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Best Big Game Rifles for 2022: Review

2022 has been a big year for new rifles. Here is a list of some of our favorite big-game rifles for sale now.

Best Big Game Rifles for 2022: Review

Best Big Game Rifles for 2022: Review (RifleShooter photo)

Not long ago, rifle manufacturers were battling to produce the least-expensive hunting rifles possible. Modern manufacturing methods had proven that even cheap guns were capable of excellent accuracy, and virtually every firearm manufacturer in the middle-aughts added at least one new budget-friendly rifle to its firearms lineup.

Budget rifle mania seems to have run its course. Although there are a lot of great gun values on this list—and it could reasonably be argued the $10,000 double fits into that category—and there are expansions to affordable rifle lines, there are no new budget gun platforms for 2022. Hybrid rifles, which incorporate features like Picatinny rails, detachable box magazines and adjustable stocks traditionally found on target guns, remain popular, but the most dramatic increase has been in the high-end hunting rifle segment.

These rifles maintain a traditional sporter profile and add top-shelf features like carbon-fiber barrels and stocks. Most of these rifles offer an accuracy guarantee, and virtually every gun in this year’s roundup comes with a threaded muzzle. Also, more manufacturers are offering rifles with shorter barrels that keep overall length manageable when a suppressor is installed.

Over the last decade there’s been a dramatic change in the chamberings offered each year. Some stalwart cartridges like the .270 Win., .308 Win. and 7mm Rem. Mag. are well-represented, but the 6.5 Creedmoor, 6.5 PRC, 6.5 RPM, 6.8 Western, .280 Ackley Improved, .28 Nosler and .300 PRC are the most popular chambering options.


Of course, it’s not just bolt-action guns that make the list. We’ve got semiautos, levers and the double rifle I mentioned earlier. No matter the game, the range, or the terrain, there’s a rifle on this list that will suit your needs. Here’s a look at the best new hunting rifles for 2022.


Benelli

Benelli Big Game rifles
(RifleShooter Photo)

This year, Benelli has added several new versions of its Lupo rifles equipped with the company’s proprietary Benelli Surface Treatment (BE.S.T.). This treatment uses elements of both physical vapor deposition and plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition to apply a layer of diamond-like carbon to the exterior of the rifle. Gun makers have understood for years that such applications could protect metal unlike anything else on the market, but these surface treatment processes required high heat that could stress barrels. Benelli’s engineering team in Urbino, Italy, discovered a method to apply these surface treatments without excessive heat.

Like other Lupo rifles, the new BE.S.T. models have a three-part stock that acts as a chassis and is mated to a precision machined action and a Crio barrel with barrel extension. The Lupo’s angled bolt handle and egg-shaped bolt knob give this gun a distinct look and function well. The bolt is recessed on the bottom to allow for one more round in the detachable box magazine, and the top of the receiver is drilled and tapped for three scope bases.

Stocks are adjustable for drop, cast and length of pull, and interlocking baffles in the Progressive Comfort stock and interchangeable Combtech combs help reduce the sting or recoil. All rifles weigh around seven pounds and feature 5/8x24 threaded barrels for adding a muzzle device. They’re available in two Sitka camo-pattern polymer stocks, plus an AA-grade satin walnut wood stock. BE.S.T. metal finish options include matte, matte gray and gloss.

Bergara

Two new models of the company’s Premier line are added for this year: the Divide and Canyon. Premier actions feature a two-lug one-piece stainless steel bolt. It has a floating bolt head with a cone-shaped bolt nose and sliding-plate extractor. The bolt head, non-rotating bolt shroud, and bolt shroud all have a nitride surface finish that protects the metal from the elements and improves lubricity. AICS detachable magazines, a TriggerTech frictionless release trigger, and a threaded muzzle Omni muzzle brake come standard. These rifles accept Remington 700 scope bases with 8-40 screws.




The Divide is based on the company’s HMR target rifle but has been lightened with long-range backcountry hunting in mind. Divide guns feature an Erosion Rogue camo AG Composites carbon-fiber stock that offers the adjustability of a target-style stock with reduced mass. Despite its target-gun appearance, the Bergara weighs in at just over seven pounds.

The Canyon is a superb all-purpose sporter that has a non-adjustable AG Composites carbon-fiber stock in Swamper Rogue camo and a free-floated No. 4 fluted barrel. AICS magazines come standard, but the Canyon can be converted to use a hinged floorplate if desired. Barrel lengths are 20 or 22 inches depending on caliber, and the metalwork is treated with a Sniper Grey Cerakote finish. The Canyon weighs 6.5 pounds or less.

