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February 10, 2006

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Live from the SHOT Show: New Gun Reviews

Note from the editors: David E. Petzal is spending the weekend shooting, taking apart, evaluating, talking about, dreaming about, and possibly even sleeping with the year's latest guns and shooting gear at the 2006 Shooting Hunting and Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show in Las Vegas, Nevada. This is one of the largest gatherings of gun nuts in the country; while there he'll rub sore shoulders with more than 37,000 industry professionals from around the world, probably irritating many of them. After much grumbling about how technology is destroying the fabric of our moralilty, he's agreed to send us these reports from the show floor.

Winchester Wildcat:
Wildcat_1 Increasingly, American gunmakers are turning to eastern-bloc countries for their low-priced models, and this Russian-built .22 rimfire will sell for about $212. It looks oddly like the old Moisin-Nagant military rifle, but it's a very nice .22 bolt-action that offers a lot regardless of its price. The ones I shot were accurate, well made, had good trigger pulls, and worked without a hitch. Shoot this one and you can practically feel the hot breath of the Cossacks.   

Browning T-Bolt:
Browning_tbolt_lg_1 This is the second incarnation of a very classy little .22 rifle that Browning made in the 1960s and 70s. It's a straight-pull bolt-action whose locking lug cams into the side of the receiver. This version is not quite as slick and smooth as the original, but it probably costs a lot less to make, and it sells for around $400. It's a sleek, graceful gun that should do very well.

Remington Model 105 autoloading shotgun:
Cti_1 This one has been in the works for nearly 5 years, and is truly a new shotgun. It's a bottom-loading, bottom ejecting design with a titanium/graphite receiver and a retail price tag of about $1200. This one blew everyone away: great looks, great handling, light, very soft-kicking and the easiest loading of any auto. Remington really did this one right; they'll be back-ordered for 10 years.   

Click here to read Phil Bourjaily's full review of this new shotgun

Remington Mauser:(too new for a photo)
I didn't get the model name for this one, but who cares? I didn't care much for the rifle. It's a true Mauser made in Yugoslavia or Czechoslovakia, or one of those depressing places, and is one of the roughest guns I've ever shot. Not to mention a truly dreadful trigger. I hope it sells at a very low price; it's the only way this gun is going to survive.

Remington Model 750:
Rem_mod750_lg_1 A much-improved version of the Remington autoloader. Far better stock, significantly improved gas system, and now, carbine and small-caliber versions will be available. Same dreadful trigger as always.   

Springfield Armory Socom:(no photo available)
This is not a hunting rifle; it's an M-14 minus the auto-fire option, and with a 16 1/4-inch barrel. Chambered in .308 (7.62mm), it has a built-in muzzle brake, an excellent trigger, and a synthet ic stock. It's a whale of a lot of fun to shoot if you can afford the ammo. At $1,500, it's an excellent investment if you're thinking of going into combat soon.

Savage Model 12 Precision Varminter: 

Savage_12_lgHere is a super gun from Savage. It's essentially a benchrest action with left-hand loading and ejection, a right-hand bolt, a super-heavy 26-inch barrel, and of course the Savage Accu-Trigger. The small-ported action provides extreme rigidity, and the gun looks like it's going to be a sub-half-minute rifle. This is a very, very sophisticated design for $900. It comes in .204, .223, and .22/250.

Savage Classic:

Savage_classic_lg This is as close to a good-looking Savage as you can get in this sorry world. It's a nicely finished rifle, and the clunky-looking Model 110 bolt action has been somewhat streamlined to help with its appearance. It's a big step forward, and if Savage ever comes up with a way to keep their amazing accuracy in a really good looking rifle, they'll put everyone else out of business.

Weatherby Ultramark:

Weatherby_ultramark_lg Back in the 1960s, Weatherby offered an upgraded Mark V rifle with the moniker Weatherby Custom on the floorplate. This is essentially the same thing. The stock wood is not exhibition by any means, but it is nicer than standard, the the laser-cut checkering is truly outstanding. How they do that? If you'd like a better-looking-than-standard Mark V, here is your baby.

NoslerCustom (that's how it's spelled) Model 48: (no photo available)

Nosler's first rifle was a super-pricey wood-stocked rifle that only the wealthy could afford, but this one is within the reach of the dedicated shooter who does not own a cocaine dealership. It's called the Model 48, and will be made in .270 WSM only for the time being. It's very light (5.75 pounds), and absolutely loaded with practical goodies, such as stainless steel springs and an anti-corrosion-coated firing pin system. This is a truly weatherproof rifle, and  a splendid piece of machinery as well. The price is $2,495 from Nosler. Order yours now!


