Best Hunting Rifles Under $500, Ultimate Guide (2024)

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What are the best hunting rifles under $500 for hunting big game like deer, elk, hogs, and bear in 2024?

It wasn’t that long ago when calling something a “budget rifle” was a polite way of saying it was a piece of junk. Fortunately, things have changed in that area and there are now several different hunting rifles under $500 that will perform well for a number of different hunting situations.

Let’s be clear here: none of the options I recommend on this list of the best hunting rifles under $500 are fancy and none have a bunch of bells and whistles. For the most part, these rifles all use a push feed action, an injection molded stock, and a detachable magazine.

With one exception, none offer an accuracy guarantee, none (with one other exception) come with a factory threaded barrel, and none have any additional features like a Cerakote finish, back-up iron sights, or a carbon fiber barrel or stock. Available chamberings are also usually limited to pretty standard cartridges as well (6.5 Creedmoor, 270, 308, 30-06, 350 Legend, etc.).

These rifles also tend to have “looser” tolerances that can sometimes result in slightly worse accuracy and/or reliability than more expensive rifles from the same manufacturers.

And finally, manufacturers often don’t optimize these rifles for size or weight as a cost saving measure. That’s not to say that they’re especially large or heavy (because they aren’t). However, the manufacturers just tend to use the exact same action length for all cartridges in a particular rifle line, which means that users won’t be able to take advantage of that small additional benefit of using a short-action cartridge.

I don’t say any of these things to trash these rifles. I just want to be up front with the compromises gun companies make when designing and building their rifles towards the lower end of the price range.

Even so, some of these rifles are capable of surprisingly excellent accuracy and a couple have fantastic triggers and other nice features, like good recoil pads and/or an adjustable stock.

So, look at these rifles for what they are: affordable hunting rifles that are solid options for those who want something that will get the job done at a reasonable price point. They’re also excellent choices for those looking for a nice entry-level firearm.

Fortunately, there’s a good variety of budget hunting rifles well suited for many big game hunting situations. So, regardless of whether you’re planning on hunting whitetail east of the Mississippi River, elk in in Colorado, black bear up in Canada, or some other big game hunting adventure elsewhere in the world, there is pretty much guaranteed to be something for everyone on the list below of the best hunting rifles under $500.

I share my picks for the best hunting rifles under $500 for hunting deer, hogs, black bear, and other big game in this article. I’ll also go over the pros and cons of each individual rifle and help you select the right one for your specific hunting situation.

Before we get started, I have two disclaimers.

First, some of these hunting rifles have an MSRP over $500. However, most can usually be purchased through a retailer for less than $500. A couple of the more expensive rifles on this list may normally have a retail price above $500, but come really close to that figure and are sometimes available for less during special promotions and sales.

Second, some of the links below are affiliate links. This means I will earn a small commission if you make a purchase. This commission comes at no extra cost to you. This helps support the blog and allows me to continue to create free content that’s useful to hunters like yourself. Thanks for your support.

It’s also important to realize the rifle is just a single part of the equation. Once you select the specific rifle model you want, you’ll then need to choose the appropriate cartridge.

Don’t know what caliber is best for you? Click the button below and sign up to get my free E-book on the best hunting cartridges for recommendations on what cartridge you should select and to hear the pros and cons of those recommendations.

GET YOUR E-BOOK ON THE BEST HUNTING CALIBERS HERE

Next, even the best rifle in an appropriate cartridge won’t be of much use without a high quality scope. Plus, a rifle sling and bipod can be very useful accessories as well. Learn more about what I consider the best scope, bipod, and sling options to use with your rifle on your next hunt at the links below.

17 Best Rifle Scopes For Hunting In 2024

Best Hunting Rifle Slings For 2024

Best Hunting Rifle Bipods For 2024

Now that we’ve got all that out of the way, let’s get started.

Ruger American

picture of Best Hunting Rifles Under $500 american

Ruger initially launched their American Rifle over 10 years ago and that rifle line has gained a reputation for being one of the most reasonably priced centerfire hunting rifles around today. These are great guns and hunters all over the world have used the Ruger American to take almost any species of big game you can think of, to include the biggest game in the United States and even plains game in Africa.

