January 29, 2018
By Lynn Burkhead
Here are 12 new, feature-packed hunting rifles deer enthusiasts should consider for the 2018 season.
Here's a glance at some of the year's top deer hunting models.
In the 40-year history of the SHOT Show, the folks from Browning have been at every single show from the first one in St. Louis to the current 2018 version. And as they have done nearly every single SHOT Show, the Utah-based company has brought another solid new deer hunting rifle to market, this year's offering being the Browning X-Bolt Pro in a variety of calibers ranging from the time-honored 30-06 and .270 Win to the more recent red-hot caliber of 6.5 Creedmoor.
With a full 360-degree carbon-fiber wrap stock and a compressed foam core, the new X-Bolt Pro features a Tungsten Cerakote finished barrel, action, and stock. Adding in a spiral fluted bolt, an enlarged bolt knob, and a proprietary barrel lapping process and there's more to like about this new for 2018 model.
With weights between 6 and 7 pounds and a variety of rate of barrel twists depending upon the model, this is a high-end hunting rifle that falls somewhere between a production gun and a custom-made rifle.
With reduced rifle weight, superb accuracy on target, and rugged, weather resistant features, this is another superb offering from Browning, a rifle that deer hunters will like from coast-to-coast in 2018.
Contact: Browning; 800-333-3288
Built one at a time, this U.S. made rifle from Howa starts with the CNC machining of a block of aluminum bedding made to the precise dimensions of the Howa 1500 barreled action. The bedding block is then put into a mold where both sides are hand-laminated with Kevlar, fiberglass, and carbon fiber prior to being injected with polyurethane foam.
Hand finished, the HS Precision Rifle — which comes with the company's H.A.C.T. 2-Stage Trigger and a sub-MOA guarantee — is available in standard and threaded heavy barrel models in a variety of rifle chamberings that includes .243, .25-06, .270, .30-06, 7mm Rem Mag, and 6.5 Creedmoor among others.
Contact: Howa; 800-553-4229
Long known for its outstanding handguns and rifles, Kimber's Open Range rifle series in a new granite custom carbon-fiber stock comes with stainless steel fluted heavy barrels that help bring tack driving accuracy and high-end performance for hunters and long-range shooters.
With the rifle's full-length Mauser claw extractor, there is superb feeding and extraction of cartridges, which come in the .308 Win and 6.5 Creedmoor rounds.
When the company's sub-MOA Accuracy Standard is added in, all in all, this is another fine bench and hunting model from the well-known American gun maker.
Contact: Kimber; 888-243-4522
A classic high-end looking rifle from Mossberg, the company says that the Patriot Revere Rifle comes with plenty of the precision shooting features consumers expect from the Patriot line.
In 2018, that includes LBA adjustable triggers, blued barrels with a recessed crown, streamlined bolt handles, spiral fluted bolts, Weaver-style scope bases and box magazines.
Add in three long-action and three-short action chamberings, including the wildly popular 6.5 Creedmoor, and the Mossberg Patriot Revere also now comes with tremendous curb appeal thanks to the rifle's premier 2.0-grade European walnut stock along with a rosewood forend tip and a grip cap that is also enhanced by a maple spacer.
Contact: Mossberg; 800-243-9700
Few rifles are more timeless than Remington's veritable Model 700 design, something that remains true with the unveiling of the company's Model 700 Stainless 5R Threaded Barrel Gen 2 offering.
Available in .308 Win, .300 Win Mag, and 6.5 Creedmoor, the 5R Threaded Gen 2 has a stainless-steel barrel in lengths of 20 and 24 inches (depending on the caliber chosen) along with a black Cerakote finish on the barrel.
Add in a H.S. Precision stock with a sand-and-black-web finish, weights of around 8 ½ pounds and the rifle gets even better.
Finish things off with a X-Mark Pro externally adjustable trigger and Remington's exclusive 5R rifling and this is a rugged performer in the mountains, foothills, plains and hardwoods where whitetails and other big game critters are found.
Contact: Remington; 800-243-9700
With a nice Go Wild camo finish, this new member of Ruger's American Rifle Predator Series is a game-getting firearm that comes in a variety of chamberings ranging from the .243 Win to the 7mm-08 Rem to the 6.5 Creedmoor to the .30-06 Springfield.
Starting with a lightweight and ergonomic stock, the Ruger Marksman Adjustable trigger gives riflemen a crisp release with a user-adjustable pull weight between 3 and 5 pounds. Add in a one-piece three-lug bolt with a 70-degree throw along with a patent-pending Power Bedding that free-floats the barrel and the result is superb accuracy.
With precision rifling in the cold hammer-forged barrel, a soft-rubber buttpad for recoil reduction, and minute-of-angle (MOA) accuracy and this is another winner from Ruger.
Contact: Ruger; 336-949-5200
Long known for accuracy, performance and premium bolt-action manufacturing excellence, the Finland-based rifle maker has brought about a reborn option in the 2018 version of the company's Sako 85 Finnlight II model.
