The title "best long range rifle" means something different than it did 50 years ago; 100 years ago; even 10 years ago.
With advancement in ballistics and engineering, and more importantly, perhaps, tooling, data modeling along with a more connected consumer base, the long range rifle of today can do different things than the long-range rifle of years past.
The interesting part however, is that despite new advancement and new capabilities, there is still a place in the market for the ammunition that shaped the battlefields and competitive shooting arenas of the past 100 years.
In this article, we seek to find the best rifle for long range shooting on the market and we aren't trying to put a date stamp on it. Some of the finest long range rifle cartridges in history aren't new-fangled developments from Hornady or Remington. As a corollary: some of the good long range rifle cartridges ARE new developments.
This article will highlight the best options for the money on the market chambered in a mix of classic and tech-heavy ammunition.
Best Long Range Rifles
Winchester - Model 70 Alaskan Bolt Action Rifle
An ultra-large game bolt action rifle that offers a lot of bang for the buck, this is the gun you take when you go on your first African Safari; or when you are in the backwoods of Alaska or other particularly harsh environments with dangerous large game.
The cartridge it's chambered in, isn't a particularly precision long range round, but it is a round that offers long range effectiveness if the shooter knows how to coax the nuance out of the projectile. The amount of energy on target and speed out of the barrel means you can deliver terminal performance on targets at great distances effectively.
Somewhat like the .45-70 Govt. round, this cartridge is a little more softly looping than it is laser-like in its flight path. They are also a proven rounds that despite having more arch to their trajectory, have been used the world over in long range situations, very effectively.
This gun is fairly straightforward, with a wood stock and a bolt action, but it is a very robust action and has reinforcement because of the power of the cartridge. There is heavy recoil (like many of the guns on this list), but it is not so heavy that you cannot accurately shoot the gun.
Many thousands of large game animals have been taken with this gun and many hundreds of thousand with the cartridge. A gorgeous blued finish and a glossy walnut stock pair with excellent rifle sights makes this a wonderfully classic and fully capable gun that still looks great in the gun safe or at the range or on the mantle.
- Simple and effective
- Massive power
- Exceptional sights
- Rugged durability
- Not the most precision cartridge in history
Bushmaster Firearms - BA50 Rifle
The Bushmaster team has made a lot of mistakes in their quest to provide innovation and quirkiness to the market across a lot of different segments.
This happens to be a gun that has few difficulties and offers a well-polished and cohesive rifle in a hard to fill niche in the market – the semi-auto, big bore, precision long-range niche.
There are very few competitors to this rifle, with only a handful of guns even stepping up to the plate. The BA-50 is also significantly lower priced compared to most competitors with a semi-auto action.
Make no mistake, this 30 lb. rifle with a 30 inch barrel means business. The fact that it is a 50 BMG chambered gun offers it long range proven precision. This is a gun that shoots accurately to a longer distance than just about any other shoulder fired firearm. (Recent developments in intermediate long-range precision cartridges has challenged this statement but only slightly).
Confirmed kills have been made with the 50BMG by snipers at more than a mile. Man-sized targets have been hit at nearly 1 ½ times that distance by precision shooters.
The BA50 is a modularly built, AR-inspired and easy to understand rifle that eschews Bushmaster's normally over-sophisticated designs for a much simpler concept. It's also built for add-ons and for ease of implementation for long-range shooting, out of the box.
There is an included bipod; a full-length rail for optics mounting and a fully adjustable stock. The muzzle brake, heavy rifle weight and long length and the recoil pad offers some respite for the heavy recoil; the muzzle brake also allows for use of the factory suppressor as well.
- Well built
- Well designed for aftermarket add-ons and optics
- Heavy to mitigate some of the heavy recoil
- Perhaps the best Bushmaster product out of an extensive line of guns
- Still not considered the most premium in a small handful of .50BMG semi-automatic rifles
Daniel Defense - Delta 5
The ultimate in tactical bolt actions with the mentality of modularity and interchangeability that is inspired from the AR-15. This is a special rifle that hasn't gotten a lot of attention despite it being a ridiculously competent rifle for precision shooters. It is built from the ground up to be a precision shooting powerhouse.
