Minute of Angle (MOA) Accuracy Out of the Box

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The Sako A7 was the impetus for this article. Over a year of advertising on GunsAmerica we always wondered, does it really shoot that good?. It does.

Ben Becker did all of the shooting for this article. He used a Caldwell Lead Sled to eliminate as much human error as possible and take the recoil factor out.

The Sako A7 in .30-06 easily beats its marketing promise of 1 MOA over 5 rounds. This is .709 MOA over ten rounds with no cool down.

The tag is still hanging from this elegant TC Icon in .243. It was supposed to go back but one of our crew elected to buy it.


Why prove out 3 rounds when 5 shoots into .515 inches at 100 yards? You can pay $3,000 for a half inch gun or you can buy a TC Icon for under a grand.


This 10 shot string from the Icon is in 1.15″, but note that the holes are strung almost perfectly verticle. That generally means that it was the hot barrel causing the fluxuation in point of impact. Traditional accuracy tests you will see in most gun magazines are done with a cold barrel for every shot. I believe the Icon would have held well under an inch with a cold barrel indefinately, not just over 10 or 20 rounds. It is an amazing accomplishment in precision rifle making.


Lining up the TC Venture with its freshly opened box in the picture and forearm sticker intact.


The TC Venture is an entry level rifle that shoots .59 MOA out of the box with no cool down. Incredible.


A brand new Savage Axis comes out of its box for our tests…


… and shoots 10 rounds into a near perfect inch at 100 yards with no cool down. There are childrens toys that cost more than this entry level hunting rifle.


The CZ 550 .270 is the only wooden gun we tested, and it is gun you really have to hold to appreciate the feel it has of a traditional deer rifle.


In 94 degree south Florida heat, with no cool down, this old world classic CZ puts three rounds into .547 MOA. The ten round target came in at 1.22″


Ending a day at the range with the Tikka T3 in .30-06. These rifles are made in the Sako factory as their entry level line. But their quality and performance are anything but entry level.


This 10 shot 1.18″ target from the Tikka T3 is probably not the best the rifle can do, but you have to shoot something last at the end of a long day at the range, and we will take this rifle out again!

Out of the Box Accuracy

Can Minute of Angle (MOA) Really Be True?

by Paul Helinski & Ben Becker

Pick up just about any gun magazine these days and you will see ads for MOA accuracy, guaranteed, out of the box. MOA means “minute of angle,” which is 1/60th of one degree of radius. It seems like a great selling point and I’m sure it sells a lot of guns, but I wondered if the claims were actually true. If you don’t understand MOA it is understandable. what does a fraction of a circle have to do with the accuracy of a rilfe? But we’ll get to that.

Not everyone is capable of shooting MOA, even with the most accurate rifle, so I employed our local neighborhood US Army Sniper (and GunsAmerica Magazine contributor), Ben Becker. The results are astounding. All of the rifles we tested (and we didn’t just test rifles that advertise MOA) shot into or nearly into a minute of angle at 100 yards. Some even did it for 10 and more rounds in a row, without cool down. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, we are living in the Golden Age of firearms manufacturing. This is incredible stuff.

Please don’t take this as a “head to head” comparison for these rifles against each other or against other rifles in the market we didn’t test. The list of guns we tested is in no way comprehensive. We were able to get rifles from Beretta (Sako, Tikka), Savage, Thompson Center and CZ. Noticeably absent are of course Remington, Browning, Winchester, Weatherby, Ruger and others. This article was not meant to be comprehensive. We just wanted to see what is going on out there in some quality production rifles and these are the ones we could get. There is no reason to believe that the rifles missing from this test wouldn’t perform just as soundly as the rifles we were able to shoot.

Accuracy Defined

The world “accuracy” as it applies to a rifle may not be what you think it is. Some people consider a rifle “accurate” if it shoots to point of aim. True “accuracy” is not whether it shoots to point of aim. That it just a matter of sight adjustment. True “accuracy” is how consistent, shot to shot, the rifle is, removing all human error and other variables.

No rifle is 100% accurate. Even if held in a vise and the trigger pulled by a robot, no rifle will shoot through the exact same hole every time. Even the most precise competition rifles may appear to be 100% accurate at 100 yards, but will show a sub-minute of angle deviation at 200 or 500 yards. A “minute of angle” or MOA, is 1/60th of 1/360th of a circle (each degree is split into 60 minutes), like degrees on a compass. The actual measured span of this type of angular measurement changes as you move further from the target. One minute of angle at 100 yards equals one inch (1.047 actually). At 200 yards this actual measurement on the target is two inches, three hundred is three inches, and so on. Yards and inches conveniently give this relationship. Think of it like the beam of a flashlight on a foggy day. As you get further away the light circle gets bigger on what it hits. This “minute of angle” span also gets bigger as you get further away. This is accuracy.

When a rifle is advertised as “MOA” out of the box, it is telling you that it is guaranteed to shoot a number of bullets, all human and environmental factors removed of course, into one inch at 100 yards. Some manufacturers don’t specify the number of bullets in a row they guarantee, some do. And sometimes that number is 3 and sometimes it is 5.

Real World Shooting

Accuracy only matters when you apply it to your actual application, or applications. Nobody buys a hunting rifle for it to just sit in the safe. You expect to and are going to be out hunting with it. What you hunt is going to determine how you expect a MOA rifle to perform. If you are a deer hunter, an advertised 3 shot MOA gun might be just fine. You don’t expect to take more than one shot ideally, and three shots in the space of two inches at 200 yards is surgical enough to get the job done for sure.

If you are hunting hogs, prairie dogs or other critters that don’t have bag limits and upon which you can stumble on a whole bunch of them hanging out for the pickings, 5 shots may not even be enough. How the barrel performs after several rounds heat the gun up will matter to you, and matter a great deal. And don’t discount the use of a modern hunting rifle as a tactical weapon. Accuracy is accuracy, and in a tactical situation, who knows what kind of sustained fire you might need out of the gun.

