If you want to hunt, you might consider choosing a hunting rifle instead of another type of gun.
This is a solid choice because these types of rifles are powerful and easy to use. That said, it’s not always easy to know which gun to choose, especially if you’re a beginner.
What should you consider when buying a hunting rifle?
One of the important tips is to choose guns that have stainless steel on their barrels and other areas where metal is used as this prevents corrosion and rust.
It’s also important to look for features such as recoil reduction and user-friendly features which will help you when you’re on a hunt, whether you’re a beginner or experienced huntsman.
With that in mind, let’s explore the best hunting rifle to boost your accuracy: we’ve got five of the best hunting rifles on the market for you to check out.
Best Hunting Rifle – Reviews & Buying Guide for 2021
Best Overall: Bushmaster Hunting Ar-15
Using an AR15 hunting rifle offers many benefits when it comes to hunting animals, especially smaller game. This is as a result of its bullet diameter. With that in mind, let’s see why this Bushmaster AR15 is right on the money for being the best hunting rifle on the market today.
- This quality rifle has a 20-inch chrome barrel and vented aluminum free float handguard. This is useful because a free float guard means that you can put a lot of force on it and it won’t have an effect on the gun’s barrel. This goes a long way to increasing your stability, which in turn will have a positive effect on other aspects of your shooting, such as accuracy.
- Its mil-spec flattop upper means you can enjoy a strong mounting platform for the optic you want to use.
- Since it’s operated by gas, this rifle has less recoil. It also means that the rifle is lighter in weight, so it will be comfortable to carry during those long hunting trips through the bush.
- It allows you to make use of various upgrade options, such as pistol grips and handguards so that you can hunt a variety of animals, such as deer and hogs. This makes it the best deer rifle for beginners.
- It offers 2,800 lb/ft of muzzle power to make hunting a variety of animals, such as hogs and deer, much more successful.
- Some people have noted that the Bushmaster doesn’t offer as much customization as they can find on other AR15 rifles. If you’re not keen on making changes to your AR15 Bushmaster rifle, then this won’t apply to you.
Runner Up: Mossberg 500 Hunting All Purpose Field
If you’re looking for a versatile shotgun, this one’s worth checking out. It has innovative features that will make hunting much more comfortable. As you probably know, when you have better control of, and comfort when, using your hunting rifle, this will improve your shooting success.
- At just 6.25 pounds, this shotgun is lightweight and easy to carry, which makes it ideal for long hunting sessions and the best hunting rifle for women.
- It offers a variety of finish and stock barrel options. By changing the barrel or choke tube, you can enable your shotgun to hunt a variety of animals.
- It has a silver trigger that’s made out of stainless steel known as Marinecoat that’s said to be resistant to wear and tear. This coat is also resistant to salt spray. While you might not live in close proximity to the beach, this finish certainly does make your gun capable of handling anything you throw at it!
- It comes with ambidextrous operation, which makes it very convenient when hunting because you want to work quickly while this feature will also keep you safe.
- Although it has an alloy frame, this is said to be resistant to rust but it’s not more durable than a steel frame. As we’ve mentioned earlier in this article, choosing steel is always the best idea if you want greater strength and durability!
- The gun’s tubes are closed at the end of the muzzle, which makes it a little more difficult to clean.
Alternative 1: Ruger American Ranch .350 Rifle
Ruger is regarded as one of the best gun manufacturers on the planet. They’re known for their simple and effective guns. With that in mind, the Ruger American Ranch action rifle is one of the best hunting rifles to purchase, but is it good for beginners? Here’s what you should know about it.
- This gun increases your shot accuracy during hunting because it has a crisp release with an adjustable pull weight.
- It’s light and easy to carry, while also being ergonomic, thanks to its contouring and serrations that offer better grip.
- It comes with a soft rubber buttpad. This helps to reduce recoil.
- It’s got a compact and threaded barrel that’s been cold hammer-forged. This makes it score high points when it comes to the gun’s durability.
- This gun has a visible and user-friendly tang safety so that you can always feel in control and keep yourself safe when you’re out there. This is especially great for beginner shooters.
- Earlier we talked about how the gun reduces recoil, but there will still be some recoil experienced. While that might not affect an experienced hunter, it does potentially make this hunting rifle less suitable for beginners who are using this type of gun for the first time.
- A problem that some people who have purchased this gun have found is that the magazine has nubs inside it that force the bullets and cause them to snag, which can hamper your ability to load a magazine. A way around this is to stick to Ruger’s original magazines.
