Ask any gun enthusiast which is their favorite rifle cartridge, and they will most likely tell you the .308. First introduced in 1952, it has become the cartridge of choice for hunting, sporting, military and law enforcement.
Deep penetration and long-range capability are some of the reasons why it is so beloved. Also, the .308 Winchester is compatible with a wide variety of rifles. So much so that it is tough to pin down the best 308 rifles.
From bolt action rifles to AR-10s, the .308 Winchester is one of the most versatile cartridges out there. So which is the best .308 rifle on the market? This is undoubtedly a difficult question to answer.
Nonetheless, after researching extensively on the subject, we have narrowed down to 10 rifles. These ten are in different categories. We have selected the ten based on their performance, user-feedback, and our own personal experiences.
A Quick Check Of Best 308 Bolt Action Rifle For The Money
The Best Bolt Action .308 Rifles
In an age where everything is automated, firearms included, bolt action rifles are a rare exception. To operate a bolt rifle you need to manually pull back the bolt and push it forward to chamber a round.
While these rifles rely on a rather ancient technology, their reliability cannot be disputed. They are popular with hunters.However, they are also used as sniper rifles in the military. From our research the best bolt action .308 rifles are;
Savage Arms 10 FCP HS Precision Rifle
The title of the best 308 bolt action rifle goes to the Savage Arms 10 FCP precision rifle. At its core, it is a versatile rifle capable of fulfilling several roles. It has all the features of a reliable tactical gun and is also a dependable hunting rifle.
Carbon steel is the primary material used to make this weapon. It is the material that is used to build the rifle’s 24-inch barrel as well as its receiver. Speaking of the receiver, we found it to be super rigid.
As for the barrel, it is built with a heavy profile aimed at minimizing barrel whip. At the back is the adjustable Savage AccuTrigger. The rifle is fitted with a removable magazine that holds four rounds.
Our main issue with the rifle is that it is not the most lightweight. Weighing 9.6 pounds, mainly this is quite a heavy firearm. However, this is primarily due to the heavy barrel.
Remington® Model 783™ Bolt-Action Rifle and 3-9x40 Scope Combo
Costing over $1000, the Savage Arms 10 FCP is not for everyone. The same cannot be said about Remington’s 783 bolt action rifle. Priced at below $500, it is one of the more affordable options available on the market.
The rifle comes with a free-floated carbon steel barrel. But what makes this rifle stand out is the adjustable crossfire trigger system. We found the trigger system to be quite impressive, considering the rifle’s price.
We found the push-feed action and 90 degrees bolt throw smooth and positive. However, the gun’s two-position safety was a bit clunky. Nevertheless, it worked well enough. You get a four-round steel magazine with a steel magazine latch. This is a welcome addition given the price tag.
If you are on a budget, this is the best .308 bolt action rifle. Its features are rare to find in guns in its price point.
The Best 308 Semi-Auto Rifle
Unlike bolt action rifles, semi automatic rifles use a gas blowback system to chamber rounds. Thus there is no manual operation. As such, they are considered ideal for tactical purposes.
The most popular semi-automatic rifles are AR-10 style firearms. For tactical purposes below is our pick of the best 308 tactical rifle.
Savage MSR 10 Hunter Semiautomatic Tactical Rifle
Savage Arms’ MSR 10 Hunter may look like an AR-10 style weapon, but it’s very different from conventional AR-10s. As its name suggests, it is built for hunting purposes. However, it can be used as a tactical rifle as well.
With a 16 inch barrel, its design is reminiscent of that or a carbine. Meaning it will be easy to use in either a tree stand or a ground blind. It uses the same direct-impingement of other gas-operated AR-10s.
Compared to other AR-10 style firearms, this one has a shortened aluminum-alloy receiver. Similarly, the bolt carrier is also shortened. The result is a shorter rifle that weighs less than most similar firearms.
Another unique feature is the 12-inch free-floating handguard with MagPul’s M-lock system. This comes in handy when you need to install accessories. Instead of hanging on the barrel nut, the handguard is bolted directly onto the upper receiver. This translates to the gun being more accurate.
Though it’s been around since 2017, it is the best semi-auto 308 chambered rifle around for hunting.
The Best 308 Hunting Rifle
Hunting is an art that requires specialised tools. Thus, not every rifle is suited for hunting. The best 308 hunting rifle needs to be lightweight and compact. A heavy rifle will be difficult to handle as you traverse different vegetation and environments.
Accuracy is another important factor to consider. Ideally, bolt action rifles are best suited for hunting. And here are our top picks for the best 308 hunting rifles.
The Ruger No 1 Centerfires Rifles
The title of the best 308 rifles for hunting has to go to the Ruger No 1 Centerfires Rifle. A gun that has stood the test of time has proven itself time and time again. And remains a darling of many the world over.
Available in several variations, the single-shot hunting rifle is steeped in the simplicity of the past. What makes it so popular is its ambidextrous nature. There is no line disturbing comb on the buttstock, and neither is there a cheekpiece.
