To call it entry-level or inexpensive would be misleading. I suspect there’s an entry-level Jaguar and an inexpensive cottage in Jackson Hole, relatively speaking, but like high-end automobiles and real estate, the best rifles don’t show up in the Nickel Ads.
I had to request my Outfitter from the source. Richard Spruill, like the other people who answer the phone at Dakota Arms, gave me the usual courtesy: “When do you want it?” Then “Would you like it scoped and zeroed?” Lest you think this special treatment for a gun scribe wheedling a short-term loan for a review, I must tell you that zeroing is a routine service at Dakota—and it’s free, even with the least costly rifles in the stable.
The .30-06 arrived promptly. If, like me, you’ve seen enough rifles to be numbed by the preponderance of mediocrity, you might expect a synthetic-stocked bolt gun from South Dakota to mimic the lot. I actually expected more. “We try not to build mediocre guns,” Don Allen told me 30 years ago.