Best Hunting Rifle: Top 15 Revealed

While one may think the refinements made possible by advancements in modern technology make choosing the best hunting rifle an easy task, there remains several factors worth considering to determine the best hunting rifle. To help you choose which hunting rifle is best for you, this article has conducted a thorough comparison between the 15 best hunting rifles currently on the market.

Product FAQ

1. How Do I Choose the Best Hunting Rifle?

2. How Do I Choose the Right Caliber?

3. What Rifle Action Type Is Right for Me?

4. Why Is Rifle Weight Important?

How We Reviewed

Our comparative analysis of the 15 best hunting rifles was based on several factors. The main factors we gave particular focus included: price, magazine compatibility, construction material, accuracy, durability, and weight. Though we deemed their importance secondary, we emphasized subjective feel and rifle aesthetic when such factors seemed like relevant functions of price for particular rifles.

What We Reviewed

  • Beanfield Sniper Remington Sendero SF II
  • Browning® X-Bolt Stainless Stalker Bolt-Action Rifle
  • Remington® 700™ ADL Bolt-Action Rifle and Scope Combos
  • Penny-Pincher Ruger American
  • Browning® BLR Lightweight '81 Lever-Action Rifles
  • Winchester® XPR Bolt-Action Rifles
  • Kimber Model 84M Classic
  • Winchester® Model 70 Featherweight Bolt-Action Rifles
  • Ruger® M77 Gunsite Scout Bolt-Action Rifles
  • Slug-Zone Specialist Savage M220 Stainless Camo
  • Marlin® XLR Model Lever-Action Rifles
  • Sako A7 Big Game Bolt-Action Rifles
  • Muzzleloading workhorse Thompson/Center Pro Hunter FX
  • Marlin® Model 1895 Big Bore Lever-Action Rifles
  • Christensen Arms Mesa 7mm

Beanfield Sniper Remington Sendero SF II

Features 

The Sendero SF II is a heavy bolt-action sniper rifle designed for high-velocity and long-distance accuracy. While this rifle is heavy by itself, a scope will increase the overall weight by at least 10 pounds. Equipped with an HS Precision stock to increase accuracy, the Sendero SF II is available in .300 Win. Mag., .300 Rem. Ultra Mag., and 7mm Rem. Mag.

Measurements

The Sendero SF II weighs 8.5 pounds and has a barrel length of 26 inches and an overall length of 45.75 inches.

PROS

  • Reliable
  • Accurate

CONS

  • Heavy
  • Expensive

Browning® X-Bolt Stainless Stalker Bolt-Action Rifle

Features 

With a matte stainless steel barrel, this 223 Rem. hunting rifle can endure harsh exposure to water and moisture without becoming damaged. Moreover, the textured grip on this rifle helps shooters keep control in even the harshest conditions. Equipped with sling swivels and a luxury Inflex Technology recoil pad, this rifle is a great choice for those who want a reliable high-performing bolt-action hunting rifle.

Measurements

This rifle weighs 6 pounds 3 ounces with a 22-inch barrel length and an overall length of 41.5 inches.

PROS

  • Made to perform in harsh weather
  • Inflex Technology recoil pad
  • Textured grip for easy handling in wet conditions

CONS

  • Expensive

Remington® 700™ ADL Bolt-Action Rifle and Scope Combos

Features 

The Remington 700 is a bolt-action hunting rifle available in many calibers for long-range shooting (e.g., .77 Win Mag). With a black matte finish and a rubber grip, this rifle is suitable for wet hunting conditions. Unlike other rifles, the Remington 700 includes a boresighted 3-9x40 scope.

Measurements

This rifle is 7.38 pounds in weight, with a 24-inch barrel length and is 44.5 inches in overall length.

PROS

  • Affordable
  • Lightweight
  • Includes scope
  • Accurate

CONS

  • The scope is good but not the best
  • Scope performs below average when shooting long range

Penny-Pincher Ruger American

Features 

The Ruger American is a bolt-action rifle whose affordability does not come at the cost of mitigating its accuracy. With a 3-lug action, this rifle sits comfortably against the shoulder. Another luxury feature of which this rifle is equipped is an adjustable trigger and a Weaver-style scope mounting base. Overall, the American Ruger affords much value for a low cost.

