Some hunters are meticulous and very specific about their gun-and-optics combo. They know exactly which brand of scope they want, and they know exactly what size tube they want, what reticle they’re looking for, how much magnification and adjustment they need, and all sorts of other specifics. If you’re the type of hunter who enjoys putting together a specific combination of gun and scope that fits your exact needs, this isn’t the article for you. But if you just want a good gun at a reasonable price and a scope that works, and you don’t want to chase down rings and fool with mounting a scope and bore-sighting, a package gun is perfect for you.
It used to be that most package guns came with no-name or low-end riflescopes. The gun and the scope were considered entry-level, and the assumption was that most serious hunters would want to upgrade after a few seasons. That’s no longer the case. Manufacturers of quality firearms are teaming up with some of the best optics makers on the market, and today’s package rifles are made to last. If you’re looking for a rifle you can buy off the shelf and take straight to the range for dialing in, here are four great options we found at the 2018 SHOT Show.
Ruger American Predator with Vortex scope
Ruger’s had a huge amount of success with the popular American Rifle in the last few years. With a cold hammer-forged barrel, Ruger’s Power Bedding integral bedding block system, a three-lug bolt that cycles smoothly, MOA accuracy and Ruger’s Marksman Adjustable trigger, this gun will do it all, at a surprisingly low price — and it’s made in the U.S.A. I’ve personally rung steel with the American at 1,000 yards, and believe me, I’m no sniper. That’s a testament to accuracy. The Predator model weighs just 6¾ pounds (unscoped) and comes with a green synthetic stock and a threaded barrel.
Buy the package version of the Predator that comes with a Vortex Crossfire II scope. The scope’s got a 1-inch tube, 4-12X magnification, a 44mm objective lens diameter and Vortex’s Dead-Hold BDC reticle. New for 2018, you can get this package in 6.5 Creedmoor (22-inch barrel) and .308 Win (18-inch barrel) with a three-round A1-style magazine. At an MSRP of $799, this is a steal of a deal.
Franchi Momentum Package with Burris scope
The Momentum is brand new for 2018, a first from Franchi. They’ve built this gun around ergonomics, saying it’s “designed to be an extension of the body, regardless of shooting position.” The stock combines raised curves and crisp checkering to help your support hand keep a steady grip and give you “the most ergonomic feel and positive hold” in five of the most common shooting positions. Features include a three-locking-lug fluted bolt; a hinged floorplate with the release inside the trigger guard; a two-position safety; a single-stage, adjustable trigger; TSA recoil pad; threaded, free-floating, cold-hammer-forged precision barrel; and recessed swivel attachments.
The package version comes with a 3-9×40 Burris scope. It comes in six calibers: .243 Win, 6.5 Creedmoor, .270 Win, .308 Win, .30-06 Springfield, and .300 Win Mag — all in black synthetic, all weighing in around 7.7 pounds scoped. MSRP on the scoped package is $729, so you’re going to find the Momentum package on dealer shelves well under $700.
Howa Houge Gameking Package
Howa might not be the first brand you think of when you’re buying a deer rifle, but they might be worth a look. With a Legacy lifetime warranty and a sub-MOA guarantee, what’s not to like?
The Howa Houge comes with pillar bedding and a recoil pad, along with a cold-hammer-forged barrel, steel forged bolt and receiver, HACT two-stage trigger, three-position safety, and a variety of calibers to choose from in a variety of barrel lengths. And now you can get it in 6mm Creedmoor and .300 Win Mag.
The Gameking package comes with a Nikko Stirling Gameking 3.5-10×44 scope and Zerolok base and rings. You can get it in a variety of calibers, the most relevant for deer hunters being 6.5 Creedmoor, 7mm08 Rem, .308 Win, .25-06 Rem, .270 Win, .30-06 Sprg, 7mm Rem Mag and .300 Win Mag, all available in black or green synthetic stock. MSRP on the combo is $669 ($689 for magnum calibers).
Mossberg Patriot Super Bantam Scoped Combo
The Patriot has become one of the best values in bolt-action rifles in recent years, offering accuracy and durability for a bargain price. It has the company’s adjustable Lightning Bolt Action (LBA) trigger; a spiral fluted bolt; box magazine; fluted barrel; and recessed barrel crown at — get this — a street price of around $350. The Patriot comes in a ton of calibers and configurations, including a scoped combo with a 3-9×40 Weaver scope for around $450-$500.
New for 2018 is the Super Bantam Scoped Combo. Got a kid who’s learning to shoot? This is the combo for him or her. The Patriot Super Bantams use a variable LOP stock with a 1-inch spacer, which lets you increase the length of pull as the shooter grows. The scope is a pretty standard and perfectly serviceable Weaver 3-9×40. Get the Patriot Super Bantam Scoped Combo in black or Muddy Girl Serenity camo, both weighing in at 7 ½ pounds scoped with a 12- to 13-inch LOP. It comes in .243 Win, 7mm08 Rem, .300 Win and 6.5 Creedmoor, at an MSRP of $435. At that price, you’ll find it on shelves for the mid $300s. Are you kidding me?
Related: Best new long-range deer rifles