NEW HUNT­ING RI­FLES 2018

HERE’S A LOOK AT THE BEST BOLT GUNS, SEMIAUTOS, SINGLESHOTS, LEVER-AC­TIONS AND HIGH-POW­ERED PELLET RI­FLES FOR THE NEW YEAR.

Gun World - - Contents - By Brad Fitz­patrick

If you’re look­ing to up­grade your hunt­ing bat­tery this year, you’re in luck. There are mod­els to suit ev­ery taste, bud­get and hunt­ing sce­nario. Here are some of our fa­vorites.

If this is the year you’ve de­cided to up­grade your hunt­ing bat­tery to in­clude a brand-new hunt­ing ri­fle, you’re in luck.

There’s a laun­dry list of new guns for the up­com­ing year, with new mod­els to suit ev­ery taste, bud­get and hunt­ing sce­nario—from lon­grange varmint and preda­tor shoots to danger­ous game in the thick bush.

Here’s a run­down of some of the most-ex­cit­ing new guns for 2018. GW

Franchi Mo­men­tum

The Franchi name is syn­ony­mous with “shot­guns,” but this year, the Ital­ian brand is launch­ing its first bolt-ac­tion hunt­ing ri­fle. Named the Mo­men­tum, this gun in­cludes a fluted bolt with three lock­ing lugs, a free-floated, cold ham­mer-forged threaded bar­rel, TSA re­coil pad and ad­justable (2- to 4-pound) trig­ger.

The black syn­thetic stock comes with styl­ized cutouts and tex­tured pan­els.

But these avant-garde ad­di­tions are for more than just es­thet­ics. Franchi took the stan­dard syn­thetic ri­fle stock and made it as user friendly as pos­si­ble: There is a re­cessed area near the rear sling stud to ac­com­mo­date your hand when shoot­ing off bags, and the grip pan­els pro­vide a firm and sta­ble plat­form for hold­ing the ri­fle when shoot­ing in a num­ber of dif­fer­ent po­si­tions. The sling studs are re­cessed and sit flush with the con­tour of the stock so they won’t hang up. Yet, they are large enough to eas­ily ac­com­mo­date most swivels. There are six cal­iber op­tions: .243 Win, 6.5 Creed­moor, .270 Win, .308 Win, .30-06 Spring­field and .300 Win Mag; and there’s also a combo ver­sion that comes equipped with a Bur­ris Full­field II 3-9x40 ri­fle scope al­ready mounted. The Mo­men­tum weighs 6.6 to 6.7 pounds un­scoped, so it’s easy to carry in the field.

MSRP: $609 (ri­fle); $729 (scope combo)

URL: FranchiUSA.com

Sav­age 110 Hunter With Ac­cuFit

The 110 Hunter is an ex­cel­lent pro­duc­tion ri­fle—made bet­ter by the ad­di­tion of Sav­age’s new Ac­cuFit sys­tem. It comes with five sep­a­rate comb ris­ers and four length-of-pull spac­ers, all of which al­low the shooter to cus­tom­ize the gun for a per­fect fit. Com­bine this with the 110’s Ac­cu­s­tock (fea­tur­ing a rail sys­tem that en­gages the en­tire length of the ac­tion), ad­justable AccuTrigger and a 110-bar­reled ac­tion with bar­rel nut for pre­cise headspac­ing, and you’ve got a ver­sa­tile, ac­cu­rate hunt­ing ri­fle that doesn’t cost a for­tune.

A new stock de­sign in­cor­po­rates new, soft-touch fin­ger grooves and grip in­serts for max­i­mum con­trol and com­fort. In ad­di­tion, there are a dozen cal­iber of­fer­ings that range from

.204 Ruger all the way up to the pow­er­ful .300 Win Mag (in­clud­ing the su­perb .280 Ack­ley Im­proved—a hunt­ing round that’s just now get­ting the at­ten­tion it de­serves). This ri­fle’s weight ranges from 7.15 to 7.35 pounds, de­pend­ing upon cal­iber.

