The annual SHOT Show, where the gun industry debuts hundreds — if not thousands — of new product, provides an opportunity to see what trends the market is anticipating for the upcoming year. For types and styles of deer rifles, though, few trends stood out at SHOT Show 2017. Lever actions, bolts, AR-style rifles all were on display, in good numbers and many variations.
The one obvious development had to do with calibers. The 6.5 Creedmoor was the big winner. Rifle maker after rifle maker announced it was adding the 6.5 Creedmoor as a caliber option to its already-existing lines of rifles. If there was any doubt that the 6.5 Creedmoor was being embraced as the new hot round, SHOT Show removed that doubt.
Here is a list of interesting deer rifles that caught our eye at Shooting Sports Retailer.
Bergara B14 Series Hunting And Match Rifle
Spanish gunmaker Bergara B14 Series HMR (Hunting and Match) Rifle was made for both the hardcore big-game hunters and the precision rifle competition shooter. The latter explains the competition “look” to the new HMR’s.
The B14 line features a solid molded synthetic stock, with a sturdy aluminum mini-chassis built in to provide an extremely solid bedding for the B14 action. The chassis also creates the support to fully free float the 4140 CrMo steel Barrel. Chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor and .308 Win, the HMR’s weigh 9.15 pounds and will accept AICS-style magazines. The rear stock offers multiple adjustment options for both right- and left-handed shooters. All B14 HMR’s are guaranteed to produce sub-1-inch MOA groups at 100 yards, using factory match-grade ammunition. MSRP: $1,150.
Big Boy All-Weather From Henry
Henry Repeating Arms for 2017 took its popular Big Boy lever action, kept it in the same basic three pistol calibers (.357 Magnum/.38 Spl, 44 Magnum/.44 Spl and 45 Colt) and with the same 20-inch round barrel. The difference is Henry made it extremely weather resistant. The All-Weather has a durable hard chrome plating on its metal surfaces, plus a tough, moisture-resistant coating on the hardwood furniture. Henry also dropped more than 1½ pounds from the original Big Boy, while offering the same accuracy, adjustable sights, magazine capacities, sling swivel studs and non-slip solid rubber recoil pad. Rain, sleet, hail or snow, the All-Weather Big Boy sheds it all. MSRP: $999.95.
Browning Hells Canyon Long Range X-Bolt
Browning adds to its Hells Canyon line with the X-Bolt Long Range model. The rifle features a Cerakote Burnt Bronze finish on all exposed metal surfaces. The heavy sporter contour barrel is fluted. The composite stock incorporates textured gripping surfaces and a palm swell. It is covered in A-TACS AU Camo with Dura-Touch Armor Coating. Available in 6.5 Creedmoor with 22-inch barrel; .270 WSM and .300 WSM with 23-inch barrel; and 26 Nosler, 7mm Rem. Mag., 28 Nosler and 300 Win. Mag. with 26-inch barrel. A lightweight trigger, rotary magazine and a 60-degree bolt lift are among the many other standard features. MSRP: $1,229.99-$1,299.99.
Christensen Arms Mesa
Using many of the same features and designs perfected in its Ridgeline rifle, Christensen Arms created a very lightweight hunter in the Mesa, with a feather-light contour, stainless steel barrel and a carbon fiber composite stock. Weighing in at only 6½ pounds (short action) and carrying the Christensen Arms sub-MOA Guarantee, the Mesa is the perfect rifle for that backcountry deer hunt. The Mesa features an enlarged ejection port, a match-grade trigger, an improved bolt release and a billet aluminum-machined bottom metal with a hinged floor plate. The stock is colored black with grey webbing. It is available in 6.5 Creedmoor, 7mm-08 Rem, .308 Win, 7mm Rem Mag and .300 Win. Mag. MSRP: $1,295.
HOWA Mini-Action Rifle
Importer Legacy Sports International, Inc., introduced one interesting rifle at the 2017 SHOT Show: the HOWA Mini-Action rifle chambered in 7.62×39 and 6.5 Grendel. The Mini-Action is an established line, but was only offered in varmint calibers. Lightweight and compact, the new version of the Mini-Action uses a five-round magazine and features HOWA’s proprietary two-stage H.A.C.T. trigger system. The Mini-Action’s synthetic stock is offered in a green or black finish or can be dipped in Multicam or Kryptek Highlander camouflage patterns. HOWA also offers these rifles in 20- and 22-inch barrels, and in lightweight-, standard- and heavy-barrel configurations. Available as a stand-alone rifle or a combo with a 3-9×40 Nikko Stirling Panamax Riflescope. MSRP: $608-$885.
Patriot Predator by Mossberg
Mossberg expands its very successful Patriot line with the Predator. But don’t let the name fool you — this variation on the Patriot is built around three proven deer-killing calibers: the .243 Win., the 6.5 Creedmoor and the .308 Win. These rifles are housed in a durable flat dark earth synthetic stock. They are suppressor ready and employ Mossberg’s proven twin-lug, push-feed machined-steel action. Ammunition is fed from a lightweight polymer four-round box magazine. The carbon steel barrel is free-floating. It is 22 inches and features a matte blue finish. The rifles come with Mossberg’s patented Lightning Bolt Action user-adjustable trigger (has a 2- to 7-pound range). Easy mounting of optics is available thanks to a Picatinny rail atop the receiver. And it weighs only 6½ pounds. MSRP: $441.
