This article was first published on LetsGoShooting.org. Used on GunBroker.com with permission.
“Lightweight” and “easy” are two hallmarks of the new crop of Rifles.
For 2023, retailers will see the emergence of some interesting and promising trends. The word “lightweight” appears in a majority of manufacturers’ descriptions of their new guns, with “easy” following not far behind. For most, a lighter firearm means easier manipulation and less fatigue at the end of the day. When companies step up and address consumer feedback with improved products, everyone wins.
While the current season has seen less excitement over new rifle calibers, the 5.7x28mm is enjoying a revival. It’s easy to understand why, as the little cartridge performs well in both handguns and short- and mid-range rifle applications. And it does so with while delivering very little in the way of recoil, providing a way for any new or seasoned shooter to enjoy multiple applications from the same load.
Bergara continues to push the envelope of accuracy via a pair of ground-breaking technologies with their carbon barrels and carbon stocks.
First is a development Bergara calls the B-14 Squared Concept. This involves adding a proprietary carbon-fiber monocoque stock to the line, the internal structure of which provides greater rigidity and strength.
The new Crest takes advantage of the B-14 Squared Concept by utilizing the carbon-fiber monocoque stock paired to a 410 stainless steel 20 or 22-inch barrel. Other features include a 90-degree bolt-throw angle, cone-shaped bolt-nose ejector (which assures smooth feeding), a sliding plate extractor, and a hinged floor plate or detachable magazine, which accepts ACIS-sized magazines. The two-position safety is part of the trigger assembly. It allows the rifle to be unloaded while in the safe position. Finished in Sniper Gray Cerakote. Unloaded weight is 6.8 pounds. SRP: $1,699.
Second, Bergara adds carbon barrels to some of their Wilderness line. The HMR Carbon Wilderness features the Bergara B-14 action that includes a spring-loaded ejector, side-mounted bolt stop, and a fluted 4140 chromoly steel one-piece-bolt body. It also features the carbon barrel in (20, 22, or 24 inches, depending on the caliber) and accepts an ACIS-sized magazine. Other features include a side-mounted bolt stop and a 90-degree bolt-throw angle. The two-position safety is part of the trigger assembly. It allows the rifle to be unloaded while the safety is engaged.
The Ridge Carbon Wilderness also utilizes a carbon-fiber barrel (20, 22, or 24, inches depending on caliber). It is available in a gray Cerakote stock in 6.5 Creedmoor, 6.5 PRC, .308 Win., and .300 Win. Mag. Unloaded weight is 6.4 pounds. SRP: Starts at $1,399.
The Little Badger Take Down Xtreme is the newest addition to the Little Badger series of survival rifles from Chiappa Firearms. A simple knob transforms this rifle into a packable two-piece gun that fits perfectly in its floating, water-resistant tube. Weighing only 2.9 pounds, the Little Badger Take Down Xtreme offers a next-level advantage for shooters and hunters looking to achieve complete versatility packed into a minimalist design.
Christensen Arms continues the effort to please backcountry hunters with the addition of two Optifade camo patterns on their Mesa FFT rifles. Choices are Optifade Subalpine on the stock, with black nitride barrel/action, or a stock with Optifade Elevated II camo and tungsten-finish barrel and action.
A wide range of rifles are made for each camo design. The Subalpine pattern is offered in four different chamberings and barrel lengths of 20 or 22 inches. Or choose the Mesa Elevated II with a 20-inch barrel and three different chamberings. This model is made to be light and ready for long days afield, with a base weight of 5.5 pounds. A removable radial muzzle brake is included on all Mesa FFTs. All are backed by Christensen Arms’ sub-MOA guarantee. SRP: begins at $1,699.99.
The CVA Cascade XT (X-Treme) sports weight-reducing flutes and a radial muzzle break as standard equipment. The 4140 carbon-steel No. 5 taper barrel in Cerakote Graphite Black is the heaviest in the Cascade Series, designed to provide superior accuracy capability. The threaded muzzle will also accept a suppressor. The two-position safety is conveniently located for natural and instantaneous operation. And loading is a breeze with its four-round (short-action), flush-fit, detachable magazine. Available in 22- or 24-inch barrel lengths in Realtree Hillside camo. Available calibers are 6.5 Creedmoor, .308 Win. .450 Bushmaster, 350 Legend, 6.5 PRC, 7mm Rem. Mag., .300 Win. Mag. Unloaded weight 7.5 pounds. SRP: $850.
The 600 Alpha line of rifles from CZ USA has nine chamberings: 7.62×39, .223 Remington, .224 Valkyrie, 6mm Creedmoor, .300 Win. Mag., .308 Win., 6.5 Creedmoor, .30-06, and 6.5 Precision Rifle Cartridge.
Dubbed as “the rifle that can do it all,” CZ opted to reduce weight with a polymer stock and aluminum frame while preserving it in the semi-heavy barrel, a combination that should make for a mobile and accurate shooting experience. Its target market is the hunter with an appreciation of the technical advantages of benchrest rifle design.
The detachable, locking magazine holds three or five rounds, depending on caliber. The black polymer stock has serrated grip zones and such features as a parallel comb and vertical grip, touches borrowed from the competitive precision-rifle arena. Barrel lengths range from 18 inches in the 7.62×39 to 24 inches in other calibers.
