Petzal’s Picks: The Best New Rifles for ’09

Field & Stream Rifles Editor David E. Petzal has been to countless SHOT Shows, and each time he returns, we post his picks for the best new rifles of 2009. Here’s what he found this year. First on the list is the T/C Venture model, which dispenses with the high metal finish and pretty walnut stock of the original Icon and replaces them with matt bluing and a very nice black synthetic stock. The caliber selection is the same, but the price is a lot lower at $499, and T/C still guarantees a minute of angle. Joe Cermele
best rifles 09
Savage has its new Accu-Stock, which has caused gun designers everywhere to snort and fart. It is a radical way to bed a stock, and it apparently works, just as the Accu-Trigger does. Savage rifles have probably changed more in appearance than any firearms line in American history. If you compare a Model 110 from 1958 when the basic gun came out, to a 2009 version of the same rifle, it’s hardly to be credited. Sort of like Rosie O’Donnell morphing into Angelina Jolie. Joe Cermele
best rifles 09
If you yearn for an AR-15 but shudder at the thought of feeding it, Colt is now making the rifles in .22LR. You have to look very hard to tell that it’s not a centerfire, and you can of course hang all the goodies on that that your heart desires. A plain, goody-less version is $500, and you can get loaded models as well from Joe Cermele
best rifles 09
And now, thank God, for the expensive stuff. Anschutz will shortly be importing the brand-new Model 1770 .223, which is what we used to call a walking-around varmint rifle, as opposed to the 15-pound synthetic-stocked beasts we use today. It’s highly Germanic in appearance, and being an Anschutz will probably be very accurate as well. The price will be a bit over $2,000. Joe Cermele
best rifles 09
If you would like to build a rifle for a really big cartridge, Montana Rifles is now producing a Mauser-derived bolt-action that will handle even shoulder-crackers like the T-Rex and the Nyati. It’s just under $1,000, which is anywhere from half to one-fifth of what you’d spend for anything else of this magnitude. Joe Cermele
best rifles 09
Mossberg’s 4×4 line of bolt-actions includes 104 different configurations, and some of the stock designs are truly radical. Calibers range from .25/06 to .338, and prices run from $500 to $700. The 4×4 employs a new and very good trigger, which really transforms it. It’s getting hard to find a bad trigger these days; what will I have to whine about? Joe Cermele
Here’s another from Mossberg’s 4×4 line of bolt-actions. Joe Cermele
E.R. Shaw has been making barrels for 95 years and now they’ve branched into complete rifles, using the Savage bolt-action as a foundation (but minus the hideous barrel nut). Options is the key word: there are four barrel types (including straight-fluted and helical-fluted), stainless or chrome moly, four finishes, four actions, four stocks, multiple barrel lengths and what looks like 50 calibers from .17 to .458 Lott available in their Mark VII rifle. In fact, there are 75,000 possible combinations. The base price is $650. I will say that again: The base price is $650. Joe Cermele