Just about any in-line muzzleloader is more than capable of punching lethal groups in targets well beyond a stone's throw. The right powder and projectile combination in any respectable scoped in-line should deliver reliable death to most big-game animals out to 100 yards. Mix the perfect cocktail and pay your dues on the range, and 200-yard confidence is achievable with many of today's inlines. But Remington recently introduced a new muzzleloader that was designed to break those boundaries.
The Remington Secret
According to Remington, this new frontloader makes it possible to spit bullets across three football fields with a remarkably flat trajectory and enough energy to ensure a short blood trail.
The secret lies in Remington's proprietary new "UML Priming System." It's a thoughtfully engineered ignition system that allows you to cram 200 grains of Triple Seven pellets down the throat of this fire-breathing beast. Instead of slipping a standard 209 primer into the breech plug, the Model 700 Ultimate Muzzleloader uses a brass rifle casing fitted with a magnum primer. The result is a more powerful, complete powder burn compared to in-lines that use a 209.
The 700 Ultimate Muzzleloader is built on Remington's time-tested Model 700 bolt-action receiver. Push your favorite powder and bullet blend down the barrel, then all that's left is to drop the brass casing onto the feed ramp and close the bolt. The casing is designed to interface perfectly with Remington's unique breech plug to create a super-tight seal. Squeeze the trigger and the primer sends its flame through the flash hole.
The idea is, all 200 grains of powder ignite and send a saboted bullet, such as a 250-grain Barnes T-EZ, downrange at 2,450 fps from the muzzle. With a 100-yard zero, these ballistics equate to a 22.43-inch drop at 300 yards, with the bullet traveling at 1,349 fps and drilling the target with 1,011 foot-pounds of energy. That's an acceptable equation for killing deer-sized game at that distance, so long as the shooter is capable of making the shot count.
Of course, you are welcomed to experiment with your own powder/bullet combo — that's half the fun.
The first version wears a gray laminate stock and factory-mounted rifle sights. The second option is dressed in a composite Bell and Carlson stock, minus the iron sights.
Both are drilled and tapped, giving you the ability to top the Ultimate Muzzleloader with your favorite optic and more effectively capitalize on its long-range capabilities. Each version is equipped with a 26-inch stainless-steel fluted barrel, measuring 46 inches from nose to tail. Finally, both come with a hinged floorplate. Pop it open and you'll find a foam insert to store extra primed cases.
Additionally, Remington is shipping the Ultimate Muzzleloader in a hard case with 24 pieces of primed brass and 24 250-grain saboted Remington Premier AccuTip bullets.
I tested the Ultimate Muzzleloader at the range shooting from the prone position with a stock-mounted bipod. A 10-15 mph crosswind blew with no end. From 100 yards, our best three-shot group formed a one-hole cloverleaf. Backing out to 150 yards, we saw 1- to 2-inch groups.
John Geiger, Game&Fish/Sportsman senior editor, also shot the Ultimate and reported consistently hitting 12-by-18-inch steel plates at 250 yards. The accuracy is impressive, and the energy is there to make this an effective long-range gun.
Whether or not this is a 300-yard hunting gun is strictly up to the skills of the hunter behind the rifle. The muzzleloader has two important traits that go a long way to making it an accurate gun: weight and trigger.
Both models of the Ultimate Muzzleloader weigh approximately 8 1/2 pounds — add a scope and any other frills and it will end up in excess of 10 pounds. Admittedly, carrying such a beefy rifle isn't ideal for intense treks, but the low recoil and stability of this inline are attributes that will contribute to accuracy. A heavier gun is, generally speaking, a more accurate gun.
Regarding trigger, each model sports X-Mark Pro user-adjustable trigger. Add the crisp XMP trigger to the equation and you might be one step closer to victory in the long-range game.
If this fresh frontloader trips your trigger, you'll need to choose between two different configurations, both offered at an MSRP of $1,295. Visit the Remington website for more information.
When I put my cheek to the stock, I barely touched the trigger when the gun fired.
I had been shooting many guns with various triggers at the range lately, but this one was different.
has six bolt lugs that engage directly into the barrel. I shot steel targets to 300 yards using .308 rounds, and put bullets in various corners of the targets at will. I felt I had full command of placement even with a stiff side wind.
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.
1,400 (retail approximation)
Benelli's new inertia-driven shotgun, Ethos
, is an elegant semi-auto that can cycle light 7/8-ounce target loads and 3-inch goose loads.
The gun shoulders beautifully, and shot several boxes of various loads without stove-piping or any other hitch.
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. Very classy. A carbon fiber rib helps shave ounces from the 6-pound 12-gauge.
1,999 - $
Browning Citori 725 20-gauge
Browning now offers the popular Citori 725
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-under features 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.
OK, who can look me in the eye and say that they didn't covet the sleek Kimber Mountain Ascent when it was introduced last year?
Yet the price seemed steep at more than gallery=259,000. 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 costs several hundred dollars less.
It weighs just 4 pounds, 13 ounces. 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.
Mossberg 835 Ulti-Mag Duck Commander
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
The gun has an over-bored 10-gauge-barrel dimensions from muzzle to breach. It has the classic Mossberg safety on the top of the receiver. 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.
Nemo .300 Win Mag AR-10 Pratka Edition
You're familiar with AR's in 5.56/.223 and 7.62mm/.308, but last year Nemo, a premier gun-maker 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. So this year, Nemo introduced the Pratka
, a 9-pound gun that is closer to the $4,000 range. Features include a 416 stainless steel fluted barrel and a sweet Geissele SSA-E two-stage trigger.
Successuflly dealing with the higher pressures of the .300 in an AR action made this a substantial engineering accomplishment.
Remington M700 Ultimate
Here's something new and innovative.
Most factory muzzleloaders are limited to 150 grains of propellant because 209 primer can't fully burn up any more powder than that.
The folks at Remington have pushed past that limitation by using a 30-caliber magnum shell casing and primer to produce more flash and bang in the chamber.
I had the opportunity to shoot the Ultimate
and to truly see if it could be a 300-yard muzzleloader, as Remington claims. I loaded four pellets and capped it with a saboted 250-grain bullet.
Consistently I was hitting a 12-by-18 steel plate at 250. Could a better shooter dial that gun in at 300 yards and get much tighter groups?
I am sure of it. Check back for more testing results in the October issue of Game and Fish/Sportsman
Ruger American Rimfire
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 showed off its American Rimfire
guns at the 2014 SHOT Show and we shot it up at the gun range. There are four full-sized models, and a compact version.
Each comes with two interchangeable stock modules. There's a flush cheekpiece if you want to shoot iron sights. But the gun is also drilled and tapped for a scope, and comes with a high-cheekpiece module as well.
Calibers are .22 LR, .22 Mag and .17 HMR. We shot the .17 HMR at 100 yards and produced tight groups.
Guns in .22 LR accept 10/22 magazines.
This powerful double-action revolver from Smith's Performance Center is built on the durable X-Frame.
The five-round handgun
can fire .460 S&W Mag, .454 Casull and .45 Colt. The stainless barrel is 3 1/2 inches, so it's no long-range target shooter, but the 10-inch gun weighs 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. It would drop most any North American big-game animal at close range with a well-placed shot.
Traditions Vortek StrikerFire
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.
340 - $