When I started shooting, I had a penchant for buying budget guns and trying to improve them to compete with much more expensive guns. With some home tweaks, such as trigger jobs and recrowning, a certain level of success could be achieved. The two things I would spend money on would be a good scope, and a stock from Boyds.
There are a few centrefire rifle events every year that are just thoroughly enjoyable and worth attending. The Auckland NZDA Prize Shoot is one, as is the Thames NZDA shoot. The Hangiwera Station Sniper Shoot is definitely up there, and so is the Swiss Club’s Any Sights Any Rifle 300 metre shoot.