Despite the solid economy and excellent job growth, the firearms market has been soft and sales have been slow. But when sales are slow, gun companies often lower prices and come up with innovative new gun designs. Precision long-range rifles continue to burgeon; rifles chambered for straight-wall cartridges are on the rise; and lightweight mountain rifles in cool camo patterns are popular.
Bergara Premier Ridgeback
Riding a surging reputation for building super-accurate, production-grade rifles at blue-collar prices, Bergara just introduced the Premier Ridgeback. It’s built using a premier series action Cerakoted and fitted with a TriggerTech adjustable trigger that is bedded into a fiberglass Grayboe stock with configurable length of pull, adjustable cheekrest, built-in anti-cant bubble, and flush-fitting M-LOK rails in the fore-end. The muzzle is threaded for easy installation of a brake or suppressor. It’s initially available in popular long-range cartridges from 6mm Creedmoor to .300 PRC, all with appropriate fast-twist, Palma-profile barrels. Weight: 10 to 10.7 pounds.MSRP: $2,000
Touted as a new take on an old design, the BRN-180 is a reengineered short-stroke piston design that houses the operating springs inside the handguard, making it possible to fit it with a folding stock and shoot it with the stock in the folded position. Sold as an upper receiver, it will drop onto any existing AR-15 lower assembly. Twin internal guide rods aid reliability and smooth function. A reciprocating side charging handle improves the ergonomics. To enhance accuracy, the 1:8-twist barrel has a .223 Wylde chamber. The free-floating M-LOK handguard further adds consistency and precision.MSRP: $799
Browning X-Bolt Max Long Range
More than any other production-rifle company, Browning has gotten on board the precision hunting rifle train and has been producing outstanding super-accurate hunting rifles for years. This new version, dubbed the X-Bolt Max Long Range, is probably the best rifle available for the price. Engineered from the inside out to aid accurate shooting in the field, it features a rigid, free-floating composite stock with an adjustable cheekrest. Spacers make it easy to finesse length of pull. The premium barrel is threaded and comes with a brake and a satin gray non-glare finish. The fully adjustable trigger is one of the best production-grade triggers on the market. The X-Bolt Max Long Range weighs 8 pounds, 3 ounces.
CMMG Resolute 300 MK4
Chambered for Winchester’s new .350 Legend straight-wall cartridge and intended to be used by hunters in states with straight-wall cartridge hunting regulations, CMMG’s Resolute 300 MK4 features a 16.1-inch barrel, free-floating M-LOK handguard, and 7075-T6 aluminum receivers. This AR weighs 6.0 pounds, 5.0 ounces.
Designed for reaching out beyond common muzzleloader ranges, the CVA Paramount features a bolt-action receiver bedded into a configurable composite stock with aluminum bedding block, advanced “VariFlame” ignition system, and a free-floating .45-caliber barrel. The stainless-steel barrel is made by Bergara and is Nitride treated.MSRP: $1,062.95
CZ-USA 457 Varmint AT-ONE
A blossoming scene involving PRS-type competitions using .22 rimfire rifles has encouraged a new breed of match-grade bolt actions with heavy barrels and configurable stocks. The CZ 457 Varmint AT-ONE is one of the best available. It comes with a shortened, stiffer action; improved bottom metal; 60-degree bolt throw; and adjustable trigger (pull weight, creep, and overtravel). The stock is Boyd’s excellent AT-ONE laminate stock, which is adjustable for cheekweld and length of pull. It comes with a 24- or a 16.5-inch barrel, and the muzzle of the 16.5-inch version is threaded. It weighs 7.7 pounds.MSRP: $660
Daniel Defense Delta 5
The groundbreaking Delta 5 bolt-action precision rifle utilizes an AR-type barrel installation, enabling the end user to swap barrels quickly and easily with minimum tools. The polymer stock is configurable for cheekrest height and length of pull. A Timney Elite Hunter trigger, AICS-compatible bottom metal with integrated barrier stop, factory-installed optic rail with 20 MOA of elevation built in, and threaded muzzle make the Delta 5 ergonomic and versatile. Barrels are cold hammer forged of stainless steel. The unique action utilizes a three-lug bolt with a 60-degree throw and a floating head. M-LOK and QD sling attachment points are integrated into the stock and fore-end. Calibers are 6.5 Creedmoor, 7mm-08 Rem., and .308 Win. Weight is 9.0 pounds.MSRP: $2,199
A variation on the extremely well-thought-out Mountain Ascent model, the Subalpine is dressed in Sitka’s popular Gore Optifade SubAlpine camo pattern. Every possible ounce of weight has been shaved from this rifle—bolt and barrel are deeply fluted, the action is skeletonized, and the extremely tough, rigid stock is made of carbon fiber. Each rifle is guaranteed to shoot MOA or less. Action and barrel are stainless steel and finished in a non-glare satin. Best of all, it’s available in my favorite all-around big-game cartridge: the .280 Ackley Improved. Short-action versions weigh under 5.0 pounds.
