Choose the Best 308 Rifle for Hunting and Shooting [Top 12] .308 Rifles Reviewed

best 308 rifle

The .308 Winchester cartridge has been around for a long time, and accomplished a lot in its tenure as a high-power, long-distance cartridge. There are plenty of other cartridges out there that serve a similar purpose, but the .308 Win has held its own throughout the decades and is still the go-to caliber for hunters, snipers, and precision shooters.

Even the best .308 rifle come in many different designs, configurations, and styles, and the best rifle for long range precision shooting may not be best rifle for big game or deer hunting with a partner, which in turn may not be the great rifle for an all-purpose defense, hunting predators, and SHTF rifle. If you’ve been considering adding a .308 rifle to your arsenal, this is the right place to be.

In this article we’ll go over a full 12 different rifle options for the best .308 Win rifle, but first we’ll talk about considerations that you should keep in mind when shopping for a .308 rifle, and towards the end we’ll also answer some common questions about the .308 Win caliber and what you should expect from it.

PRODUCT

DETAILS

Products

BEST LOW WEIGHT RIFFLE

Mossberg MVP Scout Rifle

Mossberg MVP Scout Rifle

  • Barrel Length: 16.25in
  • Weight: 6.75lbs
  • Finish: Matte Blued
BEST RIFFLE FOR THE PRICE

Savage Arms Axis II XP .308 Winchester Bolt

Savage Arms Axis II XP

  • Barrel Length: 22in
  • Weight: 7.38lbs 
  • Finish: Matte Black
BEST FOR ACCURACY

Winchester XPR .308 Bolt-Action Rifle

Winchester XPR .308

  • Barrel Length:22in
  • Weight: 6.75lbs
  • Finish: Matte Blued
BEST RIFLE FOR ELK HUNT

Savage Arms Series 10 FCP-SR .308 Winchester Rifle

Savage Arms Series 10 FCP-SR

  • Barrel Length: 22in
  • Weight: 7.38lbs
  • Finish: Matte Black
BEST FOR FAST ACCURACY

Smith & Wesson M&P 10

Smith & Wesson M&P 10

  • Barrel Length: 18in
  • Weight: 7.71lbs
  • Finish: Black
BEST FOR LEFT HANDERS

Ruger American Predator

Ruger American Predator

  • Barrel Length: 22in
  • Weight: 6.6lbs
  • Finish: Black & Brown
BEST FOR LONG SHOOTING

Howa HCR Rifle

Howa HCR Rifle

  • Barrel Length: 26in
  • Weight: 12.5 lb
  • Finish: Black
BEST FOR GOOD CALIBER

Springfield Armory M1A Socom 16

Springfield Armory M1A Socom 16

  • Barrel Length: 16in
  • Weight: 9.2lbs
  • Finish: Black & Brown
BEST FOR QUALITY

Bergara B-14 HMR

Bergara B-14 HMR

  • Barrel Length: 24in
  • Weight: 9.6lb
  • Material: Steel
BEST FOR SMALL FRAME

Winchester Model 70 Featherweight Rifle

Winchester Model 70 Featherweight Rifle

  • Barrel Length: 20in
  • Weight: 6lb
  • Finish: Brushed Polish
BEST FOR HUNTING

Remington Model 700

remington-700

Remington Model 700

  • Barrel Length: 13.4in
  • Weight: 7.4lbs
  • Finish: Black Cerakote
BEST FOR RELIABILITY

Desert Tech MDRx

Desert Tech MDRx

  • Barrel Length: 16in
  • Weight: 8.2lbs
  • Finish: Brown

Things To Understand About .308 Rifles

The best .308 win mag rifles are built for a variety of different purposes, and no single rifle is going to be perfect for everything. You can choose a style that does everything passably or even well, or you can choose a style that does the one thing you want it to do to an amazing level. Here are some of the differences you’ll see.

Rifle Configuration and Style

.308 rifles have three main styles that they come in, and the style will largely determine what they’re best intended for. The way I refer to these styles are scout, battle and tactical, and hunting rifles or classic rifles. That may not be the official names for the styles but people always know what you mean when you refer to those.

