Minimizing the weight you’re carrying is the key to success on any mountain hunt. When you’re chasing elk, deer and sheep at high elevations, you’ll need to trek across steep terrain—oftentimes for days on end—and you’ll feel the burden of every additional ounce of rifle weight while you do so. What’s more, many wilderness hunts that require air transfer limit your maximum weight, and a 10-pound scoped rifle means you’ll have to reduce the amount of food and clothing you carry into these remote areas.
The good news for anyone planning such a hunt is that there are a number of excellent lightweight rifles that are up to the task. Regardless of whether you’ve drawn a once-in-a-lifetime mountain sheep tag or plan on public-land whitetails in a high-country area with less pressure, you’ll need a rifle that won’t weigh you down, can withstand terrible weather—and most importantly—shoots accurately. The mountain rifles on this list make use of high-tech polymer stocks which are durable, weather-resistant and lightweight, and feature precision-machined steel components with finishes capable of withstanding a lifetime of abuse. Regardless of the game you’re hunting, country you’re hunting in or your budget, there’s a rifle on this list for you.
1. Bergara Premier Series Mountain
Bergara has been making premium rifle barrels for years, and they’ve mated one of those light profile 416 stainless barrels to a 100 percent carbon fiber stock on their Premier Series Mountain rifle. The dual-lug spiral-fluted bolt has a floating head for improved accuracy, and the TriggerTech trigger with Frictionless Release System is among the best you’ll find on any rifle. The bolt shroud and bolt stop are fully nitride, and the barrel, bolt handle and receiver are treated with a Cerakote ceramic finish for the ultimate corrosion protection. The Premier Series Mountain rifle is available in six calibers including 6.5 Creedmoor, .270 Win., .280 Ackley Improved, .308 Win., .30-06 Sprg. and .300 Win. Mag., and all which come with a hinged floorplate with a release inside the trigger guard. Weight is just 6.2 pounds (6.4 pounds for the .300 Win. Mag.), and the rifle is backed by a sub-MOA accuracy guarantee. MSRP: $2,190; bergarausa.com.
2. Remington Model Seven Threaded
Though it’s billed as a dense-cover rifle, the Model Seven Threaded is well-suited for mountain hunting, especially in areas of heavy vegetation. With its short action (almost 2.5 inches shorter than the standard Model 700) and 16.5-inch barrel, the Model Seven Threaded has an overall length of just 34.25 inches and weighs a scant 6 pounds. It’s available in either .308 Win. or .300 AAC Blk., and as the name implies, it has a threaded muzzle that makes it an ideal choice for those who hunt with a suppressor. There’s a sturdy top rail that makes mounting an optic fast and secure, and the synthetic stock, covered in Kuiu Vias camo, stands up well to the elements. Other key features of this lightweight, affordable mountain rifle include a dense SuperCell recoil pad and an externally-adjustable X-Mark Pro trigger. MSRP: $795; remington.com.
3. Kimber Mountain Ascent
Kimber makes a number of mountain rifles, but the Mountain Ascent might be the best of the lot. Available in calibers ranging from 6.5 Creedmoor to .300 Win. Mag., the Mountain Ascent weighs as little as 4 pounds, 13 ounces, making it one of the lightest production rifles on the market today. The stainless steel barrel, bolt handle and bolt are all fluted, and the bolt knob is hollow, all of which helps minimize mass. The rifle comes with a Mauser-style claw extractor and a threaded muzzle with a detachable brake to reduce recoil and muzzle rise, and is loaded with accuracy-enhancing features like a match-grade chamber, a crisp, adjustable trigger and a pillar bedded stock, which allows Kimber to guarantee sub-MOA performance. The stock is made from carbon fiber features with a soft-touch surface covered in Sitka Gore Optifade Subalpine camo. MSRP: $2,040; kimberamerica.com.
