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Forbes Model 24B Rifle: A Light Gun at a Great Price

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May 15, 2012

Forbes Model 24B Rifle: A Light Gun at a Great Price

By David E. Petzal

Melvin Forbes started Ultra Light Arms (now New Ultra Light Arms) in 1986, and is still very much in business, which is a towering tribute to the quality of his rifles. Small gunmakers riseth up and are mown down, but Melvin is still turning out the best truly light hunting rifles in the world.

What stands between a New Ultra Light Arms rifle and most shooters is the price. It’s a handmade gun, and the basic Model 24 NULA is $3,600 before options, which are many. And so, because Melvin is a man of the people, he has found a way to get his rifles into the hands of the many at a price of $1,400, which puts it in the upper tier of factory rifles.

The Forbes Model 24 B consists of the same Kevlar/graphite stock, made by Melvin, a CNC-produced action turned out by Titan Machine Products in Maine, a Timney trigger, and a Shaw barrel instead of a Douglas. The barrel comes in 24 inches only, #2 contour, and at present the rifle is available only in .270 and .30/06, right-hand only, and one stock color, gray. Its weight is 5 ¼ pounds, and until you heft one, you can’t imagine how light that is.

Picking up a Model 24B is jarring because the rifle has not been hacked, chopped, gouged, bobbed, or otherwise mutilated to achieve that extraordinary weight. It’s a full-sized gun, and looks like a full-sized gun, so you don’t expect it to weigh that little. The stock is only a pound, and there is not a fraction of an ounce extra anywhere else. It’s extremely durable (Nosler had a NULA action on a test rifle and put a million rounds through it before it got tired.), accurate, and foolproof.

After some snorting and farting on everyone’s part, I got my hands on a production rifle in .270, and am pleased to report that it shoots as well as any of the $3,600 NULAs. Due to the very limited time I could keep it, I went directly to handloads, and found that I could get groups of .589-inch with 150-grain Hornady SSTs, Federal 215 Primers, and H4831. Even by the unearthly accuracy standards of the newest rifles, this is about as good as it gets.

Two words of caution: The Shaw barrel is pretty rough and collects copper very quickly, so be advised that unless you clean your Model 24B with great vigah, it will quickly cease to shoot well. Second, rifles this light place an extra demand on you; every little twitch or jiggle is magnified because you don’t have 8 or 9 pounds of gun to absorb it. If your marksmanship basics are not up to snuff, you might want to buy something heavier.

I’ve owned a number of ULAs and NULAs over 20-plus years, and have hunted just about everywhere and everything with them, and except for the stamp on the receiver, I can’t tell the difference between the Model 24B and my guns. It’s still the best light big-game rifle around…but at $2,200 less.

 

Comments (43)

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from huntslow wrote 1 year 48 weeks ago

Great rifle but how do you get one? I can find no one within 100 miles of my central PA home that expects to get any this year. Or maybe they will get some but are already sold out. If Melvin builds it they already came!

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from Gtbigsky wrote 1 year 48 weeks ago

Dave,

How significant was the recoil? I shot a 270 ultra lightweight years ago and it kicked surprisingly hard

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from focusfront wrote 1 year 48 weeks ago

I'm with Gtbigsky. Years ago I had a .30-06 that weighed about seven and a half pounds scoped, slung, and loaded, and that thing had a wicked kick. Can imagine what knocking another pound off the weight would do. Make my NULA in 6.5 Creedmore, please.

Really agree with you, Dave, about ULA. That rifle changed the shooting world. Before ULA, a lightweight bolt rifle weighed 7- 71/2 pounds naked. Now you don't even start calling a bolt rifle light if it weighs more than six.

As to the Shaw barrel, would this be the time for Dave to do a report on "fire lapping"?

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from Michigan Gunner wrote 1 year 48 weeks ago

In .30-06 it will kick........hard. It would be a great rifle in .243 or 6mm Rem. with a short action.

MG

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from Gtbigsky wrote 1 year 48 weeks ago

I agree with a bunch of the posters. I would love a rifle like this in a mild mannered, short action 260, 7mm-08, 243

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 1 year 48 weeks ago

Shheeeeeit, at 5 1/2 pounds, even a .260 or 7mm-08 is not that mild mannered! a 7mm-08 at 6.2 lbs (light scope) has 16.7 ft/lbs of recoil @ 13.2 fps versus a 8.0 lb 30-06's 18.0 ft/lbs @ 12.0 fps recoil velocity. In .270 Win, it would have about 21.7 ft/lbs of recoil. Better hang on before you touch that bad boy off! My 7mm Weatherby has less recoil than that, but you do have to carry the extra three pounds all day! LOL

It is still a nearly perfect mountain rifle from one of the best gunmakers in the country. Just don't expect less than a good bite when you fire it!

