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Thread: Which rifle model?

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    Default Which rifle model?

    Looking to buy a quality yet inexpensive rifle (caliber isn't so important here as I'm pretty confident I want a .308). Right now I'm leaning towards Thompson Center Arms' Encore model. Any opinions on this rifel? Any other suggestions?

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    Sure. Remington 700 SPS, Weatherby Vanguard, Savage and Stevens bolt guns in .308 would all be good choices. Cheaper and better than an Encore in my opinion. I even think you could get a Tikka lightweight for less money than an Encore.
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    Quote Originally Posted by wolfmanUSAF View Post
    Looking to buy a quality yet inexpensive rifle (caliber isn't so important here as I'm pretty confident I want a .308). Right now I'm leaning towards Thompson Center Arms' Encore model. Any opinions on this rifel? Any other suggestions?
    It would not be my choice. I'd look at a Ruger M77, Rem 700, or Howa before I'd drop the money on the Encore. Ultimately, only you must be satisfied with your choice and the Encore is a solid rifle, albeit a single shot, but for my money there are better options. Obviously YMMV.
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    I purchased a 308 myself last year. I ended up with a Browning XBolt (spendier).

    However, there are some excellent options at the bottom of the lines. The Remington 770 (boo) used to be about the only choice down there but now there are some good options.

    It might be worth looking at some of these:
    - Weatherby Vanguard: This is an excellent design and a great price. Sportsman's in Wasilla had one for $350 today. The biggest downside is that they tend to be rather heavy, so if you want a light, short action mountain rifle it may not be the best choice.
    - Marlin XS7: This is a new offering and felt pretty good in the store. I personally like the ergonomics quite a bit. The biggest downside is that it is actually a long action sized bolt that's just been made smaller to use the 308 (probably to keep costs down). So you don't get the benefits of a short action caliber. Given that, I'd look pretty seriously at the long action variants (30-06?).
    - Savage Edge/Axis: Another new offering. The bolt on this is actually quite smooth and fast to throw for an inexpensive rifle. The trigger is also halfway decent, although it isn't an accutrigger. The chamber is hard to get into and I think it'd be tough to clear a double feed in a hurry but overall a fair rifle for the price.

    I haven't shot any of these but I handled them a lot. I'm pretty confident based on reviews that they'll all shoot 2 MOA which is perfectly adequate for hunting. Entry level rifles seem to have improved quite a bit in the last few years. For <$400 you can get a lot of rifle for your money.

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    The Encore would be about my last choice. Some shoot well, most don't. At least compared to solid bolt actions that have been properly bedded.
    Tennessee

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    Thanks for the infor guys. I mistyped when I said the Encore, I can never keep names straight. I meant the TC Venture. My goal is a semi-lightweight bolt action rifle for under $500. Two other aspects that I find at the top of my "wants" list is that it have a synthetic stock and stainless barrel.

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    I have procured and set up 3 Marlins for customers but only 1 was SS (pretty new option) they ALL love them and they shoot - Tikka makes an outstanding 308 for the money, the SS will cost a bit more new and an extra clip will be a bit spendy but they seem to always shoot well - a rifle that gets overlooked is the entry level model 70's, push feed, synthetic stock but not SS - Howa is well made and the Vanguard (Howa) is building a good rep - If you are looking at new guns the choices are huge but staying under $500 will be a bit of a challenge, If you are willing to buy "used" and exert some "patience" you will undoubtedly find a good deal - watch gunbroker.com and pay attention to how you navigate your searches (tedious website sometimes) - I just bought a Tikka (CM) 308 with talley lightweight mounts in excellant condition for $480 shipped - that particular rifle can be had NIB for $499 and the Marlins even cheaper

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    wolfmanUSAF,

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    I would definatly be looking to buy a good used rifle if I were in your shoes. Nothing against getting a new gun but unless you just have to have that new gun smell, better deadls are to be found onthe used market. I know some guys swear by them but personally I would much rather buy a used Rem 700 or PF Win70 than a brand new Savage. Rugers can also be found for a good price if you look around the used market. You might even find one that's all set up with scope, sling, the whole nine yards for slightly over 500, and if it has a good scope or a couple boxes of factory ammo you may be getting a better deal than you thought when you look at the price of rings, bases, scopes etc. I wouldn't buy a Tikka if nothing else was available, Id hunt with a spear, but others love them and will tell you the opposite of what I have so you'll have to make that choice for yourself.

    If caliber isn't too critical I would be watching the local adds for a Boatpaddle Ruger, they come up regularly albeit almost always in 300Win or 338Win, but both are good calibers and those rifles, though ugly are tough as nails and shoot plenty good for a hunting rifle.

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    Kid: Please don't take this wrong as I have no Tikka, but what specifically is it you don't like about them. I have never seen one up close so I am asking stricktly on a want to know basis.

