The 5 Best Hunting Rifles of Today

The 5 Best Hunting Rifles of Today

Publushed by:

Mathew R Reed

Last updated:

Winner: Bolt Hell’s Canyon Long Range

Short summary

For the absolute in power and precision and the best long range hunting rifle, it has to be the Browning X-Bolt Hell’s Canyon Long Range. This impressive beast takes four 6.5 RPC cartridges, has an overall length of 46 inches, and weighs 7lbs3oz.

Modeled on the famous Hell’s Canyon Speed, this Browning also features free-floating barrel, inflex recoil pad, and burnt bronze Cerakote coating on the barrel, receiver, and exposed parts of the bolt to keep it in good shape and looking amazing.

The Hell’s Canyon Long Range is exceptionally made with special detail taken to create the threaded barrel.

With a threaded muzzle brake, you’ll get rid of the usual recoil of guns this size and be able to see the impact of your shot and be able to remove it easily with a thread protector.

There’s also the option to attach a suppressor if you so choose, and customers loved just how much customization was possible.

The A-TACS AU camouflage on this rifle makes it a breeze at staying hidden which can only serve to improve the shots you make.

This advanced design uses both micro and macro pattern mixtures to keep you hidden and works in all distances and perceptions, so no matter what you’re hunting, they won’t be able to spot you.

One of the biggest grips that came from those who’ve used this gun was about the barrel length, but this might not be the case for everyone.

With a pretty sizeable barrel length of 26 inches it took some getting used to, and even with a slight reduction in length, you wouldn’t notice too much of a difference in muzzle velocity.

Again, it also depends on personal preference, but having a shorter barrel could help with the portability required for hunting.

Customers also noted that the high price of this rifle compared to other top rates ones threw them off a bit.

That’s not to say that the Hells’ Canyon Long Range isn’t worth the cost and that Browning doesn’t know how to create a good rifle, but if you’re looking to spend under $1,000 to get something worthwhile, you make want to keep searching.

The Hell’s Canyon Long Range by Browning is a force to be reckoned with and one of the most accurate rifles on the market today, if not the most.

This 6.5 PRC firearm has loads of features, is built to last, and has improved even further on the previous Speed model, so if you’re looking for the best rifle for hunting, you’ve found it.

Quick Facts

  • Caliber: 6.5 PRC
  • Capacity: 4
  • Weight: 7lbs3oz.

Pros

  • Free-floating barrel
  • Reduced recoil
  • Precise

Cons

  • Expensive

Runner Up: Benelli Lupo

Short summary

Our favorite bolt action hunting rifle comes from Benelli with their .308 Lupo rifle. This innovative rifle weighs a healthy 6.9lbs, has five-round capacity, and an adjustable trigger that varies from 2.2 to 4.4lbs with adjustable reach.

The Lupo comes with a free-floating barrel, integrated swivel mounts, and two-piece Picatinny rail to do with whatever you see fit.

By far the best feature of this rifle is its trigger mechanism, including both the trigger itself and the trigger guard.

Benelli is known for being innovative and it’s shown here as they’ve adjusted the angle between them so it’s no longer just running parallel to the bottom of the stock.

What this means for the shooter is that your wrist feels more comfortable and allows you to leave it there for longer without feeling fatigued, both of which are prized benefits in hunting.

The accuracy of this rifle is hard to beat and it comes with a three-shot sub MOA guarantee to prove it.

The stock of the firearm can take some of the credit for this as it’s made of composite and machine-aluminum cassis, with the middle made entirely of aluminum.

This gives you all of the stability you need to make the shot and ensures nothing is getting in the way of its precision.

On the downside, there were some complaints about the safety, but not about it being tang-mounted or dual position.

Rather, people found that the material it was constructed of felt and looked cheap, which lead them to worry about the quality of the rifle overall.

This didn’t detract from the effectiveness of the safety at all though, but it did lose the gun some points and make others question the cost.

Another negative of the Benelli Lupo is its price, and while it’s not enough to break the bank entirely, it is pretty costly.

At this price, it’s harder to overlook the smaller negatives and the fact that Benelli is known for making shotguns and their rifle range hasn’t been out for as long.

This sense of youth from the brand can put some people off, especially when they’re asking for premiums prices right off the bat.

As the best 308 hunting rifle we’ve found and one that’s full of the excitement and innovation that Benelli is known for, we’re glad this is on our list.

The Benelli Lupo is a bolt action with plenty to offer and although the brand is better known for their shotguns, they’ve proven that they can make a quality rifle as well.

If you want the best deer hunting rifle that’s nothing like the ones you used to own, the Benelli Lupo is it.

