5 Best .338 Lapua Rifles (2020) – Rated and Reviewed

Best .338 Lapua Rifles feature image
RiflesNameEditor’s CommentRatingGet The Best Deal
Ruger Precision Rifle .338 Lapua 26″ MSR Stock

Most Recommended Option

1. Muzzle brake with tunable compensator
2. Adjustable trigger
3. Ambidextrous manual safety

10/10Check Current Price
Savage Arms 112 Magnum Target 26″ .338 Lapua1. Reliable barrel construction with heavy carbon steel
2. Target AccuTrigger technology to allow the trigger to be adjusted
3. Lightweight for a rifle of this length
9.5/10Check Current Price
Savage Arms 110BA Stealth .338 Lapua Rifle1. Lightweight compared to other .338 Lapua rifles
2. Cleverly designed for good accuracy
3. Good recoil reduction
9.0/10Check Current Price
Barrett MRAD .338 Lapua1. Can be changed to a variety of barrels for different calibers
2. The trigger can be changed easily
3. Long and heavy barrel for good accuracy
8.5/10Currently unavailable
Noreen Firearms Bad News .338 Lapua Magnum Rifle 26″1. Has a Magpul PRS stock
2. Effectiveness of muzzle brake to give a super accuracy
3. Has a higher capacity magazine choice
8.0/10Currently unavailable

The .338 Lapua cartridge is a high-powered cartridge commonly seen in sniper rifles to be used for shooting long ranges. It has also become more popular in long range competitions. As this cartridge gained more attention, more rifles were made to fire .338 Lapua rounds. 

Before we look at some of the best .338 Lapua rifles, let’s explore what are the things to identify when choosing a .338 Lapua rifle as well as what the rifles are good for.

The Criteria for a Great .338 Lapua rifle

  • Barrel length – A rifle’s barrel length ultimately determines how much muzzle velocity the bullet gets. The higher the velocity, the further the bullet travels which also means better long range accuracy. If you are looking for a very accurate long range rifle, you will want a long barrel rifle. However, it won’t be easy to travel around with a long barrel. 
  • Rifling – Besides the barrel length, a good rifling of the barrel can also improve the accuracy of your shots. With good rifling and a long barrel, the bullet can maintain flat and its stability which allows you to hit your intended target more accurately.
  • Trigger – The trigger of the rifle is an important factor that affects the precision of your shots. You should pick a rifle with a trigger that has a trigger pull weight that you desire or can be adjusted. Otherwise, if the rifle’s trigger can be switched out easily, it can be a good choice too. 
  • Durability – Since rifles are not something cheap, you will ideally want a rifle that can last you for a very long time if not you will be spending quite some money getting a new firearm or getting the parts replaced. 

The Benefits – What are .338 Lapua Rifles Best for? 

  • Hunting – Generally, long range rifles are best used for hitting targets up to 1000 yards. You can stay concealed when hunting for a big prey like a deer and still be able to get your shot off accurately. Besides getting an accurate shot, .338 Lapua rifles can also deliver enough power to take down a big target. 
  • Target shooting – Bringing a .338 Lapua rifle to the range is one of the best ways to present your marksmanship skills. With consistent practice and after getting used to the rifle, you should be able to hit a target up to 2500 yards. 
  • Competition – As a precision shooting competitor, the most important trait is obviously accuracy and precision in long ranges. Being able to hit your target precisely will get you ahead of your opponents and with proper technique, a .338 Lapua rifle can get the job done.

Now that we have gone through some of the general criteria when choosing a .338 Lapua rifle, let’s see the best options available in the market. 

Best .338 Lapua Rifles – Our Recommendations

1. Ruger Precision Rifle .338 Lapua 26″ MSR Stock

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When it comes to long range precision shooting, the Ruger Precision Rifle .338 Lapua has made a name for itself. It has been known for its remarkable accuracy and reliability, both important conditions when shooting competitively. 

Features

This firearm has a barrel length of 26” with a full length of somewhere between 49” to 52.5”. This length is also determined by the length of pull that varies from 12.7” to 16.2”. With the backend folded, this rifle would be at a length of 40.35”. The barrel is also cold hammer-forged and made of chrome-moly steel with 5R Rifling. You can also easily swap it out by going to a gunsmith. 

This gun employs an MSR stock that can be folded to the left and has a Picatinny rail at the bottom with a soft rubber buttpad. This rifle can also be compatible with any AR-style buttstock given that it has a left folding stock hinge. It can also be adjusted for the length of pull and comb height. 

If you would like to install accessories that are compatible with the M-LOK slots, this rifle has a handguard for Magpul M-LOK slots on all four sides. The handguard is an 18” black hard-coat anodized aluminium handguard that is free floating. 