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    "The Kid" has some great advice, particulary about the used Rugers.
    Tennessee

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    WHOA ! ... "someone" has an attitude toward Tikka rifles .... I have set up 24 T3's at last count, 5 being my own - I've hunted with a number of them, I've shot all of 'em, I've "built" handloads for most of 'em - IMO, the ONLY negative I personally "might" come up with is the clip system and single round loading (BUT there are a few others with this affliction too) I can't seem to find much criticism in a rifle made by "old school" gunsmithingwith a synthetic stock designed by a company who KNOWS what they are doing and the price comes in well below the market average - Now, I realize that there are those out there with "eons more experience" than me and willingly bow to those but if a person is going to disparage a well known and well though of firearm an explanation why would be welcomed by "this cowboy" - Tikka T3's are accurate, well made, well DESIGNED, lightweight and smooooth as silk

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    Having seen a blowed up one, I share the Kids opinion. Too much plastic in the wrong places

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    My distrust for them comes not from lack of accuraccy, positive feeding or even "good looks". It's the piss poor gas handling system they are equipped with. Everyone used to scream about had badly the 03 Springfield handled gas, well I've seen one of them blown apart and a T3 and it makes the Springfield look like a bank vault by comparison. When an old line rifle company builds a rifle where gas in the event of a peirced primer or head separation is funneled down the left raceway where it is expected to be stopped by the PLASTIC bolt shroud, it makes me sick. I've had two such rifles across my bench and in both cases the shooter got hot gas and shrapnel in his face. The bolt shrouds disintegrated. One of the failures was the result of handloads gone wrong, the other we never determined the cause, other than pressure of course. They also have a tendency to funnel gas into the magazine well, which isn't too bad if the PLASTIC magazine, bottom metal, and stock don't turn to shrapnel and imbed in the user.

    Now all that being said, we can all say well I've never blown a primer or had a head separation in umpty four years of handloading so I'll be fine. Well I don't make it a habit to hotrod my handloads either but on occasion I have had something go awry. In that case I want my rifle design to at least help protect my face and hands. I've seen rifles mysteriously blown up by factory ammo as well, what I'm trying to say is that in the event that someone blows up a rifle I think having a blown up rifle would be bad enough without going through the heartache of loosing an eye, and therefore I like actions with some "failsafes" if you will, just in cases.

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    The T3 seems to have a good reputation as a shooter and the bolt is silky smooth. However, a lot of the engineering decisions are made to cut costs (and corners). The injection molded synthetic stock is cheap. The ejection port is tiny... Good luck clearing a double feed in a hurry. I really looked very seriously at a Tika before I ponied up the extra cash for my Browning. They aren't bad rifles, I probably would have been satisfied with one, but it didn't fit my needs as well as some of the other options out there. I decided to save a little extra dough and skimp a bit on my glass (for now -- can always upgrade optics later...) in order to get the nicer rifle.

    I don't have any special expertise other than having recently looked at a lot of these rifles in 308 myself.
    I think you can do better with, say, a Vanguard, though. Or, go used. Really, at the bottom end of the price range, you'll have to decide what compromises you are most willing to make. If you decide that the silky bolt throw on the Tika is worth enough to make up some of the other compromises then more power to you.

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    Funny you mention the Tikka and the Vanguard. A couple years ago I had a T3 and a Vanguard come across my workbench the same week. Both were chambered for the same caliber and both had been fired with the same "suspect" ammo, bought at the same store, manufactured by the same major American ammo maker. The guy with the T3 had a large burn under his eye, thank the Good Lord for shooting glasses, and was still picking pieces of his stock out of his forearm. His Tikka was blown to bits and he was wondering what the heck went wrong, as he was using factory ammo and this only happens to handloading daredevils. The guy with the Vanguard came in a couple days later in fine physical condition, but wondering why he couldn't open the bolt on his rifle. After pulling the barrel we realized the locking lugs were set Wayyyyy back into their mating surfaces, like .050!! But other than that the rifle and more importantly the shooter looked fine.

    If the OP must buy a brand new rifle I think that within his stated price range the Vanguard or Howa is definately the most rifle.

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    Thompson Center is having some issues right now with moving and rearranging there facilities and their customer service has really fallen off. There are to many nice and inexpensive rifles makes to choose from to consider the the Encore which I am not a fan anyway so I find my self biased against it. You have Vanguard, Tikka, Savage, and others to choose from and frankly the three I just mention will out shoot an Encore unless the Encore has had special work done to it. Now my brother has Encores and he loves his but they do not out shoot my Savages, Remingtons, nor my Vanguard are my Tikka (I do not like the plastic on the Tikka and it does not out shoot my Savage rifles).
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    Amother vote for the Weatherby Vanguard or Howa 1500....same gun!

    I have one of the Vanguard carbine versions in 308 and really like it. It sports a 20 inch barrel, is light and points well.

    I have been working up some loads for it and have now got it shooting less than an inch @ 100 yards. I gave $350 for it 6 months ago!

    I have to admit that I didn't know about the Tikka's short comings. I don't own one and am not likely to now. Thanks for calling it like you see it Kid!

    Wolfman, it will always pays to listen to the expertise of fine gun smiths! There are a few on this forum. The Kid and gunbugs come to mind!

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    Kid - thank you for the specifics - this would lead one to believe that the Tikka T3 DESIGN is flawed, something I am gonna pose to Beretta personally because NOW you have me "wondering" - I handled a Howa ranch rifle last week and was duly impressed - On Browings, don't know anything about the Xbolt as yet but quite a bit about the Abolt - user friendly, accurate, lightweight, I have had 2 different Abolt triggers freeze up on 2 separate elk hunts, neither thawed until I took them back to camp and by the woodstove so I lost faith in Abolts - that said, I don't really have experience either way with any others except model 70's (which along with '98's are bullet proof IMO) I began with T3's because I wanted a clip gun for riding an ATV and staying legal, removing magazine do have their place -

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    Kid;
    I appreciate an honest answer. I have never ruptured a case but it's nice to think that if it did happen I wouldn't be wearing gun parts. I think maybe the Tikka is not for me. I also agree with a good used rifle. Often you can find a used one with a decent scope, rings, and mounts for 400/500. It may not be exactly what you are looking for caliber wise but I think the " only cal x will kill stuff" is grossly over blown. An easy to find 308 or 30/06 should be fine. Thanks Buck.

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