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When people talk about a “sniper rifle,” what they’re actually speaking of is a military precision rifle.
Military precision rifles are the same as civilian precision rifles in most regards. Typically, the main difference is that sniper rifles tend to be lighter, with more options for customization and attachments.
So you can use a sniper rifle for pretty much anything that you’d use a civilian precision rifle for. It’s virtually impossible to get true military models, anyway. Any sniper rifle on the civilian market is a civilian model, even if it’s built around a military design.
Our Best Choice
Savage ARMS 10BA Stealth
Before we start reviewing rifles, we’re going to give away the good stuff: the Savage Arms 10BA Stealth is the best sniper rifle you can get without spending a ridiculous amount of money. The 10BA delivers solid performance at a price that works for most budgets.
If you’re sticking around for the rest of the reviews, we’ll start in on the details of the winning sniper rifle and a whole bunch of other great rifles right now.
Top Sniper Rifle Options Today
The 8 Best Sniper Rifle Reviews: Hits and Misses (Updated 2019)
The best sniper rifle gets the first review slot. After that, we’ll proceed in order of price, from most affordable to most unbelievably expensive.
These are the ones you should look at right now:
1. Savage Arms 10BA Stealth: Best Overall Sniper Rifle
Savage Arms is a leader in the hunting and precision rifle market. They produce high performance rifles and sell them at reasonable prices. The Savage Arms 10BA Stealth fits right in with their business model as a solid performer that comes in at a lower price than most precision rifles.
First, Savage stepped away from military tradition with the caliber. The 10BA is chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor, which brings better flight path and terminal ballistics to the rifle. So, you’ll actually get better long range performance from this rifle than with many traditional sniper rifles.
The barrel is 24 inches, which is a standard length for long range shooting. The barrel has enough length to get hits at almost any range. The barrel is threaded for those who want to add a muzzle device.
Additionally, the barrel is married to a monolithic billet chassis. The upper receiver is a solid piece of aluminum, which makes the platform more rigid and improves the native accuracy of the rifle and provides an extremely rigid optic mounting rail.
The stock is an adjustable six-position stock that resembles an AR-15 stock. It offers good options for adjusting the length of pull. However, some might prefer a traditional stock for long range shooting.
The trigger itself is the Savage Accutrigger design. It offers a nice short pull and a clean break. However, many shooters prefer a trigger with a less pronounced safety tab. Fortunately, there are plenty of aftermarket triggers for that.
Lastly, the standard magazine capacity is 10 rounds, which is respectable for any precision rifle. Competition shooters will appreciate this, since they won’t need to reload all the time.
Overall, this rifle is an excellent option for any long range shooter. The price is manageable on almost any budget, and the performance is solid enough for all but the most extreme long range
2. Savage Arms Axis II HP: Budget Sniper Rifle
The Savage Arms Axis II HP keeps costs down, but strays into hunting rifle territory a bit.
First, the stock is wood. It performs just fine. However, polymer is the preferred material for tactical rifle stocks, these days. Savage offers a model with a polymer stock, but it’ll cost you.
The barrel is 22 inches. It’s long enough for most hunting and most long range competition shooting. However, those who want to shoot at super long ranges or get excellent terminal ballistics at max range may find that they’d prefer a 24 inch barrel.
Unfortunately, the muzzle is plain. No threading for muzzle devices.
The chassis is entirely stainless steel. It’s very rigid and provides good native accuracy. It also makes the bolt action very smooth, since it’s a steel-on-steel action.
Savage includes a 3x9 scope with this rifle. 3x9 is pretty standard for hunting. But, you may want to get something more powerful if you’re looking to hit the competition tables.
The magazine is a detachable 4-round magazine. For a tactical rifle, the magazine capacity is low. It will work for competition and tactical long range shooting. But, it may be a limiting factor in some competitions and contexts.
Savage fitted this model with their AccuTrigger. It’s a solid trigger—smooth with a crisp break. However, the safety tab bugs some shooters. Sadly, it might be tricky to find an aftermarket trigger for this rifle.
Overall, this rifle is best for shooters who have a limited budget, and want a competitive rifle. It’s good enough to compete at the novice level. And it easily doubles as a hunting rifle. But it’s definitely built for cost-effectiveness, not performance.
3. Mossberg MVP LR: Value Sniper Rifle
The Mossberg MVP LR comes in a close second to our winning rifle in terms of performance and price. The combination of ergonomic features and price make this rifle a killer deal.
First, this rifle is built around a fully synthetic stock. The stock has an adjustable cheek rest with a rubberized finish. Both competition and tactical shooters will appreciate that the adjustable cheek rest helps them get proper eye relief and quickly find their reticle.