Measurements

This rifle weighs 6.3 pounds, with an overall length that ranges between 42-42.5 inches (depending on the caliber) and a barrel length of 22 inches.

PROS

  • Accurate
  • Affordable
  • Adjustable trigger

CONS

  • Some users report that the rifle feels flimsy
  • Some say the rifle does not look aesthetically pleasing

Browning® BLR Lightweight '81 Lever-Action Rifles

Features 

The Browning BLR Lightweight is a 22-250 Rem. Mag. lever action rifle that is user-friendly and great for beginners as well as well-seasoned shooters. One particularly salient feature of the Browning BLR is its versatile magazine chamber, whose ammo can range from 270 WSM to 358 Win. Aside from its alluring aesthetic, the rifle has an aluminum stock, a four-round box magazine, and a scope mount.

Measurements

This rifle weighs 6 pounds 8 ounces, with a barrel length of 20 inches, and an overall length of 40 inches.

PROS

  • Versatile magazine box
  • Lightweight
  • Beautiful look

CONS

  • Does not include a scope

Winchester® XPR Bolt-Action Rifles

Features 

The Winchester XRP is a bolt-action hunting rifle and is a cheaper alternative to the highly praised Winchester 70 bolt-action. Built of chrome steel, the Winchester XPR is made for durability, reliable accuracy, and consistent all-around performance in virtually all climates. A 30-06 caliber, the Winchester XPR is a heavy-duty long-range rifle that remains comfortable and lightweight for the user.

Measurements

This rifle weighs 7 pounds, with a 24-inch barrel length, and an overall length of 44. 5 inches.

PROS

  • Made from chrome steel
  • Great for long range shooting
  • Great value for the cost

CONS

  • Some report that the trigger feels heavy

Kimber Model 84M Classic

Features 

The Kimber Model 84M is a bolt-action rifle with stainless steel barrels and has a sport-like feel. Two features that make this rifle unique in contrast to other hunting rifles is its adjustable trigger and Pachmayr Decelerator recoil pad. Also, this rifle is also reliable and highly accurate, making it a great choice for anyone looking to purchase a luxury hunting rifle.

Measurements

This rifle weighs 5.5 pounds and has a barrel length of 22 inches and an overall rifle length of 41.25 inches.

PROS

  • Pachmayr Decelerator recoil pad
  • Adjustable trigger

CONS

  • Expensive

Winchester® Model 70 Featherweight Bolt-Action Rifles

Features 

The Winchester 70 is one of the most acclaimed hunting rifles to date. While its inception was put to use in the military during the 1950s and 60s, this rifle became a favorite among hunters of all stripes. Like the original, the model 70 is equipped with a wooden stock. However, unlike its predecessor, the modern model 70 rifle is much lighter.

Measurements

This rifle weighs 7 pounds and has an overall length of 44.5 inches and a barrel length of 24 inches.

PROS

  • Lightweight
  • Steel barrel for durability
  • User-friendly and safe

CONS

  • Some users still prefer the original Winchester M 70

Ruger® M77 Gunsite Scout Bolt-Action Rifles

Features 

While this rifle is not an M14 carbine (like it looks), making the comparison would not be inappropriate. The Ruger M77 is a powerful bolt-action hunting rifle that is accurate and high-performance. This rifle, unlike other competitors, includes a 3, 5, or 10 customizable magazine option.

Measurements

This rifle weighs 7.1 pounds, with a barrel length of 16.1 inches and an overall length of 38-39.5 inches (depending on the model).

PROS

  • Compatible with many caliber sizes
  • Matte steel finish
  • Lightweight

CONS

  • Does not come with a fluted barrel
  • Some critics have claimed a scope mount would have been better than scope rings

Slug-Zone Specialist Savage M220 Stainless Camo

Features 

The Savage M220 is a 20-gauge shotgun packs an impressive power for its caliber. These rifles come with a detachable ammo cartridge box that holds two shells. Available in multiple finishes, from black and synthetic-stocked to stainless steel and camouflage, this rifle is a great choice for hunters who prefer to shoot slugs.

