deer rifles under $500
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4 Great Deer Rifles for $500 or Less

Buying a new rifle feels daunting for both new and experienced deer hunters. Shopping for a new gun is a serious endeavor, and there's certainly a sense of nervousness about how much your bank account will hurt after your new purchase. Thankfully, many great rifle options are available for folks looking to spend $500 or less.

Hunting rifles are a serious investment. Even if the gun itself costs $450, simply purchasing a new scope for it can double the amount of money you spend. It's important to spend time researching your options while keeping a gun's accuracy, affordability, and fit in mind. Savage Arms, Remington, Mossberg, and Ruger all have great hunting rifles available that meet those criteria without making you shed a tear when you tap your credit card.

Whether you're shopping for yourself, your child, or a small-framed hunter, here are four fantastic deer hunting rifles on the market today that cost less than $500 without sacrificing functionality.  

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The Best Deer Rifles Under $500

Best Overall Deer Rifle Under $500: Savage Axis

Most Accurate Hunting Rifle Under $500: Remington 783 Synthetic

Best Youth Deer Hunting Rifle Under $500: Mossberg ATR Super Bantam

Best Compact Deer Hunting Rifle Under $500: Ruger American Compact

Best Overall Deer Rifle Under $500

deer rifles under $500

Top Pick: Savage Axis ($429)

Action Type: Bolt | Length of Pull: 13.75 inches | Weight: 6.3 lbs | Stock Material: Synthetic | Barrel Material: Carbon Steel | Available in 11 Different Chamberings

When I first started big game hunting, I was in the market for a left-handed, lightweight bolt-action rifle available in a caliber capable of ethically harvesting deer. Since I was a college student, the rifle also needed a friendly price tag. Enter Savage Arms' Axis rifle. Its incredible value and its reputation for accuracy made it the perfect option. 

The Savage Axis bolt-action rifle is a fantastic budget option for new and experienced hunters, regardless of age. The synthetic stock is sleek yet rugged enough to withstand even the most brutal terrain and conditions. The stock cuts down on this rifle's weight, too, allowing it to be easily toted to the treestand, up a mountain, and everywhere in between. The stock also comes with swivel mounts, so it's ready for a sling.

The 6.3-pound weight of this rifle is a happy medium between portability and recoil management. Heavy hunting rifles have better recoil management because they absorb most of a gun's kick, but they're not fun to lug around the woods. Comparatively, lightweight rifles are great for hunters who prefer to chase game on foot, but their kick can pack a punch since the weight can't absorb much recoil. The Savage Axis is manageable to carry and shoot, thanks to its middle-of-the-ground weight.

The button-rifled barrel is made out of carbon steel. Button rifling helps ensure accuracy. Carbon steel barrels may be more susceptible to rust than stainless steel barrels, but they're easy to coat and seal, which increases the barrel's resistance to abrasions and corrosion. 

Overall, if you're hunting on a budget and in need of a capable rifle that will help you put meat in the freezer, look no further than the Savage Axis. I've been hunting with this exact rifle for six years, and I don't plan on shelving this reliable gun anytime soon.

Why We Like It

  • Budget-friendly
  • Synthetic stock is lightweight and rugged
  • 6.3 lb weight isn't too heavy nor too light
  • Trigger breaks cleanly
  • Detachable magazine holds 4 rounds
  • Available in 11 calibers
  • Available in left-handed configurations

It's Worth Noting

  • Carbon steel barrel is susceptible to rust
  • Bolt is a little sticky

Savage Arms Axis Rifle - $379.99

Most Accurate Hunting Rifle Under $500

Remington 783


Top Pick: Remington Model 783 Synthetic ($449.99)

Action Type: Bolt | Length of Pull: 13.25 inches | Weight: 7.2 lbs | Stock Material: Synthetic | Barrel Material: Carbon Steel | Available in 14 Different Chamberings

Remington's Model 783 synthetic hunting rifle is another great option for hunters shopping on a budget. This rifle is touted for its accuracy without its price point breaking your bank account, and that's all thanks to the free-floated carbon steel barrel.

