best hunting rifle
(Photo/Lindsey Mulcare)

The Best Bolt-Action Hunting Rifles Under $1,000

Purchasing an affordable hunting rifle can seem overwhelming. We’ve compiled the research so you don’t have to.

Your hunting rifle is a key component of your ability to stock your freezer with wild game. But, there’s no need to spend thousands of dollars to procure an accurate, long-lasting rifle that’s also enjoyable to shoot.

The majority of the major firearms brands have an entry-level rifle. And some come in package options, scoped and ready to shoot right out of the box. This, in my opinion as a later-in-life hunter, is a great way to get set up with your first firearm.

And the better news is that the majority of these rifles come in well below the $1,000 price mark.

You’ll notice that the following are all centerfire bolt-action rifles, meant mostly for big-game hunting. All of the following guns are chambered in multiple options, but — with the current market — many options might be sold out.

Another thing to pay attention to is that many of these rifles offer a pared-down baseline option, starting at the lowest price. This is usually a plain jane synthetic stock option. Then, brands offer upgrades from there. So if you want a certain camo dip or added extra on your rifle, you’ll prob shell out a bit more for that.

For more information on calibers, what rifle to use for which kind of game, and more, check out our buyer’s guide below the following rifles.

Happy hunting!

Hunting Rifles Under $1,000

Note: We were careful to include guns that, as of July 2021, do have at least a few options in stock. But if you can’t find availability online, check local gun shops or reach out to the manufacturer for a timeline.

Not all rifles come in left-handed options. But you can find a wealth of them here. 

Bergara B-14 Bolt Action Rifle

bergara b-14 bolt action rifle

Starting at $700 and maxing out at $1,100, the Bergara B-14 Series offers a wide range of cartridges and options for every kind of shooter, from hunting to precision. Made in Spain, Bergara built this line to bring its lauded “Bergara barrel accuracy to a line of hunting rifles that is affordable to serious big-game hunters.”

And the wide array of options and finishes does just that. The Hunter, Ridge, and Timber models specifically cater to the hunting crowd. The biggest difference between models lies in stock production, with the action, barrel, and trigger systems unwavering.

Reviewers love the crisp Bergara trigger, and Bergara guarantees a 1.0 MOA or less at 100 yards with quality factory match-grade ammunition.

  • Left-handed: Yes, in multiple cartridges
  • Barrel lengths: 22-24″
  • Package offered: No
  • Weight: 7.1-7.3 lbs.

Customer Review on the .30-06 & .308: “The B-14 Hunter is simply awesome. I bought the 30-06 and my son bought the 308. We couldn’t be happier. Best out-of-the-box trigger I have ever felt. Both shoot sub-MOA with Federal Premium factory loads. The feel of the stock in my hand, even with gloves, is rock solid. This is a great rifle.” —Christopher V.

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Browning X-Bolt Western Hunter

browning x-bolt western hunter

Though Browning does make the AB3 Series at an even more affordable price point, the X-Bolt Series offers a leveled-up shooting experience for under $1,000 to start. And if you’re looking to punch up within your budget, this is a great place to stretch up another tier.

With the X-Bolt ($969-999), you can adjust Browning’s proprietary chrome-plated three-lever Feather Trigger to a custom feel from 3-5 pounds. This gets super nerdy, and if you wanna nerd out, Browning has a great film on it.

The safety feature on the X Bolt is another piece that puts it in a unique category, with the ability to unlock the bolt being on the bolt itself. This means you can keep the gun on safe, press the Bolt Unlock button, and easily unload your gun without being in fire mode.

Lots of thoughtful components have gone into the X-Bolt, but safety and accuracy have been built into the series since 2008. And for most hunters, this makes for a phenomenal purchase.

  • Left-handed: Yes, in multiple cartridges
  • Barrel lengths: 20-26″ options
  • Package offered: Yes
  • Weight: Starts at 6 lbs., 11 oz.

Customer Review on the 300 Win Mag: “The weight is nice and light for the length of barrel, but I knew what I was getting into. The kick isn’t really bad with the pad and brake on it, so I was pleased with that having had 3 surgeries on my shooting shoulder.

