Budget Bolt Action 308 Suggestions

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2,147
Location
Chicago, IL
I've been talking to a friend that hunts, and I think it's time I got something that shoots a real rifle cartridge. I mostly shoot pistols, although I do have a 10/22.

I started looking around and, man, there are a lot of options. It will be a very low use gun, possibly hunting, but I don't initially see myself doing that more than once every few years at most. I'd like to try out some longer range shooting (which to me, means 100-200yards), which would again only be a once a year outing since the closest outdoor range is a far enough trip that I'm unlikely to go often.

The more common suggestions I've seen are for Savage Axis or 110, Ruger American, out Mossberg. They seem like they would work just fine for my me, and are well priced. I don't see myself making many modifications or upgrades for this firearm. I'll probably just mount a scope and a sling.

In seen a lot of internet activity for the Tikka T3x, which is probably the top end of what I'd like to spend on something that'll spend most of it's time locked up.

Savages seem to have a decent following as a rifle that works, but may not be pretty or have the smoothest action. That sounds just fine to me, but even within the Savage lineup, there are so many models that it's a little overwhelming.

How much should I care about an AI compatible magazine? I come from a world where Glock magazine compatibility is valued for it's low cost, availability and reliability.

Anyway, thanks for any suggestions or thoughts!
 
Messages
1,965
Location
USA
I have a Savage and 2 RA's for field guns, you wont make a mistake or regret purchasing either. Pick the onne that suits you best in all important areas.

AI's are great and all that but more A-1 rather than steak. Buyers choice.
 
Messages
4,970
Detachable mag is unnecessary for a bolt gun you will use once every few years. Most have an internal magazine that can hold 3-5 rounds which should be more than sufficient for hunting.

Savage with an AccuTrigger AND an AccuStock is a great place to start.
 

JHZR2

Staff member
Messages
46,299
Location
New Jersey
Detachable mag is unnecessary for a bolt gun you will use once every few years. Most have an internal magazine that can hold 3-5 rounds which should be more than sufficient for hunting.

Savage with an AccuTrigger AND an AccuStock is a great place to start.

agree on Savage with those features. I can say from experience that the savage detachable mag design isn’t that great.
 
i got a sporterized, 30-06, milsurp, m1903 springfield, bolt action rifle with scope from gb.com a few years. it came cheap at $150 likely because its conversion to a hunting rifle with a nice monte carlo stock destroyed its collector value. it is a truly solid, old school shooter. it was actually made in early ww2. i then wanted a sturdy, centerfire, non ak/ar, rifle but shoulder issues have intervened so it gathers dust now. if 30-06 will suffice you might look for one of these.
 
Messages
2,804
Location
Michigan
tc compass
you can find them for less than $300
they come with threaded muzzle and sweet trigger, crappy stock though

if you want to stick to savage (other stock options), the hog hunter can be bought for $400, heavy barrel and threaded muzzle.
 
Messages
641
Location
North Florida
Savage! Every Savage I have will shoot MOA or less with the right ammo, even the entry level Axis. Do the internet trigger job on the Axis and bed the stock and it will shoot with the 110.
 
Messages
10
Location
W.Ga
I’ve found the discontinued Marlin X7S and X7L are my favorite of the budget b/arifles. These are still found on the used market at excellent prices. They have the accuracy of the near clone Savage 110’s, but better ergonomics and more pleasing appearance. They use identical scope mounts.

I’ve had two. Both in .243. One I sold to a fried who gave it to her grandson as a 16th birthday present. He’s killed a considerable number of deer with it.
I had a Savage Axis. It was astonishingly accurate but handled like a truck axle. Looked about like one too. I had to modify the bolt handle to clear the objective of a low mounted scope. Sold it.

Remington bought Marlin, was itself bought. Discontinued the Marlin X’s. Replaced with current similar M783, Bankrupted, sold, bankrupt again and again for sale.
I would suggest the Ruger American as best of current crop. Unfortunately a Tikka is more than 2X the cost, but a better rifle.
 

