Rifles 2006

From mil-spec models to modern versions of classic hunting arms, and from semi-auto big-game rifles to high-quality rimfires, rifles will be on a roll this year.

Field & Stream Online Editors

This is going to be a very rich year for rifles. Though shotgunners and handgunners will see their share of new products, these will be dwarfed by the new rifle offerings. And there's something to appeal to just about every segment of the market.

Look for new gas-operated semi-auto big-game rifles from Remington and Winchester. And thanks to the sunsetting of the ill-conceived assault-weapons ban, we'll see more makers turning out high-capacity semi-auto arms that range from the exotic to basic (and affordable) mil-spec models in 2006.

Cowboy-action shooting remains a viable segment, and new guns are coming to market to service it. Hunters who favor lever guns won't want to miss Marlin's new line. It's designed to use the new Hornady Lever Evolution cartridges, which provide a significant increase in performance over traditional lever-gun loads.

Upper-level shooters will find an innovative new switch-barrel bolt gun from Merkel, while Ruger brings out its popular and compact Frontier Rifle in stainless steel.

Rimfire shooters have not been ignored either. Several companies are coming out with high-quality, target-grade trigger systems in their proven rimfire lines. The Browning T-Bolt is back with the same basic features and a new feed system.

Also, a number of makers have made improvements to their existing product lines. All told, it's going to be a big year for riflemen.

** Marlin Firearms**
XLR Series and lever evolution ammo
Working with Hornady Manufacturing, Marlin has developed a new line of lever-action centerfire rifles designed to take advantage of Hornady's new Lever Evolution loads. According to Hornady, the load's new polymer-tipped bullet provides a significant increase in ballistic coefficient while posing no danger of igniting the primer of the round ahead of it in a tubular magazine.

It produces increased velocity, energy and performance over traditional lever-gun loadings. Built around the proven Marlin lever action, the new XLR series rifles feature stainless-steel barrels, receivers and levers, along with broached rifling and fluted bolts. The new black-gray laminated stock comes with a deluxe recoil pad. The barrels are 24 inches long and drilled and tapped for scope mounting. Four models will be introduced in 2006: the 336XLR (.30/30), the 1895XLR (.45/70 Govt.), the 1895MXLR (.450 Marlin) and the 444XLR (.444 Marlin). SRP: $874.

Marlin is also adding three new rimfire bolt-actions in 2006. All three have a redesigned black synthetic stock, with classic configuration, molded-in checkering and sling swivel studs. The Model 917, the first Marlin to be offered in .17 HMR, is fed by a seven-round magazine (SRP: $269); the Model 917VR adds a 22-inch varmint-weight barrel (SRP: $282); and the Model 925R (SRP: $221) is a 925 variant with a sporter barrel and a seven-shot magazine. Booth #315. (203-239-5621; marlinfirearms.com)

[NEXT "More Rifles"] ArmaLite
The new Ultimate Super SASS, a much upgraded version of the company's popular AR-10 (T) .308 Win. semi-auto rifle, is the product of research done for the U.S. Army on semi-auto sniper rifles. It's available as a fully equipped package gun in both military/law enforcement (AAC suppressor) and civilian (no suppressor) versions. The basic package includes a Harris bipod, ArmaLite free-float rail system with Tango Down rail covers, Leupold 3.5¿¿¿10X scope, adjustable gas system, Magpul stock, a new 20-round magazine, flip-up front and rear sights and a Starlight case. The rifle is available in either a black or tan finish. Booth #4969. (800-336-0184; armalite.com)

| **Browning **
The big news from Browning this year is the return of the T-Bolt .22 LR bolt-tion rifle. The new T-Bolt uses the same classic straight-pull action but now feeds cartridges from a new Double Helex 10-round rotary-box magazine. A three-lever trigger combines with a short firing-pin travel distance for a light, crisp pull. The trigger is externally adjustable. The rifle has a free-floating, 22-inch, medium sporter barrel and a top-tang two-position thumb safety. The receiver is drilled and tapped for scope mounting, and the full-size walnut stock has a satin finish and cut checkering. SRP: $611.

