The 3 Best .338 Lapua Rifles On The Market [2020]

Today I’m going to show you the best .338 Lapua Rifle on the market today.

In fact:

I’ve hand-tested over 10 .338 Lapua rifles alone for this review.

The best part?

I’ve sorted them by use. So whether you’re on a budget or looking for the most premium rifle, you’ll find it here.

Let’s get started!

Table of Contents

    Best .338 Lapua Rifles on the Market

    If you’re short on time, here’s a quick list of the best .338 Lapua Rifles:

    1. Ruger Precision Rifle .338
    2. Barrett MRAD Rifle .338
    3. AR-30A1 .338 Lapua

    That said, I HIGHLY recommend you to read my review down below. Why? So you can know all the pros and cons I’ve experienced with the rifle.

    Best .338 Lapua Rifles

    You’ll make a better buying decision as a result.

    Without further ado, let’s get started with my first product recommendation…


    1. Ruger Precision Rifle .338

    In the precision rifle market, accuracy, reliability, and customization are the name of the game.

    With the introduction of the Ruger Precision Rifle (RPR), Ruger put its name on the board for long-range precision shooting.

    The .338 Lapua model with a 26-inch barrel can be almost totally customized with any AR-15 or AR-10 component.

    That, along with its notable accuracy and reliability, makes it a force to be reckoned with in any competitive shooting arena.

    Let’s take a closer look…

    Accuracy

    Accuracy is crucial in a precision rifle, and the overall consensus on this RPR is that it hits the mark.

    Averaging around .8-inch groupings at 100 yards, the .338 Lapua features four ports in the muzzle brake that allow the user to fine tune their weapon for the least amount of muzzle jump.

    Most marksmen can achieve fairly consistent accuracy with this rifle up to 1,800 yards, though Ruger suggests it can do the job at distances up to 2,500 yards.

    One flaw in the design is that the handguard generally comes off-center, which does impact accuracy the further out you go.

    Perfect for long-range targets, this gun packs a whopping 4,700-foot pounds of muzzle energy and has just a small amount of droppage at the 500-yard mark.

    Overall, the average precision shooter can expect high accuracy from this rifle at 300 yards right out of the box.


    Reliability

    The chassis-style stock for this weapon has long been known for its excellent build and sturdiness, and its design allows for the unimpeded free-floating motion of the barrel.

    Speaking of the barrel, it has been constructed from cold-forged chrome-moly steel and threaded specifically for each model.

    With the addition of the M-Lok handguard, the Gen III is relatively stronger than the older models. Most Ruger consumers equate Ruger to reliability, and, for the most part, this rifle certainly seems to strengthen that opinion.

    The only notable complaint in the reliability category seems to be that the finish wears off easily.


    Handling

    While the factory standard RPR .338 Lapua has smooth action and well-placed components, the real advantage in the handling of this gun comes from its ability to be customized.

    The left-folding stock can be adjusted with up to 3-inch length of pull and 1-inch comb height.

    Be careful when making adjustments to the stock, however, as some users found that rough machining caused the stock to freeze when they tried to change things around.

    Nearly every component of this gun can be upgraded, and it is recommended that one of the first changes to make is upgrading the less-than-spectacular pistol grip. The 45-degree safety does the job but has been noted to be stiff and rattles when firing.


    Trigger

    Like basically every other component of this rifle, the Ruger Marksman trigger system can be adjusted or replaced.

    This trigger has a safety blade that feels more like a dual trigger system with a range of 2 to 5 pounds. It comes out of the box at around 3 and a half pounds, which most marksmen find comfortable.

    One cool design feature is that the Allen wrench used to adjust the trigger is stored in the extended bolt shroud. Props to the efficient designer who came up with the idea to use that normally wasted space!


    Magazine & Reloading

    Like most models in the RPR line, the .338 Lapua comes with two Magpul box magazines that hold 10 rounds.

    The paten-pending design of the magazine chamber allows for any AICS pattern boxes to be used as long as they are rear-latching and single stack.

    When empty, the magazine is dropped and the bolt is locked back, which can be annoying if you wanted to single load.

    To release a non-empty mag, you can use the pivoting release lever in front of the trigger guard.


    Length & Weight

    Since we are talking about the 26-inch barrel model, the overall length of the firearm comes out to be somewhere between 49 and 53 inches, depending on how the length of pull is adjusted.