MSRP: $750

URL: Sav­ageArms.com

Mauser M18

It was big news in the hunt­ing world when Mauser an­nounced it was re­leas­ing a new ri­fle in 2018. Dubbed the M18, or “Volk­swaffe” (“peo­ple’s ri­fle” in Ger­man), this bolt gun comes with a syn­thetic stock that of­fers two soft in­lays for a se­cure grip in any con­di­tions, along with a cold ham­mer-forged bar­rel.

The five-round, de­tach­able box mag­a­zine fits se­curely in place, and the trig­ger is ad­justable and very crisp. There’s a three­p­o­si­tion rocker-type safety that’s easy to find, with clear de­mar­ca­tions. Mauser backs this ri­fle with a se­ri­ous accuracy guar­an­tee: five shots un­der an inch at 100 yards. That’s a bold promise, es­pe­cially be­cause this “peo­ple’s ri­fle” is priced un­der $700. There are a num­ber of cal­iber op­tions, in­clud­ing .243 Win, .270 Win, 7mm Rem Mag, .308 Win, .30-06 Spring­field, .300 Win Mag and 6.5 Creed­moor.

Chris­tian Socher, CEO of Mauser’s North Amer­i­can dis­trib­u­tor, Blaser USA, sums up the M18 by say­ing, “Be­ing able to pro­duce a ri­fle this good at such an af­ford­able price means more sports­men than ever can re­al­ize their dream of own­ing a Mauser.” Very true.

MSRP: $699

URL: Mauser.com

Nosler Model 48 Long Range Car­bon

The Model 48 Long Range Car­bon is a gun that’s built from the ground up for se­ri­ous long-range shoot­ing. The most strik­ing fea­ture on these ri­fles is their PROOF Re­search match-grade, car­bon-fiber-wrapped bar­rels. These are lighter and stiffer than stain­less steel bar­rels and dis­si­pate heat more ef­fi­ciently, mak­ing them a great op­tion for ded­i­cated long-range hunt­ing ri­fles. The bar­rel is matched with a trued and faced Model 48 push­feed ac­tion, and the bar­reled ac­tion is then dropped into a Man­ners

MCS Elite Mid­night Camo car­bon­fiber stock. Both the ac­tion and bot­tom metal are pro­tected by Cer­akote in Sniper Grey.

A Tim­ney trig­ger and two-po­si­tion, rocker-type safety round out this long-range rig. The threaded bar­rel comes with a knurled end cap, and Nosler prom­ises MOA accuracy with its pre­scribed am­mu­ni­tion.

Even with a 26-inch bar­rel, these ri­fles weigh around 7 pounds, so it’s suit­able for hunts for which you need to do a lot of hik­ing. Avail­able cham­ber­ings in­clude 6.5 Creed­moor, .300 Win Mag, and the flat-shoot­ing .26, .28, .30 and .33 Noslers. These aren’t cheap guns, but if you’re se­ri­ous about hunt­ing at long ranges and need a ri­fle that’s up to the task, the Nosler is a nat­u­ral choice.

MSRP: $2,995 URL: Nosler.com

Rem­ing­ton Model 783 Syn­thetic Heavy Bar­rel

Rem­ing­ton’s bud­get 783 bolt ri­fles are de­signed to be ac­cu­rate and af­ford­able. For

2018, the com­pany is adding a new model to the grow­ing 783 fam­ily—the Syn­thetic Heavy Bar­rel. With a stubby, 16½-inch bar­rel, the over­all length of this ri­fle is just a shade more than 3 feet. As a re­sult, it’s per­fect for ma­neu­ver­ing on the in­side of a blind or in a tree­stand and works very well when hunt­ing in heavy brush. The Flat Dark Earth syn­thetic stock stands up well to the el­e­ments. This ri­fle comes equipped with Rem­ing­ton’s CrossFire ad­justable trig­ger. There’s a top rail for mount­ing op­tics, and the bar­rel is threaded, so adding a sup­pres­sor or other muz­zle de­vice is sim­ple.

