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AR Rifleman's Buyer's Guide: Today's Top Sporting Rifles

AR Rifleman’s Buyer’s Guide: Today’s Top Sporting Rifles

The editors of AR Rifleman have carefully selected 66 of the best semi-automatic modern sporting rifles on the market available today.

I recently tested ArmaLite’s M-15A4TBN. No doubt, this AR-platform rifle excels in prairie dog towns and where coyotes prowl the sage. Still, many shooters call it a weapon—not the “Varmint Hunter.” Firearms have long had identity crises. The Brown Bess and Yellow Boy were as gender neutral as concrete blocks, but the names have stuck. The same six-shooter could be a Single Action Army, Peacemaker or 1873 Colt. No matter—they’re the same gun. But an M1 could be the Carbine or the Garand.

I’ll give you “Tommy gun” and “Old Betsy.” But my charity doesn’t extend to “weapon,” a word with no descriptive value apart from use. “Bolt action” denotes function, “carbine” dimensions, “Steyr” manufacture, “8×57” chambering. “Pre-war” dates a revolver; “Model 27” differentiates it. “Weapon” is the odd word out. A hammer can be a weapon; we call it a tool. A steak knife can be a weapon; we call it a utensil. An automobile is a deadly weapon that claims many thousands of lives annually; we call it a vehicle. Referring to firearms as weapons unfairly imputes purpose. And it paves a path for gun control.

Soldiers might indeed call their M4s weapons. But “weapon” (like “assault rifle”) makes no sense when applied to ARs used for hunting and target shooting, and it wrongly brands riflemen who will never wield them as weapons.

Of course, firearms as weapons in civilian hands thwart criminals and save lives. But the moniker used too broadly undervalues the use of rifles, shotguns and handguns in field and target sports. Millions of cartridges are fired at paper, clay, steel and wild game for every one used in a life-threatening moment.

The popularity of AR-15-style rifles has birthed more sinister images, playing to the Special Forces wannabe. ARs have replaced the lever-action Winchester in television action.

How about “modern sporting rifles,” or MSRs? Why, that name sounds pretty spot on, especially for our purposes. The AR platform, after extensive fine-tuning over the years, is thoroughly “modern.” And we’re going to take them afield to take game, so “sporting” is 100-percent accurate—like most of the rifles in the following pages. Read on to learn more about some of the best semi-automatic modern sporting rifles on the market available today.

Adams Arms 5.56 Sporting Rifle

ADAMS ARMS 

Caliber: 5.56mm • Barrel: 16″ • Weight: 6.5-7.7 lbs
Stocks: Mil-spec/enhanced six-position, Vltor IMod
Sights: None • Features: Semi-auto • Finish: Hardcoat anodized
Capacity: 30-shot mag • MSRP: $1,316.30-2,073.49

adamsarms.net; 877-461-2572

Adams Arms Tactical Evo

ADAMS ARMS TACTICAL EVO

Caliber: 300 BLK • Barrel: 14.5″ • Weight: 7.23 lbs
Stock: Magpul six-position MOE • Sights: None
Features: Short-stroke piston operated • Finish: Hardcoat anodized
Capacity: 30-shot mag • MSRP: $1,476.90

adamsarms.net; 877-461-2572

Advanced Armament MPW

ADVANCED ARMAMENT MPW

Caliber: 5.56mm, 300 BLK • Barrel: 9, 12.5 or 16″ • Weight: 5.5-6.5 lbs
Stock: Magpul CTR • Sights: None • Features: Semi-auto
Finish: Hardcoat anodized • Capacity: 30-shot mag • MSRP: $1,599.95

Related: Advanced Armament MPW 300 BLK

AERO Precision M4E1

AERO PRECISION M4E1

Caliber: 5.56mm • Barrel: 16″ • Weight: 6.75 lbs
Stock: Collapsible • Sights: None • Features: Semi-auto
Finish: Hardcoat anodized, burnt bronze, desert, olive, titanium, tungsten
Capacity: 30-shot mag • MSRP: $1,199

aeroprecisionusa.com; 253-272-8188

Related: Aero Precision’s AR15 M4E1 Enhanced Upper & Handguard | New Product

Anschutz MSR RX22

ANSCHÜTZ MSR RX22

Caliber: .22 LR • Barrel: 16.5″ • Weight: 6.94 lbs
Stock: Polymer • Sights: Flip-up, adjustable iron
Features: Semi-auto • Finish: Blued
Capacity: 5/20/22-shot mag • MSRP: $895 (from Steyr Arms)

Related: Anschütz MSR RX22 .22 LR: Sniper Training Rifle | Gun Review

ArmaLite AR-10A SuperSASS

ARMALITE AR10A SUPERSASS

Caliber: 7.62mm • Barrel: 20″ • Weight: 11.5 lbs
Stock: Magpul PRS • Sights: None • Features: Semi-auto
Finish: Anodized aluminum, ceramic-coated steel
Capacity: 20-shot mag • MSRP: $3,100

armalite.com; 800-336-0184

Armalite DSR 10

ARMALITE DSR 10

Caliber: 7.62mm • Barrel: 16″ • Weight: 7.9 lbs
Stocks: Adjustable, A2-style • Sights: None • Features: Semi-auto
Finish: Anodized aluminum, manganese-phospated steel
Capacity: 20-shot mag • MSRP: $999

armalite.com; 800-336-0184

Related: ArmaLite’s DSR 10 in 7.62mm NATO

Armalite DRS 15

ARMALITE DSR 15

Caliber: 5.56mm • Barrel: 16″ • Weight: 6.35 lbs
Stock: Adjustable • Sights: None • Features: Semi-auto
Finish: Anodized aluminum, manganese-phospated steel
Capacity: 30-shot mag • MSRP: $699

armalite.com; 800-336-0184

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  • Brian

    Yankee hill AR15 model 1500 what all do you abou this fire arm?