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.
LEGACY SPORTS introduces the Escort Supreme 20, a lightweight 20-gauge shotgun for upland shooting. A high-gloss walnut stock and adjustable shims make it a great buy.
MOSSBERG teams with bow maker Mathews to launch a pump-action line housing Mathews’ Harmonic Damper Technology that interrupts the recoil wave as it passes through the Dual-Comb stock to reduce felt recoil up to 20 percent. Models include the 835 Ulti-Mags, 535 ATS Turkey and Waterfowl; two M500 12-gauges; a Field/Deer Two-Barrel Combo; and a special-purpose Tactical 6-Shot. And not only does it add to its FLEX System shotgun line with the 12-gauge, 3-inch 500 FLEX Slugster, it applies the modular concept to rifles, launching seven MVP FLEX series rifles in 5.56mm NATO. It expands the M500 Thunder Ranch line with a 20th Anniversary 12-gauge pump, Maverick HS12 12-gauge over/under and a 5.56mm NATO-chambered MVP rifle. New 20-gauges include two M500 pumps, two SA-20 semi-autos and the Maverick 88 Youth 20-gauge pump with a 12-inch length of pull.
NOSLER CUSTOM adds to its growing rifle line with the Model 48 Outfitter Rifle. It features Nosler’s M48 custom action; a hand-lapped, match-grade, stainless steel 22-inch barrel; adjustable rear sight and fiber-optic front sight; Cerakote finish on all metalwork inside and out; a free-floating barrel and glass- and pillar-bedded action; and sub-MOA groups with Nosler ammunition. Chambered in .30-06, .338 Win Mag, .35 Whelen, 9.3x62mm, 375 Ruger and .458 Win. Mag.
FORBES RIFLE LLC offers Melvin Forbes’ custom-like rifles at a fraction of the cost of his original lightweight rifles. The Model 24B, a standard-action-length rifle, weighs just more than 5 pounds thanks to Forbes’ custom, hand-laid composite stocks. A left-handed model will launch as well as the short-action Model 20 that exemplifies what a Forbes rifle is all about—accuracy and light weight.
REMINGTON announces the Model 783, the “next-generation” of its bolt-action rifles. It features a magnum-contour barrel attached to a solid-top, cylindrical receiver via a barrel nut; dual opposed locking lugs; a pillar-bedded synthetic stock; metal detachable magazine with a metal latch for reliability; Remington’s SuperCell recoil pad; an adjustable Crossfire trigger; and an MSRP of only $451. 2013 marks the 50th anniversary of the company’s iconic Model 1100 autoloading shotgun. The anniversary edition has a machine-cut engraved receiver with gold fill based upon the 2-millionth 1100 on display in the company’s Ilion, N.Y., museum; a commemorative 1963 serial number prefix; B-grade walnut stock; a 28-inch vent-rib barrel with Rem Choke; and a green Remington hard case. The company also offers a fully rifled, 25-inch barrel for its Versa Max autoloading shotgun.
ROCK RIVER ARMS’ LAR-15 Delta rifles in 5.56mm and .223 feature 16-inch barrels with 1:9-inch twists; two-stage triggers with “winter” guards for heavy gloves; A2 flash hiders; versatile Delta Quad rails; and two-piece aluminum drop-in handguards in carbine and mid-length versions. Forged A4 upper receivers accept sights and accessories. For lefties, the LAR-15LH LEF-T series now includes the LEF-T CAR A4, LEF-T Mid-Length A4 with left-hand models in the LEF-T Predator Pursuit, Coyote and Varmint series. Barrels feature left-hand twists for enhanced muzzle control.
RUGER expands the innovative American rifle line, adding two 6-pound compact models in .243 and 7mm-08 with shorter lengths of pull. The SR-556 semi-auto line now includes the 556VT, a varmint/target model featuring a two-stage trigger, adjustable four-position gas regulator for reliability and a stainless barrel with a 1:8-inch twist. Great news for lefties: Its rugged Guide Gun is available in a .375 Ruger left-handed option.
SAVAGE announces the B-Mag, the first in the industry built around Winchester’s lightning-fast .17 Winchester Super Magnum cartridge. With its rear locking lugs and unique cock-on-close bolt-action, it’s like a rimfire housed in a centerfire package.
