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10 of the Best Target & Hunting Rifles

Pete Moore picks five hunting and five range-type rifles…

  • HUNTING

  • Mauser M12

    Mauser M12

    I own a Mauser M03, switch barrel; however, if I didn’t, then their M12 would get my patronage. It’s a great rifle and offers a more traditional, fixed barrel build that embodies the classic styling of the original M98 with its big, drop-down bolt handle, but with modern features like a 3-position safety, Extreme (synthetic) stock, wood and the MAX thumbhole laminate versions, feed is from a similar, 5-shot magazine to the M03. Receivers are drilled and tapped for standard bases, or their HexaLock QD scope mounting system. It’s available in 243/270/308 Win, 30-06, 7mm Rem. Mag, .300 Win. Mag, 65x55, 7x64, 8x57 and 93x62 all in 22-inches barrels. The one exception is the Impact, with a light/medium, fluted barrel, with silver Cerakote finish in an Extreme stock at 20-inches (threaded 15x1mm) in 243/308 Win only. It has proved highly popular in the UK; I have also tested a 22-inch version that adds 6.5x55mm and 30-06 to the menu, which I feel suits these two calibres better. Accurate, reliable and easy to use at a fair price, the M12 is well worth a look! If I had to choose a model, it would be between the 22-inch Impact and the MAX, but whatever you decide, it’s a shooter!

    Price: From £1274

    Contact: Blaser Group Ltd. blaser-sporting.com

  • Sauer 100

    Sauer 100

    Sauer’s first budget rifle in 2012/13 was the 101, a design that parallels Mauser’s M12 with many common features. Next, came the 100, which to me is the superior model. The Classic XT is what I term as the entry level gun with a decent synthetic stock and would be my choice for a general hunter. The layout is simple and dispenses with the 101’s de-cocker-type safety, in favour of a more practical, 3-position rolling lever, rear/right of the action. There are three calibre groups options – Mini: 223 Rem, Standard: 243, 308 & 270 Win, 65x55, 7mm-08, 6,5 Creedmoor, 30-06, 8x57 IS & 9,3x62, Magnum: 6,5 PRC, 300 Win Mag & 7mm Rem Mag.

    Giving barrel lengths of 22-inches (Mini & Standard) and 24-inches Magnum. The detachable magazines hold 4-rounds in Mini & Magnum and 5 in Standard. The ErgoMax stock is comfortable and recoil-friendly, barrels are cold, hammer-forged. The single-stage trigger is externally adjustable from 2.2 – 4.4lbs. There are several other choices, including wood and Cerakote finishes, along with two heavier barrelled, Varmint/Target options; the Pantera (20-inches) and Field Shoot (24-inches), with more target-orientated, adjustable furniture. Two very nice rifles options indeed.

    Price: From £1126

    Contact: Blaser Group Ltd. blaser-sporting.com

  • Remington Magpul Hunter

    Remington Magpul Hunter

    Remington’s 700 Magpul Hunter has their new X-Mark Pro Externally Adjustable trigger, along with a 22-inch, medium weight (0.862-inch diameter) barrel with a 5-R rifling form. The lands taper from the top, so there’s less build-up of crud at their bases; being an odd, number there’s less bullet compression too. Accuracy testing, using Norma’s 6.5 Creedmoor, 130-grain Match HPBT and Swift Scirocco II ballistic tips, showed groups of 8 and 10mm @ 100m respectively. The bolt handle is extended with a tapered knob that gives a lot to get hold of. The Magpul Hunter stock is made from reinforced polymer with an internal, aluminium bedding block. The forend is rectangular in section and tappers slightly, is rigid and free-floats the barrel nicely. The butt is ambidextrous with a 60⁰ raked pistol grip, that positions the trigger finger well, plus you get adjustable LOP with spacers and comb height with inserts. The Magpul box mag conversion is all polymer and has an ambidextrous, T-shaped release catch at the rear of the well integral to the trigger guard. It comes with 1 x 5-round mag, but they also offer a 10-shot too. Overall, a great rifle with massive accuracy potential and shootability.

