Best New Hunting Rifles for 2024

posted on January 25, 2024
SHOT Show 2024 Best New Rifles Lead

January means that it’s time for the annual SHOT Show, and that affords hunters and shooters their first look at the year’s brand-new firearms. This year’s class of new hunting rifles offers something for everyone, from rimfires for small game to hybrid hunting/target centerfire rifles that blend the best features of sporting and precision guns. There are also several new cartridge launches this year, including Hornady’s 22 ARC as well as Winchester’s powerful 400 Legend straight-wall round. Not surprisingly, there are several guns on display that are now chambered for these impressive new rounds. That doesn’t mean that your favorite firearm manufacturers have forgotten the classics, though. A handful of new lever guns are on the show floor this year, and there’s even a beautifully styled British bolt gun on display chambered in the classic .350 Rigby round.

Whether you hunt large or small game at home or abroad, you’ll find something on this list that suits your needs. Here’s a closer look at the most exciting new hunting rifles to hit the show floor in Las Vegas this year.

Ruger American Rifle Gen II bolt-action rifle facing right.

Ruger American Rifle Gen II
Ruger’s American Rifle is the best-selling centerfire hunting gun in America, but it’s over a decade old and was due for a refresh. The new Gen II version of the American Rifle comes with several upgrades including a splatter pattern stock, spiral fluted barrel and a Cerakote finish on the metalwork. One significant upgrade is the new three-position tang safety that allows the rifle to be unloaded with the safety engaged.

Ruger American Rifle Gen II Ranch rifle.

In the full safe position, the bolt is locked and won’t flop open when walking through dense brush, which is another benefit of the three-position layout. The Gen II rifles shares the same Marksman adjustable trigger as its predecessor, and like the Gen I version, it comes with a precision cold-hammer-forged barrel. It should come as no surprise then that the American Rifle Generation 2 is extraordinarily accurate, especially for a rifle with an MSRP of under $750. Standard and Ranch versions are available now in a large variety of calibers, and we’re excited to see this family of American-made firearms continue to grow. MSRP: $729;

Smith and Wesson 1854 Rifles.

Smith & Wesson 1854
Named in honor of the year during which company founders Horace Smith and Daniel Wesson patented their first lever gun, the 1854 is a smooth-handling rifle that’s chambered for the versatile .44 Magnum cartridge. Two 1854 models will initially be available: the standard model features a polymer stock with M-LOK attachment points and stainless-steel metalwork. There’s also a Limited Edition version with a more traditional satin walnut stock and black PVD finish on the metal. Both guns come with 19.25-inch barrel and a 9+1 magazine capacity. Both rifles also come with XS ghost ring rear and gold bead front sight, as well as a top rail that simplifies optic mounting. Other key features include enlarged lever loops, flat-face triggers, threaded muzzles and sling studs. At just 36 inches overall, these guns are perfectly suited for hunting from a stand or blind or in deep woods. They’re well-suited for whitetail hunters and they’re an ideal hog hunting rifle, especially when hunting in areas where the 1854’s nimble handling, prodigious knockdown power and relatively high capacity are required. Backcountry hikers, anglers and hunters will also no doubt adopt this lightweight, compact lever gun for defense against large predators. The 1854 allows Smith & Wesson to play in a different segment of the shooting market, and it’s also a fitting tribute to the company’s founders. MSRP: $1,279-$3,499;

Beretta BRX1 bolt-action rifle facing right.

Beretta BRX1
Beretta has offered hunting rifles in the past, but the BRX1 straight-pull is unlike anything we’ve seen from the world’s oldest firearms brand. Straight-pull rifles have long been popular in Europe, and they’re starting to gain traction among U.S. hunters. One advantage of the straight-pull design is speed. Unlike having to cycle a bolt up, back, forward and down, guns like the BRX1 allow for a lightning-fast front-back stroke that makes them almost as fast as an autoloader (which is also one reason that they’re so popular on driven hunts where fast follow-ups are critical).

Beretta BRX1 action.