Alternative 2: Browning X-Bolt Western Hunter Rifle
This hunting rifle comes in a neutral tan base color so that you can use it in rocky or open environments as it helps you to stay camouflaged. Let’s check out what else it has to offer.
- This Browning X-Bolt gun comes with Dura-Touch Armor Coating. This enhances your grip, even during bad weather conditions. So, no need to call off your hunting adventure when it’s drizzling outside.
- It has an Inflex Technology recoil pad. This ensures the buttstock remains secure, therefore increasing your overall stability.
- It has a muzzle brake to decrease the amount of recoil, giving you even more control for follow-up shots.
- It ensures your shots are as accurate as possible, thanks to how it has a crisp pull.
- Its top-tang safety offers a bolt unlock button. This is great because it means that you can open the bolt to inspect it or load the gun while staying safe.
- This hunting rifle has an ergonomic extended bolt handle for greater comfort when you’re in the bush on a hunt.
- One of the drawbacks of this gun is that you might battle to find a scope that you can use on it because it needs to have substantial tube length. This is probably not an issue you would’ve experienced with other X-Bolts.
Alternative 3: Winchester XPR Hunter Bolt-Action Rifle with Scope
This Winchester hunting rifle combines features from the company’s popular Model 70 with modern touches to enhance its quality. Let’s check out its features in more detail.
- This Winchester hunting rifle comes with TrueTimber Strata. This is a type of camo that blends into many environments at a distance, which makes it useful when you need to stalk your prey.
- It makes use of an Inflex Technology Recoil Pad. This helps to reduce recoil, as its name suggests, but it’s known as the most effective pad because of its innovative design. The pad ensures that when the Browning is fired, the pad collapses. Instead of moving to the back, it has directional ribs that pull its comb down so that it’s far away from your face, thereby increasing your comfort and safety. It also means that you can have faster follow-up shots.
- This gun comes with a factory-mounted Vortex Crossfire II scope. This is a popular entry-level scope that helps to increase your accuracy.
- For the ultimate security, this rifle has a two-position thumb safety. This locks the bolt when it’s engaged. And, you can cycle the bolt when the safety’s engaged, thanks to the convenient bolt release button that’s included in this gun’s design.
- There’s also a cocking indicator. This can be both felt and seen so you’ll know immediately if the rifle is ready to fire, therefore enabling you to move quickly and not miss out on opportunities when you want to make a shot. This makes it the best hunting rifle for youth and beginners.
- The stock might irritate you because it has visible mold flashing that some say is a little more obvious than it perhaps needs to be.
- Winchester has recalled certain XPR rifles for safety issues.
Best Hunting Rifle FAQ
Seen a hunting rifle you want to purchase from our list of reviews?
Before you go ahead, read our FAQs for more information about hunting rifles so you can purchase the one that suits your needs in the best way.
How accurate does a hunting rifle need to be?
One of the biggest concerns you might have when it comes to choosing a hunting rifle is how accurate it is. Before we can look at how important accuracy is, it’s important to know how to measure the accuracy of a hunting rifle.
One of the most important things to look for when it comes to accuracy is precision. This is basically how consistently your hunting rifle puts each shot on your target and it can be measured from the center of the bullet hole. You’ll find that this is usually stated in Minutes Of Angle (MOA).
One MOA is 1.047 inches at 100 yards, but will be rounded to 1 inch. A common test for precision is firing three or five shot groups before measuring the distance between two of the furthest holes in each group. Most hunting rifles can achieve 1.5 MOA.
Accuracy depends on multiple factors, such as sight adjustment and your ability as a shooter to make the shot. Basically, accuracy will determine if you can place the shot well so that you hit the target. This takes skill and practice!
There are also some features on hunting rifles that can increase their accuracy, such as when it comes to ensuring a more stable shot for you and reducing recoil.
What is the most accurate rifle caliber?
To increase your accuracy, pay attention to the gun’s cartridge. A cartridge will be more accurate if it holds less powder.
The chamber also needs to be encased properly, preferably with the use of a minimal body taper and a long neck in the design. This will ensure that the bullet will fit properly and be centered inside the bore.
It’s worth noting that a gun’s cartridge is a combination of powder, primer, brass case, and bullet – to put it simply, it’s the overall name that’s used for the gun’s ammunition. The caliber, on the other hand, is the diameter of the bore of the firearm or the diameter of the bullet that fires through it. However, these terms are sometimes used interchangeably, so don’t get too caught up on them!
