There were plenty of guns on hand from the world’s top manufacturers at the Boulder Rifle and Pistol club this year during Industry Day at the Range, an invite only event for media members to test out some of the hottest new guns coming to the market in 2018. Here’s our round-up of what impressed us the most.
Savage MSR-15 Valkyrie
The neat thing about the brand new 224 Valkyrie Cartridge from Federal Premium is that it’s designed to pack long-range performance into a package the same as traditional .223 Remington or 5.56 NATO ammunition. Since the overall length of the cartridge is the same as standard AR ammo, the caliber can be used in the AR-15 platform with a bolt, magazine, and barrel swap.
So what? Lots of calibers work in standard AR rifles. Here’s what’s special. The 224 Valkyrie uses longer and heavier bullets, usually about 90-grains compared to the standard 55 of .223 Remington. That means they carry velocity over longer distance, drop less, and are less affected by wind. In fact, depending on conditions and altitude, the bullet can remain supersonic out to 1,300 yards.
The new Savage MSR-15 Valkyrie sports and 18-inch barrel with a mid-length adjustable gas system tuned for the new cartridge. Both upper and lower receivers are Cerakoted with a nice-looking flat dark earth finish. Other upgrades include a Hogue pistol grip and Magpul UBR Gen 2 buttstock. The trigger is a two-stage and the rifle ships with a tunable muzzle brake. MSRP: $1,499 —Tom McHale
IWI Tavor TS12 Shotgun
One of the biggest and most bombastic new firearms on the shooting line at Range Day was the first shotgun from popular bullpup-rifle maker IWI. The new Tavor TS12 is unlike any shotgun ever made.
With three rotating magazine tubes that hold 5 shells each of 2-3/4″ shells, this semi-auto gas gun has a staggering capacity of 15+1 rounds. It can also chamber 3″ shells, which reduces the capacity to 12+1.
The bullpup configuration puts the action, and most of the weight, in the stock, making it surprisingly nimble. When the mag tubes are fully loaded, the weight balances out nicely.
The mag tubes are loaded from a port on either side, and since the cylinder rotates clockwise or counter-clockwise, you can cycle through the tubes one at a time until the gun is fully loaded.
The shotgun features an external bolt handle, but one of the coolest features is that when you rotate a loaded mag tube to the top, the gun automatically chambers a round (you keep the safety ON while loading).
A small leaver at the front of the trigger guard releases the mag tube cylinder for rotation. While the gun is semi-auto, you have to manually rotate the cylinder to access each mag tube, but this also offers great control for the user, especially if they have different loads in different tubes.
Finally, the shotgun is fully ambidextrous with reversible ejection ports and controls. The TS12 is expected to ship by the end of Q1. MSRP: $1399. —Dave Maccar
Walther PPQSC (subcompact) Pistol
If you’ve handled the full-size Walther PPQ, you know about its sweet trigger and short reset. After handling the new PPQ SC (subcompact) at this year’s Range Day, I can say it didn’t disappoint when compared to the full-size.
The flush-fitting magazine has a 10-round capacity and the extended mag holds 15 rounds and offers a longer grip for those with larger hands. This allows you to carry the pistol concealed with the flush magazine loaded for a smaller overall profile and the larger 15-round magazine as a backup magazine.
I expect this to be a popular option for concealed carry with an overall length of 5.4″ and in increased magazine capacity! MSRP: $649 —Stacy Bright
Mauser M18, “The People’s Rifle”
Mauser is making a splash with their release of a quality German-built bolt-action hunting rifle offered in a variety of calibers for just $700.
The M18 is designed for the everyday hunter or shooter without compromising in the quality of the materials, the accuracy of the gun, or the build quality. It offers a synthetic stock with a comfortable soft inlay grip.
The rifle has a steel receiver with a three position safety catch and cold hammer forged barrel. The gun shoots smoothly and clearly shows the quality of Mauser construction. As the company states: “The M18 puts Mauser quality back into the hands of the people.” MSRP: $700. —Jodi Stemler
Ashbury Precision Ordnance Supra Shadow-6 Special Valkyrie Edition
The thing about the Ashbury Precision Ordnance Supra series is that the rifles are designed to be light, compact, and have the positive attributes of a traditional MSR rifle but packaged as a precision bolt-action firearm.
The Shadow-6 is a custom built, special-edition rifle designed in conjunction with famed sniper Jim Gilliland. It uses the company’s Saber bolt-action receiver and is chambered in the brand new .224 Valkyrie cartridge. That provides outstanding long range performance out to 1,300 yards in a cartridge the same length as a standard .223 Remington.
Consistent with its “best of AR” features, the rifle has a full-length rail on the top of the handguard and M-LOK attachment points for other accessories. The stock is adjustable for pull and comb height and folds for portability. MSRP: $4,475 —TM
Hot on the heels of Remington’s detachable magazine pump shotgun, the 870DM, Mossberg had it’s hot new mag-fed beast on the firing line with some serious capacity on display.