It would be much “safer” for us to just test these guns at 3 shots each, and we did start out the tests with 3 shot test targets. But we aren’t here for proving marketing claims. Aren’t you curious if the MOA guns are barely in the ballpark of MOA at 3 or 5 rounds, or if they consistently deliver MOA over 10 or more rounds? We were.

The good news is that the rifles did perform, not just in three and five shot groups, but also in ten and twenty shot groups. Holding even an inch and a half over 10 rounds with no cool down time is thought to be impossible for a “thin barreled” hunting rifle. But we proved that this new generation of rifle technology is like no other. You may not see it in any marketing claims, but in our basic testing with brown box Hornady Ammunition, we found that you can count on these guns even when you heat them up.

Our Test Rifles

The Simply Stunning Sako

Every article for GunsAmerica Magazine starts out as an idea. The Sako A7 was the impetus for this article. Beretta advertised extensively on GunsAmerica and used our On Demand system to sell these rifles for over a year. They are advertised at 5 shot MOA guaranteed. Made in Finland for decades, the Sako line is famous for quality and accuracy, but at $750 out the door, this price point was unheard of at the time for a 5 shot MOA guaranteed.

That made us very eager to get out and test this bargain price Sako. The results were stunning to say the least. Three shots, five shots, and even ten shots went into the same ragged hole, time after time after time. The adjustable trigger (that we never bothered adjusting) is an absolute pleasure to shoot and the gun has an easy and light feel. Beretta promises world class accuracy in this gun and I feel that they deliver it handily. It is a .30-06 for those who want to know.

Thompson Center/TC Arms – Master Gun Makers Indeed

The TC Icon is truly a best in class when it comes to fit and finish, but TC also promises a 3 shot MOA guarantee on this rifle. They call it the “Foundation for Accuracy” and the Icon utilizes their accuracy certified 5R rifling. We tested the stainless steel and synthetic stock version of the gun in .243. There is also a wood stocked model for all of you traditionalists out there.

What can you say when a rifle advertised at 3 rounds into an inch at 100 yards shoots into .559 inches at 100 yards over not 3 but 5 rounds? The Icon easily kept its promise for TC for accuracy, and even at 10 rounds it shot into 1.15 inches. This is with no cool down whatsoever, bang bang, bang, reload, bang, bang, bang, reload, bang, bang, bang, reload, bang. That three round magazine kills you, but at least you know you aren’t going to miss. And at just around a thousand bucks the Icon is a very special gun.

The TC Venture is perhaps the best value in a hunting rifle in America from what I have seen. You get the same “Master Gun Maker” fit and finish found in the Icon, and the guaranteed MOA, at half the price. The styling and finish aren’t as elegant as the Icon, but it is after all half the price. What a rifle for under $500!

We can’t find the 10 round target that we shot for this gun, which is a .270, and nobody remembers what the measurement was exactly, but it was under 1.5″ for 10 rounds. We did retain the 3 round target that we benchmarked all the rifles with at first however. As you can see in the picture, it was 3 rounds into .590 inches, like the Icon at 5 rounds, just over half an inch, with no cool down. Again, the promise made by TC is not only kept, but exceeded by almost double.

The Inexpensive Savage… is a Savage

The Savage Axis series carries an MSRP of $329. It is an entirely new design from Savage and has a top strap, unlike the famous Model 10/110, and a 4 round box magazine. Our model tested is a .30-06 and came with a carbon steel blue barrel and synthetic stock. If there was one rifle that should **not** have performed well it was this one. Savage makes no accuracy claims in its advertising or on the website. There is no patented Savage Accutrigger(TM) on the gun. And although Savage is known for accuracy above all, and the Axis barrel is free floated on the stock (theoretically reducing harmonics), this is a no frills hunting rifle at a no frills price. You would think that it would have no frills accuracy as well.

But you know what? This crazy little Savage put 20 rounds into a hole no bigger than a half dollar at 100 yards like it was born and bred to do it! For 3 rounds the Savage came in at .869 inches, not as good as I think it can do, and 10 rounds at exactly an inch, 1.004. Savage has always been known for being the Cadillac of out of the box accuracy in American rifles, but in a $329 rifle I felt that this level of accuracy was over the top. The Axis may be an entry level hunting rifle, but take it as an example of what you’ll discover in a quality American made Savage.

The Surprising CZ

The CZ American 550 is another rifle that is not advertised to be holding at MOA accuracy. You would think when picking it up that this is your grandfather’s old Pre-64 Winchester. The wooden stocked model we tested is absolutely gorgeous, with fine checkering and an old world feel that you only get with a factory that has been making Mauser action bolt rifles since before you were born.

You really wouldn’t think that a traditional, wooden stocked rifle, made by an old European rifle maker would deliver sub-MOA results out at the range, but for this rifle I knew it was going to perform before it even arrived. We had given away a CZ in .416 Rigby at the NRA Show this past year in Charlotte. When the winner received the rifle he emailed us his test target that came with the rifle. The test target had three rounds, each big enough to stick your pinky through, drilled into less than an inch center to center. On seeing this we sent a request into CZ to send a gun for this article. They did, and told us that all of their guns are test fired for accuracy, and they all shoot into less than an inch.

This test gun, a .270, bettered that by almost half. We fired 3 rounds at 100 yards into .547 inches, and the ten round group came in at just over an inch, at 1.22. Sniper accuracy out of an old world gun. That is amazing. The CZ isn’t a rifle that you see in every gun shop you walk into, but ask your local dealer to order you one. This rifle will not disappoint.

Tikka Makes the Grade… and Possibly More

The Tikka T3 Lite Stainless is the last gun in our test, and like the others it performed extremely well. Tikka is brought into the US by Beretta USA like the Sako, and they too are made in Finland on the same machinery that produces $3500 Sako 85s. The quality and workmanship are superb, and as a low priced rifle, the 3 shot MOA guarantee is surprising. Of all the rifles we were able to test, the Tikka was the one I was the most curious about. I can’t say I was surprised when it came in well under an inch for 3 rounds, but I was surprised when 10 rounds of .30-06 came in at 1.18 inches, with no cool down. The highest variance in that string was lateral, which it shouldn’t be on a 90 degree day in south Florida. It should string vertically because the barrel is hotter and more floppy. That suggests that it was human error opening the 10 round group to over an inch. Ben is darn good, but not perfect, and this is a rifle I would like to test again.

