Field Test: New Ultra Light Arms Model 28

posted on August 26, 2017

Editor's Note: Executive Editor Adam Heggenstaller recently had a chance to test the New Ultra Light Arms Model 28 while on an elk hunt in New Mexico. You can catch up on that story here.

Gunsmith Melvin Forbes pioneered the concept of the ultra-lightweight hunting rifle in the 1980s when he built a bolt-gun that weighed less than 5 pounds. From his West Virginia workshop he formed Ultra Light Arms (now New Ultra Light Arms) and launched a revolution at a time when most centerfire rifles weighed almost twice that. More than 30 years later, Melvin’s rifles are still the ones against which all other so-called “ultra-light” rifles are compared.

The Model 28 I took to New Mexico for elk was chambered in .300 Win. Mag. yet weighed just 6 pounds. It was a joy to both carry and shoot—a product of a well-designed, graphite-reinforced Kevlar stock that directed recoil straight back to my shoulder and not my cheek.

Like all New Ultra Light Rifles, the Model 28 is built on a hand-lapped, push-feed action of Melvin’s own design. It, along with the Douglas barrel, is bedded along the entire interface with the stock. Melvin discovered this precise fit dampens barrel vibrations, leading to better accuracy. It works; hunters who say lightweight rifles aren’t accurate have never shot one of Melvin’s rifles.

Another feature that aids accuracy—or more correctly, a shooter’s ability to obtain accuracy—is the rifle’s trigger. Melvin insists on a Timney trigger for all his rifles; modern manufacturing processes and stringent quality-control measures ensure Timney triggers offer clean, consistent breaks. They’re dependable. Timney offers drop-in replacement triggers with a range of pull weights for a wide variety of rifles, and installing one is a simple upgrade that can work wonders in the field.


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