Best Hunting Rifles of 2021 – Complete Guide

| Last Updated December 22, 2021

Hunting has been an integral part of human civilization since its dawn. Being a very imperative skill for survival up until the last century.

Hunting has now transformed into a sport that is growing in popularity each year. But a good craftsman needs the right tools, and a good hunter needs the right rifle.

Scour through this review below to check out some of the best hunting rifles you can buy out there. Whether you are a pure beginner or an experienced pro. You’ll find something here worth your time.

Comparison of the Best Hunting Rifles

  • Attractive design with c-grade walnut stock
  • Steel floor plate for added sturdiness
  • Adjustable trigger x-mark pro
View Latest Price →
  • Chrome-moly steel barrel made to tight tolerances
  • Soft-touch stock finish with rugged polymer design
  • Powerful and flat shooting 300 WM for big game
View Latest Price →
  • Customizable AR style design with 24 inch barrel
  • 6.5 Creedmoor chambering & hybrid muzzle brake
  • Three-lug bolt with 70° throw and disassembly tool
View Latest Price →
  • Chambered in .308 with 4 round detachable magazine
  • AccuFit system for easy customization of stock
  • Adjustable trigger & 22” barrel with 1:10 twist
View Latest Price →
  • Proven long range rifle chambered in flat 7mm-08
  • Non-reflective finish, walnut stock & heavy barrel
  • Removable muzzle brake, crisp trigger & rotary mag
View Latest Price →
  • Best Deer Hunting Rifle
  • Classic hunting rifle with a traditional tough design
  • Slim and lightweight design with M.O.A.™ trigger
View Latest Price →
  • Best Bear Hunting Rifle
  • Removable muzzle brake system on a 20 inch barrel
  • Adjustable V-notch rear sight & white bead front
View Latest Price →

How to Choose a Hunting Rifle

While the requirements of each hunter are different. Several common features must be considered when buying a rifle.

Durability and Reliability

A hunting rifle often bears the brunt of harsh weather and rugged terrain. That’s a reason why many people prefer synthetic stocks over wooden stocks that need more care. Either way, such a rifle must be durable.

As far as reliability is concerned, bolt actions are the champions because of fewer moving parts and simple mechanisms. But eventually, the action you choose depends upon your preference and the application. 

Weight and Barrel Length

A good hunting rifle must be lightweight enough to not cause fatigue on long trips. A weight less than 8 pounds is generally desirable. But it may exceed a bit for magnum calibers or customized rifles. 

The most common barrel length falls between 20 to 24 inches. Since these are easier to handle. For longer ranges, you may opt for a 26-inch barrel.  

Trigger Mechanism

Modern rifles have started to offer adjustable trigger mechanisms. Even in very affordable hunting rifles. A single or double stage adjustable trigger contributes to the overall accuracy and handling of the rifle. But if you are still in love with old school triggers. That’s your choice. 

Easy Scope Attachment and Good Recoil Pad

A good optic scope is very important for a hunting rifle. Make sure the rifle you choose offers easy installation and good space for a scope. Plus, recoil mitigation and ergonomics are important factors as well. 

Review of the Best Hunting Rifles

Listed below are some of the best hunting rifles today. These have been and still are widely used by hunting across the planet. Honest user feedback, desirable design features, accuracy, and price have been used as the basic factors to prepare this list. 

Best Overall:
Remington 700


  • C-grade walnut stock with beautiful checkering
  • New England custom gun sights
  • Adjustable X-Mark Pro trigger
  • Carbon steel 24-inch barrel
  • Chambered in the flat shooting 7mm Rem


  • Requires special care for aesthetics
  • Caliber is overkill of small game

What Recent Buyers Report

The Remington 700 has always been a revered rifle for hunters. Plus, since this is an anniversary edition. There’s nothing worth complaining about it. Except for the fact that it has to be handled with care. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

While this Remington 700 is chambered in the 7mm Rem which is a fantastic, flat-shooting long range caliber. I am talking about the Remington 700 rifle in general. No matter what caliber you choose. This has been the favorite rifle of hunters and also marksmen for decades now. Known for its accuracy, easy handling, and apt weight. This specific model is an anniversary edition with an immaculate display of artwork on the stock and receiver. 

