THE GUN TEST 2018
The Outdoor Life team spent a week sending lead downrange to determine which new rifles and shotguns are best in the field
This year, rifle and shotgun makers delivered an impressive field of new guns. The interest in precision rifles capable of fine, long-range accuracy continues. Some are meant for competition and general range shooting, others for hunting. As a group, these rifles are getting better, and as a result, we had the most accurate field of firearms we’ve ever tested at Outdoor Life. Five-shot accuracy averaging .75 inch or better is now the new standard of excellency for good factory rifles shooting factory ammo. Note I said “averaging,” which is quite different from a random tight group or two.
One drawback of precision rifles meant for hunting is excessive weight, so we’re seeing more
carbon-fiber components cropping up from companies like Proof Research, Christensen Arms, Seekins Precision, Nosler, and Browning.
Curiously, the budget-oriented rifles this year come from Europe. One is a Mauser made in Germany and the other is the Franchi Momentum, which is the Italian company’s first bolt-action.
The field of new shotguns, as usual, is small but strong. We have attractive over/unders for birds and clays, and a semi-auto from Beretta that’s a heck of a value. The big news, though, is the arrival of boxmagazine-fed pump guns. It is an interesting development that has some benefits, but it is too early to say whether they will supplant our traditional pumps.
Executive editor Alex Robinson shoots for group size.