Best Battle Rifles [2021]

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You’ve probably been thinking about adding some serious firepower to your arsenal, and as much as I hate to admit how much fun high-capacity shotguns are, going for a .308/7.62 semi-auto/full-auto rifle is definitely the gentleman’s choice in comparison.

Simply put, battle rifles are full of slashes, meaning they can be switched between semi-auto and full-auto, and they eat .308 Winchester and 7.62 NATO calibers, but that’s not the only thing that makes them fun.

We’ll talk about regular assault rifles some other time. Now, I’ve rounded up some of the best battle rifles you can find on the market today.

We’ll talk about their benefits and downsides, some budget options, some long-range shooters, what they’re best for, and an FAQs section to clear up any details and questions you might have to help you narrow down your choices and choose a suitable .308/7.62 battle rifle.

Before we go through the .308/7.62 battle rifles, let’s cover all our basics.

Defining Carbines, Assault Rifles, and Battle Rifles

A simple disambiguation between these three types will help you understand the essential differences that make them suitable for particular purposes. Basically, the main differences are range, power, and reloading or feeding speeds which affect performance on the field.

Keep in mind that these are just rough categorizations, and there are many rifles that will fit more than one category of rifles, not to mention innovative designs and feeding methods.

Let’s start with carbines.

Carbines 

Carbines are basically the short version of assault rifles (or pistol-caliber carbines) that are effective at the 150- to 200-yard range, and this term is applied to a firearm that’s not an assault rifle or a submachine gun. They’ve been around for almost 200 years. The H&K MP5SF is a good example, despite being called a semi-automatic submachine carbine.

Assault Rifle 

A standard full-length rifle that’s capable of fully automatic fire is an assault rifle. One of the first assault rifles that were dubbed as such is the German StG 44, the first effective assault rifle with an intermediate cartridge. It’s most efficient around the 350-yard range

The best example of an assault rifle is the almighty AK-47 that eats 7.62x39mm calibers, M-16/AR-15, and some variants in the 5.56x45mm cartridge. The AK-47 has retained its unwavering reliability since its conception in the 1940s and has rarely seen major upgrades because it really does its job. Don’t fix it if it isn’t broken, I guess.

Fun fact: Hitler was reluctant to produce the StG 44 en masse because he believed that the full-auto unload would encourage soldiers to recklessly waste more ammo.

Battle Rifle 

The “battle rifle” term was conceived post-WWII and it was used to differentiate assault rifles that can fire intermediate cartridges like the 5.56x45mm or 7.62x39mm, and rifles that can fire full-power cartridges like the Russian/Soviet 7/62x54mm, .30-06 Springfield, 7.62×51mm NATO, and the 7.92 Mauser.

The latter (battle rifles) kick like a mule but bite like a crocodile. In comparison to assault rifles, battle rifles are bulkier, a little bit slower to reload, and don’t offer the same practicality.

However, they have a 10- to 30-round magazine capacity, and their semi-automatic fire is best complemented by a mounted scope because they can reach up to a thousand yards.

Long-range hunters can really benefit from this type of rifle.

The .308/76.2 Chambering Dispute

There’s a reason why the .308/7.62 thing confuses many gun owners into thinking they’re interchangeable.

The thing about battle rifles is that most of those you can find on the market are chambered in the .308 cartridge.

You can shoot your 7.62 NATO bullets with ease from a .308-chambered rifle, but you should be careful when firing .308 Winchester cartridges from a 7.62 NATO rifle (given you’ve read the instructions for said rifle).

The .308 bullets have higher pressure which might cause some misfiring or feeding failures. They’re the long-range option that’s favored by deer hunters.

Check out our best .308 Winchester ammo buyer’s guide for more info.

PTR-91 GIR

>>Sportsman’s (Buy Here)<<

>>Brownells (Buy Here)<<

>>Guns.com (Buy Here)<<

Pros:

  • 20-round capacity
  • Threaded muzzle
  • 3-position trigger
  • Paddle release magazine
  • Durable housing
  • Parkerized finish

Cons:

  • Old-school design might not be appealing for some

We’ll begin this list with the PTR-91 GIR, an HK-style rifle with an 18.5-inch barrel, 20-round capacity, and an excellent price.

It offers solid reliability with its HK-inspired design, guaranteeing no malfunctions. The roller-delayed roll-back action type offers a fun shooting tempo and the fixed barrel lowers the recoil in contrast to other battle rifles on the market. However, expect some recoil when you switch the shooting mode.

