2007 Rifle Test

Weatherby Mark XXII

Weatherby Mark XXII

Workmanship: 4 out of 4
Performance: 4 out of 4
Price/Value: 3 out of 4
Retail: $949
Contact: 805-227-2600; weatherby.com Combine two iconic names in the gun industry and you have a winner""in this case, our Editor's Choice rimfire, the Weatherby Mark XXII. Anschutz, located in the historic town of Ulm, Germany, is renowned for the accuracy of its Olympic medal""winning rimfire rifles. Weatherby, of course, enjoys a unique reputation for the distinctive "California" styling of its firearms and its line of high-velocity magnum cartridges. Working together, the companies combined the trim and accurate German-made Anschutz Model 64 action and barrels with unmistakable, all-American Weatherby styling in the Mark XXII. This year's judging was unusually close because of the field of exceptionally fine rimfire rifles. Aside from its overall finish and quality look, the Weatherby edged out the competition by dint of five-shot groups running as small as 0.374 inches at 50 yards and 0.810 inches at 100 yards. Its four-round clip proved easy to load (not always the case with rimfire clips), feeding was smooth and easy, and ejection (another shortcoming of some rimfires) was positive and powerful. Among the joys of owning this cute little blend of style and precision: It would be absolutely wicked for ground squirrels, prairie dogs and other varmints at short to moderate ranges. Testers' Comments:
A very accurate rifle
Fun to shoot
This is an excellent rifle by every measure
Great trigger""quality design and High price but outstanding
Great aesthetics
Best rimfire rifle in the test
Functions great
Classic Weatherby look backed by Anschutz engineer
Outdoor Life Online Editor
Remington Model 5
Workmanship: 3 out of 4
Performance: 3 out of 4
Price/Value: 3 out of 4
Retail: $348
Contact: 800-243-9700; remington.com Remington's Serbian-made rimfire has the look and feel of a centerfire rifle, no doubt the result of gunmaker Zastava's love of steel""and lots of it. The massive receiver is about the same diameter as that of Win­chester's legendary Model 52 target rifle, and the Model 5's barrel is contoured like a centerfire's. Even the bottom metal, usually plastic or pot metal on rimfire rifles, is made from a big chunk of machined and nicely polished blue steel. The overall metal finish, like that of the other Serbian rifles sold under the Remington banner, is nicely polished and deeply blued. The U.S.-made stocks, on the other hand, leave a lot to be desired in terms of fit and contour. The receiver is grooved for standard rimfire-type scope rings and the open sights are much better made than the usual rimfire fare, lending a classy big-bore look. Out-of-the-box accuracy wasn't too bad, either. Fifty-yard five-shot groups averaged about three quarters of an inch. I wouldn't be surprised if the accuracy could be made even better by experimenting with different brands of ammo and tinkering with the bedding. Testers' Comments:
A nice little .22 at a good price
Some creep in trigger detracted from performance
The clip was a bit hard to load
Nicely designed laminated stock
Rifle has a nice, solid feel on the bench
Outdoor Life Online Editor
Remington Model 798
Workmanship: 3 out of 4
Performance: 4 out of 4
Price/Value: 4 out of 4
Retail: $648
Contact: 800-243-9700; remington.com The legendary Model 1898 Mauser's popularity in the hunting field is unequaled, simply because it does everything a bolt-action rifle is supposed to do, and does it reliably. This latest Mauser wears the Remington trademark and is made in Serbia by Zastava. The accuracy of our test rifle, while not spectacular, equaled or bettered that of several other more expensive bolt-actions we have tested, and it performed particularly well with Federal's load with the 150-grain Sierra GameKing bullet, which produced one five-shot group measuring under an inch. We were also impressed with the machined-steel bottom metal with a convenient push-button release of the hinged floor plate. Unlike many modern bolt-action designs, the basic Mauser 98 is rather difficult to manufacture, which suits the artisans at Zastava because they seem to like nothing better than to take a chunk of steel and mill, drill, grind, hand fit and polish it into a well-finished firearm. They do it with such economy that their guns are consistently among the best buys in the world's sporting firearms market. Testers' Comments:
Nice Mauser action design and appearance
Metal-to-wood fit is a bit rough
Trigger pull has some creep, but the rifle still shot well
Was surprisingly accurate
An excellent choice for Mauser-action fans
Great value
An excellent all-around big-game rifle
Would feel comfortable hunting with it anywhere
Outdoor Life Online Editor
Remington Model 799
Workmanship: 3 out of 4
Performance: 3 out of 4
Price/Value: 3 out of 4
Retail: $648
Contact: 800-243-9700; remington.com If you're going to copy something, be sure to copy something good. That's what the Serbian gun-making firm of Zastava has done with this neat bolt-action, marketed in the U.S. under the Remington banner. From the handle forward, the bolt, extractor and ejector are almost exact copies of the sweet little Sako L-46 actions of a half century ago. The receiver, however, is pure Mauser, including the familiar bolt stop and ejector, in a scaled-down version measuring just a shade over 7 inches overall. Of the Eastern European miniature Mausers I've inspected in recent years, this is the best. The surfaces are straight and the edges crisp without evidence of overbuffing, an unfortunate hallmark of some gunmakers in former Soviet countries. Accuracy from our .223-caliber sample was only so-so, perhaps a bit better than what you would expect from a slender-barreled lightweight. It would be an excellent walking rifle for coyotes and similar varmints. Most criticisms of the M799 centered on the fit and contour of the laminated wood stock, which needs improving. Given the overall quality of the metalwork, including its all-steel trigger-guard assembly, it's a good candidate for restocking by a custom stock maker. Testers' Comments:
Handy little varmint rifle that shoots and handles nicely
Creepy trigger, but can be adjusted
Has a factory-drop-in-stock look
Adequate accuracy
Nice metal­work
Good magazine foreplate release
Outdoor Life Online Editor
Savage Mark II Classic

