Now I'm not about to begin brand or model bashing, but there are a few gun manufacturers out there that have a few models which are low cost but also low quality. From all these lower priced rifles, probably the best overall manufacturer I've seen over the years in the sales end of the gun industry has been Savage. This was again recently reiterated to me after a buddy of mine recently bought a new (Savage) Stevens 200 (now discontinued, still readily available) in 308 Win. He paid $289 for it ordered in new. This is a Savage short action, without the accu-trigger in a regular sporter rifle with a dark grey synthetic stock that has an internal mag w/ no floorplate or release. He put a decent quality 4-16X scope on it to use for ground hogs this summer, and plans to get a higher end scope in the fall. Initially using Winchester, Remington, and Federal 150's he was getting around a 3 MOA at 100 yards... about what you'd expect for a rifle that's Sub-$300 when it's brand new. After about 100 rounds had been fired through it (and cleaning done rhythmically during that process) trying different ammo brands and weights, things got serious. We did some research online regarding the 308 caliber in a 1 in 10" twist, it's not that we discovered anything profound however we did pay particular attention to Sierra's data about 165 Boat Tails and the velocity of the most accurate load for that grain as they were using a 1 in 10" Savage for their testing. We settled on 4064 powder, and Hornady 168 A-Max as the bullet. We also used an old trick to measure the best overall case length of the chamber in that particular gun and found it to be almost 1/10 of an inch longer than the standard measurement. We backed off a little bit and left them 1/20" longer and proceeded to load 4 different sets of 5 rounds with different powder charges... it turns out, we found a load it likes and we now have that gun shooting a 5 shot .6" group at 100 yards. I think it would get even smaller if some trigger work was done, but he seems happy with the 6 lb.pull. At any rate, a lot of bang for your buck.
Edited by Whistle Pig, 28 June 2009 - 09:38 PM.