This is an ongoing discussion in just about every flavor of shooting, probably most things in life.....
Another friend of mine started shooting rimfire silhouette as a kid with a BSA scope & CCI SV ammo...forget what basic bolt gun he used.
Now he shoots with a Custom stocked Annie and Leupold.
Go to a Bullseye forum and some of the sniper type forums...and you'll see comments about "this is an expensive sport, if you can't afford it don't bother"..etc.
Will a $3K bullseye gun be more competitive, absolutely.....but if a shooter can't afford that, or is unwilling to try a sport at that price, should he just be turned away from the country club?
A lightly tuned Springfield RO for about $1K may allow you to start shooting. Once you start showing up to the range or matches, people will almost always help you out, show you what works for them, loan you gear, offer to sell you guns and optics they may have moved on from.
I think this Ruger may go a long ways to getting more people into the long range game.
A lot of guys would ask me about a "sniper" rifle...and set a limit of about $1K....when I get finished laughing, I try to explain to them the difficulty in that. Work out some pricing to get them in at budget. I explain what they are giving up at that price point, most forget about it and buy another big screen or jet ski.
Now if, I can say, ya know what, stretch that by a few hundred, and you can have a very capable rifle, with an OKish scope, that is much simpler to upgrade then a new gun..I might be able to convince people to join the ranks of precision shooters....hell, maybe I'll join them.
I use a similar approach when I'm asked about an AR or carry gun.
I don't play the "just as good as" game, I am may play the "good enough for now" game.
I see it all the time, the price of what most here would call a middle of the road scope, floors people. A lot insist its just the name, blah blah blah, some accept that they are great scopes, but just won't make the stretch, and some will.
Me, I'd rather have a complete gun, I can shoot now, then a pile of saved money that I can't do anything with.....I mean what if the zombies come?
Do I go for the cheap skank I can afford, or save for the high class escort?