Quality Rifle Options

Grayman

Established
#1
I'm actually surprised this topic hasn't already been started here... let's hear what you guys recommend as quality options for those looking to break into the precision rifle world. Obviously there are some very significant differences in both the price and quality of the offerings currently on the market so let's break this into two categories: (Let's assume for ease of discussion the person is looking at .308 or 6.5 creedmoore)

-Entry level or hobbiest level guns (>$2,000)
-Money is no object / Custom guns (<$2,000)

Specifically I am looking for responses to include your personal experiences with your suggestion, your type of use (i.e. Competition, hobby, hunting) and why you chose what you did. Please include photos of your setup if you'd like but let's try to keep the conversation geared towards rifles and save the optics discussions for a different thread. If you are using a different caliber than the above thats fine please feel free to jump in and just share why.
 

Grayman

Established
#3
-Remington 700:
I recently spent a week behind a 700 in the Magpul hunter stock during an LE precision rifle school. The gun was a bone stock 700 tactical dropped into the Magpul stock. It ran like a top all week and did everything I asked of it. As a barebones option I really couldn't complain and the price is certainly right for someone looking to pinch pennies. Does it give you the tactical chub or make the dudes at the range flock over to ogle your goods? No but you didn't really expect that when you bought a pinto did you... I have heard there are some QC issues with the newish 700's and if anyone cares to expand on that feel free.

I also got a chance to fondle a 700 tactical in a Magpul Pro chassis. Looks nice and felt good but that was the extent of my impression. If anyone can expand on whether it's worth the $900+ they want for it please share.

Overall the Rem 700 seems like the lego equivalent of the precision world with about a trillion options to build one into. As many of us have learned though it ain't always easier and almost certainly never winds up being cheaper to build vs. buy.

-Ruger precision rifle:
I know very little about them other than they seem to have been trying to corner factory custom market. The price seems to fall in the top end of the hobbiest bracket but at least at first glance it doesn't seem to need anything thrown on it before being satisfied. I have heard some very mixed reviews about the value and quality so please chime in if you've got more info.
As an aside-
Had two in my weeklong class and one of them went down hard with a loose barrel nut. Sounds like it had been monkeyed with by the end user but none the less the cadre seemed less than surprised to have one take a dump. The other one I shot and it looked/felt pretty good.

-Bergara B14:
My local gun shop just got one in and the owner was eager to show it off to me. I know diddly squat about the brand and was hesitant at first but have to say wound up pretty interested to learn more. The action was buttery smooth for a factory gun and the trigger was way more crisp than I expected. Nothing like the gritty awfulness of the factory Rem trigger. The stock had great adjustability and reminded me a lot of the KRG Bravo... What really blew up my skirt though was the price. At $950 it seems like a helluva option for someone who doesn't plan to do much more than ring steel.

A little research found Bergara USA B14 model in their premiere series that comes in at $1,700 and at initial review seems like it checks a lot of the custom build boxes without the custom price tag. The cadre at the school mentioned Bergara as a very good option for an entry level shooter.

Any experience with the brand? Is the premiere series worth the dough?
 

Gypsy EDC

Regular Member
#6
-Remington 700:
I recently spent a week behind a 700 in the Magpul hunter stock during an LE precision rifle school. The gun was a bone stock 700 tactical dropped into the Magpul stock. It ran like a top all week and did everything I asked of it. As a barebones option I really couldn't complain and the price is certainly right for someone looking to pinch pennies. Does it give you the tactical chub or make the dudes at the range flock over to ogle your goods? No but you didn't really expect that when you bought a pinto did you... I have heard there are some QC issues with the newish 700's and if anyone cares to expand on that feel free.

I also got a chance to fondle a 700 tactical in a Magpul Pro chassis. Looks nice and felt good but that was the extent of my impression. If anyone can expand on whether it's worth the $900+ they want for it please share.

Overall the Rem 700 seems like the lego equivalent of the precision world with about a trillion options to build one into. As many of us have learned though it ain't always easier and almost certainly never winds up being cheaper to build vs. buy.

-Ruger precision rifle:
I know very little about them other than they seem to have been trying to corner factory custom market. The price seems to fall in the top end of the hobbiest bracket but at least at first glance it doesn't seem to need anything thrown on it before being satisfied. I have heard some very mixed reviews about the value and quality so please chime in if you've got more info.
As an aside-
Had two in my weeklong class and one of them went down hard with a loose barrel nut. Sounds like it had been monkeyed with by the end user but none the less the cadre seemed less than surprised to have one take a dump. The other one I shot and it looked/felt pretty good.

