Choosing From a Sea of Rifles
By: Jake Rush Outdoorsmans Manager
Buying a new rifle now-a-days isn’t as easy as it used to be, especially one that you want to use in competitions. Gone are the simple days of walking into a gun shop and choosing between the Remington 700, Winchester Model 70, or Weatherby Mark V. The number of bolt action rifles on the shelf at your local gun store today can drive a person insane from decision overload. This doesn’t even include the plethora of semi-custom rifles available through rifle builders.
So, when I sat down to choose a rifle for this project, I started by asking the people I know who already shoot these matches. The overwhelming response I got was to build a custom rifle. Being the impatient person that I am, I wanted to take more of a T.V. dinner approach to this. You know, unwrap it, heat it, and be done with it, or in this case unbox it, scope it, and shoot it.
Eliminating the custom build route left me with a choice of mass produced rifles with the features I was looking for. These features included an adjustable trigger, a chassis system or fully bedded stock, an adjustable stock, and a rock-solid action. These features left me with 4 possible options within my price range that came in my round of choice, the 6.5 Creedmoor.
The rifles that made the short list were in no particular order:
- Ruger Precision Rifle: $1,599.00
- Bergara HMR Pro: $1,715.00
- Tikka T3X CTR: $1,150.00
- Remington 700 Magpul BA: $1,175.00
All of these rifles are quality off-the-shelf rifles that with the proper optics would have me out shooting matches in no time. With this short list in hand I sat down to further break down the true differences in these highly capable rifles.
The first rifle eliminated was the Ruger Precision Rifle for no other reason than I previously owned a Ruger Predator in 6.5 Creedmoor and I could never get used to the feel of the trigger or action. These are just my personal feelings on the Ruger, I have heard a lot of great things about these rifles, but they just aren’t for me.
The second rifle to be eliminated was one of my favorite rifles on the list, the Tikka T3X CTR. Tikkas are one of the most accurate rifles available on the market, but they use their own proprietary magazines. I didn’t want to be caught in a situation where (God forbid) I lose a magazine or it breaks and no one is able to loan me one due to other rifles taking an AICS style mag.
So that left me with the Remington 700 and Bergara. My wife was quick to point out that of course it was between the two most expensive choices. As stated above I wanted a turn key gun system, and honestly one that I wouldn’t want to upgrade anytime soon. The Remington 700 is a great all-around gun and has proven itself time and time again in the field, but we can all agree the components on a factory Remington are not the best, and for that reason it was taken out of the running.
The process of choosing this rifle took weeks of research, multiple sleepless nights, a few pie charts, and finally a flip of a coin. All of these rifles on this list are capable of getting a new shooter out to the range to bang steel, but the Bergara had the cool factor I was searching for deep down. When you sit down to choose your next rifle, keep some of these features in mind and don’t get flustered by decision overload.