Levels of bolt action rifles


PDA






BobTheTomato
July 7, 2014, 09:05 PM
I was curious about peoples opinions about different levels of bolt actions. I assume they would start at the budget or entry level models ie $300 range like a Remington 783. What are the next few levels up the ladder in terms of price point and how does the rifle get better?

Thanks

If you enjoyed reading about "Levels of bolt action rifles" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
Corn-Picker
July 7, 2014, 09:16 PM
Nicer wood, better fit and finish, and perhaps some custom engraving if you want an heirloom quality Weatherby or Blaser. These days even a very inexpensive rifle can be more accurate and dependable than most users require.

Honestly, assuming I wasn't allowed to sell the rifle, I'd take a Weatherby Vanguard S2 over many more expensive rifles -- I just love two stage triggers and stocks with a high comb and a lot of Monte Carlo.

Edit: My Vanguard S2 youth in 308 only cost $483, and it's my favorite rifle.

elkhunterCO
July 7, 2014, 09:16 PM
My budget bolt gun is a Stephens 200 25-06. Very good shooter- Very hard Recoil
My mid level bolt gun is a 1990's Winchester 70 - Decent shooter, purely a tool

My high end bolt gun is a new FN Winchester 70 Super Grade 300 Win Mag- Very Good Shooter- Slick as butter action with the claw and its beautiful to look at. The stock is well bedded with their factory stuff and free floated barrel. With a good trigger.

My very favorite bolt gun is custom mauser job in 06

Is the new super grade worth 800 bucks more than the Stephens, No not in terms of functionality. But it is nice to have a nice rifle.

Some guys that have Kimbers or Coopers or the other real expensive ones, Id be interested to know if they were worth the extra cost over a new FN model 70

ford8nr
July 7, 2014, 09:21 PM
You're opening a can of worms here, but here goes. IMHO. You've got your cheap, low price junk rifles $300-400..the entry priced Remington. Then your inexpensive entry level $400-500... Savage Axis, Ruger American, ok fit finish, plastic stocks but decent accuracy. Then your standard factory $600-800...Rem 700, win 70, Ruger 77...better stocks, better triggers, better finish, better accuracy (?). Then your factory target guns $800 plus..better(?) heavy barrels, possible better triggers. Then your custom guns that run the gammit of your imagination and budget.

H&Hhunter
July 7, 2014, 09:21 PM
Some guys that have Kimbers or Coopers or the other real expensive ones, Id be interested to know if they were worth the extra cost over a new FN model 70

My experience tells me no they are not. Especially not Kimbers. Copper builds a real nice rifle but much like a Kimber is a Model 70 derivative the Cooper isn't anything more than polished up fancy M-700.

TIMC
July 7, 2014, 09:28 PM
This is a nice rifle...

JP Sauer and Sohn model 202 Forest chambered in .308
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v369/timc/8C9CAB26-70AC-4F19-99CD-6B16077E71F1-3438-000006E5F228C9A5_zps6840afac.jpg

With Glass about 4K, the difference between it and my model 700? The wood is awesome, fit and finish is wonderful, the bolt feels like it's riding on ball bearings and has no wobble at all, the trigger is light, crisp and clean. Last but not least it is a tack driver!

Is it worth it? Well my Model 700 in .308 shoot pretty close to as good so from an accuracy standpoint; not really. If you can afford it; Heck yes!

jmr40
July 7, 2014, 11:15 PM
Depends on what you want. Some of the $300-$400 budget guns shoot as accurately as much more expensive guns but are not as well finished. Long term reliability and value are questionable at best though. I consider them all disposable guns. Even the best of them. Buy them, use them till they break and toss em. Most will usually last a lifetime of normal use. Not usually worth repairing and it is doubtful they will be useable to pass down to the grandkids. Not what I'd want in my hands if my life depended on it working. And I actually have a couple of the Ruger Americans. They shoot fine, but I accept the limitations.

The top end Remington, Winchester, etc rifles are going to cost more. But be worth more in the long run.