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from bruisedsausage wrote 1 year 48 weeks ago

I wouldn't mind having one chambered in 7mm-08/308, or...ready for it,...the .358 Win. Although the .358 might be a little on the stiff side for a light little rifle.

On a side note, I think the barrel is a perfect candidate to test some bore lapping compound on, or fire lap it as previously suggested.

And just because I've always wanted to suggest this for a rifle test, maybe I can persuade you into putting the rifle in the freezer for a couple hours and then shoot it and see how it does(although I don't know how many ranges have access to a freezer or could have access). We've all heard that the first 'cold bore' shot is usually a little different than the follow up shots, and I think the difference might even depend slightly on the just how cold it gets. For those of us that hunt in 'cold' areas the temperature difference between when we sight in, to when we shoot the firearm can be drastically different.

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from Tim Platt wrote 1 year 48 weeks ago

Funny how everyone is talking about recoil from a .270... really? You don't shoot that often when you hunt, you mostly carry the rifle around. If you are buying a gun to shoot at the range get one that is fun like an AR. And if you are hunting from a treestand does it really matter how much the gun weighs? This is a rifle for a specific task. If I lived out west I would probably own one, and be 30 pounds lighter. I do not and am not.

Really I moved down from a 30-06 because it hit me really hard one time while I was leaning around a tree off balance 30 feet up. Bloodied my face and almost made me fall out of my stand. I have tried a half dozen other calibers and am back to the '06. Hit me again, harder. At least it brings home the bacon.

I like the way Dave tells it how it is. A lighter gun is harder to shoot. Every mistake is magnified. I stumbled upon this lesson in a round about sort of way with carbon arrows.

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from Tim Platt wrote 1 year 48 weeks ago

Is that a Zeiss in the picture?

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 1 year 48 weeks ago

Dr. Ralph,

I think you have something there. I have averaged exactly 1.714 shots fired per year during elk hunts the past 7 years. So it's not like it is going to beat you to death in the field!

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from Gtbigsky wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

Dr Ralph,

Isn't your statement a bit of a contradiction? For example ,in your first paragraph you implied that recoil doesn't matter in hunting situations and in the second paragraph you stated " Really I moved down from a 30-06 because it hit me really hard one time while I was leaning around a tree off balance 30 feet up" bloody your face etc etc. So the affects of the recoil from your 30/06, during a huting scenario, caused you to "move down". I assume you mean to a rifle with less recoil.
a 5 1/4 lb 270 shooting a 150 gr bullet creates 27.4 lbs of recoil at 18.3 fps. Your 30/06 with a 180 gr bullet and 8lb rifle only has 20lbs of felt recoil. The 270 has over 7 lbs more felt recoil than the 06. Almost 40% more recoil.

I have always been a firm believer in practicing at the range with the rifles I am going to hunt with.

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from dale freeman wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

To the old fellers;
When I got old, one of the hardest things was for me to reconize my limitations.
Now I'm quite content to shoot the 7-08, the 243 and the 260.
And guess what, the stuff falls just as quick.
When I was young, I shot the 30-06 and the 270, my two favorites.
And remember the retirement checks.
The price of this rifle is almost 2 Remington 700's and I'll betcha my pickup it's no better.

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from O Garcia wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

that bolt handle looks... puny.

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from Douglas wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

I bought a Kimber 84m in .308 and it has taken 200+ rounds to find the load it likes and for me to get used to the recoil. The rifle weighs 7.5# scoped.
I would plan on similar time getting used to the Forbes 24B.
While hunting, besides carrying a rifle, I spend a lot of time sitting with one in my hands, waiting. It sure is nice having a gun of quality and craftsmanship to look at during the wait.
If I come upon $1400 I sure will look into a Forbes.

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from davidpetzal wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

To All: If you're looking for a dealer, e-mail cbozzi@forbesriflesllc.com.

The scope is a Meopta Meopro 3X-9X.

To O Garcia: "Puny" is such an ugly word. "No bigger than it has to be" is a much better description. How much steel do you need in a bolt handle?

About recoil: That's a whole post unto itself, which I shall write forthwith.

To Bruised Sausage (???!!!??): Most rifles shoot differently in extreme cold (zero or below), but not necessarily because the temperature affects the rifle. What it does affect is the rate at which the powder burns, and possibly the primers, and probably the firing pin fall if there's a lot industrial sludge inside the bolt. Also, if you're shooting at long range you'll notice that your bullets strike lower because cold air is denser than warm air, and it drags on the projectile. John Barsness did an excellent piece on the effects of temperature on gunpowder in the American Rifleman a while back, and if you can find it I recommend it highly.

To Dale Freeman: I hope you have a spare pickup truck.

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from sdditchpig wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

All this discussion, and not a single mention of the 338 Federal. You gun snobs, killed that round. Seems like a perfect fit, light gun, big bullet, and hunter that has the skill to get in on his game.