The Precision Rifle uses a three-lug bolt that has a 70-degree throw that features dual cocking cams and also a smooth full diameter bolt body. The bolt body is also finished with nitride to resist corrosion and to ensure it works smoothly. 

Performance

This is a bolt-action sniper rifle with parts that can be replaced easily. The recoil of this firearm is also very manageable using the Ruger Precision Rifle Magnum Muzzle Brake that effectively reduces the recoil and muzzle jump with a tunable compensator.

As a precision rifle, accuracy is very important and this sniper rifle will not disappoint. Most of the marksmen are able to achieve consistent results of up to 1800 yards using this piece of art. However, Ruger has suggested that it can even hit targets up to 2500 yards. It makes this firearm very good for long range shots.

Realistically, you should be able to maintain a consistent accuracy for targets that are within 300 yards. It is good for long range targets because this rifle can deliver up to a 4700-foot pound of muzzle energy and only drops slightly at 500 yards. 

This rifle also has a Ruger Marksman Adjustable trigger that allows you to adjust the trigger weight from a range of 2.25 to 5 pounds and no disassembly is required as well. However, most marksmen find that a trigger pull weight of 3.5 pounds to be ideal. 

As one of the finest .338 Lapua rifles, this rifle is fairly safe as it uses an ambidextrous manual safety which makes it good for left-handed and right-handed shooters. 

Pros

  • Muzzle brake with tunable compensator
  • Free floating handguard that features Magpul M-LOK slots
  • Adjustable trigger
  • The left-folding stock hinge can accept any AR-style stock
  • Ambidextrous manual safety

Cons

  • Heavy and big rifle

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2. Savage Arms 112 Magnum Target 26″ .338 Lapua

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The Savage Arms 112 Magnum Target 26″ .338 Lapua is one of the least expensive rifles in the current market. It has a simple design and it is a single-shot rifle. This is one of the best rifles to be used if you want a good long range accuracy. 

Features

The key feature that makes the 112 Magnum Target a good rifle for long range shooting is the barrel. The matte black finished barrel is made of heavy carbon steel. It is also button-rifled to maximise the performance for shooting long range.

The 112 Magnum Target does not come with any sight. It makes this rifle customizable by adding a front and rear sight of your preference. Without a sight included, the price of the rifle is cheaper and allows you to have options for the sight you prefer. 

Even with a total length of 49.75”, many people may think that it is a heavy rifle. Yet, the rifle only weighs 12 pounds which is relatively lightweight compared to other rifles of this length. An ideal rifle to bring around and to easily find a position to shoot. 

Most of the weight of this rifle comes from the barrel, which is why the clever design of this rifle has a laminated buttstock that gives a classic look and at the same time to balance the weight of the barrel.

Performance

As mentioned above, this is a single-shot rifle that has a barrel made to deliver the best .338 Lapua rounds out of this firearm. This rifle may be simple and doesn’t look like much but it has shown to give a competition-standard accuracy. 

The trigger of this firearm is also adjustable using the Target AccuTrigger technology that is employed for the 112 Magnum Target. This trigger is easily adjustable and gives a light and clean pull and has no creep. It can also prevent the rifle from firing if dropped accidentally. 

This rifle is able to provide you with a certain degree of comfort from the laminated buttstock. Not only it counters the weight of the heavy barrel, but it can also absorb the recoil of the magnum rounds. 

Pros

  • Laminated buttstock to absorb recoil and counter heavy barrel
  • Target AccuTrigger technology to allow the trigger to be adjusted
  • Reliable barrel construction with heavy carbon steel
  • Lightweight for a rifle of this length
  • Can customize with preferred sight

Cons

  • Only one round capacity
  • Does not come with a sight

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3. Barrett MRAD .338 Lapua

Barret is a well-known company that manufactures large caliber rifles like the Barrett MRAD .338 Lapua. MRAD stands for multi-role adaptive design, suggesting that this rifle is a versatile rifle. Besides versatility, it is also designed to be precise and modular. 

Features

The upper receiver of this firearm is made from a 7000-series aluminium which makes this rifle a long-lasting one. It also has a Picatinny top rail that allows you to mount accessories that you prefer. The rail also has a built-in taper to improve long range shooting precision. 

An interesting feature of this gun is the user-changeable barrel system. You can easily change the barrel of this gun to eight different kinds of calibers and barrel lengths by just loosening two bolts using a simple tool. For the .338 Lapua Magnum barrel, it is available in 20”, 24” and 26”. It makes this a very versatile rifle as compared to other rifles of the same kind.

This bolt-action rifle has a right-folding stock that effectively reduces the overall width which gives a minimal footprint to allow it to be transported easily. Even though it is a folding stock, the rigidity when extended is just as good as any fixed stock rifles. 

The safety of this rifle can also be switched to the other side. It is also positioned at a spot that is easily accessed and only has a 45-degree throw to minimise movements when switching on and off the safety. This safety selector ensures the safe use of this .338 Lapua Magnum rifle. 

