When deciding on what is the best group of long range rifles with a count of eight, my selection process centered around selecting rifles that offered exceptional ability to hit long range targets were among the longest range shooting systems and were at the same time within reach of most riflemen in terms of cost.
Believe me, there are some long range rifles built today that only the idle rich can even look at. With that in mind, there is little sense in evaluating any of them because it will not contribute much if anything at all to answering the question as to what is the best way to go if you are trying to push range into that next level of performance.
Currently, everyone who is anyone in the gun business builds a 1000 yard rifle. Is this long-range today? Yes, but at the fine edge of the subject to be sure. Currently, some shooters are working to bust through the three mile shot taken at steel targets. Yes three miles downrange, and some rifles and cartridges can do the job if the shooter can compute the math and then do the deed at the trigger end of the deal.
In so far is my selection of rifles there will be some that have the guts to shoot as far as three miles, but in most cases long range shooting today is ending up at or near one mile. Therefore, one mile will be considered the stop point of working range in terms of this pen to paper discussion.
Best Long-Range Rifle Reviews
1. Steyr Arms HS50
When selecting the heavyweight and hard hitting rifle for ultra long range work, the first and the best being it has a cut rifled barrel, bolt action with a lock system like bank vault, and has won every long range award offered on the world stage, the German Steyer HS 50 is a clear super accurate winner.
Shooting a 750-grain full metal jacket bullet, or a custom made and lath turned bullet of even more weight, this rifle is the three mile wonder if necessary. However for now, let’s just say anything within two miles could be in trouble if she brings her sights to rest on anything the gunner behind the butt stock wants to take out.
I shoot the Steyr and bought into the rifle when it was far less expensive today. Even though I can hand load Hornady bullets by way of that company outstanding reloading press setup I tend to shoot surplus military ammo much of the time if and when I can find it on the open market.
The rifle is not at all nasty in terms of recoil. I tell people shooting a 50 BMG is about like shooting a heavy 12 gauge slug off a bench rest when running rounds down range for a correct zero. The issue with the 50 at 27 pounds loaded weight is that she tends to send a backwash blast that engulfs the shooter for a few brief seconds when fired. You feel a heat signature all around your body when firing the rifle. Nothing else comes anywhere close to this rifles ability to tell you that she just went off.
The rounds designed for the rifle are barricade busters, and anti aircraft/light skinned weapons terminating system. The 50 Cal BMG Raufoss Mk 211 round by example is designed to enter a build, move across the interior space to the center point, and explode, thereby sending hot metal into everything in the area. This is not our daddy’s long range rifle to be sure unless he was a gunner on an M1 A1 Abrams tank.
Built with its own bipod of heavy metal, a fully adjustable buttstock, and a composite metal stock housing that houses a massive fluted 50 caliber barrel, the rifle wons the whole valley if set up for over watch, long range steel targets, or even standing guard over sheep on coyote watch.
Ammunition for the rifle ( government surplus ) runs about $3.50. to $5,00 per round. This is far less than a wildcat or upper end super velocity long-range bullet offered in many other rifles and cartridges. I have found surplus Israeli steel case cartridge for under $3.00. In my opinion, nothing can catch up to a 50 cal downrange.
The HS 50 will cost you about $5000 in the single shot and upward of $8000 in the autoloader.
2. Barrett 107A1 50 BMG
Being we have covered the 50 BMG as a long range cartridge, the attention turns to still another rifle that is worldwide known among combat units as the long range sniper rifle of all time.
Used mainly as an anti structure weapon, the Barrett semi-auto 107A1 is a good deal like many of the companies offerings but a change up in cartridge choice.
Barrett offers these rifles or variants of them in everything from 6.5 Creedmoor, 300 Win Mag, 300 Norma, through the big 338 Lapua, and 416 Barrett. Barrett has the bases covered from 1000 yards to two miles if and when required.
Autoloading from a box magazine, the rifle has the ability to get rounds down range quickly if required.
Barrett MRAD. Here we have Barrett that has turned to a bolt action design and as such is slower but perfect for the sniper or sharpshooter wanting to take down a target with one well place round.
I have shot this rifle and it is all it is reported to be in terms of accuracy. The rifle is one of my favorite within the battery of Barrett types of weapons designs. Shooting an MRAD by way of 338 Lapua rounds, being the choice of US Army long range snipers today, the fact is you own the valley as such.
Barrett rifles run from about $4000 through $8000 and change. Not cheap but built to professional standards.
3. Paladin Cheytac
As still another option in very high performance ultra long range rifles, we turn to the advanced Cheytac line of rifles.
In this case, the rifles have been built around the world class Cheytac 408 and 375 cartridges. These are massive rounds that are designed for shooting well beyond even two miles downrange.
I have shot the Cheytac rifles in commercial product review situations. For the most part, the Cheytac in the 408 cartridge is front and center on my dream list. These are specialized rifles and cartridges and the company currently offers five variations of the rifle in different types of stocks and setups for long range work.
Cheytac can be regarding as a hunting rifle but its best role is to be used at hitting target miles away when taking on steel plated bad guys. Because I shoot at one mile a great deal this rifle is made for my bench rest setup.
The Cheytac rifles are bolt action. Mauser configured and blue printed to the last fine detail.
The price range is very high as the rifles run from $4000 to $8000, and that makes them professional grade only when applied to most shooters budgets.
Be advised that even though I have covered some very long range performing rifles I have not hit anything close to all of them. However, most shooters will never center a target much further than say 300 through 400 yards. To buy a rifle that shoots several miles accurately is not getting the most bang for your buck. Therefore, the last half of his review will center on great rifles with far better price points and are also designed for shooting to 1000 through about 1,760 yards or one mile downrange.