Although the weights and calibers of the Alpha vary widely, the SRP does not. It’s $749. Each comes with CZ’s sub-MOA guarantee.
Mossberg is now offering the latest Hornady Precision Rifle Cartridge, the 7mm PRC, in its series of Patriot Predator bolt-action rifles. Designed to outperform existing 7mm cartridges in a standard long-action rifle, the 7mm PRC is a match-grade cartridge that delivers consistent velocity and repeatable accuracy. As such, the 7mm PRC is the perfect “match” for Mossberg’s suppressor-ready Patriot Predator platform. Two synthetic-stocked models are available, both of which feature a barrel length of 24 inches and a 1:8 twist rate to maximize the performance of the 7mm PRC cartridge.
The Patriot Predator bolt-action is based on Mossberg’s proven twin-lug push-feed machined-steel action, which is fed from a flush-fit polymer magazine. The free-floating, carbon-steel fluted barrel is threaded for a suppressor or muzzle brake and includes a protective thread cap.
For the addition of optics, the Patriot Predator is equipped with a receiver-mounted Picatinny rail. Patriot rifles feature Mossberg’s patented LBA (Lightning Bolt Action) user-adjustable trigger with a 2- to 7-pound range of adjustment for consistent shot placement. Rounding out this full-featured rifle is an oversized bolt handle, a spiral-fluted bolt, and sling swivel studs.
Stock options include a Flat Dark Earth stock with matte blue metal finish and TrueTimber Strata camouflaged stock with complementing Patriot Brown Cerakote metal finish. SRP: $519-$616.
The Patriot LR Tactical Rifle line consists of three models: 6.5 Creedmoor (22-inch barrel), 6.5 PRC (24-inch barrel), and .308 Win. (22-inch barrel). The stock is user-adjustable for length of pull by the use of three spacers, and the comb/cheekrest height is user-adjustable up to two inches.
The MDT stock has aluminum V-Block bedding for improved accuracy and an M-LOK compatible forend. Other standard features include a patented LBA adjustable trigger, suppressor-ready threaded barrel with removable cap and an 11-degree match crown, oversized bolt handle, spiral fluted bolt, top-mount Picatinny rail/scope base and 7-round or 10-round MDT AICS-style magazine. The patented LBA Adjustable Trigger is user-adjustable from 2 to 7 pounds. The trigger guard is oversized for use with gloved hands, and there is an integrated magazine-release lever.
Ruger’s breakout design, the LC Carbine, chambered in 5.7x28mm, may take some retailers by surprise. But, considering that Ruger reawakened the 5.7 market about a year ago with the Ruger-5.7 Pistol, maybe it’s not such a surprise after all.
The design is a fresh interpretation in the semi-auto carbine category. Space is saved with bolt-over-barrel configuration, and the pistol grip doubles as the magazine well. But its compact utility doesn’t end there. A folding stock and adjustable length of pull make it portable and ready for youth or adult shooters. Blazing ballistics and low recoil of the 5.7 load qualify it as a candidate for long shots on vermin, when fitted with a magnifying optic, or target practice or pest control at closer ranges using the included fold-down iron sights installed on the LC’s full-length Picatinny rail. Those who want to avoid scaring coyotes or hogs can add a suppressor to the threaded 16.25-inch barrel.
Ruger packed a lot of handy features into this 5.9-pound package. There’s an M-LOK rail on the forend for accessories, and multiple QD sling sockets are included. The safety is ambidextrous; the charging handle is reversible. This should be a great gun for learning the basics and for real work in the outdoors. Low-capacity and fixed-stock models suited to restrictive states are available, too. SRP: $979.
Early 2023 marks the release of a re-designed straight-pull Impulse big-game rifle, the Impulse Mountain Hunter. In response to customer requests for a lighter rifle that’s easier to tote over long distances in the western backcountry, Savage shaved off some bulk on the earlier Impulse, but retained beloved features like the Acu-Trigger and AccuStock. The carbon fiber-wrapped 22- or 24-inch stainless-steel barrel by Proof Research will deliver accuracy for those across-canyon shots. Also on board is a muzzle break. The dark gray synthetic stock is fitted with one-piece 20 MOA Picatinny rail, ready to carry a suitable scope. The aluminum receiver and overall emphasis on lightness should please any big-game hunter whose pursuit requires hiking. It’ll be available in nine popular chamberings for big game. SRP: $2,437.
Never loathe to embrace new cartridges, Savage also announced that the existing Apex, Impulse, Timberline, High Country, and UltraLite lines will now be chambered in 7mm PRC. This new cartridge, launched by Hornady, boasts a high ballistic coefficient and uses common, temperature-stable, magnum-speed propellants. Prices range from $709 to $2,437 depending on model and specs.
The 110 Carbon Predator joins the iconic Model 110 bolt-action family. Weighing in at trim 6.5 pounds, the rifle features the user-adjustable AccuTrigger, a crisp, matte-black carbon-steel receiver, and a carbon-fiber-wrapped PROOF Research stainless rifled barrel with threaded muzzle. Other key features include an AccuStock with AccuFit Technology and an AICS detachable-box magazine. Available calibers are 6mm ARC. .223 Rem., .22-250 Rem., .308 Win., 6.5 Creedmoor, and .300 BLK. SRP: $1,695.
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