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Hunting Rifles

RifleShooter’s Varmint Rifle Guide

by J. Scott Rupp   |  August 8th, 2017 0

Spring and early summer are great times to get out and stretch your legs—and your shooting irons. Groundhogs, prairie dogs and similar critters will start making their first appearances, and it won’t be long before coyote hunting starts getting good. Here’s a roundup of some varmint-specific rifles worth checking out.

MossbergMVPMossberg MVP
Varmint & Predator The MVP allows the use of standard AR-15 or M1A/M14 magazines (depending on caliber) in a bolt gun, and now some models are available with threaded barrels: .204 Ruger and 7.62 NATO in the Varmint, and 6.5 Creedmoor and 7.62 in the Predator. The Creedmoor (shown) is all-new in the Predator. A number of these models can be had as scoped combos topped with Vortex Crossfire II riflescopes with BDC Dead-Hold reticles. >>$732–$935, mossberg.com

MossbergPatriotPredatorMossberg Patriot Predator
The Patriot is a well-built, affordable and, judging by the guns we’ve tested, accurate rifle, and this traditional bolt-action platform now includes a Predator version in .243 Win., 6.5 Creedmoor and .308 Win. All feature the adjustable LBA trigger, and the fluted 22-inch barrels are threaded. The guns come optics ready, courtesy of a top-mounted Picatinny rail. >>$441, mossberg.com

Savage22Savage A22
Savage was the first to figure out how to get the .17 HMR to work in a semiauto rifle with the A17, and now the company has taken that same design and chambered it in .22 Long Rifle. The A22 features the firm’s now-legendary AccuTrigger, and it feeds from a 10-round rotary magazine. It’s lightweight thanks to an aluminum-billet machined receiver, and the barrel is button-rifled. Adjustable sights, drilled and tapped for scope. >>$281, SavageArms.com

KimberOpenCountryKimber Open Country
Here’s a true double-duty rifle for coyotes or deer-size game—meaning you can get really good with a single rifle, as well as develop some killer loads. Built on the 84M action, it has a 24-inch stainless steel barrel, but thanks to the heavy fluting, it weighs in at just under seven pounds. The carbon-fiber stock features pillar bedding, and the match-grade trigger promises a break between three and 3.5 pounds. >>$2,269, KimberAmerica.com

RugerAmericanRimfireTargetRuger American Rimfire Target
Chambered for .22 Long Rifle, .22 Mag. and .17 HMR, the rifle sports an 18-inch hammer-forged, threaded barrel. The .22 LR version accepts 10/22 magazines, and the .22 Mag. and .17 HMR models feed via a proprietary nine-rounder. It’s got the Ruger Marksman adjustable trigger—with a possible pull weight range between three and five pounds—and the rifle comes with an aluminum Picatinny optics rail installed. In an unexpected aesthetic flourish, the black laminate stock has a Henry cut in the fore-end tip. >>$499, ruger.com

 

RugerAmericanPredatorRuger American Predator
The Predator is not new, but two aspects of it are. The gun is now chambered to the sexy new 6mm Creedmoor, and several chamberings are available as scoped combo packages featuring a Vortex Crossfire II scope: .204 Ruger, .223, 6.5 Creedmoor and .308. American Predators have a green synthetic stock, Ruger Marksman adjustable trigger and threaded barrels (5/8-24 in the 6mm, 1/2-28 for the new scoped combos). >>$529 (6mm Creedmoor), $699 (combos); ruger.com

NoslerModel48Nosler Model 48
The Model 48 Liberty (shown), wood-stocked Heritage and high-end Custom are now available in the.22 Nosler, which is profiled elsewhere in this issue. It’s a cartridge primarily developed for the AR-15 platform but a great choice for a bolt gun as well. And if you weren’t aware of it, the Liberty is also available in a quick-twist 1:9 barrel for the .22-250 Rem. As Model 48s go, the Liberty is the most affordable of the bunch, and you get a lot for your money: lightweight synthetic stock (glassed and pillar bedded), excellent trigger, Cerakote finish and m.o.a. guarantee. >>$1,795 (Liberty), $1,895 (Heritage), $2,495 and up (Custom); nosler.com

RockRiverArmsLAR-15Rock River Arms LAR-15
Fred Eichler Predator 2 The biggest change to this rifle over the previous version is the addition of Rock River Arms’ Fred Eichler muzzle brake, but the gun also gets a better-looking free-float handguard courtesy of a tan or gun metal gray RocKote finish. Available with Operator CAR or Operator A2 stock, the Predator 2 has a .223 Wylde chamber, so it will handle both .223 and 5.56 rounds, and it features a mid-length gas system. >>$1,735–$1,760, RockRiverArms.com

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