As far as the weight on the woodsmaster, have you considered an aftermarket synthetic stock? I have no idea if they are available or not, but it may provide enough weight savings to make it more comfortable. Just a thought. :wink:
As far as a new rifle goes, exactly what are you looking for in a brush gun? Are you concerned about magazine capacity? Do you have a preference regarding action type? How important is weight(remember as weight decreases, recoil increases)? What price range? Are you a left handed shooter?
A few suggestions that I would make without knowing any of the above would be:
1. A Ruger NO. 1 International-A single shot falling block that comes in .243, .270, 7x57, and the greatest caliber ever, .30-06
Although it lists for over $900 it is available from wally world for around $700 or for just a little more from your favorite dealer.
This gun is very short and very lightweight.
More info available at: [color=blue]http://www.ruger.com/Firearms/FAProdResults?function=famid&famid=42[/color]
Just click on the icons to se more info.
2. A Thompson Center Encore-A single shot break action with interchangable barrels to allow you switch calibers from .22 hornet to .375 holland and holland
I believe it retails for somewhere around $600
More info at : http://www.tcarms.com
Click on the Encore link at the top of the page.
3. A ruger M77 Compact - Compact Bolt action avaiable in .223, .243, .260 remington, 7mm-08, and .308
Retails around $500
More info avaiable at:
Also Ruger just introduced a scout rifle same as the compact, but with forward mounted scope for faster traget acquisiton
4. A new winchester 94 or Marlin 336 both retail for less than $500
Also I have heard from numerous sources that the quality of the Marlin is better than that of the Winchester, albeit with a higher price.
IF IT DOESN'T HAVE TO BE COMPACT
1. A savage Arms Bolt of any kind, take a look at their website:
They produce high quality bolt actions that arguably the most accurate out of the box when compared to anything in their price range which is for the most part under $500. I believe them to be better than the Rugers.
They also have the most comprehensive line of left handed guns.
2. A Tikka which is imported by Beretta. Guarandteed 1" 3 shot groups @ 100yds for around $550
3. Any other rifle made by remington, winchester, Browning, etc.
Sorry for the length hope this is helpful if you have any more info forme about your needs, I could make some more suggestions. Not that I am anykind of expert.