Nosler Model 48 Outfitter Review

Nosler Model 48 Outfitter


In 1946, John Nosler had a dilemma. He needed a bullet that could be counted upon to expand reliably and consistently and varying velocities and ranges, and since he couldn't find anything that suited his needs on the market at that time, he set about designing his own. A year later the Partition arrived, and for almost 70 years it has remained a popular and dependable choice for hunters around the world.


Fast forward six decades. The company John Nosler founded became one of the world's leading producers of bullets, ammunition and brass. All that experience developing ammunition and components afforded the folks at Nosler a thorough understanding of not only bullets and cartridges but of the rifles that fired them. So in the late 2000s Nosler introduced its Model 48 Rifle, a high-end bolt action that promised to be extremely accurate and durable enough for years of abuse in the field. And, like the Partition, the Model 48 was a hit.

This acceptance by the hunting community has allowed Nosler to expand the Model 48 lineup, and the newest version of the Model 48 is the Outfitter, which incorporates all the hallmark features of the Model 48 into a short, light package.


My test rifle, which was chambered in .338 Win. Mag., wore the same aramid fiber-reinforced composite stock with straight comb and rollover cheekpiece that you'll find on the company's popular Trophy Grade rifle, and the same blind internal box magazine and the metal work had the same Cerakote finish to protect the rifle from the elements. The major difference on the Outfitter is that the barrel has been chopped to 22 inches and the rifle comes equipped with auxiliary iron sights.

The action of the Model 48 is Nosler's own creation and incorporates an AR-15 style spring-loaded extractor and a plunger-type ejector. It has dual opposed locking lugs that are hand-lapped and a recessed bolt face that locks up tightly and hugs the base of the cartridge securely. The one-piece bolt body is CNC machined and heat treated for tight tolerances, and the bolt has shallow flutes that allow it to run smoothly through the action and resist binding.

Large gas vents are cut into the bottom of the bolt body for safety, and the bolt is one of the easiest to disassemble that I've ever seen; simply rotate the rear of the bolt 90 degrees and the assembly comes apart for cleaning and maintenance. The spring and firing pin are both treating with a Micro Slick coating to protect from wear.

Like other Nosler rifles, the action is blueprinted and trued and has a large, square-bottomed recoil lug that fits into the aluminum bedding of the stock. The edges of the receiver are scalloped to reduce weight, and the receiver is drilled and tapped to accept bases for a Remington 700/Weatherby Mark V.

The side-mounted, rocker-style, two-position safety allows the action to be operated in Safe mode, and a large red dot indicates when the rifle is ready to fire. The top of the safety lever is serrated for a secure grip even with gloves or when the fingers are wet and cold.

The 22-inch, button-rifled, match-grade barrel is hand-lapped and has a radiused target crown. The Outfitter comes with a crisp, clean three-pound trigger that breaks cleanly without any creep, which is what you'd expect in a rifle built to these standards. The trigger guard is oversized to accommodate gloved fingers.

Unlike the cheap sights that are sometimes placed on carbine-length rifles — seemingly as an afterthought or a decorative touch — the Outfitter has a legitimate set of irons. They're easy to adjust for windage and elevation by loosening screws on the rear sight and moving the notched V-blade. The front sight features a bright fiber-optic bead that is easy to find, especially in low light.

With all of the features that Nosler packs into this rifle, you'd expect it to be very accurate. Well, you wouldn't be disappointed. With two of the three ammunition types tested, the Outfitter grouped under an inch on average, and there were three groups under three-quarters of an inch. Nosler sent the rifle topped with a Leopold VX-R 2-7X scope with Leupold QD bases, an excellent setup if you're actually planning to use the iron sights.

Well-built and deadly accurate, the Nosler 48 Outfitter is a top choice for anyone looking for a short, light rifle. It's available in six caliber ranging from .30-06 to .458 Win. Mag., so whether you're after a rifle to hunt deer and bear in the forest or elephants in the thorns of Africa, you'll be covered. My primary complaint? I had to send this rifle back at the end of the test.

Recommended for You

Ammo

.22 Memory Lane

J. Scott Rupp - January 04, 2019

The author takes stock of rimfire rifles he's known and loved.

Rimfire

Winchester Releases Wildcat 22 LR Rimfire Rifle

Rifle Shooter Digital Staff - April 11, 2019

Winchester Repeating Arms releases the new autoloading Wildcat 22 LR rimfire rifle.

Accessories

Three Rangefinder Products from Leica

J. Scott Rupp - May 08, 2019

If you're a serious shooter with deep pockets, these Leica products are worthy of...

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Ruger Launches New American Rifle Predator in 6.5 Grendel

OSG's Lynn Burkhead and Ruger's Matt WIlson kick off SHOT Show 2018 by taking a look at the Ruger Predator.

Delta 5 - Daniel Defense's New Precision Bolt Action Rifle

Those looking to explore precision rifle shooting without going broke will be well served by Daniel Defense's new Delta 5.

Gun Clips with Joe Mantegna - BULLPUPS

Joe Mantegna talks about the origins of Bullpups.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

MSR

M&P15 SPORT II Rifle Available with CTS-103 Optic

Rifle Shooter Digital Staff - April 23, 2019

Smith & Wesson's M&P15 SPORT II OR rifle with Crimson Trace CTS-103 optic will be on display...

Accessories

Rifle Shooter Father's Day 2019 Gift Guide

J. Scott Rupp - May 07, 2019

Rifle Shooter editor Scott Rupp provides a comprehensive list of ideal Father's Day gifts.

Rimfire

Thompson/Center Arms Adds Stock Options to Rimfire Line

Rifle Shooter Digital Staff - April 16, 2019

Thompson/Center Arms rimfire rifles are available with Traditional Hardwood and Flat Dark...

See More Stories

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction.

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

×