New Rifle and Scope Combo: Howa Model 1500 Walnut and Zeiss Terra

Not every bargain is cheap. These days, it seems like all the big gun makers have a sub-$500 bolt action that is crazy accurate, reliable enough, eminently useful -- but screams CHEAP!

Typically, it's a rough fit and finish and chinsey plastic stock that are doing all that screaming. But you get none of that here. Instead, you get a handsome walnut stock, pretty darn good fit and finish, and the same barrel and action that comes on a Howa Hogue or Weatherby Vanguard Series 2, both good, accurate guns. You also get a 3-9X42 Zeiss Terra 3X scope, plus rings and a one-piece base.

When you consider that the scope retails for about $400 and that this package will go for under $1,000, you have to conclude that this decidedly not-cheap bolt is a heck of a bargain.

The package weighs a little over 9 pounds total, which isn't light exactly, but it made for a nice shooting experience with the .270 I tested at the range. The two-stage match trigger is excellent. And this gun comes in a wide range of calibers, including all the likely suspects plus, .204 Ruger, .22-250 Rem, 6.5X55 Swedish, .25-06 Rem., and .375 Ruger to name a few.