REVIEW: 5 Best Budget Bolt-Action Rifles

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Being on a tight budget doesn’t mean having to settle for poor performance in a bolt-action rifle. Here are 5 choices all under $400 that you really can’t go wrong with…

Ruger American
Ruger American

By Jeff Johnston, NRA Publications

I can’t say I really I love the current trend to build rifles as inexpensively as possible; I tend to like finer rifles with walnut or carbon-fiber reinforced stocks. But the trend is here, and it’s tough to put that cat back in the bag. Once Remington introduced its Model 710 and later its 770 that sold for around $300 in 2007, the floodgates opened. Now nearly every major manufacturer builds an economy gun to compete in this market rather than conceding it to the competition. The guns are cheap to the touch, hard on the eyes, and their actions aren’t always smooth. But, as much as I hate to like these guns, there is something amazing about them: They shoot. So, considering that a new smart phone that will last you two years or until it gets wet now costs $600, any one of these rifles should last generations — all for under 400 bucks. Here are five.

ONE: Of all the rifles in this roundup, Savage’s Axis might be the least likely to win a beauty contest. But if there’s one thing the company does well, it’s making homely rifles that shoot well. One reason for this was due to the company’s game-changing barrel nut system that allows the manufacturer to adjust the chamber for headspace (the tightness of the bullet as it sits in the chamber), something that adds to accuracy in an economically friendly way. Then its adjustable AccuTrigger revolutionized the rifle world as we know it. But then, feeling the market pressure from Remington’s new line of inexpensive rifles, Savage dropped its price even lower with its Axis line. It still features the barrel nut system and AccuTrigger, but it’s placed in a less expensive stock. Other than features that all rifles come with these days, like pre-drilled holes for a scope, a buttpad and sling swivels, it features a detachable magazine, a 22-inch barrel and 6.5 pounds of “great personality” that will punch three rounds into a group just over an inch — maybe better. It comes in eight popular calibers and the excellent 6.5 Creedmoor. I found it online for $368. savagearms.com

TWO: Ruger entered the inexpensive gun market with its American rifle line, which is very similar in design as the others with its injection-molded plastic stock that sports integrally molded bedding pillars. Its Predator model comes in varmint rounds, but also the 6.5 Creedmoor and .308 Win., so it can also be an excellent deer and do-it-all gun. It has a great adjustable trigger. Its rotary, flush-fitting magazine is a Ruger hallmark, but this rifle also comes with a couple features not seen on most rifles of this price class, including a threaded barrel for a suppressor and a Picatinny rail for easy scope mounting. I shot this rifle extensively out to 600 yards, and was amazed at what it can do, all for under $399. Ruger.com

THREE: Debuting in 2013, Remington’s 783 represents a vast upgrade over its bare-bones 710 and later 770 rifles. Compared to these, some might even say it looks good with its modernized lines. It has several features that are legit, including an upgraded metal magazine and latch (polymer magazines are one thing, but I can’t stand plastic latches), Savage-style barrel nut, an adjustable trigger and a pillar bedding system that free-floats its button-rifled barrel. One thing I don’t like is its small ejection port that makes clearing jams and feeding individual rounds into the chamber difficult. The design does, however, likely add to the action’s rigidity and therefore to its accuracy. While it’s not as smooth as a 700, the 783 is a great rifle for the money, especially considering it comes with a scope, albeit a cheap one, all for $399. remington.com

FOUR: Of all the rifles here, the Mossberg Patriot Kryptek Highlander pleases my eye the most, what with its Kryptek camo pattern, straight-line stock design and spiral-fluted bolt. But more important than its looks, the 7-pound rifle also shoots thanks to a 22-inch button-rifled barrel and adjustable trigger that goes all the way down to 2 pounds. A couple of little things give this gun a more expensive feel, like its barrel’s recessed crown that protects it from dings, and its knurled bolt handle that probably adds more class than grip for which it’s intended. All in all, this is a lot of rifle for the money. Choose an all-around caliber, and this could be the one rifle that you’re neither afraid to show off around the campfire, nor beat around in your truck. I found it online for $399. mossberg.com

FIVE: Thompson/Center (TC) entered the bolt-action business about a decade ago, and now it’s delving into the economy rifle game with its Compass model. In my experience, TC rifles shoot great thanks to their quality barrels and proprietary 5R rifling. Like the other guns here, the Compass depends on a molded plastic stock to cut much of its cost — so don’t expect any Kevlar or hardwood. I like this rifle’s three-position safety, tactical-looking bolt handle, excellent TC action and its 22-inch barrel that’s threaded for a silencer. Like its competition, it has an adjustable trigger, and I wouldn’t buy a rifle today without one. I can overlook its plastic magazine knowing that this is a wonderful rifle for an incredible price. $399 tcarms.com

SKILLS: How To Make Sure You’re Seeing Through a Scope

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Ever been frustrated by “black clouds” when you’re trying to look through a scope? Here are a few thoughts on preventing that…

Source: Barbara Baird for NRA Family

Scope setup

First, remember that your eye is the rear sight. You have to place it in the same place with regard to the rest of the gun every time to avoid a parallax error when using the scope. So…what is parallax?

