Petzal's Picks: The Most Interesting Rifles at the 2008 SHOT Show

hunting, shooting, rifles, SHOT Show, las vegas, david petzal, gun nut, field and stream

hunting, shooting, rifles, SHOT Show, las vegas, david petzal, gun nut, field and stream

DOES ANYONE HAVE AN ASPIRIN? OR TWO? Art Alphin of A-Square Rifles designed the .577 Tyrannosaur cartridge at the request of a professional hunter who was nearly pulped by an elephant that had been shot in the foot and a tusk by a client. The T-Rex propels a 750-grain bullet at 2,400 fps, and if my calculations are right, it develops exactly twice the recoil of a .458 Winchester. The rifle itself is the Hannibal model. It weighs 13 pounds, is based on a modified P-17 Enfield action, and incorporates three mercury recoil reducers. Everything in it or on it is heavily reinforced. Except you. 605-234-0500; asquareco.co.Field & Stream Online Editors
hunting, shooting, rifles, SHOT Show, las vegas, david petzal, gun nut, field and stream

hunting, shooting, rifles, SHOT Show, las vegas, david petzal, gun nut, field and stream

DOUBLE YOUR FUN
Or, in case you yearn to be Stewart Granger and carry a double rifle, the Blaser S2 Safari is a very interesting and practical gun that comes in .375 H&H;, .500/416, .470 Nitro Express, and .500 3-inch. Its barrels, rather than being welded to a rib, are free floating, the sights are the best I've ever seen for a dangerous-game rifle, and what looks like a safety tab behind the top lever is actually the cocking piece. This means that you can carry the rifle uncocked and completely safe, and when the moment comes, just shove the tab forward and have at it. Or don't, and die. FAX 410-604-1498 (no, they don't list a phone number); blaser.de
Field & Stream Online Editors
hunting, shooting, rifles, SHOT Show, las vegas, david petzal, gun nut, field and stream

hunting, shooting, rifles, SHOT Show, las vegas, david petzal, gun nut, field and stream

HAS IT REALLY BEEN FIFTY YEARS?
Half a century ago, Savage came out with its Model 110 rifle, which was affordable and accurate and one of the ugliest firearms ever produced. To commemorate the occasion, they are making a limited run of 50th Anniversary Model 110s, and trust me, these look nothing like the originals. A thousand will be made in .300 Savage only, and they will have fancy walnut and elaborate checkering, gold inlay, Accu-Triggers, ebony fore-end tips, and a hefty price tag. If you balk at that last item, I suggest you look at what the fancy Model 99s from the 1960s are bringing. 806-233-4776; savagearms.com
Tim Romano
hunting, shooting, rifles, SHOT Show, las vegas, david petzal, gun nut, field and stream

hunting, shooting, rifles, SHOT Show, las vegas, david petzal, gun nut, field and stream

WAY. . .OUT. . .THERE
The reason this Savage Model 12F is here is because it's the very first factory rifle to be chambered for the 6.5x284 Norma cartridge, which has set the world of long range riflery fairly agog. It combines light recoil with high accuracy and long-range effectiveness. Target shooters love it, and I wouldn't be surprised if it shows up in a hunting rifle before long. This has a 30-inch stainless barrel and all the ultra-accuracy bells and whistles. If you want to extend your reach, here you are.
Tim Romano
hunting, shooting, rifles, SHOT Show, las vegas, david petzal, gun nut, field and stream

hunting, shooting, rifles, SHOT Show, las vegas, david petzal, gun nut, field and stream

EVEN. . .FARTHER. . .OUT. . .THERE
John Lazzeroni builds extreme magnum cartridges, sensationally effective short magnums, and some of the finest rifles anywhere. His original Model 2000 long-action rifle was a powerhouse, but heavy, and the newer Model 2005 Global Hunter that replaces it is much lighter and more portable. It's chambered for his proprietary .7.82 (.308) Warbird cartridge, and it will push a 180-grain bullet at 3,600 fps. That is not a misprint; I've chronographed a Warbird and that's what it does. Lazz puts every refinement you can think of into his rifles, right down to titanium firing pins. They are super rifles in every respect. 888-492-7248; lazzeroni.com
Tim Romano
hunting, shooting, rifles, SHOT Show, las vegas, david petzal, gun nut, field and stream

hunting, shooting, rifles, SHOT Show, las vegas, david petzal, gun nut, field and stream

THE BASIC RIFLE. . .
. . .is of course the .22 rimfire, and this is one of the very best around. New Ultra Light Arms' Model 20 is not only light, it is ungodly accurate. They make it as a single-shot and a repeater, with a flat-bottom target fore-end or round fore-end, and in all sort of colors. If you would like to whomp up the ultimate Model 20, get a single-shot with a Jewell trigger and a #2 contour SS barrel. The choice of colors is yours; you can have fuschia or cerulean if your tastes run to that. I will say it again: My god, do these things shoot. 304-292-0600; newultralightarm@cs.com
Tim Romano
hunting, shooting, rifles, SHOT Show, las vegas, david petzal, gun nut, field and stream

hunting, shooting, rifles, SHOT Show, las vegas, david petzal, gun nut, field and stream

BEST OF SHOW
The only really new rifle at SHOT was the Marlin XL-7, and it is truly worth becoming priapic about (excuse the sentence ending on a preposition). You can get the specs in my earlier blog. I got a chance to shoot one when I got home from SHOT, and with ammunition it liked it grouped well under an inch. There was a time not too long ago when you couldn't get that kind of accuracy from the very best custom rifles, and here it is in an untweaked economy rifle. What a world we live in. 203-239-5621; marlinfirearms.com
Tim Romano
hunting, shooting, rifles, SHOT Show, las vegas, david petzal, gun nut, field and stream

hunting, shooting, rifles, SHOT Show, las vegas, david petzal, gun nut, field and stream

WHATEVER YOU WANT
The Montana Rifle Company got its start making barrels; then they began turning out modified Model 70 actions for gunsmiths who didn't feel like cleaning up all the mistakes made in New Haven. Then people started asking them for finished rifles, and the rest is history. MRC will build you a rifle left- or right-hand in any caliber from .17 to .50. They will stock it in plain or fancy walnut, synthetics, laminates, maple, regular grip or thumbhole. In short, they will build you almost anything conceivable, and the best thing is that their prices, while more than you will pay for a factory gun, are not at second-mortgage level. The upper rifle seen here is a .325 WSM that has shot half-inch groups at 200 yards. 406-755-4867; montanarifleman.com
Tim Romano
hunting, shooting, rifles, SHOT Show, las vegas, david petzal, gun nut, field and stream

hunting, shooting, rifles, SHOT Show, las vegas, david petzal, gun nut, field and stream

AFTER A BRIEF INTERMISSION
The Model 70 is back under the old and venerated name of Winchester Repeating Arms, as opposed to USRAC. There are four models: the Extreme Weather (SS and synthetic), Featherweight Deluxe, Sporter Deluxe (the standard grade), Super Grade, and Super Grade Limited Edition. These are very good rifles, infinitely better than the sad junk turned out at the end in New Haven. The new MOA trigger is a winner; every one I tried was at least good, and some of them were terrific. I have a blog on these rifles on The Gun Nut. Suffice it to say, it's good, once again, to see a Model 70 worthy of the name.801-876-3440; winchesterguns.com.
Field & Stream Online Editors