Looking for the best sniper rifle there is? Here are the ones you should be looking at.
What are the best precison long-range rifles available today:
- Barrett MRAD
- IWI USA DAN
- Barrett M107A1
- Knight's Armament M110 SASS
- Savage Model 10 GRS
- Ruger Precision Rifle
- FN Ballista
- Kimber Advanced Tactical SOC II
- Tikka T3x TAC A1
- Sako TRG M10
- McMillan TAC50A1
- Accuracy International AXMC
Not all sniper rifles are created equal. With such an intimate firearm there are many details to consider that might make all the difference to one shooter and no difference to another. Chassis construction and material, ease of disassembly, action type, chambering, and barrel design are all worthy of careful consideration.
Best Sniper Rifles On The Market
Can one rifle do it all? The Barrett MRAD is trying to adapt to a variety of user needs without sacrificing performance. This bolt-action newcomer defines a whole new class of long-range rifles.
The heart of the MRAD is the rifle’s user-changeable barrel system. This is truly a modular rifle. The precision-grade barrel can be removed by simply unscrewing two bolts using a standard Torx wrench. Besides reducing maintenance and logistical burdens, this unique design paves the way for future caliber interchangeability and serviceability. The base rifle is offered in .338 Lapua and barrels for .300 Winchester Magnum and .308 Winchester are in the pipeline.
The MRAD also boasts Barrett’s new easily accessed trigger module. This match-grade trigger is drop-fire-proof and combat-ready. The thumb-operated safety can be configured for left- or right-handed operation. The ambidextrous magazine release can be used intuitively while retaining a firing grip and cheek weld. Integrated into the MRAD rifle’s 7000 series aluminum upper receiver is an M1913 rail with 30 MOA taper and 21.75 inches of rail space.
The MRAD rifle’s stock is foldable for enhanced portability yet locks in as solid as a fixed-stock rifle, creating a rigid platform for consistent firing. When folded, the stock latches around the bolt handle for added security during transport. Because the stock folds to the bolt handle side of the action, the rifle is the same width overall, folded or extended. The rifle’s length of pull can be set to five different positions with the push of a single button.
IWI US is best known stateside for its Tavor-style bullpup carbines and Galil ACE on the rifle side of things, but the manufacturer recently unveiled its DAN bolt-action rifle. Chambered in the long-range favorite .338 Lapua Magnum, the DAN rifle was designed with input from Israel Defense Forces special forces operatives and was built to fill a long-range sniper and anti-material rifle role.
The rifle is built on a one-piece, lightweight aluminum-alloy chassis and features a full-length, one-piece Picatinny rail up top with 20 MOA of built-in canted drop, along with a full-length bottom rail as well. The DAN’s skeletonized stock is fully adjustable for length of pull, drop of heel and comb height, and it folds to the side to reduce the overall length of the rifle when needed.
The DAN utilizes a 1:10 twist, 28-inch heavy, fluted, free-floating, cold hammer-forged barrel that has 5/8-24 threads at the muzzle for attachments. To support this long and heavy barrel, the DAN comes with an Atlas BT46-LW17 PSR bipod, as well as an ACCU-SHOT BT13-QK-PRM adjustable folding monopod.
The IWI US DAN also features a two-stage adjustable trigger and an ambidextrous safety and mag release. IWI states that the gun achieves sub-MOA accuracy, and reports suggest the rifle is capable of this to ranges of 1,200 meters and perhaps more. At about $9,000, however, you do pay for this performance.
In combat ounces and pounds add up quickly. So Barrett opted to remove some from the equation and help snipers stay hidden as well.
The newest .50 BMG sniper rifle from Barrett may be related to the Model 82A1/M107, but the M107A1 is far from a simple evolution. Driven by the demands of combat, every component was re-engineered to be lighter yet stronger. The result is a high-performance rifle that weighs 4 pounds less than the original M107, but is every bit as tough.
Designed to be used, with a suppressor, the M107A1 allows operators to combine signature reduction capabilities with flawless reliability. An all-new bolt carrier group is key to making the rifle suppressor-ready. Its titanium four-port muzzle brake is engineered to work seamlessly with a quick-attach Barrett .50 BMG Suppressor.