Scout Rifles

Scout rifles are of a very specific design pattern. They will have a barrel with a short length, a forward-mounted optic that does not sit above the bolt carrier group, and the optic that is mounted on it should be low-powered, usually less than 7x. These are intended to be light, ideally less than 7 pounds, and less than 39 inches in overall length.

best 308 rifle

Scout rifles typically have a polymer stock, and are built for 2-inch accuracy at 200 yards. All these features are built around making it perfect for a shooter on the move where the rifle is just a part of his job (albeit an important one). .308 is a common cartridge for scout rifles, though you can find them chambered in another cartridge.

For a rifleman, rancher, farmes, woodsman, trapper, forester, and military scout, scout rifles are a light, maneuverable, yet effective way to take full advantage of the power of the .308 Win cartridge.

Scout rifles, though, come with their own drawbacks. Having a forward mounted optic, for example, means that you have to buy an optic that is specifically designed for mounting on an SR. The eye relief on a standard rifle scope is too short, and the eye relief on a pistol or handgun scope is too long.

Some SR models can be very accurate at longer distances than 200 yards, but the further out you go, the more magnification you’ll need to see your targets clearly, and the fewer optic choices you’ll have. Most scout rifles are bolt-action, but there are semi automatic rifle variants out there that perform well.

Tactical and Battle Rifles

This style has been completely taken over by the AR-10 platform. The AR-10 actually predates the AR-15, but has started to rise dramatically in popularity only recently. What makes battle rifles great is the ability to customize them to do whatever you want them to do.

While the Ar-15 and 10 aren't really battle rifles since they do not have a full-automatic or burst mode, the modular and customizable design of the AR-15 and 10 is what makes them so versatile and useful for self-defense. The AR-15 platform is a favorite for home defense and SHTF scenarios, and the AR-10 has some advantages on the AR-15.

best 308 tactical rifle

Your top rail usually extends far enough that you could mount a scout optic onto it (if it doesn’t come with one you can put one on it) and the overall length and barrel length are usually within the confines of an SR, though they are often heavier than is recommended for an SR, and the upper receiver is different

The way I like to think of scout rifles vs tactical or battle rifles is that scout rifles are designed to do everything, and tactical rifles are designed to do anything. Scout rifles are the best way to go if you want a jack-of-all-trades type of rifle, and you can use it for just about everything you do on a day-to-day basis.

Tactical and battle rifles, on the other hand, can be built out to become a master at a specific purpose. If you want to build out a long-distance rifle, you can do that on the AR-10 platform, but then it won’t be as well suited to other things. If you’re looking for a big game hunting rifle, you can turn the AR-10 into that too, but then it won’t be good for other tasks.

Tactical and battle rifles are exclusively semi-automatic rifles, which can reduce its long-range accuracy compared to bolt guns. Semi-autos also have a host of additional malfunctions that can occur, but with the obvious advantage of being able to fire many more cartridges faster.

Classic or Hunting Rifles

The classic rifle style is what everyone envisions when they think of a game hunting rifle. Bolt-action, wood stock, long barrel, heavy, and designed for (you guessed it) hunting. Modern designs of the classic rifle don’t all use wooden stocks but some still do and it’s common to see new rifles released with wooden stocks.

best 308 hunting rifle

All other things being equal, the longer the barrel the more accurate the rifle will shoot. There are many other factors involved, of course, but barrel length is an important one.

Very few hunting rifles are semi-automatic. Being designed for hunting, the ability to rattle off multiple shots in quick succession isn’t an important feature to have, and the number of moving pieces that a sem-automatic action introduces into the firearm are not worth having the rifle load the next round for you.

Hunting rifles are not designed for home defense or military use, though they can be used as sniper rifles or target rifles fairly well.

Other Things To Watch For

Most of the biggest firearm brands have been around for a long time, so reputation becomes a big deal when you’re looking at which .308 rifle to buy. If you find an obscure brand that has a great price point, make sure that the reviews for that brand of rifles are good or you’ll be risking your money.

The weight of the triggers, barrel length, action, and the stock design are all important things to look for, along with compatibility of accessories. 

If you want to mount a specific optic on it, for example, you need to make sure the rifle either comes with a rail or can have one mounted to it to handle that optic. Virtually all of these will take a detachable box magazine.

With all that handy information, let’s dive into the reviews of each of our rifles.

Quick Note: The FN FAL

It's hard to put together a list of .308 rifles without including the FN FAL, but the FAL is no longer in production, so even though the FAL is a popular and fantastic rifle for some, we felt that including the FAL would be confusing or frustrating to some readers. The FAL was used around the world but was never adopted by the North American population. That said, the FAL has not been used around the world for some time.