    Length of pull ranges from 12.7 to 16.2 inches and the rifle, if the stock is folded, ends up at 40.35 inches.

    If we look at the weight of this gun compared to other shorter RPRs, this thing is heavy. Right out of the box, it clocks in around 15.2 pounds. And that’s without any accessories.

    With a sighting system and other add-ons, you can expect a 20 plus pound gun. That being said, this rifle comes with QD sling attachment points. Use them!


    Recoil Management

    The streamlined chassis makes it so that most of the firing energy is streamlined directly back and out through the butt, so the recoil of the .338 Lapua is minimal.

    As mentioned above, the muzzle brake of this model makes for easy tuning and absorbs a ton of shock, but the oversized monster is not pretty to look at.

    Hey, if it saves your shoulder, it’s well worth it, right?


    Price

    Because of the larger cartridges, the RPR .338 Lapua model is slightly more expensive than the Creedmoor models.

    It’s still very reasonably priced, though, retailing at $2,099.


    Ruger Precision .338 Lapua Review: Is It Worth It?

    The RPR .338 Lapua would make a great choice for a beginning competitive precision marksman who is just starting in long-range shooting.

    It’s affordable and can be easily customized to fit the shooter’s preferences as they develop their unique shooting style.

    This weapon would also make an inexpensive and dependable rifle for military snipers.


    2. Barrett MRAD Rifle .338

    Since the request from the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) in 2009, Barrett built a precision rifle called the MRAD (multi-role adaptive design).

    This rifle has more portability than its previous models, has better accuracy than its predecessor, and instead of only shooting big targets, the MRAD now allows for shooting smaller targets.

    What makes it so versatile?

    Let’s find out…

    Accuracy

    The MRAD has been determined to shoot quite accurate, and accurate and far — which is a plus for a sniper position.

    Snipers have said that prior to using the MRAD, their previous rifles were just out of reach, resulting in other tactics used to take out the enemy.

    With the MRAD, head shots and chest shots were being hit easily at 800 yards, and even non-shooters are able to comfortably and accurately hit a target 500 yards out after some time and practice with the rifle.

    Another great upgrade for the long-range shooter is the 60 degree throw of the bolt.

    All this means is the bolt rotates 60 degrees to unlock.

    For those who like to attach optics on their rifle, this will allow even more room for optics. And if you’re a fan of no scope interference, a 60 degree bolt throw is a better suit than the 90 degree bolt throw.

    Speaking of room for optics, the MRAD has a top rail that is about 22 inches long, which is a plenty of room for accessories.


    Reliability

    The MRAD has easily accessible nooks and cranny’s — perfect for those who like to maintain their rifle’s cleanliness and performance in the field.

    Because of this, you can take it anywhere:

    Rain, snow, sleet, sand or any other climate region you can think of.

    Even the trigger takes less than 30 seconds to remove, clean or adjust if needed, and put back on. Easily accessible cleaning means better weapon function and performance — a must in those dire and quick thinking situations (like home defense).

    Speaking of which, if you’re looking for a home defense rifle, check out my best .45 ACP Carbine rifle.

    With operations in the Middle East, we all know that sand can get everywhere.

    I mean everywhere.

    The MRAD has a polymer bolt guide that acts as a dust cover, therefore reducing debris (or sand in this matter) going into the action, and creating a smooth action.


    Handling

    Along with easy access of the rifle, the MRAD lives up to its ability to handle well with experienced shooters and non-experienced shooters.

    It provides comfort in that the stock is adjustable, a nice little feature for different arm-size shooters, and has a polymer cheek plate.

    The cheek plate can be flipped 180 degrees to go on either side of the stock, providing a nice cheek cushion for left and right handed shooters.

    The safety can also be switched from side to side, making sure than you’re not fumbling or turning the rifle on its side to make sure the safety is switched on.


    Trigger

    The MRAD’s trigger is a cassette type trigger that is located in the lower receiver of the rifle.

    As mentioned above, the trigger can easily be taken apart easily and requires minimal, if any tools used at all for adjusting. The only tool that has been mentioned is a 1/16 Allen wrench to make a small adjustment.

    This is especially useful in case a quick change of a trigger is needed during the middle of operations.

    Luckily, triggers are reliable enough to sustain themselves during abuse. But over time, wear and tear will make a trigger fail, and the MRAD has this unique feature to make this swap fast and easy.