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from sdditchpig wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

You don't need an ultra light rifle, to shoot from the ATV, or off of the logging road.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

Bruised Sausage: A very light rifle chambered in .358 Winchester, or .338 Federal for that matter, will rattle your cage, sir. I have a 6.5+ pound Savage 99F so chambered and it is not a light recoiling rifle by any stretch of the imagination.

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from 1uglymutha wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

what's the big deal with recoil in a hunting rifle? the lack of recoil in a benchrest rifle makes sense. but a hunting rifle? i've never much noticed recoil when shooting at game, although shooting from the bench can get uncomfortable after a few rounds with some rifles. i'm 5'6" by a buck 50 and the 375 h&h is comfortable for me. my girlfriend shoots that rifle better than i do off the bench or offhand. the m79 grenade launcher has a pretty quick recoil impulse but if you want to see a rifle that REALLY kicks, google up the .950 jdj just for fun. the youtube videos are a hoot. and you think your rifle packs a punch?

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from Sanjuancb wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

I'm a bit surprised that the Shaw barrel was that rough. Was this also the case in the E.R. Shaw custom rifle that you raved about? In any case, I too would be interested in learning about the efficacy of fire-lapping. I know that David Tubb sells kits with bullets that are to be handloaded and then fired in series through the bore in order to smooth it out.

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from dtownley wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

To DEP, is there that much difference between the quality of the Douglas & Shaw bbls. or is there a finishing process that the Shaw bbl. lacks(hammered,button) ? $2200 in savings over the non-economy, that is a sizable chunk.
I like lightweight, the message seems to get lost from my head to my azz. My friends wonder aloud how it can be...they say, "they have always been so close to"...my pals ?

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from Tim Platt wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

I did go to lighter cartridges after being hit with a scope in a treestand but unlike others I was not impressed with their performance. I hunt in heavy cover and dropping an animal in its tracks is very important to me. The '06 does it better than any other rifle I have used, so I just put my big boy panties on and went back to using it even if I suffered a little abuse.

I think good marksmanship is an art and I practice with a variety of rifles, mainly an air rifle that is very hard to shoot. I have put in a LOT of practice with my Remington 700 30-06 because I have had it 30+ years and at one time it was my only rifle and I was much tougher. I do not think my shooting has deteriorated by no longer using it at the range. If anything I shoot much better because I have been doing so much off hand practicing since I bought an AR.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

Dr. Ralph:

I'm with you on using a bigger hammer. I'm saving all my mild recoil rifles for little critters and old age! I shoot just as good a group with Weatherby magnums as .257 Roberts at the range, although the Bob is much more pleasant to shoot.

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from crowman wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

It only kicks when your at the range on a bench, when your out in the field with a "fill in the blank" in your scope you don't even know the gun went off.

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from focusfront wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

A light rifle should be loaded with a light cartridge. No sense taking .300 magnum level recoil if all you need is .250 Savage level killing power. I am an Easterner so I will never shoot an elk or grizzly, and those 2000 pound pigs you read about are sci-fi. They usually are closer to 200. Well within the envelope of any 6.5mm without getting your eyebrows lacerated or your nose broken or your fillings knocked out.

Dave, you have several votes here for fire lapping that barrel. Are you paying attention?

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from davidpetzal wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

To all: From what I've seen, the Douglas barrels with which I've had experience are smoother than the Shaws. However, I've never seen any correlation between smoothness and accuracy, and this barrel shot as well as anything could.

About firelapping: Shaw recommends it, and I did firelap the barrel on the .30/06 they built for me. This one appeared to have been shot already, so I didn't bother. I'm not entirely sold on firelapping. I think that if I had a real shooter that fouled badly, I've have the bore lapped the old-fashioned way. There's no doubt whether that works. I can't see firelapping a top-flight barrel such as a Pac-Nor or Lilja or Hart, or Jarrett, or any of the other top makers. They're smooth when they come out of the shop.

To Dtownley: I don't know how much money is saved by using Shaw instead of Douglas, but I don't think it's a lot. The major savings probably comes from producing the receivers on CNC equipment, rather than milling them the old-fashioned way, as Melvin Forbes does. Also, the lack of options cuts way down on delivery time, as each rifle does not have to be treated as an individual case.

To crowman: I don't agree with the "it only kicks at the range" school of thinking. If you're afraid of a rifle, you're afraid of it all the time, and will shoot accordingly.

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from bruisedsausage wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

Petzal, I understand the cold air and density, what I would like to see done is just shoot the rifle cold, keep the ammunition at the ambient air temp, and that way only the rifle having been 'frozen' should/would have an effect. Basically control the variables that go into the experiment and see just how much the rifle in question is effected. Oh yeah the user name is an enigma,(it comes from a muley that I shot which promptly ran and took a flying leap off of an 80 ft cliff. The entire deer ended up becoming sausage due to the massive amount of bruising) not that I have or had a bruised sausage lol. And one last question if I may Mr. Petzal, if memory serves me correctly you wrote about this exact gun (Forbes model 24B) back in November. So why cover it again so soon?

