Rifles 2005

From rimfires to centerfires, manufacturers are stepping up with plenty of new product

Outdoor Life Online Editor

This will be a rich year for riflemen, and there are a number of factors contributing to that. A significant development is the sunsetting of the 1994 assault-weapons ban. A number of long guns that were restricted by the ban are once again available on the civilian market, and manufacturers are meeting the demand.

In addition, the continued success of the Hornady .17 HMR and the introduction of its "little brother," the .17 Mach 2, has kept rimfire rifle makers busy, and those product lines are expanding.

Winchester introduces yet another WSM cartridge-the .325. Given the immediate popularity of the previous WSM rounds, rifle makers aren't taking a wait-and-see attitude; they're chambering their lines right now. And those who have neglected to include previous WSM rounds are hurrying to get them out, resulting in a lot of new products in the hunting rifle line.

Lastly, the trend toward ultralightweight bolt-action rifles continues to be strong, with a number of new products in that area. You'll need a big notebook at the show this year to keep track of all the new products.

Bushmaster Firearms
Many firearms manufacturers will benefit from the sunset of the ill-conceived 1994 assault-weapons ban, and Bushmaster is certainly one of them. Well-known in law enforcement and military circles as a maker of high-quality AR-15-style rifles and carbines, the company had many of its models listed as "restricted sale" items under the ban. That changes this year-most will now be available to the civilian market. Several new items should also be of interest in 2005.

The Carbon 15 .22 Rimfire Rifle is designed to closely conform to the look, feel and handling of the company's semi-auto rifles, but it's chambered for the .22 LR and uses a blowback action. The upper and lower receivers, buttstock and charging handle are molded from Carbon 15. The barrel is 16-inch chrome-moly, and the blowback action bolt is machined from lightweight titanium. A Picatinny rail rides the upper receiver and allows for quick installation of a variety of optical sights, and the adjustable iron sights are AR-style. The gun is shipped with a 10-round magazine and a hard-plastic carrying case. SRP: $746.

For those who already own a Bushmaster centerfire (or any mil-spec AR-15-type rifle or carbine) a complete, dedicated .22 LR upper-receiver assembly is available in the new Carbon 15 .22 Rimfire Upper Receiver Assembly that duplicates the Carbon 15 .22 Rimfire Rifle on your lower unit. SRP: $387.

Lastly, Bushmaster 20- and 30-round .223 magazines are once again available to the general public. Made to mil-spec, they are guaranteed to function in all AR-15-type rifles. SRP: $19.95 for the 30-round magazine, $24.95 for the 20-round. Booth #1700 and #3997. (800-998-7928; www.bushmaster.com)

[pagebreak] Century International Arms
With military-style semi-auto arms once again legal for civilian sales, Century Arms is importing new model groups this year.

The GP WASR series rifles are newly manufactured AK-style semi-autos chambered for the 7.62x39mm. All feature a barrel length of 16¼ inches, an overall length of 34¼ inches and an empty weight of 7.5 pounds. Some models are available with a military-style stock; others come with a Dragunov version. Magazine options vary from 5 to 75 rounds. Compensator, bayonet lug and bayonet are also available. SRP: $279 to $439.

The CETME Semi-Auto .308 Win. is offered in two models. Both are in the "refinished" category; they're assembled from original parts and new U.S.-made parts to conform to all legal requirements. Barrels are 16.5 inches, and two 20-round magazines are supplied. SRP: $479 for standard black finish, $499 for Mossy Oak Break-Upamo pattern.

The FAL Sporter .308 Win. is assembled from original parts with a new barrel. SRP: $699 without flash hider, $729 with flash hider. The G-3 Sporter .308 Win. is a refinished H&K; G-3 rifle built with original parts and a new barrel, stock set and receiver. Supplied with two 20-round magazines. SRP: $599 without flash hider, $649 with flash hider. Booth #3686. (800-527-1252; www.centuryarms.com)

FNH USA
The FBI Model FN A3G SPR (Special Police Rifle), designed to FBI specifications, is now available to civilian and law enforcement buyers. The bolt-action rifle is chambered for .308 Win. and features a titanium mount and rings, a 24-inch fluted barrel, a steel floor plate (five-round magazine capacity) and an OD green McMillian adjustable tactical stock. The action is fully bedded, and the company claims accuracy of less than .5 MOA is standard, with appropriate ammunition. Booth #1301. (703-288-1292; www.fnhusa.com)

