Best 308 Hunting Rifles – 2021 Ultimate Review

| Last Updated June 14, 2021

.308 Winchester, one of the most versatile cartridges built to date. A caliber that has and is being used by militaries across the world and is fairly popular in the hunting world.

Every avid hunter has one rifle chambered in this caliber. And if you’re looking to buy one, this article compiles a list of the best .308 hunting rifles available today. 

Comparison of the Best 308 Hunting Rifles

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Classic design with ergonomic synthetic stock
  • Crisp release with an adjustable trigger
  • Extra accurate with hammer-forged barrels
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  • Ideal for big-game hunting
  • Glass fiber design for increased accuracy
  • Clean pull with Bergara curved trigger
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  • Best 308 Semi Auto Hunting Rifle
  • Gas operated system for rough conditions
  • Bolt-locking barrel for enhanced strength
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  • Best 308 Hunting Rifle Bolt Action
  • Effective in tough weather conditions
  • Easy reloading with single-stack polymer magazine
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How to Choose a .308 Hunting Rifle

While we already have made this task easy for you by compiling a list of the best .308 rifles in this article. You should be aware of the imperative considerations of choosing a good hunting rifle of this caliber. 

Accuracy

.308 caliber bullets have the power and velocity to be used in the long range. Plus, since it is going to be used for hunting. Make sure the rifle you’re choosing is very accurate. Some manufacturers guarantee sub-MOA accuracy. Additionally, some rifles like the Remington 700, Ruger Precision, and Bergara B-14 are renowned for their accuracy. 

Ergonomics and Lightweight Design

Ergonomics are very important for a hunting rifle. Or for any rifle for that matter. You never know what position you’ll find yourself in when you encounter the game. On top of that, a lightweight rifle is a good hunting rifle. Since it reduces the overall weight you have to carry, and hence the fatigue. 

Customizability and Adjustability

This feature is more concerned with ‘tactical rifle’. But superficially. Features like adjustable LOP, adjustable trigger, modular stock/grip, iron sights, and rails are great to have on a rifle to facilitate changes as per your requirements. 

Mind the Barrel Length 

A 20 - 24 inch barrel is sufficient for most hunting applications. There’s no point in buying a 26-inch barrel rifle if you’re not into long range shooting. 

Durable Construction 

Hunting rifles go through freezing temperatures, rain, dirt, thick brush, soggy woods, and what not. A hunting rifle must-have rugged construction and withstand harsh treatment. 

Review of the Best .308 Hunting Rifles

We’ve handpicked some of the best .308 hunting rifles used widely by pro hunters across the globe. These rifles have been shortlisted based upon positive user reviews, in-built features, accuracy, and also affordability to some extent. 

Best Overall:
Ruger American Rifle Standard Bolt-Action Rifle

PROS

  • Trigger adjustable between 3 to 5 pounds
  • Ergonomic all-weather stock with textures
  • Amazing accuracy and good recoil mitigation
  • Three-lug 70 degree bolt for clean and quick cycling
  • Flush fitting rotary mag and overall lightweight design

CONS

  • Budget rifle. Not for very long range shots

What Recent Buyers Report

The comprehensiveness of features in such an affordable and high-quality rifle is the feature most liked by buyers. The rifle is very accurate and fast cycling. Some itsy-bitsy issues with smooth cycling and choosiness with ammo were seen by some users. But most loved it completely. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Ruger American is a low-priced rifle that’ll meet your hunting expectations on the field. The stock is very ergonomic, glass bedded, and will withstand the harshest conditions and beating without causing a hitch. The 22-inch barrel makes the rifle easy to handle and the 6.2 lbs weight won’t even pester lean users. 

The tang safety is very quick to handle, and the adjustable trigger is a great feature for a rifle of such price. The receiver comes drilled and tapped to accept mounts and the recoil pad is elastic enough to dampen the recoil a bit. 

Bottom Line 

The Ruger American is a feature-loaded rifle for its price. The accuracy, adjustable trigger, glass bedded rugged stock, and flush-fitting rotary magazine are some features worth noting. A good rifle that’ll allow you to hunt accurately within 300-400 yards.