We omitted the M1 Garand for the same reason. The M1 Garand is a classic, but it's also hard to find.

Best .308 Winchester Rifles

1. Mossberg MVP Scout Rifle

308 sniper rifle

The first rifle we’re going to cover is a scout rifle, but Mossberg has taken this one in a bit of a different direction. They’ve extended the rail back above the action so you can use regular 308 rifle scopes with it if you want. In that case, you essentially have a shorter version of a classic rifle that only weighs 7 pounds and is only 37.5” long.

The barrel is threaded on the end for muzzle attachments and the rifle has a 10+1 capacity, which should be plenty for anything you’d be using the Mossberg for. The MVP can take 7.62x51mm NATO or .308 Winchester. Not all rifles can take both, so that’s a thing to look for if it matters to you. Magazine is a detachable box, which is handy.

best 308 rifles

Mossberg has been around long enough to have earned a good reputation for the quality of rifles that they make. It’s a great brand, and the MVP SR is one of the best .308 Winchester magnum rifles to enter the SR market in an affordable way.

The stock is synthetic with a matte black finish, and it has two loops for a sling to carry the rifle on your shoulder or hang. The gun comes with a ghost ring in the back and a front fiber optic dot, which makes the iron sights fairly capable right out of the box.

Mossberg MVP Scout Rifle

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2. Savage Arms Axis II XP .308 Winchester Bolt-Action Rifle

308 rifle

The Axis II is a classic bolt guns design with a comfortable bolt throw and a stainless steel barrel that is 22 inches long. Despite being longer than the MVP, it’s actually lighter at 6.3 pounds thanks to the stainless steel, which is nice for carrying it around while hunting, but may make the recoil tougher.

The trigger weight is user-adjustable, which is a great way to customize the rifle to your liking. You can set the trigger weight to be anywhere between 2.5 pounds and 6 pounds depending on how sensitive you want it to be. The overall length of the rifle is 42.5 inches.

308 rifle for deer hunting

The mag capacity here is only 4, which speaks to its purpose as a hunting rifle. There are plenty of hunting scenarios in which you don’t want a magazine sticking out the bottom of your stock in front of your triggers' guard, even if it’s not sticking out very far, and keeping the magazine capacity to four allows it to be flush with the stock when inserted.

Savage makes great firearms, and they have a great reputation that goes along with that. The Axis II is an affordable entry into the .308 Winchester hunting rifle market.

The stock is synthetic and molded to be comfortable for your hand to grip while shooting. The Axis II comes with a factory-mounted 3-9x40mm optic, which makes this an even better option for someone just starting to get into hunting. The optic will still need to be zeroed, but if you don’t want to use it you can always swap out for your own.

Savage Arms Axis II XP

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3. Winchester XPR .308 Bolt-Action Rifle

best 308 bolt action rifle

It’s no surprise that Winchester would have a rifle on the list for best rifles for the .308 Winchester. If you want a highly accurate, no-frills, basic hunting rifle, then this is the one for you. It’s a bolt-action rifle, and has a capacity of 3 cartridges, which is admittedly not much, and is one of the reasons this rifle would only be recommended for hunting.

The stock is made of composite materials, the barrel is 22 inches long, and the overall length is 42 inches. It’s fairly lightweight at under 7 pounds, and it comes with a Vortex Crossfire II 3-9x40mm scope. The Crossfire II is a well-known and highly regarded optic so that’s a great inclusion.

best .308 rifles

What really sets the XPR apart, though, is Winchester’s M.O.A. trigger system. This uses a special mechanical advantage system to make the trigger weight lighter than most other bolt guns can come close to. Not only that, it reduces take-up, creep, and overtravel to the point where it seems like they’re not even there.

What this means for a shooter is that there are fewer things to throw off your shot or cause you to twitch or jerk the rifle when it fires. This solves a big problem for hunters, and is certainly worth trying out to see if it’s a gun you’ll like.

Like the Winchester, the Zastava M70 also uses a Mauser locking system and has seen military use.

