Our Favorite Low-Recoil .308 Rifles

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Video what rifle has the least recoil

.308 Winchester is rightfully one of the most popular cartridges among U.S. hunters. With a .308 round, you can take down medium to heavy animals, such as elk, at 300 to 500 yards. Also, since the ammo is widely available, you don’t have to suffer to get it.

On the downside, .308 Winchester rounds generate recoil energy between 15 and 18 foot-pounds, which some hunters find excessive. If .308 recoil is too much for you, you don’t have to quit using the round. Instead, minimize felt recoil and enjoy shooting the round by switching to one of the lowest recoil .308 rifles.

Here are some of the best .308 hunting rifles for hunters that prefer less recoil:

Ruger American Rifle Vortex Crossfire II Combo

Replace your current rifle without overspending by buying the Ruger American Rifle Vortex Crossfire II Combo. It’s arguably the lowest-recoil .308 rifle you can get for less than $800.

However, don’t let the affordability deceive you. The Vortex Crossfire II is just as reliable and effective as many $1,000+ rifles. It even comes with a scope. Also, the rifle has a soft rubber butt pad that softens the kick when you shoot, making firing .308 rounds more accurate and less painful.

Another reason to love the Vortex Crossfire II is it weighs a bit more than other .308 hunting rifles on this list. The extra weight reduces how much recoil transfers to the shooter and minimizes muzzle rise. In summary, the Vortex Crossfire II is one of the best .308 hunting rifles to buy if you want a reliable low-recoil gun that won’t break the bank.

Henry Long Ranger

Do you prefer traditional-looking rifles? If so, the Henry Long Ranger might be for you. The hunting rifle features a 20-inch barrel for optimal accuracy and bullet velocity when shooting .308 rounds. It also has beautiful wood finishes on the stock and forestock.

Like the Vortex Crossfire II, the Henry Long Ranger weighs about seven pounds and reduces how much recoil transfers to the shooter. Also, the Henry Long Ranger has a thick rubber recoil pad on the base of the stock. The recoil pad cushions kickback, making shooting the rifle less injurious to your shoulder.

Nosler M21

If you have over $2,000 to spend on a low-recoil rifle, the Nosler M21 is worth considering. It’s one of the best .308 hunting rifles for precision shooters, and Nosler built this rifle to be reliable and durable in any terrain or weather.

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The Nosler M21 also comes with a one-inch recoil pad that cushions the kickback when you fire a round. The thickness of the recoil pad keeps the rifle’s length of pull within a comfortable range to prevent awkward handling that might worsen felt recoil.

Lastly, the Nosler M21 has a threaded barrel where you can easily attach a suppressor or muzzle brake. Attaching either of these accessories will significantly reduce the rifle’s recoil.

Browning X-Bolt Speed Suppressor Ready

The Browning X-Bolt Speed earns its badge as one of the lowest recoil .308 rifles for hunters thanks to features like its radial muzzle brake and Inflex recoil pad. The radial muzzle brake on the barrel has side vents that reduce the force with which expanding gases explode from the muzzle to launch rounds. The result is less felt recoil when you shoot.

On the other hand, the Inflex recoil pad is one of the better recoil pads for minimizing felt recoil and protecting your shoulder when you fire. Lastly, the Browning X-Bolt Speed has a threaded muzzle where you can attach a suppressor to reduce recoil even more.

Springfield Waypoint 2020

The Springfield Waypoint 2020 is a good-looking firearm that delivers impressive performance. While it’s pricier than other rifles on our list, the Springfield Waypoint justifies its price tag with its precision. In fact, the manufacturer is so confident about the precision of this rifle that it offers a .75 MOA guarantee.

The Springfield Waypoint 2020 also gets top scores for reduced recoil. The rifle has less recoil because its integral machined recoil lug spreads out the force that ejects rounds from the muzzle. The rifle also has a removable SA Radial muzzle brake that minimizes kickback when attached.

Wilson Combat Tactical Hunter

Bolt action rifles aren’t for everyone. If you prefer hunting with a semi-automatic, the Wilson Combat Tactical Hunter is one of the best .308 hunting rifles to buy. It’s an AR-10 rifle built with premium components and a matching price tag of $3,000+.

Unlike a typical bolt action rifle, a gas-powered semi-automatic like the Wilson Combat Tactical Hunter spreads recoil across various components, leading to less recoil. The firearm’s recoil is tolerable enough to prevent soreness after a day of hunting.

