Best Bolt Gun For......


February 1, 2003, 01:12 PM
wanting to shoot more centerfire at the range, plinking, and pa 'chucks. i don't care to reload, however, would be interested in best out of box accuracy, reliability, and longevity. please give pros for various cal/rifle/scope combos.:confused:

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Dave R
February 1, 2003, 01:27 PM
If you don't want to reload, you want inexpensive ammo. That means .223 or .308. And .223 is significantly cheaper than .308. .223 is also fine for chucks. It was originally designed as a varmit round. And many use it at long-range competitions.

As for rifles, there are too many options to choose from. I have a Rem 700 that shot MOA out of the box. I hear equally good reports on Savage 110, which is a bit less $$.

Then there's Tikka and Howa, which have great reputations for just a bit more $$. I think that's going to come down to personal preference.

Scopes, you have even more options. Chime in, folks.

Art Eatman
February 1, 2003, 02:14 PM
Today's world, it's hard to find a rifle that WON'T shoot pretty darned accurately. Or shoot accurately with just a little tweaking.

More important than brand is finding the setup which fits you and is most comfortable. After that it's money and aesthetics. Mount the rifle to your shoulder with your eyes closed. When you open your eyes, you should be looking right through the sights or the scope, whichever is set up...

Scopes? By and large, more folks do okay with Tasco, Simmon and Bushnell than have serious problems. You might consider buying by the quality of the warranty. For your purposes, a variable of 2x7 or 3x9 will work just fine. And I've been using Weaver or Weaver-style mounts for over 50 years with no problems whatsoever.

:), Art

February 1, 2003, 02:33 PM
Well, it might help us to know a bit more information. What price range are you looking at? What other game might you be interested in taking with this rifle? And are you wanting a lighter weight 'carry rifle' or more of a heavy barreled 'varmint rifle'. You probably wouldn't want to lug at 11 or 12 lb rifle/scope very far and this is about what these varmint rifles will weigh. What General price range you're looking at. If you want to stay below $500 for the rifle, scope mounts and everything then we don't need to suggest Weatherby or Sako. If you are willing and able to drop $1500 on the package, then Savage might not be the most recommended name.

While we're waiting... Your budget may come in to play with caliber choice as well. As Dave R pointed out, 223 is the cheapest non-surplus centerfire ammo you can buy. This is the same round that is used by the military in the M16 rifle. It is very effective out to at least 300 yards, offers very little recoil and should be easy to manage. It is not recommended for anyone to humanely shoot anything larger than coyote or similar sized game except by very experienced and skilled riflemen. Deer over 100 lbs should be out of the question. The 308 is the round used by many police and military snipers. In proper loadings and bullet weights, it is effective way way out. 1,000 yards or just a bit past. It probably has taken just about every game on the planet though it certainly isn't ideal for much of it. It would be appropriate to take deer of any size up to elk. There are other fine cartridges in between such as the .22-250, .243, .25-06 and .270. All these will absolutely be more expensive to shoot than the cheapest 223 and 308 ammo. Of course, many people recommend against using FMJ for most game so that difference in price may not be as large as it would seem. The 22-250 is the generally the same size bullet as the 223, just loaded to a higher velocity so it is effective on a bit larger game and effective to further distances. The .243 is a good varmint and deer game as it packs more of a punch than the 223. The 25-06 is one of my personal favorite cartridges - it is an excellent long distance round and is capable of taking any deer or antelope and could be used for elk or bear with the right bullets though isn't ideal. The 270 is one of the best all around cartridges available. This one will definately have more recoil than the 223, 22-250 or 243 but is capable of taking and has taken any non-dangerous game in North America. It is also going to be effective pretty much as far as you can see with normal powered scopes.

The Savages do have an excellent reputation for accuracy and fine reliability. The biggest problem with them is their triggers aren't generally up to par with other rifles at slightly higher price points. Also, the Savage synthetic stocks are generally pretty crappy though some people are able to live with that. I've owned about 7 Savages and have nothing bad to say about them at all other than the triggers and the stocks. One thing to keep in mind is that the triggers are adjustable and replacable. The Savage rifles start at about $350 for just the rifle and go up to about $500 for a heavy barrel rifle with laminated stock. They also offer a combo that comes with a very economical scope. Nothing great but but will get you started and that is what is most important.

