Q: I am a new hunter looking for an all-around big-game rifle. I'd like a bolt-action and would prefer to keep the cost under $500. Any suggestions?
A: Welcome to the club! As far as versatility goes, it's tough to beat a well-balanced, .30-caliber cartridge like the .308 Win. or .30-06. The .270 Win. is another fine choice, particularly if you anticipate hunting mostly deer-sized game or smaller in open country.
These three cartridges are among the most popular with big-game hunters for good reason, and several rifle manufacturers make bolt-actions within your budget that chamber them. We suggest taking a look at the Marlin X7, Mossberg ATR, Remington Model 783, Ruger American and Savage Axis.
Enjoy your new rifle, and practice with it often. Good luck this season.