Top AR-10 Rifles Review, Price List, and Buyer’s Guide
Whether you are looking to buy an AR-10 for your security operations or for hunting expeditions, the AR-10 is surely a precision rifle worth investing in. However, since there are many arms manufacturers that produce the rifle model, it can be quite hard to decide which makes the most reliable AR-10 that fits your needs.
This review aims to discuss what makes a good AR-10 rifle and the features that some of the top manufacturers produce their AR-10 models with.
What is an AR-10 Rifle?
The AR-10 is a rifle platform developed in the late 1950s for ArmaLite by Eugene Stoner. It was used as a battle rifle in the service, but only a few were produced at the time it was developed. Today, the AR-10 is a choice rifle for long-range shooting and sniper support in law enforcement service, security service operations and hunting sports.
What are the key features of the AR-10?
The key features of the AR-10 rifle are bulleted below:
- Lightweight construction
- Magazine-fed ammo
- Gas piston operated
- Air-cooled hardware
- Chambered in .308 and 7.62×51 NATO
- Spring-loaded firing pin
As indicated above, the AR-10 is gas-operated, which means that it is cycled by a gas piston system that uses pressure from expanding gas to fire each shot. It is semi-automatic because it lacks components like the auto sear, which are found in fully-automatic rifles. And because it is chambered to accommodate the .308 Winchester cartridges, it uses a longer magazine well, longer upper receiver, and longer magazines.
Many of its small parts like the buffer, action spring and receiver extension are also interchangeable with the AR-15’s similar parts. The AR-10 is actually customizable and can be built using parts from different manufacturers.
What are the top brands or manufacturers of AR-10 Rifles?
Because the AR-10 has different variants and different manufacturers, determining which and where to buy the right AR-10 for your professional or personal needs can be quite challenging. The AR-10 review below lists 5 of the most noted models and manufacturers of different sorts of AR-10 rifle configuration:
Daniel Defense DD5 V1 and V2 Review
The DD5 series is produced by Daniel Defense, a top-quality manufacturer of modern rifles. The DD5 series consists of professional-grade rifles that feature the following:
- Cold hammer-forged free-floating barrels in 16 inches (DD5 V1) and 18 inches (DD5 V2)
- KeyMod Handguard
- Geissele two-stage trigger
- PMAG accommodation
- Adjustable stock
- Ambidextrous controls
- Extensive top rail (runs from charging handle to the flash suppressor)
The DD5 series models are considered by most to be the best AR-10 rifles based on their feature specs and shooting capabilities.
Also see: The 10 Best Gun Safe Reviews of the year
ArmaLite AR-10 Tactical Review
ArmaLite is the original manufacturer and developer of the AR-10, so we can expect their modern AR-10 rifles to have top of the line quality. ArmaLite usually produces their rifles using exclusive proprietary parts, so most of their rifles’ parts and accessories may not be interchangeable with parts from other manufacturers.
Their AR-10 (T) features the following specs:
- Stainless steel, match-grade, free-floating barrel in 20 inches
- Flat-top upper receiver
- ArmaLite handguard
- Precision two-stage trigger
- Comes in two configurations—A (can use third party magazines) and B (only uses proprietary ArmaLite metal mags)
ArmaLite’s latest Tactical series comes with new features like:
- MAGPUL flip up sights
- Chrome-lined barrels in 16, 18 and 20 inches
- Pistol grips
Windham Weaponry SRC-308
Windham Weaponry is known to produce affordable but high-quality rifles. It was founded by former Bushmaster firearms owner, Richard Dyke. He works with some of his former Bushmaster employees in developing modern weaponry innovations. One of their best rifles is the SRC-308, which is an AR-10 variant that features the following specs:
- Chrome-lined barrel in 16 ½ inches
- AR handguards
- Standard AR trigger
- Optics-ready upper receiver and gas block
- Stock and grips
The SRC-308 is also the favorite among AR-10’s as a base AR-10 for piece by piece upgrades and customization.
Ruger SR-762 Review
The SR-762 is a piston-driven AR-10 variant with the following features:
- Fluted chrome-lined barrel
- Two-stage Ruger Elite 452 AR trigger
- Chrome-plated bolt and bolt carrier
- PMAG accommodation
- Adjustable stock
- Extensive top rail (runs from the upper receiver to the handguard)
DPMS Oracle 308 Review
DPMS produces high-quality parts and highly-capable entry-level rifles. Their Oracle 308 is a simple AR-10 base with the following basic specs:
- Chrome Moly barrel in 16 inches
- Optics-ready upper receiver and gas block
- Standard stock
- Standard trigger
- Standard handguard
- Basic grip
The Oracle 308 is the most preferred base AR-10 rifle platform for customization and upgrades because it’s more affordable than other AR-10’s but has great quality.
