchester. I'd love to have a supergrade or even the Jack O'Connor tribute.

CraigC
November 29, 2012, 12:33 PM
If it's a riflesmith that specializes in making really pretty rifles for the filthy rich to get their picture taken with it on a hunt and then hang on the wall, you're probably right. Those don't shoot very well, but they don't need to, they're not meant to be shot more than a handful of times and are made with the express intent of separating a man from his money and giving him something to brag about in return.
That's not condescending at all. So how many high dollar, "pretty" custom rifles have you owned that didn't shoot very well?

Gilt-edged accuracy is greatly overrated in a hunting rifle. What is VASTLY more important is how well the rifle fits the shooter, how comfortable it is to shoot and how it handles. Any pea-brained machinist can build an accurate rifle. If you think that building a highly function AND accurate rifle is anything less than an art form, regardless of how "pretty" it is, you've got another thing coming.

PS, looking down your nose at "pretty" rifles is no less snobbish than the snobs you implicate.

Kachok
November 29, 2012, 04:14 PM
I just had to chuckle about the $486 Featherweight. Bought one in stainless this weekend and it was close to 1k out the door. Hopefully I will get the tax back dropping the price to about $900.

Aside from the price I'm sold on Winchester. I'd love to have a supergrade or even the Jack O'Connor tribute.
Found mine on clearence at Basspro, subtract another 10% for using the Basspro card and it ended up being a steal I could not pass up.

mtrmn
November 29, 2012, 05:17 PM
I just aquired a Ruger #1 and really like it more than I thought I would.

1858
November 29, 2012, 05:43 PM
Given your budget, I'm going to suggest a Kimber since I truly believe that they're making some of the best production hunting/tactical rifles available. They are definitely a step up from Winchester Model 70s and worth every penny.

High end custom rifles like those from Echols or Biesen combine incredible accuracy, performance (function) and aesthetic appeal but they come at a very high price ... $8,000 to $15,000 price range.

matt 7mm
November 29, 2012, 05:54 PM
e.r shaw builds customs on savage actions. i got aquote a while back and was pretty surprised how low the price was.some where around 750-800 for a stainless laminate lefty in 6.5x55 but the waiting list was like 10 or 11 months

jmr40
November 29, 2012, 06:03 PM
This is tough one. I don't care for the Weatherby's at all. CZ's are good rifles, but just don't do anything for me. I have several Winchesters and overall they are my favorite. I own one Kimber and it would be a consideration for me if I were in your shoes. I'm more practical and prefer Stainless/Synthetic, but I've never seen a bad looking piece of wood on a Kimber. But they are not for everyone. The rifles are excellent quality and generally shoot well, but many shooters cannot shoot a rifle that light well, so be warned.

I've never owned a Sako, but have heard nothing but good about them and the ones I've handled were impressive. If It were me looking to make this purchase I'd probably go Sako, but since you don't already own a Kimber it would be between those 2.

taliv
November 29, 2012, 06:03 PM
What are you going to do with it?

I you're hunting it prob doesn't matter.

If you want to shoot groups from a bench you could put a better barrel in a benchrest caliber and more appropriate stock on any o those in your list for less than $2k

Nothing in that list will be competitive with a GAP or Surgeon in sniper/field matches

ErieLurker
November 29, 2012, 06:20 PM
I voted Winchester, but...

Either Winchester (if you have shorter arms) or CZ (if you have longer arms - or that set triggers just intrigues you, and you don't mind medium-high rings).

Abel
November 29, 2012, 06:22 PM
I would get a Hill Country accurized M70 Super Grade!! Or a custom from same...or a custom from Rifles Inc.

http://www.hillcountryrifles.com/catalog/2/custom-rifles-in-stock

http://riflesinc.com/

helotaxi
November 29, 2012, 07:31 PM
Gilt-edged accuracy is greatly overrated in a hunting rifle. What is VASTLY more important is how well the rifle fits the shooter, how comfortable it is to shoot and how it handles. Any pea-brained machinist can build an accurate rifle. If you think that building a highly function AND accurate rifle is anything less than an art form, regardless of how "pretty" it is, you've got another thing coming. The merit of gilt edge accuracy in a hunting rifle depends entirely on what kind of hunting is being done, now doesn't it? For dangerous game where hitting a pie plate at 25yds is all the accuracy required but function must be 100% reliable, then yes, gilt edge accuracy would be highly overrated. For game ranch hunting where "hunting" is often little more than driving out to the herd and picking hte animal and shooting it at 100yds or less, again the rifle doesn't need to be all that accurate. For hunting wary game in difficult conditions where that same pie plate now may have to be hit at well over 500yds, the rifle cannot be too accurate.