Winchester XPR .308 Bolt-Action Rifle

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4. Savage Arms Series 10 FCP-SR .308 Winchester Rifle

best 308

It would be fair to describe the Series 10 as classical with a dash of tactical. The Savage has a classic stock (AccuStock synthetic), is bolt action, and has a barrel with a 20 inch length, but it also has a 10-round magazine and comes with a rail for mounting scopes or other accessories. You don’t need a rail to mount an optic (see the previous two rifles in this list), but you do for a dot sight or other accessory.

The philosophy behind the Savage Series 10 seems to be to have a rifle that is fantastic for hunting, but can also be adapted well to defense if needed.

top 308 rifles

If you like Savage but aren't sure about this exact one, you can try the Savage 110 Tactical. The Savage 110 Tactical takes one step further, and compared to the Savage 110 Tactical, the Series 10 is very classical.

We’ve already talked about Savage’s reputation, and while the Savage Series 10 is a bit pricier than some other options on the list, it’s a well-made gun and worth consideration. It’s chambered specifically in .308 Winchester, so if you’re hoping to run 7.62x51mm NATO through it you’ll want to double check to make sure it’s compatible.

Savage Arms Series 10 FCP-SR

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OPTIONAL: Add a UTG 3-9x40mm

To maximize the Series 10’s capabilities, you will need an optic. Since you’ll probably be using it for hunting, a great optic that pairs well with the Series 10 is the UTG 3-9x40 Hunter scope. This optic is rated for .308 Win and can stand up to the recoil just fine. This optic comes with an illuminated reticle for better performance in low-light.

The reticle even has 36 color options instead of the standard red and green. Visibility of the reticle in low light can be tough, and sometimes red or green aren’t the right fit. The reticle is a mil-dot and you have parallax adjustment all the way down to 5 yards and up to infinity. This optic comes with rings and lens caps so it’s easy to quickly mount, zero, and take stalk hunting.

UTG 3-9x40mm Riflescope

The price of UTG 3-9x40mm Riflescope , so check the latest price at

5. Smith & Wesson M&P 10

308 sniper

The Smith & Wesson M&P10 is a pure tactical rifle, and while it could be used as a battle rifle, it's not actually designed to be one. Most people want a .308 Win for either large game hunting or long-distance precision shooting, and while the .308 AR platform is capable of these things, it’s also not necessarily designed for them. The idea here is that you can customize it for whatever you want, then quickly switch it to something else.

The M&P 10 will take .308 Win or 7.62x51 NATO, and has a 20 rd magazine. The barrel is short at only 16 inches, and the total length is only 34 inches. Tactical rifles are generally designed to get a lot of rounds out quickly with passable accuracy. They also have a lot of aftermarket parts you can get for customizing.

308 rifle range

Along with that, this AR-10 variant is semi-auto, comes with flip-up iron sights and a rail. The defining feature of tactical rifles is their customizability, and the M&P 10 has that in spades. The stock is adjustable, the safety, mag release, and bolt release are all ambidextrous, and the barrel shroud is swappable. If you're familiar with the H-K MR762A1, the M&P 10 will be similar.

It's easy to compare the M&P 10 to the FN Scar. The FN Scar is more designed with battle and assault in mind, but there is a lot of crossover between the two. If you are wanting a highly versatile .308 battle rifle, especially for defense, then an AR-10 like the M&P 10 is a good, realistic option that could work as a service rifle in a pinch.

AR-10 rifles are not designed for military use in general. The military will have high expectations for ruggedness and just being tactical does not mean it's good for the military. For military use, it should have a full-auto or burst mode.

Smith & Wesson M&P 10

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OPTIONAL: Add A Holosun 510c

The M&P’s strong points are in its use in tactical situations, and using a red dot like the Holosun HS510C can give a massive improvement over the included iron sights. Red dots have little to no parallax and unlimited eye relief, which makes them great for situations where you need to move fast and hit targets that are different distances away.

The Holosun 510C is a great choice for the M&P 10 specifically because it has great battery life and you can select between three different reticles: simple 2 MOA dot, a 65 MOA circle, and both depending on your preference. The design of the holosun gives you a wide viewing angle and is a great fit for the M&P 10.

Holosun HS510C

Holosun 510c Riflescope

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If you want to know more about Holosun 510c, then must check out our detailed Holosun 510c review

6. Ruger American Predator

.308 rifle

The Ruger American comes with an adjustable trigger that can be as little as 3 pounds or as high as 5 pounds. The Ruger stock is light weight and the rifle only weighs 6.2 pounds. The barrel is a little on the short side as well at 18” and is made of a steel alloy. The end of the barrel is ⅝”-24 threaded for easy attachment of a flash hider, and the price range is right in the middle of the pack.

