This May guns and gear take center stage in the Lone Star State. From May 2-5, an estimated 550 companies will display their latest products across 445,000 square feet of space in Houston’s George R. Brown Convention Center during the 2013 NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits. This year it’s quite possible more attendees will gather than in 2012 in St. Louis, when 73,740 visitors showed up for the three-day event. Herein we provide a glimpse of noteworthy 2013 introductions that’ll be on display in Texas; however, there simply isn’t enough room to cover everything. Your best opportunity to see the latest and greatest new products firsthand is to head to Houston.
BARRETT’s MRAD multi-caliber rifle is the cat’s meow for the most ambitious hunters and homeland defenders on the planet. The bolt-action .338 Lapua can be configured in minutes to shoot the .300 Win. Mag. and .308 Win.
BENELLI USA adds to its M2 Field shotgun line with a 20-gauge left-handed version and Compact versions in both 12 and 20. It’s traditionally wood-stocked Montefeltro is now offered with a black synthetic stock. For tactical and high-volume wingshooters who prefer ultra-fast-cycling guns, it introduces its tungsten-enshrouded Vinci speed bolt for Vinci models, claimed to aid shooters speed when engaging multiple targets.
BERETTA rolls out its next generation of competition over/unders, replacing the 682 with the 12-gauge 692. Two models—the 692 Sporting, a 3-inch gun featuring 28-, 30- and 32-inch barrels and interchangeable chokes and the 23/4-inch 692 X-Trap with 30- and 32-inch barrels and fixed chokes—feature a new Steelium Pro barrel that houses a longer forcing cone to reduce barrel climb and provide tighter patterns; a larger receiver; an adjustable trigger and comb; the new adjustable B-FAST balance system; and Beretta’s stock Memory System. Competitive shooters will flock to the new DT11 evolving from the legendary DT10 Trident that Beretta says won more medals than any other shotgun. Available for lefties, it is designed to reduce muzzle rise and provide for quicker follow up shots. New in the A400 semi-auto line is a 51/2-pound 20-gauge.
BERGARA USA isn’t just a barrel maker anymore with the introduction of its semi-custom rifle line. It offers its switch-barrel BX11 Take-Down Hunter, and custom rifles like the Long Range Hunter, Sport Hunter, Heavy Tactical and Medium Tactical. All feature Bergara barrels with various stock and trigger options for building your ultimate rifle.
BLASER’s Professional package teams a synthetic-stocked, straight-pull-bolt R8 Professional—in .270 Win., .308 Win., .30-06, .300 Win Mag., .300 Wby. Mag. or .375 H&H Mag.—with a Zeiss Conquest 3.5X-10X-44mm riflescope installed in a Blaser saddle mount. The $4,295 package comes in a custom Pelican travel case and includes a neoprene sling.
BROWNING overhauls its classic A-Bolt rifle to offer even more bang for the “Buckmark” with the AB3 featuring a new bolt, action, trigger and composite stock. Topped with an Inflex Technology recoil pad, it has a new detachable box magazine, hammer-forged barrel, top-tang safety and bolt unlock button that lets you keep the gun on safe while unloading. Following last year’s launch of the all-new A5 shotgun, the Humpback is now available in 12-gauge, 31/2-inch for hunters seeking extra payload for bigger birds and longer shots.
BUSHMASTER’s 308 Hunter, Predator and Varminter rifles now sport Magpul Original Equipment (MOE) stocks featuring an integral 1.25-inch sling loop, optional dual-side front and rear quick-detach mounting points, replaceable anti-slip rubberized butt pad and an internal storage compartment. The 308 Hunter has a fluted, 20-inch barrel, free-floating aluminum handguards and rubberized Hogue pistol grip. AR upper assemblies chambered in .300 AAC Blackout also are available.
