I grew up shooting and hunting, but have never owned anything that could be considered a deer rifle. I am 32, very poor, and have postponed buying a rifle for all of these years due to lack of money.
Long story short, I have borrowed $900 in order to buy a rifle and bed; I've been sleeping on a blow-up one for the last two years. Maybe I'll be able to buy a base, rings, and scope in a year or so, but if I don't buy a rifle with some of this money, I never will be able to.
I was thinking about a Savage "12 Series Varmint, Model 12FVSS" in 308, but am open to suggestions regarding both the caliber and rifle. With tax, I can get that locally for less than $700.
Yes, I have been drooling over all of your custom rifles mentioned in this forum for a long time, but will never be able to afford one. Still, I know that y'all are the right folks to ask about this, so here I am.
I had one of this before Savage "12 Series Varmint Model 12FVSS" in 308. Accuracy is impressive & it looks great as well. But not ideal for hunting it's kinda heavy. I would suggest Remington LTR for all purpose rifle.
Look at the Stevens 200. Exactly the same actions as Savage, minus Accutrigger. Less than $300, leaves alot for scope and misc. No heavy barrels though. Several review on it. Last I was in American Rifleman. Great shooters.
They shoot like a house of fire and the blued one at Walmart sells for $389.99 The stainless one does not come in 308 and Walmart can order you one in a different cal if you wanted something else. At least the one here would. I know I am going to get beat up over this but stay away from the Savage yep that is right I said it [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/ooo.gif[/img] They are a good rifle but are limited with stock selection add on triggers and other stuff. Yes I have a Savage so I can say that. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img] Do not think you need a heavy barrel to get good accuracy. My friend and my dad have REM SPS's in 300win mag and they will shoot 3/4 to 1inch groups at 300 yards with 3 shots. Not bad for a stock rifle. As for a scope I would take a good look at the Nikon Buckmaster line. They have very good glass and track very well. Best scope for the money if you ask me.
For you a Savage or Stevens would be a good option. Stevens is a savage minus accutrigger as someone already said. You can usally pick them up for under 400, if you shope around. Hunter or Weatherworrier serious probably would fit your need the best. Light barrels so easy to hunt with and dam accurate.
Shelton, welcome and you are definitely on the right track. You don't need to spend a lot of money to get some awesome shooting iron these days.
You haven't speced what you will be using this rifle for so I will give a couple of suggestions.
First off, get the model with the best trigger you can unless a non adjust or standard trigger model is being reduced to sell.
I have several new Savages/Stevens an am amazed at how well they shoot. I recommend you start here.
Best bang for the buck, the 12 or 112FV's (forget the more expensive models with fancy stocks, you can swap in later). They come with a 26" heavy barrel, accutrigger and a basic wide forend stock. Bed the action (you can do this for $4 or so), tune that trigger as light as it goes, handload and you have a sub MOA rig as far as you can shoot. Those black plastic stocks get a lot of flack but with a bit of simple work, do an excellent job. Just open that barrel gap up, after bedding, so that there is about 1/8" space around the barrel. Problem solved.
I use mine to shoot out to 1000m with zero problems.
To start, I suggest the 223 w/ a 9 twist. Dirt cheap to shoot (about 1/2 to 2/3 the cost of a 308), ballistically identical to the 308 with 175gr MK, zippo for recoil/noise, lots of cheap components and can be used for varmint and close deer hunting in a pinch. You can use bulk 55gr bullets for trigger time/low cost and move up to 75gr Amax for long shots.
Trigger time is so important to learn. Lowering your costs as much as possible is just smart especially when on a budget. You can even shoot bulk Win varmint ammo and get decent accuracy. Then you save the initial cost of handload gear until you can save some money.
Next cal would be a 243, 7-08 if more hunting on the menu. After that if you really want to do lots of LR shooting/hunting, I would go 7RM. Why skip all the 30cals? Simply the bullets are just not as ballistical good at the lower weights as compared to the 6mm and 7mm Amax. The heavies are way more expensive and recoil goes way up.
I have not mentioned any 6.5's simply because they are not available in factory rifles. The 260 would be an awesome choice too if available in the heavy barrel.
Look at the Stevens but you will eventually tire of the trigger and light barrel. You can always swap those later but for a few dollars now, you have everything you could need.
Weatherby Vanguard/Howa, and Rem SPS are also good choices. However, the 'varmint' styles are going to cost more. Also, consider good used. There are so many great shooters that can be had for way less then a new custom.
If you use an Elite 3200 10X, burris sig rings w/inserts, and a well priced FV, you should be able to get this entire rig up and shooting for under your budget of $700 (not including reloading gear of course). How does that strike you?
If you want to spend a bit more money, you can upgrade to a Nikon Buckmaster SF 4X14 w/ mil dots and have a bit more mag right off the bat.