Built by Armalite with 3-Gun and practical rifle competitions in mind, the M153GN13 is in a class of its own. A Timney 4-pound, single-stage trigger and a wide Ergo pistol grip come standard, as does the Raptor ambidextrous charging handle. The adjustable gas block and tunable muzzle break help to keep this soft-shooting AR on target more easily. The nice Luth-AR MBA-1 buttstock also helps dial in this rifle perfectly with its adjustable comb and length of pull.
Barrett introduced a prototype REC7 in .224 Valkyrie this year. If it comes to fruition, it’s currently slotted to have a 22-inch, heavy-profile barrel with a 1-in-7-inch twist rate and a rifle-length gas system. It’s also rumored to come with a Geissele SSA trigger, a Magpul PRS Gen 3 stock and backup iron sights along with other goodies. So, call Barrett and ask the company politely to unleash this beast!
Bergara has made its fair share of great guns over the years, and 2018 is no different. The company built the HMR (Hunting and Match Rifle) to handle a number of tasks, and the new Pro version is an enhanced model with a stainless steel barrel, fluted bolt and action. It also has a very nice trigger that can be adjustable down to less than 2 pounds. The action is designed as a two-lug system that features a separate floating bolt head to ensure proper contact with the lug abutments. It also features a cone-shaped bolt nose for smooth feeding, and Bergara is offering the rifle in a variety of calibers. These are just some of its many features.
Black Rain Ordnance (BRO) is now offering an AR-platform rifle chambered in .22-250. It comes from BRO dealers with a 20-inch, nitrided stainless steel barrel with a 1in-14-inch twist rate and topped with a BRO Round Competition Compensator. Under the hood, it’s got a BRO 3.5-pound drop-in trigger group that’s held snuggly in place by a set of anti-rotation pins from KNS Precision. It also wears a 15-inch BRO M-LOK Hybrid Handguard, a Magpul MIAD grip and a Magpul PRS stock.
Browning has a very unique gun in the mix this year that falls into what might be called the “semi-custom” category. This is because the rifle has specialized finishing touches and higher-end construction above the already top-tier X-Bolt family of hunting rifles. First, the X-Bolt Pro Long Range features a true carbon-fiber stock, making it extremely lightweight and rigid. The stock is filled with a noise-dampening foam. The rifle also comes with a heavy, stainless steel, sporter-contour barrel with a muzzle brake and proprietary lapping. The action has a 60-degree bolt throw and includes an adjustable “Feather” trigger. Browning is offering the rifle in a variety of calibers.
There is only a minute amount of information out about this fire-breather. It’s got a 20-inch, 4150 chrome-moly steel barrel topped off with a proprietary .450 Bushmaster twin-port muzzle brake. It also sports Bushmaster’s own SquareDrop free-floating handguard for better accuracy and accessory-mounting ease. Under the hood, it’s rocking an ALG Defense fire control group. A 16-inch-barreled version with a B5 Systems SOPMOD stock will also soon be available.
Caracal is hitting the market fast and hard this year with its lineup of products. The company is now offering an M4-type rifle called the CAR814A2. It’s got a 16-inch, “Modified M4”-contoured barrel with a 1-in-7-inch twist rate. It sports mostly Magpul furniture via a Magpul CTR stock and MOE handguard, and the pistol grip is Caracal’s own design. It comes with backup iron sights, a cleaning kit and a limited lifetime warranty.
As you can tell, Caracal came out swinging this year. The first thing you’ll notice about the CAR816 A2 is the gas regulator up front. Yep, Caracal has chosen to release an AR powered by a short-stroke gas piston rather than the direct-impingement operating system. It’s got a 16-inch barrel with an A2-style flash suppressor and a 1-in-7-inch twist rate. Surrounding the barrel is a free-floating handguard that has plenty of M-LOK slots for attaching your 20 pounds of “cool guy gear.” You’ll find QD sling sockets on both sides of the handguard and Magpul stock. Finally, Caracal includes backup iron sights and an Otis cleaning kit with each rifle.
