There’s always a hunting season around the corner, and that’s why it’s great to have your .308 rifle ready to go!

What’s that? You don’t have a .308 rifle? We’ll have to fix that!

It’s tough to find an avid hunter or marksman who doesn’t have a quality .308 Winchester rifle, or at least some experience loading and firing these cartridges at distant targets. Whether you prefer the old-fashioned elegance of a bolt action rifle or want something more modern with a semi-automatic, auto-loading firearm, there’s a .308 weapon with your name on it.

Let’s break down why you’d use a .308 rifle in the first place, then take a look at some quality .308 rifle weapons in detail.

 

What’s a .308 Rifle and What is It Used for?

As one of the most popular cartridge calibers in the US (and indeed, the world!), the .308 Winchester has had a long and storied history. First put into action in the 1950s, the .308 Winchester eventually led to the development of the 7.62x51mm NATO cartridge. Though these two cartridges are almost identical, the .308 Winchester has remained primarily a hunter’s and marksman’s cartridge, while the latter is mostly used for automatic loading firearms.

Today, you can find .308 rifles in both automatic loading and bolt action firearms. The cartridge has the same power as a .30-06 Springfield cartridge with a shorter cartridge case. Thanks to the advanced propellant technology it relies on, the .308 Winchester can provide plenty of stopping power, excellent accuracy at a distance, and good range consistency.

Simply put, a .308 rifle is one of the best hunting firearms you can purchase. But the .308 cartridge’s versatility also allows a rifle chambered for it to function well as a self-defense weapon or even as a tactical firearm for some of the world’s military organizations.

 

What to Look for in a .308 rifle

Before you buy a .308 rifle, however, you’ll want to focus on a few major factors that can help you determine which firearm will be perfect for your unique needs.

 

Weight

For starters, consider the weight of a .308 rifle before buying. Heavier rifles are better for property defense or target shooting, especially for competitions. On the flip side, lighter rifles may be better for hunting because it means you’ll carry less weight around while on your way to your hunting site or while pursuing a target.

However, heavier rifles are usually affected less by recoil and may offer a stabler shooting experience. Your mileage may vary on this point; it all depends on your upper body strength and how comfortable you are with a heavier firearm.

 

Scope Mounting Options

Next, consider the scope mounting options a rifle can take. Some .308 Winchester rifles can take both Weaver and Picatinny mounting rings, while others may be more suitable for one or the other.

No matter what, you’ll probably want to mount at least one optic to your .308 rifle at some point. A good scope can really improve your accuracy and help you hit your targets from afar. If you already have a great scope you want to use with your .308 rifle, make sure it can accept that scope’s mounting system before buying.

 

Bolt-Action or Auto-Loading?

.308 cartridges have been around for so long that you can find both bolt action and auto-loading rifles chambered for them. Bolt-action rifles are a little more old-school, and they can sometimes produce better accuracy at long ranges (though this is also dependent on your experience with these rifles). Furthermore, bolt action rifles are simpler at a mechanical level; there’s less that can go wrong with these weapons, so your maintenance requirements are also less rigorous.

On the other than, semi-automatic or auto-loading .308 rifles let you take multiple shots in rapid succession. They require more maintenance and more parts can break, but they’re arguably easier to use since you don’t have to load another cartridge in after every shot.

There’s no right or wrong answer for this preference; just consider which one you prefer and look for a .308 rifle that matches your choice.

 

Comfort and Recoil Control

Some .308 rifles are designed with exceptional recoil control elements or inclusions, such as padded stocks or butts. If you have difficulty controlling recoil, or if you aren’t very experienced with high recoil weapons, try to find a rifle that takes this into account and will provide a consistent, comfortable shooting experience.

 

Durability

Lastly, always pick a rifle that looks like it’ll be durable for years to come. Most .308 rifles fit the bill, but some are certainly sturdier than others.

To determine whether a rifle is durable, consider the materials the rifle is made with. High-quality synthetic polymers, stainless steel, and finished wood are all excellent choices for a .308 rifle’s grip, barrel, and mechanical parts.

Plus, high-quality materials usually mean the weapon will continue to work even in inclement weather like rain or fog. For hunters, this is a non-negotiable factor they must consider before purchasing a new firearm.

 

The 10 Best .308 Rifles

With all that out of the way, let’s take a look at the ten best .308 rifles in 2021!

1. Remington 700 ADL

The Remington 700 is arguably the best bolt action .308 rifle in existence and has been for some time. This classic firearm model has been around for many decades and has made a massive impact on the law enforcement, military, and sports betting industries. There are lots of good reasons for this, including a variety of models available, its integration options with different optics or scopes, and the quality of each rifle’s action, which ensures fantastic performance and durability.