Browning

Browning Big Game rifles
(RifleShooter Photo)

The company’s new Ovix camo pattern appears on several rifles this year. Ovix camo is designed to disrupt outlines, and the blend of grays, tans, browns, and greens makes this camo suitable for the eastern hardwoods or high desert. Several X-Bolt models come dressed in this new camo pattern. X-Bolts feature the company’s adjustable Feather trigger, a two-position tang-mounted safety with bolt release, rotary magazine, and barrels that are free-floated and bedded in the front and rear of the action.

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One new gun is the Ovix X-Bolt Speed LR (Long Range), which features a fluted barrel with muzzle brake and 5/8x24 threading, Smoked Bronze Cerakote finish, a sporter stock with an adjustable comb, and an extended bolt handle.

The Ovix X-Bolt Speed offers many of the same features as the Speed LR minus the adjustable comb, and it has a shorter sporter-contour barrel that makes it ideal for high-altitude hunts. Also new this year is the Ovix X-Bolt Speed Suppressor Ready version with a short, 18- to 22-inch, stiff fluted barrel that makes this handy rifle perfect for mounting a suppressor. The X-Bolt Hell’s Canyon McMillan LR rifle comes with an Ovix camo McMillan Game Scout stock with target rifle-inspired features like a flat fore-end and near-vertical pistol grip. Also included on the McMillan version is Browning’s new Recoil Hawg muzzle brake that cuts felt recoil by as much as 76 percent.

The Ovix X-Bolt Western Hunter LR has many of the same features as the X-Bolt Speed LR, including the adjustable stock. But it has  a matte blued finish instead of Smoked Bronze Cerakote and is therefore priced lower than the Speed LR. The only new X-Bolt that doesn’t wear an Ovix stock is the X-Bolt Stalker LR, which comes with a black stock with adjustable comb, a heavy sporter unfluted barrel with Recoil Hawg brake and matte blue metalwork.

Also new from Browning is the BAR Mk3 Ovix, a new take on the company’s classic short stroke gas piston-operated semiauto. These handy, versatile rifles are suitable for a range of game in a range of habitats and offer fast, reliable follow-up shots. Complementing the new camo stock is a Smoked Bronze Cerakote surface finish.

Chapuis

Chapuis first appeared in our annual hunting rifle roundup last year after being purchased by Beretta Holding, but this company has been making fine rifles in France since the early 20th century. This year Chapuis is debuting their Iphisi (isiZulu for “big game hunter”) double rifle. The Iphisi is chambered in .375 H&H Mag., which is more comfortable to shoot than your typical “over .40” double rifle, and it’s more versatile, more available and more affordable than big bore Nitro Express rounds.

Chapuis modified its proven Agex action to accommodate the .375 H&H, and these guns are regulated with Hornady’s 300-grain DGX Bonded bullets. However, a patented regulating system allows it to be adjusted by a gunsmith to accommodate any .375 load.

The Iphisi features an AAA-grade Circassian walnut stock with metal grip cap, English-style cheekpiece and classic brown recoil pad, a color case-hardened receiver and three leaf express sights. The top rib is machined to accept Talley mounts, so mounting a scope is simple. Costing just under five figures, the Iphisi certainly ain’t cheap, but in the world of big-bore double rifles, this gun is an exceptional bargain—and versatile and beautiful to boot.

Christensen Arms

Christensen Arms Big Game rifles
(RifleShooter Photo)

The big news from Christensen Arms this year is the addition of Ridgeline and Mesa rifles with Flash Forged Technology stocks. These carbon-fiber composite stocks use a monocoque design, the same engineering that is used on aircraft and racecars. Monocoque designs use the exterior “skin” for support, reducing the need for load-bearing internal frames and reducing weight.

“Instead of maintaining the status quo of ‘overbuilding’ a product to meet safety standards, Flash Forged Technology employs an engineering approach to achieve the lightest possible structure while exceeding crucial strength and safety margins,” said Jason Christensen, CEO of Christensen Arms. Both rifles come with TriggerTech triggers, both feature oversized ejection ports, internal box magazines with hinged floorplates, and both accept Remington 700 bases.

The Christensen Arms Mesa FFT comes with a featherweight contour 416R stainless steel barrel with seamless radial removable brake and Tungsten or Burnt Bronze Cerakote on the exterior metal. The free-floating, button-rifled barrel is hand-lapped and features a match chamber. The Mesa FFT’s stock is available in black with gray webbing or green with black and tan webbing.