EdwardC

Thread starter
Messages
2,147
Location
Chicago, IL
Thanks guys, I'll take a look at the TC Compass and Weatherby, but I think I'm currently leaning towards a Savage (will see if I want to spend more on a 110 over an Axis/Axis II). Also will need to decide if some of the scope packages are worth buying, or just buy rings and scope separately.

Thanks for helping my realize that I don't really need a detachable magazine. Now that I think of it, it's just something else to potentially drop and lose.

I think I decided that the T3x is out of my price range, I think I'd like to be under $600 with a scope.

I'm not opposed to a used/milsurp rifle, but I don't think I know enough to buy the right one, sight unseen, and there aren't many local places that I go to often enough to keep up with their inventory.

Thanks again, everyone!
 

OVERKILL

$100 Site Donor 2021
Messages
46,238
Location
Ontario, Canada
Savage will definitely offer the most bang-for-buck, the Savage 10 FCP-K I owned was one of my most accurate rifles. Tikka also makes an excellent rifle, my buddy is extremely happy with his stainless in .300 winmag but had to put a limbsaver on it because of it being so light, the recoil was... uncomfortable. The stock recoil pads are pretty hard on the Tikka, but that shouldn't be a problem with a .308.

I've owned several .308 rifles, at this point my go-to is a Remington 700 5R Milspec which is all stainless and has a heavy barrel. It's a beautiful rifle to shoot, has very little recoil due to the weight and while is convertible to a box mag, I've retained the integrated, as I can't see the need on a gun I purchased primarily to hunt deer with.

The FCP-K, sitting on a Harris bipod:
IMG_0315.JPG


My little Savage stainless .22 on the left, my Remington 700 on the right:
IMG_0972.jpg
 
Messages
122
Location
Franklin, TN
I have a Thompson Center Venture in 308. Had good specs for the price range like 5r rifling, 3 lug bolt, MOA guarantee, etc.

Nice rifle for not a lot of money. Best group at 100 is .54 inches. I fired three more 3 shot groups and they all averaged .78 inches. With the right ammo it does well, but does seem to be a bit picky.

My other bolt gun is a Mosin Nagant, so I can’t help with feedback on the other ones you are considering.
 

EdwardC

Thread starter
Messages
2,147
Location
Chicago, IL
Thanks for the additional comments. Fastzntn, I do really like the specs on T/C rifles: 5R rifling, threaded barrel, 60 degree bolt throw and Weather Shield coating on the Venture models (all things I know I don't need, but sound great on paper).

Scope-wise, from what I've read about, the combo scope packages nowadays seem to be "good enough". Not great, but not bad. A common package I've seen uses a Vortex Crossfire II 3-9x40mm, which I think will be good enough for me.

My big dilemma now is, 308 Win or 6.5 Creedmoor. I was set on 308, but for my low volume shooting, it seems that there are no downsides to going with the 6.5 CM.

Thanks again everyone!
 
Messages
1,293
Location
Pacific Northwest
Either cartridge will serve you well. Pros for the .308 are ubiquitous availability, harder hitting at normal hunting ranges (ie under 300-400 yards). Pros for the Creedmore are that at least on paper the it has less recoil (but my shoulder doesn't feel a huge difference) and more retained velocity at long range and a flatter trajectory. The Creedmore can be downloaded with light bullets to near .243 recoil levels. Both will make meat just fine.

Since you live in Illinois, I wonder if mail ordering of ammo is restricted? If so, the popularity of the .308 makes it more attractive, at least to me.
 
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EdwardC

Thread starter
Messages
2,147
Location
Chicago, IL
Ah, yes, ammo is much more restricted here, mail order, particularly in my county/city is pretty much out of the question, however I reload my pistol cartridges now, and plan to hand load my future rifle cartridges.

You're right though, ammo availability is an absolute concern and would be a bigger factor if I didn't plan to reload. From what I gather, 6.5CM isn't just a fad.

I guess it seems that it's a good time to be rifle shopping, plenty of good options.
 
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