Though COVID-19 has had a serious impact on our economy, rifle makers have not been asleep at the switch. Whether it's for long-range target competition or a carbine for self-defense, there was plenty new to see at SHOT Show 2022, including many that made NRA Women take a second look. Here are five of our favorites:
Bushmaster Bravo Zulu
The biggest news for NRA Women out of fall 2021’s NASGW Show was that Bushmaster was releasing a new rifle chambered in the meaty .450 Bushmaster caliber … but in a lightweight gun. Indeed that gun is now selling like hotcakes to consumers, and there are apparently plenty of women taking notice. But Bushmaster did not stop at building only one model they consider ideal for women. The Bravo Zulu, a classic AR rifle chambered in 5.56 NATO, is loaded with features that make this ideal for women looking to become proficient in this platform, especially for home defense. Features include a mid-length gas system, a six-position stock and a Thrill pistol grip. The rifle also features a 16" barrel with a 1:8” twist rate; 14” free-float rail; a salt-bath Nitride bolt-carrier group; Snake Charmer muzzle brake; and a 2-stage-trigger. There’s more, but you’ll have to visit bushmaster.com to find out. MSRP: $1,159. Bravo Zulu (Job Well Done), Bushmaster!
Browning X-Bolt Target
Browning rifles have long been associated with hunting, but for the first time the company is entering the world of precision long-range shooting with a new offering in its X-Bolt line optimized for long-range target shooting and competition. Features include a stiffer, heavier receiver and a fluted, stainless-steel barrel with Recoil Hawg muzzle brake on 5/8"-24 suppressor-ready threads. They also feature an adjustable Target DLX trigger, extended bolt handle and adjustable MAX composite stock. Three models are available now: an X-Bolt Target Pro MacMillan suppressor ready (MSRP $3,999); X-Bolt Target Max Adjustable suppressor ready ($1,669); and X-Bolt Max Flat Dark Earth Long Range ($1,279-$1,319). This model is available in a variety of long-range calibers. The company has also introduced a new camo pattern called Ovix, shown above at the top of this article on the new X-Bolt Speed rifle. Browning.com.
Savage 110 Carbon Tactical
We are usually never sorry when we shed a few pounds—even if we have to attribute the weight loss to a new, lighter rifle. Thanks to Savage Arms’ addition of the 110 Carbon Tactical to its line of 110 bolt-action rifles—boasting a PROOF Research carbon fiber-wrapped stainless-steel barrel—weight on this rifle is cut to 7.6 lbs. All of the outstanding features of the versatile 110 are retained, including a factory blueprinted action and a rigid AccuStock, which secures the action three-dimensionally along its entire length. Those familiar with Savage’s famous AccuFit system know it allows for multiple adjustments to its length-of-pull and comb height, which means no shooter ever has to worry about this gun being too long or too short. A 1.5-4 lb. user-adjustable AccuTrigger and AICS detachable box magazine, a beavertail fore-end and one-piece 20 MOA rail round out the features. Available calibers are .308, 6.5 Creedmoor and 6.5 PRC. Finish choices are Grey or Flat Dark Earth. MSRP: $1,789. Complete specs and more are found at savagearms.com
Smith & Wesson M&P15 Volunteer
We announced this rifle as an independent entry, but the virtues of one of the most popular semi-automatic rifles of all time deserve repeating. There are four tiers of rifles: Volunteer XV, Volunteer XV OR, Volunteer XV PRO and Volunteer XV DMR. This may be the model that S&W has designated as a baseline, but the Volunteer XV stands as a feature-rich "plug and play" gun with custom touches like the B5 Bravo adjustable stock. The B5 pistol grip offers a steeper grip angle than traditional AR-15s, which provides better and more intuitive trigger finger alignment. Speaking of the trigger, it's a flat-faced, single-stage design that promises a clean, crisp break. The fore-end is a Bravo Company handguard with M-LOK slots to add accessories (should you wish to). MSRP on the new Volunteer XV series is $1,049 to $1,599 depending upon model. Smith-Wesson.com.
We would be remiss if we left out this new .22 rimfire bolt-action (yes, bolt-action .22 LR) rifle from Winchester. It’s rifles like these more than any other that keep us, along with our families, outside for small-game hunting or a day of plinking. If you are familiar with Winchester’s popular autoloading Wildcat introduced several years ago, you’ll no doubt agree that they are rightfully being dubbed cousins. There are some differences though, including a new M.O.A. trigger and the fact the Xpert can be used for .22 rimfire competitions. The rifle comes with a 10-round rotary magazine, and features ambidextrous magazine releases. The gun also accepts aftermarket 10/22 magazines. MSRP is $319.99. Winchester.com.