HUNTING

Best Hunting Rifle: Top 10 Rifles for Hunting Game

Best hunting rifle
Shawn Harrison
Written by Shawn Harrison

The best hunting rifle is a weapon that you can use mainly for hunting game, either for sport or food. As a collection, these weapons are considered to be shoulder fired machinery equipped with rifled barrels. They are the finest for hunting because they have outstanding range and accuracy.

The best buyer should consider the caliber, barrel length, action, weight and legal dynamics. The above-mentioned characteristics should be in line with your hunting activity but if you’re still on the edge with which rifle you need, take a look at the reviews below.

The reviews we’ll discuss should provide you with knowledge on the best products, ideas that you can recommend to your friends, comparisons between products and tips to help you in future purchases.

Our Top Picks

Product NameWeightBarrel LengthBest Use
Nosler M48 TGR7.5 lbs.20 – 26 inHunting
Remington 7987 lbs.22 – 24 inHunting, sport
Shilen DGV7 lbs.20 inHunting
Savage Model 12 F/TR12.65 lbs.30 inHunting
Echols Legend7 lbs.24 inHunting
CZ 550 Badlands9.2 lbs.25 inHunting
Sako 85 Finnlight6 lbs.20.25 inHunting
Tikka T3 Compact6.6 lbs.20.1 inHunting
Bushmaster Enhanced Orc8 lbs.16 inHunting
Weatherby Mark XXII6.5 lbs.23 inRange Shooting & Hunting

Features to Consider Before Buying

It is important to first make your research before buying a hunting rifle. However, there is so much info out there, that sometimes it seems impossible to distinguish between the important and the not-so-important features. Read on in our list of features we think you should consider before buying.

Weight

The normal barreled firearm should weigh between six and nine pounds. This does not take into consideration the loaded cartridges, sling and the scope. Normally, the weight is associated with the recoil (a forceful thrust experienced when firing).

The extra weight will always take a great amount of the reverse energy as well as the weight of the fired bullet. You should balance the weight with respect to the burden of carrying a heavier load while out in the woods.

Barrel Length

This is a high point of consideration when choosing a hunting rifle. This is so since it is associated with chamber pressure and velocity. A longer barrel provides you with the advantage of a longer sight radius; high muzzle velocity and more mass is provided for heat transfer. This allows you to achieve a higher degree of accuracy and efficiency.

Hunting rifle

In addition, the barrel length determines how safe you are from the released bullet. It is impossible for you to accidentally shoot yourself while your sight is locked on the target, thanks to the barrel length.

Caliber

This is the diameter of the bore, which is measured from land to land. Along with the type of action, you definitely have to choose the correct caliber, such as .17 HMR, .22 WMR and .22 LR. There are some situations when caliber is measured from groove to groove, such as .308 Winchester.

In simple words, a .22 caliber will shoot/ fire .22 caliber bullets. The caliber of your weapon does not only determine the type of bullets you use but also determines the energy at which a bullet leaves the muzzle. For instance, a BB leaves the muzzle at 4 FPE @ approximately 600 FPS while a .22 leaves the muzzle at approximately 800 FPS.

Action

This refers to the manner in which the ammunition is loaded into place; firing of the ammunition and the ejection of the used cartridge. There are four types of actions, including Lever, Bolt, Pump, and Semiautomatic actions.

Man with a rifle

You will find repeating action on firearms with bolt and pump action. However, the repeating action on autoloaders is automatic. The choice of action does entirely depend on your expertise as a shooter.

 Legal Dynamics

You need to have extensive knowledge as far as owning a hunting shoulder firearm is concerned. You definitely do not want to be put behind bars because you are illegally possessing and using a firearm! There are state laws and regulations that govern the possession of a firearm. In fact, some states are known to enact additional taxes, restrictions, and regulations.

Important fact: There are some rifles that do not attract too much attention of the law and they have a greater degree of acceptance as well as discretion when you hunt in more restrictive environments.

