The 10 Best New Rifles for 2021
Here’s a first look at the best rifle introductions of the year
This is a strange year for new rifle introductions. Most gun manufactures are hustling to fill back orders. Many consumers rightly wonder, Why would I buy a new gun when I can’t get ammo for it? And yet, guns of all types continue to fly off the shelves. Even amid the chaos, there are some exciting new hunting rifle introductions this year. We have an American-made straight pull rifle and an iconic gun maker introducing its first bolt-action rifle. These 10 best new rifles, which are not listed in any particular order, deserve a look even during a very odd year.
Browning is pushing its venerable X-Bolt into semi-custom territory with the new Mountain Pro editions, in Tungsten and Burnt Bronze finishes. This top end of their production X-Bolt rifle is packed with features that push it right up to what you’d expect to see on a custom rifle. Averaging about 6 pounds depending on chambering, they’ve been able to shave nearly a quarter pound compared to previous models, and the rifle features a foam-filled carbon fiber stock and Cerakote finish. It also features a threaded, spiral fluted barrel using a new lapping process designed to enhance accuracy and reduce fouling and break-in time, as well as a fluted bolt, and oversized, fluted bolt knob. You’ll immediately notice Browning’s new Recoil Hawg muzzle brake, a more effective option than the classic radial brakes, and especially handy in some of the larger chamberings. The Mountain Pro chamberings run the gamut from 6.5 Creedmoor to 28 and 30 Nosler, 300 PRC, and 300 RUM, including the new 6.8 Western. MSRP: $2,399 to $2,459; Check availability here.
At about 5 ½ lbs, the Hunter Pro Desolve Blak is a great option for someone who wants to get into a lightweight, controlled-feed action hunting rifle without paying flagship prices. This extension of the Hunter line uses the same stainless steel Kimber 84M action that many hunters and custom rifle builders love. It features the classic Mauser-style extractor, almost universally trusted for feeding dependability. It’s notable that the Hunter Pro uses a detachable box magazine rather than internal magazine, making for quick and easy loading and unloading. The stainless steel barrel comes with a radial muzzle brake, and sits inside a fiber-reinforced, laminate stock with the Desolve Blak camo pattern. Overall, this is a lot of rifle for the money, and available in .308, 6.5 Creedmoor, and .280 AI. MSRP: $992; Check availability here.
The Ruger 9mm PC Carbine has become an extremely popular rifle and its continued expansion reflects its versatility. An attainable pistol caliber carbine for most budgets, it wears many hats. From the competitive market to utility, self-defense, and survival, it is here to stay, and the new Chassis models of the PC Carbine make it even more versatile. Previously, it had the look and feel of a somewhat more traditional carbine. The Chassis Model doesn’t include iron sights, but features Picatinny rail atop the receiver, a full-length aluminum M-Lock float tube with one section of Pic rail, left- or right-side charging handle positioning, and synthetic chassis with an adjustable buttstock that give it ergonomics more like an AR. There are state-compliant models available, but the standard comes with a 16.12-inch threaded barrel, and the carbine can be quickly and easily taken down for storage or transport, similar to previous models. The carbine comes with an additional mag well that accepts Glock magazines, and other mag wells are available. MSRP: $799; Check availability here.
Franchi’s relatively new Momentum line of big game rifles is embracing the 350 Legend, which has begun to dominate the straight-wall deer hunting market. Rifles from shotgun companies can sometimes be a bit futuristic in their designs and ergonomics, but the momentum provides a good balance between futurism and a more traditional American style. It’s 3-lug fluted bolt has a slick 60-degree bolt throw, detachable magazine, threaded muzzle with brake, and a one-piece picatinny rail that’s ready for optics. The action is coated with a cobalt Cerakote finish to resist weather and corrosion, and the 350 Legend chambering comes with an Optifade Elevated II camo stock and weighs in at 7.9 lbs. It’s of course, offered in plenty of other chamberings as well, but especially for the 350 Legend market, it offers a well-manufactured, great-feeling rifle at a very competitive price, and shouldn’t be overlooked. MSRP: $899; Check availability here.
Bergara has gained some sweeping popularity since their push into production rifles in recent years, and has a reputation for producing well-made, great shooting rifles, with more traditional, Remington 700-esque ergonomics, and their Premier series is meant to hit the top end of the production rifle market. Everything revolves around their proprietary button-rifled barrels, and they have continued to expand their offerings. They aren’t known for being ultralight rifles, and the new Highlander model fits between their Mountain and Approach models, weighing between 7.3 and 7.8lbs depending on chambering. The fluted No. 5 contour barrel and Premier Edition action are Cerakoted, coupled with a Triggertech trigger, and put in a Grayboe fiberglass stock. This rifle is offered in a couple of classic cartridges like .308, 7mm Rem Mag, and .300 Win Mag, as well as contemporary chamberings like 6.5 creedmoor and PRC, as well as 28 Nosler and 300 PRC. MSRP: $1,885 to $1,985; Check availability here.