The barrel is only 20 inches long. This makes the rifle easier to handle. But, it loses some extreme long range performance.
The barrel is fluted for improved cooling and consistency from shot to shot. This is nice for tactical shooters who take rapid shots for sustained periods of time.
Last thing about the barrel: it’s threaded and ready for any muzzle device you’re into.
The standard magazine holds 10 rounds of .308 ammunition. However, the MVP receiver also takes AR-10 magazines. This will save you money if you’ve already got an AR-10.
Mossberg fitted this model with their Lightning Bolt Action adjustable trigger. The trigger is adjustable from 3 to 7 pounds. Some shooters may wish it could be lighter. But the adjustment range is excellent for any context.
Lastly, the MVP is equipped with an oversized bolt handle for faster cycling between rounds. If you need to lug your rifle around a lot, it might be annoying. But, it’s great for competition stages.
For the price, this is a hard rifle to beat. If you’re looking for a more tactically oriented rifle, and are willing to trade some ultra long range performance for more maneuverability, this is an excellent option.
4. Savage Arms 110 LRH: Best Long Range Sniper Rifle for the Money
The Savage Arms 110 LRH takes the classic Savage rifle up a notch and adds some tactical features.
The most noticeable upgrade: the full synthetic stock. It provides a nice rigid platform and keeps the weight down. It’s also equipped with the Savage AccuFit system that enables you to adjust the length-of-pull and the comb height, for a custom fit.
Next most noticeable thing: the barrel.
It’s a full 26 inches, and capped with an adjustable muzzle brake. To help take advantage of the barrel length, this rifle is chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor.
It’s excellent if you’re looking to do some really long range shooting. However, tactical shooters may find that the barrel makes the rifle tricky to handle in tight spaces.
The AccuTrigger on this rifle is adjustable. So you can really dial in your trigger pull for hitting high-difficulty shots.
Unfortunately, the magazine is only 3 rounds. This rifle also has a fixed magazine. This can be swapped out. But, out of the box, that’s not ideal for competition or tactical shooting.
The LRH is also fitted with classic scope mounts, rather than a rail. It’s mostly just inconvenient. But a scope rail would be better.
Reloading won’t be the best for tactical or competition shooters, without some modification. But, overall, the Savage Arms LRH comes right out of the box configured for ultra long range shooting. But it’s an excellent option for anyone who wants an extreme long range capable rifle, without paying too much.
5. Howa KRG Bravo: Competition Sniper Rifle
The Howa KRG Bravo is designed to be ready for competition or tactical shooting right out of the box.
It’s built on a polymer stock, with an aluminum backbone and action bed for increased rigidity and native accuracy. The stock also has an adjustable cheek rest, for exact eye relief and faster reticle acquisition.
There are also multiple accessory attachment points on the stock, so you can customize this rifle however you want.
The barrel is 26 inches long, and ends with a threaded muzzle. So, you can attach any muzzle device you need.
This rifle is chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor, so you can get the most from the 26 inch barrel. It’s an excellent barrel length and round combination for competition shooters and long range hunters.
The magazine holds 10 rounds, and is removable. Tactical and competition shooters will appreciate how easy this rifle is to reload. This model takes AICS-pattern magazines. So you should have no trouble finding additional magazines, which is good, because it only comes with one.
There are tons of aftermarket enhancements for this rifle. But, it’s a shame that Howa didn’t include an oversized bolt handle. The stock bolt handle is actually kind of small for such a high-end rifle.
In the end, though, this is an excellent option for anyone who wants to get into competition or tactical shooting for a middle-of-the-road price. Even advanced shooters could use this rifle, since it’s so easy to upgrade.
6. Tikka T3X TAC A1: Tactical Sniper Rifle
The Tikka T3X TAC A1 really focuses on the tactical aspect of the sniper rifle. It’s designed to be a flexible platform that any shooter can use to build a custom tactical rig.
Tikka started with a milled aluminum chassis for ultimate rigidity. They mounted a 20 inch, threaded barrel on that chassis. This produced a platform that’s accurate enough for typical tactical precision shooting distances.
The forend has full-length rails for adding attachments virtually anywhere you want them. The forend itself is interchangeable. So, so you can swap it out for your favorite forend or a smooth handguard, if you want.
The stock is adjustable and has an adjustable cheek rest. For easy transport, the stock folds to make a shorter package.
Additionally, all the furniture on this rifle can be replaced with AR-15 furniture, which gives you a lot of options for customizing the ergonomics. Some may not like the AR-15 furniture. Fortunately, there are pieces that are compatible with AR-15 mounts that feel more like a traditional stock.