Well known for its high-end hunting rifles, Christensen Arms has introduced the Modern Precision Rifle. This is a great-looking rifle with a proprietary chassis. In total, it weighs less than 7 pounds unloaded. The gun features AICS magazine compatibility; a stainless action with a fluted bolt and knob and an extended handle; and a hand-lapped, carbon-fiber-wrapped barrel. Short- and long-action models are available for $2,295 and $2,395, respectively.
CMMG has introduced a new .224 Valkyrie model to the market. It’s got a 24-inch, medium-tapered barrel with a 1-in-7-inch twist rate and CMMG’s SV brake to help reduce muzzle rise. It also comes from the factory with the company’s own RML14 handguard, a Magpul MOE pistol grip, a Magpul PRS stock, an ambidextrous safety and charging handle, and a Geissele SSA two-stage trigger. CMMG claims that the rifle is accurate out to 1,300 yards.
Marketed as an incredibly smooth-shooter for home defense, pistol-caliber competition or just plinking, CMMG’s Guard-series ARs are designed to use 9mm Glock magazines and a patent-pending radial delayed blowback operating system. The MkGs DRB variant comes with a 16-inch, medium-tapper barrel, an RKM14 handguard and Magpul furniture, as well as a 33-round Glock magazine.
Along with offering 9mm carbines, CMMG has unveiled several .45 ACP variants in its Guard series, including the MkG T. Like its other pistol-caliber carbines, the MkG T uses CMMG’s radial delayed blowback system for reduced weight and felt recoil over the industry-standard straight-blowback design. This particular variant sports a 16.1-inch barrel with an SV brake, an RKM11 handguard, a collapsible buttstock and an A2-style pistol grip.
DPMS hit the firearms market hard a few years ago with its redesigned GII series rifles in .308 Winchester/7.62mm NATO. These guns were designed to be lighter, sleeker and easier to handle. The new Compact Hunter ups the ante by featuring a Teflon-coated, 16-inch, stainless steel barrel with a 1-in-10-inch twist rate. It also sports a two-stage match trigger, a Hogue grip and a B5 Systems SOPMOD stock. In short, this is a great option if you need a short boomstick with a ton of power on tap.
This is a multi-caliber gun, which means that the rifle can be configured in less than two minutes to any of three available chamberings: .338 Lapua Mag, .300 Win Mag and .308 Win. The rifle employs a high-strength, vibration-isolated, aluminum alloy receiver with a Picatinny rail. In addition, it features multiple rail segments for accessories, and note that the gun actually has a grip safety. More features include a 26-inch barrel, a fully adjustable trigger (for a single- or two-stage press between 3 and 5 pounds) and an adaptable, ambidextrous folding stock that allows the shooter to configure the rifle for enhanced performance.
The GAP Team Rifle comes ready for competition right out of the box. The rifle sports a GA Precision Templar V2 short action, a Manners ET-4A stock and a 26-inch, stainless steel Bartlein barrel with 5R rifling and a 1-in-7-inch twist rate. The company also includes a Badger Ordnance enhanced triggerguard and a nice Timney trigger. All of this comes together to produce a rifle with an accuracy guarantee of 0.33 MOA. If you are serious about precision and are looking to really perform in the competition world, this is a gun to check out.
From the precision rifle masters at GA Precision comes the USMC M40A6. This short-action .308 Winchester rifle is built to the 2017 U.S. Marine Corps specifications and has a Schneider stainless steel, 20-inch barrel with a 1-in-10-inch twist rate and a SureFire muzzle brake/suppressor adapter. The chassis is from Remington Defense, and it offers multiple adjustment points to fit a wide variety of shooters. The gun is also tan and black for a touch of style, and it comes with a 0.5-MOA accuracy guarantee.
For over a decade, Gunwerks has been delivering complete shooting systems with bipods, scopes and everything in between. The company’s goal is to provide guns capable of hitting at 1,000 yards right out of the box. The Verdict is Gunwerks’ newest offering, and it comes with the company’s GLR action; a match-grade, carbon-fiber, 26-inch Proof Research barrel with a removable muzzle brake; and a Nightforce 5-25x56mm ATACR F1 MOAR scope. This is truly the complete package.