Saying that any machinist can make an accurate rifle is insulting to quality riflesmiths that pride themselves on making accurate rifles. If any idiot could do it, the demand for the work of the best accuracy 'smiths would be nil. Oddly contrary to your claim they have all the work that they can handle, can charge a premium for their work and have a backlog usually of several years. The elements of getting a rifle to fit the shooter are well known and most of these 'smiths do essentially nothing custom WRT fit because they don't need to. They're working from the time proven designs in stocks, weighting and proportions. They'll accommodate a different length of pull than standard if requested by the customer, but that's usually about it.

PS, looking down your nose at "pretty" rifles is no less snobbish than the snobs you implicate.

I don't look down my nose at them at all. If that's what they want to spend their money on, their business. My point was that you can spend a lot of money on a custom rifle and get "pretty" without getting a real shooter and if you'd actually read the post that I quoted, I was the one giving credit where it was due. There is certainly an artistry involved in making heirloom firearms. If I wanted a display piece, that is the type of rifle builder that I would approach. Wouldn't really care how it shot if I had that kind of money to spend on a showpiece, much as the typical customer of those builders doesn't. They are buying a work of art in the form of a rifle and they get what they want in that regard. They are not usually riflemen. I can appreciate a beautifully figured walnut stock and inlays and engraving for the art that it is, but the reality is that none of that enhances the quality of the rifle from a hunting perspective and in many cases it detracts from it.

For a hunting rifle, I don't give two shakes what the thing looks like. I don't want pretty. I don't want wood. I don't want engraving and color case hardening and all the other artistic touches. I want a rifle that is capable of better precision than I am, able to withstand the elements and the abuse of being packed through a harsh and rugged environment and light enough that I don't feel like I'm lugging a lead weight around. My point is that, by definition, custom rifles of that ilk are going to be the most accurate hunting rifles available because the capability of guaranteeing that is what I as the customer are seeking in the custom riflesmith that will get my business. In that regard, the custom rifle will most certainly shoot better than a mass produced rifle, because that is what I'm paying for.

Kachok
November 29, 2012, 08:26 PM
This would be a hunting rifle, I am planning on building a heavy barrel Savage action 300 WSM for long ranged target shooting (or just buy a 12FV SS)
I already have most everything between .264 and .308 cal coverd so I would either be looking at a smaller high powered varmint/yote rifle (25-06, 243, 22-250...etc) or a larger caliber Alaska/Africa rifle (9.3x64, 375 Ruger, 358 Norma....etc)

wlewisiii
November 29, 2012, 11:46 PM
Given the Mauser comment, a pre-64 Model 70 is what you want unless you get a custom built on a Oberndorf Mauser action or a VZ-24 action.

If you want new and non-custom, I'd still say the current 70 is best and what I picked in your poll.

CraigC
November 30, 2012, 12:26 AM
Saying that any machinist can make an accurate rifle is insulting to quality riflesmiths that pride themselves on making accurate rifles.
My point was that making a rifle accurate is but a fraction of the effort that goes into a custom rifle. Or any custom gun for that matter. That any machinist can build and fit precise machine parts but only a riflemaker can make a usable custom rifle.

1858
November 30, 2012, 04:29 PM
So how many high dollar, "pretty" custom rifles have you owned that didn't shoot very well?