Changing the magazine is smooth and easy with its built-in magazine release and paddle release option, but there’s a regular magazine release button as well.

With its highly durable pistol housing, adjustable trigger pack, smooth design, threaded muzzle, and high-quality polymer connecting stock, the rifle feels just right. The furniture is a black/green parkerized finish that blends in outdoors just fine.

You can modify the trigger in three different positions; the standard shooting position, semi-auto, and full-auto shooting, and although I wouldn’t recommend the full-auto feature, you’d be hard-pressed to find other rifles with this trigger pack and this price tag.

The 40.5-inch length is what makes the PTR-91 GIR a true battle rifle that anybody can shoot with ease and comfort. The 18.5-inch barrel is an accuracy standard that’s great for hunting deer and elk.

Lastly, I really like how the welded-on rail mount offers you an abundance of scope and accessory options. The PTR-91 GIR is an overall well-balanced battle rifle that just works.

Brownells BRN-10 Retro .308/7.62 Battle Rifle

>>Brownells (Buy Here)<<

Pros:

  • Traditional aesthetics with a modern technology
  • Replica of the Armalite AR-10
  • Machined 7075-T6 receiver and chrome-plated carrier group
  • 20-round capacity
  • Retro buttstock
  • 20-inch barrel with 1 MOA accuracy
  • Great value and looks like a collector’s item

Cons:

  • No rail mount included
  • Charging handle won’t accept accessory rails
  • Heavy (the standard model is 9 pounds)
  • Doesn’t accept Magpul PMAGs
  • Only one magazine comes with your purchase

Here’s a battle rifle that’s manufactured by one of the most respected brands for firearms and accessories. Brownells have been at it for over 80 years with high praises from the gun community, and the BRN-10 Retro is their jab at the battle rifle niche.

The BRN-10 308/7.62 semi-auto is a beast of a firearm focused on accuracy and comfort.

This retro-looking rifle is akin to the old-school Eugene Stoner’s lightweight .308 battle rifle blueprint—a revolutionary design for this type of rifle.

The receiver of the BRN-10 is not forged, yet fully machined with a 7075 T6 aluminum billet spec. It comes with an enclosed rear sight with a windage-adjustable A2-style horizontal thumbwheel for elevation.

It looks like an Armalite AR-10 and also includes the slab-sided lower with a regular magazine well. It also has takedown pins, a selector lever, bolt release, and the uncluttered upper offers smooth operation.

The 20-inch barrel with a QPQ Nitride finish (made by Faxon) has a 1 MOA accuracy, so expect nothing but straight-shooting.

Although the BRN-10 seems like a traditional rifle, don’t be mistaken; it’s up to par, sporting high-quality modern features, as you’ll see below. The BRN-10 comes in two models: 

  • The BRN-10A has an open 3-prong flash hider and a heavy fluted barrel. The furniture pays homage to the traditional fiberglass look. 
  • The BRN-10B is a newer model with a closed-prong flash hider, black furniture, and a slightly lighter barrel which is perfect for hunters.

The BRN-10’s meticulous design is based on the original to appease the folks who love the traditional look and feel, and the great price makes it a popular choice for battle rifles.

Century International Arms WASR-10 30-Round Battle Rifle

>>Palmetto State Armory (Buy Here)<<

>>Guns.com (Buy Here)<<

>>Brownells (Buy Here)<<

Pros:

  • Great value
  • Inspired by the AK-47
  • Adjustable rear sight
  • Lightweight and compact for a battle rifle
  • 30-rounds capacity

Cons:

  • Difficult to find
  • Not California-compliant

I’ve seen people despising the WASR-10, and after some years, they absolutely regret selling it.

The semi-automatic WASR-10 (Wassenaar Arrangement Semiautomatic Rifle) is a scary-looking 7.62 NATO-chambered AK-47 replica from Century Arms; the best part is that it’s a thirty rounder. It’s a highly affordable Romanian-made firearm with excellent features. It performs well on the field and it’s lightweight with smooth operations, not to mention the great price.

The gas-operated action, chrome-lined, and hammer-forged 16.5-inch rifle barrel and overall weight of 8 pounds offer you maximum fun at the ranges. I recommend the 500- to 800-yard range for this beast.

