8 Best AR-10 Rifles for Long Range Shooting

In military terms, the AR-10 rifle is basically classified as the M-10, as it is associated with the 7.62 NATO round or, in civilian terms, the 308 Winchester Magnum. The M-10 makes use of a longer receiver then the M-16/AR-15 (5.56 NATO) and, in general, is a larger, longer weapon overall.

Today, the AR-10 rifle is offered not only in medium-size cartridges, like the 243 Winchester, or the 308 previously indicated above, but also cartridges as large as the 300 Win Mag , 30-06 Springfield in custom models, and heavy bear- and hog-shooting round in 45 caliber as well.

The receiver of this firearm can handle a wide range of cartridges and the industry today is making full use of that feature to be sure. Utilize the AR-10 as an upscaled AR-15, and you're on the right track in terms of understanding exactly what we are referring to here.

Much of my background information about the AR-10 rifle comes from industry shooting events I have attended at long-range by way of the 308 Winchester cartridge, and extensive time with both in service snipers and retired army vets who spend two or three tours in the sandbox under battle conditions with this AR-10 rifle.

PRODUCT

DETAILS

Products

BEST FOR LIGHTWEIGHT

Wilson Combat Ranger AR 10

Wilson Combat Ranger AR 10

  • Barrel Length: 16
  • Twist Rate: 1:7
  • Weight: 8 lbs
BEST FOR HUNTERS

Daniel Defense DD5V1

Daniel Defense DD5V1

  • Barrel Length: 16
  • Twist Rate: 1:8
  • Weight: 6.4 lbs
BEST FOR DURABILITY

Springfield Armory Saint Victor

Springfield Armory Saint Victor

  • Barrel Length: 16
  • Twist Rate: 1:8
  • Weight: 6.12 lbs
BEST FOR RELIABILITY

AR-10 Palmetto State Armory

AR-10 Palmetto State Armory

  • Barrel Length: 18mm
  • Twist Rate: 1:10
  • Weight: 2.3lbs
BEST FOR ACCURACY

Brownells BRN-10

Brownells BRN-10

  • Barrel Length: 20mm
  • Twist Rate: 1:10
  • Weight: 6lbs
BEST FOR SMOOTH RECOIL

Daniel Defense DDS Ambush

Daniel Defense DDS Ambush

  • Barrel Length: 16
  • Twist Rate: 1:7
  • Weight: 6.59lbs
BEST FOR GREAT QUALITY

Smith & Wesson M&P 10

Smith & Wesson M&P 10

  • Barrel Length: 20mm
  • Twist Rate: 1:8
  • Weight: 7.71 lb
BEST FOR ACCURACY

Smith & Wesson M&P 10

Aero Precision M5E1 Complete Rifle

Aero Precision M5E1 Rifle

  • Barrel Length: 18mm
  • Twist Rate: 1:8
  • Weight: 12 lb

In general, military applications using the M-10/AR-10 were to advance a unit sharpshooter (sniper) with a rifle team or, in some cases, assign a spotter to that M-10 shooter and then take on specified sniper missions with the longer-range rifle.

In fact, the M-10 was about the best safeguard against the Russian Drag, or PSL-54 chambered in 7.62X54R (the Russian 30-06). These AR10 rifles were used by insurgent snipers and totally out-ranged our 5.56mm AR-15s.

As a side note here, it is an example of good old US Government planning against a shooting war in the year 2020, and then getting beat by a Russian cartridge that was developed during WW I.

Already own AR-10 Rifle & want scope instead? Here is the best overall scope for AR-10 rifle

Vortex Optics Viper PST Gen II

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At home here is South Dakota, I have equipped my two partners when big game-hunting with AR-10s in 308 Winchester, and as built by Smith & Wesson in the M&P-10, and the DPMS-GH series. In general the AR-10 is best known, and extensively chambered in 308.

