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