It’s just not possible to examine and shoot all of the new hunting guns revealed at the Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show. But we tried to get our hands on as many as we could at the range and on the show floor during the first couple of days of SHOT 2014. The result is a list that will give hunters a head start as they search out their own favorite new firearms this season. All photos by Ron Sinfelt.
When I put my cheek to the stock, I barely touched the trigger when the gun fired. I didn't have a trigger weight gauge with me, but this clean trigger is 2 pounds or less. I had been shooting many guns at the range, and this one was different from the others. The Sauer is a quality gun from Germany that features systems popular in the Old World, such as a safety activated by a switch built into the bolt shroud, and an unusually smooth bolt. The S101 has six bolt lugs that engage directly into the barrel. Sauer says this is one of the reasons it is so accurate. We shot steel targets from 200 yards out to 300 yards using .308 rounds. We put bullets in various corners of the targets at will, and felt we had command of the placement even with 15 to 20 mph winds. The lines of the Sauer, and its accouterments, such as a Schnabel forend, recall the classic guns of the Jaegermeister. Yet the technology is thoroughly modern and advanced.
Browning now offers the Citori 725 in 20-gauge. It was an easy-pointing gun over clays. It mounted well and pushed back more like a .410 thanks to the gun’s InFlex II recoil pad. The over-unders feature Browning’s Fire Lite Mechanical Trigger System and tapered locking bolt design. The 725 Field features a silver nitride finish receiver accented with high relief engraving of game bird scenes and a gloss oil finish stock and forearm cut from Grade II/III walnut. Available in 26- or 28-inch barrels.
You’re familiar with AR’s in 5.56/.223 and 7.65mm/.308 but last year Nemo, a premier gunmaker out of Kalispell, Mont., went out on a limb and produced an AR-10 that chambers the venerated .300 Win Mag cartridge. It was heavy at 12 pounds and had a high price tag. This year, Nemo introduced the Pratka. It’s similar to the previous Omen but closer to 9 pounds and down to the $4,000 range. Features include a 416 stainless steel fluted barrel, Geissele SSA-E 2-stage trigger and A-10 muzzle brake. The Omen line represents a huge branching out of the AR platform. Creating a 5.56 is one thing. But making a new AR for the higher pressures of the .300 Win Mag round was a challenge all unto itself. The Omen line is evidence that there is courage and talent among the nation’s gun builders.
Last year, Traditions made a splash with their Vortek LDR, Long-Distance Rifle. Now they are also putting that 30-inch chromoly barrel onto their popular StrikerFire break-open models. The StrikerFire system has an internal striker. With no external hammer, the scope can be mounted closer to the bore. When you are ready to fire, slide the striker button forward until it locks and the rifle is cocked. The system allows for quieter, quicker cocking and faster locktimes. The rifle has TAC2, two-stage, competition-style trigger set at 2 pounds.
MSRP: $1,999 for the black anodized receiver, and $2,199 for the nickel-plated engraved receiver
Benelli revealed a new inertia-driven shotgun, the Ethos. It’s an elegant semi-auto that can cycle light 7/8-ounce target loads and 3-inch goose loads. Stocks are cut from AA-Grade European walnut and incorporate a progressive recoil system that self-adjusts to the load’s kick. Another cool feature is the rotating bolt head, which locks the bolt even if you ease it forward, as opposed to allowing it to slam closed. A carbon fiber rib helps shave ounces from the 6-pound 12-gauge. The new technology and style of this gun make it a showstopper.
OK, who can say that they didn’t covet the Kimber Mountain Ascent when it was introduce at last year’s SHOT Show? Yet the price seemed steep at more than $2,000. Kimber has now added a similar gun with a reduced price. The 84M Adirondack looks a lot like the Ascent—carbon fiber stock, Gore Optifade camo, minimalist lines—but cost several hundred dollars less. It weighs just 4 pounds, 13 ounces and would be perfect for humping through the Adironacks or the Rockies. The barrel is a very compact 18 inches, so it’s no long-range poker. Still, it would be fine for a stand or tighter cover in aspens or pines. Chambered in 7mm-08 Remington and .308 Winchester, it has a stainless steel barreled action with a full-length Mauser claw extractor.
This single- and double-action hunting revolver can fire .460 S&W Mag, .454 Casull and .45 Long Colt. It has a five-round capacity and a 3 1/2-inch barrel length. The 10-inch gun weights 3-3/4 pounds and was rock solid when we shot all three calibers at the range. The back sight is adjustable and the gun comes with a Hi-Viz fiber optic front sight. X-frame and cylinder are stainless steel. This compact revolver could drop most North American big game with a well-placed shot.
Here’s a good gun and scope package for just at $1,000 MSRP. Howa rifles teamed with Zeiss to offer a mounted Terra 3X 3-9x42 scope on several models of Howa rifles. We shot the .300 Win Mag chamberings from a bench at 100 yards and were impressed by the two-stage match trigger and feel of the Hogue-covered bolt-action. It’s a great long-range package that won’t break the bank. Nine other caliber chambering less than $1,000 MSRP, and many more just over $1,100.
Goose hunters, turkey hunters, and anyone else who wants a pump gun that can chamber 3 1/2-inch shells now have it in the Mossberg 835 Ulti-Mag Duck Commander shotgun. The gun has an overbored barrel to 10-gauge dimensions from muzzle to breach. It comes with three Accu-Mag choke tubes, is dipped in Realtree Max-5 camo and has the Duck Commander logo on the stock. It even comes with an American flag bandana, like the kind Willie Robertson sports in the family’s TV shows.
Ruger put together an affordable, accurate deer-hunting rifle in its American Centerfire line released last year. Now they are bringing those attributes to a bolt-action rimfire line. The maker of the popular 10/22 recently showed off its American Rimfire guns at SHOT and at the gun range. There are four full-sized models, and a compact version. Each comes with two interchangeable stock modules. There is a flush cheekpiece module if you want to shoot iron sights. But the gun is also drilled and tapped for a scope, and therefore comes with a high-cheekpiece module as well. Caliber are .22 LR, .22 Magnum and .17 HMR. We shot the .17 HMR at 100 yards and produced tight groups. Guns in .22 LR accept 10/22 magazines.
Another product that we love from SHOT Show 2014 is the Bushnell Trophy Cam HD Wireless. This great new trail cam has no contracts and is pay as you go. You can manage remotely via email, the website, or a mobile app which saves you a ton of travel time! Here, Darin Stephens with Bushnell Outdoors gives us the rundown.
Be sure to also check out our trail cam tips and tactics, and Petersen’s Bowhunting’s “Best New Trail Cameras for 2014” from this year’s Archery Trade Association show. If you love shooting and hunting, be sure to check out all the up-to-the-minute videos and articles on Guns & Ammo’s SHOT Show 2014 page!
Which of these awesome new hunting guns will you be buying this year? Share your opinions with us in the comments or on Facebook!