January 30, 2018
The practice of placing a bullet into the vital area of an animal standing a quarter-mile away requires good gear and proper training. Even if you're a crack-shot hunter, you'll have a hard time if your rifle isn't up to snuff. A rock-solid platform, in a configuration that will maximize your own abilities is a must-have. Here's a look at some of the new long-range hunting rifles for 2018.
Well, that's a mouthful. However, it's also a healthy handful of features that will help a rifleman connect from one hillside to the next. A McMillan Game Scout Stock - in A-TACS AU camo -holds an X-Bolt Cerakoted action and 26-inch barrel with muzzle brake. That stock features a palm swell on the near-vertical, textured pistol grip, and an extra sling stud for bipod attachment. Available in 6mm Creedmoor, 6.5 Creedmoor, .26 Nosler, 7mm Remington Magnum, .28 Nosler, .300 WSM and .300 Winchester Magnum. MSRP $2,129.99-$2,199.99
The Savage name has long been a synonym for accuracy, and the addition of the AccuFit Stock will only make an already great rifle better. The 110 Long Range Hunter - with the famous Savage floating bolt head that will correct so many ammunition inconsistencies - can now be customized for both length-of-pull and comb height, allowing a shooter to take full advantage of the high-magnification scopes that seem to be growing in size. Equipped with a 26-inch barrel with muzzle brake, the 110 Long Range Hunter is available in some cool calibers, including 6mm Creedmoor, 6.5 Creedmoor, .260 Remington, 6.5-284 Norma (love it!), .280 Ackley Improved, 7mm Remington Magnum, .308 Winchester, .300 WSM and .300 Winchester Magnum. MSRP $1,099 .338 Lapua MSRP $1,299
Cooper Firearms of Montana has made some very impressive rifles over the years, but the Model 52 Open Country Long Range may be the most useful for those who hunt the wide-open places. Using a Cooper Firearms Synthetic Stock, Cooper designed muzzle brake and 26-inch fluted stainless barrel, The Open Country Long Range is available in some of the fastest cartridges, including the Remington Ultra Mag family, the Nosler quartet, the 6.5-300 Weatherby and .338 Lapua. Upgrades are available, reducing the standard weight of 9.5 pounds down to 7 pounds through a carbon fiber barrel and lightweight stock. Standard version MSRP is $2,795
The Montana Rifles Company's Extreme X2 rifle was - and is - a great choice for making long shots on game; for 2018 MRC has announced their Extreme X3, a lighter, stronger design featuring aluminum bottom metal. A lighter, foam filled stock and MRC Model 1999 action are employed, with the package coming in at two pounds lighter than the X2. Available in all standard short and long-action caliber, including the Nosler family of cartridges and some more rare offerings like the .264 Win. Mag, 6.5-284, and 7x57mm Mauser. MSRP $1,495
Not all long-range hunting is for big game; those pesky prairie dogs and woodchucks will offer targets in the next zip code. Like the Savage Long Range Hunter, the Model 100 Varmint is now available with the new Savage AccuStock, allowing the shooter to customize their comb height to properly align the eye to even the largest scopes. Available in .204 Ruger, .223 Remington and .22-250 Remington (would someone please make a .22-250 with a 1:8 twist?), the Model 110 Varmint has the AccuTrigger for precise shot placement, a 26-inch barrel to wring out every last bit of velocity, and a four-round detachable box magazine. MSRP $749.00
With a fantastic reputation for accurate barrels, Bergara introduces the Approach rifle for 2018. With a hand-laid fiberglass stock and five-round detachable magazine, this bolt-action rifle offers what's needed for a back-country excursion. The No. 5 taper barrel is threaded - a knurled thread protector is provided with the rifle - and the receiver is drilled and tapped to handle Model 700 bases. QD sling cups are set in the forend and buttstock, and a camo finish compliments the package. Available in .223 Remington, .22-250 Remington, 6mm Creedmoor, 6.5 Creedmoor and .308 Winchester. MSRP $1,960
Winchester's XPR Hunter is now available in 6.5 Creedmoor, and in the Mossy Oak Break Up Country camo pattern. The push-feed action of the XPR is broken by the MOA trigger - of which I'm a fan - and the 22-inch button-rifled barrel culminates in a target crown. I've spent some time with this rifle in .270, and can tell you that the features packed into this rifle far exceed the MSRP of $599.99. If you're on a budget and are looking for a rifle that will serve in many different situations, you'd be very hard-pressed to beat the XPR Hunter.
The Weatherby name is synonymous with speed, and that translates to a flat trajectory. Throw a Kreiger barrel into the mix, and you've got my attention. I've used their barrels for custom builds and feel they are among the best available. The Weatherby Mark V KCR features the Mark V action - with the nine-lug lockup and 54-degree bolt-throw - and a fluted No. 3 contour barrel are aluminum pillar bedded into a composite stock to combine for a sub-MOA guarantee. Available in 6.5-300 Weatherby Magnum and .30-378 Weatherby Magnum, it'll definitely reach out and touch someone. MSRP $3,600.00
The wonderful Model 48 action has gotten a facelift this year, and been wrapped in a long-range package. Featuring a Manners MCS-T lightweight stock and a PROOF Research carbon fiber wrapper barrel, The Nosler Long Range Carbon is threaded for a muzzle brake (optional) and comes with a thread protector. It's a perfect choice for those back country hunts where long shots are definitely on the menu, but weight is a concern. MSRP $2995