Parallax is an apparent displacement against a background, or a difference in orientation of an object, when the object is viewed along two different lines of sight. Parallax is measured by the angle or semi-angle of inclination between those two lines. In a riflescope, parallax is an optical illusion. Parallax occurs when the “primary image” of the object is formed either in front of, or behind the reticle (crosshair) of the scope. When you move your eye from its proper alignment with the scope, the resulting parallax moves the image in relation to the crosshair, causing your aim to be off.

Think of it this way. You’re sitting in the passenger seat of the car and you look over at the speedometer. It will read differently to you than to the driver, and that is because you’re not lined up with the steering wheel and gauge in front of it, so you’re not getting the true reading.

Every scope has a quality called “eye relief.” That’s the distance behind the eyepiece lens that your eye should be placed to be able to see through the scope effectively. You have to place the cheek of your shooting eye against the stock; move your head forward and backward along the stock-always with your cheek against the stock-until you get the best view through the scope.

The best view is when sight picture in the eyepiece lens fills the entire lens. As you move your head forward from the best viewpoint, the picture collapses, and when you move your head back from the best viewpoint, the picture starts to get smaller and then goes black. If it’s possible, it’s very important to position the scope itself so you attain correct eye relief using the head position you are most comfortable with. Do that by moving the scope mount or the scope within the mount forward or back. Whether this can be done depends on the mounting system.

If it’s not possible to choose a new scope mounting position, find the right spot to allow full view through the scope, as described. Either way, then practice getting the same “cheek weld” (the position and pressure of your cheek against the stock) every time you shoulder your rifle and you will be one step further in taking a good, clean shot.

Addition from Midsouth Editor Glen Zediker:
One of the reasons I usually test from position (prone) rather than from a benchtop when I’m wringing out a competition-use load has a lot to do with scope positioning. Two things: if there’s already a scope mounted, I don’t want to change its position, and, if there’s not, the difference in my shooting position prone and from a chair could well influence my on-target impact results. Almost always, the scope needs to be scooted farther back firing from sandbags and farther forward for prone or offhand. I offer this as a caution to those who might take a new rifle with a new scope to the range and get it sighted in from a rest, and then get out into the field with it and find out they’re having to pull their head back to see through the scope properly.

scope rail
Zediker note: A setup like this eliminates positioning issues. I’m a big believer in a lot of fore and aft flexibility to get the correct eye relief and still maintain a natural and comfortable shooting position. And, yes, I “crawl” the stock that much prone…

4 Things You Need to Know When Picking a Kid’s First Rifle

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It’s true: there’s one chance to make a good first impression. Choosing your child’s first rifle wisely goes a long way toward ensuring their lifelong interest.

by Drema Mann, NRA Family

Frist rifle

Have your kids ever asked to hunt or shoot with you? If so, you’re like a lot of other folks, and might be wondering where to start. To really feel involved, kids need their own gear — everything from hearing and eye protection to their own rifle. Choosing safety gear is straightforward enough, but when it comes to the rifle, you’ll want to make the best choice to ensure their success and enjoyment.

One: Size it Correctly
The rifle should not be too big or heavy, and the key to that is to make sure to involve your child in the selection process. Many parents purchase a rifle as a birthday present, and that is a wonderful idea. Years down the road it will be a special heirloom. But remember that predicting the arm length of a seven or eight year old is pretty difficult to do, and when the time comes, that rifle might not fit.

When my daughter, Montana, was about seven, she decided she would like to try her hand at shooting. We quickly found most youth guns were too long, and too heavy for her. Her first shots had to be taken from the bench, which was fine, but soon she wanted to shoot standing up like an adult. It took some searching before we found the right rifle. I suggest you visit a well-stocked gun store with your child to try rifles on for size. Much like their jeans, the gun must fit the child, or you could have a problem on your hands.

Two: Get a Good Trigger
Trigger pull weight is crucial too. A good starting point is to try a trigger with about half the pull weight of the gun. Take into consideration the size of the child, and remember, what works for one 10-year-old might not work for another. Some youth rifles have heavy, gritty triggers, and will only lead to frustration for you and your child. Avoid them. A crisp trigger with a light-to-moderate pull weight simplifies the complexities of learning to shoot.

Three: Match Their Personality
Probably the most important part to Montana was that the gun fit her personality. It was by no means one of the most important things to her daddy or me. No flat black or green camo for this girly-girl. She chose, you guessed it, a pink rifle. Maybe she gets that spark of personality from me but, for whatever reason, pink fits her perfectly.

Four: Invest Some Money
And finally, don’t be afraid to invest some money into this new-found interest. The Xbox you bought your child for their birthday cost just as much as a good rifle. The rifle will probably last longer and mean more in the end than any electronic gadget that could be obsolete in a month or two. If the gun doesn’t fit and they don’t like it, they won’t stay interested for long. Involve your child in choosing their rifle. Use it as an excuse to spend some quality time together, and you just might have a hunting and shooting buddy for a long time to come.