The Ridgeline FFT also has a 416 stainless barrel, but its barrel is wrapped with aerospace-grade carbon fiber and sports a stainless steel side baffle brake. The Ridgeline FFT offers the same stock color options as the Mesa plus Sitka Subalpine and Elevated II digital camo patterns. Mesa FFT rifles weigh as little as 5.5 pounds, while the Ridgeline FFT starts at just 5.3 pounds. Both rifles are available in left-handed versions. All Mesa and Ridgeline rifles promise sub-m.o.a. accuracy.

CZ-USA

CZ completely revamped its bolt-action centerfire offerings for 2022 with the new 600 series. Unfortunately, the company discovered a design flaw, and at press time the guns were being recalled. Owners are advised to stop using their 600 rifles immediately and visit cz-usa.com for information on returning their guns for modification.

Franchi

Franchi continues to expand its line of bolt-action big game hunting rifles with several additions to the Momentum family. All Momentum Elite rifles come with cold hammer-forged barrels with removable muzzle brakes and the company’s Dependa action with a spiral-fluted full-diameter bolt with three locking lugs for a short bolt lift and smooth cycling. A Picatinny rail makes optics mounting simple, and all Momentum rifles come with detachable box magazines.

The Relia single-stage trigger is user-adjustable from two to four pounds, and the Evolved Ergonom-X polymer stock comes with a TSA recoil pad. Despite a relatively modest price tag, the Franchi Elite rifles promise—and deliver—sub-m.o.a. accuracy, plus it’s got a seven-year warranty. The Momentum Elite is now available with True Timber Strata stock with Midnight Bronze Cerakote metalwork, a Realtree Excape stock with Burnt Bronze Cerakote or Gore Optifade Elevated II with Cobalt Cerakote. New caliber options include .350 Legend and 6.5 PRC.

Also new is the Momentum Elite Varmint. Despite the name, these rifles are chambered for big game rounds, including 6.5 Creedmoor and .308 Win. The Momentum Varmint’s barrel features spiral fluting, which is a cool touch, and the Gore Optifade camo stock features a removable cheek rest and removable textured polymer pistol grip. The rifle is finished in Midnight Bronze Cerakote.

Marlin

Perhaps the biggest rifle news story of 2022 is Marlin’s return to the lever- gun marketplace. The new 1895 SBL (Stainless Big Loop) .45-70 lever action is the first Marlin rifle to come out of Ruger’s Mayodan, North Carolina, factory. Though this rifle has unmistakable Marlin design cues and styling, Ruger has improved several features of the classic 1895 design by adding such features as an adjustable ghost ring rear sight and fiber-optic front sight for rapid target acquisition in any light and an extended Picatinny rail up top that allows you to mount your favorite optic  quickly and securely.

The metalwork on this gun is stainless steel and features a polished stainless finish, and the new 1895 comes with a nickel-plated bolt that is spiral fluted for improved ergonomics and ultra-smooth cycling. Ruger redesigned the gray laminate stock as well, trimming the fore-end and adding improved checkering and finish. The new Marlin 1895 SBL comes with a muzzle that’s threaded 11/16x24 for muzzle brakes or a suppressor. The cold hammer-forged barrel measures 19 inches and has a 1:20 twist and six grooves. Overall length is just over three feet and the Marlin’s 7.3-pound weight is nicely balanced, making this a superb hunting rifle.

Mossberg

Mossberg Big Game rifles
(RifleShooter Photo)

The new MVP Patrol .300 BLK from Mossberg is a light, handy, affordable rifle that’s suitable for hunting a wide range of game—like hogs and deer—at moderate ranges. This gun features a 16.25-inch medium bull barrel and a 10-round metal detachable box magazine. Overall length is a shade over three feet so this gun is handy in a tree stand or blind, and if you elect to remove the A2 flash hider and replace it with a suppressor, the Mossberg doesn’t become so long it’s unwieldy.\

There’s a top rail for mounting optics and a Lightning Bolt Action bladed adjustable trigger comes standard. The metalwork has a matte black finish that matches the durable polymer stock. I had a chance to test this rifle and found it to be loads of fun. With a suppressor in place and subsonic ammo this gun produces mild recoil and muzzle blast and is suitable for new shooters. There’s nothing fancy about the Patrol, but it might just be the perfect truck or tree stand rifle.