So if MOA Out of the Box is New, What Changed?

Even five years ago nobody would have expected to buy a rifle of the shelf and get the accuracy you see here in our tests for under $1000, which all of our rifles come in under. When several gun companies who have been making rifles for decades come out with advertisements that their out of the box guns are now shooting “MOA,” something has to have changed. You used to have to pay a gunsmith hundreds of dollars to custom bed your rifle to get MOA, and as you will see from my tests, most of these rifles are shooting sub-MOA right out of the box with regular thickness barrels. So what changed?

  1. Metallurgy and Machining - When we think of those deer rifles that shot into 2 inches if you were lucky, we are thinking about old guns. New guns are made with new alloys and more importantly, CNC cutting tools and advanced measurement tools that are head and shoulders above the old stuff. There is a whole new body of knowledge about how to make metal things more consistent, and capabilities to finer tune the modern rifle to record out of the box accuracy. I don’t think better accuracy happened by accident. New knowledge and capabilities have meant better products, and we reap the results.
  2. Ammo, Ammo, Ammo – In the interest of full disclosure, Hornady is the official ammo sponsor of GunsAmerica and we did use Hornady Ammo for almost all of our testing. But we entered into the agreement with Hornady for a reason. They introduced all of shooting sports to an entirely new generation of consistent ammunition. You may think that all ammunition is equal but it is not. There are “tolerances” to any manufacturing process. At the cyclic rate that ammunition machines run at, variances in everything from powder charge to seating depth to jacket thickness can be huge, and effect accuracy a great deal. Before the Hornady revolution (pun intended), inconsistency was more the norm in factory ammo than consistency. If you couldn’t get better than a 3 inch group out of your old deer rifle, most likely at least half the problem was the ammo. Today’s rifle manufacturer relies on consistent ammo to get those “Guaranteed MOA” claims, and the consistency of Hornady ammo was proven out in every one of our test rifles. We’ll stick with the brown box.
  3. Consumer Awareness and New Priorities – This is a case of which came first chicken or the egg. But when it comes to MOA accuracy, I think the custom rifle market had a lot to do with the improvements in production rifles. When a large percentage of the market is buying old Mauser actions and having them mated with custom barrels and custom bedded stocks to produce a $1500 MOA hunting rifle, the product development people at the manufacturers saw an opportunity. Seeing that both metallurgy and ammo had come so far, they pushed their own abilities to do what the custom rifle people were already doing, and a whole new era of the hunting rifle market was born.

Are All Rifles Like This Now?

We tested 6 rifles from 4 manufacturers. All of them performed well above what you would think for out of the box hunting rifles. Can you extrapolate this to the entire gun industry and assume that all modern bolt rifles are producing this kind of accuracy when fed consistent Hornady Ammunition? We don’t know. But now that we have measured the results for these rifles maybe we will take the time and follow up this article with offerings from Remington, Winchester, Browning, Ruger, Weatherby, Mossberg and anyone else who comes a calling. Stay tuned!

Can I Shoot MOA?

This is the million dollar question. Now that you know your rifle can most likely easily shoot MOA, the question becomes can you shoot MOA. Notice for these tests that even Ben, a trained US Army Sniper with more than one tour of duty under his belt used a Lead Sled from Caldwell to hold the gun steady and absorb recoil. He did this because eliminating human factors is really the only way you can test the hardware for what it is, hardware. Trigger control and sight picture also factor into what you will actually be able to shoot with your gun, as well as the quality of your optics and mounts. Ben has already begun a series on the methods he learned in US Army Sniper School. Also check out our article this month on the Telydyne Tech Straightjacket. We sent them the Sako A7 from this article and the Savage Axis as well and had them modify their guns with their exciting technology. Then we brought them to the 500 yard range and mounted a $2000 Vortex Razor optic on them for true long range shooting. You can never stop learning when it comes to shooting and GunsAmerica Magazine is a great resource to become a sub-MOA shooter.

{ 104 comments }

{ 100 comments… add one }

  • Dave Berdan December 3, 2010, 10:37 am

    Paul and Ben,

    I really enjoyed reading your Out of the Box Accuracy article. I noticed, however, that at the beginning of the piece (and again under the Accuracy Defined paragraph), you said, “MOA means “minute of angle,” which is 1/360th of a circle.” That is incorrect. 1/360th of a circle is one degree. One MOA is 1/60th of one degree, or 1/21,600th of a circle, or about 1 inch at 100 yards (as you correctly stated later in the article).

    Dave Berdan

    • Administrator December 3, 2010, 1:57 pm

      Nice catch Dave thanks. If only every minute of the day was sixty times longer we might actually catch up. ;) -ph

    • Rick December 27, 2010, 5:27 pm

      A “minute of angle” or MOA, is 1/60th of 1/360th of a circle (each degree is split into 60 minutes),

      • Joe January 20, 2011, 8:14 pm

        Unless the article was corrected, both references appear correct to me. “1/60 of one degree of radius” is the same as “1/60 of 1/360 of a circle” which is 1/21,600th of a circle, also just over an inch at 100 yards.

        • Administrator January 21, 2011, 12:52 am

          It was indeed corrected after about an hour.

  • dave mccready December 3, 2010, 10:52 am

    Nicely written article – with technical writing merit

  • dave mccready December 3, 2010, 10:53 am

    Nicely written and understandable technical presentation

  • Del Denny December 3, 2010, 12:21 pm

    Interestingly enough I own two of the rifles tested and have found equally as good performance. Hornady is a great ammo but if your really a fanatic about MOA accuracy start reloading your own and the MOA’s will improve however the main aspect is cost savings. Nice article! Keep them coming.

  • jerry brooks December 3, 2010, 12:39 pm

    Superb article – well-written and unveils the mystery of MOA for all to understand. Additionally, I would like to thank you for featuring the CZ line for which I’ve been a loyal fan for several years. Thank You.

