While we all clamor to learn about the new guns of 2021 with a Covid-cancelled SHOT Show, Guns.com compiled the must-shoot list from all the rifle offerings. From a fascinating new caliber for long-range hunters and an American-made straight-pull bolt-action rifle to sweet rimfires, there’s something for every shooter and hunter. Grab some ammo and get ready to pull the trigger on these hot numbers.
Bolt actions are a dime a dozen, but not this time. Savage’s innovative new Impulse rifle is an all-American straight-pull rifle. Rather than using four motions to cycle the action like with a traditional bolt, the Impulse’s bolt moves directly rearward and forward without lifting. The company’s HexLock ball bearing technology ensures secure lockup, while the ambidextrous design allows the bolt itself to be swapped to the left for southpaws.
Further, Impulse bolt heads and barrels can be interchanged, allowing multiple calibers on one rifle. Savage includes the most popular features from their existing Model 110 rifles on the Impulse, including AccuFit, AccuStock, AccuTrigger, threaded muzzle, and dropbox magazine. The Impulse is already available in three models – Big Game, Predator, and Hog Hunter – with MSRP’s from $1,379 to $1,449.
Sporting rifle fanatics will appreciate ArmaLite’s generational improvements to their Semi-Automatic Sniper System (SASS) rifles based on the AR-10 platform. The Gen II version will be available in both 6.5 Creedmoor and 7.62x51 NATO, with a stainless-steel match-grade barrel in 22- and 20-inch lengths respectively.
The muzzle is finished with ArmaLite’s proprietary Tac Brake. There’s a free-floating handguard with ample attachment points. The two-stage POF trigger is set to a crisp 4.5-pound pull. The newbie weighs in at 11.4 pounds and measures 43 inches in length as a full-sized rifle. The retail price has not yet been announced.
Henry Repeating Arms has a way of stealing their own thunder. Just when we’re ready to announce one lever-action rifle as the winner in innovation for 2021, they come out with more calibers of single shots and still more levers. Rumor has it, there’s more to come mid-year. The biggest news is the shift to sideloading gates on every lever action in addition to the existing round tube feed.
However, we’re most looking forward to sending rounds downrange with the Henry All-Weather Picatinny Rail .45-70 Side Gate. That’s a mouthful for a short-barreled, matte hard-chromed, scout-sized big bore with a large loop lever. Best of all, it’s topped with Skinner’s extended optics rail and rear peep. MSRP is set at $1,221 for this all-American rifle.
New calibers always get attention, some deserved and others not so much. The Winchester 6.8 Western certainly falls into the former category. The cartridge is designed to excel at distance shooting and performance on bigger game when other popular calibers – like 6.5 Creedmoor – are a bit light. With heavier bullet weights than the 6.5 Creedmoor, 6.5 PRC, and .270 WSM, the 6.8 Western intends to become a better choice for big game hunting and long-range precision shooting while one-upping the .270 WSM.
While Winchester has already released their bolt-action XPR and venerable Model 70 in 6.8 Western, it is Browning that will steal the show with the rifles. They’re already showing off 21 different X-Bolts in 6.8 Western. From the more basic Stalker or Western Hunter on up to high-end Long Range models, Browning has something for every hunter. There are McMillan stock options, Hells Canyon, and even some fitted with the new kick-taming Recoil Hawg muzzle brake.
Though not known for hunting rifles, Springfield’s major offering for 2021 is just that – a precision bolt-action hunter. The Waypoint Model 2020 rifles are manufactured in the USA and built with a carbon fiber stock and the choice of either carbon fiber or standard steel barrel.
In addition to many other innovations, Springfield includes a TriggerTech trigger, radial muzzle brake, and AICS-pattern magazine. There’s a three-shot 0.75 MOA accuracy guarantee for any of the four calibers: 6mm Creedmoor, 6.5 Creedmoor, .308 Winchester, and 6.5 PRC. The retail price on the Waypoint is set from $1,699 to $2,299 depending on stock and barrel options.
Shooting and hunting precision has moved from centerfires into the rimfire market, and accuracy specialist Bergara gets on board for 2021. They introduced not one, but a pair of rimfire bolt actions available in .22 LR, .17 HMR, or .22 WMR called the BMR (that’s Bergara Micro Rimfire).
The BMR Steel weighs 5.5-5.8 pounds and wears a Tactical Grey stock with an MSRP of $565. The BMR Carbon wears Bergara’s Carbon Fiber No. 6 taper barrel and black tactical stock. It weighs 5 to 5.4 pounds, and it retails for $659. Both use the company’s Performance Trigger, ship with five and 10-round magazines, a threaded barrel, and include a 30 MOA optics rail.
Budget-priced rifles have been performing better than ever, and one of the most popular rifle builders finally joins the fray. CZ-USA’s Model 557 Eclipse builds on the success of the company’s earlier 557 bolt guns, but at an even more pocket-friendly price point. The Eclipse should be a performer with its push-feed action that is CNC-machined from a steel billet and matched with a cold hammer-forged barrel.
The initial launch includes three calibers – 6.5 Creedmoor, .308 Winchester, and .30-06 Springfield. It has a hinged floorplate and a five-round capacity. The Creedmoor will likely be a top seller, with its 20.5-inch barrel that is threaded at 5/8x24 for muzzle devices. The retail price is set at $659, with real-world prices expected to be lower still.
Nosler’s Mountain Carbon line of ultra-lightweight hunting rifles was introduced last year, but new for 2021 are several popular new chamberings. The sub-5-pound bolt action will now be offered in 6.5 PRC and .280 Ackley Improved. These zingers join the existing host of eight calibers, from 6mm Creedmoor to 33 Nosler, covering small to big game.
Built on Nosler’s Model 48 action, the Mountain Carbon uses a carbon fiber stock in either Granite Green or Shale Gray with a carbon fiber-wrapped cut-rifled barrel and a threaded muzzle. The rig guarantees sub-MOA accuracy and is a backcountry hunter’s dream.
Lightweight rifles are all the rage, and few companies bring the bloodlines to market better than Sauer, which has been building firearms since 1751. With a tagline of “Maximum High Tech, Minimum Weight,” specs tell the story on the Synchro XTC. An adjustable carbon fiber thumbhole stock fitted to an aluminum receiver and cold hammer-forged barrel ensure the rifle weighs in at only 6.1 pounds.
Other hot features included a threaded muzzle, integral scope bases, and both an adjustable trigger pull and trigger blade. Caliber selection is one of the most complete in the business, with 14 total offerings that include Medium, Magnum, Jefferey, and Swiss choices.
While we wish we were running the lever on a newly built Ruger-Marlin rifle, the dream is on hold until the second half of 2021. It bears mentioning here, however, that the process is progressing. Ruger has already added clarification to their plans.
Per the website:
To be clear, our purchase of Marlin from Remington was not for an operational firearms manufacturing company, but rather, for the assets associated with the Marlin brand. Now that our purchase is complete, we have relocated the Marlin assets to Ruger facilities. We have also begun the complex process of setting up production for new, Ruger-made, Marlin-branded firearms.
Guns.com will be ready to get hands-on with the newest lever guns later this year.