My buddy bought a Savage Axis .243 for his daughter. When we were sighting it in he shot a 3-shot group that we could darn near cover with a quarter at 100 yds. With hornady factory ammo. I was impressed!!!
I bought a Savage Model 110 .243 for my first rifle. That was 51 years ago and I still own it. Also own several other Savages and they are all shooters. I like the Savages and the .243 is a good deer/ground hog cartridge. I've always liked the tang safety on the Savages.
i have owned all three, in order of preference
1.marlin, because of the pro fire trigger
2. savage because it is absolutely lights out accurate, con is the trigger is straight crap and not very easy to adjust, it can be done however you need to snip a spring
3. mossberg, never own one again with the other options available, chincy, rough feeding, and no resale whatsoever.
I was in the same situation and compared a few Savages and the Ruger American. I went with the American. Great budget rifle. I got it for my beat around gun and for youth to use. If I need to go rifle hunting next year, my Ruger American .243 might be getting used instead of my Remi 7600 30.06.