New (not surplus), inexpensive, carbine-length, bolt-action centerfire rifles?


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Owlnmole
May 2, 2013, 06:53 AM
Just about every bolt-action rifle manufacturer and a few that weren't traditionally known for such rifles all have inexpensive bolt guns in their line-ups: Savage Axis, Stevens 200, Ruger American, Remington 770, Mossberg ATR, Marlin X7, etc. These low-cost rifles -- many under $400 MSRP -- all have longish barrels, typically 22". No one seems to offer their low-cost line in short, light carbine models, say 18" or even 16" barrels. For that option, you have to step up to something more expensive.

You would think that inexpensive, carbine-length rifles would sell like hotcakes to hunters that want a lighter gun or a handy truck gun and to people that would like to mess around with an inexpensive scout rifle. Am I missing something? Are there any such carbines available for, say, under $500 MSRP? And please don't suggest Mosin-Nagants or other milsurp solutions--I know about those, I am just wondering why all the new-manufactured, inexpensive centerfire rifles seem have long barrels.

Cheers,

Matthew

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Davek1977
May 2, 2013, 07:00 AM
Most have 22 in barrels, because it takes one of that length to get efficient performance out of the round. Cutting another 4-6 inches off can drastically affect performance in a good many rounds. Some,like the 7mm mags and 25-06 actually do better with 24-26 in barrels. Most people don't want to sacrifice the performance of the caliber they've chosen to use....otherwise...they would have picked a different caliber! Why would I buy say a 7mm mag, cut the barrel down to 16 inches, and suddenly have an awfully loud rifle that fires ammo at significantly (hundreds of fps) slower speeds than it did previous? There is a market for compact lightweight rifles, but these are specialty items for a large part marketed towards mountain hunters and the like where weight is an absolute premium.... for the average Joe in a tree stand, that 1/2 lb isn't going to make the difference it does on a sheep hunt at 14,500 ft.

Inebriated
May 2, 2013, 07:03 AM
Savage Axis - $300 OTD at most any local store.
Rental 11* crown reamer - $35, if I remember right.
Hacksaw blade, 10 minutes of cutting, cutting oil, etc. - essentially free.

I cut my Axis .30-06 to 17", and couldn't be happier with it.

MikePaiN
May 2, 2013, 07:25 AM
I recently picked up a Savage Hog Hunter in .308. The rifle sports a 20" med. profile barrel but the package in compact and easy to handle with and off the shelf price of $459.....So far, with factory loaded, lighter bullets around 150g both performance and accuracy have been excellent.
The Hog Hunter is built around the proven Savage 1x action and its definitely a step above the entry level rifles.

http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x298/Mikepain_pics/Hog%20Hunter/P4200006.jpg
http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x298/Mikepain_pics/Hog%20Hunter/P4200005.jpg

19-3Ben
May 2, 2013, 07:33 AM
Ruger DOES make a line of American Compact (http://www.ruger.com/products/americanRifleCompact/models.html) rifles.

Owlnmole
May 2, 2013, 08:56 AM
Thanks, Ben, I missed that one somehow.
Mike, that's a nice rifle though still a little longer than I had in mind.
Inebriated, I have no doubt that many rifles could be modified to fit but I was looking for off-the-shelf solutions.
Dave, I understand your point, though I would argue that at the distances that most game is taken in most parts of the USA, a few hundred FPS are not going to make a big difference. The bigger boom is certainly something to keep in mind, though.

vaupet
May 2, 2013, 09:03 AM
cz 527 carbine, have no idea what american prices are however

firesky101
May 2, 2013, 09:42 AM
Yep ben nailed it. The Ruger American Compact is what you seek.

chicharrones
May 2, 2013, 10:21 AM
cz 527 carbine, have no idea what american prices are however

Unfortunately, the prices I see over here for that start at $700 and go up quite a bit.

Owlnmole
May 2, 2013, 11:31 AM
Unfortunately, the prices I see over here for that start at $700 and go up quite a bit.
About $670 at Impactguns.com right now, nice guns but definitely the next price point up.

armoredman
May 2, 2013, 11:43 AM
Mmmm, 527M carbine...but in all fairness, as much as I love that rifle, the caliber selection is a wee bit light for big game hunters, 7.62x39mm and .223 Remington. If I get a chance, I would love to try mine on deer, but anything bigger might be a bit much for the round.
Those Rugers look nice at a nice price.