Some guys that have Kimbers or Coopers or the other real expensive ones, Id be interested to know if they were worth the extra cost over a new FN model 70

Kimbers are polarizing. Either you like em or you don't. You are paying a bit extra for extreme light weight. If weight is not a concern Winchesters are my prefered rifle. But for about $200-$300 more I can buy a Kimber more than 2 lbs lighter.

I have no experience with Cooper, but don't really consider a Kimber terribly expensive. A bit over $1,100 now and a top end Remington or Winchester is $800-$1,000. A NULA is only ounces lighter than Kimber, but $3500 and up. You can't buy a Winchester or Remington from the factory with a stock anywhere near the quality of the Kimber and buying aftermarket for the same weight and quality adds $600 to the cost. At $1100-$1200 I think Kimber's are a bargain for what you get.

Being able to do this with a 5 lb rifle, under 6 lbs scoped, is worth $200 more than Winchester to me.


http://i1129.photobucket.com/albums/m513/jmr40/targets001.jpg (http://s1129.photobucket.com/user/jmr40/media/targets001.jpg.html)

ZGunner
July 8, 2014, 12:13 AM
I would put the bottom level at the Mosin Nagant and go up from there.

Then you've got your Savage Axis and Ruger American, "budget rifles".

Take a jump up to the plain Rem 700 and Savage 10/110.

All the way up to the $2500+ custom jobs.

There's A LOT of rifles that fit in between there. There's also a lot of rifles in the lower levels that can hang with some of the top tier rifles, I'm sure. This is just how I kind of picture it in my head. Highest quality I have is Rem 700s and Savage 10s.

illinoisburt
July 8, 2014, 11:19 AM
I suppose you have the caveat of talking about the price of new rifles. Used market is greatly influenced by location. There are a lot of decent older rifles floating around for well under $500. More often than not a good cleaning and replacement of crappy bases/mounts and optics can result in a great shooting rifle with nice wood stocks. Most people just don't shoot much - maybe a box or two when first purchased, then a couple sighters a year if its used at all. Especially for anything that kicks. (same principal applies to magnum revolvers)

An interesting observation is the ammo is also better. A lot of older guns I have used recently have been more accurate than people seemed to give them credit.

Definitely agree on new bolt guns today pretty much all of them are accurate out of the box, regardless of price. As prices go up the accuracy doesnt change much if any. Instead you just get nicer stocks and smoother actions.

Boatsman
July 8, 2014, 09:04 PM
How do the Mossberg Night Train 2 rifles stack. On paper they look very enticing.

Elkins45
July 8, 2014, 09:48 PM
I think the Axis barrels come off the same machines as the rest of the Savage line, so mechanical accuracy should be potentially the same. Don't know about the Remington but the rest of the build is a real turnoff, especially the budget model that has a press fit barrel.

I think there are two different progressions: one based on accuracy and one based on fit/finish.

1858
July 8, 2014, 11:03 PM
Some guys that have Kimbers or Coopers or the other real expensive ones, Id be interested to know if they were worth the extra cost over a new FN model 70

I have two Winchester Model 70 Extreme Weather rifles (.308 Win, .300 WM) and two Kimbers including a Talkeetna (.375 H&H) and Montana (.300 WSM) and I consider the Kimbers to be worth every penny. The Winchesters are nice rifles after some work but the Kimbers are better in every way and were good to go out of the box. If Kimber offered an 8400 Montana with a . 308 Win barrel I'd sell the S/A Model 70.

H&Hhunter
July 8, 2014, 11:14 PM
My issue with Kimber is that they have hit or miss quality control. At the price point of a Kimber I expect better. I've owned three Kimbers a Montana M-84 in .308 Win a M-8400 in .30-06 and a M-82 Hunter .22 LR. All of mine have been fine BUT I hunt with several buddies who have had extreme issues with their Kimbers. Everything from dodgy accuracy to one M-84 that would not go bang about half the time and another that would fire on bolt closing. Every manufacturer has a black marble now and again but the thing that really turned me off to Kimber was their extremely poor customer service and down right surliness when these guys tried to get their rifles fixed.

