America’s Most Popular Rifles

The trusty rifle helped build America, and knock parts of it down on occasion. Without it, though, the original pioneers might not have survived in the rugged plains of the Mid-West and the old world gang culture of the Wild West. 

Hunting and self defense were basic requirements back in the day, and now we honor those traditions by going out into the countryside in digital camo or just heading to the range.  

But what are the most popular rifles in the United States at the moment? 

A recent Small Arms Survey report showed that America owns 393 million firearms and that 44% of citizens have a firearm in their home. Those are the headline figures, but the survey also delved deeper into the best selling rifles in the country.  

Here is what they found… 

Ruger 10/22 22LR rifle. One of the best rifles of all time.

1. Ruger 10/22

  • Price: $270
  • Caliber: 22LR

This Ruger 22LR rifle is a legend in its own right. It has been with us since 1964 and remains supremely popular with hunters and range junkies alike.  

22LR ammo is dirt cheap, there’s almost no recoil and the rifles are cheap to maintain and upgrade. It also comes in a number of different specs, from a simple carbine right through to an AR-style Ruger 10/22 Tactical.  

The Ruger 10/22 Takedown splits into two parts and stows in a backpack. It’s ready to go in moments and hunters absolutely love that version of this ever popular rifle.  

Henry Big Boy X. Is this the best lever action rifle?

2. Henry Lever Action Rifle

  • Base Price: $369.99
  • Caliber: All of them

The Henry Lever Action rifle helped win the American Civil War, played a starring role in the Wild West era and has stayed in constant production since 1860. 

Benjamin Tyler Henry created the Henry Lever Action in 1860 for the New Haven Arms Company.  

The Union forces used the Henry in the Civil War in limited numbers. Known as the rifle you load on Sunday and shoot all damned week, this lever action repeater went head to head with old school muskets and changed the face of the war.  

Supply was so limited that soldiers who could afford it bought their own Henry repeating rifle with the revolutionary lever action that went on to become a part of firearms folklore. 

People still hunt with these lever actions, but most of the guns sold are simply fun to shoot tributes to a bygone age. Traditionally young boys got a 22LR Henry Repeating Arms as a gift to start them on the road to shooting proficiency. Nowadays that happens less often, but it’s still one of the most popular rifles in the USA. 

Ruger American Rifle

3. Ruger American

  • Base Price: $303.99

This budget friendly bolt action rifle comes in just about every caliber and follows a simple recipe that gives you a cheap, easy to use hunting rifle. 

You can get a rimfire rifle right up to a 30-06 Springfield that can take down big bears, mule deer and other big North American game.  

The Ruger American comes with a receiver machined from 4140 chrome moly steel. You get a cold hammer forged barrel that is free floated thanks to the clever V-shaped steel action blocks that also form pillar beddings.  

It’s a simple rotary magazine and bolt action operation. So it’s super reliable, tried and trusted technology and the fact it is so popular has led to economies of scale to keep the price down.  

Savage Axis II in 308 Win Mag

4. Savage Axis

  • Price: $330+
  • Caliber: Most of them

The Savage Axis II is often considered the best budget bolt action rifle. 

Basically any caliber you want is on the table, from 223 Remington for hunting small game through to big game hunting rounds. 

The stainless steel barrel is accurate enough at real world hunting distances and the money you save makes the compromises worthwhile. 

There’s a caliber for coyote hunting, whitetail deer hunting, hogs, Elk, bears and anything else you might think of hunting. The price range changes with the caliber but, relatively, the Axis bolt action rifle is always a bargain if you’re looking for a deer hunting rifle or a full on sniper rifle. 

Pretty much all gun reviews say that this Savage entry level hunting rifle can mix it with the best new rifles on the market and, at this price, that’s amazing. 

The Smith & Wesson M&P15 Sport is a cheap AR-15, and it's also one of the best discount rifles in USA gun stores.

5. Smith & Wesson M&P15 Sport

  • Price: $670.00
  • Caliber: 5.56 NATO

The AR-15 is one of America’s most popular rifles for self defense, tactical use and recreational shooting.  

Now the Smith & Wesson M&P15 Sport has taken over from the Ruger AR-556 as the most popular AR-15 in America.  

It’s a classic direct impingement AR style rifle with a detachable box magazine, pistol grip and a black polymer handguard.  

This is the original Eugene Stoner design, produced by the most iconic arms brand in modern America.  

It’s basically the American flag in gun form. And the S&W M&P15 Sport is now a symbol for gun loving Americans, and a target for the gun control crowd.   

Browning X-Bolt

6. Browning X-Bolt

  • Price: $674.99
  • Caliber: Most of them

Unlike the other rifles, this one isn’t selling big because it’s cheap. This is a high-quality hunting rifle that starts at less than $700 and goes all the way through to more than $2000. 

The fluted X-bolt action has become legend in the hunting community and this is a favorite rifle for mountain hunting.  

The higher end X-Bolt rifles come withg a muzzle brake, the famous three-lever feather trigger. It’s adjustable from 3-5lb and this bolt action rifle is supremely accurate and reliable.  

Ruger AR-556 - the kind of cheap AR-15 Joe Exotic loves.

7. Ruger AR-556

  • Price: $720.00
  • Caliber: 5.56 NATO

The Ruger was the most popular AR-15 in America and even sold itself as America’s favorite rifle, but that was back when it was around $500. 

During Covid, this entry level AR-15 crept up and up in price until it was competing with very serious opposition. It’s still a best seller, but it has slid down the order thanks to the near 50% price hike for basically the same rifle.  

Again it’s pretty much a tribute to the original Eugene Stoner AR-15 and a proven semi-automatic rifle.  

If you want a safe bet then the Ruger AR-556 is still a great rifle, if you don’t mind spending that little bit more.  


  • Nick Hall

    Nick is a lifelong gun enthusiast who has a simple mission. He wants to find the best deals for guns online and help you make the best choices with weapons your life may depend on one day.Nick won a minor league shooting competition at the age of 11 and it all went from there. Now he runs one of the biggest firearms websites on the net and his work has featured in Playboy US, Tatler Asia, Forbes and a whole host of national magazines and websites.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top