PROS: Extremelyaccurate for a lightweight rifle.
CONS: Adjustabletrigger set too heavy. Light weight can be too much of a good thing,particularly with heavy-recoiling calibers.
FINAL WORD: NewULA leads the pack when it comes to producing high-quality, lightweightsporting rifles.
WHEN A NEWLYfounded company with the catchy name of Ultra Light Arms introduced abolt-action big-game rifle weighing only 5¼ pounds, scope rings included, itcreated a sensastion in the hunting world. That was nearly two decades ago, andother gun-makers are still trying to catch up.
Manufacturers andcustom gunsmiths have occasionally found clever ways to reduce the weight ofbolt-action rifles, but all have struggled to overcome the ponderous mass ofthe bolt actions themselves. To work around this, stocks were whittled to meresplinters, actions milled and drilled to skeletons and barrels turned tosuspicious thinness and stubbed off so short that velocity, not to mentionaccuracy and balance, was sacrificed.
Innovative Design:ULA went to the heart of the problem by manufacturing a steel action of its owndesign that weighed only 24 ounces, nearly a pound lighter than the actionsused by other makers. ULA stocks, also of the company’s own design, weigh in atabout 18 ounces, bringing total stock and action weight to under 3 pounds. Thismakes it possible to add a barrel of respectable length and thickness and stillstay under 6 pounds.
In 1999 ULApartnered with Colt Arms, but the union lasted less than a year. Manufacturingreturned to West Virginia under the original management and the company wasrenamed New ULA. Much of the current production is special order, such as theleft-hand Model 28 we tested, with available calibers ranging from rimfires upto .416 Rigby (Ouch!).
Very Accurate:Ammo used in our 100-yard accuracy testing was Federal’s Premier with 165-grainNosler Solid Base BT, Nosler Custom with 180-grain Accubond and WinchesterSupreme with 150-grain Ballistic Silvertip. The aggregate size of all five-shotgroups fired with the barrel cool was 1.550 inches, with the smallest groupsmeasuring 1.386 inches with the Nosler Custom, followed by 1.473 inches withthe Winchester 150-grain Silvertips. Follow-up testing, fired in rapid order sothe barrel became too hot to touch, resulted in groups about half again aslarge but without shots tending to string, as often happens with lightweightrifles.
Other gunmakershave had success with titanium and other superlight designs, but for overalllooks, handling and accuracy, New ULA sets the pace and is still the one tobeat.
HOW IT SHOT
Average Group Size: 1.550 in.*
Ammo Used: Fed. 165-gr. Nosler BT, Nosler Custom180-gr. Accubond, Win. 150-gr. Ballistic Silvertip
*Six five-shot groups at 100 yd.
BY THE NUMBERS
MANUFACTURER: New ULA MODEL: 28 TYPE: Bolt-action rifle CALIBER: 300 WSM MAGAZINE CAPACITY: 2+1 WEIGHT: 5 lb. 12 oz. FINISH: Blue STOCK: Synthetic BARREL LENGTH: 24 in. TRIGGER PULL: 4 lb. 9 oz. BORE FINISH GRADING: 3.5 (out of 5) RETAIL: $3,200 CONTACT: 304-292-0600; newultralight.com