Looks as though I’m going to have to learn how to shoot the 6.5 Creedmoor, based on the majority of comments… [grumble, grumble]
Okay, time to look at the rifles. All cost in the region of $850 – $1,700 except where noted, and the prices are approximate street (ATOW), not MSRP. There are two categories: those with 20″ barrels, and those with 24-26″ barrels. The pics are not to scale, obviously. Let’s start with the longer-barreled rifles:
Howa 1500 Bravo ($1,000)
My affection for this rifle is based on its performance at BoomerShoot 2022. The 24″ barrel isn’t heavy, but the extra inches will add, I think, a lot more accuracy at distance. And the trigger is excellent, as good as any I’ve ever fired on a rifle.
Savage 110 Elite Precision ($1,600)
I like the Savage 110 line, and this one comes with a 26″ barrel and the excellent Accu-Trigger. I have to say that Savage’s legacy in long-distance shooting does count.
Browning X-Bolt Max Long Range ($1,300)
I’d have no problems at all shooting this Browning (which also has a 26″ barrel), and it has a track record of being wonderfully accurate at pretty much any distance. All X-Bolt rifles, both the ones I’ve shot and those belonging to friends, have good triggers.
Sako S20 Precision ($1,700)
Yeah, it’s a Sako. Finnish precision in a gorgeous-looking rifle, and a 24″ barrel.
Now for the heavy-barreled 20″ rifles.
Bergara B14 HMR ($950)
I’ve never fired a Bergara before, but it comes highly recommended by several people known to me, whose opinions I respect. I hate the vomit-colored stock, of course, but then again it’s not my rifle.
Ruger American Hunter ($850)
I like this rifle a lot, and the muzzle brake — while somewhat antisocial on the line — attenuates the recoil considerably. The trigger is adjustable down to 2oz (!) but I’ll probably stop at 4-5oz, if I adjust it at all.
Tikka T3X Compact Tactical ($1,100)
I haven’t fired this particular rifle at all, but I’ve fired several Tikkas before, and been impressed with all of them. I’m expecting this one’s trigger to be at least as good, or better than those, so it’s not that much of a leap into the unknown.
The above are the rifles on the shortlist, so far.
“But Kim,” I hear the cry, “what about your favorite, the CZ?”
Well, CZ have stopped making the excellent 557 Varmint line, and replaced it with the new 600. Except that all the 600s are under a factory recall, which puts a wrinkle in my thingy.
CZ 600 Range ($1,000)
I don’t mind the looks of this rifle, and at least it has a wooden (albeit laminate) stock. This will make it heavier than the others, but weight in a bench rifle is a Good Thing. A negative for me is that it’s not being offered with a set trigger, which was always a strong point of the CZ rifles. If CZ can straighten out its recall issue(s) in time, I will certainly add this one to the list, though.
Regardless of the rifle chosen, I intend to mount the excellent Meopta Optika6 3-18×50 4C FFP ($800) because after having fired several other brands, I always seem to come back to this company’s offerings.
All comments on the rifle list are, of course, welcome; but any one of them would be a good choice.
Now, because of the in-stock supply issues, I’m probably going to open the entries some time in the early fall so that I can guarantee having the rifle in hand for sighting-in by December 2023 at the latest (so that if I get a dud, I can return it and get something else). As always, the amount of money from ticket sales will determine the rifle/scope combination, with the balance going towards subsidizing my trip to BoomerShoot. The ticket price will remain at $25 unless circumstances (Bidenflation coff coff ) change dramatically.
So watch this space…