308 Bolt-Action Rifles: We Compare Four Head to Head

We looked at hunting-suitable choices from Tikka, Remington, Ruger, and Winchester to find out what shot, and what did not. We found a strong Best Buy, and one rifle looked fabulous and shot pretty well.


Many associate the 7.62x51mm cartridge with the American M-14, Belgian FN-FAL, and German G3 rifles. It was, indeed, developed with a military application in mind. Being approximately one-half inch shorter, as well as lighter, than the venerable 30-06 Springfield round, troops could carry more ammunition for the same weight and the bullet was only about 100 feet per second (fps) slower than the 30-06. Good energy in a cartridge that would fit in a short-action receiver — what’s not to like? Winchester thought so, too, so, in 1951, years before it was ever adopted in a military rifle, the company introduced it as the 308 Winchester, and it has been one of the top-selling cartridges in the free world ever since.

The military not only liked the space and weight savings the cartridge provided, they found out it could be very accurate. When the Marines formally added sniper units to their TO&E (Table of Organization and Equipment) in 1977, they armed their snipers with the M40A1 rifle chambered in 308. The Army followed suit in 1985 and provided the M24 rifle system chambered in 308 for its soldiers. Both are outstanding weapons that have done a great job for their users. These two models and many of the other sniper rifles utilizing the 308 round tend to be heavy firearms with long, thick barrels. Heavy is great when you are trying to reduce recoil and, thus, speed up a follow up shot or spot misses. It can be problematic when carried up a mountain by a hunter who is not a world-class athlete.

Recently, one of our readers contacted us and asked about a comparison of 308-caliber hunting rifles — lightweight hunting rifles — and specifically asked that we include the Tikka T3x Lite. We thought that sounded like a great idea. So, we rounded up a quartet of smaller, thinner, easier-to-carry 308s. We wanted to see if they could hold a candle to those heavy-barreled monsters everyone loves to shoot but few love to tote. Our test 308 Winchester rifles included the Tikka T3x Lite Stainless JRTXB316, $748; Remington’s Model 7 CDL 26423, $798; Ruger’s Hawkeye Compact 37139, $691; and the Winchester Model 70 Featherweight Stainless 535234220, $951.

How We Tested


All groups were shot at 100 yards from a solid bench using a Caldwell TackDriver front rest ($43 at MidwayUSA.com) and a T.A.B. Gear large rear bag ($30 at TABGear.com) with the heavy fill. Muzzle velocity was determined using a LabRadar chronograph. Our 308 Winchester ammunition included Hornady CustomLite 125-grain SSTs (MidwayUSA.com 187296, $29.99/20); SIG Sauer Elite HT 150-grain rounds (BudsGunShop.com 23485, $33.15/20); and Black Hills 168-grain Boat-Tail Hollow Point (Mid-wayUSA.com 280175 $30.69/20).
Hornady 308 125-grain SST ReducedTikka T3x LiteRuger HawkeyeRemington Model 7 CDLWinchester Featherweight
Average Velocity2498 fps2338 fps2462 fps2530 fps
Muzzle Energy1733 ft.-lbs.1518 ft.-lbs.1682 ft.-lbs.1777 ft.-lbs.
Best Group0.92 in.0.95 in.0.52 in.0.45 in.
Average Group1.18 in.1.03 in.0.72 in.0.71 in.
SIG Sauer 150-grain HTTikka T3x LiteRuger HawkeyeRemington Model 7 CDLWinchester Featherweight
Average Velocity2839 fps2692 fps2781 fps2827 fps
Muzzle Energy2684 ft.-lbs.2414 ft.-lbs.2577 ft.-lbs.2662 ft.-lbs.
Best Group1.44 in.1.16 in.0.42 in.0.64 in.
Average Group1.59 in.1.42 in.1.32 in.1.04 in.
Black Hills 168-grain BTHPTikka T3x LiteRuger HawkeyeRemington Model 7 CDLWinchester Featherweight
Average Velocity1100 fps1101 fps1098 fps1139 fps
Muzzle Energy334 ft.-lbs.307 ft.-lbs.332 ft.-lbs.328 ft.-lbs.
Average Group1.46 in.1.95 in.1.93 in.1.19 in.

