Sniper Rifle Buyer’s Guide [2021]

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If you’re interested in long-range precision shooting, that means you understand the importance that a single shot can make. Modern sniper rifles have come a long way from where they started, and they have versatile applications in today’s world.

Discover below the things to consider when picking out the best sniper rifle for your needs. I will also talk about some of the best sniper rifles for sale.

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How to Choose a Sniper Rifle

The best long range sniper rifle is not always so simple to arrive at. These are not small rifles and most of them are going to weigh more than a shotgun or any AR-15.

But that’s not the only thing to keep in mind. Here are a few other features to watch for when shopping for a sniper rifle.

Action Preference

With modern sniper rifles, you have a choice of two types of action. You can go with bolt-action or semi-automatic. They’re either gas-operated or recoil-operated, and each has its pros and cons.

The bolt-action sniper rifle tends to be a bit more reliable and lighter, though. That’s mainly because it has fewer moving parts. This type of rifle is a great choice for both hunting and military uses. Semi-automatic sniper rifles perform well as a battle rifle and are often issued to the infantry.

Age and Strength of the Shooter

Not every sniper rifle is going to be the perfect match for you. But the good news is that there are a lot of them to choose from on the market. The main criterion is selecting a rifle that you can easily handle.

Someone relatively young might find managing a big rifle challenging and may have difficulty in learning how to use it properly. On top of that, anyone may struggle to handle a high-powered sniper rifle.

Type of Terrain

Hunting sniper rifles are incredibly popular because they are the most suitable in big game hunting. But it’s not about buying the biggest and most expensive gun you can find. You also need to focus on the terrain where the hunt will take place. Longer-range hunting might require an auto-loading lever-action rifle.

If you’re going for a hunt in the woods, a short-range rifle will do the job. Also, hunting restrictions will determine your rifle choices. Some states don’t allow sniper rifles for deer hunting, for example.

Bullet Caliber

Sniper rifles come in numerous calibers. The caliber is also a hot button issue among experienced hunters and military snipers. While there are disagreements, there is a standing consensus that the 243 Winchester caliber is one of the best choices for a beginner.

What Is the Difference Between a Military and a Civilian Sniper Rifle?

Even non-firearm enthusiasts are familiar with sniper rifles, what with the slew of movies and video games in which they can be found. As it’s commonly associated with military uses, it’s fair to ask about the differences between a civilian sniper rifle and a military sniper rifle.

Apart from the fact that military sniper rifles are far more expensive and accurate, there’s another significant difference. They are designed for easy maintenance in the field and with tool-less disassembly. This ensures that soldiers can clean their sniper rifles anywhere without carrying more than they have to.

The difference can be academic, however. Since there are no fully automatic sniper rifles, military-grade sniper rifles are legal in many states.

Which Animals Can You Hunt with a Sniper Rifle?

If you’re planning on buying a sniper rifle for hunting, you already know that it’s a great choice, particularly for big game hunting. Here’s just a snapshot of what you can do with the best sniper rifle for hunting.

Wild Boar

A wild boar is not a beast to trifle with. They are big, incredibly powerful, and armed with tusks that can gore. That’s why they make for a great big game animal for your long-range sniper rifle.

Mountain Elk

Elk meat is so nutritious, and the hunting of mountain elks can be an experience to treasure forever. Apart from the beautiful mountain scenery, you get to enjoy testing your sniper rifle and really put it to the test.

Grizzly Bear

While highly controversial and banned almost everywhere, grizzly bear hunting is legal in Alaska and the Yukon (Canada). Hunting a grizzly bear with your high-precision long-range rifle is something you won’t soon forget.

Bison

The largest land animal in all of North American and a cousin of the buffalo, a bison can weigh close to 2,000 lbs. and still be a swift animal. You can hunt them in states like Arizona, Montana, Alaska, and Utah. They’re also quite unpredictable by nature, so it’s best to keep a distance.

Best Sniper Rifles

Noreen Firearms BN36X3 Long Range Rifle

One of the first impressions you might get when you pick up a Noreen Firearms BN36X3 is that it’s quite long. As an AR-15 style of rifle, you could have expected it to be more of a standard length.

NOREEN FIREARMS BN36X3 LONG RANGE RIFLE - 22

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However, it’s not your usual AR-15 because it has its own parts and therefore offers a more unique design and overall better performance. As with most Noreen Firearms rifles, the trigger, magazine release, and takedown pins all work pretty much the same.

There’s a difference in the side-charging handle, though. Another important feature of this rifle is that the manufacturer discourages any use of ammunition made before the year 1990. The main concern is that even the tiniest bit of moisture can cause corrosion and damage in this rifle.

