entry level bolt action opinions wanted

Not open for further replies.
My xs7 (predecessor of the x7, in 7mm-08) was a bear, i couldn't wait to get rid of it after dumping money trying for just hand loads to an inch (3 months worth of time and bullets) plus the cheapest bluing job I've ever seen. And I'm a die hard marlin fan. Save your money or buy used is my vote. Btw i ended up with a sako in 30-06 with a 3-9 leupold for under 5 bills recently, so shop around.
dvdcrr- i dont think many people will recommend anything made by freedumb group remington. i wont be touching anything made by them any time soon.

i have an XL-7, i got it when they first came out because i wanted a .30-06. its ok, its fairly accurate but im not a fan. its pretty cheap, i hate knurled bolt handles. its going up for sale here soon. ill be replacing it with a Husqvarna mauser from SimpsonLTD

i like the Howa's and Savages. ive heard good things about the ruger americans.
I'm sure if you shop hard your $300 will get you a nice used rifle. I wouldn't hesitate going with a used Savage 10 or 11.
I think the last one I picked up was an 11 with iron sights for $300 OTD.
Many of these rifles were bought for a specific hunt or season then cleaned and put in to the back of the closet.
QuoteI wonder if they are post recalls? The T/C guns are decent and at $350 they would be a bargain, but they did have a recall on their safety.

At the beginning they did not now. Red star on box is post recall.

I was just asking the same question a few weeks ago. After gathering a lot of great info from folks on this and other blogs, I went with the Savage Axis XP in .308, last Friday. I paid $379 for mine at Dick's. I am new to hunting, so I wanted something reliable, that wouldn't break the bank, just in case I decided hunting wasn't for me. I went out and fired it yesterday and got it sighted in. I am heading to South Carolina tmw to go on a hog hunt, so I will get to see how it and I perform in a real-time situation. Mine doesn't have the Accutrigger like the Savage XP II does, but I figured, as new to hunting as I am, I wouldn't know the difference. Almost forgot, mine came with a Bushnell "Sharpshooter" 3x9x40 scope already mounted on it.

Good luck!
Last edited:
I would consider the Ruger American over the marlin and Axis. I have one in243 and it is a great rifle. Trigger is better than the Axis and it shoots as good as any rifle I own, and is far from "junk" as someone pointed out in a earlier post. Have you checked out any Howas?? They are awesome rifles with great triggers and IMO better shooters. If you are limited to the three choices in your OP, my choice would be the Ruger. YMMV
I have owned the Savage 11, 10, Axis, Marlin XS7, and Ruger American.

The Axis is accurate but the bolt handle necessitates a medium to high scope ring due to the stock. The stock can be changed but at that point you could just get a Weatherby S2 or 10. Access to the chamber is very small and the trigger guard is molded plastic that can't be removed. To get the accutrigger (which you want, trust me) you will have to spend more than any other of the budget guns. The clip that holds the magazine in place is flimsy, made of plastic, and worries me.

The Savage 10 or 11 family is great right out of the box

The Marlin XS7 is great if it isn't a Remlin and even if it is it's still a solid choice. I just purchased one and the feed ramps weren't finished all the way but as far as the design of the gun it's great, especially for a stainless model for $270 nib. The trigger guard can be swapped out for a metal one for $20 and 5 minutes of work with a drill. Well worth it. You can also use the hinged floor plate from a model 70 if you wanted to spend the money. The bolt handle is also notched to allow for low or ultra low rings which is nice. Spare parts can still be had for this model.

The Ruger American is a solid gun. It is accurate, rugged, and the bolt never seems to bind. It has a 60 degree bolt lift so even with the cheapo stock you can run low scope mounts to match the comb. The magazine it comes with seems decent and spares are about $30. The only real downside for me is the trigger guard is molded into the stock like the Axis. I plan on getting a Boyd's stock for it but there still aren't any metal guard options available that I know of. The gun feels very solid. If a part breaks you are likely going to have to send it Ruger for what that is worth.

If you feel the stock is too flimsy on a model, use some Rockite.
If you feel the stock is too slippery on a model, use some traction tape made for pistols.

