Sales of sporting shotguns have been flat the last several years — but that might be about to change given all the new shotguns unveiled this year at the 2015 Shooting Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show. Both Benelli and Weatherby received major buzz for their new shotguns: Benelli for its first-ever over-and-under, the 828U; Weatherby for what looks to be a great upland birder, the Element Deluxe.
The biggest news in the semi-automatic world has to be the new Savage A17, a semi-automatic chambered in the hot-shot .17HMR rimfire cartridge. ATK, Savage’s parent company, went one better and also debuted a new .17HMR round at the same time to complement the rifle, the A17 Varmint Tip made by CCI. This looks to be the rimfire varminting rifle-and-ammo combo for 2015.
Strong offerings continue among the bolt-action line. But whereas the trend the last couple years was the bargain-priced “starter” bolts (think Savage AXIS, the Remington 783, etc.), price points are up somewhat this year.
Mossberg, for example, has dropped its 4×4 line of rifles and dived headlong into the more traditional bolt gun market with its new Patriot line. Most of the standard versions come in right around $500, while some of the tactical models edge past the $800 mark. Likewise, Winchester Repeating Arms unveiled its new XPR bolt action, also a more traditional offering, which will hit the gun racks later this year at about $549.
Kimber Adirondack: Kimber introduced the nifty Adirondack rifle at the 2014 SHOT in .308 and 7mm-08. For 2015, Kimber adds the 6.5 Creedmoor and the 300 BLK. As with the original, the 6.5 chambering features an 18-inch stainless steel barrel, but the 300BLK comes with a 16-inch barrel. Both are threaded for suppressors or brakes, and both weigh in at an amazing 4 pounds 13 ounces. The rifles employ Mauser claw-extractors and a magazine capacity of four rounds. The Kevlar and carbon fiber stock is done in the Optifade pattern. MSRP: $1,768.00.
Mossberg Patriot Rifle Series: Mossberg addressed more traditionally minded hunters with the Patriot, a newly engineered bolt-action that features a streamlined bolt handle, a redesigned bolt knob and classic-style stocks. The Patriot line includes more than 60 models in 11 of the most popular calibers, including two youth versions and scoped combos. Key features include: free-floating 22-inch barrels (20-inch barrels on Bantam/Super Bantam) constructed of carbon steel; Mossberg’s patented Lightning Bolt Action adjustable trigger system; and distinctive, spiral-fluted bolts. The Patriot is available in most standard centerfire calibers, plus .338 Win Mag and .375 Ruger. MSRPs, $386 to $811.
The 28 Nosler: Last year, Nosler introduced its first proprietary rifle cartridge, the 6.5mm 26 Nosler and chambered its M48 Patriot rifle series in the new cartridge. This year, big brother has arrived in the form of the 28 Nosler, the most powerful 7mm cartridge commercially available, pushing a 160-grain Nosler AccuBond bullet out a 26-inch barrel at 3,300 fps. A new round is no good without a rifle, so Nosler is chambering its M48 Patriot, M48 Heritage and the M48 Custom rifles in 28 Nosler, fitted with 26-inch barrels and available this fall. MSRPs, $1,795 to $3,795.
Remington 700 Ultimate Muzzleloader: Big Green jumps into the blackpowder arena with the Remington Model 700 Ultimate Muzzleloader. This inline — built around the workhorse Remington 700 bolt action — incorporates a brass-cased primer fed into position via the bolt. Using a full 200-grain powder load and firing a 250-grain saboted bullet, Remington rates this as a 300-yard deer killer. It features a 26-inch stainless steel barrel and is available in synthetic and laminate models. MSRP, $999 synthetic, $949 laminate.
Savage Arms Scout 11 Rifle: Savage Arms’ version of Col. Jeff Cooper’s brainchild, the new 11 Scout Rifle features a one-piece rail for mounting optics (also comes with iron sights), the user-adjustable AccuTrigger and the AccuStock bedding system. An adjustable cheek piece built into the tough synthetic stock lets the shooter customize the rifle, and the threaded muzzle brake can be removed and replaced with a suppressor. The rifle is chambered in .308 Win. MSRP, $794.
Savage Arms Adds The .338 Federal: Introduced in 2006, the .338 Federal soon established itself as high-performance cartridge capable of downing the biggest North American game species. Built on the .308 case and “necked-up” to hold a .338 diameter bullet, this short-action load offers a faster muzzle velocity than the .308 Win., with a heavier bullet — and without magnum recoil. For 2015, Savage Arms has added the .338 Federal option to six of its existing rifles: the 11 Long Range Hunter; 11 Hog Hunter; 16 FCSS; 16 Bear Hunter; 11 Trophy Hunter XP; and 16 Trophy Hunter XP. MSRPs from $560 to $1,104.