Runner-up:
Bergara B-14

PROS

  • Soft touch coating for a tacky feel
  • Accepts Rem 700 style rings and bases
  • Rugged synthetic stock with glass bedding
  • Durable and accurate chrome-moly steel sporter barrel
  • Coned, sako-style extractor for ultra-reliable & smooth cycling

CONS

  • Recoil pad isn’t great
  • Availability of spare parts is time taking

What Recent Buyers Report

According to buyer reports, the B-14 hunter is an incredibly accurate rifle that can utilize the potential of the .308 over a long range. Many users claimed to be shooting sub-MOA groups right out of the box. A great utilitarian rifle with a great trigger. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

Bergara B-14 is a rifle widely used for hunting and matches. This Hunter version has been designed specifically for hunting keeping their needs in mind. Bergara rifles are renowned for their tough and accurate barrels. This is one of the best .308 hunting rifles you can get for under $1,000. 

The receiver is compatible with Remington 700 style rings and bases. So you don’t have to scour the market too much. The tacky finish is a great feature, especially when you’re shooting with gloves on an icy or rainy day. 

Bottom Line 

The B-14 is for people who want a reliable, accurate, and comfortable rifle with optimum accuracy even when taking long range shots. While the 22-inch barrel limits the range to some extent, the overall build of the rifle conforms to the best hunting rifle standards.

Best 308 Semi Auto Hunting Rifle:
Browning BAR Mark III

PROS

  • Bolt locks directly into the barrel
  • Reliable and battle-proven semi-auto design
  • Hinged floorplate with a detachable magazine
  • Amazing aesthetics and build to tough tolerances

CONS

  • Doesn’t accept larger magazines
  • Needs extra care and maintenance

What Recent Buyers Report

The BAR Mk III is mostly used as hog medicine by many hunters for its exceptional long range accuracy and reliable feeding mechanism. The recoil is very manageable and the rifles shoot very tight groups. The fit and finish of the gun is great.  

Why it Stands Out to Us

The BAR was originally a heavy semi-auto rifle but this MkIII version has been shed down in weight to a mere 7.2 lbs. The multi-locking lug bolt pushes the cartridge directly into the chamber for even better performance. The trigger breaks crisp and clean as glass and the 24-inch barrel provides outstanding accuracy, even for targets out to 800 yards with the right shooter. 

The aesthetics are overly impressive and it is a rifle that’ll be specifically used for hunting and also passed on as an heirloom. Some people may prefer an AR-10 due to its tactical design and larger capacity. But the BAR is a dedicated hunting rifle. 

Bottom Line 

Choose the BAR if you are a classic firearms enthusiast and want a reliable and beautiful rifle for hunting. This is not a common tactical hunting rifle that focuses on fast feeding. But rather it ensures proper case seating and refined accuracy. 

Best 308 Hunting Rifle Bolt Action:
Tikka T3X Lite Stainless Steel

PROS

  • Reliable cycling and enlarged ejection port
  • Adjustable single stage trigger (2 to 4 lbs)
  • Super smooth cycling bolt with 75-degree lift
  • Extremely lightweight (6.3 lbs) and easy handling

CONS

  • Magazine is polymer (if it concerns you anyway)

What Recent Buyers Report

Tikka T3x has long been a favorite bolt action of hunters who need absolute precision over a short or long range. Negative reviews for the T3x are almost impossible to find. Every buyer reviews it to be the best money ever spent on rifles. Most are fans of its smooth cycling, accuracy, and weight. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

The t3x is an exceptionally smooth cycling rifle. The Sako style bolt has been the smoothest bolt out there and the enlarged ejection port ensures that no round will ever stick up in the port. The 6.3 lbs weight is ideal for adults or kids. The two-stage adjustable trigger comes down to as low as 2 lbs and breaks like a dry twig. 

The 75 degrees bolt life doesn’t meddle with the mounted scope. The stock is synthetic and feels quite grippy even under wet conditions. The rifle itself is very easy to handle and the stainless steel barrel and receiver resist impervious elements pretty well. 

Bottom Line 

This is the smoothest cycling, most lightweight, and very accurate bolt action hunting rifle you can trust with the toughest hunting tasks. The price is good, the performance is great and the rifle will maintain its performance for years to come.

5. Ruger Precision .308

PROS

  • Bolt shroud carries bolt disassembly tool
  • 70 degree bolt throw. Adjustable crisp trigger
  • M-Lok handguard, Picatinny rail and QD points
  • Ergonomic pistol-style grip and detachable mag
  • Foldable/replaceable MSR stock w/ adjusting cheek weld
  • Medium contour 5R rifling barrel with hybrid muzzle brake

CONS

  • Tad heavy at 9.8 pounds
  • Expensive for many buyers

What Recent Buyers Report

This Rifle has no match in terms of precision. Especially when taking long range shots. It is a feature-loaded rifle that can be customized to a significant extent. The rifle is very fun to shoot, and the customer service experience and quality of parts from Ruger are just exceptional. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Ruger Precision .308 is a match and long range tactical rifle that is renowned for its accuracy. The rifle has been built to meet the expectations of pro shooters, and still be very modular and feature-loaded to suit different requirements and situations. The bolt cycles quickly and the oversized handle and angle help when operating with gloves. 

