Petzal Picks his Favorite Rifles, Knives, Optics and more from SHOT Show 2011

Petzal SHOT RugerScout

by David E. Petzal In a year when not much was supposed to be new, I found enough to set the gears of covetousness, envy, and lust grinding into motion. Here are some budget-busters for all of you who were not at SHOT. **Ruger Gunsite Scout Rifle
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When anarchies reign, as Tommy Lee Jones put it, this is the gun you want--the Ruger Gunsite Scout Rifle. It's named after Jeff Cooper's shooting school, and is the best-thought-out example of its genre that I've come across. A 10-shot .308, it has a laminated stock that adjustable for length, a flash suppressor, a 16 ½-inch barrel, a rear ghost ring sight, and a rail up front for a horrible IER scope if you want to go that way. If you don't you can remove the ghost ring and mount a real scope.

Petzal SHOT KaBar

**Ka-Bar Big Brother
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Put the iconic USMC fighting/utility knife on a steady diet of steroids and weights and you get the Ka-Bar Big Brother, which has a blade that's 2 inches longer, wider, heavier, and has a serrated cutting section on its spine. If you're into horrific hacking and hewing, this is your baby; it's a cross between a knife and a machete, and is a fearsome object.

Petzal SHOT Leupold

Leupold VX-6 With everyone else (or nearly so) getting into the six-times magnification game, could Leupold be far behind? There are two VX-6s, and I like this one better than the lower-powered model. It runs from 2X to 12X, and if there's some kind of big game you can't handle with that range, I don't know what it might be. The bad news: The VX-6 will not be on the market until later this year.
Montana Rifles To those of you who yearn for Montana's refined controlled-feed action, original Model 70 style trigger, match-grade barrels, and handmade quality, but couldn't afford one of their custom line of guns, rejoice! There are two new Montanas that cost far less than the custom line. The American Standard Rifle is a trim sporter that comes in blue/wood or stainless/synthetic versions, right or left hand...
...The Dangerous Game Rifle is massive, short, and ferocious, designed for hunting large, unpleasant animals that want to kill you. Both are terrific guns, designed by people who are hunters first and foremost.
Savage Rifles The Model 16 Bear Hunter is Savage's latest specialty rifle. It's chambered in .300 WSM, about which I am lukewarm, and .325 WSM, which I think is a hot stuff. The Model 16 is synthetic/stainless with a good, heavy, fluted barrel and a muzzle brake in case you are not a secure heterosexual...
...The Model 25 Walking Varmint rifle is a semi-homely varmint gun that is chambered for small, innocuous cartridges (including, of all things, the .22 Hornet). Unlike most varmint rifles it's light enough that you can carry it on your shoulder, and it doesn't cost much. You'll get used to its looks.

Petzal SHOT ZeissSpotter

**Carl Zeiss Dialyt Spotter
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This is an updated version of the Alpine draw-tube spotting scope, but it's not a draw tube, and is completely waterproof. You can get it with a 65mm or an 85mm objective, and it's designed to work without a tripod. Nor do you carry it in a pack; you sling it o'er your shoulder like a European soldier. Honest. It will save you miles of walking, and as Zeiss prices go, it's not all that much.

Petzal SHOT VangComp

**Vang Comp Systems
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These guys soup up riot guns, Remingtons and Mossbergs mostly, but they will also do Ithacas. Send them your gun (or they will supply one) and a check and they will do things to it you can't imagine, including re-choking it so you get a pie-plate-sized-or-less buckshot pattern at 50 yards. Plus all sorts of other refinements, including their six-round Detachable Side Ammo Carrier, which is ingenious. If the stock in the photo here seems short, that's because it's designed for use by someone wearing a bulletproof vest.

Petzal SHOT NoslerCustom

NoslerCustom Rifle John A. Nosler, who founded the company, was a shooter of the old school, and so when he was asked to design a big-game rifle he would like, he came up with the NoslerCustom. Unlike the other rifles in the series, this one does not have a stock that comes from a test tube; its stocks come from forests. Damned handsome wood they use, too. The NoslerCustom has all the accuracy refinements of its brothers, and the price is way less than you'd expect by looking at it.