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10 Quality Rifles for Under $500

by Doug Howlett   |  March 8th, 2012 55

The price of gas is again soaring, and with it the cost of groceries, raw materials and any thing else that needs to be transported is climbing as well. Seems the price of everything actually has gone up in recent years including the items hunters and shooters hold dearest to them — their firearms! It’s getting harder and harder to find a brand new tack-driving rifle that you won’t have to take out a small loan to buy. With many gun prices soaring well over the $1,000-mark, to find something below $500 would seem virtually impossible. Well, guess what? It’s not.

In fact, we found 10 options here that will all ring up at the cash register for under $500, hopefully leaving you with a little gas money to even get out to where you hunt or shoot.

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  • tanstaafl2

    The Savage Axis is a disappointment – it's worth paying more (total retail cost perhaps a bit over $500) to get one of their Model 10 or Model 11's with the wonderful Accu-trigger.

    • Steve

      Call Timney Triggers in AZ.
      They just recently came out with a trigger for the AXIS
      I have one in a .223 that breaks at 2lb. 12oz
      The 25-06 breaks at 2lb. 8oz

      • Doc

        Thanks for info!

      • Rich

        Thanks

      • Rudi

        So… buy a cheap gun with a lousy trugger and then spend another $100+ for a good trigger??? Spend the money up front and buy a better gun, or—- check the used gun market, I see a lot of great older bolt guns under your $500 mark.

      • Joe Jackson

        I put a "Rifle Basix" trigger in my .270 AXIS…. adjustable from 12 oz. to 3lb. I set mine to 2.5 lb. and it works GREAT. I bought my trigger directly from them cost was $85.00 free shipping.

    • Mike

      You can easily adjust the trigger yourself with a spring and pin from Ace hardware for about $2!

  • Der Ack

    "Ten (10) Exciting New Rifles for 2012" – Good Lord – just whom are they supposed to excite?? Methinks far better to scrounge und save to purchase a rifle you actually like and want – something you are proud to own
    und take care of – a rifle you'd care to pass on to whomever, and which, if necessity should arrise, would be
    worth far more as "pre-owned" than these Ten Exciting Things are when still in the unopened boxes.

    • Joel

      You are assuming that others have the exact same needs and preferences you do. It IS exciting that there are good quality lower priced options that allow people to feed their families without selling one of their kids to do it.

      • Der Ack

        No assumption on my part at all guy – just MY comment. Thankfully, have never been "blessed" with
        offspring lineolum lizards, or, most probably, would have managed to sell them all by now – for fine
        weaponery or other worthwhile endeavor.

  • Alan_T

    It's nice to see the Thompson / Center Venture Compact , it's tough to shell out the money for a more expensive rifle when you know it's going to be out – grown . Happy to see it offered in 7mm – 08 too .

  • Jeremy

    I'm pleased to see The Howa listed as number 1 on the list. These Howa / Weatherby Vanguards are probably one of the best kept secrets on a good, accurate rifle for cheap!

    • CHAZ STROUD

      AMEN JEREMY
      EASY ADJUST TRIGGER AND ONE OF THE MOST ACCURATE 308 I HAVE OUT TO 400 YARDS. YOU CAN'T BETTER IT FOR THE PRICE!

  • Dr. Kenn

    I have had a Marlin 464 for several years now. Added a sling and a red dot sight, love this gun.

  • Dennis

    The Savage rifle somewhat resembles the old Savage 340. It was not a pretty rifle and left a lot to be desired when it came to finish and tchoice of calibres. But the two or three of these that crossed my path over the years in 30-30
    were durable, reliable and shot well. A handy little deer rifle that didn't cause anyone to tear up when it accumulated a dent or scratch.

  • Spike

    I purchased a Savage last year, and it has a worse trigger than my Mosin Nagant. Go figure. I will dump it as soon as I find someone who thinks they want a Savage, like I did. I will never buy another Savage product again. Save your money.

    • Eric

      Do a trigger job or step up & buy one with the Accu-Trigger. You will be surprized at how nice the triggers are. I have three of them. Model 10 11 & 111. The triggers on them are a lot better then my 45 year old model 99.

  • Gnut

    I was disappointed to see Mossberg on this list. I recently purchased a Mossberg and it would not fire straight out of the box, contacted them and they want me to pay to ship their defective merchandise back to them, which would cost me $60-100. Terrible customer service. Dealer won't take it back, Mossberg wants me to pay, needless to say, I will not be dealing with either of them again.

    • Jim

      Take the dealer to small claims court. He is bound to sell an operational product..
      Jumper

    • Gene

      Can't you sight it in yourself? It's really not that hard and will help you get used to your gun besides a lot of times they won't be ready to shoot 500 yards out of the box shipping and people handling the gun they don't own,sometimes bumping it will nock it out of sight. Me personally I check alll of my guns. Heck I bought a new browning 1000 $ plus gun and had to sight it in.

