January 10, 2014
Gunfight Friday: Battle of the Budget Rifles
By Phil Bourjaily
Times are still tough, so today’s battle is between two rifles that didn’t cost much. Both have given faithful service and will deliver a bullet to the right place at the right time. One is a .308, the other, a .270. The Marlin X7 is the short-action version of the XL 7, Marlin’s bolt action that comes with its version of the Savage Accu-trigger. Dave has called it, in print and without a trace of hyperbole, “The best working gun, for the least money, in the history of Western Man.” The Savage 110 is another inexpensive rifle that earns Dave’s seal of approval. When Savage was going under back in the ’80s, CEO Ron Coburn took over, eliminated every gun in the line except the 110, and rebuilt the company’s reputation around the affordable, accurate bolt-action 110.
Mickey Rountree’s Marlin X7
This is my Marlin X7 in .308. This was made in the original Marlin factory before Remington acquired Marlin. I have made one change to it by switching the black synthetic stock for a camo one I purchased from Marlin. These guns are underrated tack-drivers and can be had for a little over $300. I have topped it with a Redfield 3X9X40 scope.
Vasportsman’s Savage 110
This is my Savage 110 in .270 Win. that was my father-in-law's before mine, and has taken many whitetail deer over the years. I absolutely love this gun, and killed my first deer with it. The action is flawless, and the accuracy, while not sub MOA, is pretty darned close and more than good enough to get the job done. My father-in-law upgraded to a Weatherby Vanguard in .30/06 and it is an MOA shooter, however, in my experience with that rifle and a cold barrel, it cannot be counted on in a pinch. This Savage, however, can sit in the case all year and be brought out on opening day, and it will be there the same as it was last year, which has happened due to college responsibilities. It is topped with a Bushnell Sportview wide-angle scope and Weaver see-through mounts. It has a 22-inch barrel, durable synthetic stock, and a Safari sling. It does not have the Accu-Trigger or the Timney upgrade to the trigger, so it does have a lot of creep, however, since this is virtually the only rifle I shoot regularly and the only one I hunt with, I have become quite accustomed to it and fairly proficient with it.
You know the drill by now: vote and comment below, and send your gun pictures and a paragraph about the gun to firstname.lastname@example.org.