Performance

The Barrett MRAD .338 Lapua has a bolt that functions in an enclosed polymer guide, allowing for smooth operation even under harsh conditions. The bolt is also designed to have a 60-degree throw which gives more space for optics attachment on your gun. Overall, it will give you a smooth experience using this firearm. 

The foldable stock comes with a polymer cheek plate that is adjustable for comb height. This means that you are able to adjust the cheek plate to the height that you feel comfortable resting on, no tools needed for the adjustment either. Besides that, left-handed or right-handed shooters will find that the cheek plate is right where it should be. This gives a comfortable shooting position which results in a more accurate shot. 

In addition to the adjustable polymer cheek plate on the foldable stock, the length of pull is adjustable as well. It can be done easily just by pressing a button. The adjustability feature will provide maximum satisfaction to the shooter. 

Whether you are an experienced shooter or not, you will find that the Barrett MRAD .338 Lapua can accurately hit targets up to 500 yards and with more practice, you will be able to get accurate shots up to 800 yards. 

The trigger that is used by this gun is not anything too fancy but what makes it special is the fact that it can be removed easily without using any tools. This allows you to easily swap out the trigger if the factory triggers have problems or if you want to use a trigger that you prefer. If you prefer to stick with the factory trigger, it is not too bad too. It is light and smooth at a weight of 2 to 2.5 pounds only. 

Pros

  • Can be changed to a variety of barrels for different calibers
  • A foldable stock that reduces overall width for easy transportation
  • The trigger can be changed easily
  • Adjustable polymer cheek plate
  • Long and heavy barrel for good accuracy

Cons

  • Expensive since there are many features that enhance the performance of this rifle
  • A heavy rifle

4. Noreen Firearms Bad News .338 Lapua Magnum Rifle 26″

The Noreen Firearms Bad News .338 Lapua Magnum Rifle 26″ is an AR-style rifle and this upgraded version is a signature firearm of Noreen Firearms. There are significant upgrades made to this rifle to maximize its performance. 

Features

This Bad News Gen II kept the features that shooters love about the first-gen and has taken those features to another level. The Bad News Gen II has upgraded receivers, a new one-piece handguard and a new gas block too.

The Noreen Firearms Bad News .338 Lapua Magnum Rifle is a semi-automatic rifle with a free floating barrel of 26”. This gun is also equipped with a side-charging system and a piston-driven design that is unlike the typical .338 Lapua Magnum rifles. 

The upper and lower receivers of this .338 Lapua Magnum rifle are made from 6061 T6 aluminium, it makes the gun weigh at only 13 pounds. Compared to other guns of similar size, the Bad News Gen II is relatively lightweight. 

An upgraded one-piece Picatinny handguard has allowed this gun to mount accessories easier and also to make the gun more rigid. The Bad News Gen II is also available in two different magazine options, five and ten rounds. This gave shooters a higher capacity choice. The grip that this rifle is using is an A2 pistol grip and the stock is a Magpul PRS stock. 

Performance

The upgraded billet receivers have shown to effectively reduce the recoil of this gun. In addition, the muzzle brake on this gun is a Noreen design that also reduces the recoil. Not only the gun effectively reduces recoil, but it also gives you a smooth shooting experience with the match-grade trigger. 

The exceptional accuracy of this firearm comes from the piston-driven design and the side charging system instead of the typical direct impingement. It also employs a short-stroke gas system that has allowed the firearm to have superb downrange accuracy. Apart from that, the rifling of this rifle uses a 1/10 twist rate that allows the bullet to stay flat and travel for a very long range. 

According to Noreen Firearms, this rifle has a good accuracy of up to 1500 yards. Making this a good firearm for military snipers as well as using it for extremely long range shooting. It is undoubtedly a good rifle to be used for hunting as well. 

Pros

  • A relatively lightweight .338 Lapua Magnum rifle
  • Has a Magpul PRS stock
  • Has a full-length Picatinny rail which is compatible with many accessories
  • Uses a piston-driven design instead of the common direct impingement
  • Superb accuracy
  • Has a higher capacity magazine choice

Cons

  • The A2 pistol grip is not the most comfortable grip

5. Savage Arms 110BA Stealth .338 Lapua Rifle

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A collaboration between the Savage Arms and Drake Associates has developed a line of long range chassis rifles such as the Savage Arms 110BA Stealth .338 Lapua Rifle. This firearm has the essence of both companies that made it whole. 

Features

This rifle uses a Drake Hunter/Stalker chassis that is designed according to Savage Arms’ specifications. This monolithic chassis is also made with a solid billet of aluminium which ensures the durability of this gun. 