Exactly! I've handled and shot numerous custom rifles including two of my own and every single one of them has proven to be very accurate. Some of them haven't been all that pretty but they all shot well. What kind of gunsmith would build a rifle that's pretty but that didn't shoot well ... and what kind of moron would want such a rifle? :confused:

CraigC
November 30, 2012, 04:46 PM
What kind of gunsmith would build a rifle that's pretty but that didn't shoot well ... and what kind of moron would want such a rifle?
Good question. I have four custom revolvers myself, all of which might be condescendingly referred to as "pretty". It is a primary requisite that they be accurate. Otherwise, what's the point? I'm acquainted with dozens of shooters who own hundreds of custom sixguns and they are all overwhelmingly built to be accurate first. But accuracy is far from the only reason to have one built. Finishes may range from strict utilitarian to the finest engraving and carbona blue but you can bet your hiny they are amazing shooters. We don't do linebored cylinders, bank vault tight lockwork and premium barrels for nothing. Same goes for rifles. Don't judge a rifle by its owner.

valnar
November 30, 2012, 05:23 PM
A high-end Winchester will cost around the same as a middle-end Sako. So if the wood is not important (although it IS still nice), get a Sako. If looks are even more important, get the Winchester.

I love CZ, but I don't think it can hang in the $1500 territory.

dubbleA
November 30, 2012, 07:25 PM
Personally I dont consider any makes you have listed as a premium rifle. Something from a small company such as Dakota, Cooper, Empire is what I would consider a premium rifle. While not a full blown custom, they are put together to your specs and the accuracy, fit and finish will be top notch but that is to be expected with alot of work done by hand. Wait times can be long though. Empire is now defunct but their Mauser styled actioned rifles can be found on the used market

If you truly like Mauser style actions go to the original source...Mauser...but hold on to your wallet. I recently inquired MauserUSA about one, they are made to order only here in the states.

MachIVshooter
December 1, 2012, 03:26 AM
Saveing up for something in the $1,000-$2,000 range.
Sako 85
Weatherby MkV
Kimber 84
Winchester Super Grade
CZ550

You forgot to include the Kimber in your poll.

The Classic Select or Super America are darn fine rifles, and light weight to boot. I'd take one in .280 AI in a heartbeat!

DRYHUMOR
December 1, 2012, 07:04 AM
Your budget would allow you to:

Pick up a (barely) used action, order a premium barrel of your desired caliber and twist, and pick up a good stock to put it in.

Best thing; it is what you want and how you want it. Not like all the rest of them out there.

You might want to add just a bit more to your budget for a nice trigger.....

DM~
December 1, 2012, 09:26 AM
Personally I dont consider any makes you have listed as a premium rifle

They aren't, they are nothing more than, more expensive every day production guns!

I'd figure out EXACTLY what i wanted/expected out of my new rifle, and then have someone put it together for me, OR i'd find a nice used for real "premium" rifle.

DM

Kachok
December 1, 2012, 09:29 AM
If the Sako 85, Weatherby MkV, and Kimber are not premium rifles I don't know if I need to mess with anything more expensive then that!

MCgunner
December 1, 2012, 09:32 AM
I voted for "the rifleman's rifle", but I don't own one.

DM~
December 1, 2012, 09:38 AM
If the Sako 85, Weatherby MkV, and Kimber are not premium rifles I don't know if I need to mess with anything more expensive then that!

They may be all you want or need, but they are just more expensive PRODUCTION rifles with a little nicer finish over the Savages ect....

DM

Jackal
December 1, 2012, 12:30 PM
Look for a well built custom Mauser. Many of the 1940's-60's rifles floating around with beautiful wood, quality aftermarket barrels and gorgeous finishes. Also, most can be had for $700 or less.

dvdcrr
December 1, 2012, 12:32 PM
Cooper and Kimber are on my list above all those. Coopers speak for themselves and the factory glass bed kimbers are excellent. The others are fine nice production rifles. Sako should have stuck with the 75. The weatherby is long and heavy.

45crittergitter
December 1, 2012, 02:58 PM
Might want to add Blaser to the list, and that's not including custom and semi-custom stuff like Baer, Jarrett, etc.

1858
December 1, 2012, 03:17 PM
they are just more expensive PRODUCTION rifles with a little nicer finish over the Savages ect....

Clearly they are production rifles, but as an owner of two Kimbers (Montana and Talkeetna), a Winchester Model 70 Extreme Weather and a Savage Weather Warrior I can state emphatically that Kimber and Winchester offer a lot more than just a "little nicer finish".

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