December 2018

Which 308 Bolt-Action Rifles Would We Take to the Woods?

Tested: Ruger American Rifle Standard 6903, Savage Model 12FV 18393, Savage Axis II XP 57095, and Mossberg’s Trophy Hunter. One is a Best Buy, but another is Our Pick.

Which 308 Bolt-Action Rifles Would We Take to the Woods?

Savage Model 12FV 18393, $420

The 308 Winchester is one of our more popular and most versatile cartridges. Accurate, powerful enough for most anything in North America save the largest bears, and affordable, the 308 Win. has a lot going for it. Among the most popular firearms chamberings for this cartridge is the bolt-action rifle, and we recently tested four examples to see which one might make a timely Christmas present for yourself or someone else who would like something long and skinny under the tree.

In some ways, this report was a continuation of the test we ran in the October 2017 issue, which used the Savage Axis, Remington SLP, Remington Varmint rifle, and Browning BAR, all in 308 Winchester. This time, we included a rifle that would be a match for the Remington Varmint rifle previously tested — the Savage Model 12 with bull barrel was the heaviest rifle this round. In the previous feature, the editor noted that none of the rifles seemed to excite the testers. He was correct. This time around was different. This time we got excited and found the rifles are interesting and appropriate to the job at hand.

We really liked one rifle and felt that it was a Best Buy and a great all-round choice. Also, a more-recent version of an existing model was well worth its modest price. Because we are always looking for a low-cost gem, we added a bargain-basement used gun whose specific model we hadn’t previously tested in the magazine. The Mossberg Trophy Hunter rifle line (there is also a Savage Trophy Hunter, so don’t be confused) has been replaced by the Mossberg Patriot series.

The Savage Model 12FV was the most accurate rifle in the test and received high marks for its smooth action and three-position safety. The only question was, would you be willing to lug this rifle around the woods or bring it to the stand?

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