Ruger’s Hawkeye FTW Predator: Sturm, Ruger & Company, Inc. adds the Hawkeye FTW Predator rifle to its Hawkeye line of rifles. This new model combines the trigger and action of the Hawkeye Predator with the adjustable buttstock design found on the Gunsite Scout rifle for a fast-handling and long-range predator rifle. Features include a two-stage target trigger, Green Mountain laminate stock, stainless steel receiver and medium contour barrel. Available with either a 22-inch barrel chambered in .308 Win. or a 24-inch barrel in 6.5 Creedmoor. MSRP, $1,099.
Winchester Repeating Arms XPR: Winchester Repeating Arms hasn’t introduced a new bolt-action rifle design in five decades, but it hits the ground running in 2015 with the new XPR. The robust XPR bolt has a short 60-degree lift for improved scope clearance and features the adjustable Winchester M.O.A. Trigger System. The button-rifled chrome-moly steel barrel has a recessed crown, and the Advanced Polymer Stock on the rifle features textured panels to help improve wet-weather grip. Offered in .270 Win. and .30-06 calibers with 24-inch barrel length and in .300 Win Mag and .338 Win Mag with 26-inch barrel length. Weight is 7 to 7 .25 pounds. MSRP, $549.99.
Weatherby “Range Certified” Outfitter Rifle: In 2015 Weatherby adds “Range Certified” accuracy to its Mark V Outfitter. All RC rifles are guaranteed to shoot sub-MOA (a three-shot group of. 99-inch or less) with specified Weatherby factory or premium ammunition. The Mark V Outfitter RC weighs only 5.5 pounds (standard six-lug action) or 6.75 pounds (magnum nine-lug action) and features a lightweight aluminum-bedded raised comb, Monte Carlo carbon fiber stock with a Desert Camo finish, and a barreled action with a Cerakote “Armor Black” finish. The stainless steel fluted barrel comes in 22-, 24-, 26-inch lengths depending on caliber. MSRP: $2,800 or $3,000 with Accubrake.
Semi-Autos And Tactical Rifles
Hi-Point 3895TS Carbine in .380 ACP: Price-conscious buyers like Hi-Point Carbines, and for 2015 Hi-Point adds the .380 ACP option to the line with the 3895TS Carbine. The 3895TS should hit stores by the end of March 2015 and will be available in black and pink camo finishes. Hi-Point will, of course, still make its 9mm, .40 and .45 carbines, available in desert digital, a woodland pattern and a ladies’ pink pattern.
Mk47 Mutant from CMMG: CMMG offers the best of two worlds with this rifle: the accuracy and functionality of the AR rifle matched with the .30-caliber stopping power of the legendary 7.62x39mm AK round. Engineered from 7075-T6 billet aluminum, this “mutant” weighs just over 7 pounds unloaded. A full-length Picatinny rail runs atop the Mk47, and the KeyMod Hand Guard is light and ergonomic.
MSRPs: CMMG Mk47 Mutant T, $1,499.95; CMMG Mk47 Mutant AKM: $1,649.95; CMMG Mk47 Mutant AKM2: $1,849.95.
Mossberg Blaze Rimfire Autoloader: Mossberg’s newest addition to its rimfire family has an innovative polymer receiver, is American-made, is super lightweight (3.6 pounds), and is available with your choice of adjustable rifle sights, barrel-mounted rail or scoped combo packages. This nifty rimfire has a free-floating 16.5-inch barrel and a fixed front sight. The synthetic stocks come in black or three camo-dipped finishes: Kryptek Highlander, Muddy Girl, or Wildfire Camouflage. MSRPs $329 to $375.
Remington R25 GenII: For the tactically minded hunter, Remington unveils the R25 GenII rifle, a slimmed-down version of the original R25. Much of that weight reduction — at 7.6 pounds a full pound less than the original — comes from improved machining operations on the receivers that create lighter yet stronger upper receivers than the first R25. It features a monolithic bolt carrier with dual extractors, a two-stage trigger, carbon fiber handguards, a Teflon-coated, stainless steel barrel, and a skelontized buttstock. The R25 Gen II is available in .243 Win, .260 Rem, 7mm-08Rem and .308 Win. MSRP, $1,696.