WAM, I'm not overly worried about pulling the trigger on a .358 win in a light rifle, I've shot an FR8 Mauser (.308 win) that weighed about 5lbs scoped. I've since relegated it a project until it gets re-barreled because there is so very "little" meat on that barrel and I'm not sure its safe to shoot. My old man was also involved with the Savage Striker and its inception and I've been behind one for many a round being discharged and its nothing to scoff at, but its very shoot-able. All of this being said, I'm not entirely sure that ultra light rifles are even something of a necessity. I spend the vast majority of my time carrying a full size and weight rifle around the mountains. So far it hasn't been a problem. Although if I had some or enough extra change laying around I might just pick up one of the Forbes model 24B rifles. It would make a nice rifle for when I make my fall pilgrimage to elk camp.

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from davidpetzal wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

To bruised sausage: Thanks for the explanation. I had a mule deer go off a cliff in Wyoming years ago, and by sheer chance it landed on a little ledge about ten feet below the rim. If it hadn't hit the ledge it would have fallen 100 feet or so and wouldn't even have made sausage. But that's not important now. Probably, a frozen rifle would not shoot any differently than an ambient temperature rifle, provided everything else was the same.

Also, when I reported on the Forbes rifle last winter, I hadn't shot one; I just knew that the first toolroom guns existed.

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from Tim Platt wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

Meopro. Dave really is using a $399 scope. I figured it was the $999 model but that is the Meostar. Walk the walk.

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from Safado wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

I have a 30-06 that weighs about 5-1/2 pounds, wood stock iron sights only. As WAM said "you'd better hold on" because it is the hardest kicker I own. It is a little hard to shoot off of the bench. I do have very good experience with "fire lapping" barrels. I have used "Tubbs Final Finish" rounds in two of my Savage rifles with excellent results. One is a 22-250 the other in .308 both are plenty accurate after the process and clean up after shooting like nobody's business. The 22-250 has benchrest accuracy. I would not use the product in a custom barrel but I broke both of my savages with the fire lapping rounds and have no complaints.

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from Safado wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

I meant to say "broke both of my Savages in" not broke...

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

David Petzal,
Is the Meopro the same as one of the Cabela's branded scopes? Did you say that before or did I read that elsewhere?

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from O Garcia wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

DP,

I admit I used the word puny in reference to the recent "The Avengers" movie (dialog exchange between Loki and The Incredible Hulk).

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from O Garcia wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

Maybe I want enough steel (or at least a strong enough weld) so that the bolt handle stays on in case Old Thunderdent decides to snag the rifle against trees or rock faces. Although if a horse decides to really get rid of my rifle, the bolt handle is probably the least of my worries?

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from dasmith wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

Way out of my price range.

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from deadeyedick wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

Perhaps when I win the mega-million lottery I will go out and buy all those high falutin rifles of which you are so fond. Until then I will stick with the 4 remington 700's in my gun safe

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from ishawooa wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

DEP does it appear that this particular rifle will be offered in a magnum version in the forseeable future? Yes some of us are not concerned about recoil, just reliability and accuracy and maybe weight.

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from cbanks wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

I've owned two ULA Model 24s, one in .270 Win. and one in .338 WinMag. The latter has a muzzle brake, and has the felt recoil of a .308. I know it's cheating, but I've killed everything with it from a 30-pound duiker to Alaskan moose and brown bear. Best and most versatile hunting rifle I've ever owned.

The .270, without a brake, is similarly easy to shoot--I've taken multiple African plains game, mules/whitetails, caribou, pronghorns, you name it. And you can't beat it for sheep and goat hunting; even a fat old out-of-shape hunter like me can carry it up and down mountains all day.

These are the only rifles I ever hunt with any more. Melvin's stock design is responsible for the light felt recoil; the stock is feather-light, but it fills the hand and the comb contour is easy on the face.

If my 20-odd years of experience with the Model 24 is any guide, the new 24-B is going to make a lot of hunters very happy.

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from dale freeman wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

To davidpetzal;
Was it dr. ralph, or wa mtnhunter "spitting" off about how purty thier bushmaster is.
Well I bought one and it is beautiful. (never thought i'd say that)
I bought the "carbon 15"
This little rifle is like a beautiful woman and dosn't portraythe evil that shoots from her mouth.
David, do a little blog on this little rifle and see if you don't fall in love with it.

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from Del in KS wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

No thanks on the light rifles, as noted above they are more difficult to shoot accurately. I have never noticed recoil when shooting an animal with any of my rifles. The Weatherby Vanguard 2 in 300 Wby is currently my go to rifle. However I did whack a large male coyote with my SBE and 2 ounces of heavy shot. I did notice the recoil and the dog died without a kick.