The Ruger is very much a classic rifle but it comes with a Picatinny rail for an optic and a rubber recoil pad to help decrease recoil, and the Ruger is short and light enough to fit the criteria for a scout rifle. The durability here is fantastic.

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Ruger rifles last a long time. I have an old Ruger .22 pistol that has been around for over 30 years and still works as well as the day it was bought. The price is right on the American Predator and it might be the best .308 rifle for you.

What makes the Ruger Predator unique is the bedding block system that Ruger calls Power Bedding. The bedding free-floats the barrel which provides for high accuracy even with the shorter barrel. The Ruger Predator offers MOA accuracy in a relatively short (38 inches) package.

Ruger American Predator

Ruger American Predator

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A Good Scope Mount That Works With the Predator

Vortex Hunter riflescope rings will mount directly onto the rail on the Predator and give you a reliable, solid, and precise mounting system for the scope you put on it. Having a scope that can take the recoil of a .308 is important, but so is having a scope mount that can as well.

Vortex-Hunters-Rings

Vortex Hunter riflescope rings

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7. Howa HCR Rifle

best 308 sniper rifle

The HCR comes chambered in a lot of different rounds, but one of them that it does very well is the .308 Winchester. The HCR is a beast of a tack driver that somewhat rides the line between tactical and classic. The pistol grip, adjustable stock, and Picatinny rail all take it further into the tactical territory, but this is a very different beast from the AR-10 platform.

There’s no other way to say it: the HCR is huge. It weighs over 10 pounds and has a 24 inch barrel. It comes with a 10-rd mag, and seems designed from the ground up to be a sniper rifle. The barrel is threaded at 5/8 x 24 to be compatible with most suppressors and muzzle breaks.

.308 sniper rifle

You don’t have to be a sniper to get everything this target rifle has to offer, though. If you’re trying to make shots out as far as the .308 Winchester can handle, then the HCR is a great choice. The .308 Winchester will be accurate out to around 600 yards to 800 yards, and the HCR will help you stretch it out as far as possible.

The extra size and weight make it not as ideal for hunting, but next to the Remington 700 this is the best precision rifle and sniper rifle on this list. You should have a look at this perfect rifle at Palmetto State Armory.

Howa HCR Rifle

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Scope Mounting Rings

If you’re spending the money for the Howa, you are expecting serious performance and willing to pay for it. In that case, the Steiner T-Series riflescope rings will give you a bubble level and incredibly precise mounting that will keep your scope on zero and you'll enjoy shooting with your semi automatic 308 sniper rifle.

These wouldn’t be recommended for every situation, but if you are striving for long-range accuracy, these will help you get there.

Steiner T-Series riflescope rings

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8. Springfield Armory M1A Socom 16

best bolt action 308

If you’re looking for a rifle that rides the line between an SR and a tactical rifle and are willing to pay a pretty penny for it, then the Springfield Armory Socom 16 is a great option to look at. There are multiple configurations to choose from based on whether you want it more on the scout side or more on the tactical side. It comes as a .308 semi auto, so the bolt carrier group will be different.

This  .308 is civilian version of the M14. Well, technically the M14 is the the predecessor of the .308 M1A standard issue, and the Springfield Armory Socom is a derivative of that, so while it's still similar to the M14, it's relationship isn't as close to the M14 as the original M1A. If you want to learn more about the M14, you can check the history of the M14 on Springfield Armory's website.

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You can get it with a pistol grip and an adjustable stock, or stick with the more classic version like in the picture above. Because it’s an SR, it has a short 16.25” barrel and a 1/11 twist instead of the more common 1/10 twist. This can be used as a battle rifle if you configure it correctly, and can also be a target rifle with the right optic. It's not really designed for target shooting, but the beauty of it is how customizable it is.

It comes with a two-stage trigger with a weight between 5 and 6 pounds, and comes with a Tritium-illuminated front sight and a muzzle brake. A lot of engineering has gone into the Socom 16 and it’s a phenomenal choice for a scout .308 Winchester rifle. There is a 30-06 Springfield M1A version if that is of interest.