The sights on top are a great addition, and the rifle is drilled and tapped to accept scopes. Plus, the adjustable trigger is utterly crisp and gives you the confidence to take long range shots. 

Bottom Line

This is a very accurate, easy to handle and ergonomic rifle chambered in a magnum flat shooting caliber suitable for medium to the big sized game. If you handle this rifle with care, it will become an heirloom for your family. 

Bergara B-14 Hunter


  • Smooth action with sako style extractor
  • Molded synthetic stock with pillar bedding
  • Soft-touch coating for a comfy feel
  • Powerful, accurate & long range 300 win mag caliber
  • Works with Remington 700 style rings and bases


  • Trigger has a slight creep
  • Replacement barrels are time-consuming to find

What Recent Buyers Report

The rifle has been built to tight tolerances and shoots very well right out of the box. The rifle isn’t also very choosy with ammo and eats what you feed it. However, you might experience a slight difference in groups. It is a push feed rifle so CRF lovers may be a bit whiny about it. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

The B-14 hunter has been exclusively designed as a hunting rifle with a rugged all-weather stock with a soft coating. The action is very smooth and the coned bolt face helps with flawless feeding and extraction. Bergara barrels are renowned for their quality and tight tolerances. The rifle has good customizability and will easily accept aftermarket components.

The trigger is a Remington 700 clone (so are a few other design components) and factory set at 2.75 lbs. The rifle weighs only 7.3 lbs that will only extend by a pound or so with a good scope. Because it is chambered in 300 WM, all the design elements look great. 

Bottom Line

The design is somewhat inspired by the Remington 700, but with any shortcomings refined to create a very accurate, rugged, and ergonomically comfortable rifle that costs less than $1,000.

Best for the Money:
Ruger Precision .6.5 Creedmoor


  • Very customizable and feature-loaded design
  • 70 degree bolt throw and oversized handle
  • AR-style stock with left-folding hinge
  • Ruger marksman adjustable trigger
  • Reversible safety selector & multi-mag compatibility


  • Weighs extra than acceptable norms
  • Overloaded with features and pricey

What Recent Buyers Report

The rifle is a tack driver for long range shooting and offers a lot of comfort and customization when shooting. But the weight acts as a deterrent for many hunters who take long strenuous trips. However, the rifle is great for protecting your property against pests and can also be used as a competition gun. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

Including the RPR on this list was a tough decision. Using a 10 lbs rifle for hunting is what most folks neither favor nor do. But the reason it was included on this list is its versatility. The RPR is a great long range rifle used for competitions. But its long range accuracy can be utilized to maximum effect in the hunting scenario as well.

Chambered in the 6.5 Creedmoor, the rifle is suitable for taking down deer small or big at a long distance. With absolute dependability on accuracy. This rifle can also be used for night hunting with NOD’s or thermal scopes.

Bottom Line

The RPR is a heavy rifle to handle, but it will solve two purposes at once if you are also into competitive shooting. The rifle has a lot of space to mount accessories and is useful for short hunting trips.

Best Bolt Action Hunting Rifle:
Savage Arms 110 Storm


  • Adjustable comb height and length of pull
  • Lightweight design with all-weather   overmold stock
  • Versatile .308 caliber and 4 shot detachable mag
  • Adjustable trigger mechanism
  • Button rifled barrel with 1:10 twist rate


  • Adjustments are not instant/tool-less

What Recent Buyers Report 

The rifle is very reliable and withstands inclement weather and tossing around very well. The adjustability factor is a good feature and the accuracy is good. But the rifle is a bit choosy on ammo. Additionally, the adjustments could have been quicker. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

The first good feature that catches the eye is this rifle’s Accufit stock system. Modeled from high-grade polymer, the stock is super-adjustable to ensure comfy ergonomics. The LOP adjustment makes sure the rifle works for growing kids or users of different body shapes. The rifle has been around for almost three decades now and is widely revered among shooters.

The crisp trigger and overall reliability of this rifle have been an inspiration for many modern rifles. Being chambered in .308 with a detachable magazine, this rifle is capable of handling most animals, big or small that roam the country.