Both right-handed and left-handed shooters will find this rifle suitable. While this bolt action rifle is made for right-handed shooters, the rifle’s bolt can also be switched to the left side to accommodate left-handed shooters. However, the bolt may require about a hundred rounds to get it loosened up. 

The fore-end of this gun is M-LOK compatible while it also has a Picatinny rail. With this setup, you will have many options of gears and accessories to be added to the gun. The buttstock of this gun is also adjustable for length and has an adjustable cheek piece as well, it is also designed to be shock-absorbing. 

The barrel is 24” and made of high quality carbon steel and has a nice matte black finish to ensure that this gun has a long service life. The barrel is also free floating with flutes cut into it to help with heat dissipation. This puts the gun at an overall length of 45.4” to 48.5”, the variance in length is according to the adjustable stock. 

Performance

This bolt action rifle is equipped with the adjustable Accu-Trigger. This adjustable trigger can be adjusted between 1.5 to 6 pounds. The wide range of trigger weight accommodates for various occasions and different shooter’s preference. On top of that, the trigger is smooth, does not creep and it breaks nicely. 

The barrel of this rifle has a twist rate of 1 in 9 which allows the bullet to turn quickly and maintain stability while travelling through the air. The more stable the bullet is, the better the accuracy and the 110BA Stealth has shown remarkable accuracy. 

The recoil reduction is also impressive, it has a big muzzle brake that does a phenomenal job at reducing the recoil of this gun. Even though the recoil reduction is great, the buttstock can make you feel very uncomfortable when shooting. It also makes you feel more recoil than the gun actually has. 

Pros

  • Lightweight compared to other .338 Lapua rifles
  • Cheaper than most rifles that have similar features and performance
  • Cleverly designed for good accuracy
  • Good recoil reduction
  • M-LOK fore-end and a Picatinny rail

Cons

  • Uncomfortable buttstock that makes you feel more recoil than it actually has

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Our Final Thoughts – The Best Overall .338 Lapua Rifle

The best .338 Lapua rifle overall would be the Ruger Precision Rifle .338 Lapua 26″ MSR Stock. This firearm has the best accuracy of up to 2500 yards which makes it ideal for any occasions that require you to fire a long range. It has a tunable compensator, adjustable trigger and also a handguard that has M-LOK slots. These additional features enhance the overall performance of this gun. 

The downside of this gun is the size of it only. However, you will not be moving as much when shooting up to a range of 2500 yards so the size may not be as big of an issue. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the effective range of a .338 Lapua?

The .338 Lapua can penetrate above-average body armor at a range of up to 1000 yards and most of the .338 Lapua cartridge has an effective range of about 1900 yards. Some of the exceptional rifles are able to outperform the expectation and can reach a range of up to 2500 yards. 

What does Lapua mean?

Lapua is the name of a town in Finland as well as a manufacturer of ammunition in Finland. Which is why the manufacturer has named the cartridge based on its own name. 

Can you hunt with a .338 Lapua?

Yes. While the .338 Lapua may not be the best cartridge to be used for hunting, it can still do some serious damage to big prey like an elk or moose. For smaller preys, the .338 Lapua will just be overkill. .338 Lapua rifles are often heavy and hard to carry around so it is not the best choice of a firearm to use for hunting purposes.

Which is better? 300 Win Mag or 338 Lapua?

In general, the 338 Lapua shoots larger and heavier bullets compared to the 300 Win Mag, the 338 Lapua is also more aerodynamic. Both cartridges have a similar trajectory but the 338 Lapua has shown to deliver 30 to 40% more muzzle energy. 

Why is .338 Lapua ammunition so expensive?

For comparison purposes, 50 rounds of .308 Win costs about $59.00 and 20 rounds of .338 Lapua costs $82.00. The reason for the huge price difference in ammunition is due to the materials used and also supply and demand. The .338 Lapua performs slightly better than a .308 Win and also produces less. Hence, the drastic price difference. 

Which .338 Lapua rifle suits me best? 

If you are picking up a .338 Lapua rifle for shooting targets at a long range, the Ruger Precision Rifle .338 Lapua and the Noreen Firearms Bad News .338 Lapua Magnum Rifle are great choices. The cons of these two .338 Lapua rifles are also very minor and is a compromise worth having for great performances.

For versatility, the Barrett MRAD .338 Lapua will be ideal since it can fit up to eight different barrels. The choices of barrels allow you to have the ideal setup for a specific occasion. It is also a very all-rounded rifle that has many great features. The price of this rifle is also more expensive so if you don’t mind spending more for better features, this rifle would be great for you. 

If you are looking for something cheaper but still perform decently like the other rifles, the Savage Arms 112 Magnum Target 26″ .338 Lapua and the 110BA Stealth are the ideal .338 Lapua rifles. Both of these rifles are relatively cheap and have the performance that is expected from a .338 Lapua rifle. However, aesthetics and comfort are some of the trade-offs. 

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