The Best Big Game Rifles of All Time


What does it take for a rifle to qualify as one of the best big-game rifles of all time? Some win this acclaim through innovative design, others through their reputation for hell-and-back reliability. Many of the best big-game rifles have been copied, and some — like the 98 Mauser — are the inspiration for dozens of other similar designs that have remained popular over the course of the last century.


Modern machining technology has allowed companies to build cheaper rifles to tighter tolerances. With the accuracy revolution of the last decade, we've seen the development of rifles that cost less than $500, yet still promise sub-MOA accuracy and a great trigger. With that kind of competition, it's hard to believe that anyone would pay for a rifle designed 50 or even 100 years ago.

None of us would consider driving a 1916 Studebaker Speedster through rush-hour traffic every day, but hunting big game with an early 20th century rifle doesn't significantly limit the hunter's ability to fill a tag. The enduring nature of these firearms — and their innovative designers — is a testament to just how good they were in the first place.


And, in my opinion, they've all earned a spot in the big-game rifle hall of

fame. Check out my list of the best big-game rifles of all time.

Recommended for You

Clothing

Field Tested: Cold-Weather Boots

Kali Parmley - April 22, 2019

We put the best boots for late-season hunting to the test. Here are the results.

North America Big Game

North America's Toughest Black Bear Hunts

Brad Fitzpatrick

These four hunts will test your endurance.

Guns

Top Precision Rifles for Hunting in 2019

Joseph Von Benedikt - April 22, 2019

Here are our top choices for hunting this fall!

See More Recommendations

Trending Stories

Shooting

7 Favorite Truck Guns

Joseph von Benedikt - May 11, 2015

Since the first explorers and pilgrims landed, the inhabitants of this glorious country have...

Ammo

Is the .308 a Viable Long Range Cartridge?

Keith Wood - May 23, 2014

Everyone seems to be talking (and writing) about "long range" hunting these days, so I guess...

Recipes

How to Properly Grill Venison Steak

Hank Shaw - July 24, 2013

A thick venison steak, grilled to a turn and flavored only with fire and salt, is quite...

See More Stories

More Guns

Guns

Battle of the Bolt-Actions

Keith Wood - June 04, 2018

We put five predator rifles to the test; which delivers the most bang for your buck? (Photo

Guns

Most Beautiful & Extravagant Guns in the World

Joseph von Benedikt - February 11, 2019

We found the most breathtaking guns at the 2019 SCI Show. Here are our top picks!

Guns

A Kimber Rifle for Any Hunt

Keith Wood - August 01, 2018

I was heading to the most remote wilderness in the United States — a place far closer to the

See More Guns

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save.

Temporary Price Reduction.

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

×