Springfield charges a premium for their Springfield M1A Socom 16 rifles, but if you’re using your rifle on a regular basis as part of your day-to-day, then it’s hard to argue against the investment.

Springfield Armory M1A Socom 16

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Recommended Accessory: Streamlight ProTac Rail Mount HL-X Long Gun Light

The whole idea behind the M1A Socom 16 is to be ready for any situation, and what can help you accomplish that is a flashlight that can mount directly to your rifle to help you see better in the dark. If you’ve already mounted an optic, you’ll need to add a side rail of some kind but this is a great choice for expanding the capabilities of your Socom 16.

Streamlight ProTac Gun Light

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9. Bergara B-14 HMR

308 bolt action rifle

HMR stands for “Hunting and Match”, and that summarizes the vision behind the B14 HMR nicely. Like the Howa, it has a free-floating barrel to maximize accuracy and is guaranteed to be MOA accurate at 100 yards. The B14 is similar in spirit and purpose to the Howa, but wanted to find more of a middle ground between hunting and competition shooting.

Bergara did that by making the barrel shorter and making the rifle a bit lighter. The mag that comes with the B14 is a 5-rd magazine, but it is compatible with higher capacity magazines as well. The trigger weight is set to 3 pounds from the factory, and you have an adjustable cheek rest to give you good cheek weld.

best .308

If you are looking for a rifle to do both hunting and competition shooting, and do them both exceptionally well, the B14 HMR could be the best .308 rifle for you. If you just want competition shooting, you may want to look at the Remington.

This could work well for a sniper, but a sniper will probably want an option that's more designed for long performance, since they won't be using it for a variety of tasks outside their role as a sniper.

Bergara B-14 HMR

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Recommended Rifle Ammo:

Hornady Match ammo is designed for long-range shooting. It’s hollow-point and 168-grain. Hornady Match is widely regarded as one of the best models of ammunition for accuracy and precision. Hornady’s philosophy is “ten bullet through one hole”, and if you have a best 308 precision rifle designed to pull that off, we’d recommend getting ammo that can do it as well.

Hornady Match Ammo 168-grain

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10. Winchester Model 70 Featherweight Rifle

best .308 hunting rifle

The Winchester Model 70 is one of the most well-known rifles for .308 Winchester ammunition. It is both bare bones and great quality. It is designed specifically with hunting in mind, and manages a 22 inch barrel while keeping the weight under 7 pounds.

It has a walnut stock, and uses a Mauser-type claw extractor to make sure that each casing is properly extracted. The claw extractor prevents jams.

best 308 rifle 2021

The Winchester Model 70 is the quintessential woodsman’s rifle. It’s easy and fast to handle, it’s lightweight, and it’s slim. It also comes with Winchester’s M.O.A. Accu-trigger system so you have a match grade trigger with the benefits of no creep and no over-travel. The barrel is free floated, and combined with the 22” length gives you fantastic accuracy.

Many shooters would consider this the best .308 hunting rifle out there, and the Winchester model 70 is a decent precision rifle as well. The Browning X-bolt is another option to consider.

Winchester Model 70 Featherweight Rifle

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11. Remington Model 700

308 long range

No list of .308 rifles (or 7.62 NATO) would be complete without the Remington 700. It was originally introduced in 1962 and is still produced today. The Remington 700 was built for one thing and one thing only: long range accuracy. You can still find these with a walnut stock, but more modern versions of this precision rifle will have a composite stock.

In fact, the military designation of the Remington 700, called the M24, was used for a long time as the U.S. Army’s go-to sniper rifle. The barrel is free-floated and 26 inches long, and the gun is roughly nine pounds. The receiver is drilled and tapped, ready for attaching an optic.

The trigger is adjustable. Overall, the Remington 700 is one of the most accurate 308 rifle choices for snipers, target shooting at range, and is much more affordable than other range options.

.308 sniper

The Remington 700 keeps it simple but powerful, with a focus on accuracy and essentially nothing else. You won't find bells and whistles on the Remington 700, but you'll find that the Remington 700 has what counts.

Remington also recently started offering a lifetime warranty on all Remington firearms purchased after January 1, 2016. Remington has a long established history of making great firearms and taking care of their customers. A Remington is a safe purchase.

Another similar option here would be a Tikka T3x. Tikka is a Finnish company that uses high quality materials and holds their rifles to very high standards. If you haven't heard of Tikka, they are worth checking out.