So, if it were me and I had $500 I would get the Weatherby S2 or Savage 110
For a budget gun I would get either the Marlin X7 or Ruger American.
All in that order.
Last edited:
A magazine did a comparison of entry level (economical) rifles a few months back, don't remember which one, but the Savage came out on top. Most accurate and best trigger.
That's the one I would I would select.
I have both a Savage 110 and a T/C Venture. Both are good rifles, but the Venture is my personal choice. I have to agree with Ks5 shooter. The post recall model has a dimple on the safety. I got the 75$ rebate, but it took 3 months to get it. Their customer service is first rate. OTOH, it has too much plastic. The trigger guard and the magazine are plastic. The trigger can be adjusted without removing the action and it will deliver 1 MOA with good ammo out of the box. I also have a Winchester model 70. IMO the Winchester M70 is a better rifle, but it cost far more. The choice between Savage and the Venture is like the choice between Chevy and Ford.
Its up to you, My gun Dealer and I are pretty good friends, I trust his advice He said the Ruger is all right for the price, He said I should pass on the Axis, He said Tika is good, I asked about the Savage 10fcp-sr he said it was a good choice and I would not be disappointed at all, He said same about the Hog Hunter a very good solid rifle, I ordered the 10fcp-sr, Of course still waiting on delivery, Hard rifle to come by right now, Do not buy the cheaper model that is sold at discount stores it does not have accu stock.
seeing as you are new to the sport I wont yell at you, But Dicks is a big boycott, Any one who is serious about guns and the 2nd amendment would not spend a dime in their store, Please do not patronize such people. If they were the last store on earth I would not shop there.
Those that tell you not to buy used are not really doing you a favor.:mad: I have purchased several used Savage 10---11 model rifles in common calibers and they all have been great shooters for the price paid. So the triggers have not all been like butter but not bad for an out of the box rifle. The newer ones may be a bit lesser quality and the bargain ones even more so. The older used are better quality to begin with are my choice hands down. I even found a used Savage SS synthetic stock with a Redfield scope in 300 WSM for $230.00 a couple years ago. No accutrigger but it will shoot less than MOA all day long. I was happy with that purchase let me tell you.:D

If you can find a clean used Savage 10 or 11 in 308, it would be my first choice above what you asked about in your price range. Going new a TC Venture probably would be my choice for the price point you want.
None of the above!! Save alittle more money and get an older Rem700 in good shape,they are everywhere, or better yet a used Sako.

Good advice. Those Remingtons and Sakos have sure enough real wood stocks too.
I just recently purchased a new deer rifle. I lucked into a few extra Benjamins and was able to move up a grade in what I could afford, but prior to that I was scouring the Internet for stuff in the $400 range. My preference, for aesthetic reasons, is wood stocks, and most of the wood-stocked rifles available on Gunbroker, Armslist, et al, in that price range had seen better days, cosmetically speaking. But, if you are patient, diligent, and know how to use the search tools effectively, you can find good deals for $400 and sometimes less. As examples, two rifles that occasionally turn up in that price range are the Remington 788 and Savage 110. The 788 I know only by reputation - it is a plain-Jane gun often described as a 'tack driver'. A friend of mine owns about eight of them in various calibers and swears by them. I have borrowed a Savage 110E for several deer seasons and would have no qualms about owning one. So, if you're not all that thrilled about the synthetic-stocked entry-level rifles, keep looking - there are excellent deals on nice guns out there to found.
Last Thanksgiving I picked up a new Savage Axis II XP in 3006 for $259, OTD, after rebate. It has the accutrigger and a Weaver scope. Yes it has a cheap plastic stock but it shoots great, light to carry and I won't fret when it gets dinged up. Its for taking up into the hills of NH deer hunting. Dont have anyone to impress out there.
The Remington 783 is true irony: a Remington product that copied designs from Savage. Never thought I'd have seen the day.
^^^ believe it.

Take a look at the RA and the Axis... Hmm, the RA may be the best 'copy" of the the Axis yet. Same trigger. Same stock. The RA's mag is a Ruger thing, that is lacking, but Ruger had to put their spin on it...

Rugers bolt is a winner. Bolt lift is nice short and ejection is simply epic. The Axis bolt is much smoother.

What were we talking about?
7mm-08 TC Venture 7 shots 100yds Hornady 139 gr SST handloads. Right where I want to be,1.5 inches high at 100, good to go to 300.


  • IMG_00972.jpg
    62 KB · Views: 3
Not a bad choice cowbell. Nothing says 'budget' like a set of Weaver rings from Walmart. Got mine for about $12. You'll need a scope. Mine currently wears a Busnell Banner. I don't recommend it. There is budget and there are budgets. The Banner is the former.

The Nikon ProStaff scopes are worth a peek. The older I get the pickier I get when it comes to optics.
Not open for further replies.