Special Report

The Most Popular Bolt-Action Rifles in America

Semi-automatic rifles have surged in popularity in recent years, in particular modern sporting rifles like those built on AR-15 platforms, according to data from industry group the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Still, the United States also has a large market for more traditional bolt-action rifles, typically used for hunting and precision target shooting – and many of the best-selling firearms in the country fit this description. 

Though bolt-action rifles have a slower rate of fire than semi-automatic rifles, they also have several advantages. With fewer moving parts, bolt-action rifles are less prone to malfunction than semi-automatics. This same attribute that makes bolt-action rifles more reliable also makes them more precise. While precision shot placement has improved in semi-automatic rifles in recent years, the bolt-action platform still has greater inherent accuracy potential. 

As a result, U.S. military sniper teams use several bolt-action rifle variations when maximum precision is a priority. And for millions of Americans, bolt-action remains the preferred rifle for hunting, target shooting, and plinking. (Here is a look at every sniper rifle currently used by the U.S. military.)

Using a report from Gungenius, which compiled sales data from GunBroker.com, an online firearms marketplace, 24/7 Wall St. identified the 10 most popular bolt-action rifles in America. Guns are ranked based on 2022 online sales, though exact sales figures were not provided.  

Many rifle models on this list include variants available in a wide range of different calibers that are tailored to specific uses, including long-range precision and hunting anything from the smallest game to the largest. (Here is a look at the 14 most versatile hunting rifle cartridges.)

Though the estimated base price of many of these firearms can be as low as a few hundred dollars, higher-end variations can sell for many times that amount. Most of the guns on this list are manufactured in the United States, though others, like the Tikka T3, are made abroad and imported to the U.S. (These are the countries making America’s favorite foreign-made rifles.)

Click here to see the most popular bolt-action rifles in America.

Click here to read our detailed methodology.

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