However, one mate shoots two of the rifles in both 308 and 243 Winchester, while the other shoots the 308 only. I make this point because every year for the past decade I have damage-checked harvested mule and whitetail deer as hunted by these riflemen, and as such have been working on a continuous learning curve for years involving best AR-10 rifles.

In terms of rifle offerings as applied to the AR-10 for the most part, you're not going to find cheap budget rifles chambered in the long action rounds. This is because the AR-10 is a much more robust rifle than its little brother the AR-15.

Not that the AR-15 can't cost a pile of money, but the AR-10 will seemingly always hit the budget harder at the sporting goods store.

1. Wilson Combat Ranger - Best AR-10 Rifle

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The Wilson Combat Ranger is a 308 Chamber carbine that makes use of lighter weight parts so as to reduce field carry weight as applied to combat or general defensive postures.

The Ranger is ideal for general hunting of game that fit the performance and harvesting profile of the 308 Win round and long range shooting, as well as working out in high country settings when every ounce carried by a hunter counts as pounds a few hundred yards up a mountain trail.

The AR10 rifle makes use of a magazine that has a capacity of 20+1 round. This is not legal for hunting in most states and a five-round magazine must be substituted in place of the factory-installed magazine if the AR 10 rifle is to be used for legal game hunting.

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Receivers on this rifle are built of Machined billet stock high-grade material. I assume the core material here is aluminum and at least aircraft grade. The ar 10 barrel is also lightweight, but designed to take the heat of rapid fire and not string bullet impact in the process.

The AR 10 rifle makes use of an adjustable gas piston group that allows the shooter to adjust the operating system to fit the loads being pressed into service.

While I have not tested this specific brand and gas system, I have worked with Ruger firearms and their system on the SR-762 and found it quite effective and a step up regarding AR-style gas piston control. I would have no reason to believe the upper grade rifle covered here would be any different.

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The trigger assembly applied to the Ranger is target-quality and designed to give top end performance and eye relief in this area of the rifle's design. The muzzle is threaded for suppressor or other accessories.

The bolt and carrier are mil-spec, as would be expected in a AR 10 rifle costing this much, and the grip on the combat-typical AR plastic stock is proprietary.

Armor Tuff surface treatment is applied to both upper and lower. This is a combat-grade AR 10 rifle, and professional consideration applies in this case.

Wilson Combat Ranger AR 10

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2. Daniel Defense DD5V1 - Best AR 10

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Built in the 308 Winchester chambering, this AR-style rifle retains a 16" strength-2 weight barrel. This barrel is hammer-forged for stiffness and weight control. Accuracy delivered by this rifle is good according to the manufacture (untested by the writer), and handling qualities are also positive,

The bolt and carrier are designed using an oversized cam pin, and an enhanced extractor design has also been incorporated into the rifle. Duel ejectors are installed into this AR as well.

The rifle has been built combat-tough, and is an option for operators (private) as well as police departments.

The rifle makes use of the ambidextrous safety magazine catch bolt-release charging handle. The lower receiver makes use of the oversized trigger-guard (cold weather or tactical gloves). The trigger is a Geissele SSA 2-stage system and carries a smooth 2.5-pound take-up and a 2-pound break.

Magazine capacity 20+1. (Hunting requires a 5 round limit.)

Rifle finish consists of a hard-coat anodized upper and lower, and the grip and butt-stock is a basic combat-style six-position unit in terms of its design.

The rifle has no rifle scope, but the Weaver-style rail can become a scope mount for any number of riflescope sighting options as selected by the buyer. This rifle retains a basic firearm weight (no sights) of 8.3 pounds. The action is of a semi-automatic standard.

Daniel Defense DD5V1

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3. Springfield Armory Saint Victor - Best 308 AR For The Money

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The Springfield Armory Saint is a well-made mid-level rifle in terms of a combat- or competition-race gun-style pricing. This is a solid example of a priced-right working AR-10 platform that will deliver the mail. The construction of the rifle is solid, and the design is true to the AR platform across the board.