The lightweight aluminum upper receiver features an integrated, rigid 27 MOA optics rail. Inside the upper receiver, the bolt carrier rides on a hardened steel, anti-wear strip for added durability. A thermal-guard cheek piece protects the user’s face from extreme heat or cold.
The rear-barrel stop and front-barrel bushing are bolted and bonded with a compound similar to that used on space shuttles. A titanium barrel key and fully chrome-lined bore and chamber add to the rifle’s durability.
The M107A1 rifle’s lower receiver includes a new aluminum recoil buffer system that’s optimized for use with a suppressor. The bolt carrier’s components are protected with a mix of ultra-hard PVD coatings and advanced nickel Teflon plating that increases lubricity, is corrosion-resistant and greatly eases cleaning.
This is a rifle built for the extreme duty required in modern combat.
The M110C is the latest version of the Knight M110 Semi-Automatic Sniper System (SASS) is the U.S. Army’s latest medium-caliber sniper rifle. There are also reports that the United States Marine Corps will soon adopt the weapon. The M110C is lighter than the original version but maintains that legendary Knight reliability and accuracy. The 7.62mm SASS delivers a new level of long-range precision rapid fire that enables execution of operational missions not possible using manually operated weapon systems.
High-capacity, quick-change magazines enable ammo selection optimization in both the suppressed and unsuppressed firing modes. The semi-automatic M110 has increased sniper rate of fire, precision and lethality against personnel and light material targets, especially in target rich environments and scenarios requiring multiple follow-up shots. The SASS is also the first U.S. Army weapon system that integrates an optimized quick attach/detach sound suppressor to aid with Warfighter survivability by reducing weapon firing signature.
Chambered for 7.62 NATO the M110C weighs in at 16 pounds with a barrel length of 20 inches. And an overall length of 47.25 inches.
Savage’s time-tested Model 10 action has been around for a while, and although it may not seem as fancy as some of the others floating around out there, it has proven to be an accurate and reliable platform. And it’s also, generally speaking, less expensive, without much, if any, sacrifice in terms of quality.
The new GRS model, available in .308 Winchester, 6.5 Creedmoor and, recently, 6mm Creemdoor, pairs this classic action with GRS Riflestocks’ excellent Berserk stock. The rock-steady stock is adjustable for length of pull and comb height and is constructed using 15-percent fiberglass-reinforced Durethan, with 65-percent glass bedding material. The stock also features a slim design along with textured rubber surfaces for improved grip, even in wet conditions.
Other great features include 5/8-24 threading for attaching muzzle devices; a fluted heavy barrel of 20, 24 or 26 inches, depending on caliber; and flush cup sling loops and sling mount for bipod use. It’s also pretty affordable for a rifle in this category at right around $1,500.
Ruger’s Precision Rifle (RPR) has been one of the hottest commodities of the past couple years in the firearms industry. Designed to be relatively affordable while retaining a pretty high degree of performance, the RPR is truly packed with features.
The “upper” receiver and one-piece bolt are both CNC machined from pre-hardened 4140 chrome-moly steel, while the “lower” half is precision machined from aerospace-grade 7075-T6 aluminum and receives a Type III hardcoat anodized finish. The rifle utilizes a medium-contour, cold hammer forged 4140 chrome-moly barrel featuring 5R rifling and equipped with the RPR Hybrid Muzzle Brake.
Up top is a 20 MOA Picatinny rail for mounting optics. The RPR Short-Action Handguard also offers improved scope clearance for some of the larger optics used in long-range applications. The stock is Ruger’s Precision MSR stock, which is a left-folding design that works with an AR-style buffer tube; the use of the AR-style buffer tube also permits the use of other compatible stocks, if the user desires.
The rifle’s three-lug bolt features a smooth, 70-degree throw. And it comes with an oversized bolt handle for more fluid operation. An extended trigger-reach, AR-style grip rests below the bolt, though, any AR-style grip is compatible. In terms of the trigger, the gun uses Ruger’s Marksman Adjustable Trigger, which is variable from 2.25 to 5 pounds of pressure.