Remington’s Model 700 American Wilderness Rifle
Built around the workhorse 700 bolt action, the Remington 700 American Wilderness Rifle (AWR) is one durable big-game rifle. The high-end Grayboe stock is made of fiberglass and epoxy produced under very high heat and high pressure, creating a very strong, very stable stock. Remington says the stock is so stable that it will not shift despite the weather or sudden, extreme changes to that weather. The stainless steel barreled-action is Cerakoted for weather resistance and to give the metal a darker, less shiny finish. Initially available in .270 Win., 30-06 SPRG, 7mm Rem. Mag. and .300 Win. Mag. Remington will add new caliber options later this year. MSRP: $1,150.
Ruger American Rifle .450 Bushmaster
Ruger adds to its American Rifle line with a somewhat surprising caliber choice: the .450 Bushmaster. Originally designed as a big-bore alternative to the standard 5.56mm AR-15, the .450 Bushmaster does have the advantage of being a straight-walled cartridge for deer hunters. Therefore it can be used in those areas of the country where deer hunters are limited to shogun slugs or … rifles with straight-walled cartridges! The bolt action is synthetic with a flat dark earth stock. The barrel just smidge over 16 inches and has a three-round capacity. This is not a round for the long-range shot, but it should do the job just fine out to 225 yards. MSRP: $599.
Savage Arms 11 DOA Hunter XP Package
Savage Arms launches 15 new scoped-rifle packages. The Model 11 rifle is built on the Savage 110 action, with a floating bolt head and thread-in, zero-tolerance headspace system. The rifle also features a button-rifled barrel, detachable box magazine and user-adjustable AccuTrigger. Also standard is a black, synthetic stock, matte blued barrel and Weaver Grand Slam scope rings. The combo includes a factory-mounted and bore-sighted Bushnell Trophy scope, with the specialized, drop-compensating Bushnell DOA reticle. The scope also features a fast-focus eyepiece, finger-touch-adjustable elevation and windage controls and a shooter-visible power change ring. MSRP: $684-$712.
Savage MSR 10 Hunter
Savage Arms jumps into the AR-10 market with the all-new Savage MSR 10 Hunter, a compact, direct-impingement AR chambered in .308 Win. and 6.5 Creedmoor. The rifles are tricked out with all sorts of cool furniture, including BLACKHAWK!’s AR Blaze trigger, KNOXX AR pistol grip and AXIOM Carbine Stock. The receiver has a matte black, hardcoat anodized finish, the barrel a tough Melonite QPQ coating. Other upgrades include a free-float forend and a custom-forged lower receiver. The .308 version has a 16 1/8-inch barrel and weigh 7.8 pounds. The 6.5 has an 18-inch barrel and a weight of 8 pounds. MSRP: $1,481.
Smith and Wesson Performance Center M&P 10 – 6.5 Creedmoor
Smith and Wesson’s Performance Center has taken the standard M&P 10 and chambered it in 6.5 Creedmoor. It also added a two-stage match trigger, a 15-inch free-float Troy Alpha M-Lok handguard, a 2-inch aluminum M-LOK accessory rail panel, as well as a Magpul MOE rifle stock. The gas-operated Performance Center M&P 10 in 6.5 Creedmoor has a 20-inch, carbon steel barrel. The barrel is threaded for a suppressor or flash hider/muzzle brake and has a thread protector. Weighs 9.05 pounds, sports an Armorite finish and comes with a 10-round magazine. MSRP: $2,035.
The Kimber Sub Alpine
Built on Kimber’s 84M action, the Sub Alpine is a true mountain rifle, coming it at under five pounds. The stock in made of reinforced carbon fiber with pillar bedding, and is finished in soft touch Gore Optifade camo for a superior grip even when wet. Also features a full-length claw extractor, a right-side three position safety, a four-round magazine, and an adjustable trigger factory set at 3 to 3.5 pounds. The stainless steel barrel is threaded and fluted , and is sized at 22- to 26-inches depending on the rifle’s caliber. The Sub Alpine is available in .308 Win, .280 Ack. Imp., .30-06 Sprg., 300 WSM, and .300 Win Mag.
Weatherby designed the Camilla specifically for women, using a team of women hunters and shooters to guide the design. The Camilla stock is made specifically to fit women, with a length of pull shortened to 13 inches. Weatherby also changed the grip angle from its standard Vanguard rifles and added a slight trigger finger guide groove for improved grip ergonomics. For the (generally) smaller female hand, the Camilla has a shorter, slimmer forearm and grip, with a right-side palm swell for better balance and fit. Otherwise, the rifle is pure Weatherby, with the gun maker’s sub-MOA accuracy guarantee (.99 inches or less 3-shot group at 100 yards when used with Weatherby factory or premium ammunition), an adjustable, match-quality trigger, a one-piece machined bolt body and a cold-hammer-forged barrel. The Camilla comes available in .243 Win., 6.5 Creedmoor, .308 win and 7MM-08 Rem. MSRP: $849.