The hybrid muzzle brake helps with noise reduction, and the stock is very adjustable to suit different stances. It is an AR-style rifle that can also work with larger magazines. The trigger is adjustable between 2.5 to 5 pounds and the 20-inch barrel makes the rifle easy to handle. 

Bottom Line 

This is a feature-loaded, ambidextrous, and extremely accurate rifle that is versatile enough to suit any application apt for the .308. The 9.8 lbs weight may deter you from long hunting trips. But if you can handle the weight, the rifle is superb for long range. 

6. Browning X-Bolt Hunter Bolt-Action Rifle

PROS

  • Glare reducing finish on the entire rifle
  • 4 screw front and rear scope mounting
  • 3 lug bolt with very short 60-degree lift
  • Detachable rotary magazine & featherweight trigger

CONS

  • None for deer hunting

What Recent Buyers Report

The Browning X-bolt is a very accurate rifle capable of shooting sub-MOA at 300 yards with the right ammo. It sure costs more than the affordable A-bolt. But the performance you get is exceptional and truly worth it. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

The X-bolt offers a short 60-degree lift that’s perfect to make quick follow up shots. Not that you’ll always need one for deer. But if you do, you have it right there. The barrel has been built to tight tolerances and the anti-glare finish on the entire rifle prevents the game from being spooked away. 

The gun cycles smoothly and the recoil pad is truly awesome. Even with the .308. The tang mounted safety and bolt unlock button are great features and limit unnecessary movement while stalking. 

Bottom Line 

The X-bolt is an amazing hunting rifle chambered in .308 and costing under $1,000. The recoil mitigation, accuracy, and ergonomics are just perfect for hunting deer. The rifle also doesn’t weigh much and won’t succumb to harsh treatment.

7. Remington 783 Bolt-Action Rifle With Scope

PROS

  • Dual pillar bedded synthetic stock
  • Flush fitting detachable steel magazine
  • User adjustable trigger and good recoil pad
  • Includes factory mounted & sighted 3-9x32mm scope

CONS

  • Will need gunsmith customization for more precision

What Recent Buyers Report

The Remington 783 is a lower-priced variant of the popular Rem 700 from the company. But it has impressed users with its performance and features. The rifle isn’t a tack driver and will need some customization for achieving better performance. But it’s certainly great for under 300 yards. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Remington 700 fans may not like this lower-priced version of the model. The 783 was designed by Remington to cover the low-priced rifle market. It has been built in the image of the Rem 700 and features similar handling and accuracy. The factory mounted scope is a great addition and quite useful. The adjustable trigger is factory set at 3.5 lbs and has a central lever lock for extra safety. 

The detachable magazine is steel and offers very reliable feeding. The stock’s finish is just great. 

Bottom Line 

The trigger is very crisp and smooth, and the gun is very light. It excels in quality and performance with other similar priced rifles. It eats up fresh and reloaded ammo and doesn’t gripe with that. Though not for long term use, it is still great for beginners.

What Can You Hunt With a .308? 

The answer to this question depends slightly upon what bullet weight you’ll be using. The .308 Winchester is available in 125 to 185-grain variants. With an average muzzle velocity of 2,700 fps and average muzzle energy of 2,600 ft-lbs. 

The .308 racks up enough power to bring down animals up to black bears roaming across North America. If you’re going for an African hunting safari, the .308 will be an apt medicine for the game up to the size of an Eland. This caliber is also capable of killing bigger animals within the right range and perfect shot placement. 

How Accurate is a .308 Rifle? How Far Can a 308 Shoot?

Let’s talk about the Army's standards first. The U.S Army considers the .308 bullet to be effective out to a range of 875 yards, and the USMC considers it to be effective out to 1,000 yards. 

Now let’s take note of what a hunter should expect. A 150 gr. FMJ .308 bullet has a drop of 3.6 inches at 200 yards, 13.4 inches at 300 yards, 30.5 inches at 400 yards, and 56.4 inches at 500 yards. The bullet has 2,648 fpe at the muzzle which drops to 1,093 fpe at 500 yards. So for a hunter, the max. effective range is about 500-600 yards.