“The accuracy is very good and I am happy I went the 300 Win Mag way as ammo is a bit easier and cheaper to get if you look for it. The bottom line is I wanted a rifle capable of taking down any kind of game in North America and I do believe this rifle will do just that.”

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CVA Cascade

cva cascade

The Cascade ($499) is the first bolt-action centerfire rifle from CVA and man, does it deliver. I recently shot the CVA Cascade chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor.

Honestly, I couldn’t be more impressed with this gun at the price point. Accuracy didn’t waver from 100-300 yards, recoil barely existed, and when I heard the price point, I was sold.

The Cascade was designed with smaller spaces (and hunters) in mind. And a variety of shorter barrel lengths aid hunters who might be rifle hunting from a blind. The other side of shorter barrel lengths and lighter weight is that the gun is well-suited to mountain hunting as well as smaller and younger hunters.

A threaded muzzle comes standard, allowing for a muzzle brake or suppressor. Spacers allow for stock adjustments from a 13-14″ pull, further burgeoning this rifle as a great starter gun for a kiddo or a smaller hunter. The Cascade also boasts an adjustable trigger, and most models accommodate four rounds of ammo for follow-up shots.

A shorter barrel length does mean that longer-distance shots will lose a measure of terminal velocity. But, you can still shoot the Cascade with sub-MOA accuracy out to 1,000 yards. For most hunters, this is more than sufficient for fair chase shooting conditions in the field.

  • Left-handed: No
  • Barrel lengths: 16.5-22″
  • Package offered: No
  • Weight: 6.75-6.95 lbs.

Customer Review on the .308: “I was looking for a rifle that wouldn’t break the bank yet was accurate and of good quality. CVA has always made fine muzzleloaders so with that and the reviews I read I decided to try the Cascade in .308. I couldn’t be happier with this rifle. It is accurate (1 MOA or less), smooth, and the texture of the stock feels great.” —Alan C.

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HOWA 1500 Hogue Bolt Action Rifle

howa 1500 hogue bolt action rifle

HOWA’s Hogue ($620) series comes in at a competitive price with solid performance and build to match. A soft-touch finish gives the rifle a great feel. And a HACT two-stage trigger provides a crisp shot, while the bolt action is smooth and simple to operate.

Unlike shoddier injection-molded stocks, Howa created the pillar bedded over-molded stock with ergonomics in mind. This gives the rifle a super-solid base without any chintz. Plus, $620 is a killer price point for a base rifle that has solid reviews all the way around.

  • Left-handed: No
  • Barrel lengths: 22-24″
  • Package offered: Yes
  • Weight: 7-8 lbs.; three different weights offered from light to heavy.

Customer Review: “This is my first hunting rifle — I’m an obsessive bowhunter who is branching out. I really like it; it’s more accurate than I am. It’s a tremendous value!”

Check Price at Sportman’s

Kimber Hunter Bolt Action Rifle

kimber hunter bolt action rifle

Kimber has a reputation across markets for solid, reliable firearms, and that extends greatly into the manufacturing of its Hunter Bolt Action Rifle ($819). This is a great base model, incorporating a three-position safety, removable box magazine, and a variety of calibers to fit most hunting situations.

Sub-MOA accuracy is guaranteed from the controlled round feed. And its packable weight is ideal for backpack hunters or hunters of smaller stature.

  • Left-handed: No
  • Barrel lengths: 22-24″
  • Package offered: No
  • Weight: 5.5-6.5 lbs.

Customer Review on the 7mm-.08: “Have had the gun for 2 seasons now in 7mm-08. It has performed perfectly. Accuracy is great. Break-in was easy and it has liked several factory bullets, including Barnes, federal, and Winchester. Trigger pull is breathtaking, the best I’ve had from a factory trigger with no work done. Swing is great as the gun is balanced perfectly. Mag is easy to load, and insert and remove.” —Jason

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Remington Model 700 ADL Bolt Action Rifle Package

remington model 700 adl

A modern-day classic at a lights-out price point, the Remington 700 ($470-499) is a hunting rifle that endures. For $470, you also get an entry-level scope mounted, and it’s ready to shoot right out of the box. And, for just $299, you can find a variety of base models ready to be scoped.