From the calibers it is offered in (.308; 6.5 Creedmoor and 7mm-08) to the plethora of factory installed options that come out as baseline specifications, this is a gun that offers more than it's price point dictates, and yet, that price point is perhaps the biggest reason why it isn't more popular.
Cold hammer forging is the method for the barrel construction, which utilizes the best twist rates and lengths for the calibers with perhaps the slight exception of the 6.5, which can in some cases benefit from a 26 inch barrel, where the Delta 5 offers only a 24" barrel. The barrel is threaded for suppressor or muzzle brake usage.
This shorter barrel length may detract from the highest end distance numbers slightly, but it does make a gun that is infinitely more mobile and the weight solidifies these choices as they are particularly low for the amount of build quality, the materials and the different build inclusions. The gun weighs under 9.5 lbs. for all models, with the .308 weighing a half pound less, thanks to the shorter barrel length.
The trigger is exceptional, even if it is a bit overused on the broad market (Timney's Elite Hunter); the bolt is fast and smartly designed for a short throw. The action is bedded with blocks and is stainless steel. The AICS magazines are what feeds the gun and they are above reproach in the world of intermediate caliber, long range precision shooting.
A fully adjustable stock that is still subdued makes this a great gun to use for a variety of needs, from hunting to tactical shooting, and of course for competition. There are many points of attachment for accessories and everything is QD or standardized in attachment methodology.
While seemingly unconventional, this may be the best long range hunting rifle out of the box.
- Superior specifications to any other gun on the market in these calibers at this price point
- Proven maker
- Super robust build quality
- Excellent caliber selection
- Could be seen by 6.5 users as an all-in one option for the caliber, instead of a 6.5 specific build
Ruger - Precision Rifle
Ordinarily, when given a choice between any cartridge and the .338 Lapua Magnum for long range shooting, it's almost always a given that you would choose the Lapua.
But with this rifle, it's not an obvious choice. Sure the .300 Winchester Magnum and the .338 Lapua Magnum are vastly different specialty cartridges, but this gun gives them both a lot of additional value and capabilities and makes it hard to choose the Lapua over the tried and true, but less potent .300WM.
Firstly, the cost of the .338LM is significantly more than the .300WM, even though it offers a lot more long range stopping power and has a significantly different effect on target at extreme ranges.
The Ruger Precision rifle can accept an AR15 stock and several other accessories from the AR, which makes it customizable and easy to play around with by shooters. It is also a high quality rifle for the price point, especially when you factor in the option for a .338Lapua, which normally has a much higher price of entry for such a precision build.
The gun is able to be accessorized through a modular style handguard and has MLok compatibility. The Accuracy International style magazines, are, again, above reproach in this segment of the market; the weight (more than 15 lbs.) offers some recoil mitigation, but the true story of this gun is the price point, the caliber selection and the ability to accessorize it.
- Excellent price point, especially for the .338 Lapua
- Exceptional adjustability
- A known platform with good history
- No real cons for the price point
Browning - AB3 Hunter (A Bolt III)
A classic hunting rifle in a classic American chambering that has been used to dispatch game for decades at distance, this is a .30-06 powerhouse for the money, especially given Browning's history of producing spectacular fit and finish and the cartridge's ability to hit what it's aimed at.
This is an innovative bolt action rifle, which seems like a misnomer, but thanks to Browning's history of innovation in the hunting space, it's a legitimate statement. That innovation includes the directional recoil reduction technology of the Inflex recoil pad; the trigger that has been an industry outperformer for years and the 60 degree bolt angle.
Many other features on the A Bolt 3 are traditional, including the button rifling and the traditional stock styling.
A 7 lb. hunting rifle in this potent a cartridge is something that many hunters appreciate, and the 22 inch barrel which contributes to the overall lower weight relative to peers, is still enough to get out to the distances you are likely to be shooting this rifle at.
Browning's legacy and the superior fit and finish of the AB3 rifle, paired with this classic cartridge means you're getting a spectacular value from a hunting gun that can reach legitimately long ranges for large game.
- Proven history
- Light weight
- Moderate recoil
- Proven cartridge/projectile performance for moderate and long ranges
- Simpler than most of the guns on this list, and not as potent out to extreme ranges as some options on this list
Mossberg - Patriot Night Train III
An exceptional value for this list, especially given the .300WM cartridge pairing and the optics inclusion. This is an out of the box solution for those on a budget that need real-world long-range precision shooting capabilities, for a variety of purposes.
