Over at Gun World, Brad Fitzpatrick talks about the change in gun manufacturing, whereby “budget” (“cheap”) no longer means “can’t hit the inside of a barn”, and gives his take on various offerings from some well-known American gunmakers. He likes them all. Here they are, in no specific order:
From what Fitzgerald writes, and as I see it — because I’ve never shot any of them myself — all the above are great value for money, in that they combine a “sensible” price with outstanding accuracy straight out of the box. (As for long-term reliability, of course, we’ll have to see in a decade or so’s time because they’re all relatively new and haven’t been through the hell that we riflemen subject our guns to, yet.)
All the above companies have taken the lessons learned in their respective experience and applied those when using new (and improved) manufacturing techniques, to what seems to be a great advantage for us gunnies.
Nothing wrong with any of that.
However — and you knew there was going to be a qualifier from me, didn’t you? — I think that this new Kraft Durch Technik stuff has led to a bunch of guns that all look the same, and are not that great-looking withal.
Once again, let me reiterate: if I were looking to buy an inexpensive bolt-action rifle in .300 Win Mag to take to the Cairngorms in Scotland for a deer stalk with Mr. Free Market, Doc Russia and Combat Controller, every single one of these rifles would be on my short list, in the same way that if I were looking for a budget-yet-well-made vehicle to take on a long drive trip across the United States, I’d certainly consider cars from Toyota, Nissan, Honda and so on.
But paraphrasing Jeremy Clarkson’s famous question: would you get a thrill every time you took it out of the gun safe / saw it in your driveway?
I wouldn’t. I’m sorry, but as much as I have said, and believe that guns are tools and cars just means to get from A to B, I just cannot reconcile myself with the blandness of modern products, and these budget rifles don’t do it for me. Something like this one does:
It’s a Mauser M18, and in .300 Win Mag as pictured it retails for about $750 at Euro-Optic (~$300 more than the Winchester XPR above). Yeah, it’s a “budget” Mauser. My kinda budget.
Update: It appears that I screwed up and used the wrong pic (of a new Mauser 98), as the M18 is only available with a plastic stock. Ugh. So much for that thought. Okay, let’s go with an older “budget” rifle in .300 Win Mag, the Savage 110 XP with the wonderful Accu-Trigger:
This one’s on sale at Bud’s Gun Shop for just under $600, and while it’s no Mauser, it will probably do just fine.
[exit, kicking sand]