All shooting was done at American Shooting Centers in west Houston. Barrels on these lightweight rifles are a bit thin and tend to heat up quickly, so we used multiple three-shot groups instead of our normal five-shot tests. Barrels were allowed to cool between strings. All groups were shot at 100 yards from a solid bench using a Caldwell TackDriver front rest ($43 from MidwayUSA.com) and a T.A.B. Gear large rear bag ($30 from TABGear.com) with the heavy fill. Muzzle velocity was determined using a LabRadar chronograph. Group size, muzzle velocity and muzzle energy were tabulated and are found in the Range Data table.

For glass, we chose a Vortex PST II 2-10×32 scope with an EBR-4 reticle in MOA. Vortex is well known for the quality and durability of its optics, and deservedly so. This model is one of the company’s “compact” line. Though not exactly compact in the truest sense, it has a smaller 32mm objective lens which, we felt, still transmitted more than enough light for hunting situations. Clarity was outstanding, and the reticle had 2-minute-of-angle (moa) tick marks on both the horizontal and vertical crosshairs, making holdover adjustments on shots very easy. On a first-focal-plane scope such as this, the size of the reticle, and thus the usability, diminishes quickly as the magnification is decreased. We found that we could see and use the reticle properly with the power ring set as low as 4X. This model also provides precisely-adjustable external windage and elevation turrets. These may be lightweight rifles, but that doesn’t mean they are all close-range rifles, and we wanted optics that would make it easier for us to reach out to substantially more distant targets. We were very pleased with the scope and would give it an “A” grade.

Ammunition included a range of common hunting-bullet weights, such as Hornady’s CustomLite 125-grain SSTs, the SIG Sauer Elite 150-grain solid-copper HTs, and Black Hills’ 168-grain boat-tail hollow points. Here’s how they functioned in our rifles.

Tikka T3x Lite Stainless JRTXB316 308 Winchester, $748


With a very functional polymer stock, the smoothest bolt in the group of test rifles, and the best out-of-the-box trigger, we really liked this rifle.
Action TypeBolt, 2 Lugs
Overall Length 42.5 in.
Barrel Length/Twist 22 in., 1:11 in.
Overall Height w/o Scope Mount6.5 in.
Weight Unloaded6.25 lbs.
Weight Loaded6.5 lbs.
Sight RadiusNA
Action FinishMatte Stainless
Barrel FinishMatte Stainless
Magazine Capacity3 Rounds
Magazine TypeDetachable Box
Drop at Comb1.4 in.
Drop at Heel1.6 in.
Length of Pull13.2 in.
Receiver Scope-Base PatternTikka
Trigger Pull Weight2.5 lbs.
Safety2-Position Rocker
Warranty2 Year
Telephone(800) 237-3882
Made InFinland

Sako rifles, made in Finland and imported by Beretta USA, are world renowned for their quality and accuracy. Tikka rifles are made by Sako, and, while they are a bit more of a price brand, they sacrifice little of the quality and accuracy with which the Sako’s are built. Receivers basically come in one length, so a 308 and a 30-06 will use the same action — the usable length of the magazine is just shortened or lengthened as necessary. The barrels are produced to the same standards, whether they are going on a Sako or a Tikka. Think about the Acura versus Honda concept. Quality is very comparable, but options are fewer, so price is better on the Honda.

The Tikka T3x, introduced in 2016, is an updated version of the T3. This newer model includes some very nice upgrades, such as a larger ejection port, a metal bolt shroud instead of the previous model’s plastic piece, an improved scope rail attachment, and a steel recoil lug to replace the T3’s aluminum lug.

The stainless-steel version of the T3x Lite raises the price a bit versus the blued-steel rifles in our test. The barrel is 22.5 inches long, has a 1:11-inch twist, and tapers to a 0.63-inch diameter at the muzzle. This is not a varmint barrel, but it isn’t pencil thin either.

The barrel attaches to a receiver that has been redesigned to allow easier attachment of optical devices. The top of the action is still grooved for standard Tikka rings, and it has been drilled and tapped to allow easy mounting of a Picatinny rail. We used a 20-MOA rail from Mountain Tactical (Tikkaperformance.com).

The bolt can be removed by pressing a pivoting bar on the left side of the receiver. Bolt lift and throw on this rifle was the smoothest of any in this test. Our two-lug push-feed bolt sports a Sako-style extractor and a plunger-type ejector. It showed a 90-degree lift, but the shape of the bolt handle was such that it stayed well clear of mounted optics.