Which AR-10 would suit my needs the best?
Your choice of AR-10 will depend greatly on how you intend to use the rifle. If you are a professional who needs a highly reliable rifle for security and defense service operations, the Daniel Defense DD5 is your best choice. If you are an experienced hunter who prefers a heavier rifle that will withstand pressure, the Ruger SR-762 is what you might need. If you are a newcomer to shooting or if you like customizing base rifles, the DPMS Oracle 308 would be the rifle for the job.
Careful assessment before buying must be practiced to ensure that you don’t end up using the wrong rifle for your shooting venture. Also, rifles are big guns that are dangerous around civilians; choosing the wrong sort of AR-10 might lead to untoward and unpleasant accidents that can cost your life or others’ lives. The AR-10 rifle is a well-performing hunting and defense service companion, but you should always take extreme precautions in buying, storing, and handling the rifles.
How is the AR-10 operated?
The AR-10 is a .308 Winchester or 7.62×51 NATO caliber rifle that feeds from box magazines with a 20-round capacity. Its variants are operated similarly but may have different calibers.
The magazines are securely inserted each into the magazine well by pushing them up until it clicks. Each cartridge is chambered when the bolt lock is closed and the charging handle is pulled back so it can slingshot forward.
The AR-10 has a bolt catch mechanism that keeps the bolt open after firing the last round from the magazine. It should close when a new magazine is inserted, but if it remains open, you just press the bolt catch’s paddle in with your thumb to close it and chamber the cartridge.
To fire or shoot, just switch the selector to FIRE. And when the magazine is emptied, the bolt lock will open again to accommodate the next magazine.
What are the AR-10 variants?
The AR-10 rifle has several variants that mainly include the following:
- AR-10A – this is the modified model that accommodates the 7.62×51 NATO PMAGS.
- AR-10B – almost identical copy of the original AR-10, including the use of brown plastic furniture.
- AR-10A2 – looks similar to the M16A2 and features a similar furniture style. Its charging handle is subtly up-sized so the bolt carrier can accommodate a larger gas key.
- AR-10A4 – features the flat-top A4 receiver instead of carrying handle and mounting rails instead of mounting handguards for the optics and sights accessories.
- AR-10(T) – the match-grade rifle that features match-grade barrel, 2-stage trigger, and flat-top receiver.
The original AR-10 and the variants share the same base design, so they all work within Stoner’s design trademark, the principle of direct impingement. This principle is affirmed in gas rifles; when a round is fired from them, hot gas emits from the cartridge. Some of the gas is emitted through the rifle barrel and some through the rifle tube, which helps with the quick recoil of the caliber compartment into position to accommodate the next round.
Unlike piston-powered rifles that use the mechanical piston for recoil, gas piston reacts quicker, so gas rifles can readily shoot the next round in less time. This means that gas rifles can shoot more rounds within a certain period of time compared to piston-powered rifles. It also makes the AR’s shots more accurate.
These characteristics make the AR-10 a preferable choice in sniper operations and complex long-range shooting exercises.
What makes a good AR-10?
It is important to note that professional shooters and hunters root for AR-10 over AR-15 because it can be customized with parts from the AR-15 so the AR-10 will have the combined power of the AR-15 and AR-10. Some shooters who are capable of building their own guns prefer to build their AR-10’s, but there are plenty of manufacturers that build high-quality, customizable AR-10’s.
Whether you choose to buy a well-manufactured AR-10 from a dealer or order a custom-built AR-10 from capable shooters, it is important to always check the quality of your purchased item. The following are the primary things to consider in buying a good AR-10:
Quality of Parts
- Trigger – long-range rifles require high-quality triggers that will not fail under the firing pressure. Triggers can be single-stage or two-stage. Though two-stage triggers are what most professionals prefer, a single stage trigger is adequate enough for entry-level models.
The difference of the two-stage trigger from the single stage is that it has the slack phase and the break phase. The slack is the start of the trigger pull and the break is the firing of the shot, where the trigger spring of the rifle breaks.
- Barrel – Long-range accuracy can be affected by the quality of the rifle barrel. Both the material and barrel length play important roles in ensuring shot accuracy. Chrome-lined barrels are more long-lasting than stainless steel, but they are not match-grade or optimally accurate. Stainless steel barrels, on the other hand, are match-grade but last shorter and the accuracy fades when the stainless steel starts to rust. Nitrided steel is the combo of the features of chrome-lined and stainless steel barrels. Nitrided steel barrels are match-grade and last long.
When it comes to barrel length, longer barrels ensure better accuracy than shorter barrels for long-range shooting. A barrel length of 20 to 24 inches is recommended for long-range shooting, 16 inches for close-range shooting, 18 to 20 inches for middle-range multi-purpose shooting.
