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The Ultimate Guide to Top Hunting Rifles

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Getting a feel for what the top hunting rifle would be has a few things that make one rifle better than another. Whether it be how much you are spending on the rifle itself, how much you get out of the rifle after you purchase it, or how well it’s made, these factors all contribute significantly to what makes a rifle stand out amongst others. 

Some more discerning factors could also play into how well the rifle shoots and, most importantly, its accuracy. After cobbling everything above together, you can glean a better understanding of how to figure out which rifle is going to work best for you or your family. In that case, what are some of the best hunting rifles? They are as follows:

  • The Ruger American
  • Nosler M21
  • CVA Cascade
  • Marlin Model 336 Classic
  • Weatherby Vanguard
  • Sig Sauer Cross
  • Bergara B-14 Ridge

This article is the ultimate guide on the top hunting rifles. Not only will we discuss each rifle in detail, but you should consider what to look for when purchasing a gun. So, let us continue down below for more information.

What Are the Best Hunting Rifles?

The best hunting rifles have been tried and tested, while some have yet to be proven but have all the callsigns of the following great legend to be born. Below, we’ll be going over nine of the best hunting rifles available and briefly reviewing what sets them apart.

1. The Ruger American

The Ruger American is a timeless standard that directly references a group of rifles and not just one. Still, they all have their unique claim to fame regardless of it being a peerless accuracy bolstered by an innovative design shared amongst them, to a flavor of the day camo that will allow you to blend in seamlessly in any hunting environment.

These rifles typically boast the 70-degree bolt that will allow for fast follow-up shots for those of us who aren’t the ideals of accuracy we would believe ourselves to be. With these rifles typically costing about $1,099.00, you’ll be getting what you paid for.

2. Nosler M21

As far as hunting rifles go, the M21 offers everything you could desire, ranging from a unique fluted bolt that will offer seamless pulls in both sandy and other debris-filled environments. The Nosler M21 is complimented with plenty of extra components that will allow you to customize your hunt to your specific needs.

The rifle itself comes out to cost about $2,875, so it probably wouldn’t be your best choice for a first-time hunter. Still, the price of it would be the only weight you’d be bearing, as the rifle itself comes in weighing just under seven pounds, so you won’t have to worry about it weighing you down on hunts that happen to go on for longer than you expected them to. The trigger is adjustable from 2.5 to 5.5 lbs of pressure, meaning you’ll only fire when needed.

3. CVA Cascade

Unlike the Nosler’s pricing budget, the cascade is much more reasonable for a first-timer. Although, it lacks many of the bells and whistles featured on the former. 

The cascade can be chambered in 13 different calibers currently and comes with a Cerakote barrel finish on a camo that will let you melt into any woods you plan on hunting in. The rifle itself can be up to 26 inches long, depending on the caliber you select.

4. Marlin Model 336 Classic

If you are a fan of the classics or want something with a little more flavor than your basic camouflage patterns, the Marlin Model 336 will deliver for you on an aesthetic level and keep your shots as accurate as you are. You can’t go wrong with the Model 336, featuring an alloy steel barrel and ultra-precise rifling. Not only that, but your shots will always stay true as long as your hand is steady. 

The rifle itself comes with a six-round mag, and the gun itself has a walnut stock and forend featuring the standard marlin horse and rider medallion on the grip cap. This rifle is a beauty, and when you are getting this much performance, as well as an iconic look, you can’t beat it for only $1,239.00.

5. Weatherby Vanguard

Weatherby is a name that has been in the game for over 80 years, and their Vanguard line is living up to the standard set back in the 1960s. All of these rifles feature two-lug action and a bolt that has three separate gas ports along the body to keep yourself and the rifle safe in the event of ammunition failure. 

The rifles come with “Sub-Moa Accuracy,” meaning your performance is guaranteed for two years. Add in the 3-position safety feature, which is perfect for newbies and vets alike.