  • Dale December 3, 2010, 12:49 pm

    A very well written & interesting article! Look forward to seeing other rifle brands tested. Thank you!

  • Ask Mr Bill December 3, 2010, 12:51 pm

    This was a very nice article with much information. I can appreciate the effort that went into this. However, I have one concern.

    I do not fully agree with your definition of accuracy. Accuracy does have more to do with POA. What you were measuring during your tests is considered precision.

    This is a small detail and does not at all diminish this fine article.

  • Christian December 3, 2010, 1:00 pm

    Excellent. In Argentina we say: the problem is not the arrow but the Indian!

  • Glenn McQueen December 3, 2010, 1:10 pm

    Good job. Well written, and the shooter did some consistent shooting.
    I would like to know the model of scope used, and if you will be doing a follow-up test, say.. in reverse order after a thorough cleaning of each rifle?

  • B Gruss December 3, 2010, 1:43 pm

    It would be great to see future articles on more guns. Interested in Ruger #1’s in various cal.

  • Andre Mauboussin December 3, 2010, 1:52 pm

    Thank you for doing this test and posting a well written article. I’ve introduced several hunters to the sport over the last 3 years and I too have been shocked at the accuracy from their “entry level” rifles. Both shot well under an inch 3 shot groups with modestly priced factory ammunition. One of the guns was manufactured in the U.S. and it made me particularly proud that American companies can produce a competitively priced, superior product. If you miss, don’t blame the gun :-)!

  • zeke December 3, 2010, 2:10 pm

    I is incredible that this kind of accuracy is possible without investing in additional gunsmithing. I wonder how much your optics and ammunition contributed to performance. Do you think you would get the same results with low end optics and ammo?

    • Jon June 5, 2011, 11:48 pm

      My Savage Axis is notably good with cast bullets. One group with Lyman’s 311299 200 grain gas check held .5″ at 200 yards, with many moa groups at 100 yards. Nothing fancy in the optics…a BSA Catseye 3×9 40mm scope with a mil-dot reticle. It also seems to like mid-power jacketed bullet loads with which it is a surprise to get outside that moa mark. To be fair, I did do this trigger job…the factory set trigger was just too heavy to get the best accuracy for me.

      http://www.predatormastersforums.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Main=184206&Number=1717240#Post1717240

  • Chris Ryan December 3, 2010, 2:32 pm

    One thing you do not mention is optics. Did you use the same scope for each rifle (obviously not judging by the pictures) and how did you zero that scope per each rifle? An “out of the box” rifle will need the optics adjusted. How many rounds per zero? Is the scope just bore sighted?

    • Administrator December 3, 2010, 2:53 pm

      We used two Leupolds for this article, a 3-9 and a 2-12. Roughly $300 optics.

  • Bob Ludwig December 3, 2010, 2:44 pm

    Good Article especially during these difficult economic times. Glad to know I can buy an American made accurate hunting rifle without breaking the bank.
    I found about the same thing with flyrods with 120 dollars American made rods performing very well against rods 3 or 4 nice times as expensive.

    I can appreciate the finest of both guns and rods but to me the most important thing is function and enjoyment of the sport.

  • Ted Bristol December 3, 2010, 3:23 pm

    Great article. Thanks. I would really appreciate a simliar article on modern pistols as I have found that the only limit is the shooter. We consisting shoot at 100 yards with semi auto Glocks.

    • Administrator December 3, 2010, 4:12 pm

      It is very difficult to eliminate human error with a pistol because of the small sight radius. You can do it with a Ransom Rest but we don’t have one yet. The problem is then you have to go back and say what does it matter, because the coarseness of the sights and a 5″ sight radius if you are lucky is going to limit the shooter regardless. It would be interesting to see what the hardware actually shoots though.

  • Bill Graves December 3, 2010, 3:57 pm

    I have been noticeing this accuracy trend over the last couple of years at our local gun clubs annual “Sight In Service”. Granted, some of the shooters aren’t very accomplished, but the factory rifles (particularly the Weatherby Vanguards and Savages) are remarkably accurate out of the box with just about any factory ammunition. There was a time if you happened to purchase a very accurate factory rifle, you held onto it for dear life. I have had my share of expensive factory rifles that turned out to be real dogs in years past. My gunsmith may be a bit sad if I start buying factory rifles again.

  • George Slater December 3, 2010, 4:04 pm

    In the MOA article, what was the caliber of guns used?

    • Administrator December 3, 2010, 4:10 pm

      The Sako is .30-06, The Icon is .243, the Venture .270, the Savage .30-06, the CZ .270 (the giveaway gun this month) and the Tikka is .30-06.

  • Rick Frazier December 3, 2010, 4:14 pm

    Great article guys. I also own a Sako A7 and have found it to be extremely accurate. It is chambered in 25.06 and is a long range “tack driver”. My only complaint with it is the magazine. It will not hold the cartridges firmly enough to feed without error. When more than one cartridge is in the mag it will dump the entire capacity while trying to install in the rifle. Any suggestions?

  • Fred Sanford December 3, 2010, 4:42 pm

    MOA means “minute of angle,” which is 1/360th of a circle.

    The above statement is not correct as I understand it. As closer to correct simplified definition would be something along the lines of:

    MOA means “minute of angle,” which is 1/60th of one degree (1/360th of a circle).

    http://riflestocks.tripod.com/moa.html

  • Michael December 3, 2010, 4:45 pm

    Some years ago I had occasion to wring out some really fine pre-war rifles (A Springfield sporter by Owen, a few factory Obendorf Mauser sporters and various post WWI German sporters made from surplus military Mausers (you know the splinter fore end sort). Almost all shot MOA but I’m certain they did not shoot as well when they were new. I assume it is the modern ammo.

    With modern ammo, barrels made on modern equipment with modern metallurgy and modern ideas about bedding (e.g. pillar bedding) mass produced out of the box accuracy is not surprising.