    Price: £1395

    Contact: Raytrade UK Ltd. raytradeuk.co.uk

  • Savage 110 HUNTER

    Savage 110 HUNTER

    Savage offer a practical, reliable, and accurate range of boltaction rifles. They were the company that designed and offered a user-adjustable and safe trigger (AccuTrigger), that could not be set too light, followed later by the AccuStock. Its synthetic body held an aluminium bedding block for superior fit and consistency. Later, their AccuFit system that allows fast and easy adjustment of the comb height and lengthof- pull. Completing the tactile feel are soft grip, overmoulded sections on the pistol grip and forend. Guns use a 3-position, tang-mounted safety; forward FIRE, middle SAFE bolt unlocked, and rear SAFE bolt locked. It’s easy to operate with the firing hand thumb and does not disturb your position. Barrels are button-rifled and the bolt locks by twin lugs, offering a fully supported head and plungertype ejector. Savage says it uses “a free floating bolt head for improved case support”. Feed is from a detachable magazine, calibre dictating capacity, but in numbers like 308 Win etc. expect 4-rounds. The 110 Hunter is a great example; the AccuTrigger was superb from the box offering a smooth, light and predictable break, complimented by the tang safety. Bolt operation is smooth and easy and all rifles I’ve used just seem to shoot so well from the box.

    Price: From £1100

    Contact: Edgar Brothers Ltd. shootingsports. edgarbrothers.com

  • Steyr Zephyr II

    Steyr Zephyr II

    Now on to a rimfire, as we hunt with them too. The Zephyr II is somewhat CZ455-like, but wellpresented with Steyr’s distinctive hammer-forged barrel with spiral finish, Bishop’s cowl bolt shroud, with cocked action indicator pin and butter knife bolt handle. It has a practical, 2-positon, tangmounted safety, which for me is about the best design ever for an ON/OFF switch. The stock shows a classic Tyrolean cheekpiece and Schnabel forend and represents a nice blend of styling and shootability. It’s available in 22LR, 22WMR and 17HMR, with a 5-shot magazine. The steel receiver shows a 12mm dovetail and a large ejection port. The bolt body is chromed and there are twin extractor claws with a fixed ejector pin at the rear of the mag well. The trigger is factory-set at around 3.5lbs, which proved firm and readable, from its wide, curved and grooved blade. The magazine release catch is a small lever at the front of the well. The barrel is lightly tapered and 19.7-inches and threaded ½ x 20 UNF with a blanking collar. A bit long for 22LR but ideal for the magnums, but it’s a shooter, pulling ½-inch groups @ 100m in the HMR version. The good news, it uses CZ magazines!

    Price: £778.99

    Contact: Sportsman Gun Centre. sportsmanguncentre.co.uk

  • RANGE AND TARGET

  • Ruger Precision Rimfire

    Ruger Precision Rimfire

    Ruger’s Precision Rimfire (PR) is a scaled down version of their original Precision Rifle, initially offered in just 22 Long Rifle, 17HMR is now available. The receiver is from their American Rimfire sporter, but with an 18-inches, heavy barrel dropped into a rigid polymer chassis with free-float MLOK forend, along with an angled Picatinny scope base. The fixed butt is adjustable for LOP and comb height, there’s a dog leg, half-length, skeletonised strut that the rear telescopic section slides into. The rubber pad is thick and shows a lower gripping hook with Picatinny rail for a monopod with ambi, QD sling swivel sockets. The comb offers vertical and fore and aft adjustment. Both axes are controlled by a single lever, with LOP going from 12-15.5-inches. The grip is AR-like with a fill-in back strap, but anything AR will fit. The safety catch angle is 45⁰ and is reversible. It comes with a BX 15 mag as standard, the mag catch is extended and positioned at the rear of the large and flared well. A Ruger Marksman Adjustable (2.25-5lbs) trigger is fitted and shows a Glock-type blade-in-blade safety lever! With an extended bolt handle for fast operation, the PR can easily shoot sub-1-inches @ 100m with the right ammo.

    Price: £720

    Contact: Viking Arms Ltd. vikingshoot.com

  • Bergara B14 BMP

    Bergara B14 BMP

    The BMP is Bergara’s first chassis system, using their B14 action. The 3-section chassis is manufactured from 7075 aluminium and consists of butt, main housing and forend. You get three areas of adjustment: cheekpiece – 0-1.5-inches, LOP – 13-15-inches (both by thumb levers). Plus, the recoil pad angle and height can be set. The pistol grip is AR15-style and can be swapped for compatible models. Feed is from a 5-round, AICS pattern magazine (10-round Magpul’s will also function). The rigid, U-shaped forend, offers a generous freefloat and is M-LOK compatible.

    The BMP’s DNA is Remington 700 and shows a coned, twin lug bolt head with spring/plunger ejector.