I6turbo
May 2, 2013, 12:18 PM
About $670 at Impactguns.com right now, nice guns but definitely the next price point up.
If you want .223, you can pick up a new or like new 527 Carbine for $500-575 if you keep an eye out. Here are some recent sales:
http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.aspx?Item=329811787

http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.aspx?Item=338872311

http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.aspx?Item=332923776

7.62x39s have been bringing more lately, but if/when the supply replenishes the prices should come back down a bit.

BCRider
May 2, 2013, 02:52 PM
Does it have to be a bolt action rifle caiber? What about a 16" Rossi '92 lever rifle chambered in .44Mag or .454Casull? More than enough to get the job done for close in game of opportunity.

Or for a cheap and dirty truck gun/opportunity varmint or game rifle what about an H&R Handi Rifle? With an ammo carrier cuff and a little practice you can load or reload pretty quick. Maybe not bolt or lever quick but fast enough when you need two shots that do not need to be semi auto fast.

Inebriated
May 2, 2013, 02:54 PM
Inebriated, I have no doubt that many rifles could be modified to fit but I was looking for off-the-shelf solutions.

Fair enough. But I went through the same thing for a while, and couldn't find anything with a short barrel that I wanted bad enough to spend $500+ on. The Savage was the easiest route. Good luck in your search.

RPRNY
May 2, 2013, 03:58 PM
Mossberg MVP Patrol in 5.56 takes AR mags. 16.25" barrel. A .308 is supposedly on the way. The MVP Predator has an 18.5" barrel and laminate stock.

http://www.mossberg.com/assets/scripts/timthumb.php?w=625&zc=0&src=http://www.mossberg.com/sites/default/files/1359667828/27755_MVPP_5.56_Sights.png

http://www.mossberg.com/assets/scripts/timthumb.php?w=625&zc=0&src=http://www.mossberg.com/sites/default/files/1329324380/%2327715_MVP_PREDATOR_18.png

mac66
May 2, 2013, 04:08 PM
I have a friend who believes all rifles should have short barrels. He bought a Ruger American (I think he paid $379 for it) and cut and threaded the bbl to 16". It is a very handy little rifle.

My hunting rifle is a Winchester M70 308 with a factory 20" bbl. It is actually marked "Carbine". It has served me well for 25+ years but that little Ruger is sweet!

Sheepdog1968
May 2, 2013, 04:42 PM
I can't imagine it would be all that complicated to cut down the barrel and recrown it of the more inexpensive rifles you mentioned. Heck, try it one your own at first and leave it at say 18.5". If it doesn't go well, take it to a gunsmith. Can't cost more than $50 to $100 range.

My favorite rifle (and most likely my favorite firearm) is a 30-30 lever action with a 16.75" barrel. As best I can tell, velocity dropped by about 3% which is irrealvant for my personal hunting range max of 200 yards.

HoosierQ
May 2, 2013, 04:49 PM
I have a friend who believes all rifles should have short barrels. He bought a Ruger American (I think he paid $379 for it) and cut and threaded the bbl to 16". It is a very handy little rifle.

My hunting rifle is a Winchester M70 308 with a factory 20" bbl. It is actually marked "Carbine". It has served me well for 25+ years but that little Ruger is sweet!
Sure hope he measured that right! From the muzzle to the bolt face, measured down the bore. If the 16" mark stand proud when the bolt is locked up, you got a felony right there! Most "16 inch" barrels are cut at 16.25", 16.5", or 16.75" inches so there's no slip up if the hacksaw is placed wrong. In fact, the thickness of a hacksaw blade is enough to get a person into some real trouble. Now who'd ever notice about a couple millimeters one way or another without measuring...or who'd bother? That's a question for somebody else I guess.

jmr40
May 2, 2013, 05:03 PM
Cutting another 4-6 inches off can drastically affect performance in a good many rounds. Some,like the 7mm mags and 25-06 actually do better with 24-26 in barrels. Most people don't want to sacrifice the performance of the caliber they've chosen to use....