More importantly, it comes with a tang-mounted safety and no bolt to interfere with the operation. The buttstock has a rubber recoil pad with a black spacer. The pistol grip is something many love about this gun. This is a classic gun with all the features of the best 308 hunting rifle.
So what makes it the best choice for hunters? For starters it has a thin action which makes it easy to hold in one hand. It’s also just the right height for carrying over your shoulder. The absence of a protruding bolt handle makes it easy to carry on while on horseback.
Winchester Model 70™ Featherweight Rifle
Like wine, the Model 70 has gotten better with age. This hard-hitting bolt-action rifle of the 1950s is still widely used. The walnut stock of the original Model 70 was a thing of beauty. And although modern Model 70’s come with a wooden stock, it is still a feast for the eyes.
While it has undergone design changes over its 66 years of existence, the modern Model 70 still retains some of the flair of the original. The current Model 70 still uses the original’s controlled round feeding system.
The MOA trigger system is by far the most exceptional trigger system to be fitted on a bolt-action rifle. It has zero take-ups, zero creeps, and zero overtravel. The stock still has the Pachmayr recoil pad that soaks up much of the recoil.
The Best 308 Battle Rifle
The chaos of battle necessitates a semi-automatic rifle that is both hard hitting and easy to handle. Throughout history, there have been a plethora of battle rifles designed for the 308 cartridge.
Springfield Armory M1A-A1 semiautomatic rifle
The M1 Garand was the darling of the US military during world war two. It even saw action in Vietnam. Needless to say, it’s a legendary rifle, and its successor is no different. The Springfield Armory M1A-1A.
The walnut stock paired with a parkerized steel is reminiscent of its more legendary counterpart the M14 Garand. Left handed shooters will love the positioning of the rifle’s charging handle. It is located on the right side of the action. Making it easy to reach.
One of the things we loved about this battle rifle is how easy it is to change the magazine. The positioning of the magazine release at the rear of the magazine well makes it easy to release the magazine.
The trigger is also a delight. It is a classic military two-stage trigger than requires little effort. While it is good enough to earn the title of the best 308 battle rifle, there are somethings we did not like.
The main one being the positioning of the bolt release. Positioned on the left side of the receiver, we found it to be challenging to locate. All the same, it is a fantastic piece of military hardware that has continued the legacy of its predecessor.
The Best 308 Sniper Rifle
Sniper rifles are designed for precision shooting from distance. As such, they require advanced technologies for accurate shooting. Due to their sophistication sniper rifles are quite costly.
Most cost upwards of $5000. When you are splashing such kind of money on a rifle you need one that can deliver. The Accuracy International AX black rifle is undoubtedly the best you can buy.
Accuracy International AX Black .308 Win. 20” Rifle SFP PSR-BL308-BL20-SP
If you are feeling adventurous and want to splash money on the best 308 sniper rifle, you cannot go wrong with AX Black .308. The latter is a flagship sniper rifle from Accuracy International. Costing upwards of $7000 is quite the prize.
Unlike most other guns on this list, this one is made from aircraft-grade aluminum. The aluminum is then coated in a corrosion-resistant protective coating. It comes installed with a rail for mounting accessories such as optics.
The QuickLoc barrel release system allows for easy and fast removal of the barrel. You can swap out the barrel using a 4 mm hex wrench. The whole process takes a few minutes. It is also fitted with a chassis folding stock that reduces the length of the gun by up to 260mm.
The magazine holds ten rounds and is a low friction magazine. Accuracy International’s tested and proven 3-position safety improves the design of this weapon.
The Best 308 Tactical Rifle
When it comes to close quarter combat or shooting tactical rifles are best. And the best tactical rifles are AR-10 and AR-15 style rifles. These rifles are also easy to handle and most importantly need to be ambidextrous.
Smith & Wesson is one of the most trusted names in the manufacture of tactical rifles. As such the best 308 tactical rifle is the M&P 10 sport from the company.
Smith & Wesson M&P 10 sport
AR-10 style rifles are considered fantastic for tactical purposes. And the Smith & Wesson M&P 10 sport is among the best. It is by far the best 308 tactical rifle due to its combination of excellent performance and a relatively affordable price tag.
Priced at around $1000, it is quite affordable for an AR-10 rifle. However, the most important thing is how it compared to other AR-10 rifles. The first thing you notice about this rifle is the availability of all the main controls on both sides.
The safety selector, bolt catch, and magazine catch controls are available on both sides. This means it can be used comfortably by both left and right-handed shooters. Additionally, the magazine is textured to give a secure grip.
The upper receiver isn’t anything we haven’t seen before. You get the same forward assist and solid rail that comes with other AR-10 platforms. What was a bit disappointing about the rifle was the standard charging handle. It is stiff and small than average.
In spite of its few shortcomings, it is still the best 308 semi-auto tactical rifle in our view — especially given its price and features.
The Best Budget 308 Rifle
Spending $1000 on a rifle is not possible for everyone. For some of us, $500 is the most we are able and willing to spend on a firearm. Fortunately, there are some fantastic rifle options available in the budget market.
