Best AR-10 Rifle – A Buyers Guide

POF Revolution…it’s on the list.

What is the best AR-10 rifle…from the factory, off-the-shelf? A somewhat odd question coming from website with “AR” and“build” in its name, but it’s a question that we get asked multiple times a week…mostly from folks who are not ready to commit to an AR-10 build.


Build vs. Buy

Building the best AR-10 rifle possible can be a daunting challenge…as Ryan Cleckner, former Army Ranger Sniper team leader author of the #1 best selling book, the Long Range Shooting Handbook explains:

“AR-10s are very tough to build. The problem is there is no standard to the AR-10 like there is for the AR-15.  There is no accepted agreement on what an AR-10 is…so very quickly you can run into gas issues, fit issues.  I’ve known guys who go crazy about their build lists and research it to no end, and then they get all the parts and realize they don’t even fit together.”

Ryan Cleckner
best ar-10 build
Ryan Cleckner – former Army Ranger and bestselling author of the “Long Range Shooting Handbook” prone with an AR-10.

So, for the cost of headaches and return labels, what about just going for it, and buying an off-the-shelf, factory AR-10?

Depending on what your time is worth and your experience level…it’s something worth considering.

Off-the-Shelf, Best AR-10 Rifle Picks

As fans of large platform ARs,  My brothers and I have collected several of the best AR-10 rifles listed below.  The remainder (one not widely yet released) are on my personal to-buy list. Putting our thoughts and experiences together, along with speaking to experts, the list we’ve complied is a fairly decent starting point.   

That said, this is not an exhaustive list. I’m also not going to rank these. The below are all “good”, but I am not able to give you a researched white paper on which is #1 vs. #2 vs #3. I don’t know the order they’d fall into…and this isn’t the sort of website that is ever going to pretend to know something it does not.

So, what I will say is this: while I have a personal favorite, I strongly believe If you purchased any of the below, you would have a rifle you’d probably be happy with and could reasonably trust to function like you’d expect.  This means acceptable accuracy and parts that are not prone to mysteriously breaking.

best ar-10 build
Author’s MR762 and SR-25 leaned on a large rock. Spoiler: Both of these are worthy of consideration, should you find it necessary to own an AR in 7.62.

Best AR-10 Rifle Disclaimers

Cost

Many in our list of “best AR-10 rifle” are alarmingly expensive, and I know they’re not for everyone.  Most of my most expensive firearms are AR-10s. To be very honest, most of my biggest buying regrets are also AR-10s.


Reliability

You can buy one of these “best” rifles and still have issues.  I’ve had my share of frustration with “premium” AR-10s over the years. Yes, they are on the “Best AR-10 Rifle” list…but that does not mean issues can’t arise.

Do Your Own Deep Research on the Best AR-10 Rifle

You’d be wise to use this list as a starting point. We’ve based this on in-depth conversations and first-hand experiences…However, if you have different experiences with these, pro or con, please let us know in the comments.

Is any of this REALLY necessary?

This is a larger point to consider. If you want one for hunting, longer range shooting, competition, or just because you find them fascinating like I do…that’s cool. Go for it.

But if you’re in “I NEED a battle rifle” mode…I’d approach with a bit more caution.

I’ve spoken with many guys who you’d consider “in-the-know” on these types of firearms from a self-defense perspective. Many of them have mixed to negative feelings on them in that “battle rifle” role. Try humping one (and its ammo) up and down a mountain and you might not be all-in either, especially when you look at the realities of 5.56 vs. .308 ballistic performance.

I’ll leave that debate for another time, but just know that the .308 “battle rifle” isn’t magic…and if you are in a situation where only hits on flesh count, there’s an argument to be made that 5.56 is a better option. Look for an article on that very soon.

Bottom line…if you and I were talking over a few beers and you told me you wanted an AR-10…I’d possibly tell you to save your money and just build a MK12 clone in 5.56 and put the extra money you saved on a quality optic.