Built on a lightweight fiberglass stock made with RTM Technology, the rifle features a Cerakote coating, a fully adjustable cheekpiece, a variety of action sizes in both right- and left-hand models, different barrel lengths, and 5- and 6-round magazines depending on the caliber chosen.
Imported by Beretta USA, the Sako 85 Finnlight II rifle comes in 14 different rifle caliber chamberings, making this a great deer hunting firearm from the iconic European rifle maker.
Built around the Savage Arms' Model 110 rifle, the new Hunter AccuFit Rifle comes with table-top, one tool adjustability that allows the model to be custom-fit to the needs of almost any shooter.
With a rugged gray synthetic stock, the Model 110 Hunter AccuFit rifle features a user-adjustable AccuTrigger, the AccuStock rail system, a matte black button-rifle barrel, a detachable box magazine, a soft grip overmold surface at the forend and pistol grip, and drilling and tapping for scope mounts.
Add in the game-changing Savage Arms AccuFit system (with five comb risers and four length-of-pull inserts) and the result is a rifle available in 11 different chambering options (ranging from the .223 Rem on up to the 300 Win Mag) that allows shooters to quickly adjust comb height and length-of-pull.
The result is a snazzy looking deer hunting rifle that offers a customized fit, a more comfortable shooting experience, and more accurate results on the target range or in the deer hunting woods.
Contact: Savage; 800-370-0708
With Weatherby making a news splash for 2018 — the company is relocating from its longtime California home to Sheridan, Wyoming — the company's new Mark V Ultra Lightweight rifle is a superb option for deer hunters to consider.
With Weatherby's sub-MOA accuracy guarantee (.99-inch or less 3-shot groups at 100 yards when used with Weatherby factory or other premium ammunition), the fluted, blackened stainless steel barreled rifle checks in a 6 ¾ pounds for the 9-Lug magnum and 5 ¾ pounds for the 6-Lug version.
Add in the LXX Trigger, skeletonized full-length aluminum bedding, a Pachmayr Decelerator recoil pad, and a hand-laminated raised comb Monte Carlo composite stock (with a black matte gel coat and spiderweb accent finish), and the result is a noteworthy rifle.
Contact: Weatherby; 800-227-2016
What is the Winchester XPR Sporter, a rifle unveiled at SHOT Show 2018? Simply put, it's the iconic rifle maker's new bolt-action in a classic walnut stock.
With a M.O.A. Trigger System, a steel recoil lug, a free-floated button-rifled steel barrel, and a recessed target crown, the XPR Sporter is a superbly accurate rifle that comes in a variety of deer hunting chamberings including the .243, the 7mm-08, the .270, the .30-06, the .308, and the 6.5 Creedmoor among others.
Add in nickel Teflon on the bolt body, a receiver machined from solid steel-bar stock, close-grained walnut stock with crisp checkering and an Inflex Technology Recoil Pad, and there's much in the way of old-school classic good looks to go along with new school innovative technology.
All in all, the Winchester XPR Sporter is another fine deer hunter's rifle.
Contact: Winchester; 800-333-3288
As one of the world's most renowned rifle makers for 140 years and counting, Mauser gives deer hunters the M18 this year, a no-frills, high-quality bolt action that is feature packed while remaining affordable.
Built with the German company's attention to detail, its use of high-end technology, and its longstanding heritage as one of the world' premiere rifle makers, Mauser says that this new bolt action has a cold-hammered steel barrel that measures 56 cm in the standard calibers and 62 cm in magnum calibers.
With a 5+1 box magazine, the rifle's solid black synthetic stock features soft grip inlays on the pistol grip and the fore-end. Currently available in .308 and 30.06 calibers, Mauser says that other calibers are forthcoming in mid-summer, namely the .243 Win, the .270 Win, the 7mm Rem, and the .300 Win.
The bottom line is that for the discriminating deer hunter, the new Mauser M18 is a worthy European option to consider, one that will catch plenty of watchful eyes in deer camp and accurately put a bullet into the boiler room of the big whitetail buck of your dreams.
As the first bolt-action rifle produced by the Italian gunmaker Franchi, the new Momentum rifle is a stand-out performer in a crowded deer hunting rifle market.
Built as much around superior feel as it is high-end performance, the Franchi Momentum features a rigid polymer stock with user friendly ergonomics and attention to detail in features like the rifle's recessed sling swivel attachments.
The Momentum rifle features an adjustable trigger (from 2 to 4-pounds), an easily removable one-piece, three lug fluted bolt with a short 60-degree bolt throw, a hinged floorplate magazine, and a free-floating cold hammer forged precision barrel.
Available in 243 Winchester, 6.5 Creedmoor, .270 Winchester, .308 Winchester, .30-06 Springfield, and .300 Win. Mag., the new Momentum bolt action rifle comes in either plain barrel or threaded barrel versions.
With the Momentum's TSA Recoil Pad (which helps reduce felt recoil by up to 50-percent according to the company), length of pull adjustment, and a seven-year warranty, there is much to like in this first rifle offering from Franchi.
The Essentials Gear Box.
Our editors have hand-picked these essential pieces of gear to make you a more successful hunter when you hit the game trails this season.