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10 Best Long-Range Rifles

By Dan Kidder

long distance rifles

The sport of long-range shooting has really taken off in recent years. Shooting out to the maximum supersonic range of a rifle is usually what defines long range. Extremely long range shooting is shooting beyond the supersonic velocity of the bullet so that it enters the transonic range, or in other words, once the bullet has slowed back down to subsonic speeds.

As a professional gun reviewer for the last 16 years, I have been able to shoot a wide range of rifles on the market. I have spoken with their engineers, visited several of their factories, including SAKO in Riihimäki, Finland, provided input to their design, and have been able to really put them to the test. I don’t really like the word “best”, as it is a very subjective term. Here I will lay out 10 excellent rifles including the Bergara Premier Approach, SAKO S20 and Browning X-Bolt Pro Long Range McMillan in a few price points that will get you shooting out to 600 plus yards with sub-MOA accuracy. Provided of course that you are capable of shooting that well.

The key to long range shooting is the interaction of the rifle, the optic, and the cartridge. Using premium ammunition or precision handloads is a major factor in being able to shoot that far. Having an optic that can maximize the potential of the rifle and the ammunition is critical, as is how the optic is mounted. Each of these topics is an article in itself, but today we will focus specifically on the rifles.

For this list, I wanted a few various factors. I wanted a rifle chambered in a round that had a flat trajectory, enough velocity to reach out beyond 600 yards without being drastically influenced by drop and wind, and that had features that help the shooter achieve precision. Not all of these rifles are designed for this application, but because of how they are designed for their specific purpose, they also are quite capable of long-range shooting. I also wanted to focus on rifles that I have significant trigger time with and from which I have achieved consistent long-range accuracy. Every one of the guns listed here I have shot out to 1,000 yards or more with sub MOA performance.

10. Howa HS Precision in 6.5 PRC

howa hs precision 6.6 PRC
View - Howa HS Precision Black/Green w/Black Webbing Bolt Action Rifle - 6.5 PRC

The Howa HS Precision is a real departure for this Japanese rifle company. These rifles are American made one at a time in Reno, Nevada and feature a molded synthetic stock around a CNC built aluminum bedding block. The action is very smooth and is built from the Howa 1500 action that is a tried-and-true performer. The Howa Actuator Controlled Trigger is a two-stage trigger that is very smooth and fluid without any gritty feeling at all. It breaks right around 3 pounds and is consistent enough that it provides excellent groups. The 6.5 PRC comes with a 24-inch #2 contoured barrel with a 1:8.5 twist and is threaded for a muzzle break.

Caliber 6.5 PRC
Weight 7.8 lbs
Barrel Length 24"
Trigger Weight 3
Overall Length 44.75"
Twist Rate 1:8.5

9. Benelli Lupo

benelli lupo 6.5 creedmoor
View - Benelli LUPO Blued/Black Bolt Action Rifle - 6.5 Creedmoor - 24in

Benelli is known for their excellent shotguns, but not so much as a rifle maker. Their Lupo rifle integrates Benelli’s shotgun adjustability in the form of shims that can increase or decrease the length of pull to customize comfort to the shooter. They also have included features to mitigate felt recoil like their progressive comfort system and they have a Combtech integrated cheek riser that adjusts your head position so you get a consistent cheek weld behind the scope each time. The free-floated Crio treated barrel is threaded for a brake or suppressor and can withstand wicked velocities that would quickly wear out a non-treated barrel.

Caliber 6.5 Creedmoor
Weight 7.1 lbs
Barrel Length 24"
Trigger Weight 2.2-4.4 lbs
Overall Length 46.225"
Twist Rate 1:8

8. Savage 110 Storm

savage 110 storm 7mm rem mag
View - Savage 110 Storm Grey/Stainless Bolt Action Rifle

Savage has redesigned their trusted 110 rifle and included several modifications to make the rifle fit shooters of all shapes and sizes. It includes the excellent AccuTrigger with the center blade designed to help shooters pull the trigger properly. It is adjustable from around 2 pounds 10 ounces up to about 4 and a half pounds. Any less than 2 pounds 10 ounces and I had issues where the gun would fire when the safety was engaged. The new Storm comes with five stock risers of varying heights and four butt pads of various thicknesses so you can set up the rifle for cheek weld with different height scope rings and also adjust the length of pull. This customization really makes the rifle your own and makes sure it really fits the majority of shooters.