Since it’s a 30-round capacity rifle, expect a high-quality upper with a stamped receiver to withstand all the heavy heat of full-auto shooting. The fixed front sight, adjustable rear sight, and the RAK-1 enhanced trigger group make sure you shoot your shot with smooth precision.

It accepts many AK-style mags, and once you’re done with the magazine, it’s very easy to remove. Overall, it’s a great battle rifle if you’re going for an AK-style weapon that can deliver serious firepower.

Springfield Armory M1A Rifles

>>Sportsman’s (Buy Here)<<

>>Palmetto State Armory (Buy Here)<<

>>Guns.com (Buy Here)<<

Pros:

  • Classic looks and feel based on the M14
  • Two-stage military trigger
  • Adjustable box magazine
  • Adjustable front and rear sights

Cons:

  • Very heavy
  • 10-round mag might not be suitable for some
  • Safety feature is inside the trigger guard which is odd

I’ll be damned if I don’t include the iconic Springfield M1A. It’s not exactly a battle rifle, but it’s one of the most affordable .308/7.62 semi-auto rifles.

This hunter’s design is based on the standard military M14 rifle (which is based on the M1 Garand) that has seen action since the 50s.

The classic M14 is still in service as a DMR (Designated Marksman’s Rifle), so this might give you some ideas about what it’s good at. It retains the original adjustable box mag and op-rod with roller cam bolt call from the M14.

We’re looking at the 22-inch model that caters to hunters and long-range enthusiasts. I can bet that the walnut stock, robust build, 22-inch barrel, and parkerized finish will turn you into a .308 fanatic.

The rear sight is made for you to modify windage and elevation, which means you can zero your rifle with ease, and it locks on to long-range targets up to 1000 yards effortlessly.

The downsides are that it’s pretty heavy and the safety feature is inside the trigger guard, which might be off-putting for some. The two-stage military trigger adds its own element of safety. Despite the weight, expect a lower recoil from this semi-auto.

There are multiple varieties of the Springfield M1A—not counting the M14 classic one (which is a little dated, to be honest)—like the 6.5 Creedmoor variety or the 18-inch Scout model. Every model is semi-automatic and they eat .308 Winchesters and 7.62 NATO cartridges like it’s nothing.

Check out our Scout Rifle buyer’s guide if you’re looking for a versatile hybrid hunting rifle.

PSA Gen3 PA-10 2-Stage Rifle

>>Palmetto State Armory (Buy Here)<<

>>Guns.com (Buy Here)<<

Pros:

  • 2-stage trigger
  • Good for newbies as an entry-level semi-auto AR-10
  • Compatible with most .308 BCGs
  • Anti-slip and anti-rotation handguards for added comfort
  • High-quality 7075 T6 charging handle
  • Durable stainless steel barrel
  • Twice-staked castle nuts
  • Adjustable 5-position gas block

Cons:

  • Not very ergonomic in comparison to the rest on the list
  • Customers report some feeding failures

Palmetto State Armory is known for its laser focus on uppers and BCGs, and this .308/7.62 AR-10 is an example of their prowess in the semi-auto business.

The PA-10 semi-auto .308 Winchester battle rifle is an AR-10 that has proven its worth over the ages. Simply put, it’s a solid budget-friendly option that’s very suitable for rookies who would like to try out the semi-automatic feel of a battle rifle. It’s a reasonably priced, high-quality AR-10 in multiple configurations.

This Gen3 model offers a 2-stage trigger mode that’s compatible with a wide array of popular BCGs, so you’ll be able to find one that’s suitable for you. By the way, the bolt carrier group is a Toolcraft PA10.

On its frame, you’ll find anti-slip and anti-rotation handguards, a 7075 T6 charging handle, an adjustable 5-position gas block, and a stainless steel 18-inch barrel.

Some users have reported feeding failures with the PA-10, so you can say that it’s a picky eater. I recommend you stick to .308 Winchesters instead of going for 7.62 NATO cartridges.

Other than that, the PA-10 is a well-balanced semi-auto that’s perfect for those of you who are fascinated by the AR-10 frame.

Honorable Mentions

Here are some battle rifles worthy of mention. Not that they’re not as good as the others on the list, but they’re much more specific and catered to certain gun enthusiasts and hunters that are looking for more special features. Some of these guns are also very hard to find, so keep that in mind.

