Gerald Almy: New gear unveiled for hunters for 2018
A wide variety of new gear has been unveiled for hunters at recent trade shows. Here’s a rundown on some of the products that might be of interest for this coming fall, whether you plan to hunt here in the Shenandoah Valley or take a trip out West.
Mauser M 18 Rifle. Mauser calls its newest firearm “the people’s rifle” because it offers all the reliability and accuracy of the German riflemaker’s legendary offerings, but at a very moderate price range. The steel action is push-feed, complemented with a five-round detachable magazine that allows quick smooth follow-up shots and fully adjustable trigger.
The three-position safety allows a round to be carried in the chamber without fear of the bolt being nudged out of battery. The barrel is cold-hammer-forged, while the rugged synthetic stock has a soft inlay grip. Even though its price point is low, the clean lines and quality materials give this firearm the appearance of a much more expensive rifle. The M18 Mauser is available in .243 Win., 6.5 Creedmoor, .308 Win., .270. Win, .30-06, 7mm Rem. Mag., .300 win. Mag. Mauser.com
Barrett Fieldcraft Rifle. This rifle reminds me of my first Ultra Light bolt action, built by pioneering gunsmith Melvin Forbes of West Virginia, back in the 1980s. Much like those rifles, this new bolt-action has a hand-laid, textured carbon fiber stock that’s extremely rigid and strong thanks to full-length bedding, rather than free-floating. This also reduces barrel harmonics. It uses a blind magazine for weight reduction along with a light barrel.
Those and other steps, including using their own push-feed action, lead to an overall weight of just 5 pounds, 2 ounces — perfect for climbing high on mountain hunts. The barrel is match grade stainless and the action is aluminum pillar-bedded. The Timney trigger pull is just a hair over 3 pounds, with a two-position safety. The rifle holds four rounds and is offered in over 10 calibers. Barrett.net.
Nosler 6.5 Creedmoor Ammunition. Riding the wave of the 6.5 Creedmoor’s popularity, Nosler has unveiled three new options in this light-recoil, flat-shooting caliber for big game hunters. The Trophy Grade features a 140-grain Accubond bullet and a velocity of 2,650 fps. The Ballistic Tip has a 120-grain Ballistic Tip bullet that exits the barrel at a blistering 2,900 fps. The E-Tip offering load has a velocity of 2,850 fps. Nosler.com.
Zeiss Victory RF Binoculars. This sleek, seemingly simple pair of binoculars packs a big punch in a small package. The binoculars include the Victory Rangefinder System for judging distance as well as an integrated real-time ballistics computer that calculates where to aim after using onboard sensors to factor in temperature, incline angles, and air pressure.
RF binoculars come in 8×42, 10×42 versions and 8×54 and 10×54 when low light situations may be encountered. You can store up to nine personalized ballistic profiles within the Zeiss Hunting App via Bluetooth. Zeiss.com/sports.
Trijicon 4-16×50 AccuPoint Riflescope. This new AccuPoint variable scope offers plenty of magnification for long range shots and easy target acquisition even in low-light conditions with its advanced fiber-optic and tritium illuminated reticle that requires no batteries. The dual-illumination system automatically adjusts aiming point brightness to existing lighting conditions.
Broadband anti-reflective glass and multicoated optics ensure superb clarity and brightness through the 50 mm objective. Trijicon.com.
First Lite Fuse Quarter Zip Top. If you think of wool as stiff, scratchy, and uncomfortable, you haven’t tried the newest, cutting edge developments in this fabric. First Lite, a Rocky Mountain company, has taken the finest merino wool and enhanced it with modern active particle Cocona technology to improve dry times, durability, and body temperature control. The Fuse Quarter Zip topo is made of 150-gram lightweight Aerowool that is soft against the skin. The material warms the body when it’s chilled and cools it when it’s heated. I found the 125-gram Aerowoolmesh panels and quarter-zip neck were also great for cooling down quickly when field testing this base layer top. The company has a wide variety of new offerings this year for any weather you might encounter from August through January. Firstlite.com
Browning Haul-Large Folder Knife. This new folder from Browning features a drop point hollow ground titanium coated 7Cr stainless steel blade with thumb stud and black injection molded polymer handle with contrasting yellow accents. The blade has a 56-58 Rockwell Hardness and comes with a pocket clip and lanyard eyelets. The 3 3/8-inch blade length and drop point style make this perfect for a main hunting knife. Quite a bargain for just $19.99. Browning.com.
Wolverine Crossbuck Xtreme Hunting Boots. If you’ve ever had cold toes on a hunt, you’ll love these new boots from Wolverine. I know I did when I field tested a pair recently. They incorporate a variety of modern footwear technological innovations to ensure 360-degree insulation with 400g PrimaLoft booties and Aspen Aerogel over the toes for added warmth. A full wrap rand also gives the waterproof leather uppers extra protection and durability during hard hunts.
A breathable mesh membrane lining quickly removed moisture from perspiration. Removable EPX anti-fatigue foot-beds added extra comfort and Vibram Artic Grip outsoles met the challenge of navigating icy rock faces during testing. The Ultra-light compression molded EVA midsole kept weight down and added extra cushioning.
I’ve worn many of this famous footwear company’s boots over the years. These may be the best ever. Wolverine.com.
Award-winning outdoors writer Gerald Almy is a Maurertown resident.