Right, so which rifle caliber is the most precise?
When it comes to hunting at long ranges and targeting large game, the . 300 Winchester Magnum is considered to be a popular choice. This is actually preferred by military snipers as it delivers heavy bullets with accuracy and top speed.
Another good choice is the 7mm Remington Magnum. This, and the Winchester Magnum, both have flatter trajectories, which is beneficial because it means that the bullets will reach their targets faster because they don’t have to sail or arch through the air.
We can’t complete this list without adding the 6.5 Creedmoor to it! It was designed for long-range target shooting, but it’s become a valuable caliber for hunting. This is because it’s short so it can handle flatter trajectories and it has the capacity to make the bullets move faster. It also has a low quantity of recoil. It’s really an excellent all-rounder that will improve your hunting experience.
Bass Pro Shops has an excellent caliber chart to consult before you purchase bullets for your hunting rifle. It shows you the best cartridges to purchase depending on the type of game you wish to hunt, whether varmints or black bears, and everything in between.
What type of rifle is used for hunting?
Hunting rifles will have certain features you need for the hunting of animals. These are shoulder-fired guns that provide range and accuracy. Centerfire rifles are used for hunting large game, while rimfire rifles are used for smaller animals. There are also single-shot and multi-barrelled rifles to know about.
Single-shot firearms are accurate and silent. However, they don’t allow you to do multiple shots, which can mean that you miss out on a hunting opportunity or result in the lack of a clean kill. A single-shot system can therefore make hunting situations dangerous for you.
Multi-barreled firearms, on the other hand, are best for hunting fast and dangerous game, because they offer a quick second shot. An example is the double-barreled shotgun which is a popular choice for people who want to hunt game birds. You can also find what’s known as combination guns, which have two, three, or four barrels. These offer a blend of shotgun and rifle barrels, to increase the versatility of the gun.
Interestingly, it’s also possible to hunt with a handgun. You can use a handgun, and it’s legal to do so in many places, but it requires you to get closer to your prey. This can be risky!
When choosing to purchase a hunting rifle, there are some important features to look out for. Here’s a rundown of some of them based on what we’ve seen in the products in our buying guide.
- Stability features. An example of a good feature to look for is a free float handguard. As seen in the Bushmaster rifle, this is an important feature to increase stability.
- Gas operation. This is also found in the Bushmaster hunting rifle, and it helps to reduce recoil as well as keep the gun lighter, therefore making it easier to handle.
- Crisp and smooth shots. Obviously, you want a hunting rifle to give you these, and one of the features that will ensure them is the use of an adjustable pull weight, as can be found on the Ruger American Ranch hunting rifle.
- Ergonomic grip. A hunting session can last for a few hours, if not more, so you want to ensure that you have a comfortable rifle. Look for ergonomic features, such as when it comes to the gun’s grip. The Ruger hunting rifle has contouring and serrations to make it easy to hold and grip. On the other hand, the Browning rifle has Dura-Touch Armor Coating that makes it easy to hold and control even when it’s rainy outside or your hands are sweaty.
- Safety features. These are essential because they not only keep you safe but also ensure that you don’t waste time when you’re on the hunt because every second counts. An example of a cool safety feature that also makes the gun user-friendly is ambidextrous operation, as found on the Mossberg 500 rifle in our reviews. This is not only a good safety feature but very convenient for experienced shooters and beginners alike.
What distance should I zero my hunting rifle?
To zero a hunting rifle means to align the scope or sights on your rifle so that the bullet will go where you want it to go from a certain distance. Since your rifle can’t be tweaked to alter the path of the bullet, you have to adjust its sight.
The best zero will depend on how far you want to shoot, but most big game rifles should opt for a 200-yard zero. This is because if you sight in there with a .30-06 or similar cartridge, the bullet will remain within three vertical inches of your aim out to 250 or so yards. This three-inch error won’t make much of a difference as you’ll still be able to achieve a kill.
If you want to purchase a hunting rifle, you now have five of the best ones to choose from.
We’ve looked at their pros and cons to help you learn more about them, whether you’re just starting out in hunting or are more experienced. We’ve also included some important information you should know about hunting rifles that will help you to choose the best one to boost your accuracy.
Don’t miss out on that crucial shot when you’re hunting game – invest in a quality hunting rifle so that you can have a better experience and greater precision every time.