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Centerfire Rifles - Manually Operated Lever action, bolt action or other non gas operated centerfire rifles.

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  #1  
Old 04-14-2019, 7:14 AM
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Default Please Help Me Decide First Bolt Action

I've been researching, searching, reading, and watching and I've decided I would appreciate some input on selecting my first bolt action.

Purpose: entry to hunting,target bench shooting @ distance

Caliber: .308win

Goals:
-Under 7.5 lbs without scope
-Hit silhouettes at ~750 yrds
-Ability to shoot in relatively quick sucession while maintaining decent, silhouette level accuracy (5 shots in 10min or quicker)

Nice to haves:
-Detachable magazine
-Under $750
-ideally all of the above out of the box. I don't mind swapping my own parts buy don't want to take a dremel to things

Prospects:
-I'm thinking a 22 - 26 inch barrel
-considering the Tikka T3x series. The lite seems great for walking around but not great for multiple shots. The varmint is the opposite. They seem to have what I want mostly out of the box
-I'm also considering the Rem 700 series. Thought about an adl or sps. Would these meet my distance goal out of the box? I hear many start with adl and swap out stocks and other mods. I wonder if at this price after mods I could have just gotten an out of the box that meets my goals

I'm open to other suggestions, any advice is appreciated!
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Old 04-14-2019, 7:28 AM
JackEllis JackEllis is offline
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You typically don't want to lug a bench rifle out in the field and using a field rifle for bench shooting limits you to maybe a handful of shots before you need to let the rifle cool.

The T3X is a good field rifle - reasonably priced, light, smooth action, good shooter. Tikka fixed some of the shortcomings in the T3 line, including a quieter stock. I have two T3 Lites and they're good for maybe 3 or 4 shots in warm weather before I have to set them down.

I also have a Howa 1500 in .223 that outshoots my Tikka in .223. It's a heavy barrel model with a bench-style stock and it is not something you want to lug around in the field.

My suggestion: get yourself one rifle for hunting and a second rifle for bench shooting. If you want a rifle that does it all, be prepared to accept compromises. These days you don't have to spend a king's ransom to get a good shooter (unless you want to).

Having said all that, consider either a .243 or a 6.5 Creedmoor for bench shooting. A .308 is adequate and suitable for anything you'd want to hunt in California smaller than an elk.

Last edited by JackEllis; 04-14-2019 at 7:31 AM..
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Old 04-14-2019, 7:48 AM
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I very recently went through this. After looking at various rifles and price points I just DROS'd a Savage Model 10 Hunter XP in .223. The same model line lists 22-250, .243, and .308 as available calibers, along with .223. it has a 22" barrel, adjustable trigger, wood stock, and comes with a Nikon 3x9 40 scope attached.

It's a very nice rifle for the price. More in this CG thread.
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Old 04-14-2019, 7:58 AM
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Get a ruger American predator and a vortex diamondback tactical scope. Ruger makes one with AI detachable mags. I have that exact combo and it shoots under 1Ē with 41.5 gr imr4895 and a 168 smk. 168ís will reach out to 750 no problem and go well beyond that.

Itís light enough to carry in the field. You might eventually want to upgrade the stock. I have a Boydís prairie hunter on mine but might switch over to a magpul hunter stock.

It only has an 18Ē barrel but I donít think thatís a huge issue, not with 308. I love mine. Really nice rifle.


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Old 04-14-2019, 8:03 AM
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Tikka Varmint with aftermarket stock so you can run AICS mags.

https://forum.snipershide.com/thread...ka-t3.6534558/
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Old 04-14-2019, 2:37 PM
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I sort of went through this same decision making process lately but my budget was more flexible. What I didn't like about the ordinary T3x Lite was the comb was very low. It felt like using a scope would make it difficult to get any kind of decent cheek weld. I ended up with a T3x SuperLite, which has a different stock, and also a price tag of $900+ for the stainless one. I've never seen a Varmint version, so they might have a better stock.