4. Weatherby Mark V Altitude
Based on the time-tested Mark V action, the Mark V Altitude is available in calibers ranging from .240 Weatherby to .300 Weatherby Magnum. The .257 Wby. Mag., 6.5-300 Wby. Mag., .270 Wby. Mag., 7mm Wby. Mag. and .300 Wby. Mag. versions come with nine-lug actions and weigh 6.75 pounds, while the .240 Wby. Mag., 6.5 Creedmoor, .270 Win., .308 Win. and .30-06 Sprg. versions come with lighter six-lug actions and weigh a scant 5.75 pounds. The rifle features a light-contour fluted barrel and a carbon-fiber, hand-laminated Monte Carlo stock with aluminum bedding blocks as well as Weatherby’s excellent new LXX trigger. The metalwork is treated with a Tungsten Cerakote finish, and the stock features Kryptek’s Altitude camo pattern. Like all Weatherby Mark V rifles, the rifle comes with a sub-MOA guarantee. MSRP: $3,000-$3,200; weatherby.com.
5. Savage 110 Lightweight Storm
The 110 Lightweight Storm is a great option for hunters who want an affordable, accurate mountain rifle with loads of features, including Savage’s new AccuFit stock, adjustable for length-of-pull and comb-height via interchangeable components using no more than a screwdriver. Like all Savage 110 rifles, the Lightweight Storm comes with the company’s user-adjustable bladed AccuTrigger, and since it has a synthetic stock and stainless steel metalwork, you can be confident in its durability when carrying it in severe weather conditions. Weight-saving features include a light contour 20-inch barrel, spiral-fluted bolt body and skeletonized receiver, and the rifle weigh as little as 5.65 pounds, which makes it ideal for mountain hunting. Available in .223 Rem., .243 Win., .270 Win., 7mm-08 Rem., 6.5 Creedmoor and .308 Win, the 110 Lightweight Storm is an accurate, durable, go-anywhere mountain rifle that won’t break the bank. MSRP: $749; savagearms.com.
6. Browning X-Bolt Hell’s Canyon Speed
This rifle is named after Idaho’s steep, rugged Hell’s Canyon, and if you’re hunting that type of country, this is exactly the rifle you’d want to be carrying. At its heart is Browning’s sleek X-Bolt action, which comes with a three-lug bolt for a short (60-degree) bolt lift. Like other X-Bolt rifles, the Hell’s Canyon Speed comes with a two-position tang safety and a bolt release button located on the top of the bolt handle, allowing it to be loaded and unloaded with the safety engaged. The composite stock is covered in A-TACS AU (Arid/Urban) camo, and the receiver, bolt and fluted, hand-chambered barrel all receive a Burnt Bronze Cerakote finish. Other features include Browning’s adjustable Feather Trigger and a threaded muzzle with a muzzle brake and thread protector included. With a weight of just 6.5 pounds and 13 caliber options, the Hell’s Canyon Speed is a natural choice when you’re hunting the high country. MSRP: $1,229.99-$1,269.99; browning.com.
7. Barrett Fieldcraft
Barrett isn’t known for making ultra-light rifles—in fact, the company’s new Fieldcraft mountain rifle weighs about one-fifth what its Model 99 .50 BMG does. Nevertheless, the Fieldcraft is a rifle that deserves a top spot among factory mountain rifles. The combination of its hand-laid carbon fiber stock with Barret’s trim barrel and action results in its light 5.2- to 5.75-pound weight, yet it shoots MOA or better. Unlike many competing rifles, the Fieldcraft features a stock that is fully bedded to its own action instead of a slave action. As a result, the rifle produces great groups shot after shot. The trigger is crisp and light, and the rifle’s scaled action and minimal dimensions make it great for hunting the high-country, especially in dense timber. There are several barrel length options available depending upon caliber, ranging from 18 inches (with a threaded muzzle) to 24 inches. The rifle is available in 10 calibers ranging from .22-250 Rem. to .30-06 Sprg., and with a stainless construction and a durable carbon fiber stock, there’s no need to worry about exposing this rifle to the elements. Considering its long list of high-end features and outstanding performance, the Fieldcraft is also reasonably priced for an elite mountain rifle. MSRP: $1,799-$1,849; barrett.net.