The Remington 700 is also a great choice if you’re a fan of aftermarket modifications, such as the inclusion of custom stocks, barrel add-ons, or other changes. While Remington 700 triggers are not the best, you can easily swap these for a better after model. All in all, the Remington 700 is the best choice for experienced firearm owners that want something they can customize to their heart’s content.

Specs:

  • Price: $585.99
  • Weight: 7.25 pounds
  • Caliber: .308 Winchester
  • Capacity: 4+1
  • Action: Bolt
  • Barrel Length: 24 inches

2. Ruger American Predator

The Ruger American Predator is a fantastic option if you want a relatively affordable hunting rifle model that can accurately produce shot groups at under 1 inch even at distances up to 100 yards away.

The rifle features an aluminum bedding block in the stock, which helps keeps its weight low and allows the barrel to float freely, boosting accuracy compared to other rifles on the market.

We also really like that the barrel is threaded, so you can add muzzle attachments like suppressors or brakes if you’re a fan of customizing your rifles for field use.

Other excellent features include a user-adjustable trigger, a 70° bolt throw that lets you quickly cycle between cartridges, and an ergonomic safety.

Specs:

  • Price $539.99
  • Weight: 6.2 pounds
  • Cartridge: .308 Winchester
  • Capacity: 4+1
  • Action: Bolt
  • Barrel Length: 18 inches

3. Sig Sauer Cross 

The Sig Sauer Team was looking to design a reliable hunting rifle with the same accuracy as a precision rifle. It had to be lightweight, modular and able to adapt to any setting it was placed in.

The Sig Sauer Cross Precision Hunting Rifle is now available. The Cross lets you customize the rifle to meet your needs. The Cross includes a Match Grade 2-stage adjustable trigger. This allows you to choose between a break of 2 lbs. and 4 lbs.

There is also an extra-large bolt handle that can be interchangeable, so you can pick the right bolt handle for you shooting style. You can also interchange the barrel by using a standard AR-style barrel wrench and a tapered barrel nuts.

The barrel can be used immediately with the factory-set headspace. This beautiful hybrid has a full adjustable stock that allows you to adjust your comb height, pull length, and butt stock height.

Specs:

  • Price: $1,599.99
  • Action: Bolt
  • Barrel Length: 20 in.
  • Overall Length: 36.5 in.
  • Weight: 6.6 lbs.
  • Caliber: .308 Winchester
  • Capacity: 5+1

4. Bergara Premier Series HMR PRO

The Bergara Premier Series HMR PRO is a high-quality precision rifle chambered for .308 Winchester that can do practically everything well, including target shoot or hunt in the wild. It features a durable polymer stock, plus a pistol-style grip for ease of use and extreme comfort. The stock is further adjustable with built-in spacers, making it great for folks with shorter or longer arms than average.

Upon purchasing the weapon, you’ll also find flush cups that make it great for sling mounting, as well as an internal bedding chassis plus a crisp, 3-pound trigger pull. It comes with a five-round magazine, although you can use 10 round magazines in .223 Rem if you prefer having more shots before reloading.

Specs:

  • Price: $1,649.99
  • Weight: 9.4 lbs
  • Caliber: .308 Winchester
  • Capacity: 5+1
  • Action: Bolt
  • Barrel Length: 20 inches

5. Windham Weaponry 308 Hunter Rifle

The Windham Weaponry 308 Hunter rifle features an 18-inch fluted medium profile barrel made from 4150M chrome moly vanadium 11595E Steel, chrome-lined with an A2 flash suppressor, and a pepper gray finish hardwood laminate stock.

The receiver is made from 7075 T6 aircraft aluminum and features an Integral Trigger Guard. It also has a color-coordinating finish in hardcoat coyote brown anodized or Electroless Nickel (Mil-C-26074E).

The 308 Hunter features a manual lever safety and indicator markings on both sides of the receiver. It also has a Mil-Std 1913 Rail Gas Block, a Hogue overmolded pistol grip, and an A4-style optic ready flat top upper receiver. The rifle is housed in a hard-plastic gun case with black web sling and a QD sling swivel.

Specs:

  • Price: $1,399.99
  • Barrel Length: 18 in.
  • Overall Length: 39.5 in.
  • Action: Semi-Automatic
  • Weight: 8.5 lbs.
  • Caliber: .308 Winchester
  • Capacity: 5+1

6. Christensen Arms Traverse

 Christensen Arms Traverse Stainless Bolt Action Rifle – 308 Winchester – The Traverse is a new addition to their backcountry rifle range. It features time-honored styling as well as exceptional performance.