This is as adept in a tactical scenario to 600 meters as it is in a hunting scenario, where the wind-cutting and hard hitting projectile of the .300WM can shine on big game at long distances. While it isn't the most impressive rifle on the planet, at the price point, this is a standout performer.
It is a 9 lb. rifle that has a 22 inch fluted barrel and a synthetic stock that offers good durability (something Mossberg is famous for), and while it doesn't have the best fit and finish relative to peers, it is plenty accurate for precision shooting at intermediate range.
Again, it's not the most perfectly built kit, but the scope also contributes extreme value to the package deal. Together, for the budget precision shooter who wants a tactical, or hunting rifle in a heavy hitting caliber, this is a screaming deal, because it's an all-inclusive package that allows for out of the box precision shooting.
- Short OAL
- Proven durability
- All-inclusive kit
- Not a particularly well finished or high tolerance gun (note that accuracy is still above average)
Ruger - American Predator Bolt Action Rifle
Another spectacular deal for a fully inclusive precision kit for the rifle shooter, the Ruger American paired with a Vortex Crossfire in a 4-12x44 platform offers amazing value for the 6.5 Creedmoor, which has been a popular segment.
In fact, other than the exceptional scope, the fact that you can get such a popular cartridge with such long-range potential at this price point IS the defining reason to purchase this rifle. The price point for these core features is enough to substantiate the purchase for those investigating the caliber.
The fact that it is an out of the box option for hunting or other shooting needs also means you get uncommon value.
The 22-inch barrel isn't the best length for the ultra-long potential of the 6.5, but it gets a vast majority of the power and trajectory (and velocity) out of the round. For most general purpose (and even some long-range) uses this rifle is going to easily satisfy the shooter's needs.
Probably the best long distance rifle under $1000, as long as you can accept that it's not meant to squeeze all of the accuracy out of the 6.5 Creedmoor, but can get most of it.
- Excellent optics for the package price
- Low cost of entry and good specs for a mainstream 6.5 Creedmoor
- Meant for intermediate ranges not necessarily for the ultra-long ranges a 6.5 Creedmoor can hit
Accuracy International - AXMC 300 WM
Accuracy International essentially started the civilian market for the military tactical style rifles that are traditionally called anti-materiel or anti-personnel rifles or more commonly as "sniper rifles". These are legitimate variants made by a globally recognized, respected maker of precision hardware. There is perhaps no manufacturer more connected to long range precision rifles for tactical uses than Accuracy International.
The AXMC is a modular configuration (there is a standalone .308 variant also) rifle that can be used to shoot multiple calibers, namely 300WM and .338 Lapua Magnum. The changing of a barrel and bolt and some magazine components takes a few minutes at most and allows considerable changes in mission scope to be made.
Everything about this rifle is made to a standard that no mainstream production maker is achieving on the standard production line. The entire setup is built for accuracy. The barrel is stainless steel match grade, air gauged and has a "Quickloc" attachment. The barrel is fitted with a proprietary muzzle brake renowned for its effectiveness.
The trigger is spectacular and known around the community as a superior product. The magazine well is built for quick tactical mag changes, and the AI magazines are the best on the market, without a legitimate competitor in the rarified air they inhabit.
The stock and pistol grip are fully customizable for an individualized experience. A 60 degree bolt angle allows for most high profile scopes to be used. With calibers like the AXMC, the scope will likely need to be oversized which is helped by the low angle of the bolt handle and the mounting points and rails.
This is a proven, tried and true chassis for the .338 Lapua Magnum and the .300 Winchester Magnum.
- Purpose built for long range tactical uses
- Proven chassis and company
- Excellent caliber options
- Superior build quality
Howa American Flag Chassis Rifle
Cerakote covers the Howa action that is proven to be exceptionally accurate. The motif? "Battleworn Flag".
This is a gun that satisfies most of the characteristics that the almost obsessive domestic American precision shooting culture demands, to a "T". The execution of the features is exceptional.
