Originally Posted by JohnJak
Savage 110 hands down.
To avoid confusion the original 110 was available in a .308(short action) the new Savages with a 3-number model code are long action, and the short action are 2-number.
As Hossfly said, it depends on what you want to do.
In brand new, regardless of the model, i.e. 10, 11, 12, 14 or 16, the actions are the same. The model variants come with different barrel tapers or stock options or finish.
The best value in .308 is the Stevens 200, is uses the same action as a standard Savage. The Axis series uses a different action but is priced accordingly, both at the lower end of you budget.
At the upper end of your budget a Savage 11FCNS (F= synthetic stock, c= detachable magazine, ns= no sights) should work well for most activities.
Some of the big box stores (like Dicks) have a package deal with rifle and scope (but beware that the model number don't usually match the standard Savage codes).