efore we get to hybrid rifles, let us reflect for a moment on mules, which are also hybrids. They’re the children of gentlemen donkeys and lady horses, but they’re stronger and more enduring than horses and less likely to commit suicidal acts in moments of blind panic. However, mules are not perfect. They love to argue. They’re fond of sneak kicks. And being sterile, they can’t reproduce. Hybrid rifles, a new breed of long-range long arms, are not produced by four-legged fornication. They result from the mating of a hunting rifle and a competition rifle, with the expectation that the result can take game reliably beyond the 300-yard mark, and punch paper in competition to 600 yards or more. Hybrids are now all the rage. At the last two SHOT Shows, they’ve been more common than fake Navy SEALs. But as with mules, they’re not perfect. The Parents A pure target rifle, or a heavy tactical rifle, is designed to sit in one place and deliver extreme accuracy in 20-plus-shot strings. It has a No. 7 contour barrel because when you fire so many shots in succession on a hot summer day, your barrel becomes just a tad cooler than the surface of the sun. The heavy No. 7 barrel can handle this, whereas a light barrel that gets as hot will “walk” the point of impact, which is fatal to scores. A pure target rifle is often chassis stocked, is highly adjustable for fit, employs a very light trigger, and wears a powerful, bulky scope covered with tactical dials. This is all great on the range. But because these guns are ponderous and impossible to deploy quickly, they’re practically useless in the field.