I’ve spent some time talking about a replacement for the Boomershoot ULD rifle. Now I’m going to talk about what I might consider as a replacement for my stolen 6.5x55mm CZ 550, and let me share my thoughts.
All my 6.5mm Swede ammo was stolen, along with the rifle. (I have more — okay, a lot more — Hirtenberger mil-surp stashed away at a sooper-seekrit location, but all my soft- and hollowtip ammo went bye-bye.) So I’d be starting from scratch, so to speak, and thus I have the option of either exploring a different chambering altogether — either one I don’t have experience with (e.g. 6.5 Creed), or one I know and love (.308 Win) or one of which I have a boatload of ammo stock already (7.62x39mm). To make sure we all know what I’m talking about, I’ll be looking for a bolt-action scoped rifle which will be effective at 100 yards, and can reach out to 200 yards if necessary. (Beyond that, I’m not interested unless with a ULD-type rifle.)
Budget would be about $1,500.
Taking the last one first, the only candidate for a 7.62x39mm boltie is the CZ 527 carbine, with a quality medium-range 9x or 10x scope:
The 527 retails for about $700, and a decent illuminated scope (like this one) about the same.
As for the other options, the options are pretty much endless; but for my “unfamiliar” chambering, I think I would certainly entertain the Tikka T3 Hunter (because wood stock, and because Tikka) in 7mm-08 Rem:
Amazingly, I’ve seen 7mm-08 ammo available in quite a few outlets, and I’ve always had a secret hankering to shoot what is after all an improvement over the venerable 7x57mm (an old favorite). The Hunter is also available in .308 Win, so that covers both “new” and “old” chamberings.
Another lovely rifle I’m familiar with, and which is likewise available in both .308 Win and 7mm-08 is the Sauer 100 Classic:
The Classic retails for about $950.
At this point, the question might be asked: “Well Kim, if you’re such a fan of the CZ 550/557 rifles, why not one of those?” and it’s a fair question, because there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the 557 American:
As everyone knows, I have a long and excellent relationship with CZ rifles, from the old Brno 602 back in Africa to its more modern descendants. However, I’m not considering it here because for some reason CZ has discontinued the CZ 557 hunting rifles in both 7mm-08 and .308 Win — so if I were to want to purchase either of those two chamberings, I’d be SOL unless I found a decent secondhand one, or some retailer / distributor had an old “Sporter” model in .308 Win.
Of course, someone’s going to complain that I’m only considering furrin guns and not Murkin ones. Au contraire, mes amis aux fusils : I would indeed consider (at $850) the Savage 110 Classic, in either 7mm-08 or .308 Win:
…the Winchester Model 70 Featherweight (at around $900):
…as well as the Browning X-Bolt Micro-Midas (at just under $800) in the same calibers:
What really gets up my nose is that in Ye Olden Dayes, (or Days Of Yore, if you prefer), a visit to your local Merchant of Death would find at least four or five of these fine rifles already on the shelves, to be handled, fondled and trigger-tested at will. Nowadays, of course, you have to just order the damn thing and trust to luck that the rifle will not turn out to be a total dog (like the Savage Axis rifle I tested earlier this year, which arrived in no fit condition to shoot).
But these are the times we live in, I suppose, and the only factor in my favor is that I know my rifles reasonably well, and can make a more-or-less informed judgement thereof. Pity the first-time buyer…
And you’re probably going to ask me which of the above I’d choose if I had to make a decision right now. Most likely, the CZ 527 in 7.62x39mm because at least I wouldn’t have to sink another $500+ into building up a starter ammo supply. Otherwise, I’d go for the Tikka T3 Hunter.
Don’t ask me which caliber — and I’ll be looking at the caliber choices later next week, because while you can get decent .308 Win brass-cased ammo for under or close to $1 per trigger-pull, 7mm-08 runs over $2. Phew.