    An uneasy, difficult trigger pull can affect every aspect of your perfect shot. Fortunately, the MRAD has a smooth, crisp and light trigger with factory settings of 2-2.5 lbs, although some have claimed it feels like 1 lb.


    Magazine and Reloading

    The MRAD has both a magazine feature and bolt action.

    It is multi-caliber convertible and easy enough to change out in the field.

    All you do is loosen two screws in the receiver, change the bolt face, and you have a new caliber. The switch takes less than five minutes. The shooter can fire a .308 Winchester, .300 Winchester Magnum, and a .338 Lapua Magnum out of this rifle.

    The MRAD also uses a double stacked detachable magazine. Magazine changes are easy since there is an ambidextrous paddle release, and the mag-well is partially cut away.

    This is great since you don’t have to turn the rifle to its side or come out of position to change the magazine. But be careful:

    Since the magazine release is a bit small, make sure you know where to position your finger to push.


    Length and Weight

    The barrel length can range from 24 inches to 26 inches.

    The stock is adjustable, giving the overall length of the MRAD anywhere from 30.9 inches to 40.9 inches.

    The weight is considerable at 14.8 pounds. Make sure to do some arm strength training if you’re not used to hauling this much weight around.


    Recoil Management

    The MRAD does kick.

    So make sure to shoulder well.


    Price

    The MRAD costs around $6,000.

    Yep, that’s a hefty amount.

    So it’s not for everyone. But if you’re looking for a solid long range rifle, then the Barrett is the way to go…if you have the dollars.


    Barrett MRAD Review: Is It Worth It?

    The .338 Lapua Magnum MRAD is for anyone who wants a comfortable, accurate, and smooth long range shooting experience.

    The MRAD is a wonderful rifle for snipers and military who are constantly looking to hit long range targets.

    In short:

    If you’re looking an effective and reliable long-range sniper, the Barrett MRAD is for you.


    3. AR-30A1 .338 Lapua

    Is the Armalite AR-30A1 .338 Lapua Rifle an improvement on the previous Armalite AR-30?

    With enough updates that could be argued state-of-the-art, and with plenty of the features you loved about the previous model, it’s up to you to make the decision.

    Without further ado, let’s dig right in…


    Accuracy

    If you’re willing to put aesthetics aside, the AR-30A1 has the accuracy you’ve been waiting for in a sniper rifle.

    With a solid, yet lightweight stock, this is the perfect rifle for prone-position shooting.


    Reliability

    If you’ve handled the AR-30 before, this is where you’re going to see some design updates.

    Where similar rifles might feature a magazine made of aluminum or polymer, you’re going to get a single-stacked steel magazine with the AR-30A1.

    If you’re looking for a heavy-duty firearm to last you for years, this is what you’re looking for.


    Trigger

    The AR-30A1 features a smooth single-stage trigger pull, with a break at 4.5 – 5 lbs.


    Magazine and Reloading

    The magazine and reloading capacity of the AR-30A1 is where this firearm really shines.

    The AR-30A1 comes with a five-round detachable magazine. With this rifle, you have a deep well under the receiver. This is going to make feeding simple and speedy.

    Even better?

    The magazine catch is ambidextrous. You can release and catch it with one hand.


    Length and Weight

    The AR-30A1 measures anywhere from 48.1 – 50.1 inches and weighs 15.3 pounds.


    Recoil Management

    If you’re familiar with the previous model, you might not notice much difference in recoil.

    If you’re new to the AR-30A1, you’re likely to appreciate the manageable recoil. This is thanks to the muzzle break and the free-floating barrel.


    Price

    The Armalite AR-30A1 comes in at around $3,600.


    Armalite AR-30A1 .338 Lapua Rifle Review: Is It Worth It?

    If you’re an experienced marksman looking to get a lot of bang for the buck, the AR-30A1 is definitely worth the purchase.

    The AR-30A1 would also be a great option for anyone who owned its predecessor — the AR-30 — but is looking for an upgrade.

    You’d be familiar with how the rifle handles, and also appreciate the updates and changes in the new design.


    Now I’d Like To Hear From You

    I hope you enjoyed my .338 Lapua Rifle guide.

    Now I’d like to turn it over to you:

    Which .338 rifle are planning to buy? Or perhaps you already own one and would like to share your thoughts.

    Either way, let me know by leaving a comment down below.

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