What is the best AR-10 rifle…from the factory, off-the-shelf? A somewhat odd question coming from
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
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
Best AR-10 Rifle Disclaimers
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.
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
Best AR-10 Rifle – The List
So, without any more waffling or disclaimers, here’s a list of the rifles
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.
The Barrett REC10 is the
“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
ambisafety!” 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…but they did everything right on that one. It’s going to take the everything by storm.”Ryan Cleckner
“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.
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.
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
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
For more information about this rifle, check out the video below.
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.
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
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.
- LaRue Tactical PredatAR 7.62
- Aero Precision M5E1
- LWRC INTERNATIONAL – IC-REPR
- Wilson Combat Recon Tactical
- GA Precision GAP-10 G2
- LMT LM8 MWS
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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