Before dropping big bucks on an AR-10…this is gun I’d tell you to build instead. Inside of 600 yards, I’d put it up against any rifle listed below. (Video of author’s recent Mk12 build)

Best AR-10 Rifle – The List

So, without any more waffling or disclaimers, here’s a list of the rifles we, or guys we trust, believe to be the ones to look at.

Barrett REC10


EDIT: 1/25/19

Editor’s Note: I was able to interview Barrett about the REC10 at 2019 SHOT. That video is below.  After this video, the rest of what follows was written in late 2018.

Barrett REC10 Overview at SHOT Show 2019

The Barrett REC10 is the rifle I most want to see at SHOT Show 2019…If I can get video, I will post it here…Why? Because the REC10 is the rifle that also has our expert shooter, Ryan Cleckner, not prone to hyperbole or hype, very excited.


“You have got to check out when Barrett’s REC10 comes out…it’s amazing.  I think Barrett is going to kill it with that thing.  It’s the best AR-10 I’ve shot hands down.  It is night and day over everything else in my opinion.

I am very critical of firearms, I couldn’t believe I was just so in love with it when I was shooting it.  You know, I was laughing while laying in prone with it, saying “hey guys, watch this…I can lock the bolt back to the rear, easy like it should be.

The gun just cycles.  It doesn’t have ejection problems like so many AR-10s have.  I said, “Look how accurate it is.  They actually put a decent trigger in it.  Look, its reliable!  Look! an ambi safety!” All the little things they did right on it.”

“In my video on canting a rifle, that video is the REC10.  Nobody knows it’s a REC10…”

“In my video on canting a rifle, that video is the REC10.  Nobody knows it’s a REC10…but they did everything right on that one. It’s going to take the everything by storm.”

Ryan Cleckner

Daniel Defense DD5V2

best ar-10 rifle

“I think Daniel Defense is second. In my experience, with it, I definitely think it belongs on the short list.” 

Ryan Cleckner

Fair enough…we’ve added the Daniel Defense to the short list of best AR-10 rifles.


Now, I agree with Ryan that the Daniel Defense DD5 is nice, but that said, for the price, I might consider saving for one of the rifles below.  Also, if you are going to run a dedicated suppressor, I’d do some DEEP research first, and if you don’t like what you find, do not be afraid to look elsewhere.  I had issues with my DD5V1 when suppressed, and my strong hunch is that if you do search online, it might perhaps reveal similar experiences.

H&K MR762

best ar-10 rifle
H&K MR762 – My stealth #1 pick in this non-rated list.

I’ve gone back and forth on this, and my opinions could change again after I pick up a REC10, but my personal “best ar-10 rifle” in 7.62 today is the H&K MR762

In the video below, Colion Noir really captures my feelings on my piston-driven MR762 when he says there is a “premium for an elevated experience.” 

For my money, this is the smoothest, highest quality 7.62 rifle I own.  It feels luxurious, even when compared to the next rifle on this list.

“premium for an elevated experience.”  

Knight’s Armament SR-25 E2 Advanced Combat Carbine

best ar-10 rifle
KAC SR-25

I was on permanent Cloud Nine for months after I picked up my Knight’s Armament SR-25 E2 AAC.  I admit freely I have an irrational love and obsession with Knight’s Armament, and if I were going to grab ONE rifle, it would be an SR-15 Mod 2.  To have its Mod 2 bigger brother in my safe was just an incredible thrill. Yes, my H&K MR762 is just a touch “smoother.”   But, as it stands today, this KAC SR-25 is my one of my absolute favorite firearms.

To date, I have had flawless functioning suppressed and unsuppressed with my SR-25 E2 AAC, and the fit and finish is beyond reproach.  Also, the 2-stage trigger is my personal favorite, and the overall balance of this gun is also quite amazing. 

