Buying A Rifle: Bolt-Action vs. Semi-Automatic

There are two basic types of rifles currently for sale:  the bolt action rifle that is used for precision shooting (as the bolt action offers the best platform for reliable accuracy) and the semi-automatic rifles (which are extremely popular with competitive shooters). Both types may serve as hunting rifles, but the bolt action is more commonly seen in hunting applications. While there are many semi-auto rifles that are used for hunting, the majority are used for target shooting, self-defense, or military & law enforcement.

Below is a list of the most popular center-fire rifles for sale today, broken down between the two major styles of action.

Bolt-Action Rifles

Winchester Model 70

The Winchester Model 70 is one of the most copied bolt-action rifles (pre 1964 style) on the market today. The pre 1964 model is revered for it’s out-of-the-box accuracy. Winchester has even gone back to the pre-1964 style and it is called the Classic model.

Remington 700

Remington has come under some fire recently over the quality of the firearms it is producing. The Remington 700 became the rifle to own after the switch in 1964 by Winchester. The Remington 700 is a quality rifle, but note the 710 model that is sold at Wal-Mart are generally considered to be not a good choice.

Savage Model 110

The Savage Model 110 has become the rifle of choice when a shooter is looking for the best bang for the buck available. Savage rifles are not the best looking rifles available, but they are rugged, accurate and come with an adjustable trigger. Many Savage rifles can be purchased with a scope for less than the competitors rifles alone.

Semi-Auto Rifles


The AR-15 is the most popular center-fire semi-automatic rifle available today. It is available in almost every modern caliber. The standard offerings are 5.56/.223 and .308. Accuracy of 1” at 100 yards is easily attained. For more information see our AR-15 Review


The AK-47 is available in many configurations and with many different countries of origin. The Romanian AK47 is the most popular due to price, but the AK47 is a used rifle. Factory new AK’s are available from Saiga, but modifications will need to be made to convert the rifle into the military configuration. If you choose this route ensure that you use US made products to keep your rifle legal.For more information see our AK-47 Review


The SKS is a fixed-magazine semi-auto and one of the cheapest military surplus semi-auto rifles available. Modifications can be made to the rifle to make it accept detachable AK style magazines. The most common variation will be the Chinese. For more information see our SKS Review


The FN FAL is one of the most widely used battle rifles in the world. There are two major differences to look for when purchasing a FAL. The first thing you want to check is if the FAL is either an mm or inch version. The metric version offers a wider array of parts availability and cheaper magazines. DSA makes some of the best FAL’s that can be purchased.