With thoughts this time of year turning to great rifle buys for Christmas, we curated a list of our 10 best that are sure to have something for every taste.
In no particular order:
Originally designed by a team that included John Browning’s grandson, Bruce Warren Browning, this semi-auto sporting rifle was first introduced in 1968 and has been a go-to with discerning hunters ever since. Updated in the Mark II version since 1992, the Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR) still has the same clean, aristocratic lines and balance while never falling short on accuracy and reliability. Currently offered in 11 calibers and styles ranging from Safari to Stalker models and everything in between, you can’t go wrong with a BAR.
Another great semi-auto that has been around for generations and has never lost its popularity is the Ruger Mini-14. Styled after the M14 but in a more compact size and caliber, this handy carbine, chambered in .223 Rem, hits a lot of notes with a lot of players especially “if no one else can help, and if you can find them…”
Often referred to as “America’s favorite bolt-action of all time” the Remington 700 series has been around since 1962 but is based on the company’s older 721/722 platforms going back to the 1940s. One of the most frequently encountered sporting bolt guns in modern times, the strong 2-lug rotating bolt is reliable while accuracy is never left to chance. Further, the 700 has been chambered in just about every modern centerfire cartridge you can think of and comes in a wide range of subvariants.
First introduced by Bill Ruger in 1964, millions upon millions of 10/22 carbines have been produced for the hungry masses of plinkers and small game hunters. Using a 10-shot flush-fitting .22LR magazine (get the name now?) larger mags are available for those with an extra supply of targets to zap. With .22LR ammo now back to affordable prices (how about 325 for $16?), these guns are extra fun on the cheap!
A classic that saw service on every continent in the hands of soldiers, explorers and sportsmen, the turn-bolt Mauser rifle is about as bedrock in gun culture as you can get. While the company is still around in Germany and markets affordable new guns, including the synthetic stocked M18, vintage Mauser-family rifles tell a story that echoes in history– and a few are still around at prices that are obtainable, for now at least.
Savage, who was never a slouch with their Model 10 and 110 bolt-action rifles, introduced the no-frills Axis line in 2011 and hasn’t looked back. Already garnering a reputation as proving a lot of bang for the buck (get it?) they make great field guns.
An ACE of an AR-15
Everyone likes a good AR and in a crowded market, Modern Materiel (MODMAT) has an ACE in the hole with their rifles. Using all-American components from Mission First Tactical, Strike Industries, Ballistic Advantage, and HiperFire, the MODMAT Ace series runs 14.5-inch and 16-inch barrels with an ultralight free-float handguard that have a full top Pic rail and is dripping with M-LOK slots– and that is just for starters. Can you dig it?
We couldn’t mention an AR and Mini-14 without making sure we at least touched on the AK. If you don’t have a Kalashnikov or five in your collection, you are doing gun collecting the wrong way.
Lever-action “cowboy” guns have been around for over 150 years and the original Henry was part of that pack back in the day. Today’s Henry rifles are thoroughly modern guns that have earned a reputation for delivering on the legacy of yesteryear while using current cartridges. For those looking to dip their toe in the lever-action game without taking out a loan, Henry’s Classic .22 could fit the bill.
Just a lil’ Crickett
Without passing on the tribal knowledge from the current stalwarts to a new generation, there will be no Second Amendment, hunting tradition or gun culture in the America of the future. An ideal and downright cute little rifle to start training today’s youth with is the U-S.-made Keystone Arms Crickett. A manual cocking single-shot bolt-action .22LR rifle, it only weighs 3-pounds and has a short length of pull.
Of course, this list is not all-inclusive, but we only had so much digital ink in the well. To check out our full selection of new and Certified Used rifles, head on over to the Vault and browse thousands of models in stock.