Marlin Model 1985-.444
No matter how you crunch the numbers, Marlin’s classic .444 cartridge is still the most effective straight-wall round available. Drop, drift, impact velocity, and retained energy beat all comers. Marlin has just brought back the outstanding Model 1895 chambered for the .444. This rifle has a 22-inch barrel with Ballard-type, 1:20-twist rifling; a three-quarter magazine that holds four rounds; and a checkered pistol-grip walnut stock.MSRP: $769
Mossberg 450 Bushmaster Patriot Predator
If you’re in the market for a solid, no-nonsense deer and hog rifle in a straight-wall cartridge, look no further. The Mossberg 450 Bushmaster Patriot Predator is an outstanding tool. It features a sturdy synthetic stock, a 16.25-inch barrel with threaded muzzle, a Picatinny rail, and a non-reflective matte blued finish. Magazine capacity is four rounds. It weighs 6.25 pounds.MSRP: $441
Nosler Model 48 Mountain Country
Under the guidance of western hunting-rifle savant Jeff Sipe, the techs at Nosler have put together the superb lightweight Model 48 Mountain Carbon backcountry rifle. Featuring a match-grade Proof Research carbon-fiber-wrapped barrel and precision-machined Nosler Model 48 action, bedded into a newly designed carbon-fiber stock, the rifle weighs about 6.0 pounds depending on caliber. Metal surfaces are coated in Tungsten Gray Cerakote and look good with the Granite Green of the stock. Sub-MOA accuracy is guaranteed. The muzzle is threaded, and the action is pillar- and glass-bedded into the stock. Initial calibers range from 6mm Creedmoor to 33 Nosler.
Proof Research Elevation
The Proof Research Elevation is an entry-level custom mountain rifle, and this superb hunting tool features Proof’s carbon-fiber-wrapped match-grade barrel mounted to a Bighorn action and installed into a hand-laid carbon fiber and Kevlar stock. A TriggerTech trigger, a Pachmayr recoil pad, and BDL-type bottom metal are standard. It comes with a one-MOA accuracy rating, and initial calibers are 6mm Creedmoor, 6.5 Creedmoor, and .308 Win. It weighs 5 pounds, 12 ounces.MSRP: $3,000
Ruger Precision Rifle
A few years ago, Ruger turned the precision rifle world on its ear by offering the $1,200 Ruger Precision Rifle (RPR) with unprecedented features, including a configurable chassis-type folding stock, AICS/P-Mag magazine compatibility, an excellent trigger, and sterling accuracy. Sales were so brisk that other rifle companies are still trying to catch up. And with the introduction of the magnum version chambered in .300 Win. Mag. or .338 Lapua, Ruger has just cemented its lead. These excellent rifles offer all the features of the original RPR but with the advantage of hard-hitting ELR (extra long range) cartridges. Cold-hammer-forged barrels feature 5R rifling and are 26 inches long. Rifles weigh 15 pounds.MSRP: $2,099
Sako Bespoke Rifle Program
Harking back to its roots, Sako has introduced a Bespoke Rifle program. For those unfamiliar with the term, a bespoke gun is a custom firearm in the truest sense—it’s a word that typically applies to the finest British side-by-sides available, which is to say the finest side-by-sides in the world. A console-type arrangement enables shooters to configure their idea of the perfect rifle, replete with exotic wood, special configurations, and full-coverage engraving.MSRP: Price on Request
Savage Arms Limited-Run Model 110
With 2019 being Savage Arms’s 125th anniversary, the company has announced a limited-run Model 110 bolt-action rifle to celebrate the milestone. Only 1,894 rifles will be produced by the custom shop on an as-ordered basis. The special rifle features Savage’s classic Model 110 action; the user-adjustable AccuTrigger; a satin-black, 22-inch barrel; a high-polish Monte Carlo American black walnut stock; and special engraving. Chamberings include .243 Win., 6.5 Creedmoor, .250 Savage, .300 Savage, and .308 Win. Ordering instructions are available at savagearms.comMSRP: $1,499
SIG Sauer M400 TREAD