I currently own two FN built M-70's one is M-70 Extreme in .30-06 the other an Alaskan in .375H&H. Both need bedding before they would shoot to my standards which doesn't make me happy either. Once I got them worked out they re both very good rifles but you have to watch out for the new standard in anything now days which seems to be mediocre QC at best.

As far as Savage goes they have a reputation for being tack drivers out of the box. Some are some aren't.

1858
July 8, 2014, 11:14 PM
If you want to talk about rifles at the top of the pile that have no ridiculous engraving, fancy wood or any other accoutrement, you need to include Accuracy International. Every penny in those rifles goes towards function, reliability and longevity. For me they are the benchmark for top tier bolt action rifles. I've built three custom rifles but I'm done wasting time and money with pieced together barrels, actions and stocks. If only AI made a hunting rifle, even at 7lb I'd buy one.

1858
July 8, 2014, 11:22 PM
H&Hhunter, I bought a $700 Savage Weather Warrior about three years ago and to this day it's the worst rifle I've ever owned. Sadly I still have it. Savage customer service was atrocious too so that experience means that I'll never buy another Savage product. Companies need to realize that every customer is important.

elkhunterCO
July 8, 2014, 11:24 PM
H&HHunter, what kind of bedding job did you do on your M70s to make them shoot better? Did you carve out the factory bedding at the recoil lug and tang and put different stuff in or did you bed the whole action? Just curious, thanks

AKElroy
July 8, 2014, 11:37 PM
If harvesting game with a carefully placed shot is the purpose for your purchase, then a good savage weather warrior will do anything a high-end build will. If you are wanting to have greater enjoyment and pride, and maybe a sense of legacy for those inheriting your rifle, then factor those features you feel fit that objective into your budget.

wyohome
July 8, 2014, 11:48 PM
My 788 shoots as well as my Kimber Longmaster classic. I have never had an issue with the 788. But had a few with the Kimber.

cdb1
July 9, 2014, 12:24 AM
I think the Vanguard S2 is much better quality than the entry level rifles made by Savage, Remington, Ruger, etc.

Ridgerunner665
July 9, 2014, 12:34 AM
Nosler has top notch customer service...but you'll pay for it when you buy the rifle.

Personally, I'm OK with that.

The only rifle I've ever owned that fits into the "top tier" category...don't have it yet, should be here around the end of October....Nosler M48 Custom in 280 Ackley.

What did that $3,820 get me?

An accuracy guarantee (3/4")
CeraKote and MicroSlick
Kevlar/carbon fiber stock (stainless steel pillars and bedded in MarineTex)
And...the warm and fuzzy feeling that comes with knowing Nosler will stand behind it.

H&Hhunter
July 9, 2014, 01:40 AM
H&HHunter, what kind of bedding job did you do on your M70s to make them shoot better? Did you carve out the factory bedding at the recoil lug and tang and put different stuff in or did you bed the whole action? Just curious, thank

I bed the whole action.

jehu
July 9, 2014, 08:33 AM
IMO Sako makes the best out of the box production rifle! They are as good as most custom built guns. I have eleven and they are all very accurate and needed no mods other than good optics and good ammo.:what:

HexHead
July 9, 2014, 09:02 AM
If you want to talk about rifles at the top of the pile that have no ridiculous engraving, fancy wood or any other accoutrement, you need to include Accuracy International. Every penny in those rifles goes towards function, reliability and longevity. For me they are the benchmark for top tier bolt action rifles.

In that case you also need to look at a Blaser R8 Professional. They're the most popular hunting rifle in Europe. No wood, scrolling or engraving. I haven't seen the article, but I heard Guns & Ammo named it the best hunting rifle of the last 100 years.

My next rifle will be their Professional kit, which includes the Pelikan case and a Zeiss scope. Just have to decide on caliber. You can change calibers in < a minute by swapping barrels, and everything holds zero when you break it down and reassemble. Very accurate with a crisp 2 lb trigger, right out of the box.