Best Products on Today’s Market

Nosler M48 TGRNosler M48 TGR

Weight: 7.5 lb

Barrel length: 20 – 26 in

Specific features: Glass and stainless steel pillar bedding, barrel break-in, custom 3-pound trigger pull and comfortable trigger guard, stainless steel barrel, & hand-lapped barrel

Best use: Hunting

Description: The Nosler M48 TGR is state-of-the-art rifle engineered for the hunt. It has a simple and distinctive design, which provides you with precision and accuracy when eyeing your target. It feels very solid and comfortable when aiming. The stock is well-designed to circumvent weak points and voids, making it lightweight and strong. This heavy-duty stock supports the Nosler M48 action.

The stainless steel barrel is hand-lapped to resist corrosion and provide you maximum accuracy. Unlike other models in the market, Nosler M48 TGR does not come with a scope; instead the bases, rings and scope are sold separately.

The scope space is distinctively contoured to accommodate a standard two-piece Weatherby Mark or Remington scope base. The comfortable trigger guard allows you to unload quickly and effortlessly without necessarily adding noticeable weight. The rifle’s external surfaces are all covered with an outer layer of NIC Industries Cerakote finish. This finishing ensures that this piece is well-protected against wear and rust.

PROS:

  • Specially made for hunting
  • Distinctive design that hunters and rifle lover will surely love
  • Highly accurate and precise
  • Lightweight
  • Anti-corrosion body
  • Spacious scope space
  • Cerakote finish
  • Good for wet weather hunting

CONS:

  • Doesn’t come with scope, rings, and bases
  • Muzzle break is sold separately at $200

Related: For your Nosler M48 TGR, you should keep a Warne Nosler M48 Long Action Tactical Rail all the time. This mount can be used in any environment for higher accuracy and precision when hunting.

Remington Model 798Remington 798 Model

Weight: 7 lbs.

Barrel length: 22 in standard caliber, 24 in magnum caliber

Specific features: Stainless steel BBL material, satin BBL finish, matte stock finish, & 3+1 magazine capacity

Best use: Hunting, sport

Description: Remington Model 798 is a long-action sporting rifle that is designed on reworked 98 Mauser actions. This piece is based on Mauser 98 action, square bridge and standard length. It is chambered for .243 Winchester, .308 Winchester, .30-06 Springfield, .270 Winchester, 7mm Remington.Magnum, .300 Winchester.Magnum, .375 H&H Magnum and .458 Winchester.Magnum.

It is drilled and tapped for scope mounts. It can have a barrel length of 22, 24 or 26 inches. Model 798 is a controlled feed action, an all-steel piece that uses a flat bottom receiver with: solid steel bottom magazine trigger guard, a full-length extractor, dual locking lugs one-piece bolt, a third safety lug, integral recoil lug, and hinged magazine floor plate.

This is an all-steel, controlled-feed action using a flat-bottom receiver with an integral recoil lug, one-piece bolt with dual locking lugs plus a third safety lug and a bolt guide, full-length extractor, solid steel one-piece bottom iron/magazine box/trigger guard, hinged magazine floor plate, and all of the usual Mauser 98 deluxe features.

PROS:

  • Compatible with calibers .243 Win., .308 Win., .270 Win., .300 Win., 7mm Rem., and Magnum
  • Spare parts of 1898 Mauser can be used for Remington 798
  • Uses controlled-feed action
  • Satin BBl finish
  • Made of stainless steel

CONS:

  • It doesn’t have the Mauser non-rotating extractor
  • Works best on short distance hunting only

Related: With a Millett Angle-Loc Weaver-Style Ring for Remington 798, you can now easily add a scope to your Remington and make your hunting more enjoyable.

Shilen DGVBest Hunting Rifle: Top 10 Rifles for Hunting Game

Weight: 7 lbs.

Barrel length: 20 in

Specific features: Expert machining, Swiss-built design, state-of-the-art barrel design & high magnification scope

Best use: Hunting

Description: Shilen DGV is a well-built, single-shot hunting rifle that does have a contemporary design as well as the best shooting accuracy and speed. Unlike most pieces on the market, this particular one is simple to cock and it breaks open effortlessly. The design is integrated with superb trigger, workmanship and well-secured barrel.