Nosler

Nosler blurs the line between factory and custom rifles with its new Model 21 bolt action. Combining a Mack Brothers’ EVO action, Shilen barrel, McMillan stock and TriggerTech Field trigger, this gun offers many of the components that make their way into super expensive custom guns at a lower price point. At the front of the tubular action you’ll see a 17-4 stainless steel self-indexing recoil lug that better supports the barrel and eliminates lug alignment issues. The carbon-fiber McMillan Hunter’s Edge stock is light and extremely durable, and it sports aluminum bedding pillars and epoxy paint.

Model 21 one-piece bolts are made of 4340 chrome molybdenum billet and are nitride treated for long life. The M16-style extractor is virtually foolproof, and the bolt can be disassembled for cleaning or inspection without tools. Fluting on the bolt allows it to run through the EDM blueprinted action with minimal resistance, and the barrel is threaded (1/2x28 or 5/8x24) and comes with a knurled cap.

The two-position rocker-type safety is easy to access and silent and the floorplate release is housed within the trigger guard. Weight is around seven pounds depending upon caliber. Big game caliber options range from 6.5 Creedmoor to .375 H&H Mag., so this gun is capable of harvesting any animal on the planet.

Rock River Arms

The Predator HP LAR-BT3 is chambered for the versatile .243 Win. cartridge. The rifle sports the company’s six-position Operator CAR stock; 17-inch M-Lok compatible handguard; a 20-inch fluted, stainless 1:10 barrel with RRA Operator brake; and a rifle-length gas system with a low-profile gas block. The upper and lower RRA LAR-BT3 receivers are made from billet, and the two-stage trigger is smooth, predictable and clean. Rock River says this gun will shoot one inch at 100 yards

 The Hogue pistol grip provides a comfortable and secure hold on the rifle, although at more than nine pounds this .243 rifle is hardly difficult to control under recoil. The full-length top rail offers plenty of real estate for mounting an optic, and the potential for fast follow-up shots make this gun ideal for hog or predator control. It also makes a great deer rifle, and the RRA’s mild recoil and adjustable stock make this gun suitable for any shooter.

Savage Arms

Savage Arms Big Game rifles
(RifleShooter Photo)

Savage isn’t offering anything completely new this year, but there are some noteworthy additions to the Model 110 line. First, the Model 110 Magpul Hunter. As the name implies, this gun combines a 110 action—in either right- or left-handed configuration—with a Magpul Hunter stock. The Hunter stock features a length of pull that’s adjustable from 13 to 15 inches, an adjustable comb, M-Lok slots on the sides and bottom of the fore-end and an aluminum bedding block.

A blueprinted action and an 18-inch threaded carbon steel heavy barrel round out this package, and all the metalwork comes with a Tungsten Cerakote surface finish. Features like an oversized bolt handle, vertical pistol grip, and a 20-m.o.a. top rail give this rifle a decidedly tactical look, but at just under nine pounds and 38.5 inches long, it’s still handy in the field. A five-round AICS mag comes standard, as does Savage’s AccuTrigger, which is user-adjustable from 1.5 to 4 pounds.

Left-handed shooters will be glad to hear that both the 110 Timberline and 110 Ultralite will be available in southpaw friendly configurations starting in 2022. The 110 Ultralite incorporates a Proof carbon-fiber barrel and weighs under six pounds, and the Timberline features a Realtree Excape camo AccuFit stock, medium contour fluted and threaded barrel and Cerakote OD green finish.

Seekins Precision

Idaho-based Seekins Precision unveiled its new bolt-action Havak PH2 rifle, which features a 5R 416 spiral fluted stainless steel barrel with a 5/8x24 threaded muzzle and a lightweight Seekins carbon composite stock. Barreled actions are hand-bedded in these rifles, and every gun comes with a Timney Elite Hunter trigger set at 2.5 pounds. The spiral fluted bolt features an M16-style extractor and four locking lugs with a 90-degree lift, and the bolt head is removable.

Short-action Havak PH2 rifles have a 24-inch barrel and come with a PMag magazine—except the 6.5 PRC, which ships with a three-round carbon-fiber mag. All long-action rifles come with carbon-fiber detachable magazines. These rifles accommodate short-action cartridges up to 3.14 inches and long-action cartridges up to 3.94 inches. A 20-m.o.a. Picatinny rail is held in place by five 8-32 screws.

The rifles weigh just 6.9 pounds in short action and 7.1 pounds in long action, making them ideal for hunting the high country. There are three stock color options: Mountain Shadow, Desert Shadow and Urban Shadow. The barreled actions are bead-blasted black.