SMITH & WESSON’S M&P 10 is an AR-15 platform chambered in .308 Win. clothed in camouflage for your next hunt. Though it houses a formidable big-game round, the rifle is only 37.5 inches long and weighs 8.1 pounds. Features include a flat top for optics; fixed MagPul MOE stock; 18-inch barrel with 1:10-inch twist; mid-length gas system; ambidextrous safety, mag release and bolt release; and a detachable, metal, five-round magazine (10-round M&P magazines and 20-round PMags are available).
STEYR’S Mannlicher Pro African rifle features a composite stock that’s soft to the touch, making it quiet in the bush. A tactical bolt allows fast follow-ups. The Mannlicher Duett is an over/under combination gun.
STOEGER goes retro with Longfowler 12-gauge double-barrel shotguns. The Longfowler SxS is a hefty twin pipe modeled after classic waterfowling guns of yesterday. The Longfowler over/under has 30-inch barrels and a beavertail fore-end. The ATAC Suppressor air rifle pushes an alloy .177-caliber pellet to 1200 fps, and does so more quietly than non-suppressed airguns. The X3 airgun is built with smaller dimensions for young hunters.
TRADITIONS announces the most innovative muzzleloader of the last few years in its Vortek Strikerfire. The .50-caliber in-line rifle uses an internal striker moved via of a thumb button on the tang that cocks the gun rather than a hammer. This allows more room for a scope, and it’s quite possibly safer to de-cock. Countless features include a stock space for storing possibles.
THOMPSON/CENTER releases the Venture Compact, with a shorter barrel and slimmer profile than the original bolt-action rifle. Features include a composite stock with spacers to adjust length of pull; 20-inch, free-floating barrel; nitrate-coated bolt with 60-degree throw for ease of operation beneath a scope; adjustable trigger; reduced weight of only 6.75 pounds; shortened overall length of just 40.75 inches; Weaver scope bases installed; QD sling swivel studs; single-stack, detachable, three-round nylon magazine; guaranteed MOA accuracy; and T/C’s lifetime warranty. Chamberings include .22-250 Rem., .243 Win., 7mm-08 Rem. and .308 Win.
TRISTAR touts its Hunter EX LT as the lightest 20-gauge over/under shotgun at 5.4 pounds. A 20-gauge version is available at 6.8 pounds. The 12- and 20-gauge 3-inch Raptor may be the least expensive semi-auto shotgun on the market at $399.
WEATHERBY’s Back Country rifle returns to the Vanguard S2 line with Cerakote Tactical Grey metalwork; synthetic Monte Carlo stock; 24-inch fluted barrel; two-stage, adjustable trigger; three-position safety; overall weight of just 6.75 pounds; and the company’s sub-MOA guarantee. The Vanguard S2 Synthetic Rifle Package is upgraded with a Redfield Revenge 3X-9X-42mm scope, nylon sling and injection-molded case. The Mark V Accumark RC features “range-certified” accuracy that comes with a sub-MOA guarantee; a hand-laminated Monte Carlo composite stock; T-6 aluminum bedding plate; factory-tuned, adjustable trigger; in 14 calibers. The PA-08 Synthetic pump shotgun, available as a sporting arm or TR (Threat Response) model, is now on hand in 20-gauge. The Wby X brand features rifles and shotguns in edgy camouflage and color patterns designed for hunters and shooters who want to make a special statement. Names like Whitetail Bonz, Hog Reaper and GH2 (Girls Hunt 2) should do it. Models in the “X” lineup include Vanguard S2 rifles, PA-08 and PA-459 pump shotguns, and SA-08 semi-auto shotguns.
WINCHESTER returns its world-renowned Model 73/1873 lever-action rifle with its steel buttplate, 20-inch barrel and walnut stock. It features a semi-buckhorn rear sight with gold bead front sight and is available in .357/.38 Spl. The Model 70 bolt-action Ultimate Shadow Hunter SS (stainless) and Ultimate Shadow Hunter (blued) are available in most popular short-action, short-magnum and long-action calibers. Stocks feature rubberized surfaces to enhance grip and pre-’64-style controlled round feed with claw extractors. The company unveils three new Super X Pump (SXP) shotguns starting with the Black Shadow Deer SXP, a 3-inch model with a 22-inch rifled barrel and synthetic stock. The SXP 3-inch Field and Waterfowl Hunter in 3- and 31/2-inch round out the offerings with 26- and 28-inch barrels.