An older KAC SR-25 (not an m110) from author’s brother’s collection. He much prefers the gun below…the Noveske N6 Switchblock to this, or any of the newer SR-25s…

Noveske N6 Switchblock

best ar-10 rifle
Noveske N6 SWITCHBLOCK

Full disclosure: I do not own this rifle, nor have I ever even touched one.

That said, my brother has almost every rifle on this list (other than the REC10), and prior to writing this, I touched base with him about what rifles to include.  He was adamant we include the Noveske N6 Switchblock.

This is, far and away, his personal favorite from an accuracy and a fit & finish perspective.  Furthermore, he believes the Switchblock makes it the smoothest shooting of the bunch.  If I were running full-time suppressed, this one would definitely be on my short list along with the KAC. 

For more information about this rifle, check out the video below.



JP Enterprises JP-LPR-07, JP-PSC-12, JP-LTC-19

As you’re researching the best AR-10 rifle and which one is right for you, I’d remind you that rifles from JP Enterprises certainly belong on your list. I’ve done enough interviews with John Paul and with people that mention his name with reverence to know he is making something very special…and they most certainly belong on the short list of top-tier rifles.

In the video below, you’ll see the brand new LTC-19, which will make its debut at SHOT 2019.

The LTC-19 is new for 2019…looking forward to giving you a more detailed report from SHOT…that said, this video does a pretty good job by itself.

POF Revolution

best ar-10 rifle
POF Revolution and some trophies
Frank DeSomma gives an overview of the new Revolution DI at SHOT Show 2019…

Finally, Ryan Cleckner also mentioned the POF as one of the best AR-10 rifles, so we’re making it a point to include it here.  The POF Revolution is a lightweight, piston-driven rifle that is the same size of an AR-15.  It has an ambi safety, a forward assist and a decent trigger.  In doing your research, I’d definitely add this one to the short list of best AR-10 rifles to read up on further.

Nutnfancy is not known for pulling punches in his reviews.  His impression here is favorable…should you appreciate his feedback take a look.  If not, feel free to disregard.

Others to Consider – Best AR-10 Rifle

There’s a few more rifles that I’ll include here that have decent reputations and seem to run well. That said, I don’t own these, nor have I had enough personal contact with them to recommend.

Special thanks to former Army Ranger and best-selling author, Ryan Cleckner for taking the time to speak with me, and thank you for taking the time to wade through this list of what is the best AR-10 rifle.

Also, If there is an off-the-shelf AR-10 rifle you feel we neglected to add, please let us know in the comments below.

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You did not mention the original/Real AR-10 from Armalite. While they don’t seem to produce them in quantity, are they not as good in all areas as any of the others you mentioned.

I own the AR-10T, and have never had a malfunction related to the firearm itself. A poorly sized reloaded case was the only FTF or FTE

Aaron Pudlicki

Ruger sr 762!

What about the Armalite AR-10, esp. the 10-T and the SASS?

Rob

Just picked up a Barrett Rec10 based in no small part on the commentary and recommendation of Ryan Cleckner who said (see above): “You have got to check out when Barrett’s REC10 comes out…it’s amazing. I think Barrett is going to kill it with that thing. It’s the best AR-10 I’ve shot hands down. It is night and day over everything else in my opinion.I am very critical of firearms, I couldn’t believe I was just so in love with it when I was shooting it. You know, I was laughing while laying in prone with it, saying “hey guys,… Read more »

Rob

Got this Rec10 zeroed in last night and have put 200 rounds of generic Lake City surplus military ammo through it … ate it all with no problems whatsoever. And recoil is very forgiving for this AR10. The one thing you will *absolutely* want to do is upgrade the trigger to either a Geissele SSA-E or Geissele Hi-Speed National Match trigger set. Yes, you are going to pay somewhere around $240 for the former and $270 or so for the latter — but squeezing off rounds using the ($50 retail) ALG Defense QMS trigger (standard to the Rec10) is like… Read more »

John

Any update on the REC 10? Would really like to know your feedback.

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