Thanks to the NRA, competitive rifle shooting has been a major part of America’s heritage for over 100 years. The balance of speed and precision has found its way into dozens of different disciplines, and many competitive shooters find a certain joy in transitioning from one to the other.
Although over the past year, manufacturers have faced unprecedented demand and other production challenges, there is still quite a bit of head-turning gear making its way to dealer shelves. Here are five great new rifles and accessories for 2021 that caught my eye.
Bergara BMR Rifle
The Bergara Micro Rimfire is the latest addition to the company’s rimfire rifle series. Available with either a carbon-fiber (pictured) or 4140-steel barrel, the BMR has everything that you need to dominate the NRL22 circuit or even take small game at distance. The included 30-MOA Picatinny rail ensures that the shooter has enough adjustment to reach out to the entire effective range of the .22 LR, .22 WMR or .17 HMR cartridges the rifle is available in. Regardless of the cartridge, the BMR features a match-grade chamber that all but guarantees bullets are perfectly aligned with the bore for the most consistent accuracy possible. In addition, the barrel comes pre-threaded to easily add a sound or flash suppressor. Plus, the trigger is patterned after a Remington 700, leaving it open to nearly any aftermarket upgrade you wish. MSRP: $645 (carbon), $565 (steel), bergara.online/us
Ruger Custom Shop 6 mm Creedmoor RPR
Having the same gun as everyone else doesn’t give you much of an edge, or bring out the “wow” factor from your competitors. The Ruger Custom Shop has always been an effortless way to get a custom firearm without the custom price tag. The latest from the boys in the lab is the Ruger Custom Shop Precision Rifle now in 6 mm Creedmoor. This round has been gaining steam in PRS competition because of its laser-beam-like trajectory and negligible recoil. This means less dialing or holding and a better chance of observing impacts (or misses). A heavy-contour 5R barrel provides increased accuracy and recoil control, especially since it comes standard with an APA muzzle brake. The chassis is enhanced with a barrier stop and an improved magazine well to hasten reloads. Ruger has also changed the grip to the Magpul MOE K2+ to give shooters a more vertical grip. The folding and adjustable buttstock seals the deal for shooters of any size and body style. Finally, the trigger was upgraded to a TriggerTech drop-in unit to reduce pull weight and eliminate every last bit of creep. MSRP: $2,399, ruger.com
Crimson Trace Hardline Pro 6-24x50 mm Scope
Crimson Trace launched over a dozen new scopes for 2021 and didn’t leave competitive shooters behind. The 6-24x50 mm Hardline Pro optic is available in either MOA or MIL and includes a first-focal-plane reticle. This reticle scales up or down in size as magnification changes to retain its holdover and range estimation ability. This allows you to easily witness impacts or correct and send another shot without putting much thought into adjustment. The 6-24x magnification range is perfect for targets at medium and extended range and lends itself nicely to NRL and PRS. Each optic is built with fully multi-coated ELD glass, exposed turrets and extra course knurling on the magnification ring—as well as both turrets. Finally, like other Crimson Trace optics, the Hardline series carries the company’s lifetime warranty, although you’ll likely never need it. MSRP: $899.99 for MOA and MIL models, crimsontrace.com
American Bullet Company Practice Bullets
Practice makes perfect, but nobody ever said that you need perfect bullets. With thousands of bullets made every day, there has to be a few foul-ups, right? Just because a bullet is a grain or two heavier than spec, or has a few minor scratches shouldn’t stop you from sending it. The American Bullet Company offers factory seconds bullets through Creedmoor Sports for plinking and practice. This allows you to save your expensive and hard-to-find range fodder for when somebody is keeping score. Both .22- and .30-caliber bullets are offered in a variety of weights and profiles to precisely mimic your match load. Each type is available in a 500-count bulk pack to reduce lot-to-lot inconsistency—as well as your reasons not to practice. MSRP: $98.95 to $169.95 per box depending on caliber, creedmoorsports.com
Benjamin Marauder Semi-Automatic PCP
As the country scrambles for reloading components and rimfire ammunition, the air gunner needs little more than a place to practice. As such, this is going to be a big year for air gun competition. With guns like the Benjamine Marauder Semi-Automatic, it’s gonna be a fun one as well. The Benjamin Marauder has earned a reputation for consistent velocity and match-winning accuracy in the air gun silhouette arena. As such, the company has introduced a self-loading version of this classic. By recycling some of the gas that is expelled to fire the pellet, the new semi-automatic Marauder works just like a powder-burning rifle. The onboard air tank can be pressurized to 3,000 p.s.i. through a portable pump, scuba tank or even a hand pump if you’re feeling strong. You can expect 60 regulated shots from a single fill, which should be enough to get you through a typical match. Adaptive features include an adjustable cheek rest and integrated Picatinny rail for simplified scope mounting. MSRP: $729.99, crosman.com