I'm going to suggest... a Savage. New Savage models from the last couple of years are very smooth. Older ones are certainly not. If you're going to consider a Savage, you should play with one to make sure it handles the way you want. This model:
https://savagearms.com/content?p=fir...ummary&s=57006

has an msrp of 799 but you'll certainly be able to find one under your price cap. It has a stock with adaptable pieces to make the stock fit you, a barrel that's thick enough to handle some bench sessions (you can tell because it has a threaded muzzle), a tacticool bolt handle, a 20 moa scope rail, and takes AICS magazines, all in 7.38 pounds. It's ready to go out of the box - no stock replacement needed, a rail already mounted, and a fairly decent trigger. Add scope and rings and go.

edit: forgot that Savage has a 10% rebate going now also.

Last edited by sigstroker; 04-14-2019 at 2:39 PM..
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Old 04-14-2019, 3:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tehjosheh View Post
I've been researching, searching, reading, and watching and I've decided I would appreciate some input on selecting my first bolt action.

Purpose: entry to hunting,target bench shooting @ distance

Caliber: .308win

Goals:
-Under 7.5 lbs without scope
-Hit silhouettes at ~750 yrds
-Ability to shoot in relatively quick sucession while maintaining decent, silhouette level accuracy (5 shots in 10min or quicker)
Your goals are unrealistic at your desired rifle weight.
Either reduce the round count to 2 shots per 10 minutes or dramatically increase the target size or increase the weight to 10 lbs before scope.
Any of those changes would make it more viable set of requirements that could actually be filled.
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Old 04-14-2019, 4:07 PM
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I imagine shortening the barrel to 20" would help alot. Get closer to 8 lb.

skipping the DBM would also help "enforce" slower rates of fire, and make more sense for a hunting rifle anyways.

Add a leupold with CDS or similar that encourages more hunting like use and less target like use will also make the rifle make more sense, so you don;t set yourself up for disappointment.

Ultimately you are buying yourself a compromise rifle, and that's OK. Just be realistic about what you are getting and what you are giving up.
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Old 04-14-2019, 4:51 PM
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Look at Savage. Underrated accurate, quality rifles at affordable prices.
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Old 04-14-2019, 4:55 PM
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Savage and Ruger American
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  #11  
Old 04-14-2019, 5:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whiterabbit View Post
I imagine shortening the barrel to 20" would help alot. Get closer to 8 lb.
It would, but at the detriment to 750yd windage call and being able to consistently stay on a 20" wide B27 Silhouette with a 308.
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Old 04-14-2019, 6:44 PM
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I own several Tikka's and all of them are shooters. As someone suggested above, maybe check out 6.5CM
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Old 04-14-2019, 7:03 PM
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All, thank you for the input; very much appreciated. I very much see the compromise in my goals. I see two paths: 1) relax all of them (up to 8.5 lbs and maybe out to say, 500 yrds, slow down fire) or 2) get two separate rifles (one for bench, one for hunting).

Option 1) The requirement i am least willing to sacrifice is fire rate. This leads me to selecting a rifle with a heavy barrel. Here is a summary I made on heavy barreled, .308" rifles. All prices were obtained by grabagun.com for consistency.

Make Model Barrel Weight Price
Howa 1500 20" 8.5 lb $512
Remington SPS Varmint 26" 8.5 lb $550
Remington SPS Tactical 20" 7.5 lb $512
Ruger Predator 18" 6.2 lb $365
Savage 110 Tactical 20" 7.38 lb $635
Savage 110 Tactical 24" 8.4 lb $635
Tikka T3x Varmint 20" 7.7 lb NA (could not find in .308)
Tikka T3x CTR 20" 7.5 lb $1,000

Talking price, the Ruger Predator seems like a bargain but I am hesitant to go that low on barrel length (I think 20" is the lowest I am comfortable with), this article helps explain velocity and drop vs length for .308:
https://rifleshooter.com/2014/12/308...ty-28-to-16-5/

Talking features that i am interested in and price, I am leaning towards the Savage 110 Tactical. Would have to decide if the extra 4" is worth the extra pound.


Option 2) This would enable me to get two completely different setups and even different calibers (I am thinking 6.5 creedmoor for bench and .308 for hunting). I am not a fan of expanding the different types of calibers I own unless there is a very good reason which this may prove to be one (hunting and target are two different applications).That being said, this option is double the cost: two rifles and two optics.

I plan to check out some of the rifles at my LGS and report back.