  • Ron Chervinski December 3, 2010, 4:55 pm

    This was great reading! Thank you so much. Please tell me how you picked your ammo. I know you used Hornady, But how did you decide on the bullet ( weight and type) for each rifle. Did you mention the caliber and twist of each rifle? I am always testing my own loads in each of my rifles for accuracy ( .204,.223,and.308) all are Rem. mod 700 VLS with 1 in 12 twists. Each rifle has a sort of favorite bullet and load for me. My.204 likes 40 gr Vmax,.223 likes 53 gr Sierra HP, & .308 likes Sierra 168 gr BTHP.
    I use Varget and shoot at 100 yards most of the time.
    Thanks…..Ron Chervinski

  • gunslinger_h December 3, 2010, 5:33 pm

    Hello. I was wondering if the so called major companies who did not send test rifles gave you a reason for not doing so? Thanks, the gunslinger

    • Administrator December 3, 2010, 6:04 pm

      Absolutely not. It is just hard to get on their radar with test products. There are a zillion wanna-be writers and wanna-be websites out there requesting products. They know GunsAmerica as a retail buying and selling platform, not an editorial engine. We are only five issues into the magazine so it is understandable. I feel we have the best edit in the industry.

      • Hank March 6, 2011, 5:52 am

        It would seem that, with the number of people that you reach, that your importance would increase your importance with them, especially when you consider the quality your magazine. When I was in business I looked for things that could bloom and make me more successful. I would think that they would take that approach towards you, but this is an area where I have no experience. I wish you luck with this. Hank.

  • Lee December 3, 2010, 6:33 pm

    Well written article and well illustrates the quality, in terms of accuracy, of what can be had for a relatively modest cost. What was the caliber tested in the various rifles? Some were figured out by reading the photo captions, but they were not explicitly stated in the text. Caliber matters too when comparing MOA among brands.

  • Tom Ochs December 3, 2010, 6:50 pm

    Another great article. However, I have to point out that you have mistaken the term “accuracy” for “precision.” These are very specific scientific terms that give an idea of how close to aim (accuracy) and how much spread (precision) there is in a string of shots:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accuracy_and_precision

    To find precision you shoot a number of shots and then look at the statistics of where they fell relative to each other. To find accuracy, you adjust your sights to bring the shots as close as possible to the point of aim. As pointed out in the Wikipedia article a system can be accurate but not precise; precise but not accurate; neither precise nor accurate; or both precise and accurate. In general, the precision is an inherent trait of the rifle. The accuracy takes into account all other variables such as scope, shooter, wind, bullet characteristics…

    Again, this is a great article. It showed me the precision of modern guns. From the looks of the targets you made the gun-human-weather-bullet system accurate also.

  • Mark December 3, 2010, 10:29 pm

    Barrel harmonics do not go away with a floated barrel. Floating removes the stock as a variable in the harmonics. I would sure like to see more guns data.

  • Matt Worner December 3, 2010, 11:27 pm

    At the risk of being accused of quibbling I think it would be more accurate (no pun intended) to refer to the ability of a rifle to shoot within a specific MOA as precision which we define in the process control realm as repeatability as opposed to accuracy which is correct to point of aim. Of course in my business we shoot (again, pun unintentional) for both if possible but seek precision prior to accuracy given the vicissitudes of reality. It is easier to hold an inch high if we know all rounds are going to hit point of intention an inch lower than point of aim than to wonder which direction the next shot out the pipe is going to take. Precision and accuracy are often used interchangeably but they really are subtly different.

    Minor point from the soapbox; not meant to denigrate a great article. I can only wish the Mark I eyeball was up to the precision and accuracy of the tools I have to work with…

    • Administrator December 5, 2010, 5:36 am

      Isn’t quibbling a sissy european word? Are you from across the pond?? I thought so! Don’t worry we’ll fight your next war for you, no worries about accuracy vs. precision ok.

      • Steve February 20, 2012, 9:08 am

        I know this is a 2010 post …but just read it ADMIN HOORAH for you with the limey crap!

      • Bruce Anacker December 10, 2012, 1:10 pm

        I don’t read the comment to mean anything that justifies such a sarcastic reply , since it essentially re-iterates the same comments posted previously, so why the sarcasm ? Second , how do you derive a European source to base such a perspective for your reply ? Third , why disparage Europeans with such a broad stroke ? Please explain since you take the position of ( presumably so ) standing for all Americans .

        • Administrator December 10, 2012, 1:44 pm

          Well of course we stand for all Americans you silly bloke!

  • Jim Coyne December 4, 2010, 1:47 am

    This article leaves out one obvious thing: WHAT IS THE CALIBER OF EACH RIFLE TESTED? Why in the world would any writer devote so much time and effort to his work and FAIL TO NOTE THE CALIBER OF THE RIFLES TESTED AND THE BRAND OF AMMUNITION FIRED?? Was all of it Hornady? If so, say so!! This has been a waste of my time.

    • Administrator December 5, 2010, 5:34 am

      Well darnit good thing you didn’t have to pay for it Jim!! The calibers have been added. They are fairly blah, all on the shelf at walmart. All Hornady for the test targets yes.

  • Skip Dobrin December 4, 2010, 4:46 am

    What was the result of the Telydyne Tech Straightjacket treatment on the Sako A7 and the Savage Axis. Did you see a major difference in the MOA results?

  • GCG December 4, 2010, 5:18 am

    Hope you test the Kimber of America Mod 84M and the NEW Model 70 Win Featherweight…both in .308 Win
    Great article…great info…after we buy the gun, it’s TOO LATE if it’s a “LEMON!”

    • Administrator December 5, 2010, 5:32 am

      With the customer service of all the companies tested you don’t have to worry about lemons. We are open to a #2 of this article. It is just how open the companies are to sending guns.

  • Mike Weber December 4, 2010, 6:34 pm

    I own a Marlin X7 in .308. I paid a touch over $400 for it. It shoots .60 moa, 5 shot groups at 100 yards all the time. I believe the materals, CNC fittings, and modern ammo make most rifle’s shoot well out of the box as the artical stated.