The challenge, though, is to make straight-pull rifles that are strong enough to securely lock the bolt in position to ensure that it doesn’t fly back into the shooter’s face. Beretta accomplished this by designing the BRX1’s bolt with eight locking lugs (16 in magnums) that prevent the bolt from moving under pressure. The BRX1 has an easy-to-access three-position safety that allows you to operate the action with the trigger deactivated. A 0-MOA Picatinny rail makes mounting optics easy, and the crisp single-stage trigger is adjustable from 2.1 to 3.3 pounds. Fast-handling rifles must fit the shooter properly, and the BRX1’s polymer stock is adjustable. The design also allows for fast and simple barrel, bolt and magazine swaps. To truly appreciate this rifle, though, you must handle it and operate the smooth-cycling action. Doing so will probably cost you about $1,600 bucks, but it’s money well spent, and Beretta backs it with a sub-MOA accuracy guarantee. MSRP: $1,599;

Savage 110 Ultralite Elite rifle.

Savage 110 Ultralite Elite
Savage continues to expand into the premium hunting rifle market with release of their 110 Ultralite Elite. Like their other 110 Ultralite rifles, this gun comes with a PROOF Research carbon-fiber-wrapped, threaded steel barrel that is precisely headspaced into the blueprinted 110 action for maximum accuracy. The barreled action is mated with an MDT HNT26 chassis with folding buttstock and carbon fiber forearm. You’ll also find carbon fiber in the pistol grip and the removable bolt knob. This abundance of carbon fiber gives the 110 Ultralite Elite a stylish, modern look but it also cuts mass substantially.

Savage 110 Ultralite Elitę folded stock.

Even in magnum caliber the overall weight of the rifle is at or under 6 pounds, so this was designed with mountain hunters in mind. Other great features include a trimmed-down stainless steel action with Blackout Cerakote finish (which matches nicely with the Gun Metal Grey Cerakote chassis), adjustable stock, a 20-MOA Picatinny rail and OmniPort radial muzzle brake. The combination of precise headspacing, a precision cut-rifled barrel and Savage’s outstanding AccuTrigger (which is user adjustable from 1.5 to 4 pounds) makes this a deadly-accurate big-game rifle. It’s not cheap, but this is a lot of gun for the money. MSRP: $3,299;

Winchester Ranger lever-action rifle.

Winchester Ranger
The Winchester name is synonymous with lever-actions, and this year, the company is rolling out an all-new rimfire lever gun called the Ranger. This tube-fed .22 LR comes with a tuned action that is smooth and sleek, allowing you to shoot this rifle quickly. It features a machined billet aluminum receiver with a durable black anodized finish and a round steel barrel with an adjustable rear and hooded front sight. The stock is made from well-figured walnut and the trigger is adjustable for overtravel. At just over $400, it’s an affordable plinker and small-game gun that retains the look and feel of a classic lever-action, and you can expect this one to be a winner for Winchester.

Winchester Ranger disassembly.

It also breaks down for easy storage and transport, and because the Ranger runs on affordable and widely available .22 LR rimfire ammo, it’s a gun that you’ll enjoy keeping around camp or in your truck. It’s also ideal for introducing new shooters to the sport, and the Range is plenty accurate for small-game hunting. I expect to see several hunters carrying a Winchester Ranger into the squirrel woods next autumn. MSRP: $419;

Bergara B-142 Crest Carbon bolt action rifle.

Bergara B-14 Squared Crest Carbon
If you were building the perfect big-game rifle from scratch, the result might look something like the Bergara B-14 Squared Crest Carbon. This gun features CURE carbon-fiber-wrapped precision barrel that’s just the right length (20- or 22-inches depending on caliber) to reach the cartridge’s full potential and still maintain a manageable overall length with a suppressor in place. Couple this with a carbon-fiber stock with internal spine for added rigidity, and you have a deadly accurate bolt gun that weighs just over 6 pounds.

Bergara B-14 Squared Crest Carbon bolt and bolt handle from top view.