The Monte-Carlo composite carbon fiber gunstock has a traditional feel. However, the Christensen Arms carbon fiber wrapped barrel, stainless-steel side-baffle brake and bottom picatinnyrail ensure state of the art operation.

The Traverse is lightweight at 7.3 lbs. and comes with the Christensen Arms Sub MOA Guarantee.

Specs:

  • Price: $2,449.99
  • Barrel Length: 20 in.
  • Overall Length: 42 in.
  • Action: Bolt
  • Weight: 7.3 lbs.
  • Caliber: .308 Winchester
  • Capacity: 3+1

7. Springfield Armory M1A SOCOM-16 CQB

Springfield makes several quality .308 rifles. The M1A SOCOM-16 CQB is excellent for shooters who prioritize high accuracy, featuring an upgraded barrel (match-grade quality) and a 1.11” twist. This ensures that your .308 cartridges will spiral for extra accuracy at long ranges.

The 16-inch barrel is mated to a gas system with a proprietary muzzle brake, which reduces felt recoil and keeps muzzle rise flat with follow up shots. The SOCOM 16 features Springfield Armory’s forward scout-style Picatinny mount.

Specs:

  • Price: $2,122.99
  • Weight: 11 pounds
  • Capacity: 10+1
  • Action: Semi-Automatic
  • Barrel Length: 16 inches

8. Howa 1500 Hogue Black Bolt Action

 Howa 1500 Black Bolt Action Rifle, 308 Winchester, 26in – A rifle that’s out of the box for hunters and target shooters. For superior fit, function, and accuracy, the Hogue Rifle has a Hogue pillar bedded overmolded stock & recoil pad.

Combining the precision Howa 1500 with the ergonomic Hogue OverMolded Stock is the perfect combination for a lightweight entry-level match rifle or sporting rifle that you can rely on.

The Howa 1500 comes with a cold hammer-forged barrel, a steel forged bolt, receiver, HACT 2-stage trigger and a 3-position safety.

Features a forged one-piece bolt w/ two locking lugs, two-stage Hact Trigger, three-position safety, and sling swivel studs

Specs:

  • Price: $629.99
  • Weight: 7.8 pounds
  • Capacity: 5+1
  • Action: Bolt
  • Barrel Length: 26 inches
  • Caliber: .308 Winchester

9. Wilson Combat AR-10 Ranger

Wilson Combat’s Ranger series rifles combine their lightweight billet receiver set with their Ranger profile match-grade tapered barrel to make a quick-handling precision AR carbine. This makes it ideal for tactical, defense, or hunting purposes.

The Ranger profile AR barrel is the lightest AR barrel and retains match-grade accuracy even when the rifle heats from rapid-fire firing. The Ranger comes equipped with a Wilson Combat custom rifle, the M-LOK(r), a lightweight rail that can be used for rapid-fire shooting and a tried-and-true Tactical Trigger unit. The Ranger is a premium tactical rifle that will serve you well.

Specs:

  • Price: $3,285.00
  • Weight: 8 lbs
  • Capacity: 20+1
  • Action: Direct Impingement
  • Barrel Length: 16”
  • Overall Length: 33.5” – 37.75”

10. Seekins Precision HAVAK Element

Seekins Precision’s next phase in Unrivaled Innovation is the HAVAK ELEMENT. Seekins Precision, based on the years of precision AR rifle experience and the unmatched success of HAVAK lines, has developed the hybrid ultra-lightweight hunting rifle.

This rifle is made of aerospace grade 7075 aluminum and features a Mountain Hunter contoured, fluted barrel. The short action models are only 5.5 lbs. in weight while the long-action models are 6.0 lbs. The lightweight HAVAK comes with Seekins’ Lifetime and Shooter Satisfaction Guarantees.

Specs:

  • Price: $2,650.00
  • Cartridge: .308 Winchester
  • Weight: 5.5 lbs
  • Capacity: 3+1
  • Action: Bolt
  • Barrel Length: 21”

Wrap Up

Bottom line: .308 rifles are everywhere, and for good reason! Most of these firearms are versatile, durable, and designed for hunting in any type of weather. You’ll be doing yourself a favor if you pick up a .308 rifle ASAP, whether you want to use it on your next hunting trip or just want a solid property defense firearm you can rely on.

In any case, we hope the above .308 rifle choices have piqued your interest. These firearms are all made from quality manufacturers and designed to give you your money’s worth every time. Good hunting!