Best Tactical Bolt-Action Rifles at Every Price Point
August 06, 2013
Tactical rifles are usually characterized by heavy barrels, detachable box magazines, stocks that accommodate positional shooting, and calibers that offer good terminal performance.
Believe it or not, there's an entire contingency of shooters enamored with the idea of hitting steel at a thousand yards- give or take a few hundred- and chances are, you're probably one of them. While others sight their rifles in at 100 to 200 yards, your mantra has always been, "Go big or go home." That's why you push your tacticool bolt-action to the extremes of long-range shooting.
But what makes a modern tactical bolt gun? Is it the construction, purpose or accessories? For a clear-cut answer, I went straight to the expert, Tom Beckstrand, a nine-year veteran U.S. Army Ranger with multiple tours as a sniper team commander in Iraq and Afghanistan. Beckstrand said the ultimate bolt-action rifle must have at least a few basic components.
"Tactical rifles are usually characterized by heavy barrels, detachable box magazines, stocks that accommodate positional shooting, and calibers that offer good terminal performance," he said.
If long-range shooting is your passion, there are plenty of options available, from economical to plain ol' expensive. To help guide you on your quest for long-range accuracy and select the best rifle for your needs, we've rounded up the best tactical bolt-action rifles at every price point.
Over $5,000: Accuracy International AX Series
Available in two models — the AX338 (pictured) and its successor, the AX308 — the Accuracy International
AX Series features a 10-round, double-stack magazine in both models, plus a stock design available with either a pistol or thumbhole grip. The AX Series also features a plain, threaded barrel with either standard or tactical muzzle brakes, which feature threaded ends for use with an AI suppressor.
Price: Contact Accuracy International for details
Designed to withstand a wide variety of harsh environments, the Paragon from American Precision Arms
features a guaranteed ¼ MOA with match-grade ammunition; to make due on its end of the guarantee, APA even breaks in every rifle and ships each of them with three certification targets. The Paragon features APA's Genesis receiver, which offers an M16-style extractor and a one-piece bolt. The .308 Win. model features a 22-inch, stainless steel, match-grade barrel with a 1:11 twist rate, while the .223 Rem. model features a 20-inch barrel with a 1:8 twist rate.
You probably won't be shooting the Barrett
MRAD in anything but a prone position, but this big boy certainly offers shooters top-notch accuracy and performance. Weighing a hefty 13.56 pounds — 13.24 with a fluted barrel — the Barrett MRAD sports a 21.75-inch rail angled at 30 MOA. Barrel lengths are available in 20, 24 or 26 inches, each boasting a twist rate of 1:9.35. With a magazine capable of holding 10 rounds of .338 Lapua Magnum, the MRAD features an ambidextrous mag release, a single button for length of pull adjustment and a folding stock for mobility.
gallery=53,000-5,000: FN SPR A3G
So good is FNH USA\'s
SPR A3G, the FBI has selected the rifle as one of its tactical precision rifles, according to FNH USA's website. Chambered in .308 Win., the SPR A3G boasts a cold hammer-forged, MIL-SPEC fluted, 24-inch barrel offering sub-1/2 MOA accuracy at 100 yards. The SPR A3G also sports a Model 70-type two lever adjustable trigger and a three-position safety, along with a knurled bolt handle for enhanced grip.
Price: Contact FNH USA for details
GA Precision FBI HRT
Specifically built for an FBI HRT (Hostage Rescue Team) unit, the GA Precision
FBI HRT rifle boasts a 3/8 MOA as guaranteed by GA Precision's website. The FBI HRT rifle features GA Precision's SA Templar action, which features a bolt and handle together in one piece while offering exceptionally smooth action. The .308 Win. FBI HRT rifle also features a McMillan A3-5 adjustable stock, available in OD Green with an adjustable cheekpiece.
H-S Precision HTR
Touted as a choice weapon for law enforcement agencies around the world, the H-S Precision
Pro Series 2000 HTR (Heavy Tactical Rifle) comes with a fully adjustable stock and fluted barrel, available from 20 to 28 inches. The HTR is fully customizable: You pick your stock, barrel length and even caliber — plus a few accessories such as rail assembly and adapter, muzzle brake, and grip stand for additional fees — allowing shooters to build their dream long-range rifle.