Henry Repeating Arms Company
The company's popular Big Boy lever-action rifle will be available in the .38 Special/.357 Magnum this year. It features a solid brass receiver, buttplate and barrel band, as well as a 20-inch octagonal barrel. The original Big Boy was well received among cowboy-action shooters, and this new chambering should be a hit. SRP: $775. Booth #4489. (718-499-5600; www.henryrepeating arms.com)

[pagebreak] **Kimber **
Kimber offers three new base models, with several variations in each line.

The Kimber 17 is a rimfire bolt-action chambered for the .17 Mach 2 caliber. The line features controlled round feeding/extraction, match-grade barrel/chamber/trigger, extremely fast lock time and a three-position Model 70-type safety. Variations are as follows:

The Hunter is a sporter with walnut sporter stock in matte blue finish. SRP was not available at press time. The Classic Varmint is a walking varminter with a 20-inch fluted, stainless-steel, medium-contour barrel, matte receiver and claro walnut stock with hand-rubbed oil finish SRP: $1,055.

The Pro Varmint is similar to the Classic, but with gray-and-black laminate stock and blackened barrel flutes. SRP: $1,161. The SVT (Short Varmint/Target) has an 18.5-inch, stainless-steel fluted barrel, gray-and-black laminate stock with a high comb and benchrest-style forearm for use with bags or bipod. SRP: $1,055.

The Model 84M has an action that was specifically designed to handle .223- and .308-length cartridges while remaining as light as possible. Some models weigh as little as 5 pounds 2 ounces, and hunting calibers are equipped with a one-inch Pachmayr Decelerator recoil pad. Variations are as follows:

The Varmint .204 Ruger is a stainless-steel barreled action with matte receiver and a claro walnut stock. SRP: $1,038. The Varmint is also available in .223 Rem. as the Long Master Classic. The Classic .22/250 Rem. is a limited-production sporter with a claro walnut stock and matte-finished metal. SRP: $945. The Pro Varmint (.204 Ruger and .223 Rem.) is similar to the Varmint .204 Ruger but with gray-and-black laminate stock and blackened barrel flutes. SRP: $1,115. The SVT .223 Rem. is similar to the .17 SVT but in .223 Rem. SRP: $1,162.

The Model 8400 action was designed specifically for the Winchester WSM cartridge. It has the same mechanical features as the Model 84M and includes a Pachmayr Decelerator recoil pad.

New this year: the 8400 Classic .325 WSM features a claro-walnut A-grade classic sporter stock with 20 LPI checkering, hand-rubbed oil finish and steel grip cap. SRP: $1,080. The 8400 Montana .325 WSM has a stainless-steel barreled action and a Kevlar-graphite stock with blind magazine. SRP: $1,220. Booth #1413 and #1915. (800-880-2418; www.kimberamerica.com)

Magnum Research
The company's popular ultralight MagnumLite graphite barrel will be available for the Ruger 10/22 rifle in the new Hornady/CCI .17 Mach 2 rimfire cartridge. The replacement barrel is user-installable and contains a bolt kit that must also be installed for reliable function. The .17 Hornady loads have proven to be remarkably accurate. Magnum Research claims it yields groups of less than ½ inch at 50 yards, with 2,100 fps, from the MagnumLite barrel kit. SRP: $299.

The barrel will also be available as a complete 10/22 rifle with several stock options that range from basic to exotic woods. SRP: Starts at $599. Booth #5287. (800-772-6168; www.magnumresearch.com)

Mauser
The first new rifle from the legendary German gun manufacturer in 40 years, the Mauser M03 has been updated to appeal to the modern American hunter. The M03 system allows easy barrel changes to accommodate compact transport (in a discreet case) and sports an innovative Quick Detachable steel scope mount for quick removal and remounting of the scope-without any change in the point of impact. Further-more, interchangeable steel bolt heads let a hunter use 19 calibers (from .222 Rem. to .375 H&H;) to hunt everything from varmints to Cape buffalo. The M03 also features a new manual cocking safety, which lets a hunter carry the rifle safely with a cartridge in the chamber, as well as a detachable box magazine that can be locked in place to prevent accidental release. The M03 is available in three grades: Standard (SRP: $3,495), Arabesque (SRP: $4,595) and Deluxe (SRP: $5,995). Booth #647. (603-772-2321; www.sigarms.com)