Quick Facts

  • Caliber: .308
  • Capacity: 5
  • Weight: 6.9lbs

Pros

  • Great trigger mechanism
  • Adjusted for shooting from wrist
  • Accurate

Cons

  • Cheap-looking materials

Alternative: Henry Side Gate

Short summary

If you prefer your hunting rifle with an old school vibe, the Henry Side Gate .38-55 Winchester Lever Action Hunting Rifle is the way to go. The Henry Side Gate is a regular lever action with swing studs, weighs a hefty 7.5lbs, and carries five cartridges with options of either front or side topping up.

This rifle features a 20-inch steel barrel with ivory bead front sight and semi-buckhorn read sight, making it the best rifle for deer hunting as far as accuracy is concerned.

The best thing about the Henry Side Gate was how it looks, and although this doesn’t affect its ability to be one of the best hunting rifles, it certainly made it more appealing.

Immediately this firearm looks to be heirloom quality and it features exquisite details like floral scrolls on the wood and polished two piece brass receiver.

Even if you’re not someone who bothers with the look of their gun, you’ll be impressed by this one.

This versatile weapon caters to more people which has earned it a lot of points across the board.

The tubular magazine of this lever-action rifle has the option to be loaded from the front as per usual or via the receiver found on the gate, which makes it quick and easy to do when you’re on the field.

Customers loved how this switched things up a bit from the traditional Henry rifles and it made it appeal to a broader range of hunters.

On the downside, the Henry Side Gate has some design issues that lost it a few points. Because it features the innovative top eject design, you’ll need to drill holes into the side of the frame if you want to mount your scope to it, and this requires the right hardware.

Furthermore, to unload the gun, you need to cycle the unfired guns through the action, which is a bit of a hindrance.

Some people also found the look of the firearm to be a little off-putting, so while it served as a pro for us, it might not be the same for others. As a “fancy” looking gun it may seem more like something you’d see in an antique gun cabinet and if your hunting style is rugged and rough, the Henry Side Gate may be too pretty for you.

The Henry Side Gate Lever Action Rifle is one of our favorites for looks and accuracy, and if you prefer the old-timey appearance of hunting rifles like this, we’re certain you’ll love it too.

Although it may seem fanciful to some and there are minor issues with its layout that could be fixed, it’s great value for money and a welcome addition to an arsenal line-up if you’re looking for something with precision up to 125 years.

Quick Facts

  • Caliber: 38-55 Winchester
  • Capacity: 5
  • Weight: 7.5lbs

Pros

  • Flexible loading mechanism
  • Good grip
  • Long range

Cons

  • Does not have holes for mounting a scope

Alternative: Bergara B-14 Ridge

Short summary

Bergara has created their B-14 as the ultimate entry level hunting rifle and it’s reasonably priced for everything from beginners to pros. The rifle features a solid 8.1lbs weight, molded synthetic stock, and patented B-14 Action that features a two-lug system and extractor for smoothness, being chambered for 7mm Remington Magnum cartridges.

Bergara has used SoftTouch coating on the sock of the gun that makes it usable in all kinds of weather and their entire B-14 rifle range has produced sub-1.0 MOA groups or under when using factory grade ammo and fired at 100 yards.

The capabilities of this gun for big game are what makes it a standout, and depending on what it’s chambered in, you could have varying results.

However, we consider it the best elk hunting rifle because of its power, and when you consider the low price of it, this becomes even more impressive.

It’s been rated for accuracy at 100 yards has the quality reputation that Bergara is known for as one of the leading overseas gunmakers.

Customers also loved that the trigger was clean and crisp, with a 3lb rating and unique curved shape that the brand stays true to.

Although considered an entry-level rifle, this plus the smoothness of the action made it seem a lot more expensive than it was.

If you’ve never owned a hunting rifle before and want something simple to operate, there are loads of features on the B-14 that make it a good fit.

However, the biggest downside to the Bergara B-14 Ridge is that some of its parts feel and look a little flimsy which detracts from the other nicer parts of the gun.

Although it’s a cheaper option this can still be off-putting, especially if you’re looking to invest in a rifle that will last decades to come.

Furthermore, as the stock is synthetic it also feels a little cheap, which can be confusing when you’re dealing with something of this weight.

For those who love the Bergara brand, the fact that they’re based in Spain won’t be an issue, but for the average American hunter, it might.

You’ll find it exceptionally hard to source parts and other accessories without doing a lot of research and paying hefty shipping fees.

If you can find another US-made gun that’s easier to acquire parts for, you might think it’s worthwhile getting this instead.

The Bergara B-14 Ridge has plenty to offer as a long-range hunting rifle and considering its price, you get a lot performance and power.

Although not an American brand, the Bergara name is synonymous with quality firearms, and if you’re lucky enough to get your hands on one for a day of big-game hunting, you’ll be thrilled you gave it a shot.

Quick Facts

  • Caliber: 7mm Remington Magnum
  • Capacity: 3+1
  • Weight: 8.1lbs

Pros

  • Good for beginners
  • B-14 Action
  • Clean and crisp trigger

Cons

  • Feels flimsy

Alternative: Ruger Predator

Short summary

If you’re after a hunting rifle that’s cheap but reliable, the Ruger Predator is one of the best. This affordable rifle takes 6.5 Creedmor cartridges and is perfect for smaller game including coyotes, with an ergonomic design for sporting and hunting.