The 590M is a 12-gauge pump-action shotgun with a 2.75″ chamber built on the company’s ultra-reliable 590 platform that uses double-stack detachable box magazines, which are available in 5, 10, 15, and 20-round capacities.
Initially, the 590M will be available in two configurations, a plain 590 version and a tactical version with a heat shield and rail sections for accessories.
The 590M include non-binding twin action bars and the top part of the magazine is steel, so you don’t have a polymer mag trying to lock into a steel magwell. In fact, the extremely solid lock-up of the magazine is the most impressive part of this shotgun, along with the fact that the mags easily rock into place and are just as easily removed with an ambidextrous release button located just in front of the trigger guard that can be activated with the shooter’s index finger.
While the 590 has been around for quite some time, the new magazines are the real engineering achievement. I intentionally short-stroked the shotgun on the range, trying to get it to jam up, and just couldn’t do it.
According to Mossberg, the mags have uniquely-designed, integral stabilizing ribs which engage the magazine directly to notches engineered into the receiver, ensuring a positive lock-up. The location of the mag release does not interfere with cycling of the action. And the fact that the ammo is housed at the gun’s center of gravity, making for an extremely balanced shotgun.
The patented double-stack magazine is constructed with hardened-steel feed lips, over-molded steel shell ramps and an anti-cant, rounded follower to ensure reliable feeding. Other design features include an easy-grip, molded external shell; proprietary self-lubricating polymer magazine body; heavy-duty ASTM-A-228 music-wire magazine spring for prolonged service life; removable floor plate for ease of cleaning; and durable black oxide finish on the steel components.
The mag’s double-stack design also provides a greater capacity for less magazine length compared to the 870DM’s single-stack magazines. —DM
Federal Premium Gold Medal Grand Paper
For those looking for a little nostalgia along with quality target shotshells, Federal Premium has introduced its new Gold Medal Grand Paper shells. These shells follow last year’s release of Gold Medal Grand plastic shells with the same innovations packed into a paper hull—a sort of throwback to days before plastic shotshells.
The Gold Medal Grand line offers SoftCell wad technology, shock absorbing wads that offer a delayed compression process so there is less felt recoil. The PrimerLock head is steel plated brass and the paper is even reloadable for continued use. —JS
PepperBall is expanding their launcher options for law enforcement and introducing a brand new product for civilian home defense.
The new FlashLauncher combines a flashlight an PepperBall launcher into a single device. If you aren’t familiar, PepperBall ammo is basically a paintball filled with various chemicals, similar to pepper spray.
The FlashLauncher includes a bright 350-lumen flashlight so a threat can be identified. With the flip of a switch, an integrated laser sight is activated and the trigger for the semi-auto firing system is exposed with five PepperBalls at the ready. The unit also includes an optional rechargeable battery and charger.
The pressurized cylinder that provides the launching force remains sealed unto you fire the first round, so the unit can sit at the ready until its needed without any gas leaking. The FlashLauncher is expected to ship in April. MSRP: $299 with propellent tanks, practice rounds, and live rounds. —DM
Hudson Mfg H9A
Last year, Hudson Manufacturing made a big splash with the introduction of its revolutionary H9 pistol and its innovative design that moved the recoil spring beneath the barrel, allowing for a lower bore axis and a flatter shooting pistol with a 1911-style grip and straight-pull trigger in a modern striker-fired gun.
This year, Hudson debuted the H9A, with an aluminum frame and grip instead of the H9’s all-steel construction.
The grip panels and backstrap on the H9A are polymer and the slide has been tapered a bit and re-contoured for a slimmer profile and further weight reduction. Shooters were encouraged to fire the original H9 first and then shoot the new H9A.
“A lot of people were concerned initially that the flat-shooting of the H9 was just due to the weight,” said a Hudson representative at the range.
After shooting both, I felt that the lighter H9A was a more accurate pistol with a better feel and balance than the original. The weight is not the story with the H9, it’s the design that makes this pistol a tack driver. No ship date or MSRP has been announced for the H9A. The company is also in the final stages of testing a threaded-barrel version of the original H9. MSRP: N/A. —DM
Savage 110 Scout with Accufit Stock
I’ve always had a thing for scout rifles. These bolt-action rifles are designed to be light and handy. They have a scope mount area, usually a rail segment, forward of the receiver. The idea is to use a long-eye-relief scope or red dot sight to facilitate both-eyes-open shooting, a clear view of the environment, and fast shooting from any position.
The new Savage 110 Scout has the Accufit stock system which I think is a perfect addition to a field rifle that’s likely to get carried and knocked around. The Accufit system comes with an interchangeable buttstock and comb height spacers. Rather than have an expensive and comparatively fragile adjustment system, you fit the rifle to your preferences when you get it, and you’re done. The result is a “one piece” configuration with no moving parts. The comb adjustments are particularly useful as that allows you to configure the perfect position for your cheek depending on your size and the type of scope you’re using.