  • nightsniper December 4, 2010, 8:32 pm

    Excellent article. This was like something ‘everyone always wanted to really know, but were afraid to ask’, due to the mental programming most shooters have that all moa guns must be super custom jobs tricked out and tweaked to the max using special match grade ammo to shoot MOA.

    Since Guns America sells a lot of military stuff, what would really be great if AR-15 barrels could rise to the level of technology and shoot moa without having to be a Les Bar or other twice the cost precision drilled pipe? An under a grand moa sniper grade AR-15 in various caliber barrels would be the ultimate personal weapon.That would be another great article for you? Keep up the good work!

    • Administrator December 4, 2010, 11:42 pm

      Check out the teludyne article that is a companion to this one. You can get a whole upper from them for almost normal price.

      • Ray Bean December 6, 2010, 4:07 am

        MOA, can be achieved with any standard stainless barrell! With a little patients, some ultra fine valve lapping compound, and a drill and rod with a cleaning patch. It is a very simple process but very time consuming. Ray Bean Unfied Design.

  • rifleron December 4, 2010, 10:16 pm

    What a great article. Thank you for taking the time to do something that most of us really are interested in. I have one built rifle that outshoots anything I can ever do but I hunt with a regular out the box rifle. That is what I would suspect over 90% of hunters use in the U.S.. All of those are great companies do another one with ONLY US manuafacturers and especially the ones that non intentionally excluded. That would be fun to see the results. GREAT ARTICLE good job.

    • Gracyn April 14, 2011, 6:14 am

      I’m not esilay impressed. . . but that’s impressing me! :)

  • powerworm December 5, 2010, 4:56 am

    very informative article i wish more rifles had been tested but so goes the ol’ trapdoor in advertising if you cant prove it then im right!! but isnt a MOA actually 1.047″ and 1/60th of a degree?

    • Administrator December 5, 2010, 5:28 am

      yes, this was edited in already thanks.

  • seaforfun December 5, 2010, 5:19 am

    Personaly I have a weatherby 300 mag and I shoot Barns ammo. I have had the same results as the other 5 shot MOA out of the box. Like the others have mentioned it would be nice to know what the calaber of the rifle they were shooting.

    • Administrator December 5, 2010, 5:28 am

      All of the calibers have been edited in.

  • Jim M December 5, 2010, 2:44 pm

    I thought this was an excellent article. I have thought about buying the Savage for a long time, and now that I see the accuracy compares with the much morte expensive rifles, I have no excuse left for procrastinating.
    Also, I think your whole magazine is great, and I look forward to each issue.
    Thanks,
    Jim

    • Administrator December 5, 2010, 4:18 pm

      aw
      Thanks Jim so few pats on the back these days everyone just wants more more more in the downward spiral of our great nation.

  • Bill Newman December 5, 2010, 3:59 pm

    I found this to be a very good article. I am new into this hand-load accuracy world but have a lot of Christian friends with decades of experience.My Tikka t-3 lite in 30.06 shoots .5 5 shoot groups at 100 yds consistantly as does my howa 1500 in .204. My friends have commented many times of the thousands of dollars they have invested to get these results!Thanks for a great article!

  • Ray Bean December 6, 2010, 3:57 am

    Once again great job guys. The MOA method of accuracy needs to be taught to all sportsmen and women. There would b e fewer missed shots and less wounded animals. The 270 has always been a favorite of mine, but none compare to the 308. Thanks again and keep the imformational articles coming they are a great help to all sportsmen!
    Unified Design, Ray “Taz” Bean.

  • CavScout62 December 6, 2010, 4:17 pm

    Great article and I hope you can get the other American riflemakers to send you examples to do the same test fire with. I was really glad you were able to include the CZ as there is no finer machinists in the world than the Czechs. Thier weapons all have a natural and “Right” feel to them like no other. I also was not at all surprised by the performance of the Savage bare bones hunting rifle. I have been a Savage shooter for 25 years and have enjoyed outshooting many a custom built rifle guy on many occasions with my 10FP in .308 at ranges of 100-1000 yards. Not to say I don’t own other rifles, I do. I just enjoy humbleing the “My Gun Cost More Than Your Gun” guys with my Savage ‘Junk” as it’s often called. Anyway, keep up the good work guys. Love the magazine.

    • ARNOLD PALMERI Sr. December 27, 2010, 7:14 pm

      YEP I LOVE IT WHEN PEOPLE REFERE TO MY SAVAGE AS JUNK.I AS YOU SHOOT QUITE WELL WITH MY 308 WITH A 6X24X50 SCOPE.

  • Earl December 9, 2010, 2:42 pm

    Unbelievable! Simply unbelievable! First, that a plebeian class gun magazine would produce this article… going so far as to actually call names and not make excuses but simply report the information and let readers draw their own conclusions. Second, that the standouts in accuracy are a relatively affordable rifle and a very affordable rifle. Third, that the Savage fully lives up to its reputation among good ole boys of giving remarkable out of the box accuracy when used with good ammunition and marksmanship skills. Fourth, that the testing was done in a controlled manner over a sufficient length of time and under almost optimum conditions so that one need not discount variations due to shooter error. I have a nice Remington left-handed 700 in .30-06 that has, since 1985, produced nice sub-MOA 3 shot groups with my handloads. For the last several years, I’ve been strongly considering having the rifle rebarreled with a heavier barrel. This looks like a good way to take that beloved old 700 and tweak it a bit for use on both the range on the deer stand! I had just about quit buying and reading gun magazine where the articles are to often just a fluff ad for a manufacturer. I had just about given up on the idea that anyone would ever actually publish anything else. This is different. I will be looking for the next issue of G&A.

  • Bob deMaine December 13, 2010, 8:22 pm

    I was very tired of reading all the fluff in the other gun rags,but now am a beleiver in yours,please dont sell out! yours truely Bobby

  • Brook A. Campbell December 14, 2010, 11:09 am

    LOOKS LIKE A GREAT GUN! HOW DO I BUY ONE? LOOKS JUST RITE FOR ME CAN YOU SEND ME SOME INFORMATION IN BUY IT (edited to hide address)

    • Administrator December 15, 2010, 5:19 pm

      You would have to ask which gun and search the main website. I deleted your address from the comment. GunsAmerica doesn’t sell anything you have to contact individual sellers.