This is one of the most popular sniper rifles for long-range shooting. The internal system makes this rifle relatively light and more precise at the same time. The fit between the receivers is comfortable and the overall finish of the rifle looks terrific.

Pros

  • Great quality
  • Lightweight
  • Excellent for long-range shooting
  • Incredibly accurate

Cons

  • Pricey

Browning X-Bolt Hell’s Canyon Speed

No one likes hunting because it’s comfortable. If you love hunting, then you also love a good challenge and you want to be out there connecting with nature. It’s just that the weather can be brutal and that’s when you need a durable sniper rifle to carry you through.

Browning X-Bolt Hell's Canyon Speed Burnt Bronze Cerakote Bolt Action Rifle - 300 Winchester Magnum

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The Browning X-Bolt Hell’s Canyon Speed bolt-action rifle is the companion that every tough hunter needs. This rifle is completely corrosion-proof and equipped with a textured grip. The gun also features a muzzle brake that adds to the barrel length for muzzling the blast.

It also does a fantastic job of reducing recoil. Another essential feature is the feather trigger that provides a clean pull. It can hold 5+1 rounds of the 300 Winchester Magnum cartridge. Also, the weight is customizable and can go anywhere from 6 to 9 lbs.

Pros

  • Corrosion-proof
  • Great for cold weather
  • Textured grip
  • Reduced recoil

Cons

  • Could be a bit more accurate

Barrett MRAD Flat Dark Earth Bolt Action Rifle

If you want to invest in a military-grade sniper rifle, the Barret MRAD should be a serious contender. It has been around for years and it’s one of the best sniper rifle options available.

Barrett MRAD Flat Dark Earth Bolt Action Rifle - 338 Lapua Magnum

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This rifle is the epitome of ingenuity and overall rejection of the status quo of standard sniper rifles. And it’s also the most powerful sniper rifle that’s available outside of the military.

The heavy-duty precision rifle with bolt-action might require some getting used to for some people. But if you’re planning to go on long hunting trips in the wilderness, this is probably the rifle you’d want with you. It has a 10+1 capacity and 26-inch barrel length.

It weighs close to 15 lbs., so that’s definitely something you need to take into consideration. This gun also looks unique with the Flat Dark Earth Cerakote finish and the adjustable tactical stock. For ammo, it uses the 338 Lapua Magnum cartridges.

Pros

  • Immaculate accuracy
  • Full-length rail
  • Unique design
  • Great for hunting trips

Cons

  • Quite heavy

Wilson Combat – AR-10 Recon Tactical

You can go in all sorts of directions when looking for a tactical weapon, but if you’re looking for a great value option, the Wilson Combat stands out most notably. It features a medium-weight stainless steel barrel that allows for impressive accuracy levels. Overall, this is a practical and aesthetically pleasing rifle that weighs close to eight pounds.

WILSON COMBAT - AR-10 RECON TACTICAL

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Other features include a very reassuring textured grip, a polymer stock that’s adjustable in length, and a locking lever that prevents any wiggling. Another awesome thing about it is that it’s easily customizable so you can build the gun the way you want it to be. It’s also compatible with a variety of ammunition.

Pros

  • Great value
  • Easily customizable
  • Excellent accuracy
  • Versatile use

Cons

  • Inconsistent performance with some ammo

Tikka T3x Tact A1 Black Bolt Action Rifle

For people who appreciate history and gunsmithing, Tikka is a well-known name. The company has been around for 100 years and known for creating impressive rifles, among which I hold that the T3x is a great example. It’s a bolt-action rifle that has a different style and doesn’t imitate anything else.

Tikka T3x Tact A1 Black Bolt Action Rifle - 6.5 Creedmoor

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The sniper rifle features an adjustable two-stage trigger and a free-floating barrel. It also has an interchangeable fore-end interface and full-aluminum bedding. It has a 10-round capacity and uses the 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge.

But here’s the best part about the Tikka T3x action rifle – it’s suitable for both a beginner and an experienced shooter. The sophisticated and low-profile chassis design provides enough accuracy and comfort for all users.

Pros

  • Trusted brand
  • Full-aluminum bedding
  • Adjustable two-stage trigger
  • Great for beginners and non-beginners

Cons

  • On the heavier side

Choosing the Right Sniper Rifle Is Simpler Than It Seems

Buying a sniper rifle is not something you do on a whim. It’s the type of purchase that requires a lot of research and planning.

It’s absolutely necessary to consider many details like your physical attributes and the general plan of what you want to do with the rifle. I’d suggest that the Noreen Firearms BN36X3 Long Range Rifle as the overall best of all sniper rifles available for purchase today.

Apart from offering the most value for money, it’s also incredibly light, extremely accurate, and it’s generally the best sniper rifle for long-range target practice.

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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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