When we think about the firearms industry, many things come to mind. The feel of a well-crafted ergonomic creation. The satisfying boom of a slug flying from a long barrel. The almost hypnotic smell of gunpowder after a good shooting session.
We may also think about some of the industry’s biggest names. Ruger, Beretta, Smith & Wesson, Remington, and Colt – they’re all classics. But another name that stands out among the rest is Winchester.
Known for producing a large amount of highly revered firearms and accessories, Winchester has become a favorite for many gun owners across the world.
The .308 Winchester rifle is one of the most iconic guns in all of existence. In looks, performance, and longevity, this weapon has been a continued success. It has seen many successful variants and continues to rack up good sales numbers across the board.
But if you’re looking to make one of these purchase, what should you expect to pay?
A Brief History of the .308 Winchester Rifle
Introduced in 1952, the .308 Winchester rifle is one of the rare models that predates the adoption of 7.62x51mm NATO rounds.
This commercial cartridge helped derive the popular ammo type, and first found favor in the commercial hunting market. While not necessarily a rifle used widely in combat (at least when compared to other, more modern sniper rifles), this model has seen a lot of use in the hunting field.
Since then Winchester has become a trusted source for the best short-action big-game hunting cartridges you’ll find. Once the .308 came to the market, it didn’t take long for a trend to develop. The Model 70, 100, and 88 rifles that followed were chambered for the new cartridge.
Many shooting ranges also make use of this Winchester rifle. It is a balanced and well-rounded weapon that is perfect for civilian needs like hunting and target shooting.
The .308 Winchester has several features that make it very appealing. One of which is the short case when compared to other common rifles. There’s also a feature to allow high terminal performance for bullets that expand, tumble, or fragment within soft-tissue targets.
So we know that the Winchester is a great gun and a popular one because of its balanced features and popularity among hunters. But if you’re looking to add one of these weapons to your collection, how much can you expect to fork over?
A Brief History of the .308 Winchester Rifle
When we think of the .308 Winchester class of rifles, we know there are multiple variants out there. As with most classic guns, different versions have been crafted over the years to offer a better performance for certain shooters.
That being said, it should be understood that different configurations will carry different price tags. While two rifles may both be chambered for the .308 cartridge, the other parts of the gun may be different. For example, the barrel length, capacity, and trigger system may all be polar opposites between two .308 Winchester rifles.
Let’s take a look at several models and list their prices so we can compare costs based on the difference in features.
Winchester M70 Super Grade Bolt-Action .308
One look at this model brings to mind a single term – classic. With that vintage, old-school, antique look, this gun is a popular option for firearm historians and collectors.
From its elegantly crafted walnut stock with included shadow-line cheekpiece, there is a lot of attention given to detail. It makes use of the classic bolt-action system, further adding to the classic appeal and providing a familiar chambering mechanism many shooters prefer.
The 22-inch barrel and 5+1 capacity are also noteworthy features, and they’re seen on many variants of the .308 Winchester. There’s a three-position safety for adding security when the gun is being stored or transported, and a high-grade blued polish finish. The gun weighs in at around 7.5-pounds.
The weapon has a M.O.A trigger system, offering zero take up, zero overtravel, and zero creep. This makes it a well-rounded gun. But not all of the guns we’ll see are in this price range.
Savage 110 Apex Hunter XP Bolt-Action .308
This model comes in at a much more reasonable price, going for less than half of what the previous model does. It also has a different look – bringing to mind more images of sleek tactical machines than classic antique-style rifles.
Another rifle that uses the bolt-action mechanism, this one is designed for right-handed shooters and comes with a 20-inch carbon steel barrel. You have a little less length than the previous model, and also a little less capacity – 4 rounds total to be exact.
There’s also a Savage AccuTrigger system in place to make for smoother performance and improved accuracy. The scope base is designed for efficiency but simplicity, as it comes in a single piece. The rifle comes in matte black finish and looks every bit as sleek as it performs.
This model even comes with a scope, showing it is possible to get a quality .308 Winchester rifle and not break the bank.
Howa HS Precision Bolt-Action .308
Let’s round out this list with one more entry, and this one lands in the middle of the other two in terms of price. $$$ isn’t a small chunk of change by any means, but for a quality rifle it is a good deal considering the features you get here.
Howa HS Precision rifles are built in the US using top-quality materials, including a long barrel and CNC aluminum bedding block. Another bolt-action model built for right handed shooters, this one looks sleek all the way from the synthetic, molded stock to the top of the 22-inch barrel.
There’s a 5-round magazine, a HACT two-stage trigger, and Sub-MOA guarantee. You also get a lifetime warranty – making this a very secure purchase for those who are on the fence about making such a massive investment.
When we think about rifles, we think about accuracy and firepower. This one has that, but it also has looks thanks to the black metalwork and gray finish.
We’ve talked about three models of Winchester rifles here, each with a different set of features and a different price tag. As we have observed, the price of these rifles can vary according to their total specs list. But how do the prices hold up to other rifles?
Rating the .308 Winchester’s Affordability
We know that there are plenty of popular rifle makers on the market. There are plenty of options out there, and value is something shoppers look for no matter what they’re buying. Despite guns being a niche good, they also fall into this category.
How does the price of these rifles hold up to others? Makers like Ruger and Springfield have rifle selections that land in this price range as well. You can find selections for as low as the $500-approximate range, all the way up to $1000+ and beyond.
It depends on the type of features you look for, how much attention to detail matters to you, and exactly what configuration you find is most valuable for your specific need. Every shooter is different, and that means they may have varying preferences.
Your choice for a rifle may be different than another person’s, even if you’ve both been shooting for the same amount of time. But if you want to go with Winchester, you can’t go wrong.
Should You Consider Buying a Used Rifle?
We all know that guns aren’t cheap – not good ones, at least. And sometimes paying a little more means getting a much better product. It allows people to get more for their money, even if they pay a little extra.
Now let’s consider how buyers can save money – the most obvious way is to buy used. But is it worth it? Are you likely to get a good deal, or can you end up with a bad product?
While some gun stores may sell guns without testing them, most that buy weapons from individuals rather than companies will make sure it is functional before putting a price tag on it and putting it up for sale.
There’s some risk involved, but as long as you work with a reputable firearm store you can expect a good product even if you buy used.
The Rousing Rifle That is the .308 Winchester
There are plenty of great rifles out there, but there’s no question the .308 Winchester stands out as one of the best options of all.
The look, the firepower, and the affordability all play into how beloved this gun is. Yes, it does come with a substantial price tag, especially if you go for one of the costlier variants. But you may end up with a better product overall by paying up for it.
When we think rifles, Winchester comes to mind – and the .308 is one of the most widely used and reliable guns on the market today.