Savage Mark II Classic

Workmanship: 3 out of 4
Performance: 3 out of 4
Price/Value: 3 out of 4
Retail: $495
Contact: 413-568-7001; savagearms.com The classiest rimfire rifle in the Savage lineup is the new Mark II bolt rifle, and the Classic name is justified. The slickly finished stock is real American black walnut, and its elegant styling is more than a little reminiscent of the classic American stock makers. Overall, the rifle has a distinct grown-up look, with a hand-filling forearm with a detachable sling stud and black forend tip. The machine-cut checkering of our sample was unusually sharp and deep, with the classic point pattern continuing completely around the forearm. The grip area likewise has point pattern panels of checkering and is enhanced with a grip cap. The test team also liked the nicely contoured bolt handle and the all-steel trigger guard. As on other Savage rifles, the AccuTrigger is a real shooting plus. The only notable downside to its appearance is the magazine release, but in fairness the design tended to aid easy removal and insertion of the magazine clip. For a rifle of such quality, we expected somewhat better accuracy in our 50-yard tests. But, as with all rimfire rifles, accuracy is largely dependent on how well the rifle and ammo like each other. Test firing more ammo types might have helped. Testers' Comments:
Good-looking wood
Savage's most nicely finished rimfire ever
Trigger guard is graceless
A bit difficult to load ammo into the clip
Brass didn't eject easily Wonderful trigger, fine accuracy
Outdoor Life Online Editor
Savage Model 12 F/TR
Workmanship: 3 out of 4
Performance: 4 out of 4
Price/Value: 4 out of 4
Retail: $1,142
Contact: 413-568-7001; savagearms.com In order to understand how the Savage Model 12 F/TR excels, it helps to know a little about the fast-growing target game called F-Class. In F-Class, all shooting is done from the prone position with the rifle supported on sandbags, a bipod or a benchrest-type stand, and scopes are allowed. Thus women as well as men, senior citizens as well as young folks, and handicapped as well as able-bodied shooters can compete on an equal basis. Depending on range facilities, firing distances may be a few hundred yards or as much as a thousand yards. An accurate firearm, of course, is a major factor in success, which is why many of the rifles used for F-Class are custom-made affairs. Their several-thousand-dollar price tags could be prohibitive for many competitors. Savage addresses this problem with the F/TR, which has the accuracy to be competitive in F-Class straight out of the box, and at an affordable price. The company applied the tried-and-true building blocks of accuracy: a heavy, stainless-steel 30-inch barrel that has been hand straightened; a receiver that's solid at the top and bottom for increased stiffness and held in place by three screws, rather than the usual two; a laminated hardwood stock contoured for F-Class shooting; and perhaps best of all, a redesigned AccuTrigger with a 6-ounce pull! Testers' Comments:
This rifle shot very well
SWAT team application should be excellent
Great trigger, great performance but a bit short on aesthetics
Lots of features for the price
Congratulations to Savage
Outdoor Life Online Editor
Savage Model 10 Predator
Workmanship: 2 out of 4
Performance: 4 out of 4
Price/Value: 4 out of 4
Retail: $691
Contact: 413-568-7001; savagearms.com "Predator"Â…now that's a good name for this latest from Savage. It conjures the image of a camo-festooned coyote hunter hunkered in the sage with a likewise-camo-clad rifle. From its muzzle to its oversize bolt-handle knob, even to its Weaver-style scope bases, almost everything about this thick-barreled varmint rifle is layered with Mossy Oak Brush camo. The only exception is its AccuTrigger, which lets go at a crisp 12-ounce pull that earned praise from our test team. (It was noted, however, that the trigger can be tricky to use when wearing gloves, as varmint callers usually do.) There was minor disagreement among the testers regarding the varmint-weight barrel. Some were of the opinion that it made the Predator a bit heavy for a walking rifle; others thought that the weight-forward balance would steady aim in the sitting or kneeling positions, and that the heavier barrel would aid accuracy. The entire test team had good things to say about the slick action, however, and we agreed that the accuracy was more than sufficient for predator hunting. All this at a very fair price for anyone who's in the market for a rifle that virtually blends into the background. Testers' Comments:
Looks and performs like a precision rifle should
This is a heavy varmint rifle for car and bench only
Very heavy barrel gives it a forward balance
Nice trigger makes for an absolute tack driver
Outdoor Life Online Editor
Thompson/Center Icon