The rifle mounts to the stock via two action screws, and Tikka does a very good job of supplying torque settings (and other important data) for their rifles in the provided manual. When the two screws are removed, the action can be lifted from the stock, and the trigger is then accessible. Our rifle came to us with the trigger set at 2.5 pounds. Trigger compression was smooth and light with no creep or overtravel. The trigger can be further lightened or made heavier by rotating out an Allen screw mounted right in front of the trigger. This is a very simple thing to do, and there is another screw right in front of the trigger adjustment to keep the shooter from backing it out too far.

The safety is a two-position rocker type on the right side of the receiver, just behind the bolt. The stock, though polymer, is foam filled and doesn’t make that hollow sound created when many plastic stocks are bumped. A three-round polymer magazine protrudes slightly from the bottom of the stock, though not enough to affect how the shooter needs to carry the rifle. The magazine latch was at the front of the mag, but it was well recessed and we were not concerned about it being released inadvertently. Weight was a bit farther toward the muzzle than normal, perhaps, with the rifle balancing, for us, about an inch forward of the magazine release. The stock also allows interchangeable grips so the shooter can choose a more vertical style if desired. The T3x fed perfectly from the magazine but could balk just a little when the flat-nosed SIG HT rounds were single fed. Two sling-swivel studs are provided, and there is a way to add a flat beavertail piece on the forend available from Beretta USA.

This rifle shot everything well, with two of the three types of ammunition providing average groups just longer than 1 inch in diameter. This group of testers, however, has considerable experience with Tikkas and found those numbers a bit disappointing based on experience specifically with Tikka 308s.

Our Team Said: We have found Tikka rifles to respond well to handloads but graded this rifle down a half letter because of its accuracy. Maybe that is not fair. Perhaps it is only an indication of the excellence we have come to expect from Tikkas.

Remington Model 7 CDL 26423 308 Winchester, $798


A nice piece of wood, a good trigger and a compact 20-inch barrel on a rifle that could really shoot.
Action TypeBolt, 2 Lugs
Overall Length 39.1 in.
Barrel Length/Twist 20 in., 1:10 in.
Overall Height w/o Scope Mount6.6 in.
Weight Unloaded6.75 lbs.
Weight Loaded6.9 lbs.
Sight RadiusNA
Action FinishMatte Blue
Barrel FinishMatte Blue
Magazine Capacity4 Rounds
Magazine TypeInternal Box
Drop at Comb1.2 in.
Drop at Heel1.5 in.
ButtplateRemington SuperCell
Length of Pull13.75 in.
Receiver Scope-Base PatternRemington Model 7
Trigger Pull Weight2.7 lbs.
Safety2 Position Rocker
WarrantyLimited Lifetime
Telephone(877) 387-6691
Made InUSA

According to the Remington website, the Model 700 was introduced in 1962. By our count from that same website, the Model 700 has been factory produced in 49 different calibers and 81 different models. One would think that Remington believes they have a winner on their hands with the Model 7 CDL, and they would be right. Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, and this group of testers think that hunting rifles should look like hunting rifles. While they can indeed be gorgeous, we are not into high-gloss stocks and metal finishes you can see to shave with on a rifle we are going to beat around with in the woods. Our Model 7, basically a compact version of the Remington Model 700, in the CDL variant epitomizes that look. This rifle has a matte-blue finish on the barrel, action, and bottom metal. The stock is a nicely grained, dark walnut with an ebony forend and an oil-rubbed look to the finish. The stock shows well-executed checkering on the grip, and more checkering wraps the forend. There are two sling-swivel studs and an inch-thick-plus Remington SuperCell recoil pad that noticeably reduces felt recoil. Wood-to-metal finish is very good. The stock is in firm contact with the barrel for its entire length. The inside of the barrel channel is even dished out a bit right in front of the recoil lug, where it looks almost like it is bedded to the action.

The carbon-steel barrel is 20 inches long with a 1:10 twist. It has a slender profile that narrows to approximately 0.56 inch at the muzzle. The bolt head on a Remington Model 700/7 completely encloses the head of the cartridge, which is then surrounded by the barrel which, in turn, is wrapped by the action. Three rings of steel, as Remington calls it. The bolt head has a small claw extractor mounted inside as well as a plunger type ejector.

