A man on a rifle range target shooting

How Much Does It Cost to Begin Rifle Shooting

There are plenty of great reasons someone might want to take up rifle shooting as a hobby. There are also many different uses for a rifle, whether hunting or target shooting.

So, how much does it cost to begin rifle shooting? In short, an average beginner might spend $600 for a rifle and $300 for a scope. The accessories might add up to another $500, and the background checks and licenses around $100. Ammunition for the year might be around $1000 if you take the sport seriously. It’s always a good idea to spend a few hundred dollars on a good course for those who have never handled a weapon before. This gives a total of around $2500 to start rifle shooting.

Being able to shoot a rifle effectively is far more effective at stopping an attacker from a distance than a pistol would. You have power, range, and accuracy on your side. Furthermore, being able to use a rifle well allows you to hunt game for yourself. 

Whether you are doing this for sport, or in a life and death situation where you need food, being well versed in the art of shooting is infinitely helpful. Getting into a new hobby can be a little daunting.

What do you need? How much will it cost? These questions can feel impossible to answer on your own. Luckily, this article is here to help. You’ll find everything you need to know to accurately estimate how much all of this will cost you.

How Much Will You Spend On Your Rifle?

In the below table you will find a breakdown of some of the best rifles for beginners. 

CZ 557 Varmint820
Remington 700 Long Range800
Savage 10 BA Stealth1050
Bergara B-14 HMR1200
Tikka T3 CTR900
Tikka T3X Lite680
Savage AXIS350
Browning X-Bolt800

This list was created based on a mixture of price, ease of use, reliability, and quality. Any of these rifles will serve you faithfully for many years to come. Their prices range from $350 to about $1200. 

Though, if you choose to get some extra bits and pieces like an aftermarket stock then the price will go up slightly. The difference in value between the lower and higher-priced models is not so profound that you will feel handicapped using the cheaper weapon. 

A Browning X bolt rifle on the grass

All of these rifles are great, they just vary in certain areas. Finding the right one for you can take a little research, but it is certainly worth the work.

A good average range appears to be $600 to $900 for a quality rifle.

How Much Will You Spend On A Scope?

Rifle shooting with an iron sight is not easy. You are going to lose a heck of a lot of accuracy over even small distances. So, yes, you will need a scope. Some rifles come with a scope but many aren’t that great, and you are better of purchasing a quality scope.

A rifle scope close up

Finding the right scope can be a little tricky. They vary in specific uses, zoom, and functionality, so there is a huge amount of choices in front of you. Estimating the cost can be a little tricky because of this. 

Normally, you should try to follow the 2:1 rule. you should be spending twice as much on your gun as you do your scope. So, if you buy a $500 gun you should be looking to spend around $250 on a scope. This isn’t a firm rule, more like a guideline.

How Much Will You Spend On Accessories?

There are a couple of must-have accessories that you will want to purchase to make using your gun safe, easy, and fun. For example, purchasing a cleaning kit or some high-quality gun oil to ensure you keep firing smoothly (and safely) is a good idea. 

rifle range accesoroes

You will also want to consider buying a gun safe. Unfortunately, for a rifle, you are going to need a big safe. It isn’t as easy to store a rifle as it is to store a pistol. If you are going to be using your gun inside, or outside for that matter, some ear protection might be worth your while. 

You can pick up some ear defenders for about $50 from any gun store, while you are there pick up some shooting targets for a couple of bucks a pop. The biggest cost here is the gun safe. 

You may need to spend about the price of the gun again on the safe. Anywhere from $300-$600 would be considered normal depending on size and quality.

Here’s also little bits like a range bag, supports, and a quality tool kit.

Perhaps budget around $500 for all the extra little bits you might want.

How Much Will You Spend On Ammunition?

Rifle ammo is not cheap. Especially if you are trying to get your hand on some full metal jacket rounds for a cleaner kill. $25 for 40 rounds is probably a reasonable price to expect to pay. 

a selection of rifle ammunition

The price will go up or down depending on where you are and the quantity you are buying. As with anything, more tends to mean a discounted per unit cost. 

Down the firing range, you will probably want to fire about 10-20 rounds on a short visit. If you are looking to get some serious practice in it will be twice that. So, anywhere between $10-$20 per trip to the range can be expected.

Expect 500 rounds to be around $300. Thus if you put 50 rounds down the range, and visit it 30 times a year, you would spend $900 on ammunition per annum.

How Much Will You Spend On A License?

Licenses are one hundred percent needed if you plan on owning and using a rifle. You will need both a gun license and a hunting license unless of course you never plan on doing any hunting. 

a rifle on a rifle bag

The state ownership license is normally twenty dollars, it is mostly just a formality so that they have a record of who owns what guns in case they are ever used in a crime. A hunting license would cost about $50-$75 depending on the state and the season. Your license fees go towards maintaining the hunting grounds.

How Much Will You Spend On Range Fees?

The cost of visiting a shooting range is normally between $7-$15 per hour. This covers the cost of targets but you are expecting to bring or purchase your own ammo. 

You may also end up paying some fees if you do any damage to the range. Normal wear and tear are expected, it is a shooting range after all. 

But if you do any damage from negligence or just by being an unbelievably crappy shooter. If you shoot out the light bulbs or shoot the target mechanisms etc, you will be expected to pay for repairs.

Annually you might spend $500 on range fees.

How Much Will You Spend On Training Lessons?

Hiring a good instructor is so important. They will teach you everything from gun safety to gun care, and of course how to shoot. You can have lessons on your own, which will cost a hundred bucks an hour at least. 

Or, you could get group lessons. 

a guy shooting a rifle

You get less one on one attention but still have the basics covered. Some states require you to take lessons for certain licenses, but not all. If you get caught doing something dangerous with your gun you may be fined and forced to pay for lessons. Always follow proper gun safety.

Private lessons will be around $90 per hour but a day course on proper rifle technique might only be around $200 or so.


Hopefully, this article has answered any questions you may have had about getting into rifle shooting and how much that might cost. Overall, you might need to spend between $1500-$2500 on a decent gun and all the bells and whistles.

Many people fall into the trap of overbuying accessories at the very start. This isn’t necessary. A gun, a safe, some ammo, and a simple cleaning kit is all you need at first. 

Other bits and bobs can be picked up along the way. Ammo can be expensive when bought in small quantities. You might look at a huge box and think its too much to stomach, but it is going to be far cheaper than buying lots of smaller boxes. Ammo doesn’t go off if you store it properly, so you have a lifetime to make your way through it. 

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