The rifle has a 1.350-inch diameter with 8-40 scope base mounting screw holes, and an 0.300-inch pinned recoil lug. The spiral-fluted bolts feature a floating bolt head with an interchangeable bolt handle knob.

It provides you with smooth as well as slick bolt travel. This firearm will without a doubt be one of your best deals ever. The scope rings will hold tight to circumvent the scope from sliding off. As much as it is one of the best models around, you will still experience some challenges. The stock will at times be too slippery and you may experience a few ejection issues. Generally, the rifle exhibits expert machining.

PROS:

  • Swiss built design
  • State of the art barrel design
  • Made for hunting
  • Highly accurate
  • Breaks open easily

CONS:

  • Had some ejection issues
  • Stock can be slippery under wet weather

Related: Hunt with your best hunting rifle while in your best suit. Make sure to get your trophy while on a Red Rock Gear Ghillie Suit – your ultimate camouflage concealment.

Savage Model 12 F/TRSavage Model 12

Weight: 12.65 lbs.

Barrel length: 30 in

Specific features: 30 in barrel, wood laminate stock material, satin stock finish, stainless steel barrel, single-shot magazine, Matte barrel finish & 308 WIN chambering

Best use: Hunting

Description: The Savage Model 12 F/TR is fitted with a laminated target accompanied by two modifiable cheek pieces. The rifle is drilled and tapped for scope mounts. What distinguishes this piece from other models is the barrel length. The 30-inch barrel muzzle has a lower 0.940-inch diameter and 90° crown.

It is equipped with target AccuTrigger feature, which is changeable from two and a half pounds to six ounces. The 30-inch, full-profile stainless steel barrel is button rifled for lasting performance, and it is perfectly balanced with the wood laminate stock.

It is without a doubt one of the heaviest rifles with a barrel length of thirty inches and overall length of fifty inches. This piece does always guarantee you precision shooting thanks to the integrated small ejection port and triple pillar bedding. The furniture is smoothly furnished. You will always complete the best shots at a thousand yards.

PROS:

  • Great precision rifle
  • It works best within 300 meters
  • Has an accu-trigger which is a great trigger
  • Has two cheek pieces

CONS:

  • Bulky and heavy barrel and it takes out the fun when carrying it, hunting

Related: Since the Savage Model 12 F/TR was really heavy, it would be best to have a Harris Engineering Series S Bipod that you can use for your shooting practices. You can do a stakeout and set this up in the jungle too.

Echols LegendEchols Legend

Weight: 7 lbs.

Barrel length: 24 in

Specific features: 375 h&h magnum caliber, Chrome-Moly/ stainless steel Winchester action; 1.032×16 TPI re-machined receiver threads; re-pinned bolt stop, ejector and trigger; and synthetic stock

Best use: Hunting

Description: The Echols Legend has a distinctive appearance, balance and style. This rifle is a thoughtful balance of traditional and contemporary design. Each Legend is pillar-bedded using three aluminum pillars, fitted with internal crossbolts, and carefully glass bedded in at least two sessions to ensure perfect rigidity and fit.

It has a unique stock that delivers an unmatched elegance when compared to other models with synthetic stock. Basically, this piece is accurate, rugged and elegant and it will deliver the best shots even under the harshest of environments.

You will have easy access to the magazine as well as easy loading due to the lengthened ejection port. The bolt stop, ejector and trigger will not loosen up because they are re-pinned. The stock is available in different colors, including desert tan, sage green, and black.

Echols legend rifle is also available in the following calibers: 458 Lott and 416 Remington Magnum.

PROS:

  • Distinct design
  • It looks elegant for a rifle with a synthetic stock
  • Easy to load with its lengthened ejection port
  • Pinned bolt stop, trigger, and ejector

CONS:

  • Very expensive synthetic rifle

Related: Give your legendary rifle a legendary scope to make it more powerful for hunting. Get the Bushnell Legend Ultra HD Multi-X Reticle Riflescope and never miss those deer again.