The push-feed bolt moved smoothly when we worked it at the bench but wanted to bind a little when we worked it from the shoulder. The safety is a two-position rocker switch on the right side of the receiver. The bolt release is a small tab just behind the front edge of the trigger guard that releases the bolt when pushed toward the action. This rifle brings a four-round internal-box magazine. The bottom metal is really metal. The magazine floorplate is easily released, but not too easily.

We have a bit of a love/hate relationship with the X-Mark Pro trigger, and we are not really sure why. We really liked the old Remington 700 trigger but, given current propensity to litigation, we understand the change. We are not sure if it is the width of the trigger, how smooth it is, how rounded it is, or what. We just always felt like our finger was trying to slide off the trigger. Not to fret. Timney Triggers (TimneyTriggers.com) makes a marvelous aftermarket trigger for a Remington, and they are very easy to replace. We do acknowledge that the X-Mark Pro is a very usable trigger with the second-lightest pull measured in our tests. And it can be adjusted lighter. We, however, freely admit we are trigger snobs. Our only gripe is about feel, not function.

Our Team Said: The Model 7 shot very, very well. It won our accuracy contest for this batch of rifles, shooting several sub-half-inch groups. We shot it, we worked with it, we thought about it and we debated about it. While this is not our top overall pick, it came really close.

Ruger Hawkeye Compact 37139 308 Winchester, $691


This rifle has a short length of pull and a 16.5-inch barrel, this could be a great truck gun or an outstanding rifle for a smaller shooter.
Action TypeBolt, 2 Lugs
Overall Length 35.5 in.
Barrel Length, Twist 16.5 in., 1:10
Overall Height w/o Scope Mount5.9 in.
Weight Unloaded5.5 lbs.
Weight Loaded6.0 lbs.
Sight RadiusNA
Action FinishPolished Blue
Barrel FinishPolished Blue
Magazine Capacity4 Rounds
Magazine TypeInternal Box
Drop at Comb1.5 in.
Drop at Heel1.75 in.
Length of Pull12.5 in.
Receiver Scope-Base PatternRuger
Trigger Pull Weight3.8 lbs.
Safety3 Position
WarrantyNone written
Telephone(336) 949-5200
Made InUSA

There are any number of ways to make a rifle lighter. One of them is to make everything smaller, and that is what Ruger did with the Hawkeye Compact. The barrel is thin, with a diameter at the muzzle we measured at less than 0.53 inches, and the barrel is only 16.5 inches long. That makes it very easy to get in and out of a vehicle at the ranch or in a deer blind. Shorter barrels also tend to provide less velocity. The Ruger, for example, showed velocity drops of 10% to 14% versus the Winchester Model 70 Featherweight and its 22-inch barrel. The shooter has to decide what is most important; energy, range, or ease of handling. All three are important considerations.

The Ruger’s receiver and the barrel are both blued steel, showing a nicely polished finish. The bolt body and handle are stainless steel with a matte finish. The bolt shroud is also blued. The action is a classic Mauser style with the expected controlled-feed bolt. The bolt has a massive extractor claw that keeps control of the cartridge from the instant it pops out of the magazine until it rests safely in the chamber. We measured bolt throw at 90 degrees, but a concave bolt handle kept it well clear of optics. Actual bolt throw was somewhat rough, especially while standing and running the bolt from the shoulder, but the bolt smoothed out some.

Feeding was very positive, but that also meant that all feeding had to be done via the magazine. The shooter should not try to single feed this rifle by laying a round on top of the follower and then closing the bolt. That places undue stress on and can actually damage the extractor. The bolt release is on the left side of the receiver, and the safety must be moved to the forward or middle position to remove the bolt. The safety is the three-position style with forward being Fire, the middle being Safe with the bolt unlocked, and the rearmost being Safe with the bolt locked. The ejector is pinned in the action and hinges up into play through a slot in the bolt as the bolt is moved to the rear.

The internal box magazine sports a solid-steel follower and alloy bottom metal. The floorplate release is accessible but well recessed. Of the rifles tested, the Hawkeye Compact’s trigger was the heaviest, a still very acceptable 3.8 pounds. We did not experience any overtravel, but our shooters occasionally detected just a hair of creep. The action has scope bases machined into the top of the receiver, and the rifle ships with a set of sturdy 1-inch rings, which saves the shooter quite a few dollars.

