Most of you will probably lagh at this or be suprised, but I shoot a savage axis and it is an amazing gun, especially when you consider the price. I can get it to shoot a .4 inch group at 100 yds and it is very light. You may not whant it because most people consider it a cheap entry level gun but it will out shoot my dads Nosler M48 trophy grade any day, I am ver impressed with this gun, it blew me away. The only thing I have done to it besides put a scope on it(nikon prostaff,also very good buy) is put a Rifle Basiks trigger on it as the Savage trigger kinda sucked. Hope this helps!
I wouldn't laugh at any Savage. They know how to make accurate guns.
Bump...I'm looking for any and all rifle opinions from those of you who are experienced out west hunters.
Take one that isn't too heavy but a big enough cal to get the job done. One you feel comfortable with and are proficient with and trust. I have taken a few elk and an unknown number of deer with the one rifle I've owned for 34 years. A Ruger M77R 30/06. Way back before it was "the thing" I put a Bell and Carlson synthetic stock and had it floated. Topped it with a 2X7 scope. Was a Redfield that finally gave up after 25 years or so. Now a Cabelas that is lighter and brighter. I also painted it camo before that was "in" too. That gun is a part of my body after all those years and has been well used and shoots better than I can. I'm not a long range shooter (300 yrds max.) More of a hunter. Nothing like putting the sneak on 'em.
Another option for you would be to buy a barreled action from Howa and build your own rifle. I'm not really sure on the price but they are not expensive. Howa is a japanese manufacturer. They make the vanguards for Weatherby. The vanuard is a lot of bang for the buck and the 2 I have are sub-moa.
I own a vanguard in 223. Very accurate. I am going to be getting one in 30 cal in one way or another soon. They have proven their salt in my books with a good build right out of the box.
If you don't mind a few extra pack ounces, get a suppressor. Gemtech makes them in titanium. Put it in your pack. When your in place screw it on. Recoil is half that without one. Your ears will also thank you.
My most favorable part is you stay on target through your optics easier with the barrel tip weighted.