Precision LE Rifles on a Budget

Custom touches can make a cost-efficient and effective tactical precision rifle.

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As a weapon/operator system, the tactical precision rifle is the most cost-effective and efficient in history, with actual statistical data showing the average number of rounds expended per enemy soldier eliminated to be approximately 1.4. Though the technology that produced the modern tactical precision rifle has without a doubt been both well conceived and consummated, it’s also become quite expensive — and in these troubled economic times, often too expensive for many individual shooters and even smaller law enforcement agencies to afford. These days, its pretty tough to find a good tactical precision rig for under $3000, with even higher tariffs being more the norm.

A reasonable, less expensive alternative is available. If a good, solid standard rifle is used as a basis, a good tactical scope obtained, a few minor modifications accomplished, and careful attention paid to load-development, a modern bolt-action hunting rifle can be made to shoot almost as well as an expensive tactical precision rig. I use the word “almost,” because the rifle resulting from the ministrations listed above probably won’t shoot as accurately as a super precise, ¼-MOA (minute of angle) capable high-dollar rig, but it will produce accuracy beyond the marksmanship capabilities of all but the most highly skilled shooter.

Of all the currently produced bolt-action hunting rifles, Remington’s M700 BDL is without a doubt the best. Purchased new, it costs around $900 but good, clean used ones can be found for considerably less. For many decades, the M700 BDL has been essentially the basis for most precision rifles.


 

  • JT Oommen

    I think even better is the Remington SPS Tactical and Savage 10 Precision Carbine (in .308); both with 20″ barrels (Savage being tapered and a little lighter). Both these rifles shoot half MOA and cost under $800. I’ve owned used versions on both, that have had best groups of close to .3 MOA with my tailored loads. Super custom rigs become a matter of desire and affordability. For LE applications, where engagement is usually less than 100Y, 1/4 MOA vs 1/2 MOA isn’t going to make much difference. For military, that would be 2.5″ difference at 1000Y.

  • john

    I have the opinion, that for economy sniping, an aged well taken care of military bolt is just as good for our police. Again…you’re not shooting 1000 yds. You,re looking at 100 to 200 yds. A 1903 Springfield, or ww2 Mauser with clean barrels, and a smooth action will suffice. I’ve seen guys with Lee-Enfields and Mosin-Nagants making shots with 1“ groups at 400 yds. All 4 of these guns are under $600 bucks. Then add a good quality glass and you are still under $1000.