Rifles photo
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Weatherby Vanguard Sub-MOA, .30/06 Best Group: .117″ Average Group: .398″ Vanguards are all tested for accuracy. The ones that shoot under an inch are pulled aside and given floor plates marked “Sub-MOA.” Weatherby utilizes a reinforced fiberglass stock with an aluminum bedding girder, and the quality of the rifle is very high. Oddly, it had the worst trigger of any rifle here, with a 3 1/2-pound pull, which was fine – except it was creepier than a centipede. Field & Stream Online Editors
Thompson/Center Icon, .308 Best Group: .488″ Average Group: .533″ The Icon has a wood stock, but in that stock lurks an aluminum bedding girder that locks into the flat-bottomed receiver at three points. And since the barrel is free-floated, the whole rig is as stable as any synthetic stock. The trigger is one of the best. This is one of those rare rifles that shoot different makes of ammo and different bullet weights to the same point. Field & Stream Online Editors
Savage Model 14, .308 Best Group: .462″ Average Group: .572″ What is interesting to me is not the Model 14’s high degree of accuracy, which we have all come to expect as a matter of course in a Savage, but what a good-looking gun this is. When you consider that it is descended from the horrible-looking Model 110, the transformation is nothing short of miraculous. Field & Stream Online Editors
Kenny Jarrett-modified Remington Model 700, .30/06 Best Group: .566″ Average Group: .618″ I got this rifle in 1996 and have shot it so much that the rifling is burned out of the rear quarter of the barrel. It has a McMillan fiberglass stock, pillar bedding, and a custom No. 3 contour barrel. It’s included to show how one of the original tackdrivers compares with current factory rifles. Field & Stream Online Editors
Sako A7, .308 Best Group: .564″ Average Group: .682″ A completely new rifle, the A7 is as close to a medium-priced model as Sako makes. It is an ultramodern gun that is light, tight, and slick handling. It has a three-lug bolt and, as a result, a short but stiff bolt throw. Sako guarantees minute-of-angle accuracy for five shots, not three, which takes some Finnish cojones. Field & Stream Online Editors
Browning X-Bolt, .270 Winchester Short Magnum Best Group: .639″ Average Group: .719″ Far from being a redesigned A-Bolt, the X-Bolt is a radical departure. It’s very similar in approach to the Sako, another ultramodern gun. This shows in its accuracy. It has one of the best triggers I have ever used, and a recoil pad that is pure joy. It’s radical looking, but you can’t argue with the way it shoots. Field & Stream Online Editors
Marlin XL7, .30/06 Best Group: .668″ Average Group: .907″ A sub-MOA rifle for way under $400, the brand-new Marlin XL7 is helped by an excellent trigger, a reinforced synthetic stock, and absolutely no bells or whistles anywhere. Its barrel is one of the roughest I’ve ever seen, but it still shoots extremely well. Marlin did everything right on this one. Field & Stream Online Editors
Mossberg 464, 30/30 Best Group: .951″ Average Group: 1.105″ This new design looks like a Winchester Model 94 with a strap over the rear of the action so you can mount a scope. It has a trigger so heavy that you need to pull it with a team of oxen, but with a scope on it, the 464 proved to be much more accurate than most lever actions. However, it showed extreme sensitivity to different bullet weights. Field & Stream Online Editors
Smith & Wesson I-Bolt, .30/06 Best Group: .865″ Average Group: 1.360″ This is the only rifle of those tested that did not do its best with the Federal Match ammo; other brands and weights did go under an inch, but rules are rules. The I-Bolt has a button-rifled barrel instead of the more common hammer-forged type, and it has a very good trigger. Field & Stream Online Editors
Remington 700 LSS, .338 RUM Best Group: 1.313″ Average Group: 1.415″ We were unable to get a test rifle in .308 or .30/06, so we used this thumper that we had on hand. The groups were shot with Remington 250-grain Swift A-Frame factory loads. With handloads, it really blossoms; I can get Barnes 225-grain XXX bullets into .770. Not bad for a bellowing beast of a rifle. Field & Stream Online Editors
Winchester Model 70 Sporter Deluxe, .30/06 Best Group: 1.022″ Average Group: 1.506″ The new Model 70’s trigger is a revelation, very light and dead clean. It is, however, still a Model 70, and it shoots exactly the way the old ones did. There is nothing wrong with 1 1/2-inch groups, but as you can see, the modern rifles in this test outshot it by a wide margin. Field & Stream Online Editors