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Bargain Rifles: 5 Great Bolt Action Deer Guns

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August 29, 2013
Bargain Rifles: 5 Great Bolt Action Deer Guns - 14

Forget Christmas: The time to splurge on a new gun is before opening day. Any of these five bolt-action rifles would make a good companion in deer camp, no matter your budget.

Browning AB3 Composite Stalker

This newest addition to the Browning A-Bolt family is less expensive than its older siblings, yet it retains much of the classic A-Bolt DNA. The AB3 has a short 60-degree bolt throw, feeds from a detachable magazine, is equipped with a good trigger and recoil pad, and has a tang-mounted safety. The composite stock is not very handsome, but it is tough. It comes in four calibers: .270 Win., .30/06, 7mm Rem. Mag., and .300 Win. Mag.

 

$600; browning.com

Remington Model 700 SPS Tactical

This rifle is an ugly little brute, but it does a hell of a job putting bullets in tiny clusters downrange. The 700 action is synonymous with accuracy, and this particular iteration, with its Hogue stock and stiff 20-inch barrel, delivers more performance for the price than any other 700 in Remington’s lineup. It comes in just two calibers, .223 and .308, but there’s no deer in the world that won’t succumb to a .308 through the ribs. The X-Mark Pro Trigger is crisp and consistent.

$757; remington.com

Ruger American

The Ruger American is without question one of the most remarkable values ever to grace the racks of a gun store. It is inexpensive, functional, and more accurate than many custom rifles costing $2,000 or more. I’ve shot several of them and all have shot groups better than 1 inch at 100 yards. The trigger is good, the rotary magazine is easy to load, and the rifle balances great while being carried or fired. It comes in six calibers, ranging from .22/250 Rem. to .30/06.

$449; ruger.com

Stevens 200

This rifle doesn’t offer much in the way of frills, but what it does bring to the table is a beautifully made barrel and an action that optimizes both economical construction and shooting accuracy. The 200’s precision is enhanced by both the use of a barrel nut to affix the barrel to the receiver, allowing for precise headspacing at the factory, and the two-piece bolt, which has a floating bolt head that self-aligns with the cartridge head as the chamber is closed.

$420; savagearms.com

Winchester Model 70 Sporter

The elegance of the Model 70 has enchanted sportsmen for decades, and the newest M70 Sporter exhibits those same charms. The graceful stock and tasteful combination of walnut and blued metal give the Model 70 a flair that dull-metaled guns with plastic stocks just can’t match. The updated trigger isn’t as robust as that on the original M70 design, but it is an improvement over the heavy triggers Winchesters had until a few years ago.

$880; winchesterguns.com

Photo by Charles Alsheimer

Comments (14)

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from nick zeiger wrote 4 weeks 23 hours ago

Savage axis with 3x9x40 scope 300.00 at Dunhams. It shoots sub moa at 100 yards.Please note it took me 10 minutes to lighten up the trigger to 3.5 lbs.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Lee Nancie Bryant wrote 8 weeks 20 hours ago

I agree with the Tikka T3 stainless lite. I have three; 223,243,308; and they are all super accurate. Great price.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from utxbolt wrote 23 weeks 3 days ago

Bargain would be a Savage Axis, Stevens 200, Marlin X7, Howa M1500 or Ruger American. The A-Bolt and Rem 700 would be beyond "bargain".

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from LeadHead wrote 24 weeks 5 days ago

Oh yes, and the Remington 700 SPS Tactical? Aside from the fact it's a $750+ gun, who in their right mind will be lugging a bull-barreled rifle around whitetail woods? Rambo, maybe? Instead, they should have listed the 783. It truly is "bargain priced", being obtainable for less than $400, has an adjustable trigger and gets great reviews from those who have actually shot one.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from LeadHead wrote 24 weeks 5 days ago

In whose book, exactly, is $600-$800 considered a "bargain rifle" for whitetails, especially considering the fact that you would still need to put down another $200-$300 (at least) for a decent scope? Sure, those are some nice guns, but apparently the OL editors are getting a bigger paycheck than the rest of us because $900-$1200 for an outfitted rifle to put meat on the table just ain't gonna happen here. and is definitely not bargain priced.
Shocking that the Savage Axis didn't make the list. This is a sub-$300 bolt gun that may not be quite as pretty as some of the others, but it's a quite accurate, functional gun for not much money. Isn't that what should be considered a bargain? Some of OL's articles these days are becoming ridiculously laughable.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from officerdom1987 wrote 32 weeks 6 days ago

I'm glad to see that Ruger American made this list. The Savage Axis, from what I understand, is the same thing as the Steven's 200. If only the Axis could come with the Accutrigger, it'd be an even more excellent rifle. Ruger American has a "mock accu-trigger" and for the price, seems like a really sturdy rifle. Also, Ruger now gives you a cheek pad for free that comes with the rifle for those big-time calibers. Only thing is, I hear if you lose the magazine for the rifle, it will make the rifle not so economical.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckmeister2 wrote 33 weeks 15 hours ago

You know, I hate to find fault with outdoor writers...but, you have to wonder what these guys are thinking of when they include a rifle costing nearly $900 in a "Bargain" category. If this were "Best Value", then it might make sense. But "Bargain" means Low Cost in anyone's language, and $880 is not low cost.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Josey wrote 33 weeks 20 hours ago

Remington makes a 700 Youth .243 that sells for less than $420 at Walmart. I have one. Very accurate. I like short guns like that for treestand hunting.