The Remington Model 700 comes in a whopping 17 options that range from small-game-specific to long-range and tactical models. If you’re looking for something both specific and affordable, most of the models come in under $1,000. And the wide range of calibers is nothing short of impressive.

Here, we’ve listed the very affordable package offered through Sportsman’s Warehouse, as it’s an excellent starting point for the new hunter. And, if you need more than an entry-level scope down the line, you can level up as you grow.

  • Left-handed: Yes
  • Barrel lengths: 16-26″
  • Package offered: Yes
  • Weight: Varies depending on model

Customer Review: “Great feel, great weight. Took it out shooting targets at 50 yards the afternoon [I] picked it up and it was right on the money out of the box. I’m very satisfied! I’m sure there are fancier rifles and better scopes, but for the price — you can’t beat it. And I’m a recreational target shooter and lightweight into hunting — would recommend this to anyone looking for a SOLID rifle with a decent entry-level scope.” —Brian M.

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Savage 110 Apex Hunter XP

savage 110 apex hunter xp

The Savage 110 Apex Hunter XP pairs its phenomenal Model 110 with a 3-9x40mm Vortex Crossfire II scope. For just $685, this is a heck of a deal. The two brands are stalwarts in the world of firearms, and this setup will last the average hunter a dang long time as long as you take care of it.

On its own, the rifle sports a user-adjustable trigger, adjustable length of pull, a detachable box magazine, and an exceptional range of calibers. On its own, the Vortex Scope retails for $150, and it boasts a high level of clarity, forgiving eye relief, and resettable MOA turrets for easy adjustment.

  • Left-handed: Yes
  • Barrel lengths: 18-24″
  • Package offered: Yes
  • Weight: 7.5-8 lbs. with scope

Customer Review: “I researched different options for a target range rifle and landed on this model. I am very happy with the purchase. For the price, the gun and optics are a nice value. It’s a lot of fun to shoot especially at longer yardage. Right out of the box, the gun performed nicely. I sighted the scope at 100 yards, needing a minor adjustment of about 3″. After that, I was able to put tight groupings right on the money at 100 and 200 yards.” —Steve B.

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Tikka T3x Lite Bolt Action Rifle

tikka t3x lite bolt action rifle

I know a lot of hunters that shoot Tikkas and love them, for good reason. They’re solid. And the T3x Lite ($680) is a great synthetic option for those looking for a bit of a lighter carry. The quality recoil pad allows for better ease of shooting, and if you’ve ever shot a lightweight rifle, you’ll note that many do kick a bit harder without the weight.

There are also some nice options to modify the T3x Lite, including an interchangeable pistol grip and the option to use either a scope base or a Picatinny rail. And it comes in seven calibers to fit your hunting needs appropriately.

  • Left-handed: Yes
  • Barrel lengths: 22-24.3″
  • Package offered: No
  • Weight: 6.3-6.4 lbs.

Customer Review: “I own three Tikka rifles, two for several years now. I have a .223, .270 and .308. All three are excellent shooters and capable of sub MOA groups with a good shooter and the correct ammo. I have owned many rifles over the years, but this has become my go-to when purchasing a new caliber. I’ve had nothing but good experience with my Tikka rifles!” —Dgies

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Weatherby Vanguard Synthetic

weatherby vanguard synthetic

This rifle is a fabulous starting point, and I know because the Weatherby Vanguard Synthetic ($530) chambered in .308 was my first hunting firearm. Recoil was minimal, it was easy to learn on, and I carried it with me across miles of Montana country easily. It never jammed or misfired, and any error was my own.

The gun is simple, but with some bonuses. The three-part safety allows you to cycle ammo through without worry. The trigger is crisp. The bolt is smooth and reliable.

Although it’s heavier than some, I didn’t find it to be bothersome. And nearly everyone I met would comment that it was a great gun to start out with.

