Red Dead Redemption 2: Best Rifles Ranked (Story Mode)

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Red Dead Redemption 2: Best Rifles Ranked (Story Mode)

Red Dead Redemption 2 is one of Rockstar’s best open-world games. Not only does it feature an excellent story and a large open world to explore, but it’s got some of the most satisfying gunplay in any shooter to date. Since it’s set in the Wild West, the game is faced with several limitations for what it can and can’t do with its weapons. Luckily, each rifle feels unique and enjoyable to use in its own way.

In this article, we’ll be going over the best rifles in RDR2’s Story Mode to help you decide which option is the best for you. Let’s get started!

Best Rifles in RDR2, Ranked from Good to Best

What’s the best rifle in Red Dead Redemption 2? Read on to find our #1 pick!


Varmint Rifle

Screenshot of the Varmint Rifle in RDR2
Image: Rockstar Games via HGG / Koby Gibson Ross

Starting out our list for the best rifles in RDR2 (Story Mode) is the Varmint Rifle. If you own the Ultimate or Special edition of RDR2, you’ll get this gun for free in-game. It’s a pretty interesting weapon that I personally have a love-hate relationship with.

Why is it one of the best? It’s got the fastest fire rate of any rifle in the game, plus very good accuracy and okay-ish range. It can shoot fourteen rounds before it needs to be reloaded, and sports a decent reload speed. It’s great for hunting small game like rabbits and birds.

What are the drawbacks? It’s got very low damage compared to other available weapons, and requires multiple shots to the chest to take down most targets. It can be very good when using Dead Eye (since you can more easily aim for the head), but this strategy requires you to use lots of tonics and other consumables to keep your Dead Eye core high.


Springfield Rifle

Screenshot of the Springfield Rifle in RDR2
Image: Rockstar Games via HGG / Koby Gibson Ross

The Springfield Rifle was one of my favorite weapons early on in Red Dead Redemption 2. It’s a quality rifle that’s (usually) reliable in most encounters and will serve you well until you can access better weapons later in the game.

Why is it one of the best? It boasts very high damage, and is often able to kill a target in only one hit. The range and accuracy are good as well, and this gun tends to work best in medium-range encounters. This rifle can be obtained for free after finishing the story mission, “Sodom? Back to Gomorrah.” making it a good early-game rifle.

What are the drawbacks? Despite its good damage, it can drop off noticeably at longer ranges, often requiring two shots to finish a target instead of just one. The rate of fire is not that great, as this gun only holds one round at a time and needs to be reloaded after every shot. Not recommended for close ranges.


Rare Rolling Block Rifle

Screenshot of the Rare Rolling Block Rifle in RDR2
Image: Rockstar Games via HGG / Koby Gibson Ross

For third place, let’s take a look at the Rare Rolling Block Rifle. This is a special variant of the Rolling Block Rifle that can only be found during the story mission “Magicians for Sport.” To obtain this unique long gun, you must loot it from the corpse of a sniper found inside of a barn during the mission.

Why is it one of the best? This gun has the highest damage out of any sniper rifle in the game. It’s also got very good range and accuracy, allowing you to hit targets from nearly any distance. This particular rifle comes with a beautiful wood carving and blackened steel, making it one of the most unique-looking guns in the game.

What are the drawbacks? The fire rate and reload speed on this gun are very poor. It can only hold one bullet at a time, meaning you’ll need to manually reload every single shot. This is one of the most punishing guns to use in the game if you miss it. If you’re not the best at aiming, I’d only recommend using it with Dead Eye activated.


Bolt-Action Rifle

Screenshot of the Bolt-Action Rifle in RDR2
Image: Rockstar Games via HGG / Koby Gibson Ross

Taking home the silver medal on our ranking is the Bolt-Action Rifle. This is by far one of the most satisfying guns to use in the game, and it’s incredibly popular among the RDR2 community. If equipped with a scope, it makes a great alternative to sniper rifles if you don’t happen to have one.

Why is it one of the best? It boasts very high damage, allowing you to immobilize most enemies in one shot to certain parts of the chest. It also has good accuracy and range, making it viable for medium and long distances.

What are the drawbacks? It can only hold five bullets before needing to be reloaded. The fire rate isn’t bad, but it’s not great either — each bullet needs to be rechambered before it can be fired again.


Carcano Rifle

Screenshot of the Carcano Rifle in RDR2
Image: Rockstar Games via HGG / Koby Gibson Ross

Taking home the gold medal for the best rifle in RDR2 (Story Mode), we have the Carcano Rifle! This is a sniper rifle that can be equipped with a long scope at any gun store. It’s my absolute favorite weapon in the game, and I use it often in both single-player and online mode for all types of activities.

Why is it one of the best? It deals good damage for each shot. Decent rate of fire (for a sniper rifle), making it much less punishing if you miss your shots. It can be used to consistently score a perfect pelt on most animals. It has near-perfect accuracy and range for hitting targets at longer distances, especially with a long scope.

What are the drawbacks? Despite its good damage, it does not deal as much compared to the Rare Rolling Block Rifle. In my testing, when shooting American Bison, I wouldn’t always get a one-shot kill despite aiming for the heart and/or head.

Join the High Ground

What do you think of our ranking for the best rifles in RDR2 (Story Mode)? Do you agree with our list? Tell us in the comments!

Screenshot of the sunset in Red Dead Redemption 2
Image: Rockstar Games via HGG / Koby Gibson Ross

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Happy gaming!


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