Then, you can get Savage rifles with heavy barrels for all under $600. They are more accurate than the more expensive ones---just heavier to carry through the brush so you can get a par price.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from idduckhntr wrote 33 weeks 21 hours ago

I thought for sure the Weatherby Vanguard 2 would have made the list.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Eric Stoltman wrote 33 weeks 22 hours ago

Yep - the Tikka is probably the best value. Definitely the best trigger and great looks. The new Weatherby Vanguard is a tremendous value as well.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from huntfishtrap wrote 33 weeks 23 hours ago

I'm sure it's a good gun, but I am not sure what the $900 Winchester Model 70 is doing on a list of "Bargain Rifles". I don't know a single person who would consider $900 a bargain.
Also, I would agree with DSM, leaving out Savage makes me wonder how much actual research went into this list. Their lower-end models are some of the best bangs-for-your-buck out there.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from DSMbirddog wrote 33 weeks 1 day ago

The Savage Axis is not much for looks but it shoots quite well. Good list though.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from northtowntv wrote 33 weeks 1 day ago

$880 for a whitetail hunting rifle, bargain!?

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from jaggazz wrote 33 weeks 1 day ago

You missed the boat on the Tikka T3 Lite in .30-06. Half inch group at 100 yards out of the box is a real tack driver. At 6lb 3oz lbs you can carry it all day.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment (200 characters or less)

from DSMbirddog wrote 33 weeks 1 day ago

The Savage Axis is not much for looks but it shoots quite well. Good list though.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from huntfishtrap wrote 33 weeks 23 hours ago

I'm sure it's a good gun, but I am not sure what the $900 Winchester Model 70 is doing on a list of "Bargain Rifles". I don't know a single person who would consider $900 a bargain.
Also, I would agree with DSM, leaving out Savage makes me wonder how much actual research went into this list. Their lower-end models are some of the best bangs-for-your-buck out there.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckmeister2 wrote 33 weeks 15 hours ago

You know, I hate to find fault with outdoor writers...but, you have to wonder what these guys are thinking of when they include a rifle costing nearly $900 in a "Bargain" category. If this were "Best Value", then it might make sense. But "Bargain" means Low Cost in anyone's language, and $880 is not low cost.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from officerdom1987 wrote 32 weeks 6 days ago

I'm glad to see that Ruger American made this list. The Savage Axis, from what I understand, is the same thing as the Steven's 200. If only the Axis could come with the Accutrigger, it'd be an even more excellent rifle. Ruger American has a "mock accu-trigger" and for the price, seems like a really sturdy rifle. Also, Ruger now gives you a cheek pad for free that comes with the rifle for those big-time calibers. Only thing is, I hear if you lose the magazine for the rifle, it will make the rifle not so economical.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from jaggazz wrote 33 weeks 1 day ago

You missed the boat on the Tikka T3 Lite in .30-06. Half inch group at 100 yards out of the box is a real tack driver. At 6lb 3oz lbs you can carry it all day.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from northtowntv wrote 33 weeks 1 day ago

$880 for a whitetail hunting rifle, bargain!?

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from utxbolt wrote 23 weeks 3 days ago

Bargain would be a Savage Axis, Stevens 200, Marlin X7, Howa M1500 or Ruger American. The A-Bolt and Rem 700 would be beyond "bargain".

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Eric Stoltman wrote 33 weeks 22 hours ago

Yep - the Tikka is probably the best value. Definitely the best trigger and great looks. The new Weatherby Vanguard is a tremendous value as well.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from idduckhntr wrote 33 weeks 21 hours ago

I thought for sure the Weatherby Vanguard 2 would have made the list.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from LeadHead wrote 24 weeks 5 days ago

In whose book, exactly, is $600-$800 considered a "bargain rifle" for whitetails, especially considering the fact that you would still need to put down another $200-$300 (at least) for a decent scope? Sure, those are some nice guns, but apparently the OL editors are getting a bigger paycheck than the rest of us because $900-$1200 for an outfitted rifle to put meat on the table just ain't gonna happen here. and is definitely not bargain priced.
Shocking that the Savage Axis didn't make the list. This is a sub-$300 bolt gun that may not be quite as pretty as some of the others, but it's a quite accurate, functional gun for not much money. Isn't that what should be considered a bargain? Some of OL's articles these days are becoming ridiculously laughable.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from LeadHead wrote 24 weeks 5 days ago

Oh yes, and the Remington 700 SPS Tactical? Aside from the fact it's a $750+ gun, who in their right mind will be lugging a bull-barreled rifle around whitetail woods? Rambo, maybe? Instead, they should have listed the 783. It truly is "bargain priced", being obtainable for less than $400, has an adjustable trigger and gets great reviews from those who have actually shot one.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Josey wrote 33 weeks 20 hours ago

Remington makes a 700 Youth .243 that sells for less than $420 at Walmart. I have one. Very accurate. I like short guns like that for treestand hunting.

Then, you can get Savage rifles with heavy barrels for all under $600. They are more accurate than the more expensive ones---just heavier to carry through the brush so you can get a par price.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Lee Nancie Bryant wrote 8 weeks 20 hours ago

I agree with the Tikka T3 stainless lite. I have three; 223,243,308; and they are all super accurate. Great price.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from nick zeiger wrote 4 weeks 23 hours ago

Savage axis with 3x9x40 scope 300.00 at Dunhams. It shoots sub moa at 100 yards.Please note it took me 10 minutes to lighten up the trigger to 3.5 lbs.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment (200 characters or less)

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