  • Kenny Graves

    Glad to see the 770 on here. It used to get a bad rap and a terrible gun but recently the reviews have been much more positive on here. I own one and I am more than happy with it as a entry level long range heavy hitter.
    Cant go wrong with it for a sub 400.00 gun. Also if you change out the 3-9 with something more powerful you really take advantage of the .308 cartridge.

    • Don

      I purchased a new Remington 770 in .243 for varmint hunting. I am very disapointed in the fit and finish and quality of materials in my 770.

    • http://www.facebook.com/solderscreamer Nick O'Brien

      I recently got a 770 in .308 as my first "deer" rifle. Had a bit of trouble with the magazine feeding, but was that resolved on its own after a bit. Considering it was only ~$350, and it hits where it is aimed, I agree you can't go wrong with this one. For those who are looking for higher quality materials, why not just "get what you pay for" and buy a 700?

      • CHAZ STROUD

        NICK
        I BOUGHT ONE IN 243 AND WORKED OR TWEED IT OUT BEDDED ACTION AND FLOATED THE BARREL. SHOOTS DEAD ON POA.

  • Larry Ingwaldson

    great choices! Some of you don't get the idea of an inexpensive well made gun that can still get the job done! I have three and I need another H&R. I thibk I'll get a pistol caliber this time!

  • HH&H ARMS

    Have used and servaced Howa/Wby 1500 platforms,Savage,Rem 770,Mossbergs bolt n lever and ventura's,accept for some simple trigger work all serve acceptable to outstanding servace as working guns.AKA pickup,hay truck,atv and saddle scabberd.Accuracy with all examples has run 5/8-1-1/2 in at 100 yds off the shelf ammo.I part time assist the local range and can witness that is better than 9 of 10 people can shoot benched.I own and build rifles i'm proud of-they don't ride tractors or my grandson's atv.No way can I assemble rifles at this cost let alone quality for the price.Many friends,costumers & family are hunters and hard users that do not spend what they don't have ,still putting game,vermin and good times on the chart.

  • Jack Shultz

    I totally agree with Mr. Ingwaldson, we own 5 H& R NEF frames with 11 different barrels from .22lr to .308 and 50 Cal. blackpowder. Hared to beat the price, accuracy and flexibility.

    • Jack Shultz

      Feel silly when I don't proofread, should be "hard"to beat.

  • Texican

    I have the NEF with .223 and .204 barrels….both are tack drivers. If I were buying today what's not to like in the Weatherby Vangard 2…that's a lot of rifle for the money. Or maybe the new Thompson Center Dimension…1 riles and you can rebarrel to a different caliber for $200.

  • Ben

    I can speak to the Howa/Weatherby, T/C and H&R from positive experience but the others are mostly negative. I'd rather buy a decent Remington 721 than a new 770. Better rifle and nicer to look at even if it's dinged. The Marlins are spotty as to quality and the Mossbergs are even worse. I have not seen a Mossberg I would own that was made since 1995.

  • William Johnson

    Ya know, a lot of you missed the point I think. If you can't afford a Caddy you buy a Ford and you treat the Ford as if it were a Caddy. If you like to hunt, to shoot, these are great rifles for the money. Buy one, take care of it and it will take care of you..

  • liam ward

    I work at a gun shop and have fired almost all of them. Be warned the name Remington might tempt you, but steer well clear from the 770. The 770s action is as smooth as getting ones teeth drilled. The marlins are a safer buy, and they are owned by remington. I think the best choice out of all of these rifles, would be dont buy any. Save up and buy a nicer rifle.

  • ZIGGY

    I purchased a Howa 1500 223 with a Nikko Sterling 3×9 42mm scope for under $800 from Turner's here in So Ca 5 years ago and right out of the box I could hit a quarter at 50 and 100 yrds. Taking it out to 600 yards I could hit a iron pig as could my son. We don't consider ourself shooters per se so it must be the rifle. Spend whatever you want on a car or rifle but in the end it is all about does it work for you when the rubber meets the road. I worked with guys that shot DX at the range but missed bad guys 12 yards away. Go ahead and save up your money to buy a, "look at me I am so cool rifle" if you want. It does not impress me. With the money I saved I have now bought a Benelli Tactical Super Nova for $500 as opposed the M 3 for $1800. With the money I saved I will buy many many rounds, practice practice practice and out shoot most everyone.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003273026027 Scott Nelson

    If the new Rem 770 shoots as well as the 710 my son has it just might be worth it. Hard to beat a used 710 in .270 Win that shoots just over 1" @ 100 yds with Remington 130 gr. PSP Core Lokts, smaller groups with two tailored loads. Has killed deer with it three years out of three. Only problem we've encountered with this rifle are the magazines, FTF problems, which are cheap to replace. The cheap scope that came with it is still remarkably clear and holds zero if you don't beat it up. Rifles at these price points allow many more shooters to get into the game fields and ranges without spending a ton on cash. These rifles may not be the prettiest, but the quarry won't know or care if the rifle that zapped 'em is cheap or high-dollar beautiful.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003273026027 Scott Nelson

    The T/C Venture is another great choice. My full-sized Venture in .223 was under $500 and shoots very well and the action is slick enough to make you wonder why is sells for this price. Customer service through Smith & Wesson is excellent. They recalled a bunch for a potential trigger problem. Shipping was paid for, both ways, turnaround time for mine was quick, and the trigger is still crisp and adjustable down to lighter than I care to have it. This rifle is a tool for varmints and fur-bearers, and it doesn't have to look pretty to do its job.