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This is my favorite hunting rifle available for less than $500. So if you don’t want to spend a lot of time researching, then buy one of these rifles and be done with it. I’d get one in 30-06 if you want the most versatile rifle suitable for the widest variety of hunting situations. If you just want something to use for deer hunting, then get one in 270, 308, or maybe 6.5 Creedmoor.

The Ruger American does not come with an accuracy guarantee and you likely won’t be winning any shooting competitions with it. However, every single one of these rifles I’ve used over the years has shot surprisingly well.

Additionally, left-handed shooters will appreciate the fact that the Ruger American is available in a left handed version chambered in .308 Winchester, making it one of the very few left-handed hunting rifles under $500.

The Ruger American rifle also comes with a factory installed Picatinny rail to make scope mounting easier.

All things considered, the Ruger American is an outstanding hunting rifle for hunting a variety of big game. Not only is it my #1 recommended hunting rifle under $500, but it’s also what I’d recommend for someone who wanted to hunt game ranging in size from deer and feral hogs up to black bears, elk, and even moose in the future.

A new hunter (or even a veteran hunter with many seasons afield) looking for a bolt action rifle at an affordable price can’t go wrong with the Ruger American Rifle.

  • Overall Length: 42-42.5″
  • Barrel Length: 22″
  • Length of Pull: 13.75″
  • Weight: 6.1-6.2lbs
  • Threaded Barrel: No
  • Magazine Size: 4
  • Accuracy Guarantee: No
  • Left Handed Models Available: Yes (in 308 Winchester)
  • Available Cartridges: 243 Winchester, 6.5 Creedmoor, 270 Winchester, 7mm-08 Remington, 308 Winchester, 30-06 Springfield
  • MSRP: $599

BUY A RUGER AMERICAN HERE

Also Available At: Guns.com

Mossberg Patriot Super Bantam

picture of Best Hunting Rifles Under $500 patriot

Though they were originally best known for their shotguns, O.F. Mossberg and Co. has made a name for themselves in recent years for their Patriot rifles. Indeed, the Mossberg Patriot has gained a reputation as a good value hunting rifle for a variety of uses.

The Mossberg Patriot Super Bantam isn’t a fancy or beautiful rifle, but it’s a great choice for someone who wants a compact and functional hunting rifle.

In fact, the Mossberg Patriot Super Bantam rifle is an ideal choice for younger and/or smaller framed hunters. The big advantage of this rifle is that it has an adjustable length of pull which can be tailored from 12” to 13” to fit the individual hunter by adding or removing spacers from the stock.

The Mossberg Patriot Super Bantam also has a shorter 20-inch or 22-inch barrel (350 Legend only). A short barrel is definitely nice to have when hunting in tight conditions, like inside a box blind. Additionally, the fact that this particular model has an adjustable length of pull and can also “grow” with the hunter as he/she gets older is another nice advantage.

The Mossberg Patriot Super Bantam also comes with a Weaver 3-9x40mm scope, which is an excellent deal considering this is a hunting rifle under $500 that also comes with a scope.

All in all, this is a fantastic hunting rifle option under $500 for young hunters and will also work great for smaller framed adult.

  • Overall Length: 38.5″ or 40.5″ (350 Legend)
  • Barrel Length: 20″ or 22″ (350 Legend)
  • Length of Pull: 12-13″
  • Weight: 7.5lbs
  • Threaded Barrel: No
  • Magazine Size: 5+1 or 4+1 (350 Legend)
  • Accuracy Guarantee: No
  • Left Handed Models Available: No
  • Available Cartridges: 243 Winchester, 6.5 Creedmoor, 7mm-08 Remington, 308 Winchester, & 350 Legend
  • MSRP: $514

BUY A MOSSBERG PATRIOT SUPER BANTAM HERE

Also Available At: Guns.com

Savage Axis II

picture of Best Hunting Rifles Under 500 Best Hunting Rifles Under $500, Ultimate Guide (2024)

The Axis II by Savage Arms is another one of the most reasonably priced hunting rifles currently available on the market. While Savage had a somewhat checkered reputation at one point, their rifles are generally better regarded these days than was the case a couple of years ago.

