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Why many new-model hunting rifles suck today.
a. most new bolt-action rifles suck on the account of the shape of the bolt handle knob: why the Mauser 98 style round ball knob is not the norm, I can't say; Winchester Model 70, Browning bolt-actions, Savage bolt-actions, Remington 700 series all have ugly and uncomfortable-looking bolt handles
b. the Ruger American series has a very cheesy low-grade gritty matte finish, a nice old-fashioned blue finish for a deer-hunting gun is the way to fly; these guns are also prone to mechanical issues as is the cheaper Savage rifles
c. if you want a nice bolt-action rifle these days with a checkered wooden stock you might need to be rich: think Mauser and Sako; the bolt handles look ugly on Tikka; Weatherby Mark V are pricey, two grand on up, but I can't speak for their fit-n-finish
d. the Swedish classics, Husqvarna/Carl Gustaf, are no longer in production; they were about the nicest and prettiest classic hunting rifles ever made
e. the Japanese-made Browning BAR/Safari are now $1,500 on up, I don't care for the fit-and-finish of virtually any Japanese-made (Browning/Vanguard/Howa) hunting long gun I've ever held in my hands; Weatherby Vanguard looks cheesy too; the Europeans and the English once made the finest guns, but only for the rich; the nicest Browning long guns ever were made in Belgium at the FN factory, think classic Browning FN High Power bolt-actions with that pretty Mauser-style ball knob, BAR and Superposed shotguns, you gotta to be rich nowadays to collect these Brownings, I saw an FN High Power listing not long ago for $7,500!!
f. the Savage Model 1899/Model 99 lever-action is the prettiest lever-action rifle ever but it's forlorn that this gun is now over 20 years out of production; my grandfather had an older one in .300 Savage
Blue-collar-budget American hunters these days are largely stuck with ugly-plastic-looking things under $1,000. Even nicer guns from $1,000 - $1,500 tend to have ugly bolt handles.
I'm on a quest to find a really nice vintage Husqvarna or Carl Gustav hunting rifle with a pretty Mauser-style bolt handle in a caliber like .243, .270 or 6.5 Swedish. I really don't want to spend over $1,000. My grandfather had a beautiful Husqvarna in .308 that was only $200 brand new in the early 1960's. Is 6.5 Swedish ammo expensive and/or hard to find?
I'm a baby boomer and remember the 1970's when pretty wooden-stocked/blued hunting long guns were affordable.