In 2018, Jeff Sipe came on as the head of Nosler’s rifle division, and having known Jeff for some time, when I heard the company had a brand-new mountain rifle in the works, I was excited to see the result. I finally did have a chance to examine that new rifle—the Nosler M48 Mountain Carbon—and I wasn’t disappointed.
The Mountain Carbon starts out with Nosler’s M48 push-feed action, each of which is blueprinted and hardened beyond standard production specifications. An anti-bind rail in the receiver aligns with a matching slot in the bolt and gives the M48 a smooth, bind-free bolt stroke.
The firing pin and springs are treated with Micro Slick dry lubricant to reduce friction and wear and vents in the bolt body vent gasses downward and away from the shooter for an added level of safety. The lugs are hand-lapped for precise lock-up and a spring-loaded extractor on the front of the bolt face ensures reliable cycling.
Nosler mated the M48 action with Proof Research’s 24-inch Light Sendero contour carbon fiber-wrapped cut rifled barrel with a ⅝x24 threaded muzzle and a green carbon fiber aramid Mountain Hunter stock. The action is glass and aluminum pillar bedded, and the M48 Mountain Carbon comes equipped with a Timney trigger and two-position rocker-type safety.
There’s an internal box magazine with a hinged aluminum floorplate, and the bottom metal and action are both treated with a Cerakote Tungsten Grey finish for maximum corrosion resistance. The M48 Mountain Carbon also accepts Remington 700 two-piece scope bases, so finding mounting hardware shouldn’t be a problem.
Combine all of these features and what you have is perhaps the ultimate hunting rifle, accurate enough for long-range shooting in open country, yet light enough (the unloaded rifle weighs just 6 pounds) for hiking into really steep country. The M48 Mountain Carbon gets my vote as one of the best-handling hunting rifles on the market, and molded texturing on the palm swell and forearm help provide a consistent, comfortable grip on the gun. Available chamberings include 6mm Creedmoor, 6.5 Creedmoor, .300 Win. Mag., and .26, .28, .30 and .33 Nosler.
With an MSRP of $3,140 this isn’t a rifle for every hunter, and Nosler understands that—but the company also understands the fact that anyone willing to shell out more than $3,000 on a hunting rifle expects a level of quality and performance on-par with a custom gun.
The company promises sub-MOA accuracy with Nosler prescribed ammo, but I’ve yet to shoot an M48 that wouldn’t do better than that. This rifle is constructed from the best components, and fit and finish are top-of-the-line. And to my mind, 6 pounds is perfect for a mountain rifle—not so light that recoil is abusive, yet easy to carry in the high country. Is it expensive? Yes, but the M48 Mountain Carbon is loaded with features that you won’t find on cheaper guns and it’s one of the best production hunting rifles ever to hit the market.