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  • By Ken Perrotte

Military Times 2017 sporting rifle guide


A trip to Las Vegas in January for the 39th Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show – better known as SHOT Show – gave us an opportunity to examine and shoot many of the new firearms heading to market in 2017.

Some 1,600 companies showed their wares to more than 65,000 industry and media members at the show, which has seen an expansion in tactical and law enforcement gear for the last 15 or so years. Increasingly, items made for the tactical side are becoming "crossovers" to the sport shooting and outdoors market; the number of tactical-styled rifles and assorted bling had some pundits quipping that maybe it's time to change the name to the "SWAT Show."

Long range hunting rifles aren't immune from the trend, as they are steadily adapting tactical looks and features. The changes won't hurt your wallet, though: Price points seem to be on the downswing, at least compared to the costs of some chassis rifles debuting just a couple years ago.

These new rifles typically weigh a couple more pounds than standard bolt-action hunting rifles. While some are light enough to carry on hunts, the extra heft likely means you won’t be humping up too many mountains with them. They are ideal, though, for hunts where you have access, solid rests and good shot opportunities out to several hundred yards.

Also new this year are a couple classic-styled hunting rifles priced well below $1,000.

As we first noted in early 2015, the 6.5mm Creedmoor cartridge is the hottest new round. Almost every manufacturer is, unsurprisingly, chambering for this cartridge with dozens of line extensions debuting this year.

Finally, air rifle innovations continue to roll.

Here's a look at this year's new rifles, in alphabetical order:

BERGARA B14 HUNTING AND MATCH RIFLE

Photo Credit: Manufacturer

Built at Bergara's Spain facility, the B14 HMR is one of the new hunting rifles loaded with features tactical shooters love. It has a nicely-textured, molded synthetic stock with a built-in, machined aluminum mini-chassis. This lets the builders fully free float the vertically honed, button-rifled Bergara Barrel, helping to ensure accuracy.

The ambidextrous stock has easily adjustable components, including the cheek piece and length of pull. It has multiple flush cup mounts for quick-detach items, plus multiple sling swivel studs for traditional bipod and sling attachments.

What else: B14 series adjustable trigger; Magpul PMAG Accuracy International Chassis System ( AICS) magazine; sub-1.0 minute-of-angle ( MOA) groups, or less, at 100 yards using factory match-grade ammunition guarantee

Variants: Initially offered in .308 Win and 6.5 Creedmoor

Barrel basics: The .308 barrel is 20 inches, two inches shorter than the 6.5. It's threaded 5/8-inch-by-24 to accept most compatible muzzle devices and suppressors.

Weight: 9.15 pounds without the scope

MSRP: $1,150 (without scope), making it a price leader in this category

Online: www.bergarausa.com.

CZ 455 AMERICAN STAINLESS SYNTHETIC

Photo Credit: Manufacturer

CZ's first stainless rimfire replaces the popular CZ452, an attractive tack driving rimfire. The 455's modular design will allow for more consistent production and repair, but rimfire fans will miss the hand engraving and styling of the 452.

Only a few hundred of the 452 models remain for sale. The 455's modular system makes it easy to swap barrels, chamberings and stocks. The bolt and bolt handle are finished in black nitride.

Variants: .22 LR, .17 HMR and .22 WMR

Barrel basics: The 20.5-inch barrel and action are finished in a matte bead blast.

Weight: 5.94 pounds

MSRP: $339 to $451

Online: www.cz-usa.com.

GAMO SWARM MAXXIM

Photo Credit: Manufacturer

Gamo makes great air rifles, and this new offering features a 10-round Quick Shot rotary-style magazine. Handloading individual pellets for each shot has long been the slowest part of the break-action, air rifle experience; with this rifle, you load the magazine and each time you break it to re-cock the gas-piston power plant, it precisely loads a new round. Shots are possible in just a couple seconds.

Gamo Whisper sound suppression knocks back the noise. It comes equipped with a 3-9x40 scope.

What else: Plastic, ambidextrous stock with vertically adjustable cheek piece; adjustable trigger factory set at 3.2 pounds; five-year limited warranty

Variants: The .22-caliber version delivers 975 feet per second velocity with PBA platinum pellets, while the .177-caliber achieves up to 1,300 FPS.

Barrel basics: 19.9 inches long

Weight: 5.6 pounds

MSRP: $199

Online: www.gamousa.com

Continue reading this article at MilitaryTimes.com.

#SHOTShow #Bestnewhuntingrifles