For Montana’s first rifle we settled on a Pink Platinum Smith & Wesson M&P 15-22. It weighs only 5.5 pounds and the stock has 1.25 inches of adjustability. She’s proud of her pink first rifle and proud to hunt and shoot. She’s since graduated to bigger guns, but still treasures her first rifle. On crisp fall mornings, you can now find her in the woods with her daddy or me. I can only hope I’m the one lucky enough to be in the stand with her when she takes her first West Virginia whitetail!

“Lawful Purpose and Self Defense Act” Bill Introduced

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Utah Rep. Rob Bishop introduces bill to clarify and protect 2nd Amendment guarantees… Important!

Rob Bishop

Source: UtahPolicy.com and NRA-ILA

On May 24, 2017, Chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources Rob Bishop (R-UT) introduced H.R. 2620, the “Lawful Purpose and Self Defense Act.” This bill would remove ATF’s authority to use the “sporting purposes” clauses in federal law in ways that could undermine the core purpose of the 2nd Amendment. Under Chairman Bishop’s legislation, all lawful purposes — including self-defense — would have to be given due consideration and respect in the administration of federal firearms law.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in District of Columbia v. Heller that the core purpose of the 2nd Amendment is self-defense. Nevertheless, many federal laws that regulate the importation, possession and transfer of firearms measure the lawful utility of firearms based on their usefulness for so-called “sporting purposes.”

The term “sporting purposes” is undefined by federal statute and has been subject to several reinterpretations by the ATF and its predecessor agency. Anti-gun administrations have exploited the lack of a clear definition of “sporting purposes” to bypass Congress and impose gun control through executive fiat. The most recent (and perhaps most infamous) example of this was the Obama administration’s attempt to ban a highly popular form of ammunition for the AR-15, America’s most popular rifle. H.R. 2620 would put a stop to this for good.

Bishop offered the following statement:
“The Founding Fathers were clear when they drafted the Bill of Rights. The 2nd Amendment is about security and self-defense. Vagaries in today’s legal code pose a real threat to the right to keep and bear arms. The Obama Administration exploited this ambiguity to forward its agenda of restriction. It’s time to ensure no future Administration tramples on these freedoms guaranteed by our Constitution.”

Chris W. Cox, Executive Director of the NRA Institute for Legislative Action said:
“On behalf of the NRA’s 5-million members, I would like to thank Chairman Rob Bishop for introducing this critical legislation. It sends a clear message that Congress will no longer allow federal bureaucrats to infringe on our 2nd Amendment right to self-protection.”

The Lawful Purpose and Self-Defense Act would:

Eliminate ATF’s authority to reclassify popular rifle ammunition as “armor piercing ammunition.” The federal law governing armor piercing ammunition was passed by Congress to target handgun projectiles, but ATF has used the law to ban common rifle ammunition.

Provide for the lawful importation of any non-NFA firearm or ammunition that may otherwise be lawfully possessed and sold within the United States. ATF has used the current discretionary “sporting purposes” standard to deny the importation of firearms that would be perfectly legal to manufacture, sell, and possess in the United States.

Protect shotguns, shotgun shells, and larger caliber rifles from arbitrary classification as “destructive devices.” Classification as a destructive device subjects a firearm to the registration and taxation provision of the National Firearms Act (NFA) and creates a ban on possession of the firearm in some states.

Broaden the temporary interstate transfer provision to allow temporary transfers for all lawful purposes rather than just for “sporting purposes.”

TAKE ACTION!
Please contact your U.S. Representative and ask him or her to cosponsor and support H.R. 2620, the “Lawful Purpose and Self Defense Act.” You can call your U.S. Representative at 202-225-3121, or click HERE

Step-By-Step Del-Ton AR-15 Kit Build Video

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By Ultimate Reloader:

Gavin at Ultimate Reloader shows you how easy it is to build an AR-15

Are you like me? Do you have a few spare AR-15 stripped lower receivers laying around that need rifles built from them? Now is a *great* time to build an AR-15 because component prices are low, and kits/parts are in stock! For years I’ve been wondering about Del-Ton kits, and I’d like to share with you my experiences building out an AR-15 rifle from one of Del-Ton’s kits!

Here’s a complete walk-through of my rifle build, complete with a quick range trip: (condensed build steps are just 7 minutes long!)

For a more in-depth look at the article, plus more of Gavin’s review, Click Here, and visit the Ultimate Reloader site!

Here are the complete specifications for this rifle: Del-Ton RKT100 from Midsouth Shooters Supply

For a look at the complete AR Build page at Midsouth Shooters Supply, Click Here!

I’m really liking this rifle, but I do have some upgrades planned, so stay tuned! Have you built a Del-Ton AR-15 rifle kit? I’d love to hear your experiences!

Thanks,
Gavin