Back in February of this year we tested a group of Sharps rifles by Shiloh, Cabela's and Cimarron. We found that although the other two versions were nice, we felt the price and several-years' wait necessary for the Shiloh Sharps were well justified, because it was the nicest Sharps rifle of the bunch. But can you get a good .45-70 single shot that's not a Sharps, and would you want to? Let's find out.
We obtained a nearly new Ruger No. 1S and a brand-new Browning 1885, both in .45-70, to test against our previous best single-shot, the Shiloh Sharps. These two rifles, while contemporary, both resemble — at least slightly — older rifles from the time of the Sharps. They were not precise copies of earlier rifles, though the Browning came close. We wanted to see how well they'd hold up to the Shiloh Sharps's quality, and to see if they were better buys for you, the lover of single shot .45-70s.
The two newer guns had a tough opponent in the Shiloh, as we noted in the February 2001 issue. The feel of the Shiloh's action was like that of a fine watch. It opened with precision, and shut like the old bank-vault door. There were no machining marks visible anywhere. The inletting was perfection. The sights could be whatever you wanted them to be and agreed to pay for, except (as far as we could tell) there were no provisions for modern scope mounting. Accuracy with the costly aperture sights that were fitted on our test sample was all we could hold for in the dismal light conditions in which we tested this rifle. The better we could see and hold and squeeze, the tighter were our groups.
This was the standard against which we gauged the Browning and the Ruger's performances. How did they do? Read on to find out:
Ruger's New Model Single Six Convertible is a bargain, and the Smith & Wesson 617 will help you rule the plate racks. The seemingly solid Dan Wesson 722 VH10 disappoints.
We tested four variants of the Ruger 10/22 rifle from Magnum Research, Clark's, Briley, and even the Sturm, Ruger factory and found four different ways to make one hole.
Want to hold a piece of history in your hands for not a lot of money? First, check out our buy/don't buy recommendations on two 7.62 NATO guns, an 8mm Mauser, and a .303 British Enfield.
When we tested three inexpensive hunting rifles suitable for a range of big-game field use, we were pleasantly surprised at their accuracy and functionality.
We liked the spirit of the Spirit Light-Weight, and mastered the Bushmaster Shorty, but at more than $2,300, the Wilson UT-15 Urban Tactical simply cost too much for us to recommend.
For serious big-game pursuits, the fit and functionality of Browning's easy-to-carry rifle outdid the Remington Model Seven SS and Ruger M77RL MKII models, in our opinion.
Can you get a decent, shootable rifle for $100 or less? Yes, if you use our tips to separate the wheat from the chaff.
If market trends are any indication, interest in long-range deer rifles has been growing in recent years. At least half a dozen of these products—essentially varmint rifles that are chambered for bigger calibers—are available now in production guns.
Previously, these products, which are designed to be used from a fixed position while hunting from some sort of stand, were available only as custom items for hunters who planned to use them for hunting beanfields in the southeastern United States, Texas's senderos, the western prairies of the U.S. and Canada, and powerline rights-of-way in the East.
This kind of hunting requires a flat-shooting, hard-hitting caliber in a rifle capable of superb accuracy under field conditions. Such rifles must be extremely accurate, incorporate a good trigger, and employ a properly designed stock.
At least three rifles purported to have these qualifications include the Winchester Model 70 Classic Laredo equipped with a BOSS, the Remington Model 700 Sendero SF (Stainless Fluted), and the Savage 110FP Tactical Rifle. We decided to test this trio head to head to see which one is worth your hard-earned dollars. All three rifles were chambered in .300 Winchester Magnum, one of the best long-range cartridges available in these rifles.
Cabela's gorgeous Henry and Cimarron's 1873 are cowboy-ready, but not so Winchester's 94AE—still, the latter does have its uses.
However, Cabela's or Cimarron's less expensive versions of the 1874 Sharps will do until your $1,700 Shiloh Hartford Model arrives in a couple of years.
The $335 Thompson/Center 22 Classic is accurate, lightweight, and good looking—and much more affordable than the $950 Kimber Classic and $874 Sako Finnfire bolt guns.