Last week, the Outdoor Life and Field & Stream editors waded through the mass of new guns and gear at the 2014 SHOT Show in Las Vegas. In this post, we've highlighted the 11 most interesting new shotguns, rifles, and handguns of the year. From sleek upland bird shotguns, to long-range bolt-action rifles, to competition ARs, the show had a little bit of everything for every kind of shooter or hunter.
Check out the sneak peek (you can't fully review a gun from a showroom floor) and then make sure to check out the June/July issue for our annual Gun Test where we put the screws to the best new firearms on the market.
Nosler 26 and Nosler Patriot
Meet the new, screaming fast Nosler 26 cartridge and Patriot rifle. It's a flat-shooting, big-game cartridge offered in a 129-grain bullet (3,400 fps muzzle velocity) and a 140-grain bullet (3,300 fps muzzle velocity). The Patriot is a production rifle based on the M48 action and will retail for about $1,600.
This high-end shotgun company is looking to combine beauty and brawn with its new Invictus Over/Under. Guerini has moved the hinge pins and utilized a replaceable block in the receiver for an extremely durable design. The company says this gun can handle more than 1 million rounds — that's probably more than your shoulder can handle.
On top of it all, you get the classic good looks of a Caesar Guerini gun.
To the disappointment of Ruger fans, the Red Label was dropped from the market due to high production costs a few years ago. Now the company is bringing back a new, improved version of the gun at a reduced price. The shotgun now retails for about $1,400 and actually has better internal mechanics. Ruger has cut costs by redesigning the the receiver and instituting a more efficient manufacturing method. We expect the Red Label to make a successful comeback.
The original Versa Max is a great waterfowl gun, but this year Remington is looking to make it even better. Borrowing some features from the tactical version of the Versa Max, Remington added an extended bolt handle, an oversized bolt release, and an extra-large safety for easier operation with heavy gloves.
Add these features to a shotgun that already does a good job of cutting down on felt recoil and has an adjustable stock for different shooting conditions, and you've got a duck and goose gun that's tough to beat in adverse weather.
Smith & Wesson's new XVR comes from the Performance Center family and features a 3.5-inch barrel, a fiber optic front sight, and Hogue grips. The gun is compatible with three different cartridges: .460, .454 Casull, and .445 Long Colt.
The new Winchester Rooster XR uses the same technology as the Long Beard load announced late last year. Here's how it works: the resin fills in the gaps between the pellets. When the shell ignites, the resin fractures. This process creates a tighter shooting shotshell and more pellets on target, according to Winchester.
The low profile of the 725 Citori made it a good fit for the 20 gauge caliber. The 20-gauge version of the 725 is lighter and livelier than many of its Citori cousins. It's certain to become a favorite among Browning over/under fans who are looking for a light, well-balanced upland bird gun.
The Ethos is Benelli's inertia-driven semiautomatic shotgun introduction for 2014. It's a lightweight upland bird gun that features a new shock absorption system in the stock and a comfortable cheek pad. The gun is available with a nickel-plated receiver or an anodized receiver.
My first variable power scope was a Leupold 3-9X that I had mounted on a Ruger 77—my first “real” gun. After I mounted it I cranked it up to 9X and don’t think I turned it down ever that I can recall.
It was reading about Africa and hunting dangerous game—long before I ever had a chance to visit the Dark Continent—that I learned about the virtues of hunting with scopes set to lower power, a philosophy that is second nature to me today. The vast majority of my big game kills are at 4X or so. In the case of longer shots, off a steady rest, I might go to 8X but that is a rare exception.
Set up three targets, spaced about five yards from each other, ten to 15 yards down range and shoot them in order this order (6 shots total): 1, 2, 3, 3, 2, 1. Do this with either a handgun or rifle a few times and record your results with a timer. The catch is that only clean runs count—either with A-Zone hits on cardboard silhouettes or hits on 6-inch steel.
Now, if you want to drop at least one second from your times, do this…