The Vanguard line comes in a lot of dips and options beyond the Synthetic, including the Weatherby Vanguard Camila with ergonomic attention paid to female shooters and a variety of personality-influenced options from brands including MeatEater and HUSH.

  • Left-handed: Yes, in various options
  • Barrel lengths: 24-26″
  • Package offered: Yes
  • Weight: 7.5-8 lbs.

Customer Review: “The Vanguard action is one of the best out there. It is smooth, reliable, strong, and safe. The synthetic model is a great value. The stock is as good as a factory synthetic stock gets. The rifle is accurate as advertised. This rifle would be competitive if it was significantly more expensive. As is, it’s the best value in rifles, period. You don’t have to compromise quality to get an affordable rifle.” —Forester

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How to Choose a Hunting Rifle

best hunting rifle
(Photo/Lindsey Mulcare)

Caliber

Hunting rifles come in a wide and ever-expanding range of calibers. Caliber is the size of the rifle bore and the cartridges (bullets) used for each bore. The barrel of the firearm will be stamped with the caliber, and that rifle can only shoot that particular cartridge.

Strangely, there is no universal standard associated with caliber. But, most calibers are a measure of the diameter of the bore in inches or millimeters. It can also refer to the diameter of the bullet or the cartridge case.

What you really need to know is that certain calibers are better for certain types of game. A .22 is a great gun for small game, but a .300 Winchester Magnum can put a moose in your freezer.

In the case of hunting big game like deer, the more popular rounds include the .30-06 Springfield, .308 Winchester, 6.5 Creedmoor, .270 Win., .243 Win., 7mm Remington Magnum, and the .30-30 Win. If you plan on hunting game larger than your typical whitetail, a larger caliber can add versatility to your options while still making for a great deer gun.

Talking about calibers, most folks with firearm familiarity describe a rifle as being “chambered in” a certain caliber. For example, I spent the past 6 years shooting a Weatherby Vanguard chambered in .308 Winchester.

Action

Bolt-action, lever-action, pump-action, and semi-automatic rifles are known as repeating rifles. Through the varying actions, you can eject the empty cartridge and load another round of ammunition. Hence, you repeat the shot through the action of the gun.

Bolt-action rifles tend to be the most popular for big game rifle hunting, as they offer a wide range of calibers, they’re simple to care for, and they’re incredibly dependable.

But semi-automatic rifles have their place in the field as well. The gas-powered operation of the semi-auto lends itself to a much lighter recoil than most bolt-action rifles, and it’s quicker to take a follow-up shot with a semi-automatic rifle. You simply don’t have to take the time to pull the bolt back and cycle through another round.

But, for our intents in this article, the bolt action rifle tends to be both an affordable buy and long-lasting firearm for big game hunting.

Stocks and Materials

The majority of guns in this list, if not all, have synthetic rather than wood stocks. The stock is simply the part of the rifle that attaches the barrel and firing mechanism while providing the rest for the shooter.

Stocks can be unbelievably beautiful to downright simple. The simplest and easiest to care for is the synthetic stock. These are typically injection-molded plastic or pricier composite materials, with the composite stocks tending to be lighter and more technical.

Hardwood or laminated wood stocks require a bit more care, and they usually aren’t as tough as synthetics. But, some prefer the look of wood stocks.

Once you begin looking at higher-end rifles, you’ll notice more carbon-fiber stocks. These cut weight while allowing for high accuracy in more tactical situations in the field.


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Nicole Qualtieri
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Based in Montana, Nicole Qualtieri is GearJunkie's Hunt + Fish Editor. She also serves as a Board Director for Orion the Hunters Insititute, a non-profit promoting fair chase and hunting ethics nationwide. A DIY hunter, she comes from a non-traditional hunting background and began hunting and fishing in her 30s. She's been a voice for hunting, fishing, and conservation since 2014, when she got started working on the television show MeatEater. She's an avid horsewoman, bird dog aficionado, snowboarder, hiker/backpacker, food nerd, and all-around outdoorswoman. Find her online at @nkqualtieri.