Under gallery=53,000: Remington 700 AAC
The Model 700 AAC-SD is Remington's
tactical reiteration of its famous Model 700 line. The 700 AAC-SD can be fitted with any AAC flash hiders, muzzle brakes or suppressors — as well as any other accessory that will fit the 5/8-24 threaded muzzle. The 700 AAC-SD is chambered in .308 Win. and features a 1:10 twist rate. Available in a Hogue Overmolded Ghillie Green, pillar-bedded stock.
Sako TRG 22/42
Considered by many to be one of the finest long-range firearms available, the Finnish-built Sako
TRG rifles — the TRG-22 in .308 Win., and the TRG-42 in .300 Win. Mag. and .338 Lapua Magnum — features Sako's legendary smooth action and exceptional accuracy out to 1,000 yards. Both models feature a 60-degree bolt lift and a 1:11 twist rate — 1:12 in the .338 Lapua Magnum model. The Sako TRG also features a detachable, staggered magazine in both models — 10 rounds in the TRG-22, and seven- and five-round capacity in the TRG-42.
Savage 110 FCP HS
Though available in three chamberings, the Savage
110 FCP HS in .338 Lapua Magnum is what will really catch the tactical operators' eyes. Models in .308 Win. and .300 Win. Mag. boast a four-round, flush-fit, detachable magazine, but the .338 Lapua Magnum model features a detachable box magazine with a five-round capacity, plus the muzzle brake, scope rail and fluted barrel not available for smaller calibers. The 110 FCP HS .338 Lapua sports a 26-inch barrel with a 1:9 twist rate.
Price: [imo-slideshow gallery=53],549
SIG Sauer Blaser Tactical 2
Built specifically for portability and rapid deployment, the SIG Sauer
Blaser Tactical 2 features Blaser's straight-pull action, allowing for quicker follow-up shots. The TAC2 features a cold hammer-forged, fluted barrel with a threaded muzzle, and is available in multiple caliber options that can be easily switched out by replacing the barrel and bolt head with no special tools. In addition, the TAC2 features a Picatinny rail fixed to the barrel.
Price: $4,171 - 4,474
SIG Sauer SSG 3000
Designed specifically with high precision in mind, the SIG Sauer
SSG 3000 is available with an 18- or 24-inch barrel. Chambered in .308/7.62, this big-bore rifle has an integral zero MOA rail on its receiver, along with a 60-degree short throw bolt action. SIG guarantees sub-MOA accuracy in both models, which also feature a five-round mag capacity. The aluminum-bedded stock comes with ambidextrous QD sling points, rear hook, sloping fore-end, and 3 and 9 o'clock M1913 rail pockets.
Price: [imo-slideshow gallery=53],499
Steyr SSG 08
To make the Steyr
SSG 08 a little more portable, Steyr Mannlicher built its long-range tack-driver — available in .308 Win., .300 Win. Mag. and .338 Lapua Magnum — with a high-grade aluminum folding stock, which includes an adjustable cheekpiece and a buttplate with height marking, plus interchangeable pistol grips. The SSG 08 sports a 20-, 23.6- or 27.17-inch barrel — depending on the caliber — with a 1:9 twist rate.
With an effective range of 1,600 meters, the McMillan TAC-338
comes standard with a muzzle brake and features an adjustable trigger with a factory setting of 3 pounds. The TAC-338 is chambered in .338 Lapua Magnum and .338 Norma Magnum, and features a 26.5-inch, heavy, match-grade barrel. An adjustable cheekpiece is featured in the stock, as are flush mount swivel cups. The TAC-338 is available with either a detachable box magazine or a hinged floorplate.
Surgeon Rifles Scalpel
offers plenty of custom options in a wide variety of long-reaching calibers at varying price points, but the Scalpel is a cut above the rest. Chambered in .308 Win., the Scalpel is available in long- or short-action, both models sporting a Krieger barrel on a McMillan stock.
Tikka T3 CTR
Sporting the same barrel as the legendary Sako TRG-22, the Tikka
T3 Scout CTR boasts an effective range out to 1,000 meters. Chambered in .308 Win., the T3 Scout CTR features a scope rail, adjustable cheekpiece and muzzle brake. For Shooting Times
Guide to Long-Range Accuracy, Beckstrand wrote, 'œThis rifle offers the most bang for the buck for the shooter new to the tactical rifle scene.'