I’m a fan of the M5 cutout that allows you to swap between AICS-pattern magazines and a traditional floorplate, and the sponge-pattern stock comes with length of pull spacers, a near-vertical pistol grip, dual front sling studs and QD attachment points. The oversized bolt handle is easy to operate quickly, and the Sniper Gray Cerakote finish protects the metalwork from the worst elements. It’s available in six popular calibers from .22-250 Rem. to .300 Win. Mag., all of which are guaranteed to shoot MOA or better. This is a premium hunting rifle that’s suitable for just about any environment or game. MSRP: $2,099;

Browning X-Bolt 2 bolt-action rifle facing right.

Browning X-Bolt 2
When Browning launched the X-Bolt in 2008 that rifle was an immediate success and has remained a popular choice for hunters for well over a decade. Times have changed, and the new X-Bolt 2 is an evolutionary step forward for Browning’s flagship bolt gun. It’s not a radical departure from the original, but there are significant upgrades including a reconfigured receiver for smooth bolt travel, a redesigned bolt handle, and perhaps most significantly a new DLX multi-lever adjustable trigger. Some of the eight new X-Bolt 2 models offered come with Browning’s upgraded Vari-Tech stocks which come with adjustable length of pull and comb height, interchangeable grip modules and overmolded surfaces.

Browning X-Bolt 2 Adjustable Stock.

Vari-Tech stocks feature Browning’s multi-purpose, multi-environment OVIX camouflage pattern, and half of the new models come with carbon fiber barrels. Prices range from $1,469.99 to $3,999.99, but even the “entry” level X-Bolt 2 Speed OVIX MB is a well-appointed rifle that’s just as reliable and accurate as the guns that preceded it. It’s available in 12 calibers from .243 Win. to 300 PRC, including classic chamberings like .30-06 and .270 Win., as well as popular long-range options like 6.8 Western, 28 Nosler and 7mm PRC. The outgoing X-Bolt was a very good rifle, and its successor looks to offer everything you loved about the original in a more versatile, modern package. MSRP: $1,469.99-$3,999.99;

Rigby Big Game Lightweight rifle facing right.

Rigby Big Game Lightweight
The Big Game Lightweight is the newest bolt gun offering from Rigby, and this London Best rifle truly is a work of art in walnut and steel. Engineered to mirror to look and feel of “classic pre-war safari expedition rifles,” this gun comes with gorgeous hand-oiled walnut stock, a 24-inch slim-profile barrel with express sights, and a red rubber recoil pad. The rear express sight is regulated at 65 yards and features folding blades for 150 and 250 yards. At the heart of this stunning rifle is a true M98 Magnum Mauser double square bridge action chambered for the iconic .350 Rigby round, which pushes a 225-grain .358-inch bullet at 2650 fps.

Rigby Big Game Lightweight rifle with Kynoch .350 Rigby ammunition.

The richly blued metalwork features contrasting case coloring and an engraved Rigby logo. If the aesthetics of even this gun aren’t up to your standards you can upgrade the walnut stock, although even the “base” Big Game Lightweight is stunning. Not surprisingly, the Rigby’s price is commiserate with the quality of its construction (it is currently priced at 10,950 British pounds, or just shy of $14,000 US dollars). However, this gun is the Bentley of big-game rifles, and even though most of us cannot afford a Rigby this gun is worth appreciating for its beautiful styling and attention to detail. MSRP: $13,915;

Hammerli Force B1 rifle.

Hammerli Force B1
You may not immediately recognize the Hammerli name, but this firearms brand has been producing rifles and pistols for over 150 years, and this year, the company is launching their brand-new Force B1 rimfire rifle. This straight-pull rimfire allows for toolless barrel removal, allowing the owner to swap between .22 LR and .22 WMR barrels seamlessly. The adaptable magwell makes it easy to swap between the two calibers, and this rifle utilizes Ruger rotary magazines which are robust and widely available. The Force B1 is also compatible with Ruger 10/22 trigger groups, allowing you to further customize the rifle. The side-mounted bolt handle is easy to reach and allows for lightning-fast follow-ups, and the top rail makes mounting an optic easy. A threaded 16.1-inch barrel comes standard, and the adjustable stock allows you to customize the Hammerli to fit any shooter. Weight is a manageable 5.8 pounds, so you can carry this rifle all day in the squirrel woods. Not surprisingly, those who’ve shot these rifles report that they are amazingly accurate, and the robust and simple barrel lockup and crisp trigger are two of the primary reasons why these precision rimfires are already winning the attention of hunters and shooters. MSRP: $649;

Uberti 1873 Hunter rifle.