Steve Laabs


I'm sorry to hear you don't think much of Remington's imported Zastava mausers. I bought a couple of these left-handed actions to build rifles on while Charles Daly was still importing them, and I like them. A little rough, but they're a lot easier to set up than the milsurp Mausers. Plus, they were available in lefty. Any word from Remington on whether they're going to import the left-handed versions? And whether they'll offer actions only for sale?



Mike Diehl

Various websites suggest that the Savage 114 does in fact retain the usual accuracy despite the fact that it looks like something I would like to own. Has anyone heard an authoritative review that suggests that it is NOT as accurate as people expect from a Savage? I'd sure like to know because I'm saving up for one.

Mike Saunders

Dave, I'm considering the new Remington Model 750 in .30-06 for an all around deer and big game rifle. I live in upstate NY and most of my hunting for deer is mainly in forested areas but I hope to take some trips where the terrain is wide open. My 1st question: can the trigger be made better on this gun and secondly what are thre pros and cons if I went with the carbine model or the standard 22" barrel? I beieve I remember you saying all other things being equal a shorter barrel should be more accurate due to less vibration but will cost some bullet velocity due to the powder burn not having optimal time to affect bullet speed. what are your thoughts?


I just bought the New Remington 750 Woodsmaster in a .270 Does any know how great these rifles truly are? I hope they are much improved like they say. Please email me if anyone knows about them. Thanks


i personally purchased the 750 woodmaster for deer hunting.I really
like the rifle

John T. Bozarth

What do you mean, "Same dreadful trigger as always"? Please explain. Thanks.

Arthur Cooley

I just purchased a 750 woodmaster in 30-06 carbine. shooting 3/4" groups with corelok 165 psp ammo. Love the rifle. Can't wait to take first deer with it.

Arthur Cooley

I just purchased a 750 woodmaster in 30-06 carbine. shooting 3/4" groups with corelok 165 psp ammo. Love the rifle. Can't wait to take first deer with it.

Stephen Rice

What is your opinion on the 25 wssm?


Just bought a beautiful new 750 in 30-06 ($620). First time at the range it jammed every time with factory remington 150gr. bullets. Went home and cleaned it thoroughly. The second time at the range it only jammed every 3rd round or so (no rapid fire)with winchester 150 grain. Followed loading instructions strictly (one in the chamber first and then 4 in the clip. Sometimes the bolt rides over the case head and other times it seems as though the action doesn't have enough force to close unassisted. I called remington and they said it was probably a clip problem and they would send a new one. Waited two weeks and no clip (said its on back order) but since its new they want me to send it in to the factory. Two weeks and I haven't seen the address lable they were sending.

Off the bench with the remington it seems it is capable of shooting a pretty good 3 shot group (1 1/4 inch) but wouldn't seem to hold a good zero. A 10 shot group size with the wincester ammo was about 4"-5" but seem to stay centered on the target. Most shots are within 3" but with a few strays.

I don't know if a heavier bullet with more recoil would help? I really like the gun hopefully I can find a factory round that will give a reasonable group for hunting and the gun will hold a zero. I'm almost afraid to send it in because I probably won't get it back it for couple of months.

Any other new owners experiencing similar problems?


I just purchased a Savage 14 Classic in 243, my favorite calibur. My 77 Ruger is going on the block.


Any comments on Sako-85's? My brother shoots a Tikki in .270 and has had great success on whitetails here in Maine. I can afford the "upgrade" and want a nice rifle but can find no print to support my angst but Berreta advertising.

Mickey Joelson

I just got a Western Auto model #150M 22 (Marlin)
It does not have the shell holder that fits up the underside.
Are they out there?
regards, Mickey


The Remington 750 like the 740, 742 and 7400 series have a removeable trigger group that simply needs smoothing work. This proceedure should only be done by a gunsmith as should any trigger work.
I have greatly improved the triggers without any spring force reduction on many Remington autos prior to the 750 and a few in the newer versions. Twenty bucks including postage and a 1 week turnaround right now.

Len Nolan


What is the matter with you? Are you nuts? Your area of expertise is guns , not other countries of the world. How do you know if someplace in another country, other than the one you in which you live, is depressing? It is that kind of thinking that invites people of other nations to view us as "jerks"!

This is totally uncalled for:
"a true Mauser made in Yugoslavia or Czechoslovakia, or one of those depressing places"!

Keep your disrespectful opinions of other countries of the world out of your "gun commentary", and your readers will have a favorable opinion of you.