Thank you again Calguns, you guys are awesome!
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Last edited by Tehjosheh; 04-15-2019 at 7:37 AM..
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Old 04-14-2019, 11:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tehjosheh View Post
All, thank you for the input; very much appreciated. I very much see the compromise in my goals. I see two paths: 1) relax all of them (up to 8.5 lbs and maybe out to say, 500 yrds, slow fire) or 2) get two separate rifles (one for bench, one for hunting).

Option 1) This leads me to selecting a rifle with a heavy barrel. Here is a summary I made on heavy barreled, .308" rifles. All prices were obtained by grabagun.com for consistency.

Make Model Barrel Weight Price
Howa 1500 20" 8.5 lb $512
Remington SPS Varmint 26" 8.5 lb $550
Remington SPS Tactical 20" 7.5 lb $512
Ruger Predator 18" 6.2 lb $365
Savage 110 Tactical 20" 7.38 lb $635
Savage 110 Tactical 24" 8.4 lb $635
Tikka T3x Varmint 20" 7.7 lb NA (could not find in .308)
Tikka T3x CTR 20" 7.5 lb $1,000

Talking price, the Ruger Predator seems like a bargain but I am hesitant to go that low on barrel length (I think 20" is the lowest I am comfortable with), this article helps explain velocity and drop vs length for .308:
https://rifleshooter.com/2014/12/308...ty-28-to-16-5/

Talking features that i am interested in and price, I am leaning towards the Savage 110 Tactical. Would have to decide if the extra 4" is worth the extra pound.


Option 2) This would enable me to get two completely different setups and even different calibers (I am thinking 6.5 creedmoor for bench and .308 for hunting). I am not a fan of expanding the different types of calibers I own unless there is a very good reason which this may prove to be one (hunting and target are two different applications).That being said, this option is double the cost: two rifles and two optics.

I plan to check out some of the rifles at my LGS and report back.

Thank you again Calguns, you guys are awesome!
18" is fine for a hunting rifle as you usualy don't shoot beyond 200yds in most CA big game hunting.
Varmints are a different thing and use a different type of rifle that's more like a longrange target rifle.

On a longrange varmint of target rifle, you want it heavy for multiple reasons.
You don't carry a target rifle much so weight is not a concern.
The extra weight makes it heat up slower and the thicker barrel is stiffer so you don't see as much barrel drift with heat.
The extra weight absorbs recoil, making it easier to spot your impacts.
The extra length gives more velocity for the same chamber pressure so the bullet has less drop and less wind drift at extended ranges.

An 18" lightweight 308 is a fine big game hunting rifle in CA.
A 24" heavy barreled 6.5 Creedmoor is an excellent longrange target rifle.

trying to compromise and get both functions in one rifle means you end up with a package that is not great for EITHER use.
Start out with a rifle that's perfect for your MAIN use.
After that, get a 2nd rifle that's perfect for your secondary use.
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Old 04-14-2019, 11:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tehjosheh View Post
All, thank you for the input; very much appreciated. I very much see the compromise in my goals. I see two paths: 1) relax all of them (up to 8.5 lbs and maybe out to say, 500 yrds, slow fire) or 2) get two separate rifles (one for bench, one for hunting).

Option 1) This leads me to selecting a rifle with a heavy barrel. Here is a summary I made on heavy barreled, .308" rifles. All prices were obtained by grabagun.com for consistency.

Make Model Barrel Weight Price
Howa 1500 20" 8.5 lb $512
Remington SPS Varmint 26" 8.5 lb $550
Remington SPS Tactical 20" 7.5 lb $512
Ruger Predator 18" 6.2 lb $365
Savage 110 Tactical 20" 7.38 lb $635
Savage 110 Tactical 24" 8.4 lb $635
Tikka T3x Varmint 20" 7.7 lb NA (could not find in .308)
Tikka T3x CTR 20" 7.5 lb $1,000

Talking price, the Ruger Predator seems like a bargain but I am hesitant to go that low on barrel length (I think 20" is the lowest I am comfortable with), this article helps explain velocity and drop vs length for .308:
https://rifleshooter.com/2014/12/308...ty-28-to-16-5/

Talking features that i am interested in and price, I am leaning towards the Savage 110 Tactical. Would have to decide if the extra 4" is worth the extra pound.


Option 2) This would enable me to get two completely different setups and even different calibers (I am thinking 6.5 creedmoor for bench and .308 for hunting). I am not a fan of expanding the different types of calibers I own unless there is a very good reason which this may prove to be one (hunting and target are two different applications).That being said, this option is double the cost: two rifles and two optics.