Howa has introduced a new rifle with a modular Australian-made chassis. The aptly named Australian Precision Chassis (APC) rifle is designed for competition and comes in a wide variety of chamberings, including the .223 Remington, .22-250 Remington, .243 Winchester, 6mm Creedmoor, 6.5 Creedmoor and .308 Winchester. The gun is a solid performer at a decent price. With a smooth action, an excellent two-stage trigger and an adjustable stock, it is sure to become a popular rifle in competition circles.
Another rifle catching a lot of eyes this year is the Kimber Advanced Tactical SOC II (SG). This is an all-business rifle built to meet the requirements of military and law enforcement professionals. Available in 6.5 Creedmoor and .308 Winchester, each rifle is built by hand with an adjustable, aluminum folding stock; a match-grade, 16-inch barrel; and a threaded muzzle with a thread protector. Kimber also includes a muzzle brake/suppressor adapter and a 1-inch recoil pad, and the company’s KimPro II finish helps resist corrosion. Finally, the gun comes with a 0.5-MOA accuracy guarantee.
LWRCI has released a powerhouse in the new .224 Valkyrie. Borrowing from its experience with the 6.8 SPC, the company has developed a true 1,000-plus-yard contender for the AR platform. The LWRCI-DI .224 Valkyrie includes a 16-inch, free-floating M-LOK handguard that surrounds a heavy, 20.1-inch, cold-hammer-forged, NiCorr-treated barrel. It also comes with fully ambidextrous controls and LWRCI’s new four-port Ultra Brake.
Mossberg wasn’t playing around when it brought out this beast. It’s got an 18-inch, stainless steel, free-floating barrel with a 1-in-7-inch twist rate and topped off with a SilencerCo ASR brake. It’s safe to say this model was designed for use with or without a sound suppressor. As for furniture, the gun uses a proprietary handguard and stock as well as a Magpul MOE pistol grip. The sweet spot on this beast, though, is its trigger. It’s a custom-tuned JM Pro Drop-In Match Trigger designed by none other than Jerry Miculek for a 4-pound pull while the travel is adjustable.
At the top of Mossberg’s bolt-action rifle line is the new MVP Precision. The first thing you’ll notice is the all-new Mossberg chassis design and Luth-AR MBA-3 adjustable stock. This rifle is also designed to accept and feed from standard AR-style magazines—a first for bolt actions. It also features Mossberg’s patented LBA trigger, which can be adjusted from 3 to 7 pounds, an optics-ready 20-MOA top rail, a scalloped tactical bolt handle and a Magpul MOE+ grip. I had the pleasure of running this rifle and found it to be quite spectacular.
Primary Weapons Systems (PWS) has released a new AR from its arsenal that utilizes the company’s own patented long-stroke gas piston operating system, which can be adjusted to three different gas settings. The new MK110 Alpha boasts a 14.5-inch, stainless steel, button-rifled barrel with a .223 Wylde chamber to provide better performance with both .223 Remington and 5.56mm NATO ammunition, a 1-in-7-inch twist rate and the company’s own Bi-Lock compensator for flash suppression and muzzle stabilization without creating any overpressure. This beast also features an 11.5-inch M-LOK handguard for accessories and a Bravo Company Manufacturing (BCM) buttstock and grip. PWS also uses its own patented ratchet lock castle nut and buffer tube on the stock.
Radical Firearms is another firearms manufacturer to release a heavy-hitting AR-platform rifle in the new .224 Valkyrie. This beast is offered factory direct with an 18-inch, 1-in-7-inch-twist, stainless steel, match-grade barrel that is topped off with a custom stainless “Pepper Pot” brake. The rifle also sports a 15-inch MHR free-floating handguard with a long top rail, shorter rails on the bottom and sides, and M-LOK slots everywhere else. It features a Mission First Tactical (MFT) Battlelink Minimalist stock as well as an MFT pistol grip. Radical Firearms has launched some promising firearms, even if the names are a little utilitarian at best.
Another “thumper” of an AR to be released recently is the Radical FR20-450BUSH-15FHR in .450 Bushmaster. It boasts a heavy 20-inch, Melonited, 4150 chrome-moly bar-rel with a 1-in-14-inch twist rate and a 15-inch free floating MHR (M-LOK Hybrid Rail) that offers dozens of M-LOK slots. All of the guts are “mil-spec” and nothing out of the ordinary. However, at a price point of just over $800, there will be plenty of room left in your budget for more custom internals. This rifle is sure to be a lot of fun.