HexHead
July 9, 2014, 09:06 AM
I think the Vanguard S2 is much better quality than the entry level rifles made by Savage, Remington, Ruger, etc.
+1. I have three of them. Two synthetics in .223 and .308, and a wood Sport in .257 WBY which is my favorite. Their sub-MOA guarantee out of the box is just a starting point. My .308 shoots < 1" at 200 yards.

H&Hhunter
July 9, 2014, 10:01 AM
HexHead,

If I was ever to own another Blaser it would be the R8 professional. I owned an R-93 and it was accurate and well built but it had several issues that I didn't like. The primary one was the bolt on mine was easy to knock out of battery and then the rifle wouldn't fire. Also the R-93 series had a history of blowing the bolt out the back of the gun and severely injuried several shooters over the years.

They fixed all those negatives with the R8. I've never seen a Blaser that wouldn't shoot lights out, they are the safest gun on the planet to carry chambered and the manufacturing tolerances that go into them are mind blowingly precise. And of course you've git to pay for it, they are not cheap. But IMO worth the money for sure.

Corn-Picker
July 9, 2014, 09:39 PM
HexHead,

If I was ever to own another Blaser it would be the R8 professional. I owned an R-93 and it was accurate and well built but it had several issues that I didn't like. The primary one was the bolt on mine was easy to knock out of battery and then the rifle wouldn't fire. Also the R-93 series had a history of blowing the bolt out the back of the gun and severely injuried several shooters over the years.

They fixed all those negatives with the R8. I've never seen a Blaser that wouldn't shoot lights out, they are the safest gun on the planet to carry chambered and the manufacturing tolerances that go into them are mind blowingly precise. And of course you've git to pay for it, they are not cheap. But IMO worth the money for sure.

You know a manufacturer has expensive products when you see this blurb on their website (regarding Blaser's shotgun).

With a MSRP of $7995 the F3 sporting standard is easy on the eyes as well as the wallet. Visit your Blaser retailer today and get yours.

Ridgerunner665
July 9, 2014, 09:52 PM
OK...suddenly my Nosler rifle doesn't seem so expensive, lol.

About the Sako's...the Nosler rifles have some Sako in their lineage.

Everybody wants to compare them to Howa's (and rightfully so)....but very few acknowledge the Sako influence on the Howa design.

You can dress up an M700 clone and nobody says a word....but dress up and precisely manufacture a Howa clone and everybody still wants to think it's a turd, lol.

It's crazy when you think about it...rifles like an Echols model 70 costing the same as some new cars/trucks....

I'd still like to have one though!

1858
July 9, 2014, 11:04 PM
In that case you also need to look at a Blaser R8 Professional.

I shot a Blaser R8 rifle at SHOT this year and spent quite a lot of time examining a number of them. I was very impressed as I mentioned in the thread below.

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=745753

B!ngo
July 10, 2014, 03:31 AM
It is a big can of worms but the can and content has some merit. I agree with ford8nr that the first real segment is the $300-$500 Savage Axis/Ruger American. Some have good barrels and actions, most have questionable stocks, all feel cheap in the hand. That is, they may be capable of some repeatability and accuracy but few will be able to accomplish that and fewer will enjoy it.
Then there's the Tikka T3 Lite, Reminton 700 crowd in the $500-850 range. Both have a great action and very good trigger (pay not attention to that recall!), the Tikka has a great bolt action (really great), both are very accurate (I favor the Tikka in general) and feel very good in the hand (especially if you spring for the wood stocks).
After that, the cost/benefit ration gets wiggy. Lots of great stock work, lots of horses for courses (very long range requires a different stock, light weight to pack in requires a different design, how standard a cartridge do you want to use and reload?).
B

You're opening a can of worms here, but here goes. IMHO. You've got your cheap, low price junk rifles $300-400..the entry priced Remington. Then your inexpensive entry level $400-500... Savage Axis, Ruger American, ok fit finish, plastic stocks but decent accuracy. Then your standard factory $600-800...Rem 700, win 70, Ruger 77...better stocks, better triggers, better finish, better accuracy (?). Then your factory target guns $800 plus..better(?) heavy barrels, possible better triggers. Then your custom guns that run the gammit of your imagination and budget.