Savage A17: The A17 is a semi-auto chambered in .17 HMR and is built around a unique delayed blowback system to handle the higher pressures of the .17 HMR versus the .22LR. It also features a hard-chrome bolt, a case-hardened receiver, a 10-round rotary magazine and a button-rifled barrel. Though the A17 should work with any factory ammo, CCI, owned by Savage’s parent company ATK, has developed a specific .17 HMR load, the CCI A17 Varmint Tip, designed for perfect feeding and function in the rifle. MSRP, $470.
Benelli 20-Gauge M2 Waterfowl Edition: Benelli’s new 20-Gauge M2 Waterfowl Edition delivers all the punch needed in the blind, but in a slimmer, lighter shotgun built with the same specialized features found in the Performance Shop’s Super Black Eagle II Waterfowl Edition 12-Gauge. Paired with Benelli’s Inertia Driven system, the shotgun comes with a set of Rob Roberts Custom Triple Threat chokes, and the Waterfowl Edition’s Crio barrel features a lengthened and polished forcing cone to ensure uniform patterns while reducing recoil. MSRP, $2,399.
Benelli 828U: Benelli shook things up at SHOT Show 2015 by introducing its first-ever over-and-under shotgun, the Benelli 828U, a more modern take on the classic over-and-under. Benelli equipped the 828U with a new free-floating locking plate that has four contact points with the barrel, resulting in a completely tight seal and a stronger overall design. Benelli designed this shotgun around a much lighter aluminum frame, leading to the 828U’s slight 6.5-pound weight. It is the first-ever over-and-under to come with a shim system, allowing the user to adjust the stock to more than 40 different positions.
The 828u is available in two styles — an anodized black receiver and a nickel-plated receiver — and in 26- and 28-inch barreled versions. MSRPs: anodized model, $2,499; nickel-plated model, $2,999.
New Franchi Afinity Models: Franchi’s popular, semi-automatic Affinity is now available with an A-Grade satin walnut stock, a Mossy Oak Bottomlands pattern, and in a left-hand model. The Affinity’s ultra-reliable Inertia Driven system features a bolt assembly with a rotating bolt head for positive steel-to-steel lockup. The 12-gauge models weigh in at less than 7 pounds, the 20 gauges at under 6 pounds. MSRP: Walnut and Mossy Oak models, $949; left-hand model, $899.
Mossberg 50/590/590A1 L Series (Left-Handed) Shotguns: Mossberg’s new 500/590/590A1 L Series is based on the reliable Mossberg 500 pump-action platform and gives southpaws 15 versions to choose from, including general-purpose and hunting versions, two slug-specific models and several tactical versions. The All-Purpose and Hunting guns come in black synthetic stocks or fully camouflaged Mossy Oak Break-Up Infinity and Realtree MAX-4 synthetic stocks with camo barrels and receivers. MSRPs: $518 to $942.
Remington V3 Shotgun: Remington’s new V3 matches the company’s revolutionary VersaPort gas system in a compact, lightweight platform. VersaPort self-regulates gas pressure based on the length of the shell for reliable cycling no matter the load while softening recoil and reducing maintenance. It’s also located directly in front of the receiver, centering the weight for optimum balance and swing performance. The V3 handles 2 3/4 to 3-inch 12-gauge loads and is available in wood and synthetic versions, with an adjustable stock system to fit almost any sized shooter. MSRPs: $899 to $995.
Weatherby Element Deluxe Semi-Auto: Weatherby’s all-new Element Deluxe semi-auto shotgun features an inertia-operated action designed to ensure clean, reliable performance for high-volume shooting. It comes in 12-, 20- or 28-gauges, with either a 26- or 28-inch barrel. The 12- and 20-gauge options have a 3-inch chamber, while the 28-gauge has a 2 3/4-inch chamber. Each Element Deluxe weighs less than 7 pounds and sports an AA Grade American walnut stock. Weatherby’s Integral Multi-Choke System and three choke tubes are included. MSRP: $1,099 for the 12- and 20-gauge models; $1,149 for the 28 gauge.
Upgraded Turkey Gun From Weatherby: Available in 12- or 20-gauge, the Weatherby SA-459 Turkey now comes fully dipped in Realtree Xtra Green. Key features include a 22-inch vent rib chrome-lined barrel, a fiber-optic front sight, extended and fluted extra-full choke tube, sporting-style forearm and a pistol grip. The SA-459 Turkey is now drilled and tapped for a Picatinny receiver rail (included with gun) to mount optics. It is chambered for 3-inch magnum loads. MSRP: $799.