Bottom Line

The Savage 110 is a proven hunting rifle and has excelled in performance with the latest advancements in design. The .308 is good for medium and some large sized game. The metal parts are extensively resistant to corrosion/rust and this rifle is suitable for rugged backcountry usage.

Best Long Range Hunting Rifle:
Browning X-Bolt Hunter Long Range 7mm


  • Ambidextrous walnut stock with adjustable cheek weld
  • Short throw bolt with extended handle
  • Heavy sporter barrel suitable for long range accuracy
  • Muzzle brake with 5/8-24 TPI threads and protector
  • Beautiful and crisp adjustable trigger


  • Pretty pricey rifle and needs care

What Recent Buyers Report

The rifle delivers exceptional accuracy shooting ½ inch groups at 100 yards. This is a long range rifle and chambered in a caliber suitable for the same applications. The stock adjustability and crisp trigger enhance the overall performance. Works great with factory ammo, but bolt disassembly is a bit tedious. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Browning X-bolt rifles are renowned for their long range accuracy. This specific model has a 26-inch barrel to justify long range shooting. Plus, the heavy barrel profile eliminates overheating problems with quick shooting. The short 60 degrees bolt lift eases handling and also improves follow-up shot speed. 

The stock is sleek walnut and has an adjustable cheek weld. Chambered in the 7mm-08 caliber, which is a low recoiling and flat shooting caliber. You can use this rifle for cross mountain hunting if you don’t mind an extra pound or two. 

Bottom Line

Place your bet on the X-bolt if you want a long range rifle that works for hunting as well as some competitions. This rifle has a classy look and will need maintenance. But as far as performance is concerned, it is one of the most renowned rifles in terms of accuracy. Suitable for the game up to elk and even moose sometimes.

Best Deer Hunting Rifle:
Winchester Model 70


  • Pre-64 style controlled round feed claw extractor
  • Slim profile with a walnut stock
  • Three-position safety and Pachmayr recoil pad
  • Adjustable MOA trigger & free-float barrel
  • Chambered in light recoiling .270 Winchester


  • Safety is a tad noisy
  • Stock will need care

What Recent Buyers Report 

The fit, finish, build-quality, and performance of this gun are awesome. Negative feedback by users is almost negligent except for some factory lemons. The pre-64 style bolt is still a favorite and the classic wooden stock is the favorite of traditional design lovers. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Winchester Model 70 has been a legendary classic American hunting rifle for more than eight decades now. Built on the ultra-reliable Mauser style bolt design, this rifle has a controlled feed action that can be trusted in high-stress situations for quick follow up shots. The .270 Win is a popular deer hunting round and can handle all deer species in the hands of a skilled hunter.

The wooden stock is tough and will keep going strong with little maintenance from time to time. Mount a good scope and you’ll be shooting 1.4-inch groups at 100 yards. 

Bottom Line

Redesigned to shed a significant amount of weight, the Winchester Model 70 is a very popular hunting rifle and the inspiration for many modern rifles. The CRF action delivers reliable follow up shots regardless of your stance. Plus, the accuracy within apt range is just great.

Best Bear Hunting Rifle:
Ruger Guide Gun


  • Removable muzzle brake system for low recoil
  • Powerful .375 Ruger caliber handles any big game
  • Adjustable V-notch rear and wide bead front sight
  • In-built sling mounts and a thick recoil pad


  • Nasty recoil and noise

What Recent Buyers Report 

The Ruger Guide Gun is a reliable, aptly accurate, and powerful right that isn’t clumsy to handle. This gun has the honor of being used as a guide gun in bear country and is renowned for stopping charging animals. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

Derived in design from the famous Ruger M77, the Guide gun is what that legendary design has transformed into. Chambered in the .375 Ruger rather than the normal .375 H&H offers better range and power to the round. This rifle features a laminated stock that isn't very pretty but durable enough to withstand harsh conditions. 

The rifle’s loud so it has a muzzle that significantly dampens the sound. Plus, the muzzle brake can be removed to shed about a pound of weight from the rifle. A very reliable and proven rifle suitable for big game hunting. 