I'd buy one of the budget guns and have the barrel cut down to the length you want and recrowned. If you are handy with tools you could even do it yourself. Longer barrels do shoot faster, but the difference is vastly overrated. A 308 would probably lose around 50-75 fps when cut from 22" down to 18".

In a tree stand or thick brush you don't need the very slight gains you would get from a longer barrel and the shorter gun is a huge plus. That extra speed might cost you 2" more bullet drop at 500 yards. If you're shooting at 500+, then you need a little more barrel. At closer ranges it is a non issue.

Inebriated
May 2, 2013, 05:07 PM
^yup.

Owlnmole
May 2, 2013, 06:00 PM
Thanks, all, for the suggestions, I definitely have some options to consider that I did not even know existed.

BCRider, I like the suggestion of the H&R, I appreciate their simplicity and the option to have different barrels in different calibers is interesting, but it would need a trip to the gunsmith to get the carbine I want. Something like the .308 or .223 Survivor cut down to 16 1/2 inches with an add-on aperture sight would fun, rugged, light and simple.

Cheers,

Matthew

PorkChopsMmm
May 3, 2013, 12:04 PM
I was looking for something similar and had decided to buy a 308 Savage Axis and hacksaw the barrel. I then had a change of heart and picked up a 357 Rossi 92 16" lever action to go with a 357 revolver I picked up. Couldn't be happier. A bit more expensive than an Axis but much handier. I love how light the Axis feels -- even with a 22" barrel. I imagine cutting the barrel down would make it feel very handy and much lighter.

kingcheese
May 3, 2013, 12:30 PM
I don't know what the msrp is but Mossberg has the MVP predator, get in 5.56nato or 204ruger, think it has an 18inch barrel. I use the varminter 5.56 with a 24inch barrel they are sweet guns

Inebriated
May 3, 2013, 04:41 PM
I imagine cutting the barrel down would make it feel very handy and much lighter.

Remarkably so. Feels a lot better, for not a lot of difference in report/flash/recoil/performance for my needs.

PorkChopsMmm
May 3, 2013, 04:48 PM
Darn. You guys are going to make me spend more money. Now I want that Axis in 30-06 for $277 or whatever Walmart sells it for.

jpwilly
May 5, 2013, 12:22 AM
If your going to cut the barrel of and AXIS or other rifle don't get the 30-06. A 308 would be a better selection with an 18" barrel seems about right to me.

Inebriated
May 5, 2013, 01:12 AM
^ How so? .30-06 will allow more powder, to make up for that barrel loss.

xxjumbojimboxx
May 5, 2013, 01:21 AM
cz 527 carbine, have no idea what american prices are however
8-900 bucks, dont even bother unless you can find one in 7.62x39... I have an interarms mark x in that caliber... sweet lil gun, think i paid 400 for it

jpwilly
May 5, 2013, 11:04 PM
How so? .30-06 will allow more powder, to make up for that barrel loss.

Precisely, more unburnt powder bellowing out of the short barrel seems like a waste to me. If I'm not mistaken 24" is optimal bbl length for 30-06 and 308 is typically around 22". Both will suffer with a shorter bbl but the 30-06 will suffer more.

greenlion
May 5, 2013, 11:05 PM
Have you thought about the Single Shot Rifles like the CVA Scout? Those are very compact rifles. The 20 inch barrel compact versions are shorter than most 18" bolt guns.

Inebriated
May 5, 2013, 11:41 PM
Precisely, more unburnt powder bellowing out of the short barrel seems like a waste to me. If I'm not mistaken 24" is optimal bbl length for 30-06 and 308 is typically around 22". Both will suffer with a shorter bbl but the 30-06 will suffer more.

Even if .30-06 suffers more, it'll still be moving faster than the .308.

jpwilly
May 6, 2013, 12:14 AM
Even if .30-06 suffers more, it'll still be moving faster than the .308.

This is why I'd go 308 instead of 30-06. The 30-06 works best between 22"-24". A 308 will do just about anything from an 18-20" barrel that a 30-06 will do at the same length, but with less recoil, muzzle blast, and you can choose a lighter short action rifle.

Sure the 06 may have a more FPS but I think the trade off isn't worth it...YMMV.

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