HUNTING

Best Hunting Rifle: Top 10 Rifles for Hunting Game

Hunting rifles review
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 bellow.

Best hunting rifles

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.

Most Important Features to Consider

You can only know the most important features if you know the anatomy of a hunting rifle. So, let’s start with that. Thus, the main parts include:

  • Muzzle: This is the point from which a shot is released, located at the end of the barrel.
  • Sight: It is located just above the muzzle, this part allows you to aim aligning the rear and front sight.
  • Barrel: This is the tube that is located in the front section and through which a bullet travels before it is released.
  • Forestock: It is the part that you will hold with your non-trigger hand in order to support your firearm.
  • Chamber: It is the base of your weapon’s barrel that holds the bullet ready for shooting, which is above the Forestock.
  • Magazine: It is a container that accommodates ammunition before you can load them into the chamber.
  • Bolt: It refers to a detachable metal block that lids a bullet into the chamber.
  • Bolt handle: It is simply a handle that you use to open a bolt action.
  • Safety: This is a mechanical device located just behind the bolt handle, usually used to block the trigger to avoid inadvertent shots.
  • Trigger: A small lever that you must squeeze to initiate a shot.
  • Trigger Guard: The section that covers the trigger, it normally prevents you from accidentally squeezing the trigger.
  • Stock: The section that you hold or brace against your shoulder.
  • Butt: The section of the stock that you brace alongside your shoulder when aiming and shooting.

The aforementioned are the main parts of a good shoulder firearm with a long barrel and a rifled bore. However, there are specific features that correspond to various parts that the best all-around hunting rifle must have. These include: weight, barrel length, caliber and action.

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).

Hunting rifle weight

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 highpoint 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.

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.

.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. You will find repeating action on firearms with bolt and pump action. However, the repeating action on autoloaders is automatic.

Hunting rifle

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.

Top 10 Hunting Rifle Reviews

Nosler M48 TGR

Nosler M48 TGR

Weight: 7.5 lb.

Barrel Length: 20in – 26in

Design 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.

Remington 798 Model

Remington 798 Model

Weight: 7 lb.

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

Design 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 normally for center fire hunting magazines that include .458 Winchester Magnums and .243 Winchester.

Model 798 is a controlled feed action, all-steel piece that uses a flat bottom receiver with: solid steel bottom magazine trigger guard; full length extractor; dual locking lugs one-piece bolt; a third safety lug; integral recoil lug; and hinged magazine floor plate.

Related: Remington also offers you Model 798 7mm mag, Model 798 375 h&h magnum and Model 798 300 win mag.

Shilen DGV

Shilen DGV

Weight: 7 lb.

Barrel Length: 20in

Design Features: Expert machining, Swiss-built design, state-of-the-art barrel design & high magnification scope.

Best Use: Hunting

Description: Shilen DVG is a well-built 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.

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.

Savage Model 12 F/TR

Savage Model 12 F TR

Weight: 12.65 lbs.

Barrel Length:: 30in

Design 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: Savage Model 12 F/TR is fitted with a laminated target accompanied by two modifiable cheek pieces. What distinguishes this piece from other models is the barrel length. The 30in barrel muzzle has a lower 0.940in diameter, 90° crown. It is equipped with target AccuTrigger feature, which is changeable from two and a half pounds to six ounces.

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.

Echols Legend

Echols Legend rifle

Weight: 7 lbs.

Barrel Length: 24in

Design 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: Echols Legend has a distinctive appearance, balance and style. This rifle is a thoughtful balance of traditional and contemporary design. 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.

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

CZ 550 Badlands

CZ 550 Badlands

Weight: 9.2 lbs.

Barrel Length: 25in

Design 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

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. Normally, this piece carries over two thousand 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.

Sako 85 Finnlight

SAKO 85 Finnlight

Weight: 6 lbs.

Barrel Length: 20¼in

Design Features: Black polymer stock; .2143 Win caliber, stainless steel barreled action; free-floating barrel; hasoptimal 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. 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.

Related: 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.

Tikka T3 Compact Tactical Rifle

TIKKA T3 Compact Tactical Rifle

Weight: 6.6 lbs.

Barrel Length:: 20.1in

Design 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.

Bushmaster Enchanced ORC

Bushmaster Enchanced ORC

Weight: 8lbs.

Barrel Length: 16in

Design Features:  16-inch, 4150 steel/ chrome lined barrel; aluminum hand-guard (12.5in); 2.5in Picatinny rail; & Magpul pattern magazines/

Best Use: Hunting

Description: This piece 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 hand-guard, 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.

Weatherby Mark XXII

WEATHERBY MARK XXII

Weight: 6.5 LBS.

Barrel Length: 23in

Design 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.

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

Prepared for The Hunt?

With the abovementioned 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.

  • timothy smith

    Recently went with my dad to the store and bought a Tikka T3 CTR. Liked it the most from all the others that were in the store. The seller has shown everything, told about its features, the peculiarities of shooting, even a few words about the history of the model and brand. On a shooting range, I quickly got used to the rifle, it has a very comfortable buttstock, as for me. Details are made qualitatively, any problems with it. If you are an inexperienced hunter like me – I recommend this model.

    • Shawn Harrison

      Great analysis, Timothy. When you become comfortable with the rifle, you get a connection with it and gives it a very good decision to get it. Some rifles can be cumbersome or uncomfortable to wield, but if you get the hang of it or you immediately feel the connection, then this is the rifle that suits you best for sure.

  • brian richardson

    It is always difficult to choose the best hunting rifle. We can only say what kind of weapon is ideal for a certain type of shooting.
    The most accurate are carbines with bolted closures. They are also the lightest and most reliable in technical terms. But these carbines often have problems with the rate of fire and maneuverability. There’s no secret that 80% of the success of any hunting is a successfully chosen weapon, so get this choice very carefully.

    • Shawn Harrison

      The decision what to choose as your next hunting rile to be the “best” is the rifle that will complement your needs in the field. You can have all the most powerful or expensive rifles, but if it doesn’t suit your needs, then it still defeats the purpose.

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