The Good Firearms, and the Not So Good, of 2016 so Far
There have been several noteworthy firearms released as production models so far in 2016, with more to follow. As usual, an announcement at the SHOT Show or elsewhere doesn't mean the respective guns are made yet, or the designs are finalized, so some of the “2016” models may not be available until fall, or even this year.
It is the 200th anniversary of Remington, and Remington is back with a new management team, a new factory, and a new approach. As of January 1, 2016, all new Remington firearm product is covered by a Lifetime Written Warranty. The details are here: http://www.remington.com/news/2016/remington-arms-company-announces-limited-lifetime-firearm-warranty .
The Remington V3, covered in several articles, is the best autoloading shotgun ever released by Remington, based on the testing of three examples. The base models are selling for around $700, a very appealing price point as well, and they all have a lifetime warranty. The final design for the walnut-stocked version has gone into production and looks to be shipping by August, 2016.
Although the ATA Arms manufactured Weatherby Element in 20 gauge was lackluster, the 12 gauge model is a different ball-game, the best inertia gun for the dollar out there and a very competent autoloader in general. Comparatively few Turkish shotguns are of good or even satisfactory quality, but the Weatherby Element joins the Weatherby SA-08 as being a rare, appreciated exception.
The new Fabarm XLR5 Waterfowler is just slightly behind the estimated shipping schedule. I should have one in review in a couple of weeks, along with a Fabarm USA L4S Grey Hunter. Although the Browning A5, in 12 gauge, was a really hard gun to love, the A5 Sweet Sixteen will hopefully be a more pleasant experience. The Sweet Sixteen is due out in the August / September area.
Two handguns have been standouts: the Walther PPS M2 9mm and the Ruger GP100 10-shot .22 LR. Though they couldn't be more different in application or design, they are both at the best of breed level.
The Mossberg Patriot .270 Winchester in walnut trim is the best I've ever used from Mossberg. It looks good, shoots better than you might believe, and is a true bargain of a center-fire rifle.
Those are the most noteworthy firearms tested so far in 2016. For the second half of the year, there are new products from Thompson, Remington, Browning, Fabarm, Orvis, Ruger, Mossberg North American Arms, Weatherby, and Ithaca all scheduled for review along with a few last-minute surprises.
Brand name alone guarantees nothing except the label on the box. While Merkel is a grand, distinguished name, the new Merkel MHR16 bolt-action rifle in .270 Winchester did most everything but be accurate. Yet, the very same confirmed scope (Sightron) used on the Merkel was subsequently used on the walnut-stocked Mossberg Patriot, and the Mossberg shot inside ¾ inch groups at 100 yards, right out of the box. While Savage Arms generally does offer extremely accurate rifles, rimfire and centerfire, the funky, clunky, plasticy A17 .17 HMR autoloader was a disappointment.
There is a lot of superlative product out there, more to be introduced later this year, but name brand is no absolute guarantee of anything. It never was.
Copyright 2016 by Randy Wakeman. All Rights Reserved.