This rifle has been offered in several variants and each add cost and an increased level of component quality. The rifle retains the basic styling of most AR-10 rifles and makes use of a 15 inch free floating handguard complete with M-Lok compatible slots.

The barrel measures 16.1 inches in length, and it is chrome moly lined (CMV) at a 1:8 inch twist rate. In terms of the bolt carrier group, the bolt is enhanced and makes use of a staked gas key. The adjustable gas block used on this rifle is offered as a Springfield design, and it is pinned to assure no movement or failure due to alignment issues.

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Muzzle brake design on this rifle is different and is set up to reduce muzzle-jump and recoil. This is not the standard "birdcage" system found on many AR platforms.

The trigger on this rifle is designed as a flat surface, and as such rides along with the competition style of weapon in use today for three-gun and other shooting games. Trigger pull is about 6 pounds.

Stock construction on the rifle is the BCM Gun Fighter adjustable stock and pistol grip. I like the stock a whole lot in that it has a sizeable rollover cheek-piece that is both right and left in terms of mounting ability by the shooter. The grip on the rifle is also ergonomically designed.

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The slight stop and the base coupled with the flat trigger assembly makes this a rifle that is easy to control regarding rapid fire or double/triple tap-dispensing of rounds downrange.

Springfield Armory Saint Victor

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4. AR-10 Palmetto State Armory

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This is an outfit I know well in that these guys have saved my bacon when other companies would just not advance the deal in terms of me getting a job done in the writing market. This company builds rifles for lots of people and, as such, is right in the groove in terms of the latest designs and materials.

Now that's stated, Palmetto can offer a very good rifle at a super reasonable price due in part to their bulk handling of materials and parts.

Enter the AR-10 built by this company. This is a competition AR-10-style rifle, and it carries an 18 inch PSA Gen 3 PA10 length stainless steel barrel. As to accuracy, while I have not test-fired the 308 variant in the rifle, I have owned and shot several others and, to the rifle, all have been tack drivers.

I don't know who pounds out the hammer-forged barrels of this company, but they are doing a very good job of it.

This rifle has a barrel length of 18 inches, a bit longer then some, but carries good velocity and energy for long range shooting. The bore retains a 1-10 twist rate that makes it ideal for 55 through 60 grain bullets.

The gas system is a pinned piston in the mid-length design. These are easier regarding action function and recoil, due to the operational length.

ar 10 hunting rifle

The gas block is a five-position adjustable system found on rifles costing a great deal more then the AR-10 reviewed here. This is a heavy money feature and Palmetto tends to do this often as in adding nice features that cost an arm and a leg with other brands.

The upper receiver is made from 7075 T-6 aluminum, and it is a PA10 flat-top design with a Weaver rail for riser or scope-mounting a Best AR-10 Scope .

The rifle retains a forward assist right side, which is mil-spec required, a full flap dust cover, and standard positioning of operation controls. In terms of the lower, it is built from 7075 T-6 aluminum as well, and is hard-coat anodized for surface protection.

The trigger on this rifle is nickel boron and is a two-stage system.

This whole rifle is stocked in a well-known 6-position Magpul STR stock (black). The grips are overmolded A2-style in black. Magazine capacity 20+1.

AR-10 Palmetto State Armory

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5. Brownells BRN-10 - M ost Accurate AR10

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Brownells has taken a different approach to the AR-10 with the introduction of the classic and historical "Stoner" H-bar designed AR-10. The BRN-10 is a clean-lined 308 with a straight magazine, no forward assist to the right side, and available in a brown color versus the standard black furniture.

The action is a direct impingement design and the barrel is 20 inches in length. Magazine capacity is 10 rounds (308 Win).

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This rifle is partnered with FM as the builder, and makes use of a billet aluminum receiver in 7075 T6 material. The stock is a classic AR, and the whole rifle lacks clutter or tack on gadgets.