  • Geo1

    I have two OLDER Savage 110's, 30-06 and 7.62×51 (.308)…and when I say older I mean 8 to 20 years old…consecutively…
    You CAN adjust the triggers on these firearms…I have… and they are as good if not better at a crisp 3.1 lb break as any rifle out there. I installed Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn 3-12×40 scopes on them and I am getting 1/2' to 1' MOA at 450+ yards with Remington Core-Lok 180 grn. out of both. No one can tell me that "expensive" is a better idea. Last year I harvested a 875lb (dressed) bull elk with the .308 at 510 yds. Hit that big boy just behind the third rib and he dropped right where he stood. Gotta love that Savage .308!!!

    Kindest Regards…

    In God We Trust….

    • Ben

      I'm with you on that savage .308; can that thing shoot or what.

    • Hockeygoon

      You can’t buy an older Savage 110 new – but you can buy a new Marlin X7 with an accutrigger which is pretty much the same thing. Great rifle for the price – the only problem is it doesn’t come with iron sights.

  • porkchop6209

    If they would just chamber them in .260! Better than a .243(not taking anything away from the .243 mind you) and not nearly as hard a recoil as larger calibers, better for women, smaller statured shooters, new shooters and folks who are recoil sensitive. 6.5's are incredibly accurate with the right twist rates and possess uncanny killing ability at long ranges. With the quality and variety of bullets, powders and factory ammo now available people should be flocking to it in droves. And before anybody sez "Let me tell you why this caliber is better", I grew up with a pre-64 W70 -06 in my hands and I have shot thousands of rounds through it. I love that gun, would sleep with it if the misses would let me. Bought my oldest son a Savage 110 -06 and my middle kid a Howa 1500 .270 for their long range deer guns. Just picked up a Spanish Mauser 7×57 for my daughter that's had a wonderful sporterizing job done on it. Can't wait to see how it performs on deer. All of them have lever .30-30's as their first deer rifles and hands down we have dropped more deer with those than all the others combined. But the 6.5's are simply better and more "user friendly".

  • http://www.facebook.com/RichardSOBrien Rick O'Brien

    Maybe a question to ask after having the luxury to read everyones comments in here is what can one get for $600/700? Guns should last a lifetime. Save up and buy a quality piece that comes highly recommended. For $500 or less I can see most manufacturers cutting corners. Guns aren't tires or other consumables. Purchase for quality and longevity.

  • George

    Haven't heard anybody mention Browning a-bolt. My cousins and i have had 14 abolts and 13 of them have shot at least .5 ". 10 has shot under .5" 5 has shot .25" and 3 under .20", Just a couple months ago u could buy them for $589, now place has them for $689, and they have 24"-26" bbls' compared to previous ones that were 22"-24".. They are beautiful guns with adj triggers with one screw. To me best deal on a quality centerfire rifle.

  • gofookuslf

    haha how can you say under 500 when all of them but one is going to cost you $500 or a little over in the end anyway

  • G-rant

    Why is the WASR-10 not mentioned? True, prices are rising, but they can still be found for under half a grand.

    • Hal Z

      Because WASR-10 was meant to be take single stack magazines, but it was converted to take double stack magazines by cutting from the trinion which in allot of cases causes hair fractures in the trinion with use. be careful not loose few fingers or half of your face shooting a POS WASR-10

  • mosindude

    Or you could just pick up Mosin Nagant 91/30 for 100 dollars; the ammo costs 17 cents a round.

    • redneckgunbuyer

      im actually planning on buying one of these pretty directly. 7.62 is a very nice round, also.

  • walker

    I bought a used Mossburg .338 win mag and a 30/06 savage for 600 cash both had scopes.you just have to keep your eyes open.I was pretty pleased with them The shoot great, although , the .338 kicks like a mule and will set off car alarms :)

  • Randall

    Wow, five hundred dollars is a lot of money to me. The H&R would be the only one in my budget. I guess the economy is not as bad as I think it is.

  • Aamin

    Last gun is awesome

  • Aamin

    Even ‘M28′ is good gun and its price is only $175

  • Bob Barker

    SKS $110.00 would be my choice

    • Hockeygoon

      That would be great if you could go back to 1999 and buy them at that price.

  • Jeffery Nicholes

    I like the Savage Axis out of all of those. It is a good quality basic bolt action with good accuracy and selection of calibers for a very dirt cheap price. Can’t decide what caliber to get though, hung up on 7mm-08 or .270.

    • jason

      i had the 7 mm-08 it sucks.. good coyote gun thats about it

  • Shooter

    How about Henry??????

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