The .308 is very accurate and you can attain sub-MOA accuracy at 100 yards with the right rifle. 

Comparison Overview 

The article will be incomplete unless we compare the .308 Win with some other very popular and similar bullets. This comparison will stick to the context of hunting and evaluate if one caliber has some edge over the other or vice versa. 

6.5 Creedmoor vs 308

The 6.5 Creedmoor is unquestionably a flatter shooting and better long range cartridge compared to the .308. Which is quite obvious because it was designed to do so. Both these are almost the same in length. However, the 6.5 Creedmoor trades with kinetic energy and to get a lighter and flatter shooting bullet. While the .308 can be used to hunt big game the size of moose and bear. The 6.5 is more of a viable deer hunting cartridge. 

308 vs 30-06

The 30-06 was the favorite of snipers and hunters before the .308 came and it still is. Both these rounds have stiff competition in terms of stopping power. The 30-06 is a longer case compared to the .308, but both use the same bullets. This means that the 308 is quicker to cycle. As far as hunting is concerned, both these rounds are almost the same in performance, power, and recoil. Plus, you’ll not notice any significant difference within 300 yards. 

300 Win Mag vs 308

The 300 Win Mag and .308 use the same bullet diameter of .308 inches. The basic difference lies between the effective distance and size. The 300 Win Mag is a longer case with more powder. It was designed as a long range round and is widely used in bench rest shooting competitions. The higher velocity of the 300 Win Mag has a slight advantage over the .308 Win. Especially when you are taking down a game at longer distances, or need better penetration at short range. 

300 Blackout vs 308

The 300 Blackout is more suitable for a medium-sized game like deer. It is a great alternative for people who are sensitive to recoil and can’t handle the .308. The .308 is also a more powerful round with a longer range and a wide range of ammo selection option for hunting. However, the 300 Blk will offer more energy from similar length barrels in a short range. 

308 vs 556

The 5.56 uses .223 inch diameter bullets whereas the other uses .308 inch bullets. With that said, .308 is more versatile in terms of hunting and can handle a wide variety of games big or small. The 5.56 on the other hand is a low recoiling, slimmer, and shorter round that is great for hogs, deer, or coyotes. 

Conclusion 

The .308 is a very versatile and powerful caliber that can bring down even the biggest game with the right shot placement. The cartridge is small and already helps with quick cycling. A good .308 hunting rifle must be able to address the full potential of this round in terms of accuracy and range. Along with being lightweight, recoil mitigating, and easy to handle. 

People Also Ask

Check out this concise and to-the-point FAQ section that covers some important insights about the .308 caliber. These answers will certainly help you decide if the .308 Winchester is suitable for you or not. 

What Caliber Is a 308?

The .308 is a 30 caliber bullet. The caliber is a term indicative of the diameter of a bullet and hence also the size of the bore of the rifle it’ll be shot from. The .308 Win has a bullet diameter of .308 inches and is one from the wide range of .30 caliber ammunition. 

How Fast Does a 308 Bullet Travel?

The average muzzle velocity of a .308 Win bullet is approximately 2,800 fps that comes down to about 1,800 fps at 500 yards. That’s fast enough for low drop and good accuracy. 

How Much Is 308 Ammo?

.308 ammo is generally not very expensive. Especially if you find a cheap can of military surplus ammo. The cost will usually range from $0.7 per shot for cheap plinking ammo to $2 for match grade ammunition. 

Is a 308 a Good Deer Hunting Rifle?

Yes. The .308 is indeed a great deer hunting rifle and widely used for killing deer of all sizes. It can handle small deer and also big species like elk, moose, and eland. 

What Distance Should I Zero My 308?

The distance to zero will depend upon the distance you’ll be shooting at. For a 100 yard zero, you’ll get a drop of 56 inches at 500 yards and a drop of just 13 inches at 300 yards. These are common hunting distances. For further shots, you may favor a 200 yard zero.



My name is Jeff and I have been hunting and fishing for over 40 years. I am an avid archery lover, bass fisherman, and all-around outdoorsman. Currently, I'm obsessed with elk hunting but I'm sure I'll move onto a different favorite soon. You gotta love hunting for that reason :) If you have any questions, or just want chat about your latest hunting score or big catch, you can reach me at admin@biggamelogic.com. Read more about Big Game Logic.