At a higher price point, the Tikkas have lots to recommend them. Esp if you're not looking for a heavy barrel varmint rifle. In the low $400 range, there is really nothing to warn against them. Excellent rifles for an excellent price.

The Howas are making a name for themselves. For a while, they produced the Weatherby Vanguard series as well as the Smith & Wesson series of rifles. Now they are offered at a lower price point with the Howa name. I have a 243 Ultralight rifle that I have nothing but praise for. Good trigger, rigid stock that is properly floated. Action is pretty smooth and should improve with use. I got mine for $370 and have seen them in the $350 - $400 range.

I like Ruger rifles though some claim that accuracy is hit or miss, pardon the pun. I just like how they handle. Their triggers do tend to need a bit of tweaking but after this economical work, the triggers are as good or better than any out of the box triggers.

The various Remingtons and Winchesters have a lot going for them, I just tend to think they offer less value than the Savages, Howas and Tikkas. I'd pretty much recommend you go look at a sporting goods store and handle a few rifles. See what suites you and what you don't like. The safeties are different, stocks are different.

For scopes, several of the rifle manufacturers offer rifle/scope combos as I mentioned. The scopes are nothing to write home about, but will get you going. Leupold will be the most recommended name and they are very decent scopes with excellent records and the best warranty in the business. The Weaver Grand Slams are as good as the better Leupolds at a price point equal to the lower priced Leupolds. They offer an excellent value and brightness.

I'd recommend you take a look over at Chuck Hawks website. It has lots of good information on different rifles, calibers, cartridges even though I disagree with him on a few issues. It's a good place to start.

February 1, 2003, 03:19 PM
thank you for all the detailed info. i don't know about hb varmit types. are they realy more accurate or do they just dissipate heat better? as to price, will 1500 get 3x the gun as 500? if so, i'm interested. how about winchester or cz? further comments much appreciated. ron

February 1, 2003, 04:02 PM
CZs are very impressive. I love that set trigger. The wood varies from beaufitul to plain though the price does not. :confused: I've heard a lot more positive reports than negative reports on the CZs.

Winchesters are about like Remingtons and Rugers. They are all mass produced so some come out of the box ready to go, others might need a bit of tweaking to make some folks happy. Personally, I prefer Winchesters to Remingtons. I don't have any synthetic stocked Winchesters so don't know how good or bad they are but the wood Winchesters seem to me to be better floated than many Remingtons.

On price, $1,500 will probably not get you three times more gun than a $500 rifle will but it will probably mean less time at the gun shop getting it perfect but this is still luck of the draw. I've heard complaints on every rifle company from the cheapest Savages up to Blazers. Weatherby and Sakos probably have the fewest complaints along with the Tikkas.

Personally, for me, if I owned no rifles and wanted a rifle for target play and shoting chucks, coyotes and various birds, I'd get the Standard Ruger Model 77 in 243 - not the lightweight, just the normal weight rifle with a blue finish and a wood stock. I'd get a leather sling and I'd put on a 3-9x40 Weaver Grand Slam in Leupold or Burris bases and rings. I'd make sure the barrel was floated properly. I'd get the trigger tuned to about 2.5 lbs with the stock parts (about $40 in these parts) Then I'd shoot it a whole whole bunch. And I'd smile. Like this ---> :D

February 1, 2003, 04:07 PM
i don't know about hb varmit types. are they realy more accurate or do they just dissipate heat better?

Well, yes and no. Among otherwise equal rifles, there may be a little more inheirant accuracy with the heavy barrels due to harmonic balance etc... but mostly just things that aid real world accuracy such as being able to stay on target in winds. Does it make enough of a difference to carry around 4 more lbs of weight? It depends on where you live in the country and what you're shooting at. Informally shooting out to 200 yards at paper or small critters, proably not a whole lot of difference. If you're wanting to go out west to shoot a bunch of prairie dogs, or getting into benchrest competition then yeah... it'll probably be worth it to have a heavy rifle. But if this is your first rifle, or at least your first new rifle in a long time, I'd probably get a standard weight rifle for now.

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