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from davidpetzal wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

To O Garcia: References to any cultural matter more recent than 1970 go right past me. I think you'll find that the size of the bolt root is the same as on a standard rifle, as is the bearing surface of the locking lugs. And yes, if Old Thunderdent decides to scrape your rifle out of the saddle scabbard, the bolt handle weld is the least of your worries.

To Ishawooa: The usual formula in the gun biz is to bring out a 7mm Rem Mag and .300 Win Mag in the second generation, so that's what I'd look for.

To WA Mtn Hunter: Cabela's sells Meopta scopes and binoculars under the brand name "Euro." Same thing. And yes, I really do use the Meopro. A first-class scope is a first-class scope.

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from ishawooa wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

cbanks: I am amused by your comments as they validate the exact same decision made by an another old fat hunter who is a friend of mine and resides in Reno. He owns a wide variety of rifles and still trots the globe a bit but has given up dangerous game. As a result he has a well worn .270 and a moderately worn .338 feeling that nothing else is required. Without a doubt the two of you, and many others who feel the same, are correct.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

DEP,

Thanks. Since there is a new Cabela's in my neighborhood, I might check out the Meopro/Euro. The Big L needs some competition and apparently they have it! I would seriously consider the Forbes 24B rifle if I didn't already have a 6-lug Weatherby Mark V Lightweight Sporter with the kevlar stock in .30-06 Sprg gathering dust. I'll wait for the .25-06 or .280 Remington model!

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 1 year 48 weeks ago

Shheeeeeit, at 5 1/2 pounds, even a .260 or 7mm-08 is not that mild mannered! a 7mm-08 at 6.2 lbs (light scope) has 16.7 ft/lbs of recoil @ 13.2 fps versus a 8.0 lb 30-06's 18.0 ft/lbs @ 12.0 fps recoil velocity. In .270 Win, it would have about 21.7 ft/lbs of recoil. Better hang on before you touch that bad boy off! My 7mm Weatherby has less recoil than that, but you do have to carry the extra three pounds all day! LOL

It is still a nearly perfect mountain rifle from one of the best gunmakers in the country. Just don't expect less than a good bite when you fire it!

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from Tim Platt wrote 1 year 48 weeks ago

Funny how everyone is talking about recoil from a .270... really? You don't shoot that often when you hunt, you mostly carry the rifle around. If you are buying a gun to shoot at the range get one that is fun like an AR. And if you are hunting from a treestand does it really matter how much the gun weighs? This is a rifle for a specific task. If I lived out west I would probably own one, and be 30 pounds lighter. I do not and am not.

Really I moved down from a 30-06 because it hit me really hard one time while I was leaning around a tree off balance 30 feet up. Bloodied my face and almost made me fall out of my stand. I have tried a half dozen other calibers and am back to the '06. Hit me again, harder. At least it brings home the bacon.

I like the way Dave tells it how it is. A lighter gun is harder to shoot. Every mistake is magnified. I stumbled upon this lesson in a round about sort of way with carbon arrows.

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from focusfront wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

A light rifle should be loaded with a light cartridge. No sense taking .300 magnum level recoil if all you need is .250 Savage level killing power. I am an Easterner so I will never shoot an elk or grizzly, and those 2000 pound pigs you read about are sci-fi. They usually are closer to 200. Well within the envelope of any 6.5mm without getting your eyebrows lacerated or your nose broken or your fillings knocked out.

Dave, you have several votes here for fire lapping that barrel. Are you paying attention?

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from dale freeman wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

To the old fellers;
When I got old, one of the hardest things was for me to reconize my limitations.
Now I'm quite content to shoot the 7-08, the 243 and the 260.
And guess what, the stuff falls just as quick.
When I was young, I shot the 30-06 and the 270, my two favorites.
And remember the retirement checks.
The price of this rifle is almost 2 Remington 700's and I'll betcha my pickup it's no better.

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from cbanks wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

I've owned two ULA Model 24s, one in .270 Win. and one in .338 WinMag. The latter has a muzzle brake, and has the felt recoil of a .308. I know it's cheating, but I've killed everything with it from a 30-pound duiker to Alaskan moose and brown bear. Best and most versatile hunting rifle I've ever owned.

The .270, without a brake, is similarly easy to shoot--I've taken multiple African plains game, mules/whitetails, caribou, pronghorns, you name it. And you can't beat it for sheep and goat hunting; even a fat old out-of-shape hunter like me can carry it up and down mountains all day.

These are the only rifles I ever hunt with any more. Melvin's stock design is responsible for the light felt recoil; the stock is feather-light, but it fills the hand and the comb contour is easy on the face.

If my 20-odd years of experience with the Model 24 is any guide, the new 24-B is going to make a lot of hunters very happy.

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from Gtbigsky wrote 1 year 48 weeks ago

I agree with a bunch of the posters. I would love a rifle like this in a mild mannered, short action 260, 7mm-08, 243

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from davidpetzal wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

To All: If you're looking for a dealer, e-mail cbozzi@forbesriflesllc.com.