Smith & Wesson M&P 10 Optic Ready Battle Rifle

>>Palmetto State Armory (Buy Here)<<

>>Guns.com (Buy Here)<<

>>Sportsman’s (Buy Here)<<

Pros:

  • Smith & Wesson guaranteed quality
  • Excellent for beginner shooters
  • 1 MOA accuracy
  • Optics ready for easier scope installation
  • 9310 steel bolt and patented S&W-enhanced flash suppressor

Cons:

  • Could use an adjustable gas block

Here’s the Smith & Wesson M&P 10 Optics Ready rifle. A standard black rifle with an ambidextrous lower receiver for the lefties. You can bet Smith & Wesson maintains its standard with the quality of this impressive AR-10 rifle.

It’s a versatile modern sporting rifle chambered in the .308 Winchester caliber with a 10-round capacity and an 18-inch barrel. It’s optics-ready, which means that the Picatinny rail is welcoming to most scopes and optics, so you could say that it’s a long-range AR-10.

The M&P 10 cycles with no problem, but don’t expect to cycle every type of load from 125gr to 180gr because it’s missing an adjustable gas block.

It’s a solid entry-level .308/7.62 semi-auto rifle because it’s built for easy shooting and aftermarket accessorizing. Since it’s manufactured with a 5R rifling and the barrel has a 1/10 twist, it’s effective around the 800-yard range.

Most importantly, it comes with an ambidextrous magazine catch, bolt catch, and safety selector, so it’s an excellent semi-auto for left-handed gun enthusiasts. The fully patented Smith & Wesson enhanced flash suppressor, the gas block with a Picatinny-Style rail, and a sling swivel make it a smooth and comfortable shooter for a standard AR-10.

The 18-inch barrel made of 9310 steel, having an armornite finish and a chrome firing pin is unusual for a semi-auto AR-10, but it really makes things easier and I’m surprised that the price range isn’t higher. Don’t tell S&W.

Simply put, the S&W M&P 10 is a well-balanced AR-10 rifle with good furniture, a great barrel, and an excellent receiver.

For more ambidextrous options, check out our best left-handed AR-15 rifles guide.

FN Scar 17S Battle Rifle

>>Sportsman’s (Buy Here)<<

>>Palmetto State Armory (Buy Here)<<

>>Guns.com (Buy Here)<<

Pros:

  • Fully ambidextrous operating controls
  • High-quality modern military rifle
  • Short-stroke gas piston system for efficiency
  • One of the most reliable battle rifles on the market
  • Designed to accept a full range of accessories
  • Free-floating, cold hammer-forged MIL-SPEC barrel
  • Highly adjustable to the shooter
  • Great aftermarket value

Cons:

  • Insane price tag
  • Heavy
  • Requires durable optics/may to damage cheaper ones

FN Herstal is one of the most reputable manufacturers with high-quality, heavy-duty machinery and firearms that aren’t exactly priced for the everyday working-class gun owner.

Their FN SCAR 17S is a versatile and accurate behemoth that’s well beyond a standard price range and is built for long-range shooting. The SCAR 17S is a semi-automatic version of the exact SCAR (Special Operations Forces Combat Assault Rifle) modular rifle used by the U.S. Military Spec Ops since 2009.

It’s a 20-round capacity semi-auto that’s chambered in the 7.62×51 NATO caliber and it boasts a free-floating, cold hammer-forged MIL-SPEC 16.25-inch rifle barrel with a compensator and a chrome-lined bore.

The SCAR 17S works via a short-stroke gas piston, so expect solid reliability. The rotating and locking bolt, telescoping stock, adjustable cheekpiece, and A-2 style pistol grip offer standard comfort and ease of operation.

What’s great about the SCAR 17S—besides the high-quality features—is the ambidextrous safety and magazine release with an enlarged trigger guard. The hard-anodized monolithic aluminum receiver is adjustable and the iron sights are foldable and can be removed. The four Picatinny rails offer excellent aftermarket options for optics and lights.

Because of its great features and high-quality material FN Herstal had to pump up the price on this one. It’s a pretty heavy battle rifle that doesn’t mess around, and I strongly recommend this for heavy-duty competition shooting if you’re willing to spend a fortune.

Best .308/7.62 Semi-Auto Rifles Buyer’s Guide

You have to admit, having a jack of all trades rifle has its merit.

Usually, gun enthusiasts go for the versatile .308/7.62 because of its flexibility, while the fact that it’s compatible with different types of ammo makes it a very enticing option.