Winchester XPR

The Winchester XPR is an affordable and effective bolt action rifle that has rightly earned a place among the lowest recoil .308 rifles. Its Inflex® Technology recoil pad reduces felt kickback, and the cross-mounted recoil lug minimizes recoil’s effect on shooting accuracy.

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Several models of the rifle are available, such as the suppressor-ready Winchester XPR Stealth SR and the XPR Compact Scope Combo with detachable scope. Each option is available at a different price, allowing you to pick a rifle that matches your budget and shooting needs.

What to Look for in a Rifle

We’ve provided options to choose from if you want to buy the lowest recoil .308 rifle, but which should you choose? Picking the perfect low-recoil rifle requires taking several factors into consideration. For instance, you need to consider the price.

The most expensive rifles typically have premium components, but you don’t need something that expensive if you plan to use the firearm only a few times a year. Instead, pick a rifle that offers your preferred features without exceeding your budget. Below are the features to prioritize when looking for a rifle that fits your budget:

Reliability

You don’t want a rifle prone to misfiring or a firearm that might fall apart during use. Avoid such issues by buying a rifle from a manufacturer with a reputation for building firearms that stand the test of time. The gun should feature high-quality components and treatment that minimizes corrosion or rust, such as bluing or a Cerakote finish.

Accuracy

Hunting with an inaccurate rifle means you’ll be relying on Lady Luck to hit your targets. Since Lady Luck is unpredictable, opt for an accurate rifle that facilitates precision shooting. Accurate rifles typically come with an MOA guarantee, such as the Springfield Waypoint’s .75 MOA guarantee.

Fit

If a rifle is too long or heavy, you will have trouble handling it and experience felt recoil more intensely. Pick a rifle that you can comfortably shoulder and maneuver to track targets.

The rifle should also have a comfortable length of pull (LOP) – the distance between the trigger and the base of the butt plate or recoil pad. A too-short or long LOP will make shooting uncomfortable and inaccurate.

Action

You can opt for a break, bolt, lever, or semi-automatic action rifle. Break action rifles typically hold one or two rounds and require swinging open the barrel to eject and chamber rounds.

Bolt-action rifles have a bolt at the top that you manually slide to eject a spent round and load a fresh one. Such rifles are famous for their accuracy, reliability, and durability. Lever-action rifles work like bolt-action rifles but require working a lever under the shoulder stock to eject and load rounds. On the other hand, semi-automatics automatically eject and load rounds after each shot to help you shoot faster.

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Barrel Length

The best .308 hunting rifles have a long barrel (between 18 and 24 inches). The longer the barrel, the greater the accuracy and bullet velocity. However, the longer the barrel, the heavier your rifle will be, which can cause portability and maneuverability issues. Choose a rifle with a barrel long enough to deliver the best shot without compromising your ability to maneuver the weapon conveniently.

Make Any Rifle Lower-Recoil Using a Suppressor

Attaching the right suppressor to your hunting rifle can make the weapon look more lethal and tactical. Besides aesthetics, hunting with a high-quality suppressor has several other benefits.

Benefits of Using a Rifle Suppressor

Reduced Recoil

You can turn your hunting firearm into the lowest recoil .308 rifle by attaching a quality suppressor. A suppressor goes on the muzzle of a firearm to slow the explosive escape of expanding propellant gas, leading to less recoil.

Hearing Protection

Besides reducing recoil, slowing the release of expanding propellant gas reduces gunfire noise. A rifle without a suppressor can be louder than 140 decibels, which is loud enough to cause immediate harm to your hearing. A high-quality suppressor can reduce gunfire noise by up to 36 decibels.

More Stealth When Hunting

A suppressor can also hide your muzzle flash. If prey can’t hear your shot or see your muzzle flash, your location will remain hidden, and you can catch other nearby prey unawares.

Situational Awareness

Sudden muzzle flash in the dark can temporarily render you blind, while unsuppressed gunfire can make you temporarily deaf. A suppressor prevents such outcomes, so you can maintain complete situational awareness and avoid dangers during a hunt.

Invest in a Suppressor Today!

Regardless of which gun you choose from our lowest recoil .308 rifle list, reduce the recoil further by attaching a suppressor. Besides reducing recoil, a suppressor will protect your eyes and ears so you can enjoy hunting for many more ears.

Don’t know where to buy the best suppressor for your rifle? Visit our Silencer Central store today to shop for state-of-the-art .308 rifle suppressors.

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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 >>