Caliber 7MM Rem. Mag.
Weight 7.5 lbs
Barrel Length 24"
Trigger Weight 2.2-4.4 lbs
Overall Length 45"
Twist Rate 1:9.5

7. Weatherby Vanguard

weatherby vanguard 300 win mag
View - Weatherby Vanguard MeatEater Edition Tungsten Cerakote Bolt Action Rifle - 300 Winchester Magnum

Utilizing the Howa Mark V action for smooth feeding and rugged performance in all kinds of conditions, the Weatherby Vanguard offers an excellent match grade two-stage trigger that is adjustable down to 2.5 pounds. The cold hammer forged barrels provide excellent accuracy and durability. The Vanguard rifles come in a wide variety of configurations and with wood or synthetic stocks. They all come standard with a higher cheek rise Monte Carlo style stock with a palm swell for increased control. The integral recessed two lug design of the bolt and the single-piece construction of the bolt handle make for a very strong and durable action on this rifle.

Caliber .300 Win Mag
Weight 7.5 lbs
Barrel Length 26"
Trigger Weight 2.5-5 lbs
Overall Length 46.5"
Twist Rate 1:10

6. Tikka T3X Lite Roughtech

tikka t3x lite roughtech 7mm rem mag
View - Tikka T3X Lite Black/Tan Bolt Action Rifle - 7mm Remington Magnum

The Tikka T3X Lite Roughtech is a very customizable rifle. For shooting long ranges, having your gun fit you well is required to achieve consistent accuracy. Not only can you adjust the angle of the grip by attaching one of the three different angled pistol style grips, but you can also slide various fore end sleeves on the front to adjust the thickness. The synthetic stock is made of Roughtech, which is a polymer and glass composite around an aluminum skeleton. The textured grip gives you positive control even in damp and misty environments. The single stage trigger is extremely smooth and adjustable, and the barrel is threaded with standard 5/8-24 threads.

Caliber 7MM Rem. Mag.
Weight 7.1 lbs
Barrel Length 24.3"
Trigger Weight 2.0-4 lbs
Overall Length 44.5"
Twist Rate 1:9.5

5. CVA Cascade

 cva cascade 6.5 creedmoor
View - CVA Cascade Matte Black Bolt Action Rifle - 6.5 Creedmoor - 4+1 Rounds

The motto of CVA is “It’s just a better gun.” Well, when it comes to their muzzleloaders, there is nothing that comes close to their accuracy and reliability. CVA took this same commitment to accuracy and created the Cascade bolt-action rifle. With a 70-degree throw on the bolt, you can make quick follow up shots and these rifles are amazing shooters and can drive tacks at even long ranges. The 4140 carbon Bergara Cerakoated barrel is threaded for a muzzle break or suppressor and this rifle is a superb performer for under $600.

Caliber 6.5 Creedmoor
Weight 6 lbs. 11 oz.
Barrel Length 22"
Trigger Weight 2-4 lbs.
Overall Length 42.5"
Twist Rate 1:8

4. Sauer 100 Ceratech

sauer 100 ceratech 300 win mag
View - Sauer 100 Ceratech Rifle

With German precision, the S 100 Ceratech from JP. Sauer and Sohn marries excellent manufacturing with the reliability and corrosion protection of Cerakote on all of their metal surfaces to give you a very smooth-running bolt gun. The short 60-degree bolt lift makes follow up shots super quick and the cold hammer forged Sauer barrel provides excellent accuracy. The strong three lug bolt provides a strong bond to the chamber for minimal movement and amazing strength with even magnum loads. This is one of the best shooting rifles I have spent any time behind and performs beautifully. In fact, any misses were more likely a result of my poor shooting than anything to do with this rifle.