  • John December 27, 2010, 2:31 pm

    Great article. Its good to see technical data (test results) to back up the statements. Old timers like to think that “Old Bessy” was the greatest thing ever made and they don’t make them like they use to. Well, that is true, they don’t. They seem to make them better! I like the CZ’s having owned a few and the Savage is such a good value as the test results prove. Seems we are lucky to have so many great choices. Good article!

  • Frank Mancuso December 27, 2010, 3:03 pm

    Great Article and very true about the Savage Rifles, I can only speak about Savage owning four of them and being a reloader I get sub 1/2 MOA from all of them, from 100 to 600 yards.

  • Ryan December 27, 2010, 4:52 pm

    Cool article and I too would like to see some other rifles tested by the big 5 for Out-of-Box MOA. Most notably the Mossberg ATR 100.

    i also think for the sake of consistency you should try and get the same caliber from every gun to take that difference out of the equation.

  • Wittry December 27, 2010, 5:33 pm

    What a great article. Since confidence, for many shooters, is everything, this piece goes right at this critical emotional component. When my 20 year old comes home from college to shoot and prepare for our annual hunt, I always start off by proving the firearm that he will be using is “right on.” This pre-shooting ritual releases doubt and instills self confidence. To this day he has never had to take a second shot in the field when he has the confidence to know his .270 is 1.5 inches high at 100 yards. In fact, he hits so consistently when we shoot at the farm (in the dirt, not on the bench), that I have never worked with him at any yardage farther than 100 so his confidence is high, rather than having to explain the MOA difference at longer distances.

  • Tom Bratland December 27, 2010, 6:04 pm

    Great piece! We are truly living in a golden age. The Savage Axis will be my next rifle! Now, about optics for it: how about a piece on good, bargain-priced scopes? I know they must be out there (everything else is :-)

    • john r December 1, 2011, 7:36 pm

      b.s.a. scopes wonderful and cheap 79.00 the sportsmans guide order the book you will be very happy.

  • Dutch Joens December 27, 2010, 6:30 pm

    Great article! I love meat and potatoes reviews like this one. I have been a die hard fan of all things Savage since my first one 30 years ago. Thanks for including it in the test. I love nothing better then shooting my Savage 110 .308 against all the Remington 700 owners and doing just as well with a rifle I paid far less for. Price does NOT always equal VALUE….
    DJ

    • 700fan February 20, 2012, 9:14 am

      No need to be nasty about the 700 Savage aspired to be as well put together and formidable as the 700,why? I have an insider at Savage and know the scoop….love your savage ,Ill depend in the 700 in .308 ….yea 2010 post I know

  • ARNOLD PALMERI Sr. December 27, 2010, 7:09 pm

    ALTHOUGH ALMOST EVERY GUN IS CAPABLE OF MAO.THIS DOES NOT HOLD TRUE FOR THE SHOOTER.IT DOES NOT MATTER HOW MUCH YOU SPEND FOR A SCOPE AND RIFLE.IT IS ONLY AS GOOD AS THE USER.I SEE THIS EVERYDAY AT THE RANGE.FRUSTRATED PEOPLE BLAMING IT ON THE GUN WHEN I AM ASKED TO SHOOT IT I MAKE SOME UPSET.IF THE GUN PERFORM’S TO THE OWNER’S EXPECTATION’S THEN YOU HAVE A SATISFIED SHOOTER.

  • ARNOLD PALMERI Sr. December 27, 2010, 7:18 pm

    I STILL LIKE SHOOTING MY 8mm OUT TO 500YDS.IT MAY BE A 1941 BUT IT’S PATTERN ONLY APLIES TO THE SHOOTER’S ABILITY.
    NOW IM WORKING ON BECOMING A BETTER SHOT WITH THE 30-40 KRAG I JUST BOUGHT(1901)

  • John December 27, 2010, 11:28 pm

    Great article. I have been wondering how so many gun manufactures can produce so great budget line rifles, which is important to some of us that can not afford the more “top of the line” rifles. I cant wait to see part 2, and the Weatherby in particular. I recently picked up a Weatherby Vanguard at my local gun shop and with the cheapest ammo I could find. It produced sob – MOA groups off the bat. It was the 2006 NRA gun of the year with a Leupold VXII, never fired for $600. What a deal! Anyway, looking forward to the next article.

  • Paul Dunster December 29, 2010, 8:15 pm

    Cool article, wish my inherited ol’ 30-06 could achieve that level of accuracy. Maybe it’s time for a new rifle!

    A word choice quibble and a math quibble:
    The terminology quibble: Quoting from the first paragraph: “MOA means “minute of angle,” which is 1/60th of one degree of radius.” Radius is the 100 yd., the CIRCUMFERENCE is what 1 MOA is a fraction of.

    And the math quibble:
    When started the read, I wondered ‘how large is a minute-of-angle?’, so I calculated it out and arrived at 0.95492 inches. Still rounds to 1 inch, but is almost 0.1 inches different than the article value of 1.047 inches. I thought maybe it was the difference between using the pi key on the calculator and using 3.14, but repeating the calculation with 3.14 still returned 0.955 inches. So I’m wondering how 1.047 is arrived at.

    • Ed Jett December 31, 2010, 12:12 am

      Paul, your error comes from rounding Pi to 2 decimal places. Pi is one of those irrational numbers that just goes on and on after the decimal. It is 3.141592… You might see how that affects your calculation. When I did the calculation, I come up with 1.0472″ at 100 yds (3600 inches).

  • BIGBILL February 9, 2011, 1:09 am

    Did you take the time to “breakin” the barrel’s of any of the test rifle?, or do you feel it is not needed on the rifles mfg. today as we all know what a time consuming job it can be if you do what the mfg.’s say is needed to make them shoot consistent groups….

    • Administrator February 9, 2011, 3:46 pm

      No we just took them out of the box and shot them.