In fact, some Savage rifles are capable of absolutely tack driving accuracy and are used by lots of hunters with lots of success each year.

The Axis II utilizes a detachable box magazine, a black synthetic stock, a tang safety, and a user adjustable AccuTrigger (approximately a 2.5 to 6 pound trigger pull).

Savage also makes a similar (but not identical) version of the Axis for left handed shooters. So, this rifle is a great choice for someone looking for the best left handed hunting rifle under $500. They also produce the Savage Axis II XP that’s otherwise identical, but comes from the factory with a Weaver or Bushnell scope.

Just like with the rifle itself, those included scopes aren’t high end models. However, they’re also good, functional scopes for those who don’t need or want anything fancy.

For those who don’t know, the Axis II and Axis II XP both feature the Savage AccuTrigger (which the regular Axis lacks) and the Axis II XP comes with a scope. Correspondingly, the Axis II XP is more expensive than the Axis II, which is in turn more expensive than the base model Axis.

Of these models, I tend to steer people more to the Axis II and Axis II XP over the regular Savage Axis.

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Heck, you can also often purchase the Axis II XP for less than $500 as well, which is another fantastic deal for a budget hunting rifle that comes with a scope.

This is definitely not a high end custom rifle and it lacks a lot of the bells and whistles other, more expensive rifles have. However, like the Ruger American Ranch, the Savage Axis II is another worthy addition to this list of hunting rifles under $500 that’s a good choice for lots of people (especially deer hunters) with a smaller budget.

  • Overall Length: 42.5″
  • Barrel Length: 22″
  • Length of Pull: 13.75″
  • Weight: 5.83 pounds (350 Legend) or 6.3 pounds (all other cartridges)
  • Threaded Barrel: No
  • Magazine Size: 3 (6mm ARC) or 4 (all other cartridges)
  • Accuracy Guarantee: No
  • Left Handed Models Available: Yes (base model AXIS only)
  • Available Cartridges: 223 Remington, 22-250 Remington, 243 Winchester, 6mm ARC, 25-06 Remington, 6.5 Creedmoor, 270 Winchester, 7mm-08 Remington, 280 Ackley Improved, 308 Winchester, 30-06 Springfield, or 350 Legend
  • MSRP: $479 (Axis II) or $529 (Axis II XP)

BUY A SAVAGE AXIS II HERE

BUY A LEFT HANDED SAVAGE AXIS HERE

Also Available At: Guns.com

CVA Scout

picture of Best Hunting Rifles Under $500 scout

Looking for a single-shot rifle for less than $500? In addition to making really good break action muzzleloaders, CVA also makes a few different single shot and bolt action rifles as well (like the CVA Cascade).

In particular, the CVA Scout is definitely worth considering.

A nice feature of single shot rifles is that they can be made in a somewhat compact package than is the case with bolt-action rifles without sacrificing barrel length. Well, that’s an advantage of the CVA Scout: even models with a longer 25″ fluted stainless steel barrel are still only 41″ long. Basically, they provide the advantages of a longer barrel (like additional velocity) without making the rifle excessively big or heavy.

The rifle also has a good recoil pad, which is especially nice on some of the bigger bore 35 Whelen and 45-70 Government options. This rifle is the lone exception on this list to what I said earlier about threaded muzzles and the CVA Scout barrel is also threaded for a muzzle brake or suppressor (5/8-24 thread pattern) comes with a thread protector. This rifle also has a factory installed scope rail.

Furthermore, it may be disassembled without using tools for storage and/or transport. It’s a nice rifle for deer and hog hunting (and darn near anything else in North America), but that tools-free disassembly is nice to have in a truck gun or for storage in case of emergency. Inexpensive takedown rifles like this are among the best rifles for those who want to keep a firearm on hand in a camper, boat, cabin, or truck just in case it’s needed one day.

