Classic Hunting Rifles Every Hunter Should Own
We live in a time where the modern hunter has truly unprecedented options when it comes to choosing a hunting rifle. Scores of manufacturers are producing high-quality, accurate, dependable rifles (as you can see in our review of the best rifles of 2022).

Classic Hunting Rifles Every Hunter Should Own

Springfield Armory Model 1903 Sporter

Vintage 1903 Springfield Sporter Ad

Many, if not most, of our modern bolt-action hunting rifles have their roots in military rifles of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. After the World Wars, an abundance of surplus rifles was quickly taken advantage of by hunters. The 1903 Springfield was commonly “sporterized” by pulling the action and putting it in a shorter, more-handy “sporter” stock. Of course, they were often re-barreled, re-chambered, and highly-modified for specific hunting purposes — all based around the robust 1903 action.

Winchester Pre-64 Model 70

The Pre-64 Winchester Model 70 is regarded by some as the finest hunting rifle ever made.

If there is a ubiquitous American hunting rifle that transcends time and space, it’s the pre-64 Winchester Model 70. After being introduced in 1937, the Model 70 became known as “the rifleman’s rifle,” and a favorite of long-time Outdoor Life editor Jack O’Connor.

Savage Model 99

Savage Model 99 in .250-3000 Savage.

If I were to venture into the territory of iconic deer rifles, how could I ever ignore the Savage Model 99? Somewhat odd-looking, this design from 1899 was one of the most popular American hunting rifles in the early 20th century — and still carries quite a following.

Ruger №1

Despite being a single-shot, the Ruger No. 1 was very popular.

Single-shot hunting rifles aren’t what most of us have in mind when we think of the classics, but the Ruger №1 is one that has stood the test of time. It was introduced in 1967 and is a hammerless falling-block single shot that styled after the British Farquharson rifles and was offered in a plethora of chamberings and developed a cult-like following.

Marlin 336

One of the best-made classic rifles.

Another classic deer rifle that everyone should at least be familiar with is the Marlin 336. The Marlin 336 was introduced in 1948 and produced until recently. It’s one of the most popular lever-action deer rifles and commonly chambered in .30/30 and .35 Remington.

Ruger 10/22

The Ruger 10/22 may be decades old, but it's probably even more popular now than ever.

A stainless-steel Ruger 10/22 was my first rifle, and one that I had envied for a long time. The 10/22 is likely the single most successful .22 LR design ever made. It’s a recoil-operated semi-automatic action chambered in .22 LR that’s still in full-production today. The basic 10/22 carbine has the nifty feel of a .30 caliber M1 carbine and utilizes a 10-round rotary magazine.