The 9 Most Accurate Hunting Rifles I’ve Ever Reviewed

Over the last few years as I’ve run the popular Backfire Youtube channel, I’ve reviewed dozens of guns and tested them for accuracy. There are some gun models that have produced horrible accuracy, and others that have done quite well.

Accuracy is difficult to test, because one copy of a rifle may do well with the loads I test it with, and then another purchaser may see poor accuracy results if their copy of the rifle was made on a day where the tooling was more worn out, or where tolerances stacked in an unfortunate way. So, take this discussion with a grain of salt as I can only test the one rifle I have.

Let’s start with the cheapest gun to make my “most accurate” list.

Ruger American Predator

Best Group: 0.544″Average Group: 0.89″Cartridge: 6.5 Creedmoor
Ammo: Hornady Match 147grTrigger Pull: 3-5lbsBarrel: Cold Hammer Forged
Buy This Rifle OnlineMade In: USARecommended Scope for this Rifle

A Ruger American Predator is, by far, the most accurate gun available at a bargain price. Ruger uses a cold hammer forging technique to create its barrels, which is unique in this price point, and aids in creating a smooth and seamless barrel.

Be aware, however, that at this price point, you can’t expect perfect manufacturing tolerances. In fact, Ruger doesn’t even provide a 1 MOA guarantee on this rifle like most guns at higher price points, but in my experience, it’s been very accurate. The Ruger American is not a perfect gun, but it is a very accurate one.

Sig Cross

Best Group: 0.39″Average Group: 0.56″Cartridge: 6.5 Creedmoor
Ammo: HandloadTrigger Pull: 2.5-4.5lbsBarrel: Unknown
Buy This Rifle OnlineMade In: USARecommended Scope for this Rifle

I’ll put it this way: I have dozens of guns in my gun vault. If someone bet me $100 that I couldn’t shoot a 1/2″ group on demand, I’d reach for my Sig Cross and take the bet. It’s my most reliable shooter.

The problem with the Sig Cross is I haven’t quite found a great factory load for the rifle in 6.5 Creedmoor. I tried a few different factory loads and had good but mediocre results. However, I found a handload that it absolutely loves.

My load recipe on my personal gun uses a 143 grain ELD-X bullet using 41.2 grains of H4350 powder at a COAL of 2.78″, which produced a speed of 2,668fps. However, you should only take that as academic data. Only follow loads from published manuals for safety.

Springfield 2020 Waypoint

Best Group: 0.578″Average Group: 0.713″Cartridge: 6.5 Creedmoor
Ammo: 143gr Precision HunterTrigger Pull: 2.5-5lbsBarrel: BSF Carbon Fiber
Buy This Rifle OnlineMade In: USARecommended Scope for this Rifle

When you review as many rifles as I do, you get pretty tired of hearing marketing people say a rifle is a “semi-custom.” It isn’t. It’s a regular mass-production rifle. But, after testing the Springfield 2020 Waypoint, I had to admit that the fit and finish, quality, components, and performance of the rifle is every bit as good as most custom rifles–at half of the cost.

There are two basic choices you have to make when getting a 2020 Waypoint. First, if you want a fixed stock, or the version with the adjustable cheekpiece. I LOVE adjustable stocks, but in this case, I’d skip it. It’ll save 1/3lbs, and the cheek on the fixed stock is so high that I get a perfect cheek weld, which I’ve never experience on any other stock.

Second, you’ll have to choose whether you want the steel barrel or the carbon fiber. The carbon barrel is much more expensive (about $575), and adds a little weight, but provides extra stiffness in your barrel which aids in accuracy as a barrel heats up. I have only tested the carbon version.

The rifle comes with a 0.75″ guarantee at 100 yards, which beats out the average 1 MOA guarantee from most manufacturers. I admit that I scoffed a bit when I read Springfield was not offering a standard 1 MOA guarantee, but instead a “3/4 MOA guarantee.” I’d seen too many rifles with “1 MOA guarantees” that couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn. As soon as I began testing the rifle, however, I was pleasantly surprised with the accuracy.

I found the rifle to not be too picky with ammo. It seemed to shoot a variety of loads well, and when most of them were indeed 3/4 MOA. Even an intermediate handloader should have no trouble getting this rifle to shoot 1/2 minute.

Bergara B14 Ridge

Note that this picture is the Bergara B14 Hunter, but I’d actually steer you to the “Ridge” model.
Best Group: 0.815″Average Group: 0.934″Cartridge: 6.5 Creedmoor
Ammo: Hornady 147gr MatchTrigger Pull: 2.8-5lbsBarrel: Button rifled
Buy This Rifle OnlineMade In: SpainRecommended Scope for this Rifle

I haven’t met a Bergara rifle that wasn’t accurate. There’s something about the way they build a barrel that seems to produce reliable results. Most people consider button rifling to be less ideal than cut or hammer-forged rifling, but again, it’s tough to argue with the results that Bergara is getting.

There are two models you might consider here: the B14 Ridge, or the B14 Hunter. The Hunter model (pictured above) is lighter weight, but the Ridge offers a more rigid stock that aids in accuracy and shootability. A rigid stock lessens the likelihood of barrel contact when shooting off a bipod, and consistency of the way the stock contacts the action.

When I recommend a rifle that ends up causing problems for people, I definitely hear about it from my audience. The most impressive thing about Bergara, to me, is the quality control. I RARELY hear any complaints from my audience about quality control issues on Bergara rifles. They seem to reliably shoot accurate groups out of the box.