Single shot rifles like the CVA Scout are also good options for left handed hunters and shooters. There aren’t many left handed budget rifles, but the CVA Scout is designed to be ambidextrous.

This is not an ideal rifle for those who need a rapid follow up shot (though it can be reloaded faster than you might think). However, it’s a great option for those who prioritize a compact package for storage or transport as well as for those who just like CVA rifles or single shot rifles in general.

  • Overall Length: 38″ or 41″
  • Barrel Length: 20″ or 25″
  • Length of Pull: 14″
  • Threaded Barrel: Yes (5/8×24, thread protector included)
  • Magazine Size: 1
  • Accuracy Guarantee: No
  • Left Handed Models Available: Yes, this rifle is ambidextrous
  • Available Cartridges: 243 Winchester, 6.5 Creedmoor, 350 Legend, 35 Whelen, 45-70 Government, 44 Magnum, & 450 Bushmaster
  • MSRP: $375.00

BUY A CVA SCOUT RIFLE HERE

Also Available At: Guns.com

Remington Model 783

picture of Best Hunting Rifles Under $500 783

The Remington Model 783 is Remington’s lower cost alternative to their famous Model 700 hunting rifle.

Though Remington has suffered from some major problems in recent years, the 2020 break-up and restructuring of the whole company has resulted in major improvements to the overall quality of nearly everything bearing the Remington name (which is all under new management now).

This has extended to the Model 783 rifles, which have gained a reputation for being a great budget hunting rifle option since then.

Like most other rifles in this general price range, the Remington Model 783 has a black synthetic stock and a standard blued barrel. However, it also has a nice adjustable trigger, comes with scope mounts (will also accept Model 700 front scope bases), and a good recoil pad.

All in all, the Remington Model 783 is a worthy choice for someone looking for a reasonably priced hunting rifle under $500.

  • Overall Length: 39.625-44.5″
  • Barrel Length: 20″ (350 Legend), 22″ (223, 243, 6.5 Creedmoor, 270, 308, & 30-06) or 24″ (7mm Rem Mag & 300 Win Mag)
  • Weight: 7.125-7.625lbs
  • Threaded Barrel: No
  • Magazine Size: 4 (Magnum cartridges) or 5 (Standard cartridges)
  • Accuracy Guarantee: No
  • Left Handed Models Available: No
  • Available Cartridges: 223 Remington, 243 Winchester, 6.5 Creedmoor, 270 Winchester, 7mm Remington Magnum, 308 Winchester, 30-06 Springfield, 300 Winchester Magnum, & 350 Legend
  • MSRP: $399

BUY A REMINGTON 783 HERE

Also Available At: Guns.com

Winchester XPR

picture of Best Hunting Rifles Under $500 xpr

The Winchester XPR is the lower cost alternative to the Winchester Model 70 that Winchester Repeating Arms manufactures. Even so, I realize it’s a little bit of a stretch to include it on a list of the best hunting rifles under $500 since it usually retails for a little bit more.

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It’s still a good budget hunting rifle options though and comes close (and even dips below $500 on occasion), so I opted to include it here.

Like most other centerfire rifles at that price point, the XPR uses a push feed action, an injection molded stock, and a detachable magazine. All things considered though, the rifle is still pretty accurate, lightweight, durable, and has a good trigger.

The Winchester XPR is not a fancy rifle by any stretch of the imagination though and comes without a lot of features more expensive guns have. That does lower the price point though.

All things considered, the Winchester XPR is a nice hunting rifle for pursuing a variety of big game, but especially whitetail deer and feral hogs. It will also work great on a high country mule deer hunt, for hunting black bear, or for pursuing pronghorn antelope in open country.

In short, I think the Winchester XPR is an excellent 350 Legend hunting rifle for someone who wants a solid performing bolt-action deer rifle that doesn’t cost a ton of money.