CZ 550 BadlandsCZ 550 Badlands

Weight: 9.2 lbs.

Barrel length: 25 in

Specific features: Two position/ push-to-fire safety; single set trigger; heavy sporter barrel; aramid composite, American-Style stock; hinged Floorplate magazine; magazine capacity of 4; and .338 Lapua chambering

Best use: Hunting big game at long distances

Description: As far as hunting game is concerned, CZ 550 Badlands is the recommended rifle. The .338 Lapua chambering provides you with unimaginable energy for taking down big game with ease. At 800 yards the 300 grain hunting load still carries over 2000 feet per pound of energy, which is more than enough for hunting large game.

The design incorporates a Kevlar reinforced stock that is fitted with aluminum bedding block (full-length). The recoil is tamed by a custom muzzle brake, ensuring that the blast is directed forward. The cocking mechanism, stock, length, and weight will take you some time to master; however, the shots you deliver will always be the best.

PROS:

  • Highly recommended for hunting by hunters
  • Designed for big games
  • The stock is a reinforced Kevlar
  • No need to worry about recoil impact
  • Great for long range hunting

CONS:

  • A bit heavy at more than 9 pounds
  • It takes some practice and experience to master using it

Related: Turn your CZ 550 Badlands to an even more powerful hunting rifle with a Cz 30Mm Rings. This ring was all steel and built with durability in mind.

Sako 85 FinnlightSako 85 Finnlight

Weight: 6 lbs.

Barrel length: 20¼ in

Specific features: Black polymer stock; .2143 Win caliber, stainless steel barreled action; free-floating barrel; optimal twist rate; & 5-shot MOA

Best use: Hunting

Description: Sako 85 Finnlight is truly built for hunting; it can withstand the worst environments and you will hit your target. It is a full-sized, yet lightweight rifle that you can take on long-distance treks.

Wear and corrosion should not concern you because all the metal parts are engineered from stainless steel. You will rarely experience any extra weight, due to the fact that the trigger guard and the magazine are made of hard anodized aluminum.

You will still be able to hold this rifle comfortably under wet condition since the stock is fitted with over-molded grips. You can easily load the detachable magazine via the ejection port while it is still intact. There is no room for accidental dropouts because this piece is installed with the patent-pending release.

This product is available in other caliber sizes, including .270 Winchester, .300 Winchester, .308 Winchester, 7mm Remington Magnum, 7mm-08 Remington and .30-06 Springfield.

PROS:

  • Built for all types of hunting weather with its stainless steel barrel
  • Stock has over-molded grips
  • Very light for a rifle
  • Highly durable magazine

CONS:

  • The barrel is too short for a hunting rifle

Related: If you want to attach a Talley premium steel ring to your Sako 85 Finnlight to increase its performance, get a Stainless Steel Base for Sako.

Tikka T3 CompactTikka T3 Compact

Weight: 6.6 lbs.

Barrel length: 20.1 in

Specific features: Two stage safety; two-locking lug t3 bolt; single-stage pull; t3 TrueBody design; cold hammer-forged Sako barrel; single column detachable clip magazine

Best use: Hunting

Description: Tikka T3 CTR is an accurate, compact and capable hunting rifle that you must have. It is highly versatile and resourceful since it adapts easily to your desired situation. It does not come with sights, but it is fitted with weaver base that allows you to effortlessly install compatible sights.

You will never make accidental shots, because this piece is fitted with a two-stage safety mechanism. It is fitted with a single-stage pull along with vertical grooves for comfort and secured grip when pulling the trigger. This piece will always remain rigid whenever you fire due to the added metal on the top and right side of the receiver.

This rifle comes with a durable aluminum trigger guard and a magazine release lever that enables rapid magazine changes. It has compact size, Picatinny rail, Teflon® bolt and 20” semi-heavy barrel contour with 5/8×24 muzzle threads, making this rifle a reliable tool for all training and hunting purposes.