Cur­rent cham­ber­ings in­clude .223 Rem, .300 Black­out, .308 Win and 6.5 Creed­moor. This com­pact bolt gun weighs 8 pounds, which is a bit heavy for a short ri­fle; but that ex­tra heft should help tame re­coil. Plus, it’s very af­ford­ably priced.

MSRP: $459

URL: Rem­ing­ton.com

Rigby High­land Stalker

Lon­don gun­maker John Rigby & Com­pany pro­duces ex­quis­ite hunt­ing ri­fles. While we might not all be able to carry one of these guns in the field, if the looks of this el­e­gantly styled British High­land Stalker don’t stir your blood, you’d bet­ter check your pulse. The bolt-ac­tion High­land Stalker— named in honor of the Scot­tish High­lands, where the “stalk­ing” ri­fle con­cept was born—is in­spired by the smaller-cal­iber ri­fles Rigby pro­duced at the turn of the 20th cen­tury. They were car­ried by the likes of Karamoja Bell and Jim Cor­bett.

Rigby spent three years de­vel­op­ing this new ri­fle, which comes stan­dard with grade V wal­nut, an am­bidex­trous stock, rounded grip shape, Rigby pat­tern iron sights, hand-fin­ished check­er­ing and orig­i­nal-style en­grav­ing. Avail­able cal­ibers in­clude .275 Rigby, .308 Win, .30-06 Spring­field, 8x57mm Mauser and 9.3x62mm. These ri­fles weigh 7.8 pounds. Of course, if the stock ver­sion of this “As­ton Martin” of hunt­ing ri­fles isn’t lav­ish enough for you, there are in­nu­mer­able up­grades and cus­tom op­tions avail­able through the Rigby Cus­tom Shop. In­cred­i­bly beau­ti­ful and built to the high­est stan­dards, these drool-wor­thy guns should be on your short list of pur­chases ... if your lotto num­bers ever line up.

MSRP: $8,995

URL: JohnRig­byandCo.com

CMMG Mk4 V2 .22 Nosler

Any­one who thinks all MSRs are ba­si­cally the same needs to visit the CMMG web­site. This brand con­stantly man­ages to come up with fresh, new AR-plat­form hunt­ing, tac­ti­cal and tar­get ri­fles. The CMMG Mk4 V2 in .22 Nosler is no ex­cep­tion. The Mk4 har­nesses the po­ten­tial of the ex­cit­ing, new Nosler round by cham­ber­ing it in a ri­fle with a 24-inch, medium-ta­per, 416 stain­less bar­rel with a 1:8 twist rate. A Geis­sele Au­to­mat­ics SSA trig­ger al­lows for pre­ci­sion shots on varmints, hogs and preda­tors at long dis­tances. At

7.5 pounds, this ri­fle is ac­tu­ally fairly por­ta­ble, con­sid­er­ing its im­pres­sive long-range ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

In ad­di­tion to the V2, CMMG is of­fer­ing three other vari­ants of the Mk4 in .22 Nosler this year, with bar­rels of 18 and 22 inches. All these ri­fles come with forged 7075-T6 up­pers and hand­guards that are KeyMod com­pat­i­ble for adding ac­ces­sories. If you’re se­ri­ous about tak­ing long shots at song dogs and other varmints, this ri­fle needs to be on your short list.