- Scope – Optics are essential for long-distance shooting accuracy. There is a wide variety of scopes available for equipping the AR-10, but only a few works best for shooting the .308 rounds. A high-quality rifle requires a high-quality scope to maximize its long-range performance.
- Accessories – Most parts of the AR-10 are replaceable and customizable. Though you can obtain parts from different manufacturers, it’s important to note that there are models or variants that may require proprietary parts for them to actually work. These parts may be more expensive than others, so you must always check for the availability of small replaceable parts or their alternatives on the market.
- Weight – the rifle’s weight affects the shooter’s level of comfort throughout the shooting course. Usually, lighter rifles are more preferable than heavier rifles to avoid or delay muscle strain. Gas rifles are generally lighter than piston rifles, but the weight is predominantly determined by the material quality of the rifle’s parts.
- Range – the marketed shooting range of rifles may vary from the actual achievable range. This is because the shooting range achievable by rifle also depends on how well the parts work together. For example, as mentioned above, a shorter barrel has a shorter range accuracy compared to longer barrels. Also, the quality of ammunition used for your AR-10 can also affect its actual performance. There are powder ammunitions that may leave hard-to-clean residues that can make the rifle perform sluggishly and inaccurately.
- Accuracy – the rifle’s accuracy actually depends on the rifle’s achievable range. If a target is over 500 yards away, you may not hit it if your rifle doesn’t achieve an effective 500-yard or more range. Also, the optics used with the AR-10 can also directly influence the shooting accuracy. Some scopes work better with some models or variants, while some can only provide mediocre aim no matter what model or variant you use it with.
Our Top 10 Reviews Of The Best Hunting Rifles
The Savage B-17 Review
- Very affordable
- Fran without any issues
- Comfortable and natural fit
- It isn’t the best looking rifle on the market
This is one of the most affordable rifles on the market and is close to winning the Best Buy award. The rifle is a small little thing, firing .17 HMR and only weighing a light 6 pounds. The ergonomics of the weapon are also great and it is very easy to hold and wield. The rifle fits comfortably and has a natural hold, thanks to its raised comb and pistol grip. The manipulation of the top tang safety is simple and the trigger broke at around 2 pounds. All this is perfect for a rifle of this size and price.
During the shooting tests, we found this gun to be satisfying, especially for the price. This little rifle has so much value and is great for individuals who are on a budget with their rifle choices. The team was able to cycle quickly with each shot taken and we managed to get through the 10-round magazine incredibly quickly. No issue was found with the feeding, extracting and ejecting of the rifle – it was essentially flawless, even with different types of ammunition.
The rifle has a good accuracy and at 50 yards, a 5-shot measured at .668 inches. This in combination with the quick cycle times means that small game has something to worry about. The rifle is also built to last but doesn’t have the best looking exterior. A few scratches shouldn’t bother most people and the stock can also take a beating!
Montana Rifle Company MSR Review
- Reasonable price
- Very stylish weapon
- Excellent accuracy
- Strong Build
- Issues with feeding and cycling
The company that builds this weapon are always pumping out very stylish weapons and this one is no exception. The rifle is promising and accepts 6mm Creedmoor rounds. The rifle was very accurate when we were testing it on the bench and we could tell that the design and construction were excellent.
The only issue we had with the weapon is related to feeding and cycling. The weapon was requiring a lot of effort during the chambering of the round from the box magazines we were using and it was quite frustrating. This put a bit a dampener on the whole experience with this seemly great rifle.
Colt Competition CRP-18N Review
- Uses the new 22 Nosler cartridges
- Impressive performance
- Decent accuracy
- Good design
This rifle is very exciting and is a new addition to the hunting rifle range. This is because the rifle takes the 22 Nosler cartridges – one the newest and sort after rounds this year. What is even cooler is this rifle is the first to use it and it really boosts the performance of this rifle. It essentially boosts the performance of Ar-15 receivers with necked down 6.8 Rem. SPC. The rifle is also very accurate with 77-gr rounds and the 5-shot test got a measurement of about .837 inches. As for the design of the weapon, it is built with a decent muzzle break and sits comfortably in the hands. As for the trigger, it broke on 3 pounds.
This is a rifle that would be best suited for deer hunting and competitions.
Browning X-Bolt Target McMillian Review
- Fun to shoot
- Very steady crosshairs
- Excellent stock and great for long-range targets
- Not as accurate as expected
This is a great rifle if you are looking for long-distance targets. The rifle was great when we testing it on the bench and with its heavier weight of 9 and a half pounds and muzzle flash, the crosshairs hardly moved before and during the shot. The weapon is also using McMillan’s A3-5 stock and is fitted with a 28-inch bull barrel. The rifle uses 6.5 Creed rounds and hits a .944-inch group average, which is not too bad. However, we expected better from this rifle – about 3 inches tighter.
