Re: In your opinion, what gun maker makes the best bolt action centerfire rifle?
I don't think it is personal myself. I chose to buy a Savage because they were winning F/TR and F Class shooting events using stock rifles up against custom rifles. That is very impressive stuff. I have nothing against the other gun makers. I nearly bought a Remington and would have been happy with it I'm sure but it probably needed a barrel so I looked elsewhere. I was actually going to buy a new Savage but I found such a good deal on a used one that had not been shot more than maybe 10 times that I just couldn't pass it up. I actually lucked out in that I was going to buy an F/TR rifle but the one I found was a 12 LRPV. It has the same target AccuTrigger (not the same as the regular AT) and it's a single shot with a left feed mechanism. A single shot can be much more rigid which is always good for shooting and sure enough the Savage turned out to be very rigid.
I found out later that most of the people on the Savage board think the LRPV is the best rifle Savage makes because the F/TR is front end heavy due to it having a 4" longer barrel. The 26" barrel on this rifle is said to be as good as it gets from Savage.
I know a person can buy a better barrel and get a custom trigger (an SSS Evo trigger probably is the best one around) and make their Savage shoot even better but Savage has tried hard to incorporate all the improvements the gunsmiths make to their guns into the production of their guns on down the line. So if a person wants a very good rifle for not a lot of money (compared to stuff like the Accuracy International rifles) then Savage is really hard to beat. Sure you can add a lot of upgrades to many rifles and make the shoot great. But Savage sells stuff right out of the box that can compete with a lot of custom rifles. I'm not saying they make the best rifles on earth. That would be silly. But I've shot a lot of rifles in the last few years and Savage has been better than all of them. Other rifles are really good but I just think Savage goes the extra mile.