5 Rifles You Should Shoot Before You Die

TimberSmith Red Laminate AK Rifle

I want to let all you in on a little secret. Some guns are just too impactful on a shooter to let you go through life without shooting them. Many of you may already have spent some time behind some of these rifles, but I have a feeling that some of you shooters haven’t shot all five. Let’s take a look at what I feel are five rifles that you should shoot at least once.

1. Ruger 10/22

The Best To Date. The Ruger10/22
The Best To Date. The Ruger10/22

The Ruger 10/22 has been a staple for many new and experienced shooters alike for over 50 years. Not only is it incredibly accurate and reliable, but it is infinitely customizable with thousands of options for aftermarket stocks, barrels, triggers and so on. With the price to get into one of these rifles at right around the $220-$240 mark, not having one in your collection is a disservice to yourself. Right out of the box, they provide a very pure shooting experience that will make even the best shooter better for pennies on the dollar.

2. Remington Model 700

Remington 700 SPS in .22-250
Remington 700 SPS in .22-250

The Remington 700 is the first choice for precision shooters, hunters, police, and military since the early 1960s. A proven platform that lends itself well to whatever task you might have at hand while being almost as customizable as the 10/22. Working on your rifle shooting fundamentals with the strong and accurate bolt action will teach a shooter many things—along with how to handle a good bit of recoil. There are few things as much fun as lobbing big .30 caliber bullets hundreds of yards onto a tiny target. Going through life without experiencing the Remington 700 would be just wrong. Some of my most enjoyable range days have been spent behind one on the 500-yard bench.

3. Marlin Model 336 in .30-30


Marlin Model 336 lever-action rifle with wood stock
Marlin introduced the 336 in 1948. Since then, no rifle in America that has put more food on hunters’ tables.

Marlin introduced the 336 in 1948.  Since then,  no rifle in America that has put more food on hunters’ tables. I almost chose the Winchester 94, but felt the side ejecting 336 would be a better fit for the modern shooter because it allows you to mount a scope low to the receiver. It is hard not feeling like a cowboy when cycling the lever action. I have to admit, the 336 is quickly becoming a fast favorite of mine. I really enjoy the hard-hitting .30-30 cartridge when milling around in the hunting lease’s dense forest. The 336 rides with me in the truck just in case I run out to the lease on a whim. Getting into a good lever gun can be done for under the cost of a name brand handgun making it an affordable rifle to add to your collection.

4. AR-15 Chambered in 5.56

CTD Mike's AR-15
Customized AR-15 carbine

The thought of going through life without experiencing America’s most popular self-loading rifle gives me chills. It has become one of the most adaptable rifles on the market with a blue million calibers to choose from, barrel lengths, different stocks, and accessories coming out the wazoo. The AR-15 in its purest form is the rifle that you really should get behind. The 5.56 (or .223 Remington) is incredibly light recoiling while still packing a nice punch downrange. I personally introduce most new shooters to a self-loading rifle on a 20-inch AR-15 with standard A2 carry handle with iron sights. The beautiful thing about the AR-15 is that after you spend some time on the rifle, you can modify the rifle to your taste.

5. The AK-47 in the Classic 7.62×39

Century Arms C39v2 American AK right side profile view
Century Arms C39v2 American AK

Who can say no to the classic AK-47 chambered in the powerful 7.62×39 cartridge? It isn’t me, that’s for darned sure. Right now is an exciting time for those of you that are after an AK-pattern rifle with so many great options on the market and big manufactures—Magpul et. al—getting behind the accessory market. The rugged reliability that has made the AK legendary is something that every shooter is sure to enjoy. Out of all the centerfire rifles on this list this one is the most economical to shoot steel-cased 7.62×39 ammo coming in at under a quarter per round. Couple the inexpensive nature of the ammo with the industrial feel that the rifle has in your hands and you have something really special that you should really treat yourself to.

There you have it. Now get out there and shoot these fine rifles, your trigger finger will thank you.

What five rifles would you say everyone should shoot before they die? List them in the comment section.

The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog. "The Shooter's Log", is to provide information - not opinions - to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decicions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (62)

  1. After having shot the M16-A I back 1980-1981 , I would not want to depend upon, it is accurate, able to stay on target, but it jammed alot. My Rifles that I like The M1 Garand, accurate hard hitting , The M!-A aka Civilian M14 , Love it but thought it was a little to long, but accurate delivered a lot of fire power, Model 1917 U.S. Enfield primary battle rifle of U.S. Forces in WWI excellent rifle 30-06 great sights , The Model 1903 Springfield 30-06 also very accurate, but I think the U.S. 1917 Enfield had a better stock design, The Winchester model 1886 in 45-70 excellent and Browning Model 71 in 348 winchester excellent

  2. AR-15
    Rem 700
    Marlin Guide Gun, a Lever Action which utilizes the 45-70 a round that dates back to Custer’s time
    Flintlock, There’s nothing more satisfying than taking a Deer or Bear with a Flintlock

  3. Seriously! No on the Marlin, change that to the Henry Big Boy in .44, everybody needs to shot the Springfield 1903 at least once, and last I would change on your list would be to the Belgium Browning BAR in .308! The AK and the 700, keep on the list. Price range is all affordable! Great weapons! I own them all! Plus many others for hunting!

  4. I would never describe a 7.62 x 39 as powerful. It is the same as a 30-30 ballistics, but able to handle pointed bullets, making it just slightly better. The 336 would be much better in .308. I have a couple or AR-15s, but I would hesitate to trust my life to them. A much better choice is the M-14, better reliability and better round. I have a factory 10/22 that shoots groups of ten in 1 1/2 inch at 100 yards with a 24X scope. I paid much more for the scope than I did for the rifle, but if you cannot see it you can’t hit it is my belief.

  5. Hmmmm… I shot a 10/22 but didn’t find it that much different from my Mossberg Plinkster. Maybe it’s because I am more of a bolt action kind of guy.

    Never shot a Remington 700, but I own three WW2 rifles, so the fun of “lobbing big .30 caliber bullets” is not new to me. ;D

    Never shot any lever action. I do think I ought to, even if they don’t really appeal to me much.

    AR15? Tried it. Too much plastic for my tastes.

    AK47. Yes, I do like it. I feel WW2 bolt actions are the most manly guns ever made, but AKs are the most manly assault rifle/weapon. A working man’s assault rifle, yes…

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