When choosing a proper .308/7.62 battle rifle for you, there are a couple of things to look out for. I’d recommend you going for a battle rifle that’s open for aftermarket customizations and a Picatinny rail if you want to upgrade it with optics and parts, but the choice is yours.

Size and Weight

It’s important to understand whether or not you truly want a multi-purpose rifle that can handle competition shooting, fun at the ranges, target practice, professional hunting, and home defense situations.

The most important issue to focus on is the weight and size of the rifle, and how it feels in your hands.

For home defense, I suggest you go for smaller rifles with smaller calibers like the 9mm pistol-caliber carbines because they have enough stopping power to handle assailants in your home without piercing multiple walls in the process.

Other than that, battle rifles are usually heftier and with larger barrels, and if you want to stick to rifles with 16.5-inch barrels and lighter weight, the WASR-10 is a very suitable option.

Consider the Barrel Length

If hunting is your calling, then going for a 22-inch or 18-inch battle rifle that’s ready in the single-fire mode is your best bet. This sort of rifle can reach up to a thousand yards. There’s no need to buy a rifle with a 30-round capacity if you want clean kills.

However, if you want to spend lots of time and lots of money on ammo, then by all means knock yourself out (please don’t) with a thirty rounder.

About Aftermarket Customization

The battle rifle is popular because of its wide aftermarket margin and countless customization options, gunsmithing, and servicing.

If your budget allows it, you’ll be able to spoil yourself with so many scopes, BCGs, muzzle brakes, magazines, slings, and internal parts in case something breaks down. The market for battle rifle parts shares its stock with assault rifles, carbines, and regular assault rifles.

I recommend you look for all-purpose .308 Winchester rifles with specific frames that allow all kinds of customization options if you’re looking to tweak your firearms with extras.

Price Tags and Knowing What You’re Looking For

Having a sharp sense of what you’re going for when searching for a battle rifle is 90% of the purchase.

Because of their relatively long reach and the option to shoot single shots, hunters and long-range shooters are the main enthusiasts when it comes to this type of rifle, right after military personnel, of course.

Be sure to figure out what exactly do you want from a rifle, because a multi-purpose battle rifle that can perfectly work in any situation is usually the not-so-budget-friendly option with a downright insane price tag, so keep that in mind.

.308 Winchester or 7.62 NATO?

Although these cartridges were developed around the same time during the 40s and 50s, they’re not exactly interchangeable like most believe so.

They’re similar in size, and certain rifles have no problem with both of these cartridges; 7.62 are loaded to the standard 50,000 PSI, while .308 Winchesters can go up to 62,000 PSI, which is the deer hunting standard.

These cartridges are not prone to shooting and feeding failures and are mostly used for home defense or fun at the ranges. Still, I recommend you carefully read the manufacturer’s cartridge preference on the rifle barrel in order to avoid any mishaps.

Just remember the rule of thumb that the 7.62 NATO can be effortlessly fired from a .308-chambered rifle, but you should be careful with firing .308 Winchester cartridges from a 7.62 NATO rifle (given you’ve read the instructions for said rifle) because .308 bullets have higher pressure and are the long-range option.

Conclusion

To sum up everything we’ve discussed, battle rifles are special because of their shooting modes, which are usually single-fire or semi-auto. There are also three-position shooting modes like the PTR-91 GIR offers. You want single shots? Burst firing? Full-auto? You got it.

But, what’s great about battle rifles is their versatility and the fact that they use two common ammo types. They should account for hunting, tactical, and competition purposes just fine. It’s really a very flexible firearm option for those daring enough to try it.

Keep in mind that ammo is scarce these days, and even though .308 Winchester and 7.62 NATO cartridges are abundant, they can be expensive.

I also had the difficult task of rounding up battle rifles at a reasonable price because most of them are over-the-top expensive and hard to find.

Furthermore, I’d like to add that the list isn’t in a specific descending ranking order. Each of these guns is very reliable and does its job just like any other battle rifle, and I’d happily recommend them to both newcomer and veteran shooters. Just check out their features and prices to see if it’s suitable for you.

Stay safe and shoot straight.

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Author

Brady

Hi there, I'm Brady and I'm the owner of GunMade.com. I have been an avid gun enthusiast and hunter since I moved to the Midwest over 15 years ago. It's my passion to share my knowledge and expertise to help you find the best guns in your price range.

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