Pennsylvania Firearm Owners Association
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    Waynesboro, Pennsylvania
    (Franklin County)
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    Default Looking for basic bolt gun

    I haven't owned a bolt gun in a few years. I had an older Browning A bolt in 30.06. I liked it ok but didn't love it
    What I'm looking for is a basic but accurate and reliable bolt action in .308. I will mostly be shooting between 200 and possibly up to 500 yards, mostly target but maybe some hunting. I know there are some better performing calibers but I like 308 because it's easy to find and relatively inexpensive. To give an idea of my price range, I've narrowed my search down to either Savage Axis II or XP, Howa 1500 or Savage 110. I've discounted Ruger American because I've read some reviews that I didn't like.
    A rifle/scope combo would be good so I don't have to mess with rings and mounting, but I'm not a fan of some of the cheap combo scope options. I would like to stay away from cheap Bushnell, Nikko or Weaver scopes.
    Any thoughts on Savage or Howa?
    The Hostler

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
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    Lock Haven, Pennsylvania
    (Clinton County)
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    Default Re: Looking for basic bolt gun

    Before I state my piece, I judge a bolt action on three check items.
    1. accuracy.
    2. fit
    3. at the range, I can slowly cycle the action with little effort and control the round feeds and ejections with no issues.

    The Axis lines are so-so. They can be very accurate but it may require tweaking and the actions can also be sloppy. If you know what you're doing around a gun, then it's no problem. Howas' are heavy/cumbersome. Not a rifle I like to carry long distances or up the side of the ridges in my haunts. Actions cycle better than the Axis. Mags are expensive.
    If you scourer the used racks of your local gun stores, look for a Remington 700 or 788 in 308. Same with Winchester 70's from the 70's. 80's and 90's. Buttery smooth actions and each are very accurate. Also Savage 110's in 308 are very good rifles but you would need to go used for your chosen price range.
    You can go with an Axis or Axis II but their price gives up some quality. The used racks for the above many times come with a scope attached. Just my 2 cents and good luck on your search.
    Engineers make things idiot proof! Evolution makes better idiots!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    Waynesboro, Pennsylvania
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    Default Re: Looking for basic bolt gun

    Quote Originally Posted by Boo Vuccla View Post
    Before I state my piece, I judge a bolt action on three check items.
    1. accuracy.
    2. fit
    3. at the range, I can slowly cycle the action with little effort and control the round feeds and ejections with no issues.

    The Axis lines are so-so. They can be very accurate but it may require tweaking and the actions can also be sloppy. If you know what you're doing around a gun, then it's no problem. Howas' are heavy/cumbersome. Not a rifle I like to carry long distances or up the side of the ridges in my haunts. Actions cycle better than the Axis. Mags are expensive.
    If you scourer the used racks of your local gun stores, look for a Remington 700 or 788 in 308. Same with Winchester 70's from the 70's. 80's and 90's. Buttery smooth actions and each are very accurate. Also Savage 110's in 308 are very good rifles but you would need to go used for your chosen price range.
    You can go with an Axis or Axis II but their price gives up some quality. The used racks for the above many times come with a scope attached. Just my 2 cents and good luck on your search.
    I thought about that but like is always the rub, I don't want to buy someone else's problems when I can raise my budget a little and get a new 110 or 700
    The Hostler

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Shamokin, Pennsylvania
    (Northumberland County)
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    Default Re: Looking for basic bolt gun

    At those distances and for that purpose, skip the Axis and anything else entry level. I've heard good things about the Howas and they've been around a while. Personally, I'd take the Savage 110 though. Time tested, tons of parts and support for it, simple and reliable. Theres decades of model iterations available used too...with and without accutrigger. Older ones come up under $300 at times.

    Regarding scope combos, buy what you want and mount it...you'll be glad you did. Anything worth using at those ranges isnt going to be found as a combo deal unless you luck into the right used gun/scope.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
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    The cold, dark, void, Pennsylvania
    (Clearfield County)
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    Default Re: Looking for basic bolt gun

    These days accuracy in a bolt action is pretty cheap, modern manufacturing makes precision pretty cheap. You'll probably be satisfied with how each of those shoot, I'd go with the howa or 110, I hate the axis style action, it just looks as bargain basement as can be.
    NOBODY NEEDS ASSAULT SPEECH

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    Waynesboro, Pennsylvania
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    Default Re: Looking for basic bolt gun

    Yeah, I laid hands on (did not shoot) an Axis II and a 110 today. I think I'll skip the Axis II and go straight to the 110. About $100 difference but the stock and feel of the 110 is so much better, and I know they are both entry level but the Vortex on the 110 is world's better than the Bushnell on the Axis.
    I'm down to 110 or Howa now it may come down to the first one I find. 308s are in short zupply. I found a 110 with the Vortex at Wal-Mart for $540, which is a very good price, but it's a 6.5 crd (I know, I know, just get the 6.5, it's a better lo g range four anyway), believe me, that went through my head until I got home and looked at ammo.
    The Hostler

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    Shamokin, Pennsylvania
    (Northumberland County)
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    Default Re: Looking for basic bolt gun

    Dont discount the 6.5CM, especiallynot just for ammo prices. Prices are up on everything right now, but 6.5 was previously in line with other cartridges like it. Maybe not quite as cheap as 308 was, but it was ~$20 a box and it should drop again once some manufacturers start producing more than just 223 and 9mm. Its mainstream enough now that it shouldn't take too long.

    I gave it a solid decade before I bought into the 6.5 hype, and it's pretty much everything they say. It's not the absolute best thing ever invented, but is a damn good round. I shot 1" groups with Sellier & Bellot at 200 yards last week (and that's not high end stuff). Needless to say, I'm won over.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2018
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    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    (Delaware County)
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    Default Re: Looking for basic bolt gun

    Both the Savage 110 & Howa 1500 are great shooters. I*ve been a Savage fan since I was 18....quite some years ago! For many years now, I*m a fan of buying them used...CHEAPLY. For the Action. And building into a custom shooter.

    Make certain you check both rifles out... and research both. Go with which one speaks to you. I can tell you the Howa has a smoother Action as stock, and has the better trigger. However, I actually prefer the Accutrigger because I perform a complete overhaul on my Accutriggers. Making it an exquisite custom trigger with the remnant of a target 2-stage. The Savage also uses a floating bolt head & as stock....they simply shoot superb! Accuracy wise, I would bet on the 110 edging out the Howa. However, this is not a rule. And the Howa 1500 is a great rifle.
    Was immer du sagst, partner.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    North East PA, Pennsylvania
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    Default Re: Looking for basic bolt gun

    My cheap Savage 110 .270 is the most accurate gun I own. It's better than my Weatherby that's 3x the price. Mine was before the accu trigger so the trigger was pretty terrible. I was going to buy a new rifle in 6.5 Creedmoor but wound up replacing the trigger for around $100 instead. You can't go wrong with a Savage.
    Stop supporting social media

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    Poconos, Pennsylvania
    (Monroe County)
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    Default Re: Looking for basic bolt gun

    If you can find one a Remington 788 in .308, nothing fancy but it has a 9 lug bolt, detachable box magazine. I have one in .44mag and it has been a good deer gun. It also shoots .44 special.

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