Marlin XS/XL series
A couple of years ago when I was in the market for an entry-level deer rifle, I settled on the Marlin XS/XL series after a lot of research (I went with the XS7 in .308). At the time I got it from Academy for about $299. With a relatively cheap Nikon Prostaff scope it shoots MOA with Hornady A-MAX and about 1.5 MOA with the Interlock hunting rounds (hand loaded).
If you are looking to accessorize it later you probably need to go with the Remington 700, but if you are looking for a budget bolt gun that shoots well, lots of people have been happy with the Marlin.
Last edited by HuttoAg96; 02-15-12 at 22:55