Bottom Line

This is a perfect rifle for big game hunting, especially for bears up to grizzlies. The .375 caliber is not for weak small-stature shooters. The muzzle brake does help with handling and the gun is very durable.

Best 6.5 Creedmoor Hunting Rifle:
Weatherby Vanguard Weatherguard 6.5 Crd


  • Tough all-weather construction
  • Guaranteed for sub-MOA accuracy
  • Match grade 2-stage adjustable trigger
  • Fluted bolt body with enclosed sleeve
  • Three position safety mechanism


  • Barrel isn’t free floated (if that bothers you)
  • Some users may want a trigger replacement

What Recent Buyers Report 

The Weatherby Vanguard is one of the best shooting rifles right out of the box. It is a very affordable rifle that delivers exceptional value for money. The trigger pull can be adjusted to as low as 3.5 lbs, and the stock bedding is best for the price. The barrel isn’t free floated but it doesn’t cause an impact on performance. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

This specific version of the Vanguard series has been designed to withstand the harshest hunting conditions. The stock is very ergonomic with swells on the palm and foregrip. It is also a very popular full bore affordable rifle in the UK and widely trusted by hunters. So reliability is not a concern. 

The rifle guarantees sub-MOA accuracy and is not finicky with ammo. The adjustable two-stage trigger is a great feat at this price along with the fluted bolt.

Bottom Line

An amazing rifle to take out in the woods without worrying about weather conditions. The handling and accuracy are just awesome and so is the price. The rifle is lightweight, has a prompt safety mechanism, and houses four rounds in the magazine. Best 6.5 Creedmoor rifle for budget buyers as well.

Best Air Rifle For Hunting:
Benjamin Marauder

Benjamin Marauder BP1764S .177-Caliber Pellet PCP Hunting Air Rifle


  • Available in .177, .22 and .25 caliber
  • Synthetic stock with adjustable comb height
  • 8 pellet rotary magazine for quick shots
  • PCP powered gun shoots up to 1,000 fps
  • Dead silent operation and very accurate


  • Extra magazines are expensive

What Recent Buyers Report 

Users regard this air rifle to be an amazing gun for the money. The accuracy, overall performance, power, and handling are top notch. The rotary mag is very helpful and the rifle delivers consistent velocities. But the cost of extra mags is a finicky matter. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Benjamin Marauder is a PCP air rifle. Which means it is powerful, accurate, and silent. It has an 8 shot magazine and a bolt action design which ensures you maintain your stance while shooting and can also take quick follow-up shots. The stock is all-synthetic and the adjustable comb height is a great feature for tall shooters. 

The ergonomics are great and the barrel length is optimal to ensure the rifle is utilized to its maximum potential. The rifle is available in .177, .22, and .25 calibers so you have the option to pick the right one according to your needs. 

Bottom Line

This is a top-notch, value-for-money rifle that shoots fast and accurately. It has a rotary magazine with a bolt action for quick shots. The rifle is very durable and delivers ample shots per fill.

Best Beginner Hunting Rifle:
Ruger 10/22


  • Perfect for absolute neophytes
  • Lightweight, compact & fast shooting
  • Low recoil and cheap to practice with
  • Detachable rotary mag and extended-release
  • Walnut stock and non-folding iron sights


  • Only suitable for small game

What Recent Buyers Report 

The gun has been a favorite plinker and varmint eradicator for every user. The rifle is compact, lightweight, and has almost negligent recoil. The handling is great and the accuracy is good even with the iron sights. A fun to shoot and useful rifle. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Ruger 10/22 is a classic rifle that has shot many people to shoot. It is a rifle that is still used to introduce novice shooters to real firearms. The compact and easy to handle design with almost no recoil is what makes this rifle great for beginners. This rifle is chambered in the .22lr caliber which is perfect for hunting small game like squirrels and bobcats. Small animals are what beginners start with.

Apart from that, the .22lr is super-inexpensive to shoot. You can practice all day and still not spend more than $50 on ammunition. 

Bottom Line

This rifle is great for beginners due to its easy handling and inexpensive ammo. The .22lr is a very capable round for small game and will help a novice shooter build up their skills. Oh, and it is a great plinker as well.

Are All Hunting Rifles The Same?