The 26" barrel squeezes every ounce of power, speed and accuracy out of the 6.5 Creedmoor. To make it more interesting to hardcore shooters, the gun comes with a Nikko Stirling optic (4-16x50mm) and the ability to add a plethora of accessories.
The rigid chassis is known for precision. The barrel is appropriately sized and well made to extreme specifications. There are a lot of AR-inspired features, including the ability to add accessories like buttstocks and grips. The MLok accessory slots further enhance this.
There is a M16 style extractor and plunger style ejector which gives positive cartridge removal and the 3-position safety offers completely reliable locking of the ignition system. The much better than average trigger is a 2-stage variant that is proprietary to Howa.
The bottom line: it's a top tier precision rifle at a mid-tier price with way better than average trigger, optics, and chassis. If you have the money to spend, it's hard to find a better value in the space.
- Long, stable and accurate
- Proven optics
- Proven chassis
- Great add-on capabilities
- No real CONS
LWRC International - SIX8-A5
This is perhaps a bit too mainstream an option for many of the hardcore readers of this article, considering it's titled specifically "best rifle for long range shooting", but the point of fact that matters is that the 6.8 and the platform are both capable of better range than comparably sized, comparably built rifles and this is a gun that shines in a longer range (more accurately an intermediate range) scenario for a day to day rifle.
It also benefits from the fact that it's built around the most popular gun in the United States (perhaps the world); which means it is able to benefit from the huge aftermarket population of accessories and custom work.
Interestingly enough, the gun doesn't need a whole lot to harness incredible accuracy and great stopping power for a medium range, medium caliber bullet. You're also getting high capacity magazine potential and an excellent feature set from a company that is known for producing some of the best AR rifles and some of the most reliable.
LWRC offers a Cerakote finish for this gun in a Patriot Brown colorway and despite having the 16" barrel, this is still a rifle capable of better down range accuracy and better stopping power than the 5.56x45. The ability to place the intermediate projectiles into a MOA grouping at normal range and beyond means you are getting quite a rifle for the money, considering the features.
If you need an AR style rifle with an intermediate caliber chambering, this may be the one. It's not going to get you the range that a 6.5 Creedmoor will get you, but it potentially offers much more versatility given the short range opportunities this can handle very nicely.
- One of the most cohesive builders in all of the AR game
- Excellent reliability
- High capacity; fast follow-up
- Not a traditionally accepted long-range caliber – though 6.8SPC does have dramatically increased capabilities for intermediate range scenarios over traditional calibers
Wilson Combat - AR-15 Recon Tactical
Because this is such a mainstream gun that wouldn’t traditionally fit in the spectrum that are called "long-range precision rifles", we won't waste time trying to convince you that this is purpose built for the specific market.
We will however highlight a few reasons why this is a better choice than most of the mainstream competitors for those who need a semi-automatic rifle and need the modular componentry and build style.
Yes, it is an AR style rifle. But it is designated as a custom or a semi-custom rifle by a super reputable company and is priced at not much higher than a factory variant from other mainstream makers. Wilson guns may seem overpriced to some, but they tend to be better built from the ground up than most mainstream producers and therefore many justify the extra cost involved with their purchase.
What makes this gun part of this list, is the cohesion of the component mix, with the variability of the caliber options and the reputation of the company for delivering excellent accuracy and functionality.
Admittedly, you aren't going to get us to say that the .300AAC Blackout (one of the calibers available for the Recon Tactical) is a long-range precision cartridge. You aren’t going to hear us singing the quarter minute of angle precision of the .458 SOCOM - such a group size is not even possible.
What the gun and the other calibers it can be purchased in, offer, however, are significant improvements over the standard .223 and 5.56 for a variety of missions/scenarios; and that is why for the average shooter, this is a viable option.
Available calibers: .224 Valkyrie; .300 AAC Blackout; .458 SOCOM; 5.56 NATO; 6.5 Grendel; 6.8SPC.
The accuracy and semi-custom components of this gun make it a standout among a lot of mainstream offerings.
- Tactical, but also offers some long range capabilities with great mobility
- Great pedigree
- Good caliber mix
- Not a traditionally long range specific weapon
Remington Model 700 MDT TAC21 Centerfire Rifles
Easily the best multi-disciplinary rifle on this list for the money. The Remington, while it may not have the best specs or be the sexiest gun on this list, offers something truly special for those who legitimately need to crossover between the different "missions" that a typical shooter might come in contact with.