I plan to check out some of the rifles at my LGS and report back.

Thank you again Calguns, you guys are awesome!
There's nothing wrong with a 20" barrel for 750 yards. I have a friend that used to shoot 1000 yard high power with his 20 incher. His bullets sometimes went subsonic, but at 750 you shouldn't have any trouble. You shouldn't worry about it until you've tried it and found it lacking.

edit: Even if it turns out to be too slow to make 750 comfortably, you can always get a custom hand-lapped barrel. Not all barrels are created equal and a high quality barrel is often "faster" than one on a factory mass-produced barrel. It would be a lot cheaper than buying a second rifle.

Last edited by sigstroker; 04-14-2019 at 11:56 PM..
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Old 04-15-2019, 6:33 AM
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I’m hunter first so 20-22 is perfect. but if I were to go target/long range. I’d be looking at 24”
Have you looked at the browning hells canyon? Or Bergara rifles?Been hearing good things about it.
Me personally never cared for 308. I think I’d be looking at 6.5 or 7-08
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Old 04-15-2019, 7:01 AM
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I won't recommend a rifle but barrel length is free velocity all else equal so competitive shooters tend to use longer barrels than pig hunters.
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Old 04-15-2019, 9:33 AM
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I can attest to this.

Early on in my hunting and target shooting, I got a Rem700V in 308. Early 1980's rifle, very accurate out of the box with Federal Match, and with the Sierra 165 Game Kings I loaded. Sub MOA all day long blah blah...

It was great for target work, and for Wyoming antelope.

But man, when transitioned from antelope to deer, we did a lot more hiking. The heavy barrel rifle sucked for that...

If I'm hiking a lot, I use a lighter rifle with a sport taper.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ar15barrels View Post
trying to compromise and get both functions in one rifle means you end up with a package that is not great for EITHER use.
Start out with a rifle that's perfect for your MAIN use.
After that, get a 2nd rifle that's perfect for your secondary use.
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Old 04-15-2019, 11:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sigstroker View Post
There's nothing wrong with a 20" barrel for 750 yards. I have a friend that used to shoot 1000 yard high power with his 20 incher. His bullets sometimes went subsonic, but at 750 you shouldn't have any trouble. You shouldn't worry about it until you've tried it and found it lacking.
Highpower shoots at a 72" wide target frame with a 60" black at 1000yds.
The OP wants to shoot at a 24" wide target at 750yds with a 20" black.
That completely changes how important velocity is.
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Old 04-15-2019, 12:03 PM
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Browning X Bolt in stalker or hunter configuration. .308 or 6.5 creedmoor although i prefer 6.5. Price on these is about $700-850 depending on where you get it. I bought my rifle at 2A zone and paid less than that but this was about a 2 years ago. 6.5 creedmoor will get better results specially at long range. The round is rated for elk so it can take just about any animal in California. 6.5 also has less recoil than .308. If you can shoot one somewhere do it, that will be all the convincing you need. Someone else had mentioned the Browning Hells Canyon Awesome very nice looking rifle, it is also an X bolt. I wanted one bad but could not find any at the time. Not in the least disappointed with my purchase. I bought the stalker.

Last edited by Drakulya; 04-15-2019 at 12:07 PM..
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Old 04-15-2019, 12:18 PM
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I have a CZ 550 American that checks most of those boxes. Four and ten round magazines, 24" barrel, set trigger.,
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Old 04-15-2019, 4:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drakulya View Post
Browning X Bolt in stalker or hunter configuration. .308 or 6.5 creedmoor although i prefer 6.5. Price on these is about $700-850 depending on where you get it. I bought my rifle at 2A zone and paid less than that but this was about a 2 years ago. 6.5 creedmoor will get better results specially at long range. The round is rated for elk so it can take just about any animal in California. 6.5 also has less recoil than .308. If you can shoot one somewhere do it, that will be all the convincing you need. Someone else had mentioned the Browning Hells Canyon Awesome very nice looking rifle, it is also an X bolt. I wanted one bad but could not find any at the time. Not in the least disappointed with my purchase. I bought the stalker.
The ones I've seen have a pretty thin barrel, making them a challenge in bench sessions.
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Old 04-15-2019, 5:42 PM
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I agree with Ruger Predator. 6.2 lbs. Good for hunting out of the box...
https://lockedloaded.com/product/rug...reen-stk-black

Drop it into an Oryx chassis for bench or barricade work....
https://lockedloaded.com/product/ory...merican-action

1 rifle, 2 configurations...under $750.
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Old 04-15-2019, 5:59 PM
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Get the savage tactical 110 in 6.5C ...turners or sportsmans werehouse.