Front iron sight and rear H-bar iron sights are fully adjustable, and the weight of the rifle in its clean classic design is a total of 8 pounds. The rifle carries the lines and design of the late model Armalite AR10 battle rifle.

Brownells BRN-10

The price of Brownells BRN-10 varies, so check the latest price at

6. Daniel Defense DDS Ambush

ar 10 for hunting

This model of the Daniel Defense AR-10 in .308 Win Mag is again an upper end professional design that is best offered to operators, police and any area of special operations that require heavy small arms weapons.

The action is a direct impingement system, and the rifle retains an 18" barrel and a 5+1 round capacity. This makes the over-the-counter rifle legal for hunting big game in most states. The rifle retains a camo coat finish, with a poly stock, and the whole thing weighs in at 8.6 pounds less sights.

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The rifle is set up with a Weaver-style upper full-length rail making the rifle very flexible in terms of mounting a wide variety of sights with bdc reticle. As set up, the rifle is considered a hunting rifle, but it is not far at all from a military grade combat effective shooting platform either.

The trigger on this rifle is two-stage, and is a Geissete brand by name. The handguard on this rifle is designed with keymod slots on three sides, allowing the addition of red dots, lasers, or whatever the shooter wants attached to the handguard by this method.

The handguard can be selected by the buyer as there are several different options. The gas system makes use of a low profile block and a mid-length gas tube.

Daniel Defense DDS Ambush

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7. Smith & Wesson M&P 10

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First of all I shoot Smith weapons across the board. I carry Smith every day in a wheel gun and I pack the 45 1911 mid-length police when I want heavy firepower. I own 29s in 44 Mag in several variants. My primary weapon has been the M&P 10 in 308 up to now, but of late the new 6.5 Creedmoor is becoming very hot among buyers.

This AR rifle is the same as my 308 Win, but obviously in a different chambering, and has the touch of the custom people in the Smith & Wesson Performance Center.

This rifle is a full-size long action AR-10 and carries a nicely designed free floated Troy handguard with M-Lok. The barrel length is 20 inches, and I have shot competitive matches and tactical sniper school events with this rifle to 1000 yards very successfully.

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On one event, nine of these rifles were being used for two full days of sniper long-range training, and at that time no functional failures were observed.

The rifle makes use of a Magpul stock, two-stage match trigger, cartridge assist, and standard controls both right and left side of the receiver. Materials used on this rifle are all American, and of the best possible quality across the board.

Fire control is by a two-stage nickel boron trigger with trigger guard, and the buffer tube system is of a 7075 T6 aluminum design.

Rifle length is 39.5 inches (a handful of full-size rifle), barrel twist 1-8 in, and total carry weight less sights 9.1 pounds, This rifle is built with a full-length Picatinny rail for easily applied sight attachments.

Smith & Wesson M&P 10

The price of Smith & Wesson M&P 10 varies, so check the latest price at

I have covered a wide range of AR-10s in this review. Depending on your needs, the price can float around greatly so care should be taken to match what you actually need in an AR with your bank account.

8. Aero Precision M5E1 Rifle

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Aero Precision builds AR platforms one at a time using skilled gunsmiths who hand-fit the rifles during the builds. The complete rifle makes use of the very same high-quality parts that can also be obtained individually from this company.

The aero precision M5 is built using the mid-length barrel mated to the enhanced upper receiver. This makes use of a handguard and upper components that are lightweight and strong and that free-float the barrel itself for accuracy.

The longer barrel is made from 416R stainless steel with a 1:10 twist (308) and is bead-blasted in terms of a surface finishing approach.

The handguard for aero m5e1 can be selected by the buyer as there are several different options. The gas system makes use of a low profile block and a mid-length gas tube.

The firing pin on the assembly is made from 8740 steel, and it is hard chrome-coated. The carrier retains forward assist serrations, and main bolt material is hardened 9310 steel. All the bolt parts are shot peened and black nitride-coated nickel boron.

The bolt-carrier group comprises M16 cut 8620 steel. The finish is phosphate coated, and the bolt is correctly staked.

