Today you’re going to find the best all around rifle.
I’ve hand- and torture-tested over 20 rifles alone for this review. Whether you’re on a budget or looking for an all around hunting rifle, you’ll find it here.
Let’s get started.
In a rush? Here are the 3 best all around rifles on the market right now (2020):
- Best All Around Budget Rifle: Century Arms RAS47
- Best All Around Hunting Rifle: Marlin 1895
- Best Overall Rifle Under $2,000: Daniel Defence M4V11
However, I recommend picking a gun based on your need and reading my in-depth review below.
You’ll make a better buying decision as a result.
With that out of the way, let’s get started with the first rifle…
The AK-47 is the most popular rifle in the world.
It’s cheap, reliable, easy to maintain, and reasonably accurate in mid-range combat conditions.
The Century Arms RAS47 offers all that and way more. Like what?
Keep reading to find out…
The AK platform is known to have adequate accuracy for mid-range combat situations. It is not, and was never intended to be, a sniper rifle. But with reasonable accuracy for engaging targets out to 800 meters, it was adequate for your basic infantry company.
The RAS47 is better than that.
The 1:10″ LH four land-and-groove rifling increases the accuracy of the RAS47.
Even with the factory installed iron sights the accuracy for this rifle is impressive, capable of consistently hitting eight inch targets at 300 yards.
When outfitted with proper scopes, the accuracy is even more impressive.
The best part?
The RAS47 does come with a side scope rail, so installing a scope is a breeze.
If you are not hitting what you want to hit within a reasonable distance, it’s your fault. You can’t blame that on this rifle 🙂
It’s an AK 47 platform.
Does anything else need to be said about reliability?
Well, my boss says yes, more does need to be said. So here it goes:
The RAS47 is very reliable.
It can handle pretty much any ammunition fed to it even under dirty and adverse weather conditions.
After hundreds of rounds on an outdoor range, without any cleaning or special care, the AK long stroke piston gas system continues to function as you would want — just like the Hi Point 45 ACP carbine.
Put rounds in the magazine, insert the magazine in the magazine well, pull the trigger, and bullets come out. It does seem to take any AK platform magazine used with it.
However, there have been reported problems with a few stamped, metal magazines. I’ve yet to experience this problem.
The RAS47 is a platform built for mid-range combat, and it acts like it.
This is not a small caliber finesse rifle, but not a 12 gauge shotgun either.
There have been reports that the stock wooden buttstock may be oversized for some shooters, resulting in aggressive blows to the cheek.
The replacement of the stock wooden buttstock and/or sights does seem to help if this becomes an issue for you.
The pistol grip has molded finger grooves, along with aggressive checkering to maintain retention in adverse weather, when wearing gloves, or to help with grip when sweating.
AK47 purists might not like the molded pistol grip, but you’ll find it helpful and comfortable.
Also, unlike most AK 47 variants, the RAS47 does include a square cut out which allows you to lock the bolt to rear, so the chamber can be inspected to ensure it is clear, or for maintenance needs.
The RAS47 magazine release is also larger than on most AK rifles, making for easy magazine change, even when wearing gloves.
The stock trigger mechanism with this rifle is impressively subtle.
Although a single stage trigger, you’ll still feel take up and resistance.
The trigger pull is a modest 4 lb, 14 oz, and when combined with the take up and resistance feeling, the trigger mechanism operates smoothly and consistently.
The Barrel length of the RAS47 is 16.5 inches.
The standard configuration with blond maple wooden furniture has an overall length of 35.5 inches, and weighs 7.6 pounds.
This wooden furniture does give this rifle the traditional AK47 look.
Other configurations with Magpul polymer furniture are available from Century Arms and will change the overall length of the rifle, as well as the weight.
A pistol version of the same platform is available. (Speaking of pistols, check out my Glock 32 .357 review if you’re interested).
The RAS47, with standard bland maple wooden furniture, has a list price of $699.99.
There are variations available from Century Arms with Magpul polymer furniture and folding stock. However, it’s a bit more expensive.
The Century Arms RAS47 is one of the best AK 47 variant rifles on the market.
Although it doesn’t have a bayonet lug on the barrel, or the mil-spec storage compartment in the stock, it’s:
- Easy to shoot
So, go ahead, and feel good about buying your American made RAS47.
Take it out, shoot it, clean it (or not — it’s an AK47, after all), put it away and then enjoy your cold, domestic canned American beer. Or something else, if you prefer.
