July 31, 2020
By Petersen's Hunting Editors
The Petersen’s Hunting Gear Annual is out now. Our editors have searched out all the greatest, new guns, optics, ammo, archery equipment, camouflage clothing, hunting boots and equipment, and highlighted the top picks in each category. Whether you’re shopping for an inexpensive, accurate rifle or a top-of-the-line spotting scope, you’ll find the insight and info you need to make an informed purchasing decision in the pages of this popular issue.
In each category, we also pick our Editor’s Choice, highlighting that gear that stands out from the crowd for its innovative design, extreme affordability or “cool factor”. For 2020, here are the guns and ammo that garnered the top pick and coveted Editor’s Choice Award.
To see more great gear, and find in-depth reviews of more guns and equipment, pick up a copy of the Petersen’s Hunting 2020 Gear Annual on newsstands near you, or order a copy today at osgnewsstand.com.
Centerfire Rifle: Ruger M77 Hawkeye Hunter
Ruger got it just right with this sultry-looking, stainless-steel, walnut-stocked rifle. A capable muzzle brake is fit to the standard suppressor-compatible threads; all metal is corrosion-resistant stainless; and there’s a 20-MOA Picatinny rail factory-mounted to the receiver. (Can I hear a “hallelujah”!) Plus, it features Paul Mauser’s legendary rotating controlled-feed claw extractor. The 5R rifling in the free-floated barrel makes for great accuracy. This might just be the best value available in a controlled-feed hunting rifle. It’s available in seven popular calibers, including left-hand versions in 6.5 Creedmoor and .300 Win. Mag. $1,099; ruger.com
Rimfire Rifle: CZ-USA 457 Varmint Precision Chassis
Designed for .22 LR shooters trimming gopher populations, or competing at local precision rimfire matches, this slick little rifle features CZ’s renowned 457 action mated with an aluminum chassis. Pick a 16.5- or a 24-inch barrel; the former is perfect for pairing with a suppressor. The Luth-AR stock is adjustable for length and comb height, and the trigger is adjustable for pull weight, creep, and overtravel. M-LOK slots on the forend enable easy accessorizing. Magazine capacity is five rounds. $999; cz-usa.com
Shotgun: CZ-USA Upland Ultralite All-Terrain
Want the sophistication of a fine upland gun and the toughness of a waterfowling piece? Here’s your poison. CZ has taken several of its most popular shotguns and created the All-Terrain series. These guns are coated in Cerakote OD Green then fit with nice walnut stocks. Sling swivels come standard to make packing during long jaunts easy. This particular Upland Ultralite version is optimized for light weight and responsiveness for those long days afield hunting wild-flushing birds. Take your pick of 12 or 20 gauge. Barrels are 28 inches long. Extended chokes come standard. Weight is 5.9 pounds (20 gauge). $890; cz-usa.com
Handgun: Colt Python
Savants herald the Python as arguably the finest double-action revolver ever produced. After decades of being out of production, Colt has just brought it back. Featuring stainless construction, classic walnut grips, and an improved rear sight, it’s available in your choice of a 4.25- or a 6-inch barrel. Naturally, it’s chambered in .357 Magnum. These won’t be easy to find, so take yourself down to the local gunshop and get your order in now. Weight is 46 ounces. $1,499; colt.com
Airgun: Umarex AirJavelin
This innovative, CO2-powered airgun shoots arrows. Yep, you read that right. Similar to bolts, the arrows weigh about 170 grains, including a 50-grain field point, and exit the AirJavelin around 300 fps. Powered by an 88-gram CO2 cartridge. A 12-gram CO2 adapter is available. Umarex AirSaber Arrows accept screw-in field points and broadheads, and an onboard quiver keeps them handy. Fiber-optic sights are standard, and a full-length optic rail makes it easy to add a scope. Kit includes AirJavelin, two 88-gram CO2 cylinders, and six arrows. $224; umarexusa.com
Centerfire Ammunition: Marlin 150th Anniversary Series
To celebrate 150 years of riflemaking, Marlin is producing a limited one-year run of calibers with lever-gun heritage. The commemorative packaging and special Marlin 150th headstamp make them collectible, and everything about them is designed for performance on the range and on game. All are softpoints (except the hollowpoint .22) in popular lever-action calibers: .30-30 Win., .35 Rem., .444 Marlin, .45-70 Gov’t. (full pressure), and .22 Long Rifle. $14–$50; marlinfirearms.com
Rimfire Ammunition: Remington Subsonic Rimfire
Remington’s ammo team got together with the suppressor experts at Advanced Armament Corp., a sister company, to develop this clean, consistent-performing subsonic load. It’s manufactured under tight velocity controls to eliminate the cracks of supersonic flight, and it’s copper plated to reduce leading, especially in suppressor ports. The hollowpoint construction is designed to function properly—with a terminal punch—at low velocities. $5 (per 50), $10 (per 100); remington.com
Handgun Ammunition: Hornady Handgun Hunter
Built around Hornady’s MonoFlex handgun bullet, Handgun Hunter is designed to bring down game effectively and efficiently. Tough copper-alloy construction allows deep penetration while retaining 95 percent of its weight, both contributing to maximum impact. The hollowpoint cavity is filled with a soft elastomer that compresses on impact, then pushing out and causing rapid expansion. Comes in 9mm Luger, .357 Magnum, .40 S&W, 10mm, .44 Rem. Mag., .454 Casull and .460 S&W Mag. $37–$52; hornady.com
Shotgun Ammunition: Federal Prairie Storm Sub-Gauge Shotshells
Popular sub-gauges—16 and 28—are now appearing in Federal’s Prairie Storm line with a mix of 70 percent copper-plated lead and 30 percent FLITESTOPPER lead shot and the updated FLITECONTROL FLEX wad. The shot combination helps produce consistent and even edge-to-edge patterns; the FLITESTOPPER pellets creating larger wound channels and the FLEX wad herding the shot out the barrel to produce game-whacking end results. The 16-gauge loads come in No. 4, No. 5, and No. 6 shot; the 28-gauge load is available in No. 6 shot. $35–$36; federalpremium.com
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.