Generally speaking, it’s a shame we can’t–in the words of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson–take the past decade, pound it into a goddamn bottle, and set it adrift in the China current. But in the world of rifles, by and large, it’s been nothing but good news. Herewith, the most significant developments of 2000-2010, not in order of importance.
1. The transmogrification of the AR-15 into a bona-fide sporting rifle and an industry unto itself.
2. Hornady’s emergence as a major player and a major innovator in the ammunition biz.
3. Ten years ago, I thought that sporting optics had reached a state of perfection beyond which it could not go. Boy, was I wrong.
4. Long-range shooting comes of age. Four hundred yards is the new 300 yards, and 500 is on the way. We have the accuracy, the optical gear, and the ammo. Now all we need are enough ranges where you can shoot at these distances.
5. The resurgence of the lever-action. Has anyone noticed that Marlin is building lever guns that give away nothing to bolt-actions?
6. Rifle of the Decade–the Marlin XL-7. The best working gun, for the least money, in the history of Western Man.
7. The general level of accuracy in factory rifles. I can name you four, for under $500, that will shoot MOA or better.
8. The Supreme Court’s Keller decision. Article II lives!
9. Savage, which is changing from a company that makes inexpensive rifles that shoot very well to a company that makes very sophisticated rifles that will shoot with damn near anything regardless of price.
10. Barack Obama and his coterie of gun haters, who have sold more firearms, ammo, and components than even Bubba Clinton.
Happy New Year!