Whether you are a new to hunting or a longtime outdoorsman needing a replacement gun, now is a great time to pick up a scoped rifle package. With suggested retail prices starting at less than $400, I don’t think there has ever been a better time to make your gun dollar stretch so far. The great thing is that you are not buying a throwaway gun. With modern materials and construction, manufacturers are able to make great-quality shooters while keeping prices down. Let’s take a look at some of the scoped rifle packages currently available.
Howa Hogue Gameking Scoped Package
For a lifetime of great hunting, the Howa Hogue Gameking delivers. These bolt-action rifles provide the performance, customizable options and top-notch features that make even the pickiest of shooters sit up and take notice.
The company starts with its famous Howa 1500 action and mates it to a standard, magnum or heavy barrel 20 to 24 inches long, depending on the caliber. The action and barrel is blued. Howa equips each of these rifles with a Hogue Overmolded stock. This is the same pillar-bedded stock to which other shooters have to upgrade their rifles. Both green and black versions of the stock are available in all calibers.
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To ensure accurate shot placement, the company offers the rifle with a Nikko Stirling Gameking 3.5-10x44mm riflescope that is factory mounted. This scope has fully multi-coated lenses, 0.25-MOA adjustments and a dual-illuminated (red and green) LRX reticle to help you take game moving at twilight.
When it comes to calibers, Howa likely has what you are looking for. From the .204 Ruger to the .338 Winchester Magnum, the Gameking can be had in a caliber to hunt any game animal on the North American continent. With suggested retail pricing starting at just $654, these scoped rifles offer an outstanding lifetime value. (legacysports.com; 800-553-4229)
Mossberg Patriot – Vortex Scoped Combos
Launched in 2015, the Patriot is a relative newcomer to the shooting market, but it is already putting large quantities of venison in freezers around the country. Many hunters are drawn to these rifles, and it is not hard to understand why. Mossberg designed these rifles to deliver one of the greatest values on the market today, and these scoped rifles packages are some of the best on the market.
The Mossberg Patriot is a bolt-action rifle that offers many of the features shooters look for in a hunting rifle, including a flush-fitting, detachable box magazine, a spiral-fluted bolt and the company’s highly regarded Lightning Bolt Action (LBA) adjustable trigger. All of the scoped rifles come with a fluted 22-inch barrel that floats freely and ends with a recessed crown.
Mossberg chose the Vortex Crossfire II 3-9x40mm for its scoped rifle packages. The Crossfire II has a good reputation as a workhorse optic, and the unconditional warranty provided by Vortex is second to none. For this package, the scope uses a Dead-Hold BDC reticle.
Five popular hunting calibers are available for these rifle/scope combos: .243 Win, .308 Win, .270 Win, .30-06 and .300 Win Mag. Shooters can also choose between black synthetic of gorgeous walnut stocks. With a synthetic stock, the rifle is a handy 7.5 pounds unloaded; the walnut stock adds 8 ounces to the total package, which is still very manageable for hikes. (mossberg.com; 203-230-5300)
Remington Model 783 Scoped
Launched in 2013 as a replacement to the budget line of Model 770 rifles, Remington upped the expectations of entry-level hunting rifles with the Model 783. According to the company, these are not stripped-down Model 700 rifles; instead, they’re engineered from the ground up as an entirely new platform. As such, the company was not limited to existing design constraints.
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Scoped Model 783 rifles are available in eight different calibers to hunt a variety of animals, from groundhogs to elk and bear. Like many of the scoped rifle packages from other companies, Remington opted for a synthetic stock. The stock uses a dual pillar bedding system to free-float the barrel for improved accuracy. In addition to plain black stocks, Remington also offers the option of a Mossy Oak Break-Up Country finish on the stock in a number of calibers to help you blend into the backwoods.
Remington uses an adjustable trigger system called the CrossFire that allows the shooter to tune the break point to his or her own preference. Other standard features on these guns include detachable steel magazines, SuperCell recoil pads and button-rifled barrels.
Remington uses an unbranded 3-9x40mm scope on these guns. The scopes are mounted and bore-sighted at the factory. In its base configuration, the Remington 783 Scoped rifle is the least expensive package on the market. (remington.com; 800-243-9700)
Ruger American Rifle
The Ruger American Rifle is another recent introduction to the hunting world. Ruger is well known for its premium centerfire rifles, and these lightweight guns are worthy heirs to the company’s name and reputation.
For the American Rifle, the company uses the Ruger Marksman Adjustable trigger, which has a center-mounted safety toggle to help prevent accidental discharges and is user-adjustable from 3 to 5 pounds. Simply turning a screw on the front of the trigger assembly allows you to adjust the pull weight.
The three-lug bolt has a short 70-degree throw. Another nice feature is that the bolt has a full diameter. This prevents excessive wiggle when operating it. While I’ve never had a reliability issue with other bolt actions with more play, they can feel a little cheap. Working the Ruger bolt, however, is smooth and sure. Ruger also equips the American Rifle with a two-position tang safety. When the safety is engaged, the bolt can still be cycled to clear the weapon. The rifle also has a detachable rotary magazine that sits flush with the stock.
Ruger molds a pair of bedding blocks into the synthetic stock that pull double duty as recoil lugs. The 22-inch, hammer-forged barrel floats freely to help improve accuracy. A soft rubber recoil pad is affixed to the rear of the stock.
Like Mossberg, Ruger opted to use the Vortex CrossFire II riflescope for these packages. With the Dead-Hold BDC reticle and Vortex’s incredible warranty, the Crossfire II makes the Ruger American scoped rifle package a fantastic shooter. (ruger.com)
Savage Axis II XP
It’s no secret that many hunters love the Axis line of bolt-action rifles from Savage Arms. Building on the incredible success of the original line, the company now makes the Axis II XP line—a series of scoped rifles with a number of high-end features that still, somehow, remain very affordable for today’s shooters.
One of the features that many shooters like about Savage rifles is the AccuTrigger. The user-adjustable AccuTrigger uses a centered safety lever that helps prevent accidental discharges while allowing the trigger pull to be light and crisp for a clean shot. While it’s missing from the original Axis line, the Axis II XP has this valuable trigger system.
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For this package, Savage uses a Weaver Kaspa 3-9x40mm scope. This magnification range is popular with many hunters as it provides good reach in most terrains while still offering low magnification for closer shots. Of course, the Weaver Kaspa 3-9x40mm scope is mounted and bore-sighted when it leaves the factory.
Savage Arms offers these guns with both synthetic and hardwood stocks. If you prefer a traditional look for your hunting rifle, the hardwood stock will only cost you $26 more. Regardless of what stock you prefer, however, the company uses a detachable, four-round box magazine that sits flush with the bottom of the gun.
The Axis II XP rifle has a 22-inch, button-rifled barrel. In addition to the matte black finish on the standard Axis II XP rifles, Savage has added an option for stainless steel barrels. Stainless barrels are only available with a synthetic stock. (savagearms.com; 413-568-7001)
For more from author Richard Johnson, visit http://www.gunsholstersandgear.com