Cee Zee
July 10, 2014, 01:58 PM
The question is often what exactly do you want in a rifle. The better wood stocks will add a lot to the price but they are worth it if you value great looks. Then you have high grade synthetic stocks like the stuff made by McMillan. They are about accuracy and function. You can get rifles with great stocks that cost a lot and you can get essentially the same barrel and action with a cheaper stock and it won't cost nearly as much.

With other rifles you can pay more to get their high end triggers/actions. Savage has 3 levels of their AccuTrigger and there is a significant cost difference between them.

So you see it depends on what value you put on various parts to really see what the value of a rifle is to you. You can buy a Savage with a target AccuTrigger and a decent stock or you can buy a great stock and a lower level trigger and pay about the same amount. That's just one example of where money goes in a rifle. A true top grade wood stock is expensive these days unless you can get one out of Europe. It's a matter of what you want and what you think makes a rifle good.

steady shot
July 13, 2014, 07:15 AM
Intended purpose has a lot to do with it. I have a couple of Savage 10's that are great shooters. However, I would not want to lug them around in the woods.

If hunting is what you intend to do, then a light weight rifle will most likely suite your needs.

If bench shooting is on your plate, those light barrels will heat up too fast and you will be disappointed with the accuracy.

Be prepared to spend $$$ on glass for the rifle...

My Savage 10 FCP-SR and FCP-K

http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j217/enforcer421/014_zpsc708c354.jpg

The barrels are fluted to save weight and disperse heat, but they are still heavy...

http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j217/enforcer421/015_zps5228287f.jpg

FCP-SR (308) with a Bushnell Elite Tactical 6-24x50mm

http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j217/enforcer421/016_zps791d9a41.jpg

FCP-K (.223) with a Leupold VX-3, 3.5-10x40mm

http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j217/enforcer421/017.jpg

40-82
July 13, 2014, 07:56 AM
Levels of quality don't really cover the issue. Take a basic Remington 700. The action can't be faulted for accuracy or strength; yet, under harsh conditions without special tooling available, you can't take the bolt apart to lubricate and clean the internals. Compare the Remington 700 to an ancient Springfield '03 action, the older action may not be as strong, and maybe it's no longer the choice of the target shooters, but you can completely field strip the bolt, and it will work under the harshest conditions imaginable if you understand it.

You may be getting what you pay for by going to a higher grade factory or custom rifle, or you may not. Accurate and elegant on a warm summer day is one issue. Something that will go bang when things get ugly is another thing. Do not assume that synthetic stocks and stainless steel necessarily address the issue. The bolt gun is a religion, and the value of the characteristics of the different actions in the field do not easily relate to their current standing in the market.

Cee Zee
July 13, 2014, 05:59 PM
Do not assume that synthetic stocks and stainless steel necessarily address the issue.

Very true. It's things like this that make me appreciate guns like the SKS. As low as it gets rated by many on these boards it is a proven design that works in very adverse conditions. So do the Mosins around. But I happen to think the SKS is better for SD because of the nature of the rifle. A bunch of shots are better than one any day. But still job one is to work when you pull the trigger. So I want a gun that is proven under bad conditions for SD. For hunting I use a Savage 110 in 30.06 but for target shooting I use a much heavier Savage 12 LRPV in .223. They serve much different purposes and they don't really interchange a lot. If I have a bear charging me (only have black bears in my region) I want that 30.06 but if I want to nail a coyote at 500 yards guess which rifle I want in my hands?

Levels of quality are part of the issue. But so is intended use and other factors such as reliability come into play. I would call my SKS a high quality rifle simply because it goes bang pretty much every time and that is very important to the function I want it to do. Yes it was cheap but it was sold at a low price compared to it's level of quality IMO. Price and quality are not always connected. I've seen that many, many times in my life.

If you enjoyed reading about "Levels of bolt action rifles" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!