The rifle range at the Heartland Lodge in Nebo, IL was blazing—both with heat and gunfire this week at the Mossy Oak Summit. The culprit? Vista Outdoor Group, parent company to Savage, Stevens, Federal, Champion, and Butler Creek was showing some of their latest and greatest firearms and ammunition offerings shipping now, all geared toward hunters.
They went heavy on rimfire rifles and ammo as well as lightweight rifles and some of the best hunting ammunition offerings they’ve had in a long while. Here’s what might trip your trigger.
Test firing Savage’s B22, the new bolt action, heavy threaded barrel rimfire rifle. Federal Premium Hunter Match ammo is the perfect companion for hunters, with premium hollow point bullets. The setup is topped off with one of Bushnell’s rimfire-specific optics. (Photo: Kristin Alberts)
Firing Savage’s new Lightweight Hunter chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor. Partnering this suddenly popular, flat-shooting round with the light rifle makes a very appealing mountain or backcountry rifle. We found it to be a pleasure to shoot, with its Accutrigger and low recoil. (Photos: Kristin Alberts)
After playing around with a variety of targets, we fired a single shot from 100 yards using the Savage Lightweight Hunter in 6.5 Creedmoor and Federal Premium’s new Edge TLR match grade hunting ammo. (Photo: Kristin Alberts)
Champion’s new VisiColor Real Life Big Game targets are a great sight-in option for hunters. Available in either whitetail, antelope, or bear, these targets are have vital areas marked by different colors. Here you can see heart shots show up as pink, while lung and outer vitals are orange. Smaller bullseyes in the corners allow for further target practice. (Photo: Kristin Alberts)
We shot clays with both of Federal Premium’s shotgun rounds for hunters. The new Black Cloud features a re-designed wad that allows it to be fired from any choke, whereas previously Black Cloud could only be fired with one of the companies ammo-specific tubes. While the Black Cloud comes in heavier payloads and longer shell lengths for waterfowlers, Hi Bird has been released in 2-3/4″ 12-gauge options for upland game like doves, pigeons, and pheasants. The wad technology in Hi Bird is designed to decrease recoil and produce consistent patterns. (Photo: Kristin Alberts)
While reloading may not seem to interesting, Butler Creek’s new ASAP loaders earn their keep on the range. They have debuted both pistol and AR rifle models already, and both make reloading a breeze. Both models will accept most any magazine on the market. (Photo: Kristin Alberts)
The Butler Creek ASAP AR15/M16 mag loader can be used one round at a time, fed with a stripper clip, or as shown here, quickly stacked with up to ten rounds at a crack. An easy press on the handle loads all the rounds in one crack. While this is great for reloading on the range, it would be even better for high volume varmint hunters. (Photo: Kristin Alberts)
New for 2017 is a full lineup of heavy-duty targets from Champion. These Center Mass AR500 Steel Targets are available in multiple sizes and designed to withstand most calibers at varying distances. (Photo: Kristin Alberts)
Vista Outdoor’s J.J. Reich shows off several models of the Champion Center Mass steel targets. He’s holding the 8″ square alongside an IPSC. Two sizes of round gongs are also available, with any of the styles coming in either 1/4″ or 3/8″ thickness. Best of all, they’re made in the USA. (Photo:Kristin Alberts)