I have shot most of the major brands and this is going to sound like a broken record but for the money the remington 700 is tough to beat. Browning a-bolts are my personal favorites but are about twice as much and for general use not worth it.
I have wanted to give the new marlins a try. They get rave reviews and the ones I have messed with at the gun shops felt good. Might take a look at those and see what you think.
I have a 700 SPS youth gun for my son and it is holding up pretty good. I have another 700 270 but it is an older model BDL and the bluing is great on it. You can find older BDLs for about the same money as new ADls. I personally like the bluing finish better than the matte finish on the newer models. The chevy vs ford comment was dead on. Everyone has an opinion.
I have heard that the lower end a-bolts have had some trigger issues. I suspect that this is where Browing saved some money and got the price down to $500. I would look for an older model if it were me and an a-bolt was what I decided on.
Stevens 200, can't seem to find a rifle that will outshoot those I've had my hands on. Factory ammo about M.O.A, handloads they like, 1/2-5/8 inch three shot groups at 100 yards. Pretty good for a rifle thats usually under $300 out the door.
There is a stainless Marlin XL7 in the trading post right now. I have one of these (blue) in 7mm-08 and it is a great rifle for the price. The one in the trading post has a pretty decent scope on it as well so you would be ready to go.
I recently got a older Stevens 110 (early savage 110), has the adjustable trigger - not the accutrigger. But it is set at a very crisp and no creep break. It is quite literally the best trigger I have ever felt and am quite surprised. I paid $175 for the gun. Its old, had to redo the stock, but now its a sweet little rifle.
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