The Browning T Bolt will run you $600+... And there will be a wait.
Just got mine.
Only place to find Browning scope base for the T Bolt are online at jayssportinggoods.com

Wicked plinker with rapid reload action.
Several squirrels have paid for their crimes in my neck of the woods already.
Nobody depressed around here but the tree rats.


just tried out my new 750 Woodmaster 30/06 carbine...not happy...first round cycled out of mag and loads and fires ok. Next round loads but will not fire. if I eject the second round and cycle in the third round out of mag it will fire but the fourth round will not. Not an isolated occurance it happened all afternoon. Any ideas?
on the plus side my new Tikka Mdl 765 Whitetail in 270 shot amazingly well 3/4" to 1" 5-shot groups all day. groups

Clay Cooper


Are you using reloads? By the way, if using reloads only use powders with a burn rate like IMR4895, IMR4064 and Winchester 748. Find reloading data for the M1 Garand, you cannot go wrong! To slow of a powder will put excessive pressure on the gas system damaging the rifle. And defiantly don’t use IMR4831 or slower. I consider them for bolt guns only, period! Want to destroy a gas gun and cause serious injury to you and others nearby go ahead and use IMR4831 or slower!

Try re-cleaning the chamber with a bore brush or a 50 cal muzzleloader brush will do. I use the brush first rapped with a cleaning patch soaked in carburetor cleaner. Then remove the patch and use the brush alone followed by putting a dry patch, then repeat with a normal barrel cleaning like you would any other time.

Ether you’re having chamber problems, such as case hard to reject due to case swelling, chamber having residue from the factory or chamber out of specifications, improperly cut, a reject they didn’t catch. Second problem I can think of is the gas return to actuate the bolt. Perhaps plugged or narrowed barrel gas port. Call Remington and they will give you a return authorization number and probably mail you a return prepaid UPS label.

Remington will take care of you. They always have!

Clay Cooper

I'll stick to my Remington 700 and my Remington Rand 03-A3. Man I love that 03-A3 30-06 rifle! I was 12 years old when my Father bought that rifle and customized it for me and 40 years later, still a tack driver and has not let me down yet, period! They don’t build rifles that sweet anymore!

KMF From Clay

KMF From Clay above

Robert York

Bought a new Woodsmaster 750 carbine in 30-06 caliber last fall. I took it to the range and it jammed once right away then failed to cycle a shell after about 10 shots leaving me with an empty chamber. Lucky for me there wasn'nt a huge buck standing out in front of me, only a target. I took it home and gave it a good cleaning with a wire brush and purchased a new magazine. Put the old one in my drawer with a star inked on it to identify it if need be. The rifle has performed perfectly ever since. I am shooting Remington Safari 180 gr A Frame loads and have had no issues or problems. 1" groups offhand with open sights at 50 yards as this is what I purchased the rifle for, stalking at close range. First weekend I used the rifle I shot a 10 point 300# + monster buck at 65 yds across a cedar swamp. Deer ran about 100 yards and piled into a deadfall. Heart shot and I am now awaiting the call from the taxidermist. 750 Woodsmaster seems to need a bit of tweaking to operate correctly but they are very nice handling rifles.

Clay Cooper

Robert York

You fixed the problem when you cleaned itthe chamber. Gas guns must have a clean chamber to operate correctly. That 750 in 30-06, I would sight it in at 200 yards and for my self wouldn’t hesitate on a 400 yard shot with it, if shooting as good as you say.

Jason W. Ward

I received my grandfathers woodsmaster 740 .308 semi auto.
I know it should break down for cleaning but not sure how!can you help me out?

Robert Clark

I purchased my Woodsmaster 750 in a .308 carbine with a walnut stock. I waited over three weeks for my local gun shop to provide me with one but no luck. I drive to Kittery Maine, that's a three hour ride from Southern Vermont. It takes over an hour to purchase the gun as they somehow miss placed the stocked rifles in the back. So I took the floor model with the scratch on blued metal. Now I ride another three hours home and clean the gun as per the manuel. Next day I take the gun out for a test fire and all it does is jam everytime. I have some friends take a look at it and it jams on them. I call Kittery and they tell me come on back, come on back, are you kidding? So they tell me "well this gun is know to have jamming issues". Jamming issues I say. Nobody mentioned jamming issues while I waited over an hour to purchase this gun. He tells me to call Remington, they will send you out a new magazine, which is most likely your problem.
Yes, Remington is sending out a new magazine but would really like me to ship the gun back. It's getting close to deer season and I hope this gets resolved in time. But to Remington I say "you should have done a better job at addressing this issue". Stop waiting for guys like me to purchase this gun and find out it doen't work. Not a good policy!!! Your good name is under fire.

duby thompson

i just bought a woodsmaster 750 in a .270 win ... i already have a 7400 in 30.06 synthetic. i also have almost 30 other rifles ... this 750 is going to be the gun of choice for this coming deer season and many more to come. it handles well, it is quick to come up and point, the trigger is decent once you have fired a few rounds through it, and the rifle looks nice in a satin wood finish.

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