    At the rear, is a cocked action indicator and the bolt handle is extended for easy manipulation. The trigger is Bergara’s own design and comes factory set at 3.7lbs, with an adjustment range of 2.8-4.4lbs. The safety is a 2-position rolling lever positioned rear-right of the receiver, forward to FIRE and rearward for SAFE (with bolt operation). Calibre choice dictates barrel length, with 308 Win 20-inches (medium heavy)) and 24-inches (heavy) 1:10 twist and 6.5 Creedmoor; here, you get 24-inches heavy with 1-8-inch twist, all barrels are threaded 18x1mm. At the money, a great rifle.

    Price: £1572

    Contact: RUAG Ammotec UK Ltd. ruag.co.uk

  • Sabatti Tactical Scout

    Sabatti Tactical Scout

    The Scout shows a synthetic, thumbhole build, with a heavy, rectangular forend, long square butt with adjustable comb and LOP spacers and a more than adequate free-float. The 20-inches, hammer-forged barrel is big and tapers from 1.065-inches at the re-enforce to 0.886-inches at the muzzle, with a 5/8 x 24 UNEF thread and muzzle brake. My tester was in 308 Winchester. Sabatti dispensed with the normal land and groove rifling and use their Multi Radial Rifling (MRR) design. Its polygonal shape offers a more rounded form, that gives a better gas seal, improved velocity, and is kinder on the projectile, as it does not compress it so much; plus, it’s easier to clean and increases bore life. Feed is from a Vitrix, 8-round, synthetic magazine, retained by a push-forward lever on the front of the guard. The action is near pure Remy 700, but with an extended bolt handle and 20MOA Picatinny rail. Calibre-wise, there’s 223 Rem, 6.5x47 Lapua, 6.5 Creedmoor, 308 Win and 300 Win Mag. Twist rate is 1-11.5 and it liked lighter to medium bullets, shooting bug hole groups with Hornady ELD-Match 155s and 0.5-inches with their 168-grain A-MAX! Coming in at under £1500, it’s well worth a look.

    Price: £1450

    Contact: Range Right. range-right.co.uk

  • POF ReVolt Light

    POF ReVolt Light

    The ReVolt Light is a manuallyoperated AR, in 223 Rem. The spec shows a nitride-finished, 18.5-inch fluted match barrel, with a medium profile and muzzle brake, twist rate is 1-8-inches. The lower receiver is billet-machined; this and the upper, wear a matte silver NP3 finish. The 14.5-inch, monolithic, M-Lok, free-float, Picatinny forend runs full-length to the end of the receiver, where it’s screwed into position. The pistol grip, with fill-in back strap is more upright for a better hold. The fixed Luth AR MBA-1 butt offers adjustable LOP and comb height.

    Controls are standard AR and all ambidextrous, including magazine catch, manual bolt release and safety. The X-shaped operating handles offers ambidextrous use as standard and allows for the case deflector and ejection port cover to remain. Feed uses a 10-round, Magpul P-Mag. The bolt has a sprung head and a roller on the cam stud; this and a fluted chamber neck, means smooth operation and, most importantly, reliable primary extraction. P.O.F. fit their own, drop-in trigger pack, with Enhanced Finger Placement blade, retained by KNS anti-walk pins and breaks at a crisp 4lbs. This is a shootable and accurate man-opp AR, POF also offer a 308 gun, with identical spec but a bit heavier in 1-10-inches twist.

    Price: £2495.99

    Contact: Highland Outdoors Ltd. highlandoutdoors.co.uk

  • CZ457 MTR Varmint

    CZ457 MTR Varmint

    The CZ457 offers a new receiver and improved controls. Feed is from 5 and 10-shot mags. Calibres are 22LR, 17HMR and 22WMR, with three UK options; Varmint, Royal and Match Target Rifle (MTR). The MTR’s stock is large with a squared-off butt, vertical pistol grip with scalloped and textured hand position. The wide/deep beavertail forend offers a generous free-float. There are aluminium pillars; and a removable, steel, recoil lug; LOP is 13.75-inches. The cold hammer-forged barrel with match chamber is 20.5-inches long and 0.865-inches in diameter with ½ x 20 UNF muzzle thread and protector, there’s also a 16-inch option. Calibre change is as the CZ455 and the trigger is fully adjustable for weight (1.75 to 3.37lbs), over travel and blade sear engagement. The bolt handle is swept back with a 30⁰ lift angle, along with a re-designed shroud with cocked action indicator pin. CZ reduced the firing pin weight to improve lock time. The safety is positioned rear right and pushes forward to FIRE (red dot) and back for SAFE (white dot) with bolt operation and there’s an integral 11/12mm dovetail for scope mounting. Heavy but shootable, it’s a great step forward, with the Royal and Varmint more about hunting use.

    Price: From £785

    Contact: Edgar Brothers Ltd. shootingsports.edgarbrothers.com

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