Guns are complicated machines, so it’s only natural that companies specialize in different types. Many opt to specialize in hunting rifles because the demand for them is fairly high. The best hunting rifle brands often date back for more than a century, and they’ve used that time to optimize their weapons. It can be hard to sort the best brands from those that are merely adequate. Therefore, we wrote a list of the top ten based on the value, general performance, and durability of their guns.
10. Henry Repeating Arms
|Headquarters||Bayonne, New Jersey, USA|
|Notable Products||Henry Rifle, AR-7|
|Area of Expertise||Historical Weapons|
Even though Henry is a young company, it focuses on producing weapons based on old designs, such as the original Henry Rifle. That makes it one of the best hunting rifle brands for history buffs. The vast majority of its rifles use a lever action, but there are a few exceptions, such as a modern survival rifle. In general, Henry’s rifles offer a combination of classic features and modern upgrades. Many of them are also visual works of art in their own right. Shooters that want both beautiful and practical guns with a historical twist should look at Henry’s offerings.
9. Winchester Repeating Arms Company
|Headquarters||New Haven, Connecticut|
|Notable Products||Model 70, Model 1886|
|Area of Expertise||Sporting Rifles|
Unlike many other companies, Winchester maintains a strong focus on a relatively small group of sporting rifles and shotguns. Many of those guns are historical models that have been in production for more than a century with minimal changes, but there are a few modern rifles. Winchester’s narrow focus has given it a chance to perfect its existing models. So, the brand is an excellent choice for anyone who can meet their needs with one of their guns. People who need a general sporting rifle should certainly look into Winchester, but they may not have anything for people with specialized needs.
8. O.F. Mossberg & Sons
|Headquarters||North Haven, Connecticut, USA|
|Notable Products||Patriot, Mossberg 500|
|Area of Expertise||Working Guns|
Mossberg is most famous for its shotguns, but it is also one of the best hunting rifle brands. The rifles tend to be fairly inexpensive, but they are especially reliable for their price point. They tend to be slightly lighter than comparable rifles from other companies, but not to a huge degree. Most of the rifles are available in several variants for shooters with different needs. Mossberg produces practical weapons that are perfect for new shooters because of their mix of reliability and value. But they’re also a good choice for anyone who prefers a simple, effective gun.
7. Marlin Firearms
|Headquarters||Madison, North Carolina, USA|
|Notable Products||Model 1895|
|Area of Expertise||Lever Action Rifles|
Marlin focuses on lever action hunting rifles. It does produce a few rimfire rifles that use other actions, but the lever action rifles are the main attraction. They all use large caliber ammunition, and they’re suitable for hunting almost any large game. The barrels tend to be relatively short, so they’re easy to handle in rough terrain. They’re also reliable, largely because most of the designs are simple and have had decades of refinement. Marlin is one of the top choices for people who want lever action rifles, but it struggles to fill other needs.
|Headquarters||Riihimäki, Tavastia Proper, Finland|
|Notable Products||Model 85, Finnfire II|
|Area of Expertise||Premium Hunting Rifles|
SAKO stands out among the European manufacturers for the reliability, accuracy, and light weight of their weapons. It produces rifles that are meant to hold up to Finland’s harsh environment, so they’re perfect for hunting under almost any conditions. They’re more than accurate enough for most shooters, and most of the rifles are chambered in heavy calibers, so they can reliably kill prey. SAKO should be a top choice for hunters who take extended trips and need to be sure that their gun won’t suffer problems in the middle of the wilderness.
|Headquarters||Paso Robles, California, USA|
|Notable Products||Mark V, Vanguard|
|Area of Expertise||Precision Rifles|
Weatherby is among the best hunting rifle brands for hunters that shoot frequently but want to avoid a gigantic investment. Their rifles tend to cost more than budget models, but they aren’t quite as expensive as the truly high-end weapons. It only has a couple of options to choose from, but all of the rifles are built to a high standard and guarantee precision for shooters with the skills to take advantage of them. Most shooters should consider a Weatherby rifle, since they’re good enough for shooters with experience, but still affordable enough for ambitious novices.
4. Savage Arms
|Headquarters||Westfield, Massachusetts, USA|
|Notable Products||MSR 10, 11/111 DOA Hunter|
|Area of Expertise||Hunting Weapons|
Savage Arms is one of the oldest and largest firearm manufacturers in America, and it tends to focus on rifles. They’re also known for producing the AccuTrigger, which allows a hunter to adjust their gun’s trigger pull. The rifles aren’t quite budget guns in most cases, but they are fairly affordable. Most of their semi-automatic weapons are adaptations for the AR-15 or AR-10 design, but the bolt-action rifles are among the best. Most shooters that want a bolt-action rifle should look at Savage Arms.
3. Remington Arms Company
|Headquarters||Madison, North Carolina, USA|
|Notable Products||Model 783, Model R-15|
|Area of Expertise||Diverse Weapons|
Remington is an extraordinarily old company, so it has had plenty of time to expand its inventory. It produces almost every type of hunting rifle, ranging from budget models for novices to high-end versions that are best for experts. It is also responsible for developing more types of ammunition than any other company, and those cartridges Remington work perfectly in their rifles. If there’s any company that can truly be said to produce all of the shooting supplies that a hunter will ever need, it’s Remington. And that makes them a great brand for any type of hunter.
2. Sturm, Ruger & Co.
|Headquarters||Southport, Connecticut, USA|
|Notable Products||American Rifle, Redhawk|
|Area of Expertise||Affordable Weapons|
Ruger is one of the biggest firearm manufacturers in the world, and it’s also one of the best hunting rifle brands. It rose to the top thanks to its relatively cheap weapons that can still compete with many of the more expensive options. Their guns often include patented features that are unique to Ruger weapons. But that doesn’t make them prohibitively difficult to maintain in the vast majority of cases. Ruger guns are a great place for novices to start their collection. But they’re still good enough for hunters with more experience. Ruger also makes some of the best home defense rifles out there, you can browse our article for more info on that.
1. Browning Arms Company
|Headquarters||Morgan, Utah, USA|
|Notable Products||BAR, BLR, Hi-Power|
|Area of Expertise||Sporting Products|
Browning earns its place among the best hunting rifle brands by mixing high production standards with excellent designs. It produces a huge variety of rifles and other firearms, all of which offer excellent performance. Most of them are designed with hunting in mind, so Browning designs also tend to be easy to carry and reasonably sturdy. Browning rifles aren’t the cheapest weapons. But they do mix high quality with a medium price, so they provide a great value. Shooters that want to buy a rifle that can serve them well at every experience level should consider Browning.
Making The Right Choice
Every brand is unique, and even the best hunting rifle brands excel in different areas. Some offer great values, others make durable weapons, and some are balanced. Most hunters will end up with several different rifles, each from a different brand, but understanding the differences between them is still crucial for building that collection. If you think we overlooked a good brand, let us know in the comment section below!