Caesar Guerini is a maker of hand-finished, cnc-made over/under shotguns gaining a following in game fields and competitive clay games for their modest-priced performance and beauty. Its Ellipse is a coin-finished, round body over/under. With its English or Prince-of-Wales stock it’s perfect for quail fields. Available in 20- or 28 gauge or combination sets, all with 28-inch barrels
CHIAPPA FIREARMS introduces two 12-gauge, 3-inch break-action magnum shotguns. The Triple Crown is a full-length model with 28-inch barrels—three of them, to be exact: two side-by-side and one on top. The Triple Threat has attributes that make it ideal for home-defense with three, 18-inch barrels and a shoulder stock that can be converted to a pistol grip. Both guns have a tang safety and come with five Rem Choke-style chokes.
CROSMAN adds an AR-type break-barrel air rifle, the MSR77 NP, complete with a removable carry handle or a 4X-32mm riflescope, adjustable two-stage trigger and ammo storage in the false magazine. The MK-177 tactical pump rifle accepts pellets or BBs and includes accessory rails, adjustable sights and a five-pellet magazine. The Benjamin Legacy line adds the Jim Shockey Signature series, a .22-caliber break-barrel air rifle with adjustable comb, integrated sound suppression and 3X-9X-40mm scope.
CVA’s Optima V2 muzzleloader has a quality Bergara barrel, a great trigger and most components of the company’s top-end models, yet it’s priced right at $379.
CZ expands its 455 rimfire bolt-actions with the Tacticool, a .22 LR with composite Monte Carlo stock and beavertail fore-end. The 455 Varmint line adds the SST, in .22 LR, .17 HMR and .22 WMR, and the Varmint Thumbhole, in .22 LR or .17 HMR, fitted with a fluted barrel, adjustable single-set triggers and interchangeable barrels. The 612 Wildfowl Magnum is a rugged, camo-clad 12-gauge pump shotgun that includes modified and turkey chokes. The Upland Sterling over/under is built on a CNC-machined steel receiver for precision fit and function and sports a Turkish walnut stock.
Fabarm USA offers upland bird hunters its nifty Elos over/under, round-action, 20- or 28-gauge shotgun. The 5-pound, 14-ounce aluminum-framed version is incredibly lithe and responsive. The seven-pound steel version is color-casehardened. Both have narrow wrists and slim beavertail fore-ends. For clays shooters, most of the gas-operated XLR5 Velocity shotguns wear adjustable ribs and combs.
FNH USA offers a variant of its FN SC 1 over/under target shotgun that features 30-inch barrels. Its robust, laminated wood stock and chrome-lined, back-bored, ported barrels are perfect for clay games.
FRANCHI’s NRA Golden Bullseye-winning Affinity semi-auto shotgun is now available in a 20-gauge Compact version. The Affinity Sporting is an inertia-driven gun featuring brushed nickel finish, extended choke tubes, and a trim stock and fore-end. The big news is its Aspire over/under with a round action that’s color-casehardened and chambered in .410-bore and 28-gauge. Its slim stock and 28-inch barrels give it a lively feel.
GAMO introduces Bull Whispers, low-weight bull-barrel air rifles with noise-dampening technology for silent hunting. The “whisper” comes from the company’s NS-52 dampener that reduces noise and muzzle blast. Models include the Varmint Stalker, Varmint Stalker Deluxe, Varmint Hunter Stalker, Bone Collector Bull Whisper and Bull Whisper Extreme.
HENRY REPEATING ARMS expands its line of U.S.-made lever-action rifles with the Golden Boy Firefighter Tribute edition in .22 LR with engraved depictions of a firefighter rescuing a child on the nickel-plated receiver and a ladder truck in the walnut buttstock. Mare’s Leg lever-action pistols include .22 LR, .357 Mag., .44 Mag. and .45 Colt chamberings. A lever-action rifle with an 181/2-inch barrel chambered in .45-70 has a tubular magazine loaded through a port ahead of the fore-end and comes with XS Ghost Ring rear and blade front sights.