RifleShooter's Best Rifle Reviews of 2013

RifleShooter's Best Rifle Reviews of 2013

Our trigger fingers have been busy again this year to bring you exclusive gun reviews on an arsenal of rifles.

We've reviewed quite a collection of firearms since January, but a few select pieces stick out as some of our favorite reviews from the past 11 months.

Check out our best rifle reviews of 2013, and be sure to read the full reviews of each.

D'Arcy Echols Legend

Without question, the thing that stands out about the Legend is it wears a synthetic stock. The stock is made by McMillian using a mold cast from one of Echols' French Walnut designs. The stock is available in both right- or left-handed configuration, and has an adjustable straight comb to suit lengths of pull from 13-15 inches. I'm not so great at articulating what I like in a gunstock, but this stock feels 'œright' to me when I bring it to my shoulder.

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H&R Ultra Varmint Thumbhole

Aside from the stock, the single-shot is pure utilitarian. All metal surfaces are matte finished and blued with attention to the details that befits a rifle of this price range. The barrel is a stout 24 inches long, bull barrel in configuration that tapers from 1.105 inch at the breech to .775 inch at the target-crowned muzzle. At the base of the breech, there is a sturdy extractor that pulls up the spent cartridge just far enough to pull it from the chamber. There is no ejector, a feature that handloaders appreciate.

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IWI Tavor

Features include ambidextrous QD sling swivel mounts and a rubber recoil pad. The body is manufactured from a high-strength polymer. All metal parts feature a protective corrosion-resistant finish. The 18-inch models come with a Mil Std bayonet lug. As to be expected, the design is easily field-stripped for routine cleaning, and cleaning gear can be stored in the pistol grip.

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Kel-Tec Sub-2000

What makes the SUB-2000 so desirable is its unusual ability to fold neatly in half. Overall length of the carbine, ready to fire, is just 29.5 inches, but this can be reduced to just 16 inches — without tools or removing any parts or pieces — in a matter of a couple seconds. This allows it to be easily stowed for discreet carry. It can then be put into action in a matter of seconds by merely unfolding it and chambering a round.

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Magnum Research MLR22

While it performed fine from the bench, where this rifle really shines is in its handling. It's lively, fast-pointing, and a pleasure to shoot from field positions. It would make an excellent rifle for action rimfire or plinking and a great companion for hunting squirrels or shooting varmints at close ranges (although they should consider adding sling swivel studs to the Barracuda version for hunters).

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Marlin Model 336BL

With the trend today for more durable rifles, the Model 336BL has a brown laminated hardwood stock that covers both the buttstock and fore-end. The fore-end of the gun is rather full, which makes it feel good in the hand especially with gloves on. It is nicely finished and inletted and has the typical Marlin point checkering complete with a diamond centered within the pattern.

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Mauser M12

Between zeroing, chronographing, grouping, cleaning, firing fouling shots and so forth, I put a bunch of rounds through this rifle, and I learned a couple of subtle things. All barrels are different, but in my experience hammer-forged barrels are fairly tolerant of heat. With this barrel some of the best groups were fired from a warm barrel.

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Mossberg MVP in 7.62

All through the sighting in, the hunt itself, and the range work afterward, the test gun performed without a hitch. The magazines snapped into place with a definitive click that can be heard and felt. The magazine can be charged by pushing rounds straight down through the feed lips rather than having to back them under same. And the LBA trigger was crisp and creepless.

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NEMO Omen

I found the Omen to be great fun to shoot. It was nicely made, and reliability was 100 percent. It's a very soft-shooting rifle, but, the barrel heats very quickly. Rattle off one 14-round magazine and it's hotter than a Maxim gun on the Somme in July of 1916. If used energetically, I doubt barrel life would be exceedingly long.

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Nosler Model 48 Outfitter

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.

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Remington Model 783

The action of the 783 works in a similar fashion to the standard Model 700, with a push-feed bolt with dual opposing locking lugs, an AR-15-type extractor and a plunger-style ejector that protrudes through the face of the bolt. The bolt face looks similar to that of the Model 700, which has served the company exceedingly well for 50 years.

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Ruger Guide Gun

The Guide Gun is billed as a durable carbine that is impervious to the elements and perfect for those rapid, close-range shots in heavy cover. And while it fits that bill nicely, it would be a shame to pigeonhole this rifle. In reality, it's a very nice carbine-length bolt gun that will do just about anything you need it to. When chambered in one of the .338s or the .375 Ruger, it makes sense as a gun for hunting the great bears, and in .375 Ruger it would certainly work for chasing Cape buffalo and lion in Africa.

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Sako Model 85 Arctos

From a handling standpoint the Sako is fantastic. The short barrel and relative heft of the rifle make it a natural pointer, and the iron sights align perfectly when the gun is mounted. The generous rounded fore-end and palm swell fit my hands well, and the checkering provides plenty of grip.

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Savage B-Mag

Called the B.MAG (short for Bolt.Magnum), it comes with a number of interesting features. For one, the firing pin is cocked when the bolt is closed rather than when it's opened. The thicker rim wall of the .17 WSM case requires a harder firing pin strike for ignition than is required for other rimfire cartridges. Using a heavier firing pin spring took care of that, but as the B.MAG action was being developed, it was found that cock-on-closing took less effort on the part of the shooter than cock-on-opening.

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Uberti Silverboy

It's hard not to have a good time at the range with a gun like this. The action was smooth, worked every time without fail. With iron sights, the gun is accurate with one-inch groups at 25 yards with Remington's fine Target ammunition. Accuracy with the Winchester loads was not too shabby either, and I would surmise that with a good scope, this rifle would be a hoot out to modest ranges. If we were giving out ratings, this Uberti Silverboy would collect five stars easily.

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