Thompson/Center Icon

Workmanship: 3 out of 4
Performance: 3 out of 4
Price/Value: 3 out of 4
Retail: $1,025
Contact: 603-332-2394; tcarms.com Our test gun for Thompson/Center's Icon, the company's first bolt-action rifle, was a hand-built, pre-production sample. Thus, we didn't assume the hand-checkered, slickly finished and richly figured walnut stock to be typical of the rifles that will appear in gun dealers' showrooms. Nonethe­less, we liked much of what we saw, especially the metalwork and the rifle's accuracy. Our test Icon, in standard .308 Win., proved nicely accurate with the target-grade ammo we used, and the slick bolt and crisp trigger pull earned high praise. The integrally machined Weaver-type scope bases add weight and may be off-putting to purists, but they will be justified in varmint and tactical versions. The sharp edges of the deeply sculpted butter-knife-type bolt handle were uncomfortable to operate with bare hands, but buyers will be able to replace it with other shapes if they prefer. More serious criticisms are that it was extremely difficult to load the detachable magazine and awkward to load a single round through the ejection port. These are not fatal flaws, however, and can be corrected at the drawing board. This is T/C's first attempt at a bolt rifle, and the company deserves kudos for a determined effort to produce something truly new, different and possibly even better. Testers' Comments:
What a shooter!
The clip was very hard to load
The sharp edges on the bolt handle hurt, but this can be fixed
Most interesting rifle of the test
Has the makings of a serious big-game rifle
Outdoor Life Online Editor
Thompson/Center Icon

Thompson/Center Icon

Workmanship: 3 out of 4
Performance: 3 out of 4
Price/Value: 3 out of 4
Retail: $1,025
Contact: 603-332-2394; tcarms.com Our test gun for Thompson/Center's Icon, the company's first bolt-action rifle, was a hand-built, pre-production sample. Thus, we didn't assume the hand-checkered, slickly finished and richly figured walnut stock to be typical of the rifles that will appear in gun dealers' showrooms. Nonethe­less, we liked much of what we saw, especially the metalwork and the rifle's accuracy. Our test Icon, in standard .308 Win., proved nicely accurate with the target-grade ammo we used, and the slick bolt and crisp trigger pull earned high praise. The integrally machined Weaver-type scope bases add weight and may be off-putting to purists, but they will be justified in varmint and tactical versions. The sharp edges of the deeply sculpted butter-knife-type bolt handle were uncomfortable to operate with bare hands, but buyers will be able to replace it with other shapes if they prefer. More serious criticisms are that it was extremely difficult to load the detachable magazine and awkward to load a single round through the ejection port. These are not fatal flaws, however, and can be corrected at the drawing board. This is T/C's first attempt at a bolt rifle, and the company deserves kudos for a determined effort to produce something truly new, different and possibly even better. Testers' Comments:
What a shooter!
The clip was very hard to load
The sharp edges on the bolt handle hurt, but this can be fixed
Most interesting rifle of the test
Has the makings of a serious big-game rifle
Outdoor Life Online Editor

OL gives you the lowdown on the newest rifles and shotguns coming to gun stores this fall.