Hunting rifles come in different action mechanisms, sizes, and designs. The most basic differentiating factor is the action. There are bolt action rifles that are the most accurate and preferred for hunting. Then there are semi-auto’s with a faster rate of fire and larger capacity. Followed by lever actions which offer a mix of these two. Other actions include single/double barrels, pump actions, and breech loaders. 

Other differential factors include barrel length, magazine & capacity, stock (wood or synthetic), and overall adjustability/customizability of the rifle. Plus, a very important factor. The price. 

What you choose depends upon your needs and level of experience.

Hunting Rifles - Comparison Overview 

The fuel of a rifle is its ammunition. There are tons of ammo choices available out there. With some being used widely and with more options. Let’s make a quick comparison between some renowned and widely used hunting calibers across the globe. While also including some other nitty-bitties of info. 

Long Action vs Short Action

Action refers to the part of the firearm where loading, firing, and ejection operations take place. Now, rifles can be classified into two parts based upon action. Long and short. Which is directly related to the size of the cartridge. 

Rifles that use ammunition with a cartridge overall length (COL) of 2.0 to 2.8 inches  (like the .308) are called short action rifles. Whereas those using ammo with a COL of 2.8 to 3.34 inches (like the .30-06) are called long action rifles. 

This difference in length affects the distance and time of cycling the bolt. Hence short actions are a tad quicker. But long action ammo often holds more powder. 

Photo credit:

Hunting Rifle vs AR-15

An AR-15 is a modern sporting rifle that is more suited for competitions and tactical use. It is short, holds many rounds, and can be overly customized. Whereas a hunting rifle is a simpler, more reliable, and accuracy oriented design. 

AR-15’s caliber, the .223 Rem limits its use to mostly small and some medium-sized games. Whereas the term ‘hunting rifle’ covers an expanse of options. 

30.06 vs 30-30

The .30-30 is kind of the predecessor to the venerable .30-06 Springfield. The .30-30 was designed in 1985 and was the USA’s first small bore sporting rifle cartridge with smokeless powder. The .30-06 was designed in 1906 and served as the military’s primary rifle round for six decades. 

The .30-30 is a short action case whereas the .30-06 is a long action. Both these use .308 diameter bullets. But since the .30-06 is more popular, it has more ammo options available. 

The .30-30 is a lighter bullet and more suitable for a medium-sized game at short range. While it is legal to shoot big game like Moose with it in the U.S, it is often not recommended. On the other hand, the .30-06 offers pointed bullets as heavy as 220 grains and has almost double the energy and longer range. Suitable for hunting any game across the planet. 

Photo credit:

9.3x62 vs 30-06

The 9.3x62 is a very popular hunting cartridge in Europe and Africa. There’s no game a 9.3x62 cannot handle. If we compare it with the .30-06, the bullet weight for the 9.3x62 starts from where the .30-06 ends. 

The Springfield uses a .308 diameter bullet whereas the Mauser uses a 0.366-inch bullet. The 9.3x62 has slower velocity but more punching power. If you have to choose between these for hunting dangerous or non-dangerous big game (especially in Africa), go for the 9.3x62. 

9.3x62 vs 308

If the .308 is a hammer, the 9.3x62 is a jackhammer. The .308 is a smaller bullet and with a case almost a quarter shorter in size. The .308 is a short action round and shoots flatter. But the 9.3x62 has decimating punching power and is a definitive big game killer. 

How to Hold a Hunting Rifle 

The essence of how to hold a hunting rifle properly is balance. If you have a dominant right eye, your right hand will hold the rifle’s grip and your left hand will hold the rifle’s forend. Your feet should be placed apart at shoulder distance with the right feet positioned at 90 degrees from the target.

If you have a sling on your rifle, you can wrap it over your non-trigger hand so it stays out of the way. Other sling skills for stability are for pros. Always hold the rifle with two hands when shooting. Plus, make sure you follow firearm safety basics. 

How to Clean a Hunting Rifle 

For the sake of simplicity, let’s assume that you have a bolt action rifle. This will be the case almost 90% of the time with hunting rifles. So let’s divide it into a step-by-step approach.

Things you’ll need: a rifle cleaning kit with components respective to your caliber, cleaning solvent, rags, dry swabs. 