Weatherby Vanguard

Best Group: 0.714″Average Group: 0.767″Cartridge: 6.5 Creedmoor
Ammo: Hornady 147gr MatchTrigger Pull: 2.5-5lbsBarrel: Cold Hammer Forged
Buy This Rifle OnlineMade In: JapanRecommended Scope for this Rifle

When I was a kid, Weatherby was talked about in hushed tones. While there are many other competitors today, Weatherby is still known for producing very accurate rifles that shoot very expensive cartridges.

I had good results testing the Weatherby Vanguard, but this is their lowest-end rifle. I haven’t had the opportunity to test many of their other models, but according to the brand, their most accurate rifle and ammo combination is a 180gr Hornady Interbond bullet in a 300 Weatherby in Mark 5 Carbonmark rifle.

Weatherby offers a sub-MOA guarantee on every Vanguard rifle they sell, which means if your gun won’t shoot better than 1.05″ at 100 yards, you can send it back to the company for repairs.

Bergara Premier Approach

Best Group: 0.271″Average Group: 0.413″Cartridge: 22-250 Remington
Ammo: Varmageddon 55grTrigger Pull: 1.5-4lbsBarrel: Bergara button rifled
Buy This Rifle OnlineMade In: SpainRecommended Scope for this Rifle

Bergara’s Premier line of rifles is their “semi-custom” line [re-insert rant from before about the phrase “semi-custom.” It’s not a cheap rifle, but it is extremely accurate.

The Premier Approach feels very “European” in its design. Where Americans want lightweight mountain rifles with modern stock lines, this gun feels chunky, heavy, and traditional. The stock is made from Grayboe Industries and is very heavy and rigid. I personally think the paint job is hideous on the stock, but some people like it.

I’m yet to try Bergara’s Divide or MGLite rifles from the Premier series, but I think I’d like those better since they use more modern, lightweight stock designs.

But if you can get past a 8.5 lbs rifle, the Premier approach is sinfully accurate. Their premier line averages 0.441″ groups at 100 yards according to their marketing, and the rifle I received beat that mark by a decent margin. It may be the single most accurate rifle I own.

Savage 110 Ultralight

Best Group: 0.58″Average Group: 0.67″Cartridge: .270 Winchester
Ammo: Federal 140gr AccubondTrigger Pull: 2-4lbsBarrel: Proof Research Carbon
Buy This Rifle OnlineMade In: USARecommended Scope for this Rifle

Tikka T3x Light

Best Group: 0.703″Average Group: 0.76″Cartridge: 6.5 Creedmoor
Ammo: Hornady 147gr MatchTrigger Pull: 2.25-4lbsBarrel: Cold Hammer Forged
Buy This Rifle OnlineMade In: FinlandRecommended Scope for this Rifle

CVA Paramount HTR

CVA Paramount HTR rifle held by a hunter with a Riton scope.
Best Group: 0.489″Average Group: 0.7″Cartridge: .45 Cal Muzzleloader
Ammo: 285gr Powerbelt ELRTrigger Pull: Barrel: Button Rifled Bergara
Buy This Rifle OnlineMade In: SpainRecommended Scope for this Rifle

The CVA Paramount Hunter isn’t your average hunting rifle. In fact, it’s not even a centerfire at all–it’s a muzzleloading rifle–though, you’d be forgiven for not recognizing it as a muzzleloader since it has a bolt-action to assist with loading and unloading.

CVA probably has the best warranty in the industry. They are the only brand I know of that offers a 14-day buyback if you’re unsatisfied with the accuracy of a rifle. With the Cascade, the promise is 1 MOA. With the muzzleloaders, their guarantee says “CVA’s Paramount and Accura rifles are guaranteed to outshoot any muzzleloader you’ve ever shot – or your money back.” That’s unique in the gun industry that generally doesn’t allow for any returns of firearms.

Be aware of what caliber and other restrictions your state may have for hunting. In my home state of Utah, a 45 caliber like this is perfect, but in other states you may need a 50 cal to hunt elk, or you may not be able to shoot an inline muzzleloader at all.

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5 Comments

  1. Another one worth mentioning that also comes out of the Dikar factory in Bergara, Spain is the CVA Scout. For an inexpensive rifle, they sure put a hefty, beautifully spun barrel on it. I tried a .35 Whelen to see if I’d like the platform, and it is consistently at or under MOA with Barnes 180gr loads.

    As a result, I’m planning on a Wilderness Ridge after SHOT early next year – hoping they offer 7mm PRC in the 2023 lineup.

  2. Great stuff. Thanks. One of my favorite videos you made was the one for the best hunting rifles. I’m considering an AR10 style rifle in 6.5CM for hunting/plinking. Have you done a similar video with comparisons of the Aero, PSA, and a few other offerings? What are your thoughts of using the AR10 style rifle as a deer gun vs say a Bergara b14?

  3. Jack Shoffstall says:

    Hey Jim, great content as alway! If you get a chance, check out the Proof Elevation rifle. I am an average shooter and consistently shoot half-MOA with factory Barnes 168TTSX rounds (.308). It weighed 6 lbs out of the box! I stumbled across this after watching your reviews on the Waypoint, there were none to be had anywhere.

    https://proofresearch.com/rifles/elevation-lightweight-hunter/

  4. Jim, do you put your content on Rumble?

  5. Scott Bennett says:

    Hi Jim,
    I love your informative video’s-Keep up the good work!

    If you could find the time, I would like to see you review Black Collar Arms ‘Pork Sword’ pistol & their SBR in .375 RAPTOR. They are claiming some great accuracy & energy out of these short barreled, folding skeleton stocked chassis guns in this caliber:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?app=desktop&v=UQOukUqPrB0

    Regards,
    Scott