Free-floated barrels are some of the most accurate rifle barrels on the market. Free floated means that the rifle's stock and barrel do not touch anywhere along the barrel's length. Barrels flex and move when a bullet rockets through them. Pressure points along that bullet's trajectory while still within the rifle decrease accuracy by impacting the bullet's flight path. If a bullet's trajectory is negatively impacted inside the rifle barrel, this negatively altered flight path continues after the bullet leaves the gun's muzzle, creating inaccuracies when you shoot. Of course, this is the last thing you want when trying to harvest deer ethically.

Remington combines this accurate gun barrel with a synthetic stock, which increases this rifle's durability in tough hunting conditions. The Model 783's weight, like the Savage Axis, isn't too heavy nor too light. It's comfortable enough to carry around in the field all day. It's also heavy enough to absorb a decent amount of recoil when shooting larger calibers like .308 or .30-06.

Other features this rifle has include a 4-round detachable steel magazine. It also has an adjustable trigger that easily increases or decreases the poundage required to pull it at home and a thick Supercell recoil pad. Just don't expect the stock or sling mounts to be too fancy, and you'll be remarkably impressed by this effective budget deer rifle. 

Why We Like It

  • Wallet-friendly without sacrificing accuracy
  • Available in 14 calibers and 5 compact options
  • Detachable magazine holds 4 rounds
  • Adjustable Crossfire trigger system
  • Scope mounts are included
  • Thick recoil pad

It's Worth Noting

  • Stock feels flimsy
  • Sling mounts aren't durable
  • Carbon steel barrel is susceptible to rust

Remington Model 783 Synthetic Rifle - $449.99

Best Compact Deer Hunting Rifle Under $500

deer rifles under $500

Top Pick: Ruger American Rifle Compact ($469.99)

Action Type: Bolt | Length of Pull: 12.5 inches | Weight: 6 lbs | Stock Material: Synthetic | Barrel Material: Alloy Steel | Available in 4 Different Chamberings

Smaller-framed deer hunters searching for their next budget-friendly rifle should look to Ruger for their next addition to the gun cabinet. Ruger's American Rifle Compact is an accurate, durable rifle with a 12.5-inch length of pull and 36.75-inch overall length, so it's designed to fit short hunters. 

Ruger has done compact hunters a solid with this rifle. Its quality outweighs its price tag; this hunting rifle has a Picatinny scope rail, an adjustable trigger, a rubber recoil pad, and sling swivel studs. However, the best part about this rifle is its barrel.

The American Compact features a free-floating, cold hammer forged steel barrel. This means it's incredibly accurate regardless of whether you're shooting this rifle chambered in .243 or 7mm-08. It's also shorter than the full-size American's barrel, which, combined with this rifle's 6-pound weight, increases a hunter's ability to maneuver through thick woods. 

Overall, if you're in the market for a compact rifle under $500, you can't go wrong with the Ruger American Compact.

Why We Like It

  • Short, 12.5-inch length of pull
  • Overall length is less than 37 inches, increasing maneuverability
  • Installed Picatinny scope base
  • Ruger Marksman adjustable trigger 
  • Cold hammer forged, free-floated barrel
  • Comes with sling swivel studs 
  • Rubber recoil pad
  • Ambidextrous tang safety
  • Made in USA

It's Worth Noting

  • Black synthetic stock design isn't anything to gawk at
  • Bolt is a little tight and sticky

Ruger American Compact - $470

Best Youth Deer Hunting Rifle Under $500 

deer rifles under $500

Top Pick: Mossberg ATR Super Bantam ($489.99)

Action Type: Bolt | Length of Pull: 12-13 inches | Weight: 7.5 lbs | Stock Material: Synthetic | Barrel Material: Matte Blued | Available in 2 Different Chamberings

Mossberg's ATR Super Bantam youth hunting rifle is an incredible value. Unlike other rifles, this deer rifle "grows" with your child because the length of pull adjusts between 12 and 13 inches, and the trigger weight adjusts between 2 and 7 pounds. Mossberg has just done all parents a favor by designing a rifle their kid can't outgrow in just a few years; they'll be able to shoot this awesome little gun from their first year in the woods until their final years at home.