Any discussion regarding precision rifles would be lacking if Remington weren’t mentioned. This new Model 700 comes with an ergonomic MDT TAC21 chassis that makes it easy to add whatever accessories you might need. The free-floating 24- or 26-inch barrel delivers superior accuracy while the Magpul fully adjustable stock and pistol grip ensure shot-to-shot consistency for any shooter or scenario. A fantastic melting together of old and new, the Model 700 Tactical Chassis is available in .308 Winchester, .300 Winchester Magnum and .338 Lapua Magnum.
The Ritter & Stark SLX is a fantastic short-action, multi-caliber precision rifle. It can be run with .308 Winchester and 6.5 Creedmoor ammo. Modeled after the company’s long-action SX-1 Modular Tactical Rifle (MTR), a unique feature of the smaller SLX is that the barrel and rail are integrated, allowing you to leave your scope mounted. Most impressive, however, is the company’s statement that its SLX barrels will shoot to “at least” 0.5 MOA with factory ammunition for 5,000 rounds.
Ruger has released annother amazing AR. The Ruger AR-556 MPR looks to be a winner, as it comes factory with an 18-inch, cold-hammer-forged, 4150 chrome-moly steel barrel with a 1-in-8-inch twist rate and a proprietary muzzle brake with radial ports to help minimize felt recoil and muzzle rise. It also sports a 15-inch, free-floating handguard with M-LOK slots and one of Ruger’s Elite 452 two-stage trigger units for more accuracy and control.
Ruger has been hitting a series of home runs in the precision shooting world lately, and the Hawkeye Long-Range Target looks to be another winner. Here a Ruger Precision Rifle Hybrid muzzle brake crowns a heavy 24-inch target barrel with 5/8×24-tpi threading. It also has a speckled black/brown laminate stock that can be adjusted for comb height and length of pull. It takes wildly popular AI-style magazines and comes from the factory with a 20-MOA Picatinny rail. In short, it’s aesthetically pleasing and boasts all of the qualities that ensure it will be a great shooter.
From our friends in Finland, we have the new TRG-22/42 A1, a tack driver worthy of the SAKO name. This rifle has solid features like a sturdy folding stock attached to the receiver at two points, an M-LOK forend and a full-aluminum middle chassis that eliminates temperature-caused dimensional changes. Add in SAKO’s well-known accuracy and you have a spectacular rifle. It’s currently available with a 26- or 27-inch barrel in a variety of chamberings.
Savage has changed up the game a bit by offering ARs chambered in .224 Valkyrie, .22 Nosler and 6.8 SPC, all with 18-inch, Melonited barrels with 1-in-7-inch-twist 5R rifling and adjustable gas blocks. Each MSR 15 Recon LRP also comes from the Savage Arms factory with a two-stage trigger, an ergonomic Hogue pistol grip and a collapsible Magpul CTR buttstock.
Savage Arms just released their new long-distance communications provider in the new MSR 15 Valkyrie, which is named after its powerhouse .224 Valkyrie chambering. This particular MSR 15 variant comes equipped with an 18-inch barrel that boasts 5R rifling with a 1-in-7-inch twist rate and is paired with a mid-length gas system. It also comes from the factory with a two-stage trigger, a tunable muzzle brake and a Magpul UBR Gen 2 buttstock. All together, the Savage MSR 15 Valkyrie is one solid rifle.
New this year from Savage is the AccuFit system. This is an ingenious stock design that the company has incorporated into a variety of rifles, including the 110 Tactical. The rifle’s AccuFit system lets tactical and competitive shooters customize the length of pull for the utmost consistency, and the user-adjustable AccuTrigger provides a light, crisp pull. Together with the AccuStock, which secures the action three-dimensionally along its entire length, the 110 Tactical provides the fit and function of a custom rifle right out of the box. It also features a suppressor-ready threaded barrel, a one-piece scope rail and a 10-round detachable box magazine.
