Ruger Mark II vs. Weatherby Vanguard ... Lefty Lacking

Comparing rifles...seeking a new left-hand A-Bolt stock.

Field & Stream Online Editors

Q: Which rifle would you buy?

  • A used Ruger Mark II .270 with walnut stock, blued barrel, and scope rings, for $350.

  • A new Weatherby Vanguard in .270, .308, or .30/06, with synthetic stock, blued barrel, and no rings, for $388 plus tax.

The Weatherby is on sale at Wal-Mart. Are the Wal-Mart rifles the same quality as Weatherbys sold elsewhere? Mostly this rifle would be used for whitetails in Florida and Pennsylvania, but I'd like a gun I can eventually use for elk, bears, moose, and caribou. --M.N.

A: The Weatherbys at Wal-Mart are the same as Weatherbys everybody sells, and I'd buy one in .30/06, for two reasons.

One, the Ruger is an excellent rifle, but unless whoever previously owned it had the trigger mechanism replaced or fixed, it will have one of the heaviest trigger pulls known to mortal man. The trigger on Vanguards is much better. This alone saves around $75, and for a third of that you can buy a set of Weaver scope rings.

Two, the .30/06 is better for bigger game than the .270. The .270 is adequate for elk, moose, and bears, but the .30/06 is more than adequate and a fine deer cartridge as well.

Q: My son has outgrown the stock on his left-hand Browning A-Bolt .25/06. I'm looking for a synthetic stock that can take wear and tear but can't seem to find one. --R.T.

A: Probably because of low demand, nobody seems to make an aftermarket synthetic stock for the left-hand A-Bolt. Even Browning doesn't make their synthetic-stocked Stalker in left-hand models.

Bell & Carlson does make a synthetic for the right-hand A-Bolt, which would probably work if you rasped a slot for the bolt-handle on the left side of the stock. They're available through Brownells (800-741-0015; www.brownells.com).

If that doesn't appeal to you (it doesn't to me), you might have to settle for a replacement walnut stock from Browning.