Caliber .300 Win Mag
Weight 6.9 lbs
Barrel Length 24"
Trigger Weight 2.2-4.2 lbs.
Overall Length 46.25"
Twist Rate 1:11

3. Browning X-Bolt Pro Long Range McMillan

browning x bolt long range mcmillan 300 win mag
View - Browning X-Bolt Pro McMillan Long Range Carbon Gray Bolt Action Rifle - 300 Winchester Magnum - 26in

This gun is such an excellent shooter that I had to own it. The beautiful laminate wood stock is a departure for me as I prefer synthetic stocks for long range guns since they are less affected by humidity and air temperature. Browning has discontinued this gun in the laminate stock, but it is still available with a synthetic McMillan Game Scout carbon fiber stock in Hell’s Canyon and Sonoran Carbon camo patterns. The trigger on this rifle is stupid smooth and the muzzle break at the end of the barrel quiets the recoil of the stiff kicking .300 Win Mag. The aluminum pillars and skip fluted free floated barrel make this gun extremely accurate for shooting out to a mile plus. Cerakoting provides excellent protection from the elements.

Caliber .300 Win Mag
Weight 6 lbs. 12 oz.
Barrel Length 26"
Trigger Weight 2.2-4.4 lbs
Overall Length 46.75"
Twist Rate 1:10

2. SAKO S20

sako s20 7mm rem mag
View - Sako S20 Precision Cerakote Black Bolt Action Rifle - 7mm Rem Mag

A few years back I had the privilege of visiting SAKO Oy’s manufacturing facility in Finland and to hunt moose in the Turku archipelago on the Baltic Sea with a model 85. While I was at their facility, we were discussing the difficulty they were having appealing to an American audience and I stunned them by telling them the problem was the scarcity of scope rings and the inability to get rings tight with their proprietary angled mounts. I suggested they machine standard Picatinny rails right into the action. The next year at SHOT Show, they told me they were introducing something just for me. The result was the SAKO S20. This innovative rifle has the Pic Rail machined into the receiver and an innovative hybrid design that lets you quickly switch between a hunting variation thumbhole stock or a precision shooting stock. You can also swap the fore ends to whichever version suits your application. The strong three-lug bolt is about the smoothest action I have ever cycled. This rifle is a shooter and is astoundingly accurate at long distances. The adjustable length of pull and cheek riser let you customize the fit for every shooter. The fluted cold hammer forged barrel and button rifling means you will get thousands of consistent shots from this barrel. The trigger is available in single or double stage and you can choose the version that you prefer.

Caliber 7MM Rem Mag
Weight 8.6 lbs
Barrel Length 24"
Trigger Weight 2-4 lbs
Overall Length 45"
Twist Rate 1:9.5

1. Bergara Premier Approach

bergara premier approach 6.5 prc
View - Bergara Premier Approach Woodland Camo Bolt Action Rifle - 6.5 PRC

The Premier Approach from Bergara has several advantages over the regular old Bergara rifle. Make no mistake, Bergara makes an excellent rifle but the Premier is next level. They start with a premium Bergara barrel which is machined, rifled, and honed to make it about as precision as a barrel can be. Next, they add the Premier action, which is about as close to a custom-built action as you can get without cutting every part out by hand. Dan Hanus, who built rifles for Force Recon Marines, designed this rifle and he assembles every one of them. This rifle is such an amazing shooter that I have two of them; one in 6.5 Creedmoor and one in 6.5 PRC. I did a side-by-side comparison of them to compare the rounds and you can click here to see that video. [https://youtu.be/qjV6Mpo6U8k]. On top of the excellent barrel and out of this world action, they added in a TriggerTech frictionless trigger for a trigger so smooth, you just think about pulling it and the shot is fired. The only drawback to the newer design of this rifle over my version is that they did away with the 5-round removable magazine and swapped over to a floorplate magazine. Otherwise, these guns are about the best rifles I have ever fired.

Caliber 6.5 PRC
Weight 8.6 lbs
Barrel Length 24"
Trigger Weight 1.5-4 lbs
Overall Length 44"
Twist Rate 1.8

Conclusion

It is very possible there are some better shooting off the shelf rifles out there, but I just haven’t shot them. These are guns that I have spent significant time with and several that I own. I tried to provide options in all price points, but we do know that typically an excellent long-range rifle is going to cost a bit more than your standard hunting rifle. That isn’t to say that you can’t take a decent Ruger American rifle in .308 and shoot it a thousand yards. I have done it, but it isn’t easy nor is it consistent. If you have a favorite rifle for long range shooting, leave a comment below. If it is one I haven’t fired before, maybe I will reach out to the company and do a review on it.