MSRP: $1,450 (V2) URL: CMMGInc.com

Winch­ester XPR Sporter

With the ex­cep­tion of Rigby’s nearly $9,000 High­land Stalker, the new XPR Sporter is the only other ri­fle on this list with a wooden stock. De­spite the abun­dance of syn­thet­ic­stocked ri­fles on the mar­ket, there are still plenty of se­ri­ous hun­ters who be­lieve noth­ing can re­place the look and feel of a wal­nut stock. Those hun­ters will ap­pre­ci­ate Winch­ester’s af­ford­ably priced XPR Sporter. At its heart, the Sporter shares the same push-feed ac­tion, box mag­a­zine de­sign, two-po­si­tion safety with bolt un­lock but­ton and crisp MOA trig­ger as other XPRs, but the close-grain grade I wal­nut stock gives this gun a clas­sic look. De­spite its low price point, the wal­nut on the XPR Sporter is ac­tu­ally quite good, with crisp check­er­ing and an ex­cel­lent wood-to-metal fit.

Perma-Cote fin­ish on the metal re­duces glare and pro­tects against cor­ro­sion, and the bolt has a nickel Te­flon coat­ing for a smooth bolt stroke. There are 12-cal­iber op­tions rang­ing from .243 Win to .338 Win Mag, in­clud­ing .270, .300 and .325 WSM.

MSRP: $600

URL: Winch­esterGuns.com

Mar­lin 1894 CST

The Mar­lin 1894 CST of­fers the com­pany’s time-tested, pis­tol­cal­iber, lever-ac­tion de­sign with modern up­grades. This .357 Magnum/.38 Spe­cial ri­fle holds six rounds in its tubu­lar mag­a­zine and mea­sures just 35 inches long, which makes it ide­ally suited for blind and tree­stand hunt­ing. The stain­less steel met­al­work has a matte-sil­ver fin­ish that won’t pro­duce ex­cess glare, and the hard­wood stock has been painted black. It has enough tex­tur­ing to be easy to grip when fir­ing.

The large loop de­sign is easy to ma­nip­u­late for fast fol­low-ups, even when wear­ing gloves. The XS ghost ring sights al­low you to get on tar­get quickly, mak­ing this an ideal ri­fle for hog hun­ters who might need to take mul­ti­ple shots at run­ning an­i­mals.

The 16½-inch bar­rel is threaded, al­low­ing for the ad­di­tion of a muz­zle de­vice, and a thread pro­tec­tor is in­cluded. For hogs, preda­tors and deer-sized game at close to mod­er­ate range, this is an ex­cel­lent choice—es­pe­cially if you’re hunt­ing in an area where el­bow room is at a pre­mium.

MSRP: $1,154

URL: Mar­linFirearms.com

GAMO TC35 and TC45

If you dis­miss air-pow­ered pellet ri­fles as be­ing un­der­pow­ered for se­ri­ous hunt­ing, take a look at the two new, big-bore of­fer­ings from GAMO—the TC35

(.35 cal­iber) and TC45 (.45 cal­iber). These sin­gle-shot pellet ri­fles are ca­pa­ble of shoot­ing 1-inch groups at 50 me­ters and are suit­able on game as far as 100 yards away. Muz­zle ve­loc­i­ties range from 600 to 900 feet per sec­ond, and en­ergy fig­ures can top 150 foot-pounds. There is a grow­ing num­ber of states in which air ri­fles are le­gal for hunt­ing big game.

Both ri­fles come with a black car­bon-fiber, 480cc air cylin­der ca­pa­ble of fill­ing to 250 bar; an ad­justable two-stage trig­ger; in­te­grated sup­pres­sor; and a Weaver­style rail for mount­ing op­tics. You can ex­pect to get roughly 15 shots per air tank fill too. The TC35 is de­signed for small game and coy­otes, while the larger TC45 is bet­ter suited for game up to and in­clud­ing white­tail deer.

MSRP: $999

URL: GAMOUSA.com

Tra­di­tions OuTFITTER G2 .450 Bush­mas­ter

The G2 isn’t brand new, but this year, Tra­di­tions’ sin­gle-shot ri­fle gets a power boost with the ad­di­tion of the mighty .450 Bush­mas­ter ver­sion. These ri­fles are un­doubt­edly mar­keted to­ward deer hun­ters who are al­lowed to hunt with straight­wall cartridges; even so, the G2 guns make sense for any­one who needs a safe, af­ford­able big-bore. The break-open de­sign is easy to use, and a trans­fer bar safety of­fers peace of mind.

