With voting in the Great British Shooting Awards closing on 31 December, we take a look at two categories of interest to rifle shooters.
Rifle of the year, sponsored by ATN
The newest workhorse rifle from the Blaser and Mauser stable, the M18 offers bags of affordable appeal, and by all accounts it’s pleasant and effective to shoot too.
Our resident reviewer had one out on test last year – his verdict was: “The Mauser M18 has everything it needs and nothing it doesn’t, proving to be a functional rifle with a build quality that belies its modest price tag.”
Accuracy International AT308
This tactically styled rifle ticks all the right boxes for a sporting option, with quite a few gamekeepers swearing by it. It’s perhaps most ideally suited for foxing, thanks to its weight and stability, while that military-style finish means it’s durable enough to cope with the rigours of the British climate. It’s available with a range of barrel lengths and with threading as an option.
Sportsman Gun Centre
Merkel RX Helix
This German rifle has been a huge part of the ever-growing straight-pull movement in the UK, showing they’re not just for European driven hunts. On top of that, it’s a switch barrel that can be taken apart in minutes with ease.
There’s a huge variety in the models available, from the classic Alpinist to the Speedster model launched last year. This rifle has become a regular go-to for many of Sporting Rifle’s writers, including the editor-in-chief.
Rigby Highland Stalker
A joy to behold in just about every way, this rifle harks back to the traditional hill rifles that were in use at the start of the 20th century. Of course, it’s a thoroughly modern affair too, based around the Mauser 98 action and decked out in grade 5 walnut.
Though it’s drilled and tapped for scope mounts, it arrives in the traditional manner with iron sights – as well as hand-finished chequering and original-style engraving.
0207 720 0757
Tikka T3X Cerakote
The Tikka T3 is one of those rifles that everyone bought, and the T3X might just be the best version of it yet. This Cerakote-finished option takes all the features of the T3X Lite and beefs them up with a stainless matt black Cerakoted barrel and action, as well as a Teflon-coated bolt with oversized handle.
With only 200 units produced in the initial UK run, you can bet that it’s a sought-after rifle, and it’s certainly captured the imagination of the British hunting market.
Rifle Ammunition of the Year
Eley Subsonic Hollow
British manufacturer Eley is known for its world-class target .22 loads, but this subsonic ammo shows it makes a mean hunting round, too. Exceptionally quiet as well as accurate, it also delivers excellent down-range expansion, as shown in previous tests in Sporting Rifle magazine.
It can cycle well in semi-automatic .22s thanks to its paraffin wax lubricant, which also boosts its weather-resisting capabilities.
0121 313 4567
Geco .243 105gn soft points
If roe is specifically what you’re after, these rounds will do the job perfectly (as the image of a roebuck on the box indicates). Part of Geco’s Teilmantel range (which indicates a soft-point bullet), it is designed with precision, flat trajectory and knock down power in mind, as well as good penetration with minimum meat damage. It is available in boxes of 20 or bulk packs of 50 rounds, offering excellent value.
Federal Vital Shok
One of the premium rounds from American ammo maker Federal, the Vital Shok can do anything you ask of it for virtually any purpose – it’s available in calibres from .204 Ruger up to .270 Win and 6.5 Creedmoor, so for British foxing or stalking purposes, it’s got you covered.
With a wide range of bullet weights, it’s likely you’ll find a round to suit your rifle – and of course, it does the business down-range too.
Rigby .416 Rigby No.2
A brand new calibre for 2019, the .416 Rigby No.2 is now chambered in Rigby’s Rising Bite double rifles after a period of development from Echkard Stief. Using the .416 Rigby’s original design, Dr. Stief has added a rim to the cartridge, to improve the extraction in double rifles, maintaining the same cartridge pressures and velocities. The result is a version of the .416 Rigby that’s ready for modern hunting and able to hold its own against any other popular big game calibre.
0207 720 0757
Hornady GMX bullets
The use of non-lead ammo continues to grow and this bullet has been at the forefront of that growth. Standing for Gilding Metal eXpanding, the GMX uses a copper alloy in a monolithic design rather than employing a lead ‘core’ like a traditional bullet.
The tough alloy material routinely retains 95 per cent or more of its original weight and expands up to 1.5 times its original diameter. All of which means excellent hunting performance.
Who will get your vote? Don’t forget – you can have your say until December 31 by following this link: http://bit.ly/gbsa156
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