[pagebreak] Rossi USA
Rossi will be introducing a heavier-barrel version of its popular break-open single-shot rifle, the aptly named Heavy Barrel. The barrel is button rifled and equipped with a scope mount base for Weaver-style rings. It will be available in .223 Rem. and .243 Win. SRP: $227.

Rossi extends its Matched Pair line to include either a 12- or 20-gauge rifled slug barrel with its popular .50-caliber muzzleloader barrel, allowing hunters to take advantage of two seasons with the same gun by simply switching barrels. Booth #443. (800-948-8029; www.rossiusa.com)

Sturm, Ruger & Co.
Colonel Jeff Cooper popularized the concept of the scout rifle-a compact bolt-action chambered for a major caliber and featuring a forward-mounted long-eye-relief scope of modest power. This year Ruger brings its version to the marketplace. Although information was sketchy at press time, the rifle is built on Ruger's M77 action, with a stainless-steel action and barrel mounted in a gray laminate stock and a forward-mounted scope base. Initial caliber offerings will be .243 Win., 7mm-08 Rem., .308 Win. and .300 WSM. Ruger's rim15. (800-880-2418; www.kimberamerica.com)

Magnum Research
The company's popular ultralight MagnumLite graphite barrel will be available for the Ruger 10/22 rifle in the new Hornady/CCI .17 Mach 2 rimfire cartridge. The replacement barrel is user-installable and contains a bolt kit that must also be installed for reliable function. The .17 Hornady loads have proven to be remarkably accurate. Magnum Research claims it yields groups of less than ½ inch at 50 yards, with 2,100 fps, from the MagnumLite barrel kit. SRP: $299.

The barrel will also be available as a complete 10/22 rifle with several stock options that range from basic to exotic woods. SRP: Starts at $599. Booth #5287. (800-772-6168; www.magnumresearch.com)

Mauser
The first new rifle from the legendary German gun manufacturer in 40 years, the Mauser M03 has been updated to appeal to the modern American hunter. The M03 system allows easy barrel changes to accommodate compact transport (in a discreet case) and sports an innovative Quick Detachable steel scope mount for quick removal and remounting of the scope-without any change in the point of impact. Further-more, interchangeable steel bolt heads let a hunter use 19 calibers (from .222 Rem. to .375 H&H;) to hunt everything from varmints to Cape buffalo. The M03 also features a new manual cocking safety, which lets a hunter carry the rifle safely with a cartridge in the chamber, as well as a detachable box magazine that can be locked in place to prevent accidental release. The M03 is available in three grades: Standard (SRP: $3,495), Arabesque (SRP: $4,595) and Deluxe (SRP: $5,995). Booth #647. (603-772-2321; www.sigarms.com)

[pagebreak] Rossi USA
Rossi will be introducing a heavier-barrel version of its popular break-open single-shot rifle, the aptly named Heavy Barrel. The barrel is button rifled and equipped with a scope mount base for Weaver-style rings. It will be available in .223 Rem. and .243 Win. SRP: $227.

Rossi extends its Matched Pair line to include either a 12- or 20-gauge rifled slug barrel with its popular .50-caliber muzzleloader barrel, allowing hunters to take advantage of two seasons with the same gun by simply switching barrels. Booth #443. (800-948-8029; www.rossiusa.com)

Sturm, Ruger & Co.
Colonel Jeff Cooper popularized the concept of the scout rifle-a compact bolt-action chambered for a major caliber and featuring a forward-mounted long-eye-relief scope of modest power. This year Ruger brings its version to the marketplace. Although information was sketchy at press time, the rifle is built on Ruger's M77 action, with a stainless-steel action and barrel mounted in a gray laminate stock and a forward-mounted scope base. Initial caliber offerings will be .243 Win., 7mm-08 Rem., .308 Win. and .300 WSM. Ruger's rim