Measurements

This shotgun weighs 7 pounds, has a barrel length of 22 inches, and an overall length of 43.25 inches.

PROS

  • Equipped with Savage's Accu-Trigger
  • Available in 20-gauge
  • Available in multiple finishes

CONS

  • Only available in 20-gauge

Marlin® XLR Model Lever-Action Rifles

Features 

The Marlin XLR is a .30-30 Win. a lever-action hunting rifle with a 5-round magazine, Ballard rifling, a hammer safety block, and a fluted bolt. Also, the Marlin XLR has a deluxe recoil pad, a buckhorn-like sight, a trigger plate, and is highly accurate from long range.

Measurements

This rifle has a 22-inch barrel length, 42.5 inches in overall length, and weighs 7.5 pounds.

PROS

  • Beautiful look
  • Deluxe Recoil pad

CONS

  • Expensive

Sako A7 Big Game Bolt-Action Rifles

Features 

This rifle is very popular and has a black matte finish and grey highlights. Made from high-quality materials, the balance of the Sako A7 feels well-proportioned and true. Aside from being reliable and accurate, the Sako A7 is equipped with a red light that illuminates when the gun is cocked, and its 2.5-inch bolt handle makes it user-friendly for both novices and seasoned shooters.

Measurements

This rifle is 6.8 pounds, with an overall length of 44.3 inches, and a barrel length of 24.4 inches.

PROS

  • Comfortable synthetic stock
  • Lightweight
  • User-friendly

CONS

  • Expensive
  • Some users think the butt feels too hollow

Muzzleloading workhorse Thompson/Center Pro Hunter FX

Features 

This rifle is made from quality materials, making it durable, and is user-friendly and comfortable to use. The Pro Hunter FX is also easy to clean and is designed for efficient functioning. For a black-powder hunting option, this rifle is luxurious in having a recoil-dampening system built into its stock, and a grooved stock, making it easier and more comfortable to handle.

Measurements

This rifle weighs 7 pounds, with a 26-inch barrel length and is 42.5 inches in overall length.

PROS

  • Affordable
  • Powerful
  • Build from high-quality materials

CONS

  • Only compatible with .50 caliber rounds
  • Slow reloading time

Marlin® Model 1895 Big Bore Lever-Action Rifles

Features 

To many, the Marlin Model 1895 is the most powerful lever-action rifle on the market for its lightweight and shortness of length. One would be mistaken to think its short length would compromise its accuracy. But to the contrary, the accuracy of this rifle is ensured by its 6 Ballard-style groves. Overall, this is a powerful, compact lever-action hunting rifle.

Measurements

This rifle has an 18.5-inch barrel, a 37-inch overall length, and weighs 7 pounds.

PROS

  • Compact design
  • Short
  • Light
  • Powerful

CONS

  • Too short for the preferences of some users

Christensen Arms Mesa 7mm

Features

The Christensen Mesa 7MM is a powerful bolt-action hunting rifle that is versatile in both its range and ammo capabilities. For instance, one can choose to use a 7mm-08 Rem., a 6.5 Creedmoor, or a .450 Bushmaster as well as choose between a 26 or 22-inch long barrel.

Measurements

This rifle weighs 6.5 pounds, with a barrel length of 22-26 inches, and an overall length of 46 inches.

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PROS

  • Is both long-range and short-range compatible
  • Compatible with several long-range caliber rounds 
  • Made from stainless steel and high-quality carbon materials

CONS

  • Expensive
  • Only comes with a 4-round capacity magazine

The Verdict

Upon examination, we find it difficult to judge which among our list of the top 15 best hunting rifles are best. Fortunately, this difficulty is not because of a lacking in our analysis, but instead to the innovations in rifle technology that make so many of the hunting rifles on the market recommendable. With that said, our prescription regarding the best hunting rifles will depend on the individual buyer.

As discussed in the FAQ, at least some portion of the task involved in deciding on the best hunting rifle will depend on the terrain over which the hunter will traverse. But decisions based on information beyond the four factors delineated in the FAQ section are reducible to questions about the degree to which each of these fifteen rifles accords with the stylistic preferences and monetary budgets of prospective buyers.

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