We’re back at PASA Park in Barry, IL, to get a bird’s-eye view of great new rifles. And unlike trade shows, we actually get to shoot them as well. Here’s what we got a look at on Day One of the event.
Most impressive precision rifle. Savage's Model 10 FCP-SR fitted with a suppressor from Surefire. I know, every event I gravitate toward precision rifles with suppressors, but making hits at long range with a gun that doesn't pound you or blow your hat off is always noteworthy.
The Savage 10 is part of the company's law enforcement lineup, and it features a detachable 10-round mag, AccuTrigger and AccuStock—all for around $1,200.
Most impressive semiauto. LWRC M6 Individual Carbine. The lower is features all ambidextrous controls, and the upper has the mounting base for the handguard machined as part of the upper receiver for added strength and reduced weight.
The LWRC M6 IC sports a two-position gas block (normal and suppressed) and LWRC backup irons. the flash hider is an AAC 51T Blackout 1/2x28 threads per inch.
LWRC redesigned with the company's new ambi charging handle. Where most handles have 1/16-inch pins, LWRC's uses beefy 1/8-inch pins and has only three moving parts.
Best niche rifle 1. Savage Lady Hunter. The day I left to come out here, my wife, Diana Rupp, who gave Savage input on the rifle's design, took her sample of the rifle (chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor) to the range after she dropped me off at the airport. She told me it shot well, posting 1 m.o.a. groups with Hornday's 120 GM load and 1.25-1.5 m.o.a. groups with the 129 SSt.
One of the big keys to the Savage Lady Hunter is the stock, which is designed with a high, sloping comb to accommodate a woman's longer neck. The stock is also shorter, and the barrel is bobbed an inch as well—pushing the balance point back (which, frankly, we could all benefit from).
Savage also paid a little extra attention to the checkering, giving it a more elegant look.
Best import. While Inter Ordnance, or I.O. for short, is making a name for itself building AK-style rifles here in the U.S., the company is also importing guns such as the Archer, a 922R compliant version of the Beryl Polish assault rifle. It's the only AK that has a bolt-hold-open feature.
Both front and rear sight on the Archer, which is manufactured primarily in Radom, Poland, had adjustable front and rear sights.
Best forward thinking hunting rifle. The Savage Hog Hunter. This rifle, chambered to .223, .308 and .338 Win. Mag., comes with iron sights.
And in addition to the front and rear sights on the Hog Hunter, the muzzle is threaded to accept a suppressor.
Once you install a Surefire flash hider/suppressor adapter, installing the suppressor is a snap, enabling you to hunt with our without the device.
Best traditional rifle. Hey, how can you beat the Model 94 Sporter in .38-55?
The 94 Sporter features the traditional half octagon/half-round barrel. It's a fine-handling rifle, although the fore-end on our shooting sample was a wee bit loose.
Nothing says cowboy quite like a crescent metal buttplate. The stock is nicely executed throughout.
Best innovation. The Savage Rascal is a kid's rifle, one that recognizes how important safety is. Rather than the common cocking device found on youth rifles, the Savage operates just like any other bolt action—no extra operations necessary beyond working the action. Plus the AccuTrigger means you can start a young shooter with a heavier trigger pull and lightening it as the shooter gains more experience.
And instead of rudimentary open sights, the Rascal boasts an aperture sight, which is a whole lot easier to explain to young shooters and will get them on road to shooting well much more quickly.