Choosing new hunting rifles isn’t always easy due to the variety of options. Bolt-action, lever-action, semi-automatic, or in some cases, pump-action, is just one of the many details to consider. To save you the hassle of buying and comparing firearms, we’ve compiled the following selection of the best hunting rifles for 2022.
After testing a variety of hunting rifles, the Sig Cross Bolt-Action Centerfire Rifle stands out as the clear winner. The Sig Cross is a high-precision rifle built for long-range shooters. It offers superior accuracy, reliability, and durability compared to many other rifles on the market. Yet, the Sig Cross may not meet everyone’s needs. Selecting the right rifle involves considering many details, from the type of game and the environment to distance.
Keep reading to learn more about the best hunting rifles, including the best overall pick.
Best Overall Hunting Rifle: Sig Cross Bolt-Action Centerfire Rifle
The Sig Cross Bolt-Action Centerfire Rifle is designed for accuracy, making it a top choice for hunters looking to improve their marksmanship skills. Featuring unmatched precision engineering and manufacturing, the Sig Cross offers exceptional performance for long-range shooting. The Sig Cross weighs just under 6.5 pounds, making it one of the lightest hunting rifles in its class. It has a capacity of five rounds and features bolt-action operation. The company issued a recall after its first production run. However, the company addressed the issue, and none of the latest rifles experience the same mechanical issue.
The rifle is durable and suited for use in the roughest conditions. It includes a stainless steel 5/8x24 threaded barrel and quality craftsmanship. While the rifle can hit targets at 1000 yards or further, it works best at distances up to about 500 yards or so. The lightness of the rifle makes it well-suited for the lower end of long-range hunting. Along with a lightweight design, the rifle is easy to shoot and features a crisp trigger. It is a pleasure to operate and easy to customize with the scope of your choice.
Best hunting rifle for low recoil: Bergara B-14 Wilderness Ridge
The Bergara B-14 Wilderness Ridge Rifle is another bolt-action rifle built for firing at long distances. However, it includes several design features that allow it to minimize recoil. It includes a free-floating barrel and a multi-ported muzzle brake, reducing recoil by up to 35% compared to rifles without these features. The rifle includes a camo design, helping it remain discreet in most environments. It weighs .72 pounds and has a barrel length of 22 inches.
As with the other rifles in this roundup, the Bergara B-14 includes a 5/8x24 barrel and works well with .308 Winchester rounds. It has a capacity of four rounds when using standard calibers and three rounds when using magnum caliber rounds. Along with less recoil, you may prefer the Bergara B-14 Wilderness Ridge Rifle for its comfort. It has an ergonomic design and crisp trigger with a super smooth bolt action system.
Best hunting rifle for reliability and value: Browning X-Bolt
The Browning X-Bolt Rifle is a popular rifle available in many configurations. The X-Bolt Western Hunter option is one of the more affordable choices. It also closely resembles the Bergara B-14 rifle due to its camo pattern. As with the Bergara rifle, the Browning X-Bolt also features a free-floated barrel, which helps reduce recoil and improves accuracy for follow-up shots.
The two rifles are closely matched, but the Browning has a slightly heavier trigger. You need to apply a little more force, which may not appeal to those stalking their prey at closer distances. However, the Browning X-Bolt is typically found at slightly lower prices. Due to its reasonable price point and reliable construction, the Browning X-Bolt offers great value for your money. You can use the money that you save to add a scope or other aftermarket accessories.
Best hunting rifle for budget shoppers: Ruger American Rimfire Standard Bolt-Action Rifle
If the previous options exceed your budget, consider getting the Ruger American Rimfire Standard Bolt-Action Rifle. This rifle costs about half the price of the previous two options but still holds its own. The Ruger American Rifle also boasts a larger capacity. It holds 10 rounds plus one in the chamber, for a total capacity of 11 rounds. The barrel measures 22 inches, which matches the specs of the earlier recommendations. However, the Ruger American Rimfire Rifle saves on cost by using synthetic materials wherever possible.
The gun weighs just six pounds, making it light and easy to carry when hunting. However, it may not hold up as long as the previous rifles when used frequently in wet, rough conditions.
With a variety of options for the best hunting rifles, you can now upgrade your setup for the upcoming hunting season. The Sig Cross Rifle stands out as the best choice due to its reliability and accuracy. Compared to the other choices, the Sig Cross Rifle features greater precision in the manufacturing process, reducing the risk of issues that impact the accuracy of your rifle. The Sig Cross is also lightweight, comfortable to fire, and easy to upgrade with the factory-installed M-LOK handguard.