This is America. Do what you want.
The coiner of the phrase “loaded for bear” probably had the Marlin 1895 rifle in mind, or at least something similar.
This lever-action guide gun takes powerful .45-70 Government Bigbore rounds to pack a punch at close range.
Marlin lever-actions have long been used by trail-blazers (think Annie Oakley and Billy the Kid) to make the shot in dangerous situations.
But the newer model 1895 comes with some serious upgrades when compared to our Wild West friends.
Let’s check it out…
Because this gun is designed for close range defense, the 1895 shoots best under 150 yards.
When tested at 50 yards, this rifle easily managed groupings less than an inch. You can still get reasonable groupings around 1.5 inches up to 200 yards, but the pattern starts to degrade after that.
With its adjustable semi-buckhorn rear sight and ramp brass bead hooded front sight, this gun doesn’t need any add-ons for its sighting system.
I’ve found that using a rifle scope looked awkward and silly. However, that’s my opinion.
The stainless-steel barrel has 1.20” twist rifling that helps stabilize the large cartridges while keeping most of the shot’s power.
One downside to this powerhouse rifle is that the large caliber shots generate a ton of heat, which really hurts the gun’s accuracy if you are making many shots at a time.
The solution? Take breaks when shooting. It’ll help cool off the gun.
When trekking through the wilderness full of dangerous game, you need a gun that’s going to stand the test of time.
The Marlin 1895 is that gun.
It has stainless steel components where it counts as well as a Mar-shield finish that helps prevent weathering.
The stock is made from a polymer laminate that holds up better than the traditional wooden stock.
However, the loading gate is a bit weak. After heavy use, the gate showed significant wear and tear.
As mentioned above, this rifle can get hot.
Luckily, most of the heat stays near the action and the handguard was relatively cool still after significant use.
The forward weight from the barrel makes for a comfortable shot, especially with lighter rounds. This isn’t a gun you’d want to spend all day shooting, however, because it does have quite a bit of kick.
It has a well-designed pistol grip and larger loop on the lever that makes for easy shooting even while wearing heavy gloves.
One interesting feature of the 1895 is that it has a cross-bolt style hammer block safety that some marksmen don’t mind and others hate. The main complaint for this safety is that it isn’t necessary since the gun is safe when half-cocked.
It can even cause major problems by sliding into place after firing so that you get a nice little surprise when you can’t make the next shot.
The stock is sleeker and more streamlined in the Marlin than in its Winchester 94 competitor.
The trigger of this model Marlin comes out of the box with somewhere between 4 and 6 pounds of pull weight.
It is a smoothly rounded design that breaks cleanly, but has a somewhat floppy shoe that causes creep.
The 1895, 1895G, and 1895GS all come with a four-shot tubular magazine while the GBL and SBL models come with a six-shot magazine.
The red-colored follower makes it easy to see if a round is still chambered.
Its right-hand side-loading gate and ejection port make for quicker reload times, but can be annoying for lefty shooters like myself.
One universally agreed upon point among the Marlin 1895 users is that you can’t be gentle when reloading this gun.
If you don’t get the rounds completely seated, they won’t feed correctly and will lock up the action.
Most 1895 models come with a shorter 18.5-inch barrel, but you can get a 22 or 26-inch barrel on the higher end guns.
With an 18.5-inch barrel, you’re looking at an overall length of 37 inches.
This guide gun is short and stocky, weighing around 7 pounds. It does come with built-in sling mounts to help manage the weight when carried for longer distances.
With higher calibers like this one, there’s not a whole lot you can do about the kick.
If you shoot the 1895 for any decent amount of time, your shoulder is going to feel like it got kicked by a mule.
The buttstock comes with a rubber pad, which does help minimize recoil.
Depending on your choice of model, you can expect to pay anywhere between $649 and $700 for the Marlin 1895.
If you are going to be in an area with dangerous game and need a reliable rifle, then this gun is for you.
(I’d also recommend tagging a SIG pistol if entering the wilderness).
Its smaller size and powerful punch make it ideal for trail guides, large game hunters, and bushmen.
The Marlin 1895 is the kind of gun you’d want to bring along if there’s any chance you’re going to be charged by an angry bear and need quick defense that will take down big animals.
By far, one of Daniel Defence’s more popular models is the DDM4V11 rifle.
At first glance, this rifle has a slick look that certainly catches the eye.
But if there’s anything we know, its that looks only count for so much when it comes to a quality firearm.
