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Old July 7, 2014, 09:05 PM   #1
BobTheTomato
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Levels of bolt action rifles

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
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Old July 7, 2014, 09:16 PM   #2
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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.
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Old July 7, 2014, 09:16 PM   #3
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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
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Old July 7, 2014, 09:21 PM   #4
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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.
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Old July 7, 2014, 09:21 PM   #5
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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.
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Bell who?? He did what with a .275 Rigby?;)

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Old July 7, 2014, 09:28 PM   #6
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This is a nice rifle...

JP Sauer and Sohn model 202 Forest chambered in .308


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!
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Old July 7, 2014, 11:15 PM   #7
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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.

Quote:
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.


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Old July 8, 2014, 12:13 AM   #8
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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.
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Old July 8, 2014, 11:19 AM   #9
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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.

Last edited by illinoisburt; July 8, 2014 at 11:26 AM.
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Old July 8, 2014, 09:04 PM   #10
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How do the Mossberg Night Train 2 rifles stack. On paper they look very enticing.
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Old July 8, 2014, 09:48 PM   #11
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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.
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Old July 8, 2014, 11:03 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elkhunterCO
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.
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Old July 8, 2014, 11:14 PM   #13
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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.
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Bell who?? He did what with a .275 Rigby?;)

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Old July 8, 2014, 11:14 PM   #14
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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.
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Old July 8, 2014, 11:22 PM   #15
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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.
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Old July 8, 2014, 11:24 PM   #16
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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
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Old July 8, 2014, 11:37 PM   #17
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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.
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Old July 8, 2014, 11:48 PM   #18
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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.
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Old July 9, 2014, 12:24 AM   #19
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I think the Vanguard S2 is much better quality than the entry level rifles made by Savage, Remington, Ruger, etc.
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Old July 9, 2014, 12:34 AM   #20
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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.

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Old July 9, 2014, 01:40 AM   #21
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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.
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Bell who?? He did what with a .275 Rigby?;)

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Old July 9, 2014, 08:33 AM   #22
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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.
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Old July 9, 2014, 09:02 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by 1858 View Post
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.
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Old July 9, 2014, 09:06 AM   #24
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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.
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Old July 9, 2014, 10:01 AM   #25
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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.
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Bell who?? He did what with a .275 Rigby?;)

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