Two new centerfire A-Bolt rifles make their appearance this year. The M1000 Eclipse rifle has a matte-finish stainless-steel receiver and a heavy stainless-steel barrel. The receiver is fully glass bedded. The gray laminate stock has a satin finish, a thumbhole grip and a Monte Carlo cheekpiece. The Eclipse will be available in short-action calibers that include .22/250, .308 Win., .270 WSM, 7mm WSM and .300 WSM. SRP: Starts at $1,263.

The NRA A-Bolt Wildlife Conservation Collection rifle is offered in the Hunter configuration. The walnut stock has a satin finish, raised cheekpiece and NRA Heritage logo laser engraved on the buttstock. The rifle comes in .243 Win. with a 22-inch barrel. A portion of the proceeds will go to the NRA's Environment Conservation and Hunting Outreach programs. SRP: $797. Browning's newest additions to its BAR line, the ShortTrac and LongTrac Stalker models, feature composite stocks and forearms in a matte-black finish with special gripping panels and European styling. The buttstocks are adjustable with shims for cast on and off and drop at comb, and the aircraft-grade alloy receivers are finished in matte blue and drilled and tapped for optics. SRP: Starts at $927. Booth #401 and #515. (800-333-3288; browning.com)

Bushmaster Firearms
Bushmaster's Carbon 15 carbine goes 9mm this year. It has a carbon-fiber upper and lower receiver and forend and uses the same operating controls as the AR-15 line. The 16-inch barrel features a chrome-moly steel tube with a 1-in-10 rifling twist. Other features include a 30-round magazine, birdcage-style flash suppressor, iron sights, Picatinny rail for optics and a six-position telescoping buttstock. SRP: $1,025. The same gun will also be available in a handgun version (no buttstock) with a 7.25-inch barrel. SRP: $1,050. Booth #4695. (800-998-7928; bushmasterfirearms.com)

CZ-USA
Rimfire shooters looking for a top-quality trigger will want to check out the new CZ 453 American and Varmint models. The 453 takes the proven Model 452 action and adds a fully adjustable single-set-trigger system mechanically identical to those of the 527 and 550 centerfire rifles. The system provides both a standard hunting trigger and an ultralight target trigger on the same rifle. When the rifle is operated like a standard bolt-action, it has a normal hunting-rifle trigger pull (adjustable down to two pounds). Pushing the trigger forward until it clicks engages the set trigger, which can be adjusted down to as little as a half pound. The American features a 22.5-inch sporter barrel, and the Varmint a heavier 20.9-inch barrel. Both are available in .22 LR and .17 Mach 2 and drilled and tapped for scopes and come with five-round magazines. Single-shot adapters and 10-round magazines are available. They are interchangeable with those for the Model 452. SRP: $530.

Also new from CZ this year is a left-handed version of the popular Model 452 bolt-action in both .22 LR and .17 Mach 2. SRP: $425. Booth #5649. (800-955-4486; cz-usa.com)

[NEXT "More Rifles"] **DS Arms **
The elimination of the assault-weapons ban rekindled the demand for high-capacity semi-auto firearms, and manufacturers are still adjusting to meet it. In 2006, DSA does its part with two additions to its line.

The Z4 GTC (Gas Trap Carbine) joins DSA's AR-15 family. Chambered for the 5.56mm NATO round, the GTC uses a new proprietary gas system that, the company says, eliminates some of the problems of the standard AR gas system by reducing gas leakage, carbon buildup on the bolt and excessive heat in the carrier assembly. The 16-inch, fluted, chrome-lined barrel has an M4 profile, a 1-in-9 twist and a Young Vortec flash hider. The flattop, mil-spec receiver features a billet-charging handle. Extensive chrome plating of the operating components provides a high degree of corrosion resistance. The six-position collapsible M4 stock incorporates a tactical rail with sling and bipod mount. SRP: $1,675. The SA58 Tactical Para, an addition to DSA's FAL series, is chambered for .308 Win. and features

a 16.25-inch fluted barrel with an A2 flash hider, shortened, fully adjustable gas system, military-grade synthetic hand guard and pistol grip, folding buttstock, flip-up rear sight and elevation-adjustable flip-up front sight. A detachable magazine of 10 or 20 rounds is included. SRP: $1,775. Booth #643. (847-277-7258; dsarms.com)