However, although this is a great long-range rifle, the weapon is too heavy for hunting and because of its poor magazine size, it is probably not suitable for competitions. This in combination with its high price tag really hit it hard in our reviews, especially when you compare it some of the competition on this list.
Anschtuz 1781 Review
- Excellent German engineering
- Accurate and easy to cycle rounds
- Adjustable trigger and perfect for hunting
- Handles recoil innovatively
- The upgraded stock makes the gun worse so stick to the standard
Anschtuz always makes very good weapons and the 1781 is no exception. This is a great piece of German engineering and is even more fantastic when you take off the scope and shoot short-range targets like cans and coyote targets. The rifle has a rapid cycle and uses a detachable box magazine that holds 4+1 rounds.
Even when we put the scope on, this gun was excellent and had a very tight spread in our 5-shot group tests. It chambers .30/06 and was delayed in production until the company had the rifle perfect. They are a gold medal company and it really shines with this rifle.
This rifle is very innovative and has an advanced recoil lug that has a floating tab. This tab is in the middle of the front action screw threads and when you tighten the guard screw the force is pushed back into the stock. This means that the rifle is very accurate and is truly a piece of excellent design.
This rifle is a great hunting tool because of the way it can be raised, pointed and fired consistently and easily. The scope is mounted using QD rings and this lets you hunt just about anything in all sorts of environments. The rifle also has an adjustable trigger and excellent metal work that makes the rifle durable and long lasting.
The only issue we had with this rifle and is the reason it didn’t get full marks is the stock. More specially, the thumbhole stock. This is an optional extra you get with the gun and makes the gun right handed (more so than it already is) and is incredibly expensive. We recommend that you stick with the normal stock because the thumbhole stock actually makes the gun worse.
Mossberg Patriot Revere Review
- A very handsome rifle
- Smooth when operating
- Not very accurate
This gun is one of the better-looking hunting rifles on this list and is made by a company that prides itself in performance over looks. This gun is different to the normal weapons they make, made mainly from wood. The trigger was nice to pull and broke at 2 and three-quarter pounds consistently. We also had no issue with the feeding, cycling and ejecting or the rounds and the rifle ran very smoothly. All of the controls are large and not too fiddly, which is always a bonus when you are cycling quickly and reloading even quicker.
The only issue we had with this hunting rifle is that it did not perform as well as we had hoped. Normally, you get some good accuracy from Mossberg weapons but this one was disappointing. The rifle only managed a 1.5-inch measurement in our 5-shot tests and this is what really knocked the rifle down. If you are looking for an accurate rifle then you may need to choose another rifle on this list. This one may look good but it doesn’t shoot as good as previous Mossberg rifles.
Rise Armament 303H S Series Review
- Great looking rifle
- Steady crosshairs and easy control
This is another great looking rifle and although it has a long and awful name, it actually is a very good rifle for hunting. The rifle looks like it should be out of a movie. It is cut very pleasingly and looks great. This rifle uses .223 rounds and gives the user a lot of control over the weapon during tests because of the Picatinny rail and the narrow handguard. This all makes the rifle easy to raise and shoot with fantastic accuracy. The rifle’s crosshairs were constantly steady and didn’t sway from the target, even during fast cycles.
Bergara B-14 HMR Review
- Very accurate
- Decent price for what you get
- Very comfortable and easy to use
- A little heavy
- Need some tweaking to make the stock more flexibility and utility friendly
This is a fantastic rifle and is a hybrid hunter rifle and chambers 6.5 Creedmoor. This hunting rifle is excellently priced and has a ton of extra and useful features that many of you will enjoy. One of these is the fact that the rifle is very accurate and was one of the more accurate rifles in our tests. During the 5-shot group test, the weapon achieved a .831 inch measurement, which is very good. This rifle is very accurate and perfect for hunting in many different environments.
The bolt and features are generously sized making the rifle very easy to use and cycle through. We were able to cycle the rounds very quickly and because of the rifle’s weight, we could maintain the recoil of the weapon and keep control, which leads to more accurate shots even during fast firing. On a note about the weight, the heavy structure means that this may be a heavy rifle to carry during hunting, but this may only be an issue for some. If you don’t plan on using it for hunting, it is excellent for competitions, especially when you have the extended magazine. If you master this weapon you can use it in any situation.
The stock is comfortable and highly adjustable. It has a little knob where you can make adjustments on the move and can be used with spaces to alter the pull. The fact that the stock also has cups to enable an additional sling is fantastic and means that you can make this weapon easier to carry if you’re out hunting. However, a third cup should be in place for added flexibility.
In terms of the magazine and mechanics, the gun ran very smoothly with no issue in feeding, cycling, and ejection. The rifle holds a 5-round detachable magazine and this can be extended to 10 with an upgrade.