Don't worry; this isn't a great youth rifle simply because of its adjustability. It's also accurate and functional to boot. The barrel has a matte blued finish, increasing its durability against corrosion and abrasions. The recessed muzzle protects the barrel's rifling when it's inevitably banged against a tree. The box magazine holds 5 rounds, giving this rifle a 5+1 capacity, ensuring your child can take quick follow-up shots on their first deer as needed.

The best part? This Mossberg rifle comes with a 3-9x40mm scope already installed. All you need to do to set your child up for success come deer season is take them to the gun range, teach them the four rules of firearm safety, and sight in their rifle.

Why We Like It

  • Adjustable length of pull 
  • Adjustable trigger weight
  • Great price point
  • Synthetic stock dipped in TrueTimber Strata is durable and cool
  • Comes preinstalled with a 3-9x40mm scope
  • 5+1 capacity
  • Weight ensures there will be very little recoil

It's Worth Noting

  • Only available in two calibers, .243 and .308 Winchester
  • Weight is a little heavy for kids to carry around all day

Mossberg ATR Super Bantam - $489.99

What to Look For When Buying a Deer Hunting Rifle Under $500

If you're shopping for a budget-friendly deer hunting rifle, here are a few important things to remember.


Accuracy is the most important feature of any hunting rifle. If a rifle is inaccurate, it's not worth hunting with. When hunting with a rifle, ethically harvesting wildlife should be at the top of your mind. Be sure to look for quality, name-brand rifles with steel barrels that are preferably free-floating. 


When shopping for a budget deer rifle, affordability should be another feature you keep in mind. It's easy to drop thousands of dollars on a new deer gun, but is that financially responsible based on your situation? In all reality, a $500 rifle is just as capable of shooting a deer as a $1,000 one. The pricier one will just have more bells and whistles. Stay aware of pricetags, stay within your budget, and pick a deer rifle that's accurate, capable, and fits you.


Gun fit is another thing that shouldn't be sacrificed when shopping for a firearm, regardless of that firearm's price. This is because poorly fitting rifles are inherently less accurate. Nearly every off-the-shelf rifle will fit you well if you're a 6-foot-tall, 180-pound man. You might struggle to find a well-fitting rifle if you're a 5-foot 3-inch, 120-pound female like me. 

If you're a smaller framed shooter, consider looking into compact options. Alternatively, look for rifles with adjustable lengths of pull. There are plenty of sub-$500 rifle options that fit these criteria.

Your Questions, Answered

Why should I buy a budget rifle when more expensive and higher-quality options exist?

Not everyone has thousands of dollars to spend on a deer hunting rifle setup. And setup is the keyword here; sure, you can just buy a rifle. But don't you also want a scope and perhaps a sling mounted on it? Slings are affordable, but some scopes cost more than the rifles they're mounted on. If you're hunting on a budget, buying a wallet-friendly hunting rifle is worth considering.

Can a budget-friendly rifle still ethically harvest deer?

Absolutely. Manufacturers rarely sacrifice accuracy when they design their budget-friendly offerings because the whole point of shooting a gun is knowing exactly where your bullet is going. Knowing where your shot will end up is the most important part of hunting with a gun. With any firearm, take it to the firing range and practice shooting it before your hunting season begins.

Who We Are

Gabriela Zaldumbide is a professional big game hunting guide and target shooting instructor in Colorado. She spends over 150 days in the field each year guiding and instructing. She's passionate about getting folks into hunting and teaching women outdoor skills to increase their confidence and capabilities in nature.

Editor's Note: Our editors independently select products featured on Wide Open Spaces. However, we may earn a commission when you buy something through our links.