We put two of the newest small-bore centerfires — Ruger's .204 and the .223 WSSM — against one of the oldest cartridges, the .22-250 Remington, and found out the old dog can hunt.
Need a handy, dependable rifle for self-defense? Want a lightweight gun that won't stretch your arms? In this test, you can pick either gun and come out with a winner.
In previous tests on these pages we've been far more excited about lightweight AR-15 types than about the normal, full-size military configuration of that rifle. We looked long and hard at the Carbon 15, and one or two others. We think we're not alone in our attraction to the lighter .223 rifles, judging from our letters. But how about "entry" type carbines, with short barrels and stocks? Do they have any use in the field? Many a cop and shooter want the smallest, lightest yet most efficient .223 autoloader available, so here we present three more alternatives. Two of them are built around the AR-15 concept, but have short stocks and barrels to cut weight and bulk. The third is the often-overlooked Ruger Mini-14 semiauto, which is a lot less imposing in its wood-stocked configuration, but may be just what the doctor ordered if you need a .223 semiauto that is less intimidating but just as effective as the AR-15 types.
Most shooters who envision a varmint rifle see a big, heavy bolt gun perched atop a shooting bench, with prairie dogs 300, 400, and 500 yards or more distant. The shooter carefully loads a single .22-250, 6mm PPC, or other handloaded round and chambers it. After gauging the nearby wind with smoke from a fine cigar, the shooter lays down on the stock and fires. The light recoil from the gun scarcely moves the rifle or shooter.
At 4.3 pounds, Professional Ordnance's Carbon 15 is the lightest AR15, and it's a very good one. Bushmaster's lightest rifle, the XM15-E2S, is also worth a close look.
Remember that daylight bank robbery in California a few months back? The bad guys were illegally armed to the teeth, wearing body armor and spraying lead in all directions. If there had been a movie crew around, one might have thought they were filming Lethal Weapon 4.
If you saw the TV news coverage, the image of one armored bandit being dropped in his tracks will probably stay with you a long time. That shot was taken with a rifle capable of MOA (minute of angle) accuracy at 100 yards. In the hands of law enforcement, they're called sniper rifles. The rest of us call them target or varmint rifles. Except for finish and perhaps some high tech, highly expensive add-on optics, they're muc...
For a number of years after its civilian introduction in 1964, the Colt AR-15 was essentially a semiautomatic version of the U.S. military's standard issue rifle, the M16. Today, however, a handful of manufacturers are producing AR-15-type firearms in a variety of configurations. We prefer to call these firearms sporting rifles.
Despite what some politicians may think, we feel that all law-abiding citizens of this country should have the opportunity to own a sporting rifle. They are suitable for many types of shooting activities, from small game and varmint hunting to target shooting and home protection. They are also just plain fun to shoot.
All of the rifles in this test are .223 se...
CZ's 527 and the Savage GXP3 packages come with on-board scopes, but are they a steal or a bad deal?
Many of us believe we can shoot tight, tight groups with our off-the-rack rifles, and we brag about how "small" we are—perhaps the only time other than when we compare cell-phone sizes that we make such a claim. But the reality is that unmodified guns we purchase over the counter rarely shoot inch-or-smaller groups at 100 yards, and those of us who take our medication regularly secretly know that.
But we've found a class of affordable factory-production guns whose accuracy out of the box would not embarrass us when chuckin' bullets at woodchucks or cutting cloverleafs on targets. A family of heavy-barrelled bolt guns, including Ruger's KM77VT MKII Target Rifle, Remington's Model 700VS Var...
[IMGCAP(1)] Black rifles, mouse guns, great machines, useless junk — these are a few of the names given to our country's current military rifle and its semi-automatic civilian clones, which are commonly called AR-15 types. Let's first clear the air by stating they are certainly not useless junk. The design, which some consider fragile, is instead war-proven and more than adequate for its purpose. They don't have the punch of a .308, but ammo for them is lighter and cheaper. They work, last a long time, are easily maintained, and are in many ways delightful.
Moreover, these AR-15/M16 clones can be set up to be absolute tack drivers, and in that guise have made a serious name for themselves...
[IMGCAP(1)] It wasn't too many years ago that hunters who wanted an accurate, but controllable, handgun for hunting small or medium-sized game had very little to choose from. That situation has changed for the better in the last 10 or so years, and consumers now have plenty of options from which to choose. In fact, as in the rifle market, they can even pick action styles in their handguns, choosing from break-actions like the Thompson/Center Contender and Encore models, bolt actions from Savage, Remington, and Weatherby, and cannon-breech guns like those made by Magnum Research.
Each manufacturer is looking for the best way to skin the cat, of course, and recent testing we conducted on th...
Ruger's Magnum takes the cake as a dangerous-game gun, and we also like Sako's 75 Hunter. Pass on the Winchester Model 70 Safari Express.