Uberti 1873 Hunter Rifles
Uberti has taken the century-and-a-half-old Winchester 1873 rifle in a new, more modern direction. I’m not certain who decided to add a forward Picatinny rail on the octagonal section of the barrel just in front of the receiver, but doing so makes great sense. The 1873, also known as the “Gun That Won the West,” is a slick-handling lever-action that has largely been hampered by the inability to mount a modern optic on these rifles. The Uberti Hunter rifles change that, and suddenly you can have a smooth-operating 1873 lever gun in .44 Magnum or .45 Colt that’s more accurate and versatile than any other 1873 in this gun’s 150-year history. Another nice (albeit not as noticeable) upgrade to the 1873’s original design is the Uberti’s soft recoil pad thar replaces the classic metal crescent butt plate. Both the .45 Colt and .44 Magnum versions of the 1873 Hunter come with 20-inch barrels and 10-round tubular magazines, making them ideal for hogs and black bear up close. Whitetail hunters is straight wall-only states can also use these guns, so if you need a practical reason to buy the Uberti I’ve just offered you one. If you’re interested in owning one of these rifles, you’d better get in line quickly, as they’ll probably be backordered once the general hunting and shooting public catches wind of what Uberti has been up to. Price was not yet announced at press time, but expect this gun to cost about $1,500 like Uberti’s other 1873 rifles. MSRP: TBD;

Rock River Arms RRA .17 HMR rifle.

Rock River Arms RRA .17 HMR
The diminutive .17 HMR is ideal for small game, pests and predator control, and Rock River Arms is now offering an autoloading AR-style rifle chambered for this versatile rimfire round. The gas impingement delayed blowback action is designed to reliably operate with .17 HMR loads from 15.5- to 20-grains, and the included RRA NM Ultra Match two-stage trigger helps make accurate shots on small targets easier. These rifles come with RRA A4 billet uppers and RRA forged A2 lowers, and the 18-inch chromoly vanadium precision barrel features a 1:9-inch twist rate. Other key features include Magpul furniture and a RRA free-floated, 15-inch handguard with M-LOK attachment points. These guns also feature RRA’s winter trigger guard, which is oversized to allow smoot operation with gloved hands. The six-position Magpul adjustable stock allows the shooter to fit the rifle to their body or to conditions; cold weather and layers of clothing often require a shorter LOP, which is not an issue with the RRA .17HMR. With lots of rail space up top you can mount any combination of optics on this gun including thermals and NV, but at just 6.75-pounds it remains manageable to carry all day. In addition to being a hyper-accurate small-game hunting gun, the RRA .17 HMR is also a great low-cost long-range plinking rifle that even the most recoil sensitive shooters can enjoy. MSRP: $1,300;

CVA Cascade SR-80 bolt action rifle.

CVA Cascade SR-80
CVA’s Cascade rifles offer excellent accuracy and quality materials at an affordable price, and this year the company is adding a Scout rifle version to the line. Known as the Cascade SR-80, the rifle generally follows Jeff Cooper’s recipe for a Scout gun. It features an 18-inch threaded barrel with a radial muzzle brake for fast follow-up shots and a three-lug bolt that allows for a short 70-degree bolt throw. A Williams Gun Sight rear peep and adjustable front post sights come standard, as does an extended Picatinny rail that’s well-suited for red dots and long eye relief scopes. The result is a rifle that is compact and manageable which makes it perfect for hunting in a blind or tree stand, and it’s the ideal truck rifle. The tan stock features black spiderweb accents and there are dual front sling studs. The included stock spacers allow you to adjust length of pull for a perfect fit, and the detachable box magazine allows for quick reloads. Chambered in either .308 Win. or 350 Legend, the $925 CVA Cascade SR-80 is a versatile big game rifle that’s suitable for a variety of pursuits. Weight is just 7.3-pounds, which means the SR-80 has enough mass to absorb recoil without making it a burden to carry on long hikes. MSRP: $925;


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