Let’s face it: the economy is in the dumps and most of us are tightening our belts to weather the tough times ahead.  Many people are using coupons to save a few dollars in the grocery store and are delaying a new car purchase to increase their rainy day fund.

The general pull back in spending by many people have created a lot of buying opportunities if you are willing to part with your dollars.  Looking around, you can find some great rifles are really good prices. 

Here’s my list of three best budget buys:

Savage Axis XP

Budget hunting rifles have been hit-or-miss with many people.  Some models and brands have done well, while others have turned in less-than-stellar performances. 
Savage markets a very good line of inexpensive hunting rifles called the Axis.  The Axis line is a continuation of the Edge line, which frequently received good reviews from writers and hunters alike.

The Axis rifles can be had in a variety of configurations with blued or stainless steel barrels, youth and adult sizes and black or camo patterned stocks. 

The Axis XP line adds a mounted, bore-sighted 3-9×40 scope to the package, making it a perfect option for the new hunter of any age.  The same options in the normal Axis line are available with the XP packages.

The Axis rifles can be chambered in many popular hunting calibers:

.30-06 Springfield

.308 Winchester

7mm-08 Remington

.270 Winchester

.25-06 Remington

.22-250 Remington

.223 Remington

.243 Winchester

Youth models are available in .243 Winchester and 7mm-08 Remington only.
By all accounts, these Savage rifles are good performers and the scopes aren’t bad.  While these rifles may not appeal the the experience hunter, they are great for getting someone new into the field.

MSRP on the basic Axis rifle is $349 while the XP packages are a mere $389.  An XP with the camo stock lists for $449.  I’ve seen the standard XP go for less than $300 and the camo for less than $350 locally.

Smith & Wesson M&P15 Sport

The AR-15 remains one of the most popular rifles in the United States.  The rifles are easy shooting, accurate and infinitely configurable. 

Detractors often point to the price tag as a major fault of the AR rifles, with street prices often starting around $800 and quickly going up from there.  To bring the prices as low as possible, some companies have marketed AR-15 rifles that do not have sights or are otherwise “stripped down.”

The M&P15 Sport from Smith & Wesson is a very popular AR that will please most AR shooters and carries a very reasonable price tag.

The Sport appears to be a conventional AR-15 in both form and function.  It uses a gas impingement system, has an aluminum lower and telescoping buttstock.

The 4140 steel barrel is 16” with a 1:8” twist.  The barrel is not chrome lined, which should not be an issue for the majority of civilian AR shooters.   

Unlike the stripped down “optics-ready” models, the Sport ships with sights.  The front is an adjustable A2-style post.  The rear sight is an adjustable, dual-aperture sight.  This means you won’t have to drop another $50+ on a rear sight just to get the rifle to the range.
The Sport ships with a single Magpul PMAG, 30-round magazine.

The best part of this rifle is the price.  MSRP is $739 and I have seen street prices below $650 for this rifle.  For an AR-15 that is ready to shoot right out of the box, that is a great value.

It would seem consumers agree.  In the most recent quarterly report issued by Smith & Wesson on September 7, the Sport was specifically cited as “significantly” increasing sales in the company’s modern sporting rifle line.  How much of an increase?  Try 114.4% compared to the quarter one year prior.

Marlin Model 60

Growing up, I considered the Marlin Model 60 to be the ultimate rifle.  Dad’s Model 60 was used to keep rabbits out of the garden (and in the stew), dispatch many an Eastern Diamondback and run more than one ruffian off of the property.  Frankly, I thought that Model 60 could do anything, and in my dad’s hands it probably could.

The reason why my father purchased the rifle is the same reason that compels many people to continue to buy it: the Model 60 is a high quality rifle at an amazingly attractive price.

The 60 is a semi-auto .22 LR rimfire that uses a 14-round tubular magazine.  It has a very nice hardwood stock and blued metal.

The Model 60 is very accurate with the factory sights and neither dad nor I ever saw the need to add optics to the rifle.  I’m sure others have, and the receiver is grooved for mounting a scope.

I know many people love the Ruger 10/22, and I understand why.  The 10/22 is a great rifle.  But for a solid, all-around rimfire rifle, the Model 60 is hard to beat.
MSRP is $189, but actual prices tend to be around $150-160.

Your Budget Rifles

What are your best buys in budget rifles?  Do you prefer a single shot rifle from H&R?  What about the Remington 770 line of hunting rifle packages?  Or would you look to the used market for a well-priced long gun?

Leave your thoughts below and let others know about all of the great deals available in the market right now.