Gun writer Richard Mann met with Field & Stream‘s rifles editor David E. Petzal and deputy editor Dave Hurteau at his home shooting range West Virginia hills to test these six sporting rifles, all new for 2017.

Over the course of four days, the trio generated roughly five gallons of brass, shooting the test rifles at distances from 10 to 500 yards—plus a few shots at 1,000-plus just for fun. When the smoke cleared, they narrowed the field down to the top six rifles that stood out because of their performance and value

The Test

After weighing and measuring the rifles, they were evaluated for the following:

• Accuracy: Testers fired three five-shot groups from a bench at 100 yards, deducting one point for every 1/4 inch the average group size was larger than 1/2 inch.

• Shooter Interface: Each sporting rifle was shot from multiple positions, mimicking hunting situations.

• Fit and Finish: They evaluated workmanship and appearance.

• Functionality: They tested ease of loading, action smoothness, and general operation. We evaluated features and subtracted points for malfunctions.

• Trigger: They measured pull-weight with a digital scale and evaluated quality of pull.

Finally, they weighted the test categories for a total possible score of 100 and crunched the numbers to get our rankings. The price of each rifle was then divided by its total score to determine the best value.

These sporting rifles were outfitted with the Bushnell Elite 4500 2.5–10x40mm riflescope, Weaver rings and bases, and Hornady provided all test ammunition.

Top Six Sporting Rifles

Best of the Test: Remington Custom Shop M7 Scout

The Remington Custom Shop M7 Scout scored: 96 • $3,5450 (as tested)
The Remington Custom Shop M7 Scout scored 96 points • MSRP: $3,5450 (as tested) photo by Jeff Wilson
.308 Win. 6 lb. 3 oz. 38.75″ overall length 19″ barrel Manners synthetic stock

Tested with a Burris 2–7x32mm Scout Scope, the new M7 Scout was the most accurate sporting rifle tested (and the second most accurate overall). The Scout dominated the shooter-interface test; it was the handiest, fastest, and smoothest operating rifle we touched. Fit and finish and functionality were impeccable, and the Timney trigger was perfect. With its auxiliary XS Sights, red-dot compatibility, threaded muzzle, and three quick-detach sling swivels, the M7 is the definition of versatility. The only downside is price; perfection isn’t cheap. —R.M.

Montana Co. American Legends Rifle

Score: 88 • $1,502
The Montana Co. American Legends rifle scored 88 points • MSRP: $1,502 photo by Jeff Wilson
.280 Rem. 10 lbs. 45″ overall length 24″ barrel AA-grade American black walnut stock

This is a lovely rifle. There’s no other word for it: AA walnut, excellent checkering, first-rate fit and finish, a superb trigger, and more than enough accuracy. But it’s also a throwback to an era when sporting rifles could weigh a lot, and this one weighs a whole bunch by modern standards, probably too much. It reminded me to an uncanny degree of the pre-’64 Winchester Super Grade Model 70, except the American Legends Rifle has nicer wood and will shoot rings around one of the old Model 70s. If you’re a traditionalist, here’s your gun. —D.E.P.

Weatherby Vanguard Camilla

Score: 87 • $849
The Weatherby Vanguard Camilla rifle scored 87 points • MSRP: $849 photo by Jeff Wilson
6.5 Creedmoor 6lbs. 8.6 oz. 39.75″ overall length 20″ barrel Turkish A-grade walnut stock

The Camilla is designed specifically for women, with a higher comb, a 13-inch length of pull, and a slimmer grip and fore-end. Because of that, in addition to the all-male test team, we had an experienced female hunter (my wife) examine it. The Camilla was plenty accurate and finished second in the shooter-interface test. Above-­average scores in the other categories as well put the Camilla third in the sporting-rifle division, just a few points ahead of the Howa Kuiu. Ironically, our woman hunter liked the Kuiu better. The Camilla is a solid value, too. —R.M.

Howa Kuiu

Score: 82 • $811
The Howa Kuiu scored 82 points • MSRP: $811 mfg photo
6.5 Creedmoor 7 lbs. 40.5″ overall length 20″ barrel Synthetic stock

I don’t know of anyone who has bought a Howa rifle and sent it back for repair or adjustment, or gone to the gunsmith with a heart full of wrath. And these days, that is considerable praise. As with all Howa rifles, the Kuiu’s quality is all out of proportion to price. I liked this rifle quite a lot better than its overall ranking. The Camilla’s excellent handling scores bumped the Kuiu out of our top three, but believe me, it is a very good rifle. —D.E.P.

Best Value: Mossberg Patriot Predator

Score: 79 • $441
The Mossberg Patriot Predator scored 79 points • MSRP: $441 mfg photo
6.5 Creedmoor 6 lbs. 9.8 oz. 42.38″ overall length 22″ barrel Synthetic stock

With below-average scores in fit and finish and functionality, the Predator is not a refined rifle. Most egregious was the ease with which the bolt could be bumped out of battery or to the fully open position. We also found the trigger a bit stagy and sticky. But the Predator ranked third in both accuracy and shooter interface. When it comes to getting on game and hitting your target, this gun gets it done—and at a price that earned it Best Value honors. —R.M.

Remington Model 700 American Wilderness

Score: 74 • $1,150
The Remington Model 700 American Wilderness rifle scored 74 points • MSRP: $1,150 mfg photo
.270 Win. 7 lbs. 15.3 oz. 44.75″ overall length 24″ barrel Grayboe fiberglass stock

Built on the Model 700 action, this bolt gun is designed to be the ideal backcountry rifle. Accuracy was good, but the rifle’s size and weight hurt its shooter-interface scores. The trigger, though adjustable, was somewhat heavy and creepy, and fit and finish were a bit rough. Still, the rifle functioned without a hitch, and the Grayboe stock is indestructible. When you need this rifle to go bang, even in the roughest conditions, it will. —R.M.

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