For several years, modern sporting rifles (MSRs) got a really bad rap. They were seen as weapons of violence rather than the sporting rifles they are perceived to be today. In fact, many hunters are turning to the AR and tactical rifles, especially for predator hunting when you may need to shoot quickly and repeatedly. Here are three affordable MSRs we’d recommend for anyone in the market for one.
Bushmaster XM-15 Standard
For 38 years, Bushmaster has been producing affordable MSRs. The XM-15 Standard in particular is a solid utility rifle built for durability and accuracy. While the Bushmaster has been known to have trigger problems, its lightweight frame was designed for accessories and features, including:
- 16-inch Chrome-lined barrel (HBAR profile)
- Includes A2 flash hider
- Six-position stock
- Includes 30-round Magpul PMag
- Chambered in 5.56
- Staked castle nut
- M16 bolt carrier
- M4 feedramps
MSRP is $895.
Smith & Wesson M&P15 Series
M&P15 (M&P is an abbreviation for Military and Police) MSRs are built to perform multiple uses under various conditions. As such, they are as versatile as they are reliable. Made for sport shooting, hunting and military and law enforcement use, the M&P15 series rifles are easy to accessorize. They are lightweight and rugged, meaning they can hold up in pretty much any conditions. Features include:
- Fixed Stock
- Forged, Integral Trigger Guard
- Armornite® Finish on Barrel (Interior & Exterior)
- Chromed Firing Pin
- Forward Assist
- Dust Cover
- Muzzle-Target Crown Non-Threaded
- Ambidextrous Safety Selector
All rifles are backed with the S&W Lifetime Service Policy.
The AR-556 has a cold-hammer-forged 4140 chrome-moly steel barrel with ultra-precise rifling for exceptional accuracy, longevity and easy cleaning. The 1:8 inch twist rate stabilizes bullets from 35 to 77 grains, and the 5.56 NATO chamber allows the use of both 5.56 NATO and .223 Rem. Ammunition. M4 feed ramps provide improved operational reliability, and the matte black oxide finish reduces glare and provides corrosion resistance. A Ruger flash suppressor is provided, and the 1/2"-28 threaded barrel allows for standard muzzle accessories to be installed.
Rugers are known to have heavy yet crisp triggers. The AR-556 triggers have been enlarged in case you decide to shoot with a gloved hand. Of course, the trigger can always be replaced if it doesn’t meet personal preference. Though they’re not cheap, Timney is about the best out there. Features include:
- Folding rear sight
- Front sight is elevation adjustable
- Six position telescoping M-4 style buttstock and Mil-Spec buffer tube
- Made from aerospace-grade 7075-T6 aluminum forging
- Bolt is machined from 9310 alloy steel
- Cold-hammer forged 4140 chrome-moly steel barrel
- Ergonomic pistol grip for precise trigger control
- Includes one 30-round Magpul PMAG
MSRP is $799.