-Bergara B14:
My local gun shop just got one in and the owner was eager to show it off to me. I know diddly squat about the brand and was hesitant at first but have to say wound up pretty interested to learn more. The action was buttery smooth for a factory gun and the trigger was way more crisp than I expected. Nothing like the gritty awfulness of the factory Rem trigger. The stock had great adjustability and reminded me a lot of the KRG Bravo... What really blew up my skirt though was the price. At $950 it seems like a helluva option for someone who doesn't plan to do much more than ring steel.

A little research found Bergara USA B14 model in their premiere series that comes in at $1,700 and at initial review seems like it checks a lot of the custom build boxes without the custom price tag. The cadre at the school mentioned Bergara as a very good option for an entry level shooter.

Any experience with the brand? Is the premiere series worth the dough?
I just picked up a Bergara B14 HMR in 6.5CM impressed so far.
 

Grayman

Established
#7
I'm actually surprised this topic hasn't already been started here... let's hear what you guys recommend as quality options for those looking to break into the precision rifle world. Obviously there are some very significant differences in both the price and quality of the offerings currently on the market so let's break this into two categories: (Let's assume for ease of discussion the person is looking at .308 or 6.5 creedmoore)

-Entry level or hobbiest level guns (>$2,000)
-Money is no object / Custom guns (<$2,000)

Specifically I am looking for responses to include your personal experiences with your suggestion, your type of use (i.e. Competition, hobby, hunting) and why you chose what you did. Please include photos of your setup if you'd like but let's try to keep the conversation geared towards rifles and save the optics discussions for a different thread. If you are using a different caliber than the above thats fine please feel free to jump in and just share why.
This means more than 2k USD.
Bahahaha yep you’re right. Guess I should proofread before clicking post....
 
#8
Savage Model 10 .308 Bell and Carlson stock. Way under 2k USD.

Pro- Proven system.
- Adjustable trigger.
- Good aftermarket support.
- Excellent value.

Con- Heavy
- Not going to get attention at the range or on the grams.

Overall opinion. To steal words from the Rem 700 review it isn’t going to get a lot of attention at the range or huge likes on the gram but is a solid rifle for a very fair price.

For someone on a budget this rifle is a fine option. If they get really serious or feel like throwing money at the problem one can always get a new rifle later and keep it as a back up/ loaner.
 
#11
Best-kept secret is to hover around places like Sniper's Hide and wait for one of the many, many "shooters" to dump a custom barreled action for about 1/2 of what it's worth.

Or even better...wait for an Accuracy International AE (doesn't matter Mk1, 2 or 3) to pop up as they surface quickly for around the low $2k's.

Finally, recognize that a wider array of decent custom actions in the 700 footprint along with the Tikka, Bergara, and RPR are crushing Remington. The Nucleus, Big Horn Origin, and similar "hunting" actions from custom makers like Stiller and Defiance can be had for under $1k and can be smartly assembled for a superb "custom" rifle for a fraction of the cost of the old 700 builds. Things like the Seekins HAVAK or the PVA Hancock are examples of this.

http://patriotvalleyarms.com/john-hancock-bolt-action/
 
#12
It's a dynamite time to be getting into the precision game; it's a buyer's market.

I was just remarking to someone that I got into AI guns in the late 2000's and my plain-jane AI AWP cost me about $5400 where as today an new AT is going to run you about $4000 and have more features. Likewise, I had a GA Precision build for me in about 15 months and cost me $5600. I have since sold that rifle and am building a similar, but far superior version (still a $1300 custom action, Bartlein barrel, Manners stock) but it's being done by Impact Precision/Stuteville as a barreled action, assembled by me and it will be done in about 12 weeks time and cost about $3600-3750.

What you can get today for $2500-3500 is phenomenal.
 

Gypsy EDC

Regular Member
#14
Fwiw I was disappointed with the quality of the howa m1500 .223 I owned ranch defender model (or something along those lines). Accuracy wasn't anything special (fine for sub 300 yrd coyote hunting) but my mod0 pws mk116 was more accurate once I dropped a timney trigger cartridge in it (more accurately I was). The other very weird thing was after around 200 rounds the bolt release would stick down and allow me to pull the bolt all the way out while chambering a round. Replacing the spring fixed it iirc (it's been approx 10 years) I just remember thinking the fit and finish was weak.
 
