American Hunter 2024 Golden Bullseye Award Winners

Our Golden Bullseye Awards honor exceptional design, manufacturing, performance and value for American hunters and gun owners.

by
posted on December 20, 2023
GBA 2024 AH Lead

The winners of American Hunter’s 2024 Golden Bullseye Awards—now in their 22nd year—have been announced. The Golden Bullseye Awards recognize the firearm industry’s top products as voted on by American Hunter staff editors.

“Last year was one of massive new product introductions from the recreational shooting sports industry,” said NRA Publications’ Executive Director Doug Hamlin. “As a result, the NRA Publications editorial staff had some tough decisions to make to identify the best all new products.”

The awards are selected by the editorial staffs of four of NRA Publications’ properties through a rigorous evaluation process, and they are each reviewed by NRA Publications’ management. “Thank you to the dedicated NRA Publications editorial staffers who tested and evaluated hundreds of new products before making their 2024 Golden Bullseye selections,” said Hamlin.

Golden Bullseye winners are selected by an expert board representing more than a century of collective experience in the shooting, hunting and outdoor arena. To qualify for consideration, a product must have been:
• Recently introduced and available for purchase;
• Used/tested by staff or a regular contributor;
• Reliable in the field, meeting or exceeding the evaluator’s expectations;
• Innovative in design and function;
• Readily perceived as a value to the consumer;
• Styled in a manner befitting the shooting and hunting industry and, perhaps more importantly, its enthusiasts.

The winners of American Hunter's 2024 Golden Bullseye Awards are:

Marlin Model 336 Classic lever action rifle full length.

Rifle of the Year: Marlin Model 336 Classic
Don’t for a second think this brand-new Marlin Model 336 Classic is anything but pure Marlin. We’d say new owner Ruger is doing great by this brand. This lever-action rifle is fantastic.

All the classic Marlin attributes are present. The blued-steel, slab-sided flat-top receiver is drilled and tapped for scope bases. The lever is gracefully curved inward to match the lines of the grip. The tubular magazine holds six rounds of .30-30. A pair of safeties from old and new times includes a half-cock hammer and a cross-bolt. Sights include a hooded, ramped front brass bead and an adjustable, elevator-style rear buckhorn. The butt and fore-end are made of good old American black walnut. And to finish off the classic look, a wide brass trigger averages about 5 pounds’ pull with no take-up.

What is new and improved is the rifling. All barrels are made by Ruger these days, so you can expect to find cold hammer-forging instead of the micro-grooving of yesterday. Also, the classic Marlin bullseye is no longer black and white but red and white. The grip cap now features the Marlin horse and rider, and the fore-end is a bit slimmer than older models. Best of all, Ruger Marlins are more precisely machined than ever; all internal parts except the trigger/sear are tumbled for better consistency and smoother operation right out of the box.

The gun weighs 7 pounds 2 ounces, which isn’t surprising considering this all-American classic is made with a lot of steel. We can expect a .35 Remington chambering soon, but we needn’t wait to hunt deer with this beauty; the .30-30 Win. chambering will do just fine.

Review: Marlin Model 336 Classic
#SundayGunday: Marlin Model 336 Classic


TriStar LR94 Lever Action .410 shotgun.

Shotgun of the Year: TriStar LR94 Lever-Action .410
The Tristar Arms LR94 is a .410-bore lever-action shotgun that makes a great small-game getter and plinker. It’s offered in three finishes: matte black, color casehardened or nickel. We ordered the color-casehardened unit, and were impressed by its Old World looks including an oil-finished Turkish walnut stock and a tasteful leather wrap on the lever.

This lever action is a top-loader. Sights include a ramped bead front and an adjustable, elevator-type, buckhorn rear. It’s built with a 2½-inch chamber, a 24-inch barrel and a 14¼-inch length of pull. It uses Beretta MobilChoke tubes, and one is included. A rebounding hammer is the primary safety. Pinch it with your thumb and forefinger to turn it left, to safe, and right, to fire. On safe, the trigger may be pulled and the hammer will fall but the firing pin will be blocked from striking the primer of a case in the chamber. A secondary safety protrudes from the bottom tang and is activated when the lever is closed and the bolt is locked. If this pin is not fully depressed the trigger will be blocked because the action is still open and the bolt is out of battery, and the gun will not fire. A half-cock hammer serves as a third safety.

This awesome little garden gun lists for $1,070, which means you should be able to find it for less than a grand, and it is covered by Tristar’s five-year warranty.

#SundayGunday: TriStar LR94 
First Look: TriStar LR94 Lever-Action .410 Shotgun


Remington Core-Lokt 360 Buckhammer ammunition.

Ammunition Product of the Year: Remington 360 Buckhammer
Thanks to changing regulations, hunters in shotgun-only deer-hunting zones gravitate more and more toward straight-wall cartridges because they know they can getter better accuracy out of a bullet fired from a centerfire cartridge than a slug fired from a shotgun shell. No doubt Remington saw this when they created the 360 Buckhammer. It’s a modern straight-wall cartridge ready to take on deer seasons with more velocity and greater accuracy than shotgun slugs.

To create it, Remington engineers straightened a .30-30 case to hold a .358 bullet—simple as that. The result fits the straight-wall definition for state deer hunting regs, and the case is shorter than the 1.8-inch maximum length set by three states. It’s a rimmed cartridge to allow precise headspacing.

In the field is where it shows its stuff. How’s this for modern performance? A 200-grain bullet from the 360 Buckhammer leaves the muzzle at 2160 fps, a wee bit faster than a 200-grain bullet from the .35 Remington. This is accomplished by increasing the pressure just a bit. See, more than a century ago guns were not all built to take much more than the 35,000 psi produced by a .35 Remington. However, today, guns are built better and stronger than ever, so the 50,000 psi of the 360 Buckhammer won’t be felt in anything but a new gun.