For the price, it’s hard to find another AR-15 that will touch the M400 TREAD. It has a premium, 16-inch, stainless-steel, 1:8-twist barrel; a mid-length gas system; and a free-float M-LOK handguard. It has a Magpul SL-K six-position stock, an ambidextrous charging handle, and ambidextrous fire controls—not to mention integral sling QD cups at the rear of the receiver. TREAD-branded flip-up iron sights are optional, as is a flat-face trigger. Chambered for 5.56 NATO, the TREAD comes with a 30-round polymer magazine.MSRP: $940
Undoubtedly the most innovative rifle featured here, the space-age Steyr Monobloc lives up to its name—action and barrel are created out of one piece of steel. The 22-inch bore is hammer forged, then the action is milled to shape, and the chamber is cut. It’s paired with a modernistic, ergonomic synthetic stock with an aluminum bedding block. The quick-detach trigger group can be stored in a hidden compartment in the stock. The tang-mounted safety selector serves double-duty to cock the firing pin and spring, making for one of the safest designs on the market. A steel detachable magazine holds four rounds. Initial chamberings are .308 Win. and .30-06, and several caliber additions are expected later this year. Various color combinations are available as well. The rifle weighs 8.25 pounds.MSRP: $5,250
Springfield Armory SAINT Victor
The sleek 6.5-pound SAINT Victor might just be the production AR-15 perfected. It features a 15-inch free-floating M-LOK-compatible handguard with a 1913 rail in all the critical areas but nowhere else; a flat-face single-stage nickel boron treated trigger; a 16-inch, 1:8-twist, Melonite-coated barrel with mid-length gas system; a 7075 T6 aluminum buffer tube; and spring-loaded, low-profile, flip-up iron sights. Robust reliability is ensured through the use of a Melonited 9310-steel enhanced bolt and tungsten-filled heavy buffer. The proprietary muzzle brake reduces recoil, and an Accu-Tite tension system eliminates play between the receivers and aids accuracy. The buttstock is a six-position Mod. 3 by Bravo Co.MSRP: $1,073
Thompson/Center LRR Precision Long-Range Rifle
Introduced in mid-2018, the T/C LRR precision long-range rifle is now available in various color iterations and in three calibers: .243 Winchester with a 1:10 twist rate, 6.5 Creedmoor with a 1:8 twist rate, and .308 Winchester with a 1:12 twist rate. Built on a racy, one-piece aluminum chassis with M-LOK attachment points, the rifle features Thompson/Center’s smooth-cycling, three-lug, full-diameter bolt; a deep-fluted barrel with threaded muzzle; a user-adjustable Performance Center trigger, and a 10-round detachable box magazine. A factory-mounted 20-MOA optic rail comes standard. Barrel length ranges from 20 to 26 inches, and weight ranges from 11 to 12 pounds.MSRP: $1,211
Tikka T1x Rimfire
With styling, function, and feel much like a centerfire big-game rifle, Tikka’s T1x rimfire makes an outstanding training tool while performing pre-hunt prep. Plus, with Tikka’s enviable reputation for accuracy, it’s sure to be a small-game-getting machine. Chambered in .22 LR and .17 HMR, the T1x comes with a 10-round detachable magazine; a smooth, precise action; and a threaded 20-inch barrel.MSRP: $499
Weatherby Mark V First Lite
Built on a hand-laid composite stock with excellent between-the-hands feel and Weatherby’s slim ergonomics, the Mark V First Lite is designed to combine excellent accuracy and concealability in a rifle that is just light enough for hunting in the open-country West. Metal parts are Cerakoted Flat Dark Earth; the stock wears Fusion camo. The fluted, stainless-steel, No. 3 contour barrel is handlapped and offers a sub-MOA guarantee. It’s available in popular cartridges from .257 Weatherby to .300 Weatherby. Magnum barrels are 26 inches; standard-caliber barrels are 22 inches.MSRP: $2,600 to $3,100
Winchester Model 1892 (New for 2019 version)
Most folks don’t realize it, but John Wayne’s loop-lever carbines were usually Model 1892s, even for period movies that allegedly predated that era. This new-for-2019 version would have made Duke proud because it features a ladder-type rear sight, a comfy traditional carbine-type buttplate, a 10-round capacity, and a large loop lever. Chamberings are .357 Magnum, .44-40 Winchester, .44 Magnum, and .45 Colt. Barrels are 20 inches, and weight is 6 pounds.MSRP: $1,259.99