All in all, there’s a lot to like about the RPR. And at right around $1,600, it won’t break the bank. It’s available in .308 Winchester, 6.5 Creedmoor, 6mm Creedmoor and .223 Remington/5.56 NATO.
Although SOCOM ultimately awarded its relatively recent PSR (Precision Sniper Rifle) contract to Remington’s MSR, the FN Ballista was also a competitor, and it remains a highly capable sniper rifle system. Featuring a modular, multi-caliber design, the Ballista can be configured, or reconfigured, to shoot .308 Winchester, .300 Winchester Magnum or .338 Lapua Magnum in under two minutes.
The FN Ballista utilizes a lightweight, high-strength, vibration-isolated aluminum-alloy receiver that features a full-length top rail and multiple rail segments at other positions. The barrels are each 26 inches in length and are fluted and come with polygonal rifling.
A fully adjustable trigger (single- or two-stage) is included and breaks at between 3 and 5 pounds of pull. The sniper rifle incorporates multiple safety systems, has an ambidextrous magazine release forward of the trigger guard and features an ambidextrous folding stock.
The MSRP of the Ballista is listed at $7,499.
Developed to meet the needs of military or law enforcement professionals, the Advanced Tactical SOC II (Special Operations Capable) is available in .308 Winchester or 6.5 Creedmoor and is built by hand. Assembled around Kimber’s 8400 Magnum action, the Advanced Tactical SOC features an adjustable aluminum side-folding stock with a 1-inch Pachmayr Decelerator recoil pad.
The rifle has a 22-inch stainless steel barrel, which is threaded and receives a matte black, KimPro II finish. It comes with an adjustable trigger, which is factory set at 3 to 3.5 pounds.
The Kimber Advanced Tactical SOC II weighs 11 pounds, 6 ounces and comes with a sub-half-MOA guarantee. It is available for $2,583.
Although it’s perhaps best known for its hunting rifles, the Finnish manufacturer Tikka made an interesting move into the tactical realm at the start of 2017 by introducing its new T3x TAC A1. Built around Tikka’s proven T3x action and a rugged chassis system, the T3x TAC A1 is a highly capable rifle.
Comb height and length of pull are fully adjustable with the chassis system, and a full-length 20 MOA Picatinny rail runs along the top. M-Lok slots are located along the rest of the handguard.
The rifle utilizes a cold hammer-forged barrel (16, 20 and 24 inches, depending on caliber) that is threaded (5/8-24) for attaching muzzle devices. Available chamberings include .308 Winchester, 6.5 Creedmoor and .260 Remington.
Like Ruger’s Precision Rifle, the T3x TAC A1 has a chassis designed to be compatible with any AR-style stock that mounts to a buffer tube, as well as any AR-style grip. The rifle’s two-lug bolt is Teflon coated and features an oversized bolt handle. Both help ensure quick and flawless cycling of the bolt.
The trigger is an adjustable, two-stage design. Pull weight can be set anywhere between 2 to 4 pounds, which is plenty serviceable for any precision rifle.
Like the Remington MSR and FN Ballista already mentioned, the Sako TRG M10 was a contender for SOCOM’s PSR contract. In the end, it came down to the MSR and the TRG M10, and the MSR ended up edging out the Finnish design.
Just as with the other two precision sniper rifles, the TRG 10 is a highly modular design, which makes it quite versatile. The stock is fully adjustable and requires no tools to make changes. Similarly, the pistol grip comes with interchangeable backstraps.
Controls are ambidextrous and are large enough to be easily manipulated, even with gloves. The rifle features a two-stage trigger mechanism similar to those found on Sako’s TRG-22 and TRG-42, user adjustable between 2.2 and 4.4 pounds. The three-lug bolt with 60-degree throw is likewise taken from the TRG-22/42, and results in an equivalently short and smooth operation.
The TRG M10 is available in .308 Winchester or .338 Lapua Magnum.
The recoil on a 50 BMG rifle can be stout. McMillan has cut it by 90 percent with a new hydraulic recoil mitigation system for the TAC-50.
