1. SEEKINS PRECISION HAVAK PRO HUNTER $2,200 • seekinsprecision.com
This new rifle from gunmaker Glen Seekins makes a bold visual impression. The deep spirals machined into the barrel and bolt body give the Havak Pro Hunter a hotrod flair. Combine this with the racy lines of the stock, and you have a rifle that talks a big game.
Turns out, it performs as well as it looks. The Havak comes with a threaded muzzle for attaching a muzzle brake or suppressor, but even without either, the rifle is easy to control and accurate. Chambered in Hornady’s new 6.5 PRC (see next page), my test gun averaged .75inch 5-shot groups and delivered some .5-inchers with current
6.5 PRC factory offerings.
Seekins is a proven competitive shooter as well as a serious Western big-game hunter, and the Havak is a smart blend of both those passions. The stock geometry—with its nearly vertical pistol grip, substantial palm swells on both sides of the grip, beefy fore-end, raised comb, and flush-mounted QD sling attachments—takes its cues from the world of tactical field matches. But unlike competition rifles, which can weigh up to 20 pounds, the Havak tips the scales at a very portable 7 pounds 3 ounces, thanks to those spiral cuts in the barrel and bolt and the carbon fiber used in the stock and for the detachable box magazine. For the price, you won’t find a better-performing rifle out there. —J.B.S.
2. SIG SAUER SIERRA3 BDX 4.5-14X50MM $840 • sigsauer.com
I’ve been told that the key to a successful marriage is communication. Never having had one of those, I can’t say for sure—but I do know that communication is the key to this intriguing new system from Sig Sauer.
With Bluetooth technology, the Sierra3 BDX scope works with Sig’s BDX-enabled Kilo rangefinders to give the shooter an aiming point by illuminating small OLED dots along the vertical stadia of the duplex reticle. The system also gives wind-hold indications along both sides of the horizontal crosshair—the shooter just needs to use the one for holding into the wind.
This alone makes the BDX
(for ballistic data exchange) an interesting system, but Sig has augmented it with a couple of other slick features. The scope is a second-focal-plane optic, which typically means that the holdover reticle needs to be used at a specific magnification level, usually max power. This is a significant drawback—but one that the BDX system eliminates. Because its aiming points move as the scope’s power is changed, you can use whichever magnification level the situation calls for. The entire system is predicated on inputting data about the rifle and ammunition being used, including bullet weight and velocity. So, along with all the other features, it can calculate the kinetic energy of the projectile at the target distance. If that number drops below a threshold chosen by the shooter, the aiming point will blink, providing a good check on taking a potentially unethical shot.
Our test model, a 4.5–14x50, goes for $1,080 with the Kilo rangefinder. But the system can be had for $840 if you get the base-model scope—a very reasonable cost for this degree of innovation and utility. —J.B.S.
3. HORNADY 6.5 PRC $49 and up for 20 • hornady.com
The newest 6.5 offering is a short-mag based on the 300 Ruger Compact Magnum.
Using ballistically efficient 6.5 bullets of 140 grains or more, it is a flat-shooting and hard-hitting cartridge that is suitable for everything short of thick-skinned dangerous game. Hornady is currently offering it with two factory loads: the 147-grain ELD Match and the 143-grain ELD-X hunting bullet. Muzzle velocities from a 24-inch barrel are at 2,910 fps and 2,960 fps, respectively. Those sub-3,000 fps speeds will help prolong barrel life.
I’ve shot several animals with the 6.5 PRC over the last year. For hunting the West, it is difficult to imagine a more wellrounded cartridge. The bullets performed perfectly, with good penetration and expansion at 400 yards and beyond.