These are rifles that cost less than $500. Ideally, a budget gun should offer quality without breaking the bank. Our choice for this category is the Ruger American Rifle Bolt action rifles.
Ruger American Rifle Bolt Action Rifles
You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on a bolt action rifle. With $500 or less, you can get your hands on the Ruger American Rifle. While it is an affordable rifle, it does not feel or even look cheap thanks to its parts.
The stock is made of a rigid polymer plastic of some kind. It looks sleek and does not have the same grip as some other similar products. However, this isn’t a big problem. Its barrel, on the other hand, is a free-floating barrel.
Generally, free-floating barrels offer more accuracy. Thus the use of a free-floating barrel is very much welcomed. Some people may not be pleased with the trigger on this rifle, though. Like many other budget rifles, it utilizes an adjustable trigger that feels cheap.
Nonetheless, this is not a deal-breaker, especially since this is designed to be a budget rifle for target shooting.
The Best 308 Rifles For The Money
Value for money is important when choosing a firearm. When choosing a firearm, it is important to consider the price and the features they offer. There should be a balance between the price and features offered by a firearm.
The one firearm that offers the best balance of features and price is the Bergara B-14 HMR.
Bergara B-14 HMR Hunting/Match Bolt-Action Rifles
Precision shooters and big game hunters will love the Bergara B-4 HMR hunting bolt action rifle. Weighing about 9 pounds and fitted with a 22-inch contoured barrel, it is not too heavy for carrying through forests and foothills.
The stock of the gun helps in transitioning from a big game hunting rifle to a precision shooting one. An aluminum mini chassis is molded into the polymer stock to form a pistol grip. It also allows the barrel to float freely.
The stock also has an adjustable comb height and length of pull, which also aid inaccuracy. By loosening a thumbscrew on the side of the buttstock, you can increase height by 1.25 inches. The increased comb height allows for better shooting.
On the other hand, the 22-inch barrel is long enough to provide the velocity needed for a match. But it’s also not too long as to be difficult to maneuver while on a hunt.
Best 308 Rifle Buying Guide : What To Consider and Avoid
These ten are just a few of the many rifles that accept the .308 cartridge. The market is flooded with all kinds of .308 rifles. So how do you choose the best for you? It all depends on what you are going to use your gun for.
If you are a hunter, chances are you will be carrying your rifle for long distances. As such, the best 308 rifle for hunting needs to be lightweight and functional. Less emphasis is placed on accuracy when it comes to a hunting rifle.
As more emphasis is placed on ease of handling and weight. A hunting rifle should be lightweight and easy to handle. Also, hunting rifles accommodate only a small number of rounds. In most states, there is a limit on the number of your hunting rifles can hold.
Most hunting rifles are built with internal magazines. Though these types of magazines are slower to load, they make the gun look sleek. Also, an internal magazine means fewer moving parts.
While hunting rifles are lightweight, target shooting rifles are not. In fact, for target shooting, you are encouraged to get a heavier gun. A gun with a heavy barrel rifle offers more stability, which is what you need when target shooting.
Also, more weight means reduced felt recoil. It also means more stability in the sight picture. All of which are essential for target practice.
Three hundred eight rifles prices range from as low as $400 to as much as $7,000. For hunting purposes, a $500 rifle is more than sufficient. However, if you want a tactical rifle, be ready to spend a bit more cash. Tactical rifles are designed to offer the best of both worlds.
They offer the maneuverability of a hunting rifle and the precision of a target shooting rifle. As such, they come equipped with advanced features and technologies. These types of rifles are used mainly in military and law enforcement.
Additionally, they are also commonly used in “run and gun” style shooting competitions. The bottom line there is no need to spend thousands of dollars for a rifle that you will use for hunting.
This isn’t the most critical factor to consider, but it is something to have in mind. Some of the best rifle brands include Winchester, Ruger, Remington, Smith & Wesson. While there are many other gun makers out there, some people may feel comfortable buying from these mentioned.
FAQ : Frequently Asked Questions
Why buy a 308 rifle?
As mentioned earlier, the .308 cartridge is one of if not the most popular cartridge in the world. As such, no matter where you are, you can find .308 rounds. This cartridge is readily available, which is a big plus, especially if you travel either for hunts or shooting competitions.
Should I get a bolt-action or a semi-auto rifle?
Well, it all depends on your needs. If you want a rifle for long-distance shooting, then go for a bolt-action rifle. On the other hand, if you will be shooting at targets at distances of less than 600 yards, a semi-auto will do fine.
For the close-quarters shooting of 50 yards and below, an AR-10 style rifle will be a better option than a bolt-action rifle.
What is the difference between .308 and the 7.2 NATO?
The .308 cartridge and 7.26 NATO are very much similar. In fact, they are almost the same rounds and are used interchangeably. The only difference between the two is in the pressure where the 7.26 NATO has a bit more pressure. However, the difference is minimal.
Due to the sheer number of rifles that use the .308 cartridge, you will be spoilt for choice when searching for a .308 rifle. Thus, it is essential to consider what type of rifle suits you best. While bolt action rifles are ideal for hunting, they are not recommended for close quarter shooting.