Replacement Options – .308 Win

(For those who missed the earlier post on this topic, go here first — and read the comments too.)

The general consensus, both in Comments and by email, suggests that 1.) I should wait for a CZ 557 Varmint to become available, and 2.) if not that, stick to the .308 Win chambering but in a rifle of similar quality to the 557.  I have no problem with any of that.  I’ll talk to my Merchant of Death and see if they’ll even take an order for the 557 (remember, that’s where I lucked upon its predecessor);  and if so, I’ll go ahead and order one.

Assuming that no FFL might be willing to commit to that action, or that the wait could be close to a year (!!!), let’s take a look at some of the options that are available right now (with all the usual caveats).  Before I go on, I should point out that none of the guns that follow have wood stocks;  the CZ 557 seems to be an outlier in this regard.  Here are some interesting .308 Win choices, culled from various online outlets and ranked from low- to high price (rounded).

Browning X-Bolt Max Long Range (Cabela’s, $1,100)
I was frankly amazed to find this rifle as cheap as listed (Browning is not known for inexpensive rifles, and Cabela’s ditto for its low prices).  I like it, Longtime Friend and Rifleman Combat Controller swears by his, and Browning is seldom a bad choice, whether handguns, rifles or shotguns.  Here’s the Ewww Choob video.)

Howa 1500 HS Precision (Bud’s, $1,100)
I love Howa (a.k.a “the Japanese Sako”) rifles, have shot several and been impressed with all of them).  I’m pretty sure that this would be a MOA/all day gun.  My only reservation is that this is more a hunting rifle than a bench rifle — or perhaps that’s a feature, not a bug…

T/C Performance Center LRR (SWFA, $1,200)
This is one of those “chassis” stocks (which I’m not especially partial to, but they do work for bench-type shooting).  The gun is actually a collaboration between the “performance centers” of T/C and S&W, so it’s going to be a good ‘un (I think — here’s a Ewww Choob test).

Christensen Arms Mesa Black (Sportsman’s Warehouse, $1,300)

I’m not that familiar with Christensen rifles, but a lot of the cool kids like ’em, especially their triggers.  Here’s the Ewww Choob review.

Those four rifles, assuming a scope costing around $750, will push us right up to the $2,000 budget, but I don’t think that any one of them would be a bad buy, at all.

If I get a rush of blood to the wallet — it’s been known to happen — here are a couple more (pricier) options:

Savage 110 Precision (Cabela’s, $1,400)
My earlier problems with the cheaper Savage Axis notwithstanding, I would have no problem picking this rifle because it’s a different breed from Savage’s budget lines.  Like the T/C LRR, it has a chassis stock.  Here’s Ewww Choob.

Finally, there’s the Sako S20 Precision (Sportsman’s Warehouse, $1,700)
Its price would put me waaaayyy over budget, but hey… it’s a Sako.  Here’s a long Ewww Choob review.

So there you have it.  If no vendor/FFL is prepared to commit to a CZ 557 Varmint order, these are the options available today (unless one of them sells out over the next couple hours grrr grrrr grrrrrr….).

Your thoughts are welcome.

Afterthought:   although not set in stone, I’ll most likely be looking at the Meopta 3-18×50 Optika6 FFP:

That is, unless I end up with one of the “cheaper” guns above, in which case I’ll step up a little, say to the Trijicon AccuPoint 5-20×50:

But it’s early days, yet.


  1. With the long guns you list I am surprised the Ruger Precision bolt-action rifle is not in the lineup. They all are a bit rich for me. I have a 40 year old Remington Sportsman 78 in 30-06. It is the economy version of the 700 model that came with a cheaper birch stock and inexpensive Simmons 3-9×40 scope. I replaced the scope early on with a Leopold 4-12×50. Even though it is the cheaper model it is sighted in at 300 yards and is extremely accurate.

    1. The key words in the above post are “available now” — i.e. I could actually find it in stock somewhere. The Ruger was often listed, always OOS.

      Also, the whole point of the Boomershoot-style Ultra-Long Distance concept is that it’s a step above the budget rifle — by trying (and failing with) the budget Savage Axis, I think I proved the efficacy thereof.

  2. Doing a little Sunday morning looking, and I did find a couple other options. This one IS in 6.5 Hipster, but I have a regular hunting version of this, and it’s a sub-MOA sleeper, even with cheap blasting / practive ammo:
    Moving on from Spanish imports, there is always the too-cheap-to-be-classic yet-still-works Savage:
    Again, 6.5 CM. But I’m searching with an “in stock” modifier.
    I wouldnt turn down a Ruger, but they all seem to be out of stock for the nonce, as do pretty much any .308 chambered precision rifles for under a grand (which was also one of my search criteria).
    Of course, all the above availability can change and has at the drop of a hat (or stock market ticker). Firearm availability has gotten a lot scarcer for some reason these last 12 months…

    1. The Savage target action is a whole different game than the Axis. The latter is Savage’s budget action, the other is the opposite end of the spectrum.

      Both my current Boomershoot rifles are on that action and shoot very well.

  3. If you are willing to go back to last year’s 300 Win Mag, the Savage 110 Precision Elite looks really nice. It is $2000, but your loyal readers would ante up for the upgrade. IIRC you were not too happy with the recoil of the 300 Win Mag, but this baby can add weights in strategic spots to reduce barrel rise and recoil.

  4. No wood. Sigh.

    Being a ‘mature’ person, I’ve learned the value of delayed gratification. I actually like the idea of holding out for a 557 and shooting it next year. If grumpy Joe gets his way, I’m out $50. If not, you get to prove it’s a good rifle. With $80 mags!

    But if you must make a choice, my preference is for the Howa.

  5. My order of preference:

    Waiting a reasonable (by your definition) amount of time for the CZ

    Browning X-Bolt

    Howa Precision

    I would be willing to forego the scope entirely for the higher-priced Sako.

    However, I’m sure that I’ll be very pleased with whatever you decide. Here’s to better days!

  6. Love the idea of an X-bolt. Because Browning.

    The Howa and Christensen are fine looking options as well.

    Not a fan of the skeletonized stocks on the other ones, and the Sako looks a tad pricey even though its a good quality firearm.

    I dont have a strong preference. I’m sure you’ll do the right thing.

    My $0.02

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