The scope is a Meopta Meopro 3X-9X.

To O Garcia: "Puny" is such an ugly word. "No bigger than it has to be" is a much better description. How much steel do you need in a bolt handle?

About recoil: That's a whole post unto itself, which I shall write forthwith.

To Bruised Sausage (???!!!??): Most rifles shoot differently in extreme cold (zero or below), but not necessarily because the temperature affects the rifle. What it does affect is the rate at which the powder burns, and possibly the primers, and probably the firing pin fall if there's a lot industrial sludge inside the bolt. Also, if you're shooting at long range you'll notice that your bullets strike lower because cold air is denser than warm air, and it drags on the projectile. John Barsness did an excellent piece on the effects of temperature on gunpowder in the American Rifleman a while back, and if you can find it I recommend it highly.

To Dale Freeman: I hope you have a spare pickup truck.

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from davidpetzal wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

To all: From what I've seen, the Douglas barrels with which I've had experience are smoother than the Shaws. However, I've never seen any correlation between smoothness and accuracy, and this barrel shot as well as anything could.

About firelapping: Shaw recommends it, and I did firelap the barrel on the .30/06 they built for me. This one appeared to have been shot already, so I didn't bother. I'm not entirely sold on firelapping. I think that if I had a real shooter that fouled badly, I've have the bore lapped the old-fashioned way. There's no doubt whether that works. I can't see firelapping a top-flight barrel such as a Pac-Nor or Lilja or Hart, or Jarrett, or any of the other top makers. They're smooth when they come out of the shop.

To Dtownley: I don't know how much money is saved by using Shaw instead of Douglas, but I don't think it's a lot. The major savings probably comes from producing the receivers on CNC equipment, rather than milling them the old-fashioned way, as Melvin Forbes does. Also, the lack of options cuts way down on delivery time, as each rifle does not have to be treated as an individual case.

To crowman: I don't agree with the "it only kicks at the range" school of thinking. If you're afraid of a rifle, you're afraid of it all the time, and will shoot accordingly.

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from davidpetzal wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

To bruised sausage: Thanks for the explanation. I had a mule deer go off a cliff in Wyoming years ago, and by sheer chance it landed on a little ledge about ten feet below the rim. If it hadn't hit the ledge it would have fallen 100 feet or so and wouldn't even have made sausage. But that's not important now. Probably, a frozen rifle would not shoot any differently than an ambient temperature rifle, provided everything else was the same.

Also, when I reported on the Forbes rifle last winter, I hadn't shot one; I just knew that the first toolroom guns existed.

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from davidpetzal wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

To O Garcia: References to any cultural matter more recent than 1970 go right past me. I think you'll find that the size of the bolt root is the same as on a standard rifle, as is the bearing surface of the locking lugs. And yes, if Old Thunderdent decides to scrape your rifle out of the saddle scabbard, the bolt handle weld is the least of your worries.

To Ishawooa: The usual formula in the gun biz is to bring out a 7mm Rem Mag and .300 Win Mag in the second generation, so that's what I'd look for.

To WA Mtn Hunter: Cabela's sells Meopta scopes and binoculars under the brand name "Euro." Same thing. And yes, I really do use the Meopro. A first-class scope is a first-class scope.

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from Douglas wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

I bought a Kimber 84m in .308 and it has taken 200+ rounds to find the load it likes and for me to get used to the recoil. The rifle weighs 7.5# scoped.
I would plan on similar time getting used to the Forbes 24B.
While hunting, besides carrying a rifle, I spend a lot of time sitting with one in my hands, waiting. It sure is nice having a gun of quality and craftsmanship to look at during the wait.
If I come upon $1400 I sure will look into a Forbes.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 1 year 48 weeks ago

Dr. Ralph,

I think you have something there. I have averaged exactly 1.714 shots fired per year during elk hunts the past 7 years. So it's not like it is going to beat you to death in the field!

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

Bruised Sausage: A very light rifle chambered in .358 Winchester, or .338 Federal for that matter, will rattle your cage, sir. I have a 6.5+ pound Savage 99F so chambered and it is not a light recoiling rifle by any stretch of the imagination.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

Dr. Ralph:

I'm with you on using a bigger hammer. I'm saving all my mild recoil rifles for little critters and old age! I shoot just as good a group with Weatherby magnums as .257 Roberts at the range, although the Bob is much more pleasant to shoot.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

David Petzal,
Is the Meopro the same as one of the Cabela's branded scopes? Did you say that before or did I read that elsewhere?

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

DEP,

Thanks. Since there is a new Cabela's in my neighborhood, I might check out the Meopro/Euro. The Big L needs some competition and apparently they have it! I would seriously consider the Forbes 24B rifle if I didn't already have a 6-lug Weatherby Mark V Lightweight Sporter with the kevlar stock in .30-06 Sprg gathering dust. I'll wait for the .25-06 or .280 Remington model!