The stock is a pleasing piece of straight-grained walnut with checkering sharp enough to be usable wrapping around the forend and the grip. Wood-to-metal fit is good, and the barrel came in firm contact with the forend for the entire length. Modern Hawkeye rifles also add in an extra action screw (for a total of three). The third screw inserts at an angle and, when tightened, draws the action even more firmly down into contact with the stock.

There is a thin recoil pad that provides a modicum of recoil reduction. This is not the pad you would want on a 300 Winchester Magnum, but this isn’t a 300 Win. Mag., is it? Still, we liked the Remington’s pad better. Length of pull on this rifle is only 12.5 inches and overall length is a short 35.5 inches, making this a very good rifle for smaller people or smaller spaces. Ruger fits the stock with a pair of sling-swivel studs, along with a nicely engraved floorplate.

Our Team Said: The Hawkeye Compact functioned perfectly with all rounds tested, but shot the largest groups of the four rifles we tested. That being said, average group was a very acceptable 1.37 inch for all groups shot, and the Hawkeye Compact definitely showed a liking for the reduced-recoil Hornady SST. Average group with that round was almost exactly 1 inch. This little rifle just begs for a compact 2-7×32 scope, a truck or a horse to ride in/on, or a new shooter to teach.

Winchester Model 70 Featherweight Stainless 535234220 308 Winchester, $951


Smooth handling, very good accuracy and classical styling.
Action TypeBolt, 2 Lugs
Overall Length 42.25 in.
Barrel Length, Twist 22.0 in. ,1:12 in.
Overall Height w/o Scope Mount6.8 in.
Weight Unloaded6.9 lbs.
Weight Loaded7.25 lbs.
Sight RadiusNA
Action FinishMatte Stainless
Barrel FinishMatte Stainless
Magazine Capacity5 Rounds
Magazine TypeInternal Box
Drop at Comb0.5 in.
Drop at Heel0.75 in.
ButtplatePachmayr Decelerator
Length of Pull13.75 in.
Receiver Scope-Base PatternWinchester Short Action
Trigger Pull Weight3.1 lbs.
Safety3 Position
WarrantyNone written
Telephone(800) 333-3288
Made InPortugal

We require two things from our firearms: they have to go Bang! when they are supposed to, and they have to hit what they are pointed at. After that, everything else is gravy. In our opinion, the elegant lines on the Winchester Model 70 Featherweight we tested provided an entire breakfast, not just the gravy. The stock is a darker Grade 1 walnut with a Schnabel forend and a satin finish. Checkering is sharp, but not too sharp, and includes a graceful design on both the forend and the wrist. Wood-to-metal fit is outstanding, and the stock shows a great deal of figure. The buttstock ends with a perfectly fitted Pachmayr Decelerator pad. The stock also provides the almost obligatory pair of sling-swivel studs. The forend is free-floated for the barrel, at least the width of a business card, all the way to the receiver. The hinged metal floorplate was also matte finished. The release is accessible but required an intentional action to activate. Balance was very good, with the weight centering on the middle of the floorplate.

The barreled action starts with a 22-inch satin-stainless-steel tube and has a somewhat slow 1:12-inch twist rate. The barrel is finished with a target crown and tapers to approximately 0.55 inch at the muzzle. Many rifles have some type of recoil lug that is added in some way during assembly. The Winchester Model 70’s recoil lugs are machined as part of the receiver to better make sure that everything is aligned properly in the stock. When we removed the action from the stock, we noticed that the recoil lug and the rear action screw had both been glass-bedded — another nice touch to help accuracy.

Even though this is a current production firearm, the action is a pre-64 style (that’s good) with a three-position safety and controlled-round feed. Forward position is Fire, the middle is Safe with the bolt unlocked, and fully to the rear is Safe with a locked bolt. The bolt release is a vertical tab on the left rear of the receiver that is depressed to allow the bolt to be removed. This can be done with the safety in the forward or middle positions. The nicely jeweled, two-lug bolt has a non-rotating claw extractor. There is a spring-loaded blade ejector pinned inside the bolt raceway that levers up through a slot in the bolt body when the bolt is drawn to the rear. Controlled round feed means that all rounds headed for the chamber should first be loaded into the magazine. Do not single feed by laying a round on top of the follower and then closing the bolt. The magazine was very smooth to load and fed anything we put in it. The bolt handle is knurled and created a very positive grip. The M.O.A. trigger provided a consistent break at just over 3 pounds with virtually no creep or overtravel. Bolt lift and throw was very smooth, whether the rifle was on the bench or shouldered standing.