Muzzle retains the standard AR-10 308-matched birdcage. This rifle is comparable regarding suppressor installation using the addition of a threaded adaptor.

In terms of the lower receiver assembly, the rifle uses standard internal parts offered by the manufacture. The buffer kit is a M5 308 Carbine buffer assembly.

This is fitted to a Magpul MOE grip-style stock. The magazine is the standard Magpul 20-round PMAG.

The rifle is all made in America.

Aero Precision M5E1 Rifle

The price of Aero Precision M5E1 Rifle varies, so check the latest price at

WHAT IS AN AR-10

Development of the original AR-10 was started in the United States in 1955 by Eugene Stoner. For many years the M-1 and M-14 had been doing the heavy lifting in a longer-range cartridge for the military as applied to a semi or fully auto-loading rifle.

Now the search was on for a rifle that could move up the effectiveness level of a combat rifle, reduce the weight of the ar 10 platform, and still maintain long-range performance.

The answer came by way of the Stoner Firearms Company design. This program came to a halt quickly, however, and over time the AR-10 projects as carried through by the firearms manufacturers ArmaLite Arms ended up generating the acceptance of the now famous AR-15, or in military terms the M-16.

Later, when ArmaLite was sold, the armalite AR 10 rifle was regenerated by the new owners and after that became melded into what are now known as many variants of the rifle offered by various brand manufactures today.

While this has been a very condensed version of the subject regarding the gun's history, it makes it clear that even though the weapon had its share of problems, it never went away. Today it is known as the M-110 in military terms, and the very much improved AR-10 in the civilian marketplace and not being an assault rifle.

I once observed a film clip of special operators shooting DPMS AR-10s equipped with Leupold MARK V ar 10 scope with 56mm objective lens from rooftops in what I believe was Afghanistan These shooters were successfully holding back a massive assault by insurgents using these civilian-based AR-10s with best ar scope.

The fire rate was so high that full cases of 7.62X51 ammo were being pitched into them off a copper that came in from the cover side of the several-story-high building. I can't remember anything I have seen or done that locked my opinion of the best AR10 down any firmer then what took place on that rooftop shooting platform.

I have shot long-range events with these rifles, carried them afield for big game and varmints, and shot hours of steel both up close and half a mile away.

The AR-10 today is a totally reworked rifle from those of yesteryear. The rifle as a stretched platform from the AR-15 makes use of a wide variety of cartridge styles.

The 300 Win Mag, the 30-06 Springfield, and about a dozen others are chambered in this platform design. However, that stated, the 7.62X51 (308 rifle round for deer hunting) is the primary go-to round as applied to the AR-10.

Weaknesses of the AR-10

There are not many weaknesses regarding this rifle, to be sure. The main issue I see is a rifle that comes in at a rather high carry weight. The chassis also carries sharp edges that snag gear and cloths. As a list of issues, that is where it stops.

The weight factor is one of mine after hauling one around the field for several seasons. As for the snag factor, that came from an old solder who had to jump out of choppers from a rope with one strapped to him.

I do consider this rifle a better war-fighting tool than a sporting rifle. But that stated, even my team here at Ballistics Research & Development carry them every deer season in 308 and 243 Winchester cartridges In both cases, the rifle are DPMS Panthers, and about the only major drawback to them is that they almost require suppression as a hunting rifle.

The barrels and birdcage muzzle brake make the rifle very loud. This is enough for one of my engineers to consider dumping his until he applied for and was granted a suppressor.

With that move, by way of a Mack Brothers system, the problem of excess noise was solved overnight.

One additional issue that was noted with these Winchesters is that neither of them like reloaded ammunition very much. The rifles require match-dimension resizing dies, or they would just hang up a spent case all to often.

Is this a bad thing? No, because it says the chamber tolerances were tight in terms of offering accurate construction methods for a tack-driving gun platform. If reloading, check with care your sizing methods, and chamber each reload round prior to taking it into the field.