If you look at the .338 Lapua Magnum variant of this gun, it is easily the best bargain for a factory mainstream gun on the segment. The only gun in the same class of rigidity and implementation as the MDT TAC21, is the Barrett MRAD, which is significantly more expensive.
For under 3k USD, this is a supreme bargain relative to peers. That's a hard statement to make, but the quality of construction is superior; the rigidity is superior; the performance is superior.
NOTE: we did not include the Barrett MRAD on the list for a couple of reasons, mostly due to small issues in production, high price tag and difficulty in finding the gun in stock most of the time. It is also a fantastic gun in this segment.
The core of this system is a tuned, high tolerance 700 action and a monolithic chassis that offers torsional rigidity and solid mounting structure for bipod and optic; as well as a lightweight vehicle to deliver a massively powerful projectile.
12.5 lbs. of mechanical, proven reliable firearm made to accurately deliver one of the finest long-range projectiles in history.
- High rigidity and low weight
- Great design for add-ons
- Superior build quality relative to peers at the price point
- Starting to price out many consumers at this price point
Noveske Gen III N6 Centerfire Rifle
If you've ever held a Noveske against generally any other factory AR variant, you know that the fit and finish is impeccable; relative to peers it is generally received as the superior product, even when placed side by side with top tier peers.
The N6 GEN 3 is a high-quality firearm that utilizes the basic AR10 patterning and delivers systemic accuracy, reliability and top quality fit and finish in the .308 caliber and has a track record of being one of the finest intermediate caliber semi-automatic weapons on the planet.
The story of this gun is simple: it works. It's reliable and durable and made to fit in a segment of guns where accessorizing is common, and it provides uncommon accuracy and smoothness; fit and finish.
Other than that, it looks just like the rest of the AR style semi-autos. It can be customized the same ways. It shoots a common caliber.
But you cannot get the reasoning for paying more money for a Noveske until you look at it up closely, handle the rifle and shoot it.
If you need a 1MOA semi-auto for the AR patterning and you want something you can be proud of owning, this is perhaps the best option on the market. Pricey, yes, but still of excellent value.
Nine lbs.; 38.5 inches in OAL, and Cerakoted black, with high capacity, high accuracy and high potential customization – this is a rifle whose specifications are amazing but they only tell a tiny bit of the story.
- Short OAL
- Premium fit and finish
- Top quality built and factory delivery
- Lightweight for a powerful high capacity rifle
- 1 MOA accuracy
- Starting to price out many consumers at this price point
Savage Arms MSR 10 Long-Range Semiautomatic Tactical Rifles
We've had a few AR style rifles on this list and this one is very similar to the others in the styling, purpose, and mission. What this one is claiming to have as a defining characteristic, is that it offers a substantially similar experience, for much less money, sometimes about half the cost of other options in the space.
It's not as good as the others in this format on this list overall, but in fairness, the differences are so minimal, that the reason it's an obvious inclusion on this list, is that it provides exceptional value for money, and it offers an entry point into semi-automatic rifles that are made for long range precision shooting.
It is plenty capable of punching holes in targets and stopping threats at distance. It may not be as tightly fit or as nicely finished, but it is every bit deserving of the spot it earned on this list.
10 round PMAGS run the cartridge delivery; the fluted barrel dissipates heat; the price point is much better than similar guns and the additional components are not sub-par. It truly showcases the mission of Savage Firearms – to offer uncommonly good value in niche areas of the market dominated by expensive firearms.
- Good price point
- Strong build durability
- Now has a proven track record for being accurate and durable
- No real CONS
There are so many reasons you might want a long-range rifle. It could be for the hunt; the competition circuit or for tactical purposes, which is why this list is so wide-ranging and offers such a large mix of calibers and formats.
Given the preference for the military to adopt the best in class cartridges and firearm platforms for precision shooting, there is a definitive nod towards larger caliber, longer range, military compatible chamberings and there is a tilt towards tactically efficient models. We don't regret this tilt.
What's important in a long-range rifle is mating the purpose to the rifle and the needs to the cartridge. That part, you must do. We think you've got a great list of the candidates for the best long-range rifle.
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