If the firearms industry is good at anything, it is churning out new products every year that we “must” have. The amount of innovation in the outdoor gear world can be overwhelming, but we work to monitor it closely so that you don’t have to. Here’s a list, in no particular order, of the top new rifles for 2018 ranging from pricey to pedestrian, from both large and smaller manufacturers.
Barrett is known worldwide for building some of the largest and heaviest man-portable arms on the planet so it’s a tad ironic that the company’s venture into the hunting market began with a rifle that weighs less than six pounds. The Fieldcraft’s tiny but well-built stainless steel action is scaled to the cartridge size, and the magazine and chamber throat dimensions give handloaders much to work with. The pillar and full-length bedded stock is both rigid and comfortable and it, along with the Timney trigger, makes the Fieldcraft very shootable in the field. I tested and hunted with this rifle extensively last fall and winter, and was very impressed by its fit, finish, function and accuracy. Mine wore the shorter 18-inch barrel which, with a suppressor affixed, handled just like a standard sporting rifle. The Fieldcraft is available in ten short and long-action cartridges with corresponding twist rates that actually make sense. MSRP: $1,799; barrett.net.
Nosler Model 48 Long-Range Carbon
Nosler’s line of custom rifles have established a reputation as being loaded with features, and this year, they’re adding a Proof Research carbon-fiber wrapped barrel to the already long list of available upgrades. The Long-Range Carbon combines Nosler’s trued and faced M48 action with a Cerakote finish, a Proof Research Light Sendero contour barrel, pillar-bedded Manners MCS-T carbon fiber stock, Timney trigger and 5/8-24 threaded muzzle. I took a big Utah bull elk with a Nosler M48 Long-Range in 2017, and trust me, they shoot. At first glance, this rifle’s MSRP might seem high, but when you add-up with cost of the aftermarket components, it becomes an extremely good value as custom rifles go. The M48 Long-Range Carbon is available in 6.5 Creedmoor, .300 Win. Mag. and the powerful .26, .28, .30 and .33 Nosler Cartridges. MSRP: $3,095; nosler.com.
Savage 110 Storm
When discussing the attributes of a hunting rifle, stock fit is often left behind. This is because, while important for making hits on game, stock fit is difficult for the consumer to manipulate. Savage is addressing that challenge with its AccuFit stock, which allows the user to adjust height of comb and length-of-pull using a series of risers and inserts which are included with the Model 110 Storm and other select rifles. In addition to this innovative synthetic stock, the 110 Storm features a stainless steel barreled action, AccuTrigger, a detachable box magazine and is drilled and tapped for scope mounts. This rifle is chambered in a long list of cartridges ranging from .22-250 Rem. to .338 Win. Mag., and is even available in one of my personal favorites—the .280 Ackley Improved. MSRP: $849; savagearms.com.
Name a more-iconic sporting rifle brand than Mauser; I dare you. Mauser rifles and their derivatives have dominated the hunting world for well over a century. With the new M18, Mauser has coupled that legendary name with a rifle that is within the financial reach of many hunters. Dubbed “The People’s Rifle” by Mauser, this synthetic-stocked rifle uses a three-lug action, detachable box magazine, twin plunger ejectors and an extractor that is a major departure from the 1898-style “claw.” The trigger is adjustable, and a three-position safety sits in a common-sense position on the right side of the tang. These rifles are lightweight and well-balanced and are currently available in .308 Win. and 30-06 Sprg. Mauser will be adding .243 Win., .270 Win., 7mm Rem. Mag. and .300 Win. Mag. to the list of available cartridges in July. MSRP: $699.99; mauser.com.
Anyone who knows me knows me is aware that my vice is expensive custom rifles, but after hunting mule deer in Wyoming with the T/C Compass last year, I will handily admit that rifles need not be pricey to be useful. This synthetic stocked bolt-action is available in eleven standard and magnum cartridges appropriate for everything from prairie dogs to moose. The blued and threaded barrels use 5R rifling and are either 22 or 24 inches long, depending on the chambering. The trigger is adjustable, and the safety is located on the bolt shroud, much like a Winchester Model 70. The detachable box magazine holds four magnum or five standard cartridges and Weaver-style scope bases come pre-mounted on the rifle. This is a rifle is a ton of gun for the money. MSRP: $399; tcarms.com.
Ruger American Rimfire Target
No list of rifles is complete without at least one rimfire. Ruger’s American Rimfire Target rifle is a bolt-action design that accepts all 10/22 detachable box magazines, giving the user a choice of capacity. The 18-inch cold hammer-forged chromoly steel target profile barrel is threaded for a suppressor and comes fitted with a knurled thread protector. The stock is made of dark laminate and is available in either a traditional or thumbhole configuration in .22 LR (the thumbhole version is not available in the other chamberings). The Marksman trigger can be user-adjusted from 3 to 5 pounds, and the receiver-mounted bolt-release allows the bolt to be removed without the trigger being pulled. An aluminum Picatinny rail is installed at the factory for simple scope mounting. The Ruger American Rimfire Target is available in .22 LR, .22 WMR and .17 HMR. MSRP: $499-$599; ruger.com.