Speaking of ergonomics, the bolt handle is oversized. So, you can cycle the bolt quickly for rapid fire.
The trigger is an adjustable two-stage trigger that adjusts from 2 to 4 pounds. The adjustment range is perfect for competitive and tactical long range shooters.
This model comes with a detachable magazine that holds 10 rounds of .308 ammunition. No, .308 isn’t the best round for long range shooting these days. But it works.
This Tikka T3X represents a pretty significant jump in price from the last rifle on the list. However, it’s an excellent option for shooters who want a tactically oriented rifle that they can customize to fit their body and shooting style.
7. Springfield Armory M1A 6.5 Creedmoor: Semi-Automatic Sniper Rifle
Technically, a semi-automatic rifle is not a sniper rifle. It’s a designated marksman rifle. But we’ll throw the Springfield Armory M1A 6.5 Creedmoor in here anyway, because it’s an awesome rifle. And Springfield updated the chambering to add some real long range chops to this one.
The first big point is right in the name. This rifle fires a 6.5 Creedmoor round, which gives the platform much more range than the original .308 round.
It sports a 22 inch barrel with a muzzle brake. This is a semi-automatic rifle that delivers near bolt-action precision, even at very long ranges.
Springfield swapped out the original wood stock with a full synthetic stock, which reduces the weight a bit. However, it’s still a fairly heavy rifle at 11.4 pounds.
This is one of the few long range rifles that comes with sights. Both the front and the rear sight are adjustable (though you usually only adjust the front sight for zeroing). You can still mount an optic on this rifle. However, you’ll need an M1A scope mount.
This model ships with a detachable 10 round magazine, which is nice because you can crank off rounds pretty fast.
Some have complained about the trigger on the M1A. But it’s a decent trigger. The break is very crisp and the reset is clear. Some people don’t like that the take up sometimes feels gritty.
Since it is semi-automatic, this isn’t a great gun for extreme long range. Also, it might cause complications for competition shooters, because many competitions don’t let semi-auto rifles compete against bolt action rifles.
However, it’s a great gun for anyone who does long range competition in the semi-auto category. or those who want something that’s a bit more versatile than a bolt gun, but that still hits hard at long distance.
8. Accuracy International AT .308: Best High-End Sniper Rifle
The Accuracy International AT .308 is the closest thing to a true sniper rifle that you can get on the civilian market. It’s built almost exactly like a military precision rifle, but with a few tweaks to make it legal for civilians to own.
Accuracy International offers the AT .308 in two different barrel lengths: 20 and 24 inches. The 24 inch model is better for absolute long range precision, especially using the .308 round. Choose the 24 inch barrel if you’re looking for military-grade precision.
Everything on this rifle is adjustable. The stock is adjustable for length of pull and cheek rest height. The pistol grip is configurable. The trigger is definitely adjustable.
The trigger is Accuracy International’s proprietary two-stage trigger, which is designed for long range engagements. Both tactical and competition shooters will be impressed with this trigger.
The magazine is a detachable, 10 round magazine. It’s a double stack magazine, so that it doesn’t protrude from the bottom of the gun for a more streamlined profile.
There are 6 sling attachment points and a bipod mount. So you can carry the rifle and set it up any way you want. However, this is a heavy rifle. It weighs in at 12.6 pounds.
Everything inside the rifle is designed to make the operation smooth, fast, and reliable. There’s the 6 lug, 60-degree bolt, and the one-piece extractor. It all makes for easy operation under stress, which is ideal for competition and tactical shooters.
Accuracy international offers this rifle in three colors:
- Pale brown
Obviously, the most tactical color is black. So, choose black.
They also offer two overall lengths for this rifle. 45 inches is the standard rifle length. Most shooters should go with 45 inches.
Overall, the price is the most restrictive thing about this rifle, and probably limits it to the most advanced long range enthusiasts. However, anybody shooting this rifle will find that it delivers amazing performance at extremely long ranges.
So, even though the civilian models are not exactly the same as the military precision rifles, you can still achieve extremely impressive long range accuracy with these rifles. They’re just as good as their military counterparts.
Savage ARMS 10BA Stealth
Even though precision rifles are designed for tactical applications, hunters and recreational shooters will enjoy and get plenty of value out of any of these rifles (that they can afford).
If you’re looking for the best blend of performance and affordability, get the Savage Arms 10BA Stealth. This is a rifle that most shooters can afford, and it will perform well in almost any context.
Now that you know which rifles most resemble their military counterparts, check them out. Then, get the rifle that’s going to get you the long range hits you’re after, and head to the shooting bench.