Get the diamond back tactical or SWFA 10 or 12X and some match ammo

And go shooting...
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Old 04-15-2019, 6:10 PM
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Yeah thinking you can have a gun do both hunting and LR target shooting is like making a race car your daily 200 mile commuter.

Just get a cheaper $250 hunting rifle, and blow the rest of your budget on the endless pit of LR shooting.
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Old 04-16-2019, 4:04 PM
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I'm surprised nobody has mentioned a Bergara B14 yet. They have been making barrels for years, and make quality rifles based on the R700 action. They've got a few variants that check off some of your boxes:

The Hunter is pretty self explanatory, and is 6.9 - 7.1 lbs depending on caliber.
The HMR (Hunting & Match Rifle) is a bit heavier with an adjustable stock & heavier barrel at a total of 9.15 lbs for the .308.

But I think what you're looking for is the Ridge, which is basically the Hunter with a heavier barrel. It weighs 7.9 lbs with a 22" barrel in .308. Probably about as close as you'll get to a "do all" rifle.
https://www.bergara.online/us/rifles/b14/ridge-rifle
They also make a Ridge Special Purpose with 18" barrel that's closer to 7lbs, which is what I would want in 6.5 Creedmoor.

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WTB: Beretta 92/M9 series (non-railed), Remington 1100 LT-20,
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  #27  
Old 04-16-2019, 5:23 PM
Banjodude Banjodude is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rm1911 View Post
Get a ruger American predator and a vortex diamondback tactical scope. Ruger makes one with AI detachable mags. I have that exact combo and it shoots under 1Ē with 41.5 gr imr4895 and a 168 smk. 168ís will reach out to 750 no problem and go well beyond that.

Itís light enough to carry in the field. You might eventually want to upgrade the stock. I have a Boydís prairie hunter on mine but might switch over to a magpul hunter stock.

It only has an 18Ē barrel but I donít think thatís a huge issue, not with 308. I love mine. Really nice rifle.


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I just bought this set up. Could not be happier.
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  #28  
Old 04-16-2019, 5:36 PM
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NorCalFocus NorCalFocus is offline
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I must be the crazy person for building a 10# hunting rifle. Thatís with optics and a bi-pod though.
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  #29  
Old 04-16-2019, 5:52 PM
Jeepix Jeepix is offline
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Originally Posted by Tehjosheh View Post
I've been researching, searching, reading, and watching and I've decided I would appreciate some input on selecting my first bolt action.



Purpose: entry to hunting,target bench shooting @ distance



Caliber: .308win



Goals:

-Under 7.5 lbs without scope

-Hit silhouettes at ~750 yrds

-Ability to shoot in relatively quick sucession while maintaining decent, silhouette level accuracy (5 shots in 10min or quicker)



Nice to haves:

-Detachable magazine

-Under $750

-ideally all of the above out of the box. I don't mind swapping my own parts buy don't want to take a dremel to things



Prospects:

-I'm thinking a 22 - 26 inch barrel

-considering the Tikka T3x series. The lite seems great for walking around but not great for multiple shots. The varmint is the opposite. They seem to have what I want mostly out of the box

-I'm also considering the Rem 700 series. Thought about an adl or sps. Would these meet my distance goal out of the box? I hear many start with adl and swap out stocks and other mods. I wonder if at this price after mods I could have just gotten an out of the box that meets my goals



I'm open to other suggestions, any advice is appreciated!
I have a Howa Axiom in .308 that I love. Excellent accuracy.

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  #30  
Old 04-16-2019, 7:02 PM
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TMB 1 TMB 1 is offline
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Get two identical 308 rifles either Savage or Remington 783, then later get a Criterion barrel and better stock for one of them making it your target rifle and ending up with spare barrel for hunting rifle. Until then you can alternate shooting them so barrels don't get to hot.
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