Sig Sauer recently released the M400 Elite AR to the public. It’s got as 16-inch, nitrided carbon-steel barrel with a 1-in-7-inch twist rate. Sig outfitted this AR with an M-LOK free-floating handguard, a Sig grip and a six-position telescoping stock that has integral QD sling attachment points. Sig also chose to drop in its Sig Enhanced Trigger, which has a 5.5- to 7-pound trigger pull. Sig Sauer states that this is a ready-to-shoot rifle, rather than one you buy and have to upgrade.
Sig Sauer has also released a designated-marksman-style M400 called the M400 Vanish. The Vanish sports a 20-inch crowned varmint barrel cold-hammer-forged from carbon steel as well as a free-floating handguard with plenty of M-LOK slots. Under the hood, it’s rocking Sig’s two-stage Matchline Duo Trigger for more precise trigger action. Finally, it’s finished off with Sig’s own Kuiu Vios camo finish, which is sure to be a hit with all of the hunters out there.
Smith & Wesson has released an Optics Ready version of its M&P10 Sport. It comes from the factory with a 16-inch, 4150 steel barrel with a 1-in-10-inch twist rate and topped off with an A2-style flash suppressor. The upper is all ready for you to drop some glass on top while still leaving room for backup irons. What really stands out on this new offering are the completely ambidextrous controls—a welcome addition for the southpaws out there. This is a really nice rifle as is, but it’s also a great foundation if you want to create a customized .308/7.62mm.
Springfield Armory has added a new AR to its lineup with the Saint Edge. The Saint Edge boasts a 7075-T6 aluminum lower and flattop upper receiver weighing in at 6.6 pounds when fully equipped. It comes from the factory with a boatload of options, including Springfield’s Modular Match Short Reset Single Stage trigger and Bravo Company’s six-position-adjustable stock and pistol grip. As of right now, the Saint Edge is only available in 5.56mm NATO.
Weatherby is a name generally connected with hunting, especially when it comes to big game. The company’s reputation for making great rifles is known around the world. The Mark V CarbonMark comes with a custom-built, carbon-fiber-wrapped Proof Research barrel that is 64-percent lighter than traditional steel barrels of the same contour. This sub-MOA rifle also has a nine-lug Mark V magnum action with an integral recoil log and a cocking indicator, an LXX trigger and a composite Monte Carlo stock. It is a beautiful gun capable of being both a target rifle as well as an exceptional hunting gun.
The struggle is real. With so many new 2018 rifles available it can be overwhelming to choose the best one for your purpose. So, we gathered the important information about some of the best rifles for your consideration.
Whether you are interested in semi-autos or bolt-actions, these rifles have some great features from some of the best in the industry. Even better, some of them offer sub-m.o.a. capabilities for reaching out long distances. So before you head to the gun store to make a purchase take a look at some of the newest 2018 rifles.
2018 Rifles: Links
For more information about the 2018 rifles featured in the gallery above, please visit the following sites.
Barrett REC7 .224 Valkyrie
Bergara Premier HMR Pro
Black Rain Ordnance Predator
Browning X-Bolt Pro Long Range
Bushmaster Minimalist-SD .450 Bushmaster
Caracal CAR814 A2
Caracal CAR816 A2
Christensen Arms Modern Precision Rifle
CMMG Mk4 DTR2
MkGs DRB (CMMG)
CMMG MkG T
DPMS GII Compact Hunter
GA Precision GAP Team Rifle
GA Precision USMC M40A6
Kimber Advanced Tactical SOC II (SG)
LWRCI-DI .224 Valkyrie
Mossberg MMR Pro
Mossberg MVP Precision
Primary Weapons Systems MK110 Alpha
Radical Firearms FP18-224VAL-15MH
Radical Firearms FR20-450BUSH-15FHR
Remington700 Tactical Chassis
Ruger AR-556 MPR
Ruger Hawkeye Long-Range Target
SAKO TRG-22/42 A1
Savage MSR 15 Recon LRP
MSR 15 Valkyrie (Savage)
Savage Model 110 Tactical With AccuFit
Sig Sauer M400 Elite
Sig Sauer M400 Vanish
Smith & Wesson M&P10 Sport Optics Ready
Springfield Saint Edge
Weatherby Mark V CarbonMark
This article was originally published in the winter/spring 2018 issue of “Personal Defense World.” To order a copy and subscribe, visit outdoorgroupstore.com.
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