Where is the AR-10 platform today?

By way of example, I have selected several AR-10 platforms to illustrate the net results of what a history of modifications have made this rifle today.

The modern M&P 10 is chambered in 7.62X51 and is able to act as an outstanding game rifle and law-enforcement upgrade in firepower when needed.

This rifle carries all the controls of AR-15, but everything is beefed up in size and material mass. The gas system is robust and designed to handle the increased size in cartridge applications.

Test-shooting this rifle with optic at the NRA Long-Range shooting school in Utah a few years ago illustrated that this is an outstanding 1000-yard rifle with some added altitude in around 300 feet or more.

This gets the 308 Winchester round pushing over the 800-yard effective limit at sea level.

We shot several days at 800 to 1000 yards and did so while developing great scores on elk and standard steel plate targets. The M&P will stand on its own against any and all competitors in this market.

Secondly is the outstanding all-American-constructed Rock River AR-10 in any one of several variations. The Rock River, also known as the RRA LAR rifle, is even chambered in the new Predator HP 6.5 Creedmoor, which after all has a mother cartridge called the 308 Winchester.

Same length case, but very different performance profiles. This moves the AR-10 up still another notch as we enter the 2020 year of production by RRA.

If you're shooting a current RRA rifle in AR-10, you can also buy complete uppers in the new cartridge in order to retro-fit your field to the upgrade. Rock River rifles have been a part of my program for a decade or more.

I shoot the RRA 7.62X39 Russian on coyote when I get into hot areas that are going to produce some multiple incoming targets a full clip.

In general, better grade best AR-10 Rifles all carry similar gas impingement systems that, in effect, operate much like the smaller AR-15 rifles. 

The rifles make use of M-Lok accessory mounting slots on the fore-end, and operating controls are the same in terms of safety positioning, magazine release latch and bolt-release systems.

In the final example, I present Ruger Firearms and their SR-10/AR-10. Ruger has been building a solid example of the AR-10 with ar scope and red dot for years and, again, I have tested several models of the accurate rifle and we here at Ballistics Research & Development work with two models.

The gas system on the Ruger is a regulated valve system, but save for that the ar 10 rifle is almost a classic modern AR-10 in terms of overall design. Chambered in 308 Winchester, the Ruger is a performance dream on whitetail in open country as well as in timber settings.

We have recovered and checked world channels for publication on deer shot at 350 yards, right up to point blank ranges. As a final word, the track on parts and tools associated with the Ruger is almost all offered in the manufacturer's brand name. Grips, fore-end systems, and all operational parts are often logo stamped 'Ruger'.

In the area of tack-on parts and gadgets for all of the above named rifles, keep in mind that the internet is a wealth of AR-15 and AR-10 parts and shooting aid systems. Amazon is a clear path for sights, mounts, grip change-out units, and about a hundred different odds and ends that make up custom-dressed rifles.

In almost all cases, these add-on parts are interchangeable with the use of Weaver blocks as hanger systems and M-Lok slots to anchor down sling studs, lights or secondary sights

Performance

The best AR10 is effective as both a hunting rifle and target-shooting best 308 arrifle, but it is dependent on the cartridge selected for use. If the rifle were just a 7.62X51 NATO, that would make this a very short story indeed. Keep in mind that best scopes for AR-10 will surely help while hunting.

However, the modern AR-10 is offered in so many cartridges today that the buyer needs to make an assessment of the cartridge being selected for an individual AR 10 rifle and then research the performance level of that round.

Overall, the performance of the AR 10 rifle with standard AR-10 cartridges is from 800 to 1200 yards. In effect, performance is not even an issue with this best ar10 rifle, and all of them in varied common chamberings are effective on game animals to normal and competent gunning ranges (not exceeding 400 yards).

For reference, shooters can check other coverage of AR-style rifles here at Hunting Mark, as there has been extensive coverage regarding both the AR-15 and its big brother the AR-10.

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