The Out­door Life team spent a week send­ing lead down­range to de­ter­mine which new ri­fles and shot­guns are best in the field

Outdoor Life - - GEAR - By JOHN B. SNOW

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.

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