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from Del in KS wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

No thanks on the light rifles, as noted above they are more difficult to shoot accurately. I have never noticed recoil when shooting an animal with any of my rifles. The Weatherby Vanguard 2 in 300 Wby is currently my go to rifle. However I did whack a large male coyote with my SBE and 2 ounces of heavy shot. I did notice the recoil and the dog died without a kick.

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from Tim Platt wrote 1 year 48 weeks ago

Is that a Zeiss in the picture?

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from Tim Platt wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

I did go to lighter cartridges after being hit with a scope in a treestand but unlike others I was not impressed with their performance. I hunt in heavy cover and dropping an animal in its tracks is very important to me. The '06 does it better than any other rifle I have used, so I just put my big boy panties on and went back to using it even if I suffered a little abuse.

I think good marksmanship is an art and I practice with a variety of rifles, mainly an air rifle that is very hard to shoot. I have put in a LOT of practice with my Remington 700 30-06 because I have had it 30+ years and at one time it was my only rifle and I was much tougher. I do not think my shooting has deteriorated by no longer using it at the range. If anything I shoot much better because I have been doing so much off hand practicing since I bought an AR.

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from ishawooa wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

DEP does it appear that this particular rifle will be offered in a magnum version in the forseeable future? Yes some of us are not concerned about recoil, just reliability and accuracy and maybe weight.

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from ishawooa wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

cbanks: I am amused by your comments as they validate the exact same decision made by an another old fat hunter who is a friend of mine and resides in Reno. He owns a wide variety of rifles and still trots the globe a bit but has given up dangerous game. As a result he has a well worn .270 and a moderately worn .338 feeling that nothing else is required. Without a doubt the two of you, and many others who feel the same, are correct.

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from focusfront wrote 1 year 48 weeks ago

I'm with Gtbigsky. Years ago I had a .30-06 that weighed about seven and a half pounds scoped, slung, and loaded, and that thing had a wicked kick. Can imagine what knocking another pound off the weight would do. Make my NULA in 6.5 Creedmore, please.

Really agree with you, Dave, about ULA. That rifle changed the shooting world. Before ULA, a lightweight bolt rifle weighed 7- 71/2 pounds naked. Now you don't even start calling a bolt rifle light if it weighs more than six.

As to the Shaw barrel, would this be the time for Dave to do a report on "fire lapping"?

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from Sanjuancb wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

I'm a bit surprised that the Shaw barrel was that rough. Was this also the case in the E.R. Shaw custom rifle that you raved about? In any case, I too would be interested in learning about the efficacy of fire-lapping. I know that David Tubb sells kits with bullets that are to be handloaded and then fired in series through the bore in order to smooth it out.

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from O Garcia wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

that bolt handle looks... puny.

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from O Garcia wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

DP,

I admit I used the word puny in reference to the recent "The Avengers" movie (dialog exchange between Loki and The Incredible Hulk).

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from O Garcia wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

Maybe I want enough steel (or at least a strong enough weld) so that the bolt handle stays on in case Old Thunderdent decides to snag the rifle against trees or rock faces. Although if a horse decides to really get rid of my rifle, the bolt handle is probably the least of my worries?

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from dale freeman wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

To davidpetzal;
Was it dr. ralph, or wa mtnhunter "spitting" off about how purty thier bushmaster is.
Well I bought one and it is beautiful. (never thought i'd say that)
I bought the "carbon 15"
This little rifle is like a beautiful woman and dosn't portraythe evil that shoots from her mouth.
David, do a little blog on this little rifle and see if you don't fall in love with it.

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from deadeyedick wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

Perhaps when I win the mega-million lottery I will go out and buy all those high falutin rifles of which you are so fond. Until then I will stick with the 4 remington 700's in my gun safe

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from huntslow wrote 1 year 48 weeks ago

Great rifle but how do you get one? I can find no one within 100 miles of my central PA home that expects to get any this year. Or maybe they will get some but are already sold out. If Melvin builds it they already came!

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from 1uglymutha wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

what's the big deal with recoil in a hunting rifle? the lack of recoil in a benchrest rifle makes sense. but a hunting rifle? i've never much noticed recoil when shooting at game, although shooting from the bench can get uncomfortable after a few rounds with some rifles. i'm 5'6" by a buck 50 and the 375 h&h is comfortable for me. my girlfriend shoots that rifle better than i do off the bench or offhand. the m79 grenade launcher has a pretty quick recoil impulse but if you want to see a rifle that REALLY kicks, google up the .950 jdj just for fun. the youtube videos are a hoot. and you think your rifle packs a punch?

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from dtownley wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

To DEP, is there that much difference between the quality of the Douglas & Shaw bbls. or is there a finishing process that the Shaw bbl. lacks(hammered,button) ? $2200 in savings over the non-economy, that is a sizable chunk.
I like lightweight, the message seems to get lost from my head to my azz. My friends wonder aloud how it can be...they say, "they have always been so close to"...my pals ?