The 110 Scout has a detachable magazine, iron sights if you want to keep things simple, and a flat dark with a synthetic stock with black trim accents. The rifle currently ships in the following calibers: .223 Remington, .308 Winchester, 338 Federal, and 450 Bushmaster. MSRP: $819 —TM
Ruger SP101 9mm Revolver
Ruger’s new SP101 chambered in 9mm is just as beefy and well-made as the revolver is in other calibers.
It feels great in the hand and shoots just as nice.
Since 9mm ammo is rimless, the revolver requires the use of moon clips, making loading and unloading a breeze. Total weight is 25 oz. with an overall length of 7.2 inches. MSRP: $719 —SB
A cool new offering at Range Day was Huntego’s CleanShot shoot-through bore cleaner shells. After putting several boxes of shells through a shotgun, just chamber a CleanShot shell and fire one last shot, which will clear about 98 percent of the contaminants from the bore.
The patented wad, which has only been on the market for three months, has a payload that compresses on firing expanding a fibrous cup that loosens debris as the pads are pushed out. The unique projectile then scrubs the bore with 9600 psi of outward pressure.
The shells do not clean the chamber, of course, so your gun cleaning is not completely eliminated, but it certainly should make the job easier and can help keep you on the range or in the field longer. —JS
SWS Monolithic Integral Suppressed Barrels “MISB”
Suppressed Weapon Systems does exactly what the name implies. They don’t make suppressors; they make integrally suppressed barrels for a wide variety of firearms in calibers ranging from rimfire to big iron bore sizes.
The integrally suppressed part is literal in this case. The barrel and suppressor is made some a single piece of billet steel and machined as one unit – no welding or threads. That has a number of important benefits. It’s strong but also eliminates the risk of baffle strikes as you’re not putting two pieces of gear together. It also increases heat dissipation over standard attached suppressors.
When shooting the MISB, there is no point of impact shift. Normally when you add a suppressor to a rifle, the point of impact will shift down a couple of inches at 100 yards so you’ll have to re-zero the rifle once a suppressor is attached. With the MISB, the barrel and suppressor are part of the same unit all the time, so there is only one zero to worry about. The integral suppression also reduces recoil by up to 40% in larger calibers, according to the company.
Oh, one more thing. Since the suppressors are part of the barrel, there’s no extra length. That makes the rifles not just better handling, but well suited for home defense applications too. —TM
Beretta Vittoria O/U Shotguns
Beretta has added to the women’s shotgun lineup with the beautifully crafted Vittoria line of O/U shotguns.
These guns are based on Beretta’s popular 690 line, offered in both 12 and 20 gauge in either field or sporting models. The guns are also offered in a range of engraving and class of wood for the stocks.
Like other shotguns made specifically for women, Beretta adjusted the drop and cast, have a smaller pistol grip with finer checkering in the wood at the grip. It also has a Monte Carlo comb making it easier to align the eye on the stock.
This is a stunning gun that felt very comfortable and easy to shoulder, fitting me comfortably right away. Unfortunately, the gun at the range was shipped for the booth and did not have a firing pin to test, but I look forward to the opportunity to test it out more completely in the future. MSRP for the Field starts at $2400, MSRP for the Sporting starts at $3000. —JS
Lithgow LA 102
A new entry into the U.S. centerfire hunting rifle market are Lithgow rifles, offered exclusively through Legacy Sports.
Lithgow is an Australian rifle manufacturer that’s been around since 1912 focused mainly on military rifles. They’ve used this military foundation to craft a high quality bolt action hunting rifle that comes in at a modest price point – the .308 is currently available in the US for $1200 with a 6.5 Creedmor coming mid-year.
The bolt is set at 60 degrees making the action very fast with a soft open so it cycles very smoothly. The stock has a tactical shape and is made with fiber reinforced nylon with an adjustable length of pull.
The rifle comes with a full length Picatinny rail and a hammer-forged barrel that is threaded for standard suppressors. Lithgow’s rifles are offered in titanium or black Cerakote. MSRP: $1200 —JS
Rock Island Armory Shotguns
Rock Island Armory Imports is now offering a full line of low-cost shotguns, ranging from 12-gauge pump and semi-automatics to field over/under shotguns with fine inlay and Turkish walnut stocks.
The guns are produced and imported from Derya Arms in Turkey and is the first time they’ve been offered on the U.S. market.
The Meriva pump shotgun is a no-nonsense gun at the rock bottom price of $232.
The Lion semi-automatic series starts with a simple gas-powered polymer gun in a variety of colors including a wetland camo pattern and moves up to a gun with a highly carved wooden stock and fine engraving. They start at just $348 for the synthetic gun to only $533 for the ornate Lion Elegance.
The over/under line starts with a basic field gun at $615 to a competition gun at $1045 and a premium gun with fine engraving and higher grade walnut stock for $1832. —JS