The 22-inch Lothar Walther bar­rels come out­fit­ted with muz­zle brakes, which is a good thing when you con­sider the level of re­coil gen­er­ated by the Bush­mas­ter car­tridge in a light gun. If you don’t need the level of power the Bush­mas­ter ver­sion of­fers, there is also a wide ar­ray of other cen­ter­fire op­tions, in­clud­ing .44 Mag, .243 Win (in­clud­ing a youth model), .444 Mar­lin and .35 Rem­ing­ton. There are combo pack­ages avail­able with op­tics and cases as well.

MSRP: $439–$586

URL: Tra­di­tion­sFirearms.com

Weatherby Mark V Camilla Subalpine

Most shoot­ers prob­a­bly know the name, Roy Weatherby, but it’s his wife, Camilla, who is be­ing honored with the in­tro­duc­tion of Weatherby’s first Mark V built by women, for women. Camilla ri­fles come with short­ened lengths of pull and stock ge­om­e­try de­signed to bet­ter fit a fe­male shooter’s frame, which trans­lates to faster shots and more com­fort un­der re­coil. The new­est Camilla, the Subalpine ver­sion, fea­tures a syn­thetic stock cov­ered with Gore Op­ti­fade’s Subalpine camo.

The ac­tion and hand-lapped, fluted bar­rel are treated with a Flat Dark Earth Cer­akote fin­ish to pro­tect the ri­fle, and the new LXX trig­ger is light and crisp, with a broad face for max­i­mum con­trol. The Camilla Subalpine, like other Mark Vs, is ca­pa­ble of sub-MOA accuracy; and, at just 5¾ pounds, these are ri­fles you can carry all day in the high coun­try. Avail­able cham­ber­ings in­clude .240 Weatherby Magnum, 6.5 Creed­moor, .270 Win, .308 and .30-06. If you are (or know) a se­ri­ous fe­male hunter who wants a sub-MOA ri­fle that fits prop­erly, the Camilla Subalpine might be the per­fect choice.

MSRP: $3,000

URL: Weatherby.com

Ber­gara B-14 Ridge

Ber­gara is still a rel­a­tively new name to many shoot­ers, but if you haven’t heard of this brand, lis­ten up. This Span­ish com­pany has pro­duced qual­ity bar­rels for years, and a few years ago, the brass at Ber­gara de­cided to start us­ing those bar­rels as the ba­sis of build­ing a series of high-qual­ity, af­ford­able, bolt-ac­tion hunt­ing ri­fles. The Ber­gara B-14 Series of ri­fles has won over many crit­ics in short or­der—in­clud­ing many of my gun writer col­leagues and me. These ri­fles walk the line be­tween pro­duc­tion af­ford­abil­ity and high-end per­for­mance, so what hun­ters end up with is an MOA hunt­ing ri­fle that looks good and doesn’t cost that much.

The Ridge uses the same push-feed ac­tion as other Ber­gara B-14 guns, but it in­cor­po­rates a #5 con­tour CrMo bar­rel in 22- or 24-inch lengths with a threaded muz­zle. Add that bar­rel and ac­tion to a molded syn­thetic stock made of glass-fiber-re­in­forced poly­mer, throw in a 3-pound trig­ger that’s crisp and smooth, and what you have is a heavy-bar­reled hunt­ing ri­fle that’s ca­pa­ble of MOA groups yet weighs around 8 pounds. What does a gun like that cost? How about $865? The Ridge is avail­able in a num­ber of cal­ibers, in­clud­ing .22-250, .243 Win, 6.5 Creed­moor, .270 Win, .308, .30-06, 7mm Rem Mag and .300 Win Mag.

MSRP: $865

URL: Ber­garaUSA.com

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