Remington Model 700

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If you are looking for a best scope for Remington 700, Check out our guide.

12. Desert Tech MDRx

best .308 bolt action rifle

This is probably a gun you have never heard of. The first thing you’ll most likely notice is that it’s a bullpup. For a tactical rifle that you want for a SHTF scenario or truck gun, a bullpup allows the rifle to be so much shorter than it otherwise could be. The MDRx is only 26.2 inches in total length, with a short barrel; a 16 inch barrel. The MDRx is a straight-up battle rifle, and it is a phenomenal battle rifle.

You can choose if you want the forward ejecting model or side ejecting model. The rail covers enough of the top that you can mount virtually any optic you want onto it, so if you already have a favorite optic in mind for your .308 rifle there’s a good chance it will work here. Not a lot of aftermarket parts are available for the MDRx.

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Recoil on the MDRx is surprisingly light. It has a trigger weight between 4.5 and 6 pounds, and is only 2.33 inches wide. It’s a great option for a tactical .308 rifle. It will work fine for hunting, but it’s also somewhat over-engineered for that purpose. If you're looking specifically for battle rifles, this should be near the top of your list.

The MDRx is made in America through precision machining. It's reliability is high but the variety of accessories available for it is low. If reliability is more important than toys, this could be a good choice for you.

Desert Tech MDRx

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Buying Guide

Why a .308 Win?

This is a great question. With other cartridges like the 6.5 Creedmoor around, is the .308 obsolete? Short answer: absolutely not. Long answer: below. The 6.5 Creedmoor is a great round, but it performs worse than the .308 at less than 400 yards, though they fit in the same high-round magazine and semi automatic rifles that shoot them are in the same price range.

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What Is a .308 Rifle Good for?

A .308 is a great round for hunting. It packs a powerful punch and can bring down a black bear, moose, and elk. It also has a significant range and can be used for long distance shots up to 800 yards. The recoil is reasonable compared to other large calibers and the caliber has military and defense applications as well.

Large Calibers

The flexibility of the .308 and the NATO variant make them great for military use, especially for a sniper. The shooting range is high, it works with precision rifles, most .308 rifles can have muzzle brakes attached, you get high-capacity magazines, and for a rifleman or sniper you get great reliability and specs.

How Far Can You Shoot With a .308?

Well, a .308 caliber will travel for quite a long distance if it doesn’t hit something first, but in practice, the cartridge will only stay accurate for up to about 800 yards depending on the standards to which it was manufactured. 

Most people who select .308 do so because of its performance within 400 yards. The stopping power of a .308 rifle combined with a very flat trajectory for the first 400 meters makes the .308 the caliber of choice for anyone doing serious shooting in that range.

Is a .308 Considered a High Powered Rifle?

Generally, yes. There are certainly more powerful rounds out there, but a rifle chambered in .308 is a high enough power to drop big game, be used by snipers, and be adopted as the 7.62x51mm by NATO as a standard for mounted automatic guns. Power is measured in a few different ways.

Muzzle energy and bullet velocity are obvious ones, but the stopping power or impact of the bullet also depend on its size and shape. A bigger bullet that travels more slowly may have less stopping power than a smaller bullet traveling more quickly.

This is also affected by air and wind resistance as the bullet passes through the air. Some bullets will have more power than others at range but less at close distances. Most people consider the .308 to be a high-powered cartridge.

Is it .308 or 7.62 NATO?

Well that’s a loaded question (pun intended). The 7.62 NATO was adapted from the .308 Winchester. There’s a heckuva lot of debate surrounding the two rounds and whether it's safe to fire a .308 in a rifle that’s chambered for 7.62 NATO and vice versa.

The long and short of it is that it is not always safe to do so, but it usually is. As most others in the firearms community would agree, “usually” isn’t good enough, and it only takes one exception to have devastating consequences. Whether a rifle can fire both a .308 and a 7.62 NATO usually comes down to headroom inside the chamber.

Most rifles will say clearly on the specifications which round they are chambered for, and rifles that are designed for both will usually say upfront that they can handle both. If you aren’t sure, you can either take your rifle to a gun store or gunsmith who can tell you, or you can just play it safe and only use the ammo you know it was designed for.