So what’s beneath the surface? Does it really live up to the hype?
Let’s take a look…
Although there are many factors to consider, the reality is, accuracy is easily at the top of that list.
Weighing in at only 6.28 pounds, it’s easy to assume that the accuracy may not be up to par, in comparison to some heavier models. Seems there’s a common misconception that lightweight rifles are less accurate.
That may not be completely inaccurate in some cases, but that is not the case with the DDM4V11.
All my shot groupings were under 1 inch. If I attached a scope or red dot, I’m sure my groupings would be even tighter 😉
With that said, there were a few issues that may affect accuracy.
First, the Mil-Spec trigger feels a little gritty out of the box. Although it did loosen up after some use, I definitely recommend swapping it out for an aftermarket trigger.
Second, since the lightweight barrel is a bit thin, it heats up quite quickly. Which means, you’ll want to take breaks.
Despite that, the Daniel Defence M4V11 remains highly accurate.
By far, reliability is easily the biggest praise I can give the DDM4V11.
I was able to shoot off several hundred rounds without a single jam. Not only that but it seems to be able to handle nearly every brand of ammo fed through it, which is great when you don’t want to dump a small fortune on ammo for an afternoon of shooting.
Obviously the quality of your ammo (and shooting stance) is always going to have an impact on your accuracy, but you won’t need to worry about it jamming up every few shots.
At the end of the day, what good is a gun that you can’t rely on to perform when you need it most?
That doesn’t appear to be a concern you’ll have with the M4V11.
Due to its light-weight build, the M4V11 is incredibly portable and easy to handle.
The ergonomics is even better.
I love the shape of the grip, the long rail system, and the overall design. It feels like it was made for me 🙂
The DDM4V11 features a standard Mil-Spec, single stage trigger.
Out of the box, the trigger had a heavy pull and was a little stiff to begin with. But with usage, it loosed up.
As I’ve mentioned, this is one of the components I actually recommend changing out for a smoother experience.
The pro version does sport an upgraded Giessele Automatics Super Dynamic 3 Gun Trigger which has some added benefits such as a lighter pull and quicker reset.
But as you’ll find with any upgrade, better features means higher price.
One of the more popular features on this rifle, especially for those interested in competitive shooting, is the flared magazine which allows for smoother and faster reload capabilities than your standard GI rifle.
It comes standard with a 32 round magazine that both reloads and ejects smoothly without issue.
The barrel length measures in at 16”, and the overall length can be anywhere from 32 ¼” to 35 ⅞” depending on how far out its extended (the buttstock is collapsible).
The light-weight frame weighs only 6.28 pounds, making it very portable and easy-to-carry.
The DDM54V11 sports several features that help manage the recoil impact.
Most notably is the midlength gas system.
With a gas tube about 2” longer than a standard AR Carbine-Length system, it reduces the bolt carrier velocity and therefore minimizing the overall recoil.
This minimal recoil helps multiple shots continue to stay accurate.
Additionally, it also features a thick rubber buttpad with a threaded design that not only helps absorb recoil, but also aides in keeping the stock in place on the shoulder.
Between these features, the recoil on the DDM4V11 is very minimal.
As usual, the price is going to vary based on the chosen model.
The stock standard model from Daniel Defense’ website is $1729.00.
The pro model, which sports several enhanced features will run you $1999.00 MSRP.
If you’re looking for a reliable rifle that could be used for anything, the DDM4V11 is for you.
Here’s why. It’s:
- Low recoil
- Ergonomic design
- Lightweight (and portable)
- Accurate (groupings under an inch)
- Reliable (Hundreds of rounds without a single jam)
You’re backed by Daniel Defence’s 100% Satisfaction Guarantee warranty. If the gun is faulty, defective, or broken in any way, they’ll fix it for free.
At such a good price point for what you’re getting, there really isn’t any reason not to give the DDM4V11 a shot. You’ll be happy you did.
The Century Arms RAS47 is hands down the best — especially if you love the AK platform. It’s affordable, accurate and reliable.
The Marlin 1895 is what you’re looking for. This lever action rifle is bullseye accurate under 150 yards. It’s also well-built and reliable.
Giving it to the M4 carbine — the Daniel Defence M4V11. The recoil is zero-to-none. The flared magazine allows faster reloading capabilities. And the accuracy (and reliability) is spot on.
I’ve fired hundreds of shots through these guns with no failures. So whatever gun you pick, it’ll be reliable, accurate and sturdy — everything you need for an all around rifle.