  • Make sure the rifle is void of all ammo and safe to handle. You may get a vice and affix the rifle firmly over it. Not a problem if you don’t have one. 

  • Depress the bolt release lever and take out the bolt from the action. Refer to your rifle’s manual if you are not sure how to do that.

  • Disassembly of the bolt and trigger assembly is not necessary. Do it only if you know how to put it back. Or simply use a solvent spray for superficial cleaning.

  • Take the cleaning rod, mount it with a dry paper patch and run it through the barrel. Entering from the breech and exiting through the muzzle. Repeat this a couple of times.

  • Now mount the rod with a bore brush of the appropriate caliber and work it through the barrel to loosen up the grime.

  • Take a swab, moisten it with the cleaning solvent and work it through the barrel. Repeat this with a new swab.

  • Take a rage and clean the receiver and other exposed internal components.

  • If your rifle has a wooden stock, use an appropriate cleaning solvent or oil to service it. 

  • Wipe all the components dry and reassemble them.

  • Give the rifle a quick wipe with a dry rag. That’s all. You’re done. 

You can always refer to online resources like YouTube for better guidance. 


A good hunting rifle must be durable enough to withstand harsh treatment, accurate, lightweight, and have a few customizability features like adjustable stock or custom trigger. Hunting rifles should be cleaned after every trip for flawless operation. Additionally, the caliber you choose must depend upon your intended application (game size). 

People Also Ask

Check out this generalized FAQ section that offers answers to some common and some vague questions about hunting, calibers, rifles, and more. 

Is An AK-47 a Good Hunting Rifle?

The AK-47 fires the .308 inch bullets which is a common hunting round for medium and also some big sized game. If you have practiced enough with your AK and are sure of its accuracy. You can use it for hunting. But only within 200-300 yards. Plus, the local legal factors also come into play.  

Is It Legal To Hunt With AK- 47?

Yes. But you’ll have to limit the magazine capacity according to the local hunting laws. Plus, you cannot hunt with FMJ ammunition. So you’ll have to get hollow points. Overall, if you can legally own an AK-47, you can hunt with it. 

Can A 30-06 Kill a Grizzly Bear?

Yes. A .30-06 cares enough energy to kill a grizzly bear. But right shot placement is of the essence here. However, if it’s a big grizzly you may want to place your bet on more suitable calibers like the .375 H&H. 

What Caliber Rifle For Deer Hunting?

The most common caliber for deer hunting is the .270 Winchester and .30-30. People sensitive to recoil or beginners can also opt for the smaller .243. Which is also the least legal caliber for deer. A .30-06 and .308 are also good for bigger species like elk.

What Caliber Rifle For Elk Hunting?

The .30-06 will be the best overall caliber for elk hunting. If you are vouching for long range kills, a .300 Win Mag will be a better option. Overall, a .30 caliber cartridge works better with big animals like Elk. 

What Is a Centerfire Rifle?

A rifle that uses centerfire ammunition is called a centerfire rifle. Centerfire cartridges are reloadable and can house heavier projectiles. The options for versatility in customization makes centerfire ammo more suitable and very popular. 

Can a 22 Rifle Kill A Deer?

It depends upon the size of the deer, shooting distance, and the right shot placement. But remember that .22 caliber is illegal to take deer in many states. Plus it is also unethical as the chances of the animal running away and suffering are very high.

Is a 30 30 a Good Deer Rifle?

Yes. In fact, the .30-30 is a very popular deer hunting caliber and is widely used across the US. Especially with lever-action rifles like the Winchester Model 1894 and for hunting whitetail deer at medium range.  

Is a 243 a Good Deer Rifle?

The .243 is a light, small, and low recoiling caliber that is perfect for beginner deer hunters. These rifles are very accurate and perform well under 200-300 yards. Plus, it is the minimum legal caliber for deer hunting in most states.

My name is Caleb and I am obsessed with hunting, fishing, and foraging. To be successful, you have to think like your prey. You have to get into the mind of your target - and understand Big Game Logic. If you have any questions, or just want chat about your latest hunting score or big catch, you can reach me at Read more about Big Game Logic.