6. Sig Sauer Cross

Modern performance meets retro reliability in this cutting-edge rifle, and the Sig Sauer Cross allows you to mod it into anything you like, similar to an ordinary tactical rifle. However, this rifle has a lightweight body and an accuracy you can depend on. 

This rifle comes in a stock black and will usually run you about $1,569 in most retailers, but that is a drop in that hat for a rifle that will keep you in the hunt for almost any environment. Bear in mind, though, this rifle performs at its best in mountainous terrain, where it’s lightweight and will keep you mobile and full of stamina.

7. Bergara B-14 Ridge

Occasionally, your rifle must endure some hardships, regardless of the environment you are hunting in or if you accidentally take a big tumble while in pursuit. Either way, the Bergara is built to last, keeping features down to a minimum and an emphasis on durability. This bad boy is in it for the long run, and with a price of only $700.00 or so, you can’t go wrong.

What Specs Matter the Most?

Aside from discussing the rifles above, what specs matter the most? Well, quite a lot, to be honest. For example, if you need a more extended scope to see further out, we recommend researching precisely what you need. Another example is the weight. No one wants to carry around something weighty. 

1. Length

The length of your rifle doesn’t play a massive factor in most portions of your rifle’s ability to perform reliably. However, it does come into play when considering travel, both on the way to your hunting location and when you are out in the field. Ensuring your rifle is adequately protected with a case that can accommodate it will ensure no harm befalls it.

2. Weight

Yet another metric that only plays an intricate part of your hunt if you are incredibly mobile, traversing large distances or going up a mountain will make additional weight wear on you over time. Still, if you are going to be setting up in a tree stand or taking up residence in a tent, weight hardly matters.

Weight does play into your rifle’s overall performance in a per-shot scenario because lighter-weight rifles will absorb less recoil, meaning you will have to either utilize a muzzle break or buy heavier rifles.

3. Barrel Length

One of the biggest myths in gun history is that a longer barrel will magically make you more accurate, and this couldn’t be further from the truth. The reality of the matter boils down to longer barrels maintaining bullet velocity better, meaning you don’t have to factor in bullet drop as hard. This makes the overall initial impact greater, making your kills cleaner.

Though longer barrels will inevitably add more weight to your gun, thus making travel a bit more cumbersome, it will again play a huge factor in more mobile hunts. Still, for a stationary tree stand hunt or something similar, you can’t go wrong.

4. Feel & Fit

It doesn’t matter if you are rich or just barely skimming by; a rifle is and always will be an investment, and no one appreciates wasting money. A rifle should fit in your hands like a glove and feel like it was made for you, not awkward and challenging to maneuver. 

That being said, it’s wise to take time and get a feel of the rifles you are interested in before making the final purchase. This is because buyer’s remorse is a terrible feeling, and not all locations will do returns.

5. Extra Features

The ability to make your rifle work for you rather than the other way around is a great situation to be in. Regardless of the change being a cheek riser or a radial break, anything you can add to your rifle that will make your hunts more enjoyable will be a bonus in your book and make your entire experience more relaxing.

6. DMB or Fixed Magazines

The biggest discernable difference between the two will be what you are doing with the rifle. If you are on a hunt, then you can make use of either and reliably achieve the same results. 

Still, suppose you compete, for example. 

In that case, the extra rounds you can get into a magazine might matter, or your time to get more shots off. However, an experienced hunter won’t slam firing rounds after missing the initial shot, so again, this won’t make a big difference either way.

7. Threaded Barrels

While having them isn’t necessary by any means, the extra cost you incur will give you a quality of life that is well worth the investment. Whether you are looking at getting a muzzle break to balance weight or adding a silencer to spare your ears and allow for better follow-up shots, threaded barrels are fantastic.

Conclusion

Investing in a hunting rifle should take you some time to not only do your research on what the rifles will offer but also how they will fit into your hunts and your routine. By a larger expression, just how much more success you will have over what you currently use. 

If you already have your first hunting rifle, it would be wise to begin purchasing rifles that will work well in environments you don’t have covered or are better for being on the move or stationary, essentially taking care of any weaknesses you have before buying the next.

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