A lever-action .45-70 will make just about anyone’s list for “brush rifles” when it comes to dealing with dangerous critters in tight quarters. But most of them have a weakness: their finish. A corrosion-resistant finish is a big deal when it comes to beating the brush, and this model from Henry is a welcome sight. Rather than stainless steel, the barrel and receiver of this rifle are chrome-plated, giving it excellent wear and corrosion protection. Along with Henry’s classic tubular magazine loading port, the receiver features a side gate, allowing easy topping off or just loading of the magazine. Henry had the Scout Rifle concept in mind with this model as well and included a long section of Picatinny rail extending out forward of the receiver, as well as an adjustable peep rear sight, rather than the traditional buckhorn or notch sights. With an 18½-inch barrel, this will be a tough, handy, and hard-hitting, and versatile lever gun. MSRP: $1,221; Check availability here.
An extension of their successful Patriot line, Mossberg’s new LR Hunter brings some features that will aid in accuracy and longer-range consistency in the field. The most visible feature of the LR Hunter is the stock. It features a Monte-Carlo-style, dramatic comb, and a bit more crafted ergonomics than base-model Patriots. It features a widened, flat, benchrest fore-end with an extra sling stud for attaching a bipod, and utilizes aluminum bedding pillars. The floated barrel is fluted, and features a threaded muzzle with a precision-cut target crown. The action features a fluted bolt and comes with a Picatinny top rail for easy optics mounting. The rifle uses a detachable magazine and like other Patriot models, features a user-adjustable trigger from 2 to 7 lbs for tuning to your taste. It comes in surprisingly light at 6.5 to 7.5 lbs, and is offered in four chamberings: .308, 6.5 CM, 6.5 PRC, and .300 Win Mag. MSRP: $766; Check availability here.
A truly new rifle on the market, is Springfield’s contemporary entrance into the bolt rifle market with the Waypoint. This rifle is built on their own proprietary action, designed for speed, smoothness, and reliability, and included a fluted bolt, enlarged ejection ports, precision raceways, and dual plane feed ramps. The receiver comes topped with a single piece Picatinny rail for optics mounting and features and integral recoil lug. The rifle comes in adjustable and non-adjustable versions of AG Composites carbon fiber, hand-painted stocks, which feature five QD sling mounts, and are pillar-bedded, and perfectly fitted to the action.
An adjustable Triggertech trigger allows for user-friendly tuning to break at the perfect pressure. The Waypoint is also offered in two different barrel configurations (which drives the biggest variation in price), traditional fluted steel, or a carbon-wrapped barrel that is fluted to reduce carbon-steel contact and provide more rapid cooling. Both options are threaded and include a radial muzzle brake. Finally, the rifles are guaranteed to shoot .75 MOA or better with 3-shot groups of match-grade ammo in the hands of a skilled shooter. MSRP: $1,699 to $2,399; Check availability here.
Winchester has been working hard to reinvigorate it’s classic Model 70 line, and the Long Range MB model introduced this year is meant to provide a comfortable, stable, long-range target and hunting platform that isn’t too heavy to carry comfortably in the field. As with all current production M70′s, it features the pre-’64 style claw extractor and controlled-feed action, and a matte-black finished, fluted, threaded barrel with a radial brake. It features a Bell and Carlson extreme weather composite stock with aluminum bedding and slender ergonomics, but a flattened fore end with an extra sling stud to accommodate a bipod and rifle sling. These “hand-laid” stocks have a more natural, and less hollow feel than injection-molded stocks, and are built to stay consistent from -50F to 140F. They come in a variety of short-action calibers including predator-sized options like 22-250 Rem, and up to .300 WSM, and of course, including the new 6.8 Western. MSRP: $1,549; Check availability here.
Savage brought some great innovation to the table this year with the new Impulse series, an American-made and designed straight-pull bolt action centerfire. Straight-pull actions have long been popular in Europe for their speed and ease of use, requiring you only to pull the bolt straight back, then push it back forward to reload, but many of them are priced out of the interest of most American hunters.
With the Impulse Big Game, Savage incorporated its revamped aesthetic and increased versatility of the Accufit stock, but built a completely new rifle within it. On the surface, you’ll notice the fluted, threaded, and Cerakoted, medium-contour steel barrel. The receiver itself is aluminum and has a 20 MOA Weaver-style rail machined into the riser itself. It uses a flush, detachable box magazine, and is built for speed. It’s offered in short action chamberings including .243, 6.5 Creedmoor, and .300 WSM, as well as .30-06 and .300 Win Mag. MSRP: $1,447; Check availability here.
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