#15
You might want to check out a Tikka CTR. I have one in .308 that shoots an honest .5-.75 moa with Hornady 168 gr TAP. My brother bought one in 6.5 that shoots at least as well. Some complain about the magazines, but I’ve had no problems and they can be found at Eurooptic for about what AI mags are going for. The only weak spot is the bolt stop pin can give out with aggressive bolt manipulation. I replaced it with a cut off drill bit in the appropriate diameter until I upgraded to an aftermarket part. The single stage trigger is excellent, though I prefer two stage. They can be found in the neighborhood of $900 at different places, but I bought mine from Whittaker guns online.
 
#16
I’d buy an AI AT and be done with it. When you start looking at the high end “affordable” rifles they start approaching a price point where I feel it’s probably better to just save up longer and take the plunge on a high end factory rifle like a Sako TRG or AI AT.


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#17
I’d buy an AI AT and be done with it. When you start looking at the high end “affordable” rifles they start approaching a price point where I feel it’s probably better to just save up longer and take the plunge on a high end factory rifle like a Sako TRG or AI AT.


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Not disputing the statement, I'm just curious why? What's your reasoning?
 
#18
I’d buy an AI AT and be done with it. When you start looking at the high end “affordable” rifles they start approaching a price point where I feel it’s probably better to just save up longer and take the plunge on a high end factory rifle like a Sako TRG or AI AT.


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Not disputing the statement, I'm just curious why? What's your reasoning?
Most of the better production rifles made by Tikka, Ruger and Remington are nearly halfway or even over half way to the cost of an AI, which is indisputably the king of high end, purpose built, hard use precision rifles. In 10 years, after 10,000 rounds down range the $2,000 to $2,500 price difference will literally mean nothing. And you’ll have saved money, because if you’re serious about precision shooting you’re going to end up with an AI, Sako or some other custom built rifle of similar price; might as well be one and done instead of buying twice.

Also, I don’t know about you but I can suck it up and eat chicken and rice for a month, kill it on OT and come up with that extra $2,500... ya it won’t be pleasant but I’d have an AI.


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Gypsy EDC

Regular Member
#19
Did you purchase the premiere series? I’d love to hear any updates how it is working out for you.
Ran 40 rounds through the bergara b14 hmr this AM at varying distance.

It shoots.
Once zeroed @ 200yrds I shot 5 round groups (as anything less isn't even a "group bro")

Had I used 3 round groups I might have been super impressed with my mad skills at 300 yrds on this group (not actually sure what order they hit)

Rifle- 6.5 cm bergara b14 hmr
Bipod- Harris
Ammo- 140 gr eld match
Optic- vortex viper pa 6.5-20
Distance 100, 200, 300 yrds
IMG_20181006_121815882-01-2080x1170.jpeg
 
#20
Because if you’re serious about precision shooting you’re going to end up with an AI, Sako or some other custom built rifle of similar price; might as well be one and done instead of buying twice.
TRUTH.

If you have the ability to facilitate the means for an AI of any flavor (new or used), that is the way to roll.

I will amend my statements regarding custom actions to this: unless you have a seasoned guide/expert to walk you through the idiosyncrasies of each action; it's best to avoid the custom stuff up front. Once more is that customs can be very sensitive to conditions. I saw a lot of bolt binding with several makes at a 2-day comp when the skys opened up on us at the beginning of day 1 and lot of dry bolts were binding in the action.

It's pretty awesome to take an AI to a class, have it run like a champ for the entirety of class, come home spin off that 308 barrel by hand, install the 6.5CM barrel with same 100y zero by only using a Wheeler Fat Wrench in 30 seconds and go bang some steel. I literally did just that this past week...and had a new milestone shooting ELR/sub-sonic pretty much for the first time ever with any level of seriousness.

Shot the mascot target in the head at 1680y (per ballistic solution and Google Earth; 1,660y per LRF) with a 130gr 6.5CM that had about the same ballistic punch as a point blank .380 ACP at impact. [NOTE: this was a 3rd round hit...after fine tuning the actual distance and proper wind in shots 1 and 2].



The reason I feel the above is pertinent is because precision is all about variables. Is your scope true and tracking properly? Is everything on your rifle torqued to proper spec? The AI alleviates a lot of the BS in regards to the rifle...you've got enough to worry about as it is. Not having to worry about whether something is up with the rifle is worth the cost of admission. No chassis/stock to torque; the base doesn't work loose...