Bolt Action vs. Semi-Auto

Bolt action is a sort of middle ground between a single shot and a semi-auto firearm. In a single shot, you put the cartridge into the chamber, close the action (often a bolt, which makes this distinction confusing sometimes), fire the round, open the action (which ejects the spent brass), and you have to manually put another cartridge into the chamber.

In a bolt action rifle, you have a magazine of some kind underneath the chamber that feeds rounds into it for you, so all you have to do is slide the bolt back to eject, then slide it forward again to load another round.

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A semi-auto action does even more work for you. When you pull the trigger, the rifle will use the recoil from launching the bullet to run a gas system that cycles the action back to eject the cartridge, and then it will spring forward to feed the next round into the chamber from the mag. Then all you have to do is pull the trigger again and another round will fire.

The obvious advantage of a semi-auto is that you can get through more rounds faster and with less effort. The disadvantages aren’t as obvious.

Drawbacks of A Semi-Automatic Rifle

The biggest issues are all the different ways that it can malfunction. There are five different ways a malfunction can occur in a this system: stovepiping, a failure to extract, failure to eject, a double feed, and a failure to feed.

A stovepipe is when the spent brass gets caught in the slide instead of ejecting. It’s called a stovepipe because the brass sticks up in the air like a pipe coming out of an old wood-burning stove. To solve this you have to manually pull the slide back, get the brass out, then re-engage it.

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A failure to extract is when the spent brass stays in the chamber and doesn’t get pulled out when the action cycles. This is really hard to clear up because the action will usually come forward and try to slam another round into the chamber, which jams things up pretty good and takes a while to sort out.

A failure to eject is similar to a failure to extract but the brass gets a little bit farther. It comes at least partly out of the chamber but not all the way, and gums up the works similarly to a failure to extract.

A double feed is when two rounds both attempt to feed into the chamber. One of them will get there first and the other will cause a jam that can be difficult to clear.

A failure to feed is exactly what it sounds like; the round does not get out of the mag and loaded into the chamber.

Virtually none of those malfunctions occur in bolt-action rifles. To be fair, in a quality semi-auto rifle those malfunctions do not occur on a regular basis, and proper care and cleaning of the rifle can prevent most malfunctions long before they occur, but the last thing you want as a hunter is to have a prize buck in your scope and not be able to hunt it because your rifle malfunctions. If you want to hunt, a bolt action is generally better.

Semi-automatics are also heavier than bolt-actions because they have a lot more pieces to them. If you’re looking for light weight, bolt action rifles will be better than a semi. Either one can work for sniper rifles.

Drawbacks of Bolt Action Rifles

The main drawback is that you can only shoot so fast. A lot of bolt action rifles can take magazines up to 20 rounds just like a semi-auto, and they function much more cleanly and flawlessly than a semi-auto.

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For the laziest among us, having to manually pull the slide up, back, forward, and down between each round could be considered a drawback, but by and large it’s simply that you cannot squeeze off rounds quickly, which makes it not well suited to military or defense applications.

Final Thoughts

The best .308 win rifle for you depends a lot on what you want it for. If you're target shooting or long range shooting, then you could choose between the Ruger American Predator, the Remington 700, or the Howa or B14 HMR. You've got choices in battle rifles too; the MDRx, the M1A Socom 16, and the M&P 10 are all good choices there.

If you're content with something for target shooting or competitive shooting, then the .308 Win caliber will give you plenty of precision rifle options like the Remington. .308 is a great caliber for precision rifles and flexibility while shooting. With the right field conditions you can get sub MOA accuracy in a high velocity caliber that has wide military use in many countries, including America.

What do you think of these 308 rifles? Is there one that stood out to you? Which ones you want to add to your collection? Let me hear from you in the comments!

2 Replies to “Choose the Best 308 Rifle for Hunting and Shooting [Top 12] .308 Rifles Reviewed”
    1. Jon, The 308 is just fine, She is the mother of all the rest of them. As for the 6.5 I have to say it is a shooter to the core. You don’t have to make the move however to have a solid game or target harvesting rifle. I shoot three of the “08” variants. won’t sell one of them. As for the 6.5 Creedmoor. on long range target, my heavy Browning A Bolt is up front. For field use the Ruger Predator M-77 stainless laminated is a shooter. Mine is suppressed, 9 Mack Brothers Sturges South Dakota, and that adds to the mix when I hunt mule or whitetail deer at long range from static positions. Love the thing.
      Thank you.

      L.P.

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