Weatherby

The second generation of Weatherby’s highly successful Backcountry hunting rifles hits the market this year. At the heart of these rifles is Weatherby’s time-tested Mark V push-feed action with either six or nine locking lugs, but most everything else on the Backcountry 2.0 bolt guns is new technology.

Buyers can choose a steel or titanium action with steel or carbon-fiber barrels, and most of these guns run between five and six pounds. Part of those weight savings are a result of using Weatherby’s Peak 44 Blacktooth carbon-fiber stock, which weighs under 20 ounces. A Peak 44 3DHEX 3D printed recoil pad does a great job of mitigating recoil, as does Weatherby’s Accubrake ST muzzle brake with 30 radial ports on both the fluted steel and tensioned carbon-fiber barrels. Several Mark V models/chamberings are available in left-handed versions.

Weatherby also introduced a new entry-level Mark V rifle this year: the Mark V Hunter. It sports a gray-and-black speckle polymer flat-base stock with dual palm swells and bedded with aluminum pillars. The barrel (including its 1/2x28 thread protector), receiver and trigger guard get a Cobalt Cerakote finish while the bolt, bolt knob and safety are Graphie Black Cerakote. A TriggerTech trigger comes standard, and like other Mark Vs, the Hunter promises sub-m.o.a. accuracy.

Wilson Combat

Wilson Combat Big Game rifles
(RifleShooter Photo)

Hornady recently released the 6mm ARC cartridge for the AR-15 platform, and Wilson Combat is now offering a version of its Tactical Hunter rifle chambered for the round. With its lightweight billet flat-top upper and billet lower, the Tactical Hunter 6mm ARC weighs in at six pounds, 14 ounces. The Tactical Hunter features an 18-inch fluted and threaded match-grade barrel, a 12.6-inch Wilson Combat M-Lok rail with three rail covers and a Rogers/Wilson Super-Stoc.

The mid-length gas system keeps the rifle running smoothly, and a four-pound Wilson Combat TTU M2 trigger helps make this a superb hunting rifle for varmints, predators and big game, and it can be built to meet California compliance standards. An Armor-Tuff finish in black and green is standard, but other color combinations are available.

Winchester

Winchester Big Game rifles
(RifleShooter Photo)

This year Winchester added new variations to its existing product lines. The Model 70 Extreme Hunter Strata MB offers everything that generations of hunters have loved about this rifle—particularly its ultra-reliable controlled- feed action and unmistakable build quality—and spruced it up with a True-Timber Strata camo composite stock and a flat dark earth Cerakote finish on the receiver and barrel. Barrels are fluted and threaded, and a muzzle brake is included with each of these rifles.

There are three new XPR models. The Extreme Hunter TrueTimber Midnight MB has a TrueTimber Midnight polymer stock, a Tungsten Cerakote finish and a muzzle brake. The Hunter Strata MB features a TrueTimber Strata stock, flat dark earth Perma-Cote barrel and a muzzle brake. There’s also a Hunter Mossy Oak DNA model that comes with a composite stock in Mossy Oak’s new camo pattern and black Perma-Cote metalwork.

New lever guns from Winchester include two 1895 rifles: the Grade I and High Grade. Grade I rifles come with basic but attractive walnut stocks whereas the High Grade guns feature grade II/III walnut. Both rifles have a gloss blue finish.

The new Model 94 Deluxe Sporting sports a 24-inch barrel, color case-hardened receiver and a grade V/VI walnut stock with a crescent buttplate. It’s drilled and tapped for scope mounts, but this stylish take on America’s classic hunting rifle looks great sans optics. The adjustable buckhorn rear and Marble gold dot front sights are suitable for moderate-range shooting.

Another classic Winchester rifle gets revamped this year, too. The Model 1892 Deluxe Octagon Takedown has a color case-hardened receiver, 24-inch octagon barrel, buckhorn adjustable rear sight and Marble front and a grade V/VI walnut stock with a metal fore-end cap and a shotgun buttplate. As the name implies, this rifle can be broken down for transport.

The new 1886 Saddle Ring Carbine features a 22-inch barrel and is chambered to .45-70 and .45-90, making it a great big-bore hunting rifle for nostalgia seekers. There are also two new 1873 rifles this year. One is a Competition Carbine High Grade, but hunters would likely be more interested in the gorgeous Deluxe Sporting version with a color case receiver, grade V/VI wood, and a 24-inch half-round, half-octagon barrel.

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