The Ruger Predator has a barrel length of 22inches and a light weight feel of 6.6lbs, plus tang mounted safety, one-piece three lug bolt, and integral Picatinny rail.

The Ruger Predator is exceptionally priced which makes it very appealing, and for something of this price, its accuracy is top notch while maintaining MOA standards.

This is achieved with the free-floating barrel that’s mounted on the bedding block system that Ruger created, call their Patented Power Bedding, and it all works together to help you get the most precise shot.

Another major selling point of this hunting rifle is that it’s reliable, and that’s true of any rifle that Ruger makes, but even in their cheaper options like the Predator.

According to its previous users, there are no major issues to report with mechanisms like the safety or magazine, and so far no problems with feeding, firing, and extraction.

All of this is great news for anyone hoping to get an affordable rifle that’s just as dependable as something that costs twice as much.

Unfortunately, as a cheap rifle, it appears to have some cheap parts as well which gives an overall flimsy feel to the firearm, and there’s a lack of sights included with the weapon.

According to shooters, they noticed things like the plastic-molded stock and how hollow it sounds when you hit the buttstock.

The rubber recoil pad that comes with it does very little to absorb anything, so you’ll likely want to upgrade this part especially.

Customers also complained about the comb of the stock on the Ruger Predator and more specifically, where you rest your cheek.

Although it seemed to be ergonomically designed, it is more similarly shaped to one you’d find on a sporting rifle, which doesn’t fare well during long hunting sessions.

The stock was also quite flexible because of its synthetic composition which made it hard to get stable at times, so it can take some getting used to if this isn’t your first hunting rifle.

These issues aside, you’ll be hard-pressed finding a more accurate hunting rifle in this price range, and especially not one with the trusted name of Ruger behind it.

If you want to keep costs down but don’t want to sacrifice on precision or reliability when it comes to choosing your next hunting companion, it’s one of the best.

The Ruger Predator delivers in performance for price and is a great choice for hunting small to medium-sized game no matter the setting.

Quick Facts

  • Caliber: 6.5 Creedmor
  • Capacity: 4
  • Weight: 6.6lbs

Pros

  • Perfect for small game hunting
  • Good accuracy
  • Durable and reliable

Cons

  • Not ergonomic

Hunting Rifles FAQs

A hunting rifle is the one thing that can make or break your day on the field, and knowing that you have a quality one by your side is all the reassurance that you need.

To find out more about the basics of hunting rifles and what’s required from them to make the shot, check out these FAQs.

What Is The Best Caliber Rifle For Deer Hunting?

There are a few popular calibers that perform well for deer hunting and mid-sized game, including the 308 Winchester, .270 Winchester, 30-06 Springfield, 280 Remington, and 7mm-08 Remington.

Generally, the higher the caliber the bigger the bullet, but it’s not the only determiner of how effective your shot will be and you’ll need to consider other factors as well.

Is A 30-06 Overkill A Deer?

The .30-06 is a popular caliber for deer hunting but it must be handled carefully and used with the right rifle for the right results.

This size caliber can potentially be too much for this size game, resulting in overkill, but it’s been a recommended choice for over 100 years, which solidifies its place as a deer hunter.

Overkill doesn’t always occur because of the power of a gun itself, but the shooter’s abilities as well.

How Far Can You Kill A Deer With A 30-06?

With all of the right components in place, a 30-06 could be fired accurately at a deer from between 200 to 800 yards resulting in a kill, and sometimes even further.

However, this range also depends on the skill of the shooter, the weight of the ammunition, and the current wind patterns which can all affect its range, so there’s a lot to consider.

Is A 270 More Powerful Than A 308?

The .270 Winchester and .308 Winchester are both considered reliable centerfire cartridges used for hunting, with individual pros and cons.

The .308 is better for larger game like elks and moose, whereas the .270 is the best cartridge for long-range targets like mule and deer as well as firing in open spaces, so it all depends on the setting and target.

Portable Power and Precision

The needs of a hunting rifle are far different from any other firearm, and it requires a lot of thought to come up with one that’s just right for your endeavors.

With our recommendations and some insight into choosing a hunting rifle, we guarantee you’ll walk away with a piece that will make a real difference on your next outing.

4/5

Bolt Hell’s Canyon Long Range

Features free-floating barrel
Reduced recoil
Precise

Mathew R Reed

Mathew R Reed is a professional gun seller who runs a dedicated gun store in the suburbs of Oakland, CA. A hardcore hunting enthusiast since childhood, Reed has ample experience with guns and accessories. He is the founder of ArmorHoldings.com and creates some of the most helpful gun-buying guides and explainers. If not in the gun shop, you can find him on the nearest hiking trail or nearby hunting spot.