With a 150-yard zero, the 200-grain Core-Lokt is 2.08 inches high at 100 yards, and at 200 yards it’s 5.52 inches low. With a 150-yard zero, the 180-grain Core-Lokt  is 1.65 inches high at 100, and 4.52 inches low at 200. Yep, this is a 200-yard cartridge. Try that with a slug. A box of 20 from Remington runs about $40.

Review: Remington 360 Buckhammer
Behind the Bullet: 360 Buckhammer


Burris Veracity PH riflescope facing left.

Optic of the Year: Burris Veracity PH Riflescope
Have you ever failed to dial in a shooting solution fast enough, only to watch the buck of your dreams walk out of view? We have, too, which is why we love this scope. The Veracity PH is a Bluetooth-enabled riflescope that works in tandem with a slick app called BurrisConnect. The combination allows you to dial elevation to correct for range to target then hold off for wind all while looking through the scope. All a hunter needs to do is determine distance.

Inside the 4-20x50mm riflescope is a heads-up display (HUD) that shows in real time the distance, or MOA adjustment, that is being dialed to account for distance to target thanks to data of your rifle/cartridge combination being pushed to the scope by the app. Additionally, ballistically matched windage holds are made based on the wind speed you predetermine in the app. In fact, all ballistic or environmental values can be changed easily in the app at any time as field conditions change. All this eliminates the need to carry a ballistic chart or a calculator. A hunter simply ranges the target then, while looking through the scope, dials the elevation knob until the desired rage or MOA correction is shown on the HUD and picks the proper wind hold.

Burris Veracity PH riflescope display showing deer in snow.

The heart of all this is what Burris calls its Programmable Elevation Knob, or PEK. It’s “clickless” by the way, as the PEK uses a digital position sensor to keep track of rotations. And because it's using a digital sensor as opposed to machined "click" adjustments that raise or lower your elevation in set increments, shooters are able to dial to more exacting ranges than previously allowed. Elevation is still being mechanically adjusted inside the scope, same as in other scopes, but in this case the position sensor, onboard electronics and the app work to track and tell you how much the scope is being adjusted.

The rest of the scope looks like just about any other riflescope. The main tube is 30mm. The elevation knob is exposed and includes a zero stop. The windage knob is covered by a threaded cap. Also present is a fast-focus eyepiece, a low-profile power selector ring, side parallax focus knob and a rotating on/brightness control for the HUD, wide low-magnification field of view and enough zoom to take aim at extended distance. A 50mm objective along with index-matched Hi-Lume multicoated lenses create good low-light performance. The reticle is a Burris Wind MOA in the first focal plane—it grows or shrinks as you zoom in and out, staying the same size in relation to the target.

This 21st-century optical genius makes it simpler and faster than ever to dial in the right elevation for that buck of a lifetime.

Review: Burris Veracity PH 4-20x50


Hornady Mobilis medium size gun safe.

Gear of the Year: Hornady Security Mobilis Safes
Despite its solid steel door, nine-gauge two-ply steel exterior walls and the nine, 1-inch steel locking bolts, a modular Mobilis Safe from Hornady Security can be transported and assembled piece by piece, any place you like, and ships complete with the tools and hardware required to put it together. Its Square-Lok interior organization system can be configured to suit your needs. And get this: Hornady doesn’t set your safe’s digital combo—you do, and there’s no back door. Three sizes are available from $2,855.99 to $6,413.99.


2024 Golden Bullseye Pioneer Award: Brandon Maddox, founder and CEO, Silencer Central
The Golden Bullseye Pioneer Award specifically honors outstanding personal achievement. The Pioneer Award spotlights the exemplary achievement and cumulative body of work of an individual, or members of a family, team or partnership, responsible for the development and introduction of shooting equipment that has made a profound, positive and enduring impact on the way Americans shoot and hunt.

Adult male wearing blue jacket standing with arms crossed in front of Silencer Central logo on brick wall.

Selected for the 2024 Pioneer Award is Brandon Maddox. “A heartfelt congratulations to Silencer Central founder and CEO Brandon Maddox on his Pioneer award recognition,” said Hamlin. “Brandon epitomizes the entrepreneurial spirit that is alive and well in United States of America. He has really opened up the silencer new product category to the masses.”


Freedom Award: Larry and Brenda Potterfield, founders and owners, MidwayUSA
This year there is a new and significant Golden Bullseye Award. While most acknowledge the finest products available in the shooting sports, the “A1F Freedom Award” from the NRA’s America’s 1st Freedom is for a person (or team) who has distinguished themselves as a standout defender of our Second Amendment freedom in business, politics and/or American culture. Some recipients might be defenders of our right to keep and bear arms in the political arena. Others might be doing so in Hollywood or in the media. And still others might be impacting the shooting sports in business in such a positive way that they are instrumental in enhancing and, therefore, saving this precious freedom for future generations. Whatever the case, they are being commended for all they do and have done for our freedom.

Male and female standing in wheat field with shotguns on their shoulders.

Larry and Brenda Pottterfield, founders and owners of MidwayUSA, were selected as the inaugural recipients of the “A1F Freedom Award” as nominated by the editors of NRA Publications’ Official Journal America’s 1st Freedom. “I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Larry and Brenda Potterfield for more than 35 years,” said Hamlin. “As shooting and hunting enthusiasts themselves their passion for everything in the shooting sports industry, and the people who participate in the activities that have shaped American culture is unparalleled. Larry and Brenda are selfless and most generous. Their long-standing support of the National Rifle Association of America is most appreciated.”

The 2024 Golden Bullseye Awards as well as the Pioneer Award and the Freedom Award will be presented in person at an invitation-only event during the NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits in Dallas, Texas.

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