From incredibly ultralight rifles for backcountry and mountain hunters to new shotgun builders, scope makers in the eyewear business, new calibers, new platforms and even a muzzleloader fed from the breech—2020 will be a year hunters remember.
Savage’s first major entry into the semi-automatic hunting shotgun market has been a long time in the making. The American-made Renegauge’s self-regulating, dual valve gas system allows the gun to cycle both light and heavy loads, limited only by its 3-inch chamber. Savage modifies the AccuFit system to include three interchangeable gel recoil pads for customizing both LOP and comb height. The initial launch includes Field, Turkey, and Waterfowl models, each shipping with three Beretta/Benelli-style choke tubes.
Weatherby Backcountry Ti
The company known for glossy magnum rifles launches one of the lightest weight hunting rifles with their Mark V Backcountry Ti. To achieve a weight just under 5-pounds, Weatherby uses an AG Composites carbon fiber stock and titanium receiver and there’s an externally adjustable TriggerTech trigger that helps drive the sub-MOA guarantee. Weatherby’s AccuBrake ST muzzle brake is touted to reduce recoil by up to 53%, which will be welcome in such a light platform firing magnum rounds. Weatherby subsequently announced their new magnum cartridge—the 6.5 Wby RPM– built specifically for pleasant performance in these ultralight rifles.
Trijicon Hunting Scopes
The company synonymous with high-end, top-dollar, tactical optics makes a serious entry into the more budget-friendly hunting optics market in 2020. While multiple options will work for hunters, the hunting specific Trijicons will be Huron, Tenmile HX, and AccuPoint. Some make use of the company’s renowned battery-free illumination, while others utilize a more standard reticle with premium glass. There are many different magnification options, 30mm tubes, some with quick dial turrets and other more basic.
Seekins Precision Havak Element
Seekins Precision Havak line of hunting rifles stole the show during Industry Day on the Range. Topped with a Bushnell Forge optic and firing Federal Terminal Ascent ammo, shooter after shooter placed shots with ease at over 950-yards. The Havak Element model achieves that accuracy from a 5.5-pound bare rifle by using a hybrid aerospace aluminum and stainless-steel receiver mated to a spiral-fluted, threaded barrel and housed in a carbon fiber composite stock.
Federal Terminal Ascent
When Federal, the world’s largest producer of sporting ammunition, claims its newest product is “the best hunting bullet ever built” by the company, hunters take notice. Terminal Ascent is a premium factory ammunition line loaded for match-grade, long-range accuracy with a bonded hunting bullet. Where other distance-friendly ammo lines may not perform well on game at shorter ranges—or vice versa—Terminal Ascent is designed to be a true “all range” round for big game.
Leupold Performance Eyewear
One of the most respected American optics companies is branching out to the performance eyewear market. These have everything a shooter and active outdoors person demands: UV protection, polarized lenses, multiple lens colors, and an ANSI Z87.1+ ballistic rating. Some styles offer interchangeable lenses while others are prescription ready. The five styles are Tracer, Switchback, Packout, Katmai, and Becnara — covering everything from fashion to field-ready. A lifetime guarantee protects against manufacturer defects for the life of the product. Like their firearms optics, Leupold’s shades are designed, machined, and assembled in the USA.
Camp Chef Woodwind Wifi
Who would have guessed that old fashioned food preservation methods like smoking could benefit from wireless connectivity? Yet the successful Camp Chef line of pellet grills does just that. Camp Chef Connect allows cooks to monitor, control, set notifications and modify smoke settings from a mobile device. The new WoodWind WiFi comes in three sizes: 20, 24, and 36, from 2,100 to 7,000 cubic inches to cover everything from a small patio size to deer camp cooking headquarters. Another great innovation on the new model is what Camp Chef calls the “Smoke Number” setting. Selecting a number from 1-10 allows the chef to control precisely how much smoke flavor is imparted to the food. Each comes with four meat temperature probes, the Wifi PID controller, and a three-year warranty. All that’s missing is the wild game.
Henry X Model
Henry’s newly launched X Model proves the company answers the call of its customers. With a side loading gate, classic tubular loading port, threaded barrel, fiber optic sights, and matte black metalwork, the X Model already looks the part of a modern workhorse. The X line will be available on select existing models of Henry lever guns. All X’s will wear black synthetic stocks with molded sling studs, a lower Picatinny rail, and M-LOK attachment points. The X Model will initially be offered in .357 Mag, .44 Mag, .45 Colt, .45-70 Govt and .410 shotgun.
The list of proprietary Nosler cartridges grows in 2020 with an addition to the.270 family of chamberings. The new 27 Nosler is based on the .404 Jeffrey round and has significantly greater case capacity–and subsequently velocity, range, and energy–than other major .270 rounds on the market. Nosler is offering two factory ammunition choices at launch– Trophy Grade 150-grain AccuBond bullets or 165-grain ABLR Trophy Grade-LR–as well as reloading components. Both the M48 Mountain Carbon and the Long Range Carbon will be chambered in the new 27, as well as the more traditionally Walnut-stocked M48 Heritage.
Traditions NitroFire/Federal FireStick
What happens when a muzzleloader manufacturer, ammunition company, and black powder specialist join forces? Hunters get a revolutionary new muzzleloading rifle fed with a FireStick “cartridge.” The Traditions NitroFire .50 caliber muzzleloader is the first and only of its kind designed specifically to be loaded from the breech—sans breech plug—with pre-charged, single-use Federal FireSticks filled with Hodgdon TripleEight black powder substitute. Because the bullet is still seated from the muzzle, the rifles will be legal for hunting in many locales. While there’s no replacing the nostalgia of traditional muzzleloaders, this new technology may well help more beginner shooters enter the market.
Primos Photoform Decoys
Hunting gear specialists Primos use modern technology to create a pair of incredibly lightweight, realistic turkey decoys. The Photoform birds are 3D molded packable foam made lifelike through a proprietary printing process that allows the company to print actual turkey imagery onto the form. Both a young Jake and a Hen will be available in time for Spring gobbler getting.
Sig Sauer Cross
Sig Sauer’s first entry into the bolt-action hunting world is indeed a cross between two genres—the precision rifle and the lightweight hunting rifle. The Sig Sauer Cross uses a folding, fully adjustable chassis style stock, AICS magazines, and a two-stage match trigger. These rifles weigh a surprisingly scant 6.5- to 6.8-pounds and come in three calibers: 6.5 Creedmoor, .308 Win, and Sig’s new .277 Fury.