Today, we have semi-auto rifles everywhere, so why bother with a bolt-action? Because they are still great, they are precise, light, and make for a platform that can be easily carried around all day when hunting.

Looking at the market of bolt-action rifles, you can go from budget rimfires all the way to precision long range platforms which cost you more than your first car. This makes it quite hard to decide which ones are truly the best as expensive is not the same as great, and cheap does not mean bad. You would be surprised how often less is more, but also how often you just get what you pay for. That adds some complexity to the task which is not helped by the plethora of cartridges and intended uses.

To make it easier for all, here are the criteria for this list. First is the build quality. That means, what materials have been used, and how well have they been turned into a gun. Does the gun actually handle the way you would expect or does it feel like something is amiss? Do you have to baby the gun, or is it sturdy like a tank. Let’s face it, build quality can make but also easily break a rifle.

Then there is the intended use. For a precision long-range rifle, you need to be able to make some adjustments. Is it meant to be a hunting rifle, is it light enough to be carried in the woods all day? While the intended use alone does not determine what is a great rifle, it does determine which requirements have to be used in order to judge it.

Finally, there is the cost. Do you get a good value for your money? Does the rifle live up to its price or is it even better than the price might make you expect?

With that being said, it is time to turn our attention to the rifles themselves.

5. Winchester Model 70

The Winchester Model 70 is the best when it comes to hunting. It did not get its nickname the rifleman’s rifle for nothing. It features a pre-64 round feed action and is available in 21 different calibers and 13 variations. The two most popular ones are the Featherweight and Super Grade variations which are still available today. You can also have it in a more traditional blue and wood or in composite and stainless variants.

However, if you insist on a US-made product, you might be disappointed. Nowadays, it is actually made in Portugal by Browning for Winchester.

Winchester Model 70

Since its introduction in 1936, it has become a cult rifle with the associate following all over the hunting and collecting community. Thanks to the continued use of the same pre-64 controlled round feed action, you still get the original system today, so no need to avoid it because of any changes.

4. Bergara B14 HMR

The Bergara B14 HMR is the best rifle overall. Bergara`s barrels are renowned for their quality and set the benchmark in the industry. The rifle comes with a guarantee for groups with 1 MOA or less while using quality factory match grade ammo.

The barrel is fully free-floating, and the rifle features a one-piece action. The buttstock can be adjusted and there is a left-handed version available. However, for lefties, there are only 4 calibers available while for right-handed shooters, it is all in all 7.

The intended use of this rifle is for hunting and for long range competition shooting. That makes it a top-notch rifle. The HMR in B14 HMR stands for hunting and match rifle, and its free-floating barrel is absolutely up to this task. Complemented by the B-14 action, which is a super smooth two-lug system using a sliding plate extractor and a coned bolt nose and breech, this gun is super reliable. It feeds and ejects cartridges without any issues.

Bergara B14 HMR

An integrated mini-chassis is molded into the stock. That makes for a repeatable bedding and accuracy. The Bergara curved trigger guarantees a crisp and clean pull every time the rifle is fired. It is set at about 3 pounds. Also, the receiver is drilled and tapped. This way, it fits Remington 700 style rings and bases. To make things complete, the muzzle is threaded so that you can use a suppressor or muzzle device.


The CVA CASCADE is the best budget option on the market. Indeed, it is often considered to be the Begara on a budget rifle. With it, you get to choose between standard barrel lengths and more compact ones. For that, you need to cash out less than $600 what is by itself hard to beat given the quality that you get. It is available in 10 different calibers.

The muzzle of the rifle is threaded, so you can use a suppressor or other muzzle device. The bolt throw is 70 degrees for enough scope clearance, and the action runs fast and smoothly. The stock is fiberglass reinforced synthetic and sports a SoftTouch finish. Thanks to removable spacers, the buttstock is adjustable for its length of pull. This makes it an ideal gun for young shooters that can actually grow with them. Also, with it, you can accommodate heavy winter clothing.


2. Ruger American Rimfire

The Ruger American Rimfire is the best rimfire bolt-action rifle. It comes with the reputation of the Ruger 10/22 just packed into a bolt-action platform. Being a true rimfire, you get to choose between .17 HMR, .22LR, and .22 WMR.

It is even compatible with the Ruger magazines with larger capacity, just make sure you take it for the right caliber. You get to choose between a lot of different configurations of which many even come with a threaded muzzle. It ships with two interchangeable standard length of pull stock modules which also provide comb height options if you want to use a scope.


Some configurations are distributor exclusive that makes them hard to find for the average shooter, but that is something we have to live with. More important is that this rifle is at the same time very reliable, versatile and affordable. It makes for a good entry level gun and you can adapt it to your needs, for example shooting with iron sights or a scope. A scope base is already machined into the receiver. Furthermore, it is also drilled and tapped for Weaver bases.

The rifle uses the patented Power Bedding integral bedding block system. This positively locates the receiver and free floats the barrel which is the reason for the great accuracy of this gun.

1. Weatherby Mark V

The Weatherby Mark V is a premium rifle. Many consider it to be the strongest rifle in the world. It features a 54-degree bolt rotation which is the lowest in its class. You can have it in standard as well as in magnum configurations.

The bolt itself has a full shroud. With it, the user is protected if the ammo fails. You can choose between 23 calibers and 22 model variations. Can a gun like this have a con? Yes, it can, and that is the fact that it is in such a high-demand that it can be hard to find in stock.

Why is this rifle considered to be the strongest in the world? This comes form Roy Weatherby`s signature cartridges. These are so powerful, that a 9-lug push-feed action had to be designed that was actually able to withstand the pressures generated by these loads.


Having the lowest bolt rotation on the market makes the Mark V exceptionally well suited for mounting a scope. Also, it ensures a quick cycling of the action. The bolt is smooth and forged from one piece. It sports relief ports and the full shroud as with such strong cartridges, the user has to be protected in case they fail.

With so many choices when it comes to caliber and model variations, you will find the right Weatherby Mark V that fits exactly your needs, be it chasing game in Alaska or going after Kansas whitetails.

There you have it guys, our pick on the best bolt-action rifles on the market. If you own one of them or shot it, let us know about your experience in the comment. If you have another rifle that should make the list, put it also into the comments and let us know what makes it so great.

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