4. Ruger Precision
Ruger broke the mold and entered the long range rifle business with the introduction of the Ruger Precision rifle.
This rifle is not a standard bolt action but it’s a design from the trigger guard up that is unique to the chassis style all metal rifle that it is.
Ruger has built several variants of the rifle over the years and in short the smaller calibers are built n a somewhat smaller frame than that of the heavies.
The Precision retains a folding buttstock for storage or transport, a button drawn /rifled barrel, rotating bolt head, and full rail that can accommodate any sight systems in current use today.
As offered in the 300 Win Mag, 300 PRC, and 338 Lapua Magnum, the rifle is a one miler plus shooting system, but at a price tag that fits the budget of most working guys and gals. This rifle is retailing at about $1.200 or less in most locations. That is about one sixth of the cost of some others in the same chamber length.
Currently, I shoot the 300 PRC, 300 Win Mag, and the 338 Lapua in these chassis rifle designs. Accuracy is sold and the rifles will send the 338 bullet to one mile with spot on accuracy when all the DOPE has been factored correctly as applied to the selected projectile. The 300 PRS is a dead on 1500 yard rifle as is the 300 Win Mag based on the correct BC selected bullet. At the 100 yard mark, I shoot the same rifle in the 6.5 Creedmoor with again very positive results.
How would I end of with all these rifles? Simple, when I tested them I bought them based on the performance levels. I can assure you the reader I don’t own junk, because I can’t count on junk when testing ammunition manufacturers products or loads I self generate off the reloading bench.
5. Ruger Hawkeye 300 Win Mag
Here is the second Ruger I would recommend as a great rifle for under $1000 to accurately send the mail to 1400 or 1500 yards.
Chambered in the new US military selected sniper round the 300 Win Mag, this rifle is a complete package in a long range rifle that is stocked in the more traditional style furniture.
The Ruger carries a target grade trigger ( adjustable ) medium heavy barrel and muzzle break and is well fitting to a target style rifle stock.
Using the Ruger-designed M-77 Mauser style action with the Mauser long style extractor, the rifle is a complete package in long-range operational accuracy.
6. Howa 1500
Selecting the Howa 1500 Bravo rifle is like a no brainer in terms of observing a rifle that fits a need, is at an affordable price at about $1000 and is state of the art in terms of manufacturing methods and performance characteristics.
This rife is a chassis design and set up for long range target or game shooting. For the most part, the rifle is a static position rifle and is set up much like a standards sniper issued chassis rifle as used by various military operators in several countries.
Howa bases all their rifles on the well known 1500 bolt action design that is so good that Weatherby has counted on it for many of their Weatherby Magnum offerings over the years.
The Bravo is offered in 6.5 Creedmoor and 308 Winchester but the basic 1500 series rifle can also be obtained from Howa in a 300 Win Mag as well. This means that the bases are covered in terms of an effective rifle out to 1400 yards or more when selecting the Howa brand turn bolt rifle.
Howa offers their rifles with a scope package that is designed to fit the rifle and cartridge selection to perfection. I have run the 1500 as a scoped package in long range testing and found everything the manufacture says it is as a very accurate long range gunning system.
7. Sig Arms Crossover Rifle /.277 Fury
Sig Arms is a rather newcomer to the rifle world but rest assured it is moving up fast. Known for their AR line of rifles the company has come up with a Crossover rifle in a bolt action that is built on a chassis frame not much larger than the AR platform used on other Sig Arms rifles.
The key to the development of this rifle is that it is chambered in 308, 6.5 Creedmoor, and the very new and also yet to be released Sig 227 Fury. This is not just another cartridge but a special round that uses a highly upgraded case that can withstand pressures above current SAMA standards because of the ed ( base ) section design.
The bolt rifle is almost a look alike to the Ar platform but the gas system is gone and replaced with a solid bolt action repeater system as rounds are pulled up from an AR-style box magazine.
The new 227 Fury is a hot round and as such is clearly quite capable of dealing with targets a very long way downrange. The rifle is priced just above $1000 and it carries all the quality of the German company Sig Arms.
8. T/C Sniper Chassis Rifle
As a final rifle on this list of very workable long range packages the T/C Smith & Wesson Custom Shop sniper chassis rifle seals the deal here.
I have been testing this rifle for almost a year, shot a pie of steel out to 1000 yard based on the 6.5 Creedmoor chamber in my test rifle, and it is also a rifle I have suggested as workable in the varmint class of rifles as well regarding this publication.
This rifle carries all the additional that can cost you many times more money than other brands currently on the market. The rifle makes use of a proven bolt action system with a rotating lug locking system, a box magazine that is of a military style, fluted barrel, and muzzle break set up for a suppressor install.
The T/C Sniper is priced well under $1000. The rifle is one of the best buys on the firearms market today.
A world at this point before closing. Questions have come up regarding glass sights for long range rifle as well as their use as hunting rifles.
For the most part, both subjects are complicated and require a good deal of time and attention regarding the development of a report. This area is critical make no mistake about it. Rifle scopes are everything in this business of long range shooting.
In terms of again the hunting rifle question? This is almost a niche area of discussion and as such requires its own set of guidelines and suggestions as to workable rifles for the long range taking of game animals.
I have been writing firearms and outdoor material of over 50 years to date. I have hunted across the world including Russia and a great deal of time professional hunting in Australia. I currently live in the American west and hunt all across the Black Hills of South Dakota, and the Big Horn mountains. I have specialized much of my work as a load developer in shotguns and rifles. I have run a small company that builds suppressor barrels of my design, and load tests for writing purposes and consulting. My commercial names include Ballistics Research & Development / Metro Gun Systems.TM.