The heart of the new TAC-50 A1-R2 recoil mitigation system is a proprietary hydraulic piston in the buttstock. As the rifle is fired, the piston compresses, softening the recoil by lowering the peak recoil force and spreading out the recoil over several milliseconds. The sensation for the shooter is that of a long push, rather than a violent punch.
Without the R2 recoil mitigation system, the peak recoil from a 50 BMG cartridge is approximately 7,500 pounds of force. From start to finish, the recoil lasts 1 millisecond in a machine rest. With the R2 system, the peak recoil is only approximately 520 pounds of force. What’s more, the force is spread out over 6 milliseconds. While the total recoil energy is roughly the same, the hydraulic piston lowers the perception of recoil dramatically for a shooter by lowering the peak force and spreading the recoil out over time. The proprietary muzzle brake offered on the TAC-50 A1-R2 provides additional recoil reduction.
In addition to the new R2 recoil mitigation system, the TAC-50 A1-R2 features a new take-down A1-style fiberglass stock with a forend that is 5 inches longer than the original TAC-50 stock, moving the balance point for the bipod forward. There is a saddle-type cheekpiece, and the removable buttstock is attached to the rifle with a quick-detach push pin. The stock incorporates a smaller pistol grip to fit a wider range of hand shapes, with and without gloves.
The TAC-50 A1-R2 has a new bipod that is lighter, yet sturdier than the original TAC-50. The legs adjust vertically, as well as forward and rearward to fine-tune the rifle for elevation.
A new magazine system offers a positive, self-locking magazine latch that is easier to operate with gloved hands. The magazine release lever is repositioned ahead of the trigger bow.
As with the original TAC-50, the TAC-50 A1-R2 features a 29-inch premium selected, hand-lapped match-grade free-floating barrel, threaded muzzle brake, detachable 5-round box magazine, tuned 3.5-pound trigger, and extra-long bolt handle to clear large optics. It utilizes the proven McMillan 50 caliber action. All components are built to benchrest precision tolerances.
The McMillan TAC-50 product line continues to be used by military forces around the world as both an ultra-long range anti-personnel tactical rifle, as well as an anti-materiel rifle used for disabling assets at long range.
For many military units, it is the benchmark for extreme long -range accuracy in a tactical rifle weapons system.
From the same company that created the iconic “Green Meanie” L96A1, Accuracy International is still making some head-turning precision rifles. While this model is not a member of the classic Arctic Warfare series of sniper rifles, the company’s AX series has a similarly impressive set of features. The AXMC is the user-configurable, multi-caliber model in the lineup.
This 15-pound bolt-action rifle features a 27-inch barrel, a recoil-reducing tactical muzzle brake and a folding stock. An optional threaded muzzle brake can be used to mount an Accuracy International suppressor as well. It feeds from detachable 10-round box magazines and has enough rail space to mount an optic, a bipod and any other accessories that one might desire. All these features are fairly standard for a modern tactical sniper rifle, however, so let’s dive into what truly sets the AXMC apart.
The “MC” in “AXMC” stands for “Multi Calibre”, the defining feature of this model. This means that while the rifle comes standard chambered for .338 Lapua, it can be easily and quickly swapped to either .300 Win. Mag. or .308 Winchester in the field.
All the caliber conversion process entails is replacing the barrel, bolt and magazine. The only tool required to do so is a 4mm hex key, which is conveniently stored right in the buttstock. The quick change barrel feature could also potentially be used to keep the gun cool during severe fire schedules.
The AX series of rifles have been proven in combat, and the AXMC merely adds an extra level of versatility to this already well-respected sniper rifle line. It has all the features that would be expected and desired in a modern, tactical bolt-action precision rifle, but now with the option of three calibers in one. The .300 Win. Mag. and .308 Winchester conversion kits are sold separately, of course, but that’s still much cheaper than buying three individual rifles of this quality.
Editor's Note: Adam Borisenko contributed to this article.
Subscribe to the Gun Digest email newsletter and we'll send your print-at-home target pack right away. Just enter your email address below.