It wasn't long ago that many of you helped me complete my first AR-15 build and provided me with some solid advice/assistance, for those of you who do not know I am the poster formerly V3ritas_A3quitas, mostly a lurker/reader. ANYWAYS, to the point of this thread. This time your knowledge and sage advice is needed again in really setting my head straight. My mindset when it comes to purchasing a new firearm often times makes it difficult for me to know right away what I am looking for, and that is where I need your help. With my AR, although I was completely new to firearms, I did not want to start off with a truly beginning level gun. Being a student on his way out of college, the funds are not always there to support my love of firearms, but with my AR I was willing to spend more money than an entry level black rifle because I wanted to have a reliable firearm incase SHTF before I ever had the chance to upgrade to a firearm I felt truly comfortable being in a life/death scenario with. Without delving to much into my future plans on making sure I am prepared for when that happens, my main goal now besides continually putting in range time with my AR is to buy a bolt-action rifle. The main use of this rifle right away will be target shooting and getting used to the platform, so you could say that I am looking at a beginner's bolt action or budget rifle. But I am also looking for one that allows me to potentially have the opportunity to "grow" as you could say with the rifle and possibly upgrade it later on down the line (much like I have begun to do with my AR15). I know this debate usually ends up coming down to the Marlin XS7 (I prefer short action) vs Stevens 200 vs Remington 700, but I'd like to see what people's opinions. Do you think one of these 3 would do the trick? Is there another one you feel might fit my need a little better? New or Used? So many questions and thoughts to get in order. I am looking forward to everyone's feedback. PS: I also have read the stickies at the top of this forum, and while they have helped towards building my knowledge on the pros/cons of some of my potential choices, I am still very much confused.