Best New Rifles of 2017
Our shooting editor picks the hottest new rifles from the SHOT Show
More new guns debuted at the 2017 SHOT Show than any other in recent memory. If anything was made clear, it is that the panic buying of ARs is done and that the crossover appeal of the tactical and hunting markets continues to grow. Here are the top rifles from the show.
Even though you probably didn’t realize it, you’ve been waiting for years for this rifle to appear. Anschutz is notoriously picky about quality and delayed the release of this rifle because they were unable to procure barrels that meet the company’s Olympic Gold standards. Well, they purchased the machinery to make their own and now are ready for hunters to take them afield. The slick action, outstanding trigger and solid walnut stock make a terrific first impression.
Barrett Lightweight Rifle
This elegant bolt-action is a departure from the standard line of Barrett’s tactical and military products. It is available in two action lengths (long and short) in a variety of calibers from .243 Win. to .30-06. It comes with a carbon-fiber stock and stainless barrel and weighs between 5 and 6 pounds unscoped and empty, depending on the chambering.
Bergara B-14 HMR
The HMR stands for “Hunting Match Rifle” in case you missed the hybrid origins of this intriguing new bolt gun. The stock has a full-length aluminum chassis contained within to enhance the stiffness and accuracy of the system. The B-14 action has dual lugs and a Sako style extractor and is Bergara’s own design. The HMR is fed via a detachable box magazine and is available in 6.5 Creedmoor and .308 Win.
Christensen Arms Mesa
To date, the rifles made by Christensen Arms have been notable for two things: their carbon-fiber barrels and eye-bulging price tags. The company has worked hard to make their rifles more affordable in recent years but has achieved a new level of attainability with the Mesa, a steel-barreled bolt gun with a sub-$1,300 price tag. This is an attractive and functional bolt gun with a hinged floorplate magazine, carbon-fiber stock and threaded muzzle. It comes in short and long action sizes in several calibers, including 6.5 Creedmoor, .308 Win., 7mm-08, 7mm Rem. Mag., and .300 Win.
Marlin 1895 Modern Hunter
The past few years have been dark ones for fans of Marlin lever actions as the brand struggle under new ownership after being purchased by the parent company of Remington. But to borrow a phrase from the Gipper, it is morning in Marlintown again. The 1895 Modern Hunter is being built by the Remington Custom Shop, which is now located in Sturgis, S.D. This aggressive .45-70 has been enhanced with a number of upgrades that make it ready for bear country or any other adventure requiring a fast-handling, big-bore thumper.
Montana Rifle Company MSR
This rifle is new both for its design and its chambering. This is one of the first production rifles offered in the newly standardized 6mm Creedmoor, a cartridge that has been dominant in long-range tactical competition and has gained a good reputation for predators and deer-sized game. It is built on the company’s excellent M1999 controlled-round feed action, has a detachable box magazine and comes with flush mounted QD sling cups mounted fore and aft on the stock. Cloaked in an eye-catching Kryptek camo pattern, it will also be available in .223 Wylde, .204 Ruger, 300 Blk, .243 Win., 6.5 Creedmoor, .308 and .300 Win. Mag.
Tikka T3x TAC A1
This is the Finn’s answer to the Ruger Precision Rifle. It is a modular bolt-action rifle with AR-15 compatible elements designed for long-range shooting. The handguard on the forend is a 13.5-inch M-Lok compatible design with a Pic rail on top. The receiver also has a Pic rail, giving the shooter maximum flexibility for mounting accessories. The pull weight on the two-stage trigger is user adjustable and the butt stock can be adjusted to alter cheek-piece height and length of pull as well. Initial chamberings include .308 Win., .260 Rem. and 6.5 Creedmoor.
Weatherby’s Vanguard line is taking a hard tactical turn this year with the VAC—or Vanguard Adaptive Composite rifle. The stock is the news here. Weatherby has affixed a target stock to the Vanguard action that can be used for hunting or tactical style competition. The stock has a vertical pistol-grip with deep finger grooves for the shooter’s hand, a wide forend for bracing off barricades and other surfaces, and push-button adjustments for length of pull and comb height on the butt. Like other Vanguards, it ships with a sub-MOA guarantee and will be available in .223 Rem., 6.5 Creedmoor and .308 Win.
Winchester is throwing its hat into the precision rifle game as well with the new XPC. The rifle is configured with a full checklist of features that have come to define the modern precision rifle market: chassis frame, detachable box magazine, threaded muzzle, full length Picatinny rail, 20 MOA declination on the receiver, M-Lok compatible forend—and all of this wrapped in your favorite shade of matte black. The rifle is going to be first chambered in .308 with a 20-inch barrel with a 1-in-10 twist rate.
Colt Competition 22 Nosler
Colt Competition Rifles is the first mainstream gun maker to roll out rifles in 22 Nosler, a new cartridge from Nosler that seeks to improve on .223 Rem. performance and yet will run reliably in an AR-15 sized platform. In terms of ballistics, the 22 Nosler has about 25 percent more case capacity than the .223, giving it a boost of 200-300 fps at the muzzle. This is a meaningful increase in velocity that will find traction with some hunters and competitors looking for a ballistic edge in the field or in a match.