Our Team Said: Because our rifles did not weigh 16 pounds and cost $12,000, we did not expect them to shoot 0.3-inch groups every time we tried. We did not expect perfection, so we were very pleased with very good accuracy. Sub-1-inch groups used to be the exception. Now they are expected, and we were not disappointed. We really prefer the concept of an 8-pound-total rifle/scope package when we are about to step into the field. This Winchester chambered and fired everything we tried. It was second overall in accuracy testing, only losing that contest by an average of 0.05-inch per group and was one of the smoothest rifles we tested. Add to that the beauty of the wood and the traditional styling. Hence, it is Our Pick.

Written and photographed by Joe Woolley, using evaluations from Gun Tests team testers.


Browning X-Bolt Micro Midas 22-250 Rem., $879Dec. 2019AOur Pick. This is a trim rifle made for the small-statured or still-developing hunter.
Howa Model 1500 Youth 22-250 Rem., $529Dec. 2019ABest Buy. With youth- and adult-length stocks available, this is a great rifle.
Bergara B-14 B14S104 22-250 Rem., $879Dec. 2019ADesigned with the full-sized hunter in mind, this would be a great companion on a coyote hunt.
Browning X-Bolt 035395291 6mm CM, $2400Aug. 2019AA superior varminter that could shoot in competition.
Howa 1500 H-S Precision HHS62203 6mm CM, $1220Aug. 2019AThis is a great all-around rifle at a reasonable price.
Barrett Fieldcraft Rifle Threaded 6mm CM, $1929Aug. 2019A-This is a super-lightweight precision build you’ll want to take everywhere.
Savage 110 Scout 57139 450 Bushmaster, $829July 2019A-Best Buy. The Savage Axis proved accurate, reliable, and fast handling. Adjustable LOP.
Ruger Scout Rifle 6830 7.62 NATO, $1139July 2019B+The Ruger Scout comes closest to the original Scout rifle concept, but it falls short due to weight.
Mossberg MVP Scout Combo 7.62 NATO, $780July 2019BNot a true interpretation of the Scout Rifle concept. Accurate, well-handling short rifle at a good price.
Savage 110 Apex Storm XP 57344 6.5 CM, $605June 2019A-Best Buy. The Savage Axis proved accurate, reliable, and fast handling. Adjustable LOP.
Mauser M18 M18065P 6.5 PRC, $628June 2019A-Accurate and reliable. Expensive compared to the others.
Savage Axis II XP Rifle 57289 6.5 CM, $400June 2019B+A credible and accurate rifle for hunting. Superior stock treatment.
Ruger 77/44 Model 7401 44 Remington Mag., $754May 2019A-The 77/44 offers accuracy and power in a lightweight rifle. We disliked the magazine.
Ruger American Rifle 6903 Standard 308 Win. $382Dec. 2018ALight enough, accurate enough, and inexpensive enough for us to want to keep it.
Savage Axis II XP 57095 308 Win. $411Dec. 2018A-Best Buy. It works well, is accurate enough for hunting, and it is affordable.
Savage Model 12FV 18393 308 Win., $420Dec. 2018A-Most accurate rifle tested. Modest recoil. The rifle never failed to impress us.
Mossberg Trophy Hunter 308 Win., $240Dec. 2018COverall, the rifle was worth the modest price, but there are better choices.
Uintah UPR-10 Bolt AR-10 Upper 6.5 CM, $1295June 2018B+Capable of very good accuracy, this was a dream upper in need of a little refinement.
Ruger American Rifle Ranch 06968 300 Blackout, $420May 2018A-Shot well both suppressed and unsuppressed. Short length would make it handy.
Remington M700 SPS-T 84205 300 Blackout, $680May 2018A-Shot well in 300 BLK supersonic and subsonic.
Savage Arms 10PT-SR 22356 308 Win., $550May 2018B+Good build. It did shoot sub-MOA with one round. We loved the handle and AccuTrigger.
CZ-USA CZ 527 Youth 03050 7.62x39mm, $650Mar. 2018A-/B+Grade A- for adults; Grade B+ for youths. We would trust it to work for a lifetime.
Browning A-Bolt Micro Hunter 7mm-08 Rem., $578Mar. 2018A-/C+Grade A- for adults; Grade C+ for youths. Too much rifle and recoil for younger shooters.
Savage Axis II Compact 22230 243 Win. $490Mar. 2018B/AGrade B for adults; Grade A for youths. Clear winner as a youth rifle.
Desert Tech SRS-A1 6.5 Creedmoor, $4495Nov. 2017ATest results proved the SRS-A1 is at the top of the rifle-quality pyramid.
Ruger Hawkeye Mark IV VT 17980 6.5 CM, $1139Nov. 2017B+Rough bolt action, but in terms of accuracy, the Hawkeye deserved an A.
Legacy Sports Howa HCR 6.5 Creedmoor, $1450Nov. 2017CThe HCR should grade higher based on its ergonomics and simplicity.
Remington M700 SPS 85538 308 Win., $600Oct. 2017B+This short rifle isn’t the most accurate, but the overall handling is superb.
Remington Model 700 SPS 84218 308 Win., $606Oct. 2017B+Hard to find a production rifle that is capable of greater practical accuracy.
Savage Axis 19223 308 Win, $240Oct. 2017CAccuracy wasn’t the best. The rifle was dogged by a heavy trigger that we fixed.
Remington 783 85847 308 Win., $340Mar. 2017ABest Buy. This was the most accurate rifle tested, and there were no demerits.
Remington 700 SPS 85538 308 Win. $655Mar. 2017A-There are few rifles that are as handy as this one.
Savage Axis XP 19231 308 Win., $390Mar. 2017BAccuracy wasn’t the best, but accuracy was acceptable with the provided riflescope.
Mossberg 100 All-Terrain Rifle 27230 308 Win., $200 (Used)Mar. 2017CThe rifle did not misfeed. We liked the cheek rest. The primary problem was accuracy.
Thompson Center Compass 10071 22-250 Rem., $399Feb. 2017ASimple, straightforward, and inexpensive. Delivered sub-MOA groups with all rounds.
Browning X-Bolt Micro Midas 22-250 Rem., $860Feb. 2017B+This is a super-handy rifle for the whole family, and it can fit just about anywhere.
CZ USA 557 Sporter 04806 243 Win., $792Feb. 2017B+The 557’s refined looks belied its rugged durability. Heavier weight did not tame recoil.
Legacy Sports Howa Mini Action 6.5 Grendel, $855Feb. 2017CThis otherwise top-grade rifle was spoiled by weak magazine retention.
Ruger Precision Rifle 18008 6.5 Creedmoor, $1599Nov. 2016ARuger took an already good gun and made it a touch better.