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from dasmith wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

Way out of my price range.

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from Gtbigsky wrote 1 year 48 weeks ago

Dave,

How significant was the recoil? I shot a 270 ultra lightweight years ago and it kicked surprisingly hard

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from Gtbigsky wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

Dr Ralph,

Isn't your statement a bit of a contradiction? For example ,in your first paragraph you implied that recoil doesn't matter in hunting situations and in the second paragraph you stated " Really I moved down from a 30-06 because it hit me really hard one time while I was leaning around a tree off balance 30 feet up" bloody your face etc etc. So the affects of the recoil from your 30/06, during a huting scenario, caused you to "move down". I assume you mean to a rifle with less recoil.
a 5 1/4 lb 270 shooting a 150 gr bullet creates 27.4 lbs of recoil at 18.3 fps. Your 30/06 with a 180 gr bullet and 8lb rifle only has 20lbs of felt recoil. The 270 has over 7 lbs more felt recoil than the 06. Almost 40% more recoil.

I have always been a firm believer in practicing at the range with the rifles I am going to hunt with.

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from bruisedsausage wrote 1 year 48 weeks ago

I wouldn't mind having one chambered in 7mm-08/308, or...ready for it,...the .358 Win. Although the .358 might be a little on the stiff side for a light little rifle.

On a side note, I think the barrel is a perfect candidate to test some bore lapping compound on, or fire lap it as previously suggested.

And just because I've always wanted to suggest this for a rifle test, maybe I can persuade you into putting the rifle in the freezer for a couple hours and then shoot it and see how it does(although I don't know how many ranges have access to a freezer or could have access). We've all heard that the first 'cold bore' shot is usually a little different than the follow up shots, and I think the difference might even depend slightly on the just how cold it gets. For those of us that hunt in 'cold' areas the temperature difference between when we sight in, to when we shoot the firearm can be drastically different.

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from bruisedsausage wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

Petzal, I understand the cold air and density, what I would like to see done is just shoot the rifle cold, keep the ammunition at the ambient air temp, and that way only the rifle having been 'frozen' should/would have an effect. Basically control the variables that go into the experiment and see just how much the rifle in question is effected. Oh yeah the user name is an enigma,(it comes from a muley that I shot which promptly ran and took a flying leap off of an 80 ft cliff. The entire deer ended up becoming sausage due to the massive amount of bruising) not that I have or had a bruised sausage lol. And one last question if I may Mr. Petzal, if memory serves me correctly you wrote about this exact gun (Forbes model 24B) back in November. So why cover it again so soon?

WAM, I'm not overly worried about pulling the trigger on a .358 win in a light rifle, I've shot an FR8 Mauser (.308 win) that weighed about 5lbs scoped. I've since relegated it a project until it gets re-barreled because there is so very "little" meat on that barrel and I'm not sure its safe to shoot. My old man was also involved with the Savage Striker and its inception and I've been behind one for many a round being discharged and its nothing to scoff at, but its very shoot-able. All of this being said, I'm not entirely sure that ultra light rifles are even something of a necessity. I spend the vast majority of my time carrying a full size and weight rifle around the mountains. So far it hasn't been a problem. Although if I had some or enough extra change laying around I might just pick up one of the Forbes model 24B rifles. It would make a nice rifle for when I make my fall pilgrimage to elk camp.

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from Michigan Gunner wrote 1 year 48 weeks ago

In .30-06 it will kick........hard. It would be a great rifle in .243 or 6mm Rem. with a short action.

MG

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from crowman wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

It only kicks when your at the range on a bench, when your out in the field with a "fill in the blank" in your scope you don't even know the gun went off.

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from Safado wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

I have a 30-06 that weighs about 5-1/2 pounds, wood stock iron sights only. As WAM said "you'd better hold on" because it is the hardest kicker I own. It is a little hard to shoot off of the bench. I do have very good experience with "fire lapping" barrels. I have used "Tubbs Final Finish" rounds in two of my Savage rifles with excellent results. One is a 22-250 the other in .308 both are plenty accurate after the process and clean up after shooting like nobody's business. The 22-250 has benchrest accuracy. I would not use the product in a custom barrel but I broke both of my savages with the fire lapping rounds and have no complaints.

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from Safado wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

I meant to say "broke both of my Savages in" not broke...

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from Tim Platt wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

Meopro. Dave really is using a $399 scope. I figured it was the $999 model but that is the Meostar. Walk the walk.

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from sdditchpig wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

All this discussion, and not a single mention of the 338 Federal. You gun snobs, killed that round. Seems like a perfect fit, light gun, big bullet, and hunter that has the skill to get in on his game.

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from sdditchpig wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

You don't need an ultra light rifle, to shoot from the ATV, or off of the logging road.

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