PROS:

  • Has two-staged safety
  • It has sako barrel
  • Compact and lightweight for a hunting rifle
  • Rigid when fired because of the extra metal on top
  • 5 shot MOA precision guarantee

CONS:

  • Very short barrel

Related: Keep your Tikka T3 Compact Tactical Rifle accessorized with a Warne Scope Mounts Tikka T3 20MOA 1 Piece Tactical Rail. This scope mount was designed for the toughest condition and made with precision and high accuracy.

Bushmaster Enhanced OrcBushmaster Enhanced Orc

Weight: 8 lbs.

Barrel length: 16 in

Specific features: 16-inch, 4150 steel/ chrome lined barrel; aluminum handguard (12.5 in); 2.5 in Picatinny rail; & Magpul pattern magazines

Best use: Hunting

Description: The Bushmaster Enhanced Orc is a combination of great features integrated by Troy and Magpul, chrome-lined barrel, lower receivers and forged aluminum upper. It has a collapsible stock that is installed on a six position buffer tube along with MOE pistol grip.

The attachment of Picatinny rails and the dissipation of heat are made possible by the aluminum handguard, which is free-floating. The free-floating barrel is quite unique in every regard. Apart from its design, it is made from a high-quality material that is not only harder, but has the ability to resist wear and tear when subjected to hard use. It does not come with sights, but you can easily fit compatible ones without any problems.

PROS:

  • Great features from Troy and Magpul
  • Chrome-lined barrel
  • Collapsible stock design
  • MOE pistol grip
  • Free-floating barrel

CONS:

  • Very short barrel for a hunting rifle
  • Package doesn’t come with a sight yet

Related: Stay in your game with your Bushmaster Enhanced Orc plus a TAC Vector Optics Apophis Tactical Sight attached to it. This sight is designed heavy recoil firearms like hunting rifle.

WEATHERBY MARK XXIIWEATHERBY MARK XXII

Weight: 6.5 lbs.

Barrel length: 23 in

Specific features: Monte Carlo walnut stock; basket-weave recoil pad; satin luster blue finish for the receiver and steel barrel; free floating, button rifled barrel; quick release magazine & adjustable trigger.

Best use: Range shooting & hunting

Description: This is a bolt-action piece that is chambered in .22 LR calibers. It has a free floating, button rifled barrel. The free floating barrel will never be in contact with the stock. Therefore, the stock will never be pressed by a heated and swelled barrel.

Weighing only 6.5 lbs. and with a barrel length of 23in, Weatherby Mark XXII has a 1 in 16in twist, 0.75in drop at comb, 1.125in drop at heel and a capacity of 5. It also fitted with an adjustable trigger along with a quick release magazine for precision shooting.

This unique piece is also available with the .17 HMR calibers that has a capacity 4 and a twist of 1 in 9in.

PROS:

  • Carlo Walnut stock
  • It comes with a basket-weave recoil pad
  • Free floating barrel
  • Button rifled barrel
  • Lightweight
  • Adjustable trigger

CONS:

  • N/A

Related: Add more power to your WEATHERBY MARK XXII by attaching a Talley Anschutz Rimfire Ring for Weatherby MK XXII. This Talley product will surely keep you firing thousands of rounds of ammo without missing anything.

Wrap Up

With the above mentioned features and product reviews, you should now be able to make a profound purchasing decision. Most people, especially novice shooters may think that the most expensive rifles are usually the best. After reading this article, you should realize that there are some specific features that determine how accurate and efficient your rifle is, such as weight, barrel length, caliber, and action.

Through these product reviews we tried to provide insights of what we consider being the best choices for you. In the reviews, you will observe that the weight and barrel length are clearly stated because these two features determine the following: portability, reliability, accuracy and efficiency.

Do you think we missed any of the great hunting rifles out there? If so, please let us know in comments.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Shawn Harrison

Shawn Harrison

Shawn Harrison is our expert in hunting. He was born in Alaska, so hunting was his hobby since high school. Later, Shawn took a Hunter Training at Alaska Department of Fish and Game to structure his knowledge and now he is open to share his knowledge with our readers. Shawn is taking ‘Safety First’ approach on all of his trips, especially is some people are going hunting for the first time.