Here are some of the best AR-style rifles for the money.
There is no shortage of options on the market when it comes to buying a new AR-style semi-automatic rifle. Most people further improve their guns with aftermarket parts. Today however, we're going to be focused simply on stock guns that are good starting points for people newer to this style of firearm.
If you've been looking for a semi-auto sporting arm for some time but aren't sure where to start, this list should give you some good ideas for guns, whether they be for home defense, competitive shooting, varmint or hog hunting.
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Odds are you've already fired a Ruger at some point in your life. This company is well-known for their high-quality firearms at prices that are affordable for most of us. The AR-556 is chambered to operate with standard 5.56 NATO or .223 Remington. This one operates via a gas direct impingement system. The upper receiver is a 7075 T-6 aerospace grade aluminum. Ruger offers this rifle in a variety of variations to fit within state compliance. This includes models with lower-capacity magazines and one with a fixed magazine to fit within your state's regulations. One has lower-capacity magazines and one has a fixed magazine to fit within state regulations. Heat-resistant nylon forms the handguards. Most people are probably going to add optics, but it has elevation adjustable front sight posts. The buttstock and buffer tube are adjustable and allow you to size the rifle to yourself or others quickly as easy with six adjustable positions. This one starts at around $959.
Smith & Wesson M&P 15 Sport II
For someone just getting started with sporting rifles, the M&P Sport is one of the best AR-15 platforms out there. This gun is highly affordable at only around $650. That leaves you with plenty of room in the budget for aftermarket parts and accessories. This gas-operated gun features 16-inch barrel length, a Magpul rear sight, a polymer pistol grip and a six-position stock. The frame is an aluminum alloy and has a matte black finish to help protect it. The M&P15 Sport is chambered for 5.56mm/.223 ammo making this the ideal varmint, competitive shooting or home defense firearm. A 1:9 twist rate helps ensure your shots stay accurate and on target. Smith & Wesson includes this rifle in standard and state-compliant models, so you'll get either a 10-round or 30-round magazine depending on how restrictive your state's regulations are. Either way, this is a solid platform to get started with ARs.
Savage MSR 10 Hunter
If you're looking for a platform for big game hunting, the Savage is a solid option. Chambered in either 6.5 Creedmoor or .308 Winchester, this gun will put a hurting on hogs, coyotes and deer. These guns feature a 16 or 18-inch carbon steel barrel with a 1:10 rate of twist. The receiver is 7075 aluminum. The stock is Magpul MOE and is fully adjustable. A Blackhawk pistol grip adds ergonomics to this rifle. These guns also feature M-LOK handguards and two-stage triggers. This gun also features a six-position stock so you can adjust the length to best fit multiple shooters. This rifle is expensive at $1,300, but you're getting the reliability of an American gunmaker like Savage. You can rest assured that when this rifle goes boom, it's going to do the job every single time.
Daniel Defense DDM4 V11 Pro
If you're looking for a competitive shooting machine, Daniel Defense has you covered with this 5.56mm NATO rifle. The DDM4 has been specially designed for just that. It features an 18-inch, cold hammer-forged chrome moly steel barrel for long-range accuracy, mil-spec upper and lower receivers and a CNC-machined gas block system made from 4140 hardened steel. The charging handle is a 7076-T6 aluminum. For accuracy, it features a threaded muzzle with a stainless steel muzzle climb mitigator. Daniel Defense always gets high marks from shooters for their trigger. Here they've used a high-quality Geissele three-gun trigger. All the aluminum parts in this firearm add up to a weight that's just 7.53 pounds. Oh, one other nice feature of this gun is that it is ambidextrous. Simply put, there's a lot to like with this AR platform. It's pricey at $1,899, but you'll be getting your money's worth out of this product.
DPMS Panther Arms Oracle
A good budget-friendly AR platform for anyone looking for a hunting firearm. This gun is chambered in .308 Winchester and comes in at a hunt-friendly 8.3 pounds. This carbine rifle has a flat top and is ready for optics right out of the box. The upper is U.S. Military standard. This gun also comes with a flash suppressor standard. This gun has a capacity of 20+1 rounds, which should be enough to really light up a whole group of pesky feral hogs in the Texas brush. This gun carries a high rating on the Bass Pro Shops website with users praising the gun for its reliability and great price point. This gun is just $749. If you're looking to get a semi-auto sporting arm for hunting without breaking the bank, this is a great option.
Armalite M-15 Light Tactical Carbine
Looking for an extremely light self-defense gun at a great price? The Armalite M-15 might be just the ticket. This AR platform only weighs six pounds. These guns feature a 16-inch chrome-lined barrel with a 1:7 twist, a six-position stock and an anodized finish on the lower and upper receivers that is non-reflective. They operate off a low-profile gas block system that gets high marks for being super-reliable. The muzzle device includes a nice flash suppressor. The aluminum free-floating Keymod handguard helps provide superior accuracy. The flat top receiver comes ready for you to mount a red dot or other optic right out of the box. Overall, there is a lot to like for $929 with this firearm.
Sig Sauer M400 Tread
This mid-length gas system rifle comes at an awesome price point of $799 while offering many of the features you'll find on more expensive AR platforms. This gun has a picatinny rail system for accessories, a six-position collapsible stock, a flash suppressor and a single-stage trigger. This rifle also features a free float M-LOK handguard, ambidextrous controls and a rotating bolt system. The barrel is 16 inches and features a 1:8 twist. The whole package weighs just 7.6 pounds making it a great lightweight rifle for defense purposes.
Springfield Armory Saint Victor
Another lightweight option from a proven gunmaker that offers a ton of features for $1,000. The Victor features a 16-inch melonite-finished CMV barrel with a 1:8 rate of twist, a SA muzzle brake, a 15-inch aluminum, free-floating M-LOK handguard and a full-length picatinny rail. Bravo Company pistol grips and six-position buttstocks come standard. The firearm uses a mid-length, direct-impingement gas system. The flat trigger is nickel boron single stage. Springfield Armory offers this gun in both standard and state compliant models with either a 10 or 30-round magazine. The gun is chambered in the versatile 5.56mm and comes in at just under eight pounds.