  1. I would like to see some of these tests done at 300 yards or better. Not that hunters need to take long range shots – it’s called “hunting” after all. But the difference in a rifle’s performance with various ammunition often does not show up until some range is achieved. A lot of shooters have never shot that far and really do not understand their rifle’s potential or pitfalls with a five shot group at 100 yards.

    I would like to see you broaden the scope of the magazine just a little by featuring some articles by shooters who shoot in various competitions. Such as steel silhouette matches and have a couple of short paragraphs by competitors with their takes on rifles and ammunition used to knock down rams at 500 meters etc. You don’t have to test the rifles, just a short article of interest about the various shooting sports out there such as silhouette shooting; what it is, what it takes to compete. Getting people into silhouette shooting is a good way to get them into guns in a positive way. Don’t have to wait for a certain time of year to maybe shoot some evasive live animal and it’s not about kill or be killed self-defense situations. It’s much more fun to hear steel ring and see the target fall than just poking holes in paper. Articles on equipment and ammo used for silhouette shooting (and other shooting sports, i.e. sporting clays and what type of shotgun would be best) would help get new shooters interested in becoming competitive shooters. There are a lot of ladies and young people who are very good .22 silhouette shooters but we would always welcome more and a few articles on shooting sports would help get the word out.

  2. I looked at the accuracy data posted, then read the article. My thought was that the data used for the article must have been different than what was published.


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