FNH USA
New this year is a civilian-legal, semi-auto version of FNH's P90 submachine gun, using the 5.7x28mm cartridge. The PS90, built on the standard P90 platform, has a 16-inch barrel with a permanently attached recoil reducer. The fire-control assembly is semi-auto only. It's nonreversible and not interchangeable with the P90's. The semi-auto is available with an optical reflex sight or an upper rail with iron sights, and it can use 10- to 30-round magazines. Booth #1301. (703-288-1292; fnhusa.com)

GSI Firearms
The Merkel Model KR1 Repeat-ing Rifle's innovative modular-component bolt-action design allows shooters to change barrels and calibers. The basic rifle can be configured with barrels ranging from 20.28 to 24.21 inches, and with calibers ranging from .222 Rem. to .338 Win. Mag. The design makes it possible for the rifle to be taken down for travel. The KR1 will be available in two configurations: The Premium model features a walnut half stock with a hogback comb; the Stutzen Carbine has a classic Mannlicher-style stock. Both have a quick-detachable scope mount that uses rotating locking levers. Booth #7332. (205-655-8299; gsifirearms.com)

[NEXT "More Rifles"] High Standard
AR-15/M16 rifles continue to be popular, and High Standard enters the market this year with the HSA-15 Mil-Spec series. These rifles are made in the USA, and as the name implies, they are built to military specifications, with forged receiver, 1-in-9 barrel twist rate, 5.56mm NATO (.223 Rem.) chamber, hard-coat anodized finish, birdcage flash hider, bayonet lug and mil-spec 30-round magazine. Four models will be available in 2006.

The HSA-15 Rifle A2 features a 20-inch barrel, fixed buttstock, fixed carry handle and adjustable sights. SRP: $975. The Mode56mm NATO round, the GTC uses a new proprietary gas system that, the company says, eliminates some of the problems of the standard AR gas system by reducing gas leakage, carbon buildup on the bolt and excessive heat in the carrier assembly. The 16-inch, fluted, chrome-lined barrel has an M4 profile, a 1-in-9 twist and a Young Vortec flash hider. The flattop, mil-spec receiver features a billet-charging handle. Extensive chrome plating of the operating components provides a high degree of corrosion resistance. The six-position collapsible M4 stock incorporates a tactical rail with sling and bipod mount. SRP: $1,675. The SA58 Tactical Para, an addition to DSA's FAL series, is chambered for .308 Win. and features

a 16.25-inch fluted barrel with an A2 flash hider, shortened, fully adjustable gas system, military-grade synthetic hand guard and pistol grip, folding buttstock, flip-up rear sight and elevation-adjustable flip-up front sight. A detachable magazine of 10 or 20 rounds is included. SRP: $1,775. Booth #643. (847-277-7258; dsarms.com)

FNH USA
New this year is a civilian-legal, semi-auto version of FNH's P90 submachine gun, using the 5.7x28mm cartridge. The PS90, built on the standard P90 platform, has a 16-inch barrel with a permanently attached recoil reducer. The fire-control assembly is semi-auto only. It's nonreversible and not interchangeable with the P90's. The semi-auto is available with an optical reflex sight or an upper rail with iron sights, and it can use 10- to 30-round magazines. Booth #1301. (703-288-1292; fnhusa.com)

GSI Firearms
The Merkel Model KR1 Repeat-ing Rifle's innovative modular-component bolt-action design allows shooters to change barrels and calibers. The basic rifle can be configured with barrels ranging from 20.28 to 24.21 inches, and with calibers ranging from .222 Rem. to .338 Win. Mag. The design makes it possible for the rifle to be taken down for travel. The KR1 will be available in two configurations: The Premium model features a walnut half stock with a hogback comb; the Stutzen Carbine has a classic Mannlicher-style stock. Both have a quick-detachable scope mount that uses rotating locking levers. Booth #7332. (205-655-8299; gsifirearms.com)

[NEXT "More Rifles"] High Standard
AR-15/M16 rifles continue to be popular, and High Standard enters the market this year with the HSA-15 Mil-Spec series. These rifles are made in the USA, and as the name implies, they are built to military specifications, with forged receiver, 1-in-9 barrel twist rate, 5.56mm NATO (.223 Rem.) chamber, hard-coat anodized finish, birdcage flash hider, bayonet lug and mil-spec 30-round magazine. Four models will be available in 2006.

The HSA-15 Rifle A2 features a 20-inch barrel, fixed buttstock, fixed carry handle and adjustable sights. SRP: $975. The Mode