  • Overall Length: 42″
  • Barrel Length: 22″
  • Length of Pull: 13.75″
  • Weight: 6lbs 12oz
  • Rifling Twist Rate: 1:16″
  • Threaded Barrel: No
  • Magazine Size: 3
  • Accuracy Guarantee: No
  • Left Handed Models Available: No
  • Available Cartridges: 243 Winchester, 6.5 Creedmoor, 270 Winchester, 7mm-08 Remington, 308 Winchester, 30-06 Springfield
  • MSRP: $609

BUY A WINCHESTER XPR HERE

Also Available At: Guns.com

Weatherby Vanguard Synthetic

picture of Best Hunting Rifles Under $500 weatherby vanguard

A Weatherby rifle is listed in an article about the best hunting rifles under $500?!?

To be fair, even though it’s the least expensive Weatherby rifle on the market today, the Weatherby Vanguard Synthetic is easily the most expensive rifle on this list. Plus, it normally sells for north of $500. However, I’ve run across individual offerings in the Weatherby Synthetic line selling for barely more than $500 and I could definitely see something like a Black Friday sell bringing some of those prices down below $500 for periods of time.

The Weatherby Vanguard Synthetic is also definitely nicer and has more desirable features than any of the other rifles discussed in this article, which is why I ultimately decided to include it for those who wanted to stretch their budget a bit and pick up an even more capable hunting rifle for just a little more money.

First, this is the only rifle listed here with an accuracy guarantee and Weatherby guarantees a .99″ or less 3 shot group at 100 yards from a cold barrel with Weatherby factory or premium ammunition within 2 years of the purchase date.

Next, this rifle has a fantastic, adjustable quality two-stage trigger. Plus, these rifles also have a cold hammer forged barrel and use an integral magazine with a hinged floorplate (with the exception of the 240 Weatherby, 25-06 Remington, 270 Winchester, and 30-06 Springfield, which all use a drop-box magazine).

And finally, the Weatherby Vanguard Synthetic also uses a Griptonite stock, which is a big step up in quality from the injection molded stocks most of the other rifles on this list use.

Get the Weatherby Vanguard Synthetic if you want a great hunting rifle with a lot of excellent features (of just want to say you own a Weatherby rifle) and don’t mind paying a little bit more for it.

  • Overall Length: 46.5″ (257 Weatherby, 6.5-300 Weatherby, 7mm Rem Mag, 300 Win Mag, & 300 Weatherby), 44.5″ (270 Winchester or 30-06 Springfield), or 44″ (all other cartridges)
  • Barrel Length: 20″ (350 Legend), 26″ (257 Weatherby, 6.5-300 Weatherby, 7mm Rem Mag, 300 Win Mag, & 300 Weatherby), or 24″ (all other cartridges)
  • Length of Pull: 13.5″
  • Weight: 7lbs 8oz
  • Threaded Barrel: No
  • Magazine Size: 3+1 (Magnum cartridges) or 5+1 (Standard cartridges)
  • Accuracy Guarantee: Yes
  • Left Handed Models Available: No
  • Available Cartridges: 223 Remington, 22-250 Remington, 243 Winchester, 240 Weatherby Magnum, 257 Weatherby Magnum, 6.5 Creedmoor, 6.5 PRC, 6.5-300 Weatherby, 270 Winchester, 7mm-08 Remington, 7mm Remington Magnum, 308 Winchester, 30-06 Springfield, 300 Winchester Magnum, 300 Weatherby Magnum, & 350 Legend
  • MSRP: $699

BUY A WEATHERBY VANGUARD SYNTHETIC HERE

Also Available At: Guns.com

It’s also important to realize the rifle is just a single part of the equation. Once you select the specific rifle model you want, you’ll then need to choose the appropriate cartridge.

Don’t know what caliber is best for you? Click the button below and sign up to get my free E-book on the best hunting cartridges for recommendations on what cartridge you should select and to hear the pros and cons of those recommendations.

GET YOUR E-BOOK ON THE BEST HUNTING CALIBERS HERE

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>