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    • john r November 28, 2011, 9:31 pm

      I am a proud owner of a308 axis and many other brands it is defiently my choice along with my b.s a. scope have taken ever deere i have shot at with one shot from 20 yards to 550 yards i love my so called junk.

  • john r November 29, 2011, 9:31 pm

    glad u guys are being honest and not prmomoting for cash thanks for honest and your military work not forgotten. we need more of tangs like this.

  • john r December 1, 2011, 7:42 pm

    my bsa scope is just as good as my leapould maybe better.

  • john r December 1, 2011, 10:11 pm

    what?

  • Mike in Kentucky February 4, 2012, 11:49 am

    I own a Sako A7 in 30-06. It is topped with a Zeiss Conquest scope.
    I took it to the range last weekend and shot a 1″ group at 200 yds.
    Needless to say…I am pleased with my Sako.

    P.S. Last fall, I used this same rifle, in Wyoming, to drop a pronghorn at 200 yds.

    • flyboy October 15, 2012, 9:44 pm

      200 yards in Wyoming? How did you get so close?

  • John M. Buol Jr. April 10, 2012, 1:50 pm

    Outstanding article! The take away lesson here is:

    Your rifle is already good enough. Commonly-available, off-the-shelf ammo is good enough. The only remaining question is: Are YOU good enough?

    This article **should ** be the death knell for the benchrest on most public ranges, with the exception of formal Benchrest competition (IBS, International Benchrest Shooters; NBRSA, National Bench Rest Shooters Association, etc.)

    Yet, every range I visit is cluttered with benchrests. It is rare to find a gun owner shooting any other way. In fact, I’ve been to a few ranges that forbid any type of position shooting, including slow fire on bullseye targets! Stupid!

    Why? Testing and load development is a waste of time, as this article proves. Pedestrian equipment is already more than good enough. The shooter probably is not.

  • Bryon May 20, 2012, 10:33 pm

    The above article mentions testing the “stainless” version of the Thompson Center (TC) Icon. TC doesn’t make a stainless steel version of Icon (nor Venture). Their “WeatherShield” coating is a baked-on paint claimed to be 50 times more corrosion resistant than stainless steel (has a gray satin stainless appearance). That’s fine and wonderful, but the inside of the barrel is not coated; no different than a blued carbon steel rifle rifle barrel; you have to keep moisture out to avoid rust. I’ve read more than one article claiming Icons are made of stainless steel. It’s too bad writers such as Paul Helinski & Ben Becker are misinforming the buying public.

  • Whisper June 18, 2012, 12:30 pm

    I saw this addressed earlier. You don’t need a sniper to measure a rifles “Precision”. This was a great article very informative in the rifles reviewed.
    Your sniper was trained to differentiate between accuracy and precision. He shouldn’t have forgotten that and must drop and give fifty for the mistake.
    Aministrater you banged a commentor who spotted this issue.
    There is no such thing as an accurate rifle. You are measuring the rifles percision.
    Accuracy is a measurement of all the elements involved in taking a well planned shot. I could make this a lot more technical with the textbook speak but it is an important issue to remember.
    You could have a precision slingshot but it accuracy isn’t applied till the shooter connects the POI with the POA repeadedly.

    For hunting rifles I really enjoyed the artical and look forward to more. Maybe test the rifles precision then test it in the field under field condtions. Thanks for the hard time consuming work. I hold you in the highest regards because I feel your reviews are honest with unbias results. I will address things that a sniper would know but may have forgotten.
    Remember drop and give me fifty!

  • KScountrygal December 4, 2012, 9:50 pm

    I just bought the Savage Axis (formerly Edge) XP chambered in 30-06; it’s my first “real” rifle. Granted, I cut my teeth on a Remington Nylon 66 when I was about 6- in fact, I still own it (and she looks good for being 50 years old)- but this is a cat of a different color.

    My best grouping is about 1/2″ at 100 yards, using a sandbag under the forearm…so for deer hunting purposes, I’m not about to complain about it one iota. One thing I do NOT like is the magazine. It tends to be finicky and fussy, requiring a hard smack with the hell of your hand to ensure it inserts properly- plus the clip is plastic, and I’m a bit leery about that. The scope that came with the gun is a Bushnell Sharpshooter, and although I think it would be fantastic for my .22, I’m not quite convinced it’s up to the task of dealing with the punishment this rifle will give it. (I’ve put 20 rounds through it and nothing has broken, but eventually I’ll upgrade to better stuff.)

    I originally purchased a Limbsaver recoil pad when I bought the rifle, because I was concerned about recoil, but it made the gun too unwieldy for me so I removed it. The recoil pad on the gun seems to do a good job of managing recoil- I’d say it’s roughly equal to my Mossberg 500 20ga loaded with slugs. Granted, it’s not something I’d want to shoot all day long, but it’s serviceable for hunting purposes.

    One thing I did notice (and I may contact Savage about it once deer season is over) is what I consider to be excessive pitting on the bolt. For precision equipment that must withstand a LOT of various forces, pitting is something I find unacceptable. I haven’t noticed any galling or spalling, nor have I noticed any burrs, but the pitting is an obvious concern. It could be nothing, but my background as an aircraft mechanic makes me worry about this sort of thing LOL.

    At any rate, the price was right and I’m quite happy overall. I bough it for a hunting rifle, and I think it’ll do a great job for me. :)

  • Stéphane Bédard April 16, 2013, 10:19 pm

    A pitty you couldn’t try the new Vanguard S2… I’m saving to buy one and wonder how it shoots, reviews are all good.
    This should be done again with more guns!!! And all in the same caliber, lets say 7mm rem mag…
    From Québec Canada

  • Dean November 19, 2013, 12:06 am

    It would also be interesting to note what the barrels were made of and the length.

  • Scott McIlvaine December 17, 2013, 5:26 pm

    Great Article. After reading I had looked to purchase the Sako A7, but I found 3 models. The Big Game, the Varmint and the Long Range Hunter. Can you please tell me the one used for this test? If it was mentioned I must have missed it.

    • Administrator December 17, 2013, 9:37 pm

      This would probably be big game, but they have improved the stocks since this article and they are even better.

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