2020 New Hybrid Hunting Rifles

Many new firearms — call them “hybrid hunting rifles” — are meant to do more than one thing.

2020 New Hybrid Hunting Rifles

Manufacturers are betting that customer interest is still high in low-weight, accurate mountain rifle category. We saw that last year, and it’s on the agenda for 2020 as well.

Plus they’re thinking that customers want a gun that can be a Precision Rifle Series (PRS) competitor and hunting rifle. Sig Sauer’s Cross (below) — named because it’s a crossover between shooting to hunting — is a great example of this kind of hybrid. It was a show-stopper earlier this year at the SHOT Show.

Sig Sauer Cross
Sig Sauer Cross

Meanwhile, rimfires took some of the spotlight. The trend here is super-accurate rifles, like CZ-USA’s chassis gun, or, design innovation, as is the case with Winchester’s Wildcat.

And, over the last few years, your customers have grown accustomed to lower-priced bolt-actions that have crisp, quality triggers and shoot sub-MOA. They’ll get more of that at the counters with several new bolt-actions that continue to deliver a lot of value for a sub-$400 suggested retail.

Hybrid Hunting/PRS Rifles

Benelli - Lupo

Benelli, best known for shotguns like the Super Black Eagle, now aims to take a bite out of the centerfire market. The Italian company introduced the Lupo — Italian for wolf — a bolt-action, modular chassis rifle that sports high-end adjustably and recoil reduction.

Of most interest to me is transfer of Benelli’s superb Progressive Comfort recoil-reducing system; it’s been proven on their shotguns and only makes sense to bring it to a rifle. The gun also has an array of shims and cheek pieces for the best possible fit, plus a sub-MOA guarantee. 

  • Calibers: .270. .30-06 and .300 Win Mag.
  • Weight: 7 pounds
  • Stock: Synthetic black
  • Barrel: 22-24 inches
  • Overall length: 44.625 inches
  • MSRP: $1,699


Browning - X-Bolt Max Long Range

The Browning X-Bolt Max Long Range is popular because, well, it’s an X-Bolt, but also because of its highly adjustable Composite Max stock. The comb is fully adjustable, and the gun comes with a set of spacers to change the length of pull. It has a heavy Sporter barrel, but the gun, all told, weighs in at 8 pounds, 3 ounces. New for 2020 are two new calibers, 6.5 PRC and the 30 Nosler.

  • Calibers: 10, from 6mm Creedmoor to 30 Nosler
  • Weight: 8 pounds, 3 ounces for short actions
  • Stock: Composite, adjustable, with InFlex recoil pad
  • Barrel: 26 inches
  • Overall length: 46.125 inches
  • MSRP: $1,299-$1,359


Franchi - Momentum Elite

This rifle could have gone in either Hunting-Hybrid or Budget categories. Its street price will probably hover around $800, which is remarkable for a rifle of this quality. The Franchi Elite is the second generation of the Momentum, and they actually nailed the first gen when it came out two years ago. It shot lights out, with a great adjustable trigger.

It made a huge impression on me right out of the box and on a New Mexico mule deer hunt. The original and the Elite are highly ergonomic to pair up with hunters’ most common shooting positions. Franchi sweat the details, like recessed swivel studs that don’t interfere with a shot from a shooting house window, for example. And now this Elite version is even more customizable with more shim and spacer options. They also replaced the original black with a Cerakote coating and hunting camo, like Realtree and True Timber Strata. It’s a shooter.

  • Caliber: .223, .308 and 6.5 Creedmoor
  • Weight: 7.1 to 7.5 pounds
  • Stock: Synthetic, recessed swivel studs and hand hook
  • Barrel: 22-24 inches
  • Overall length: 44.25-46.25 inches
  • MSRP: $849-$899


Savage - 110 Ultralite

Savage barrels are good, but they’re not necessarily ultra-light. However, Proof Research barrels are. Savage collaborated with Proof again to develop this sub-6-pound mountain hunting rifle. It brings together Savage’s reliable 110 action and AccuFit stock with Proof’s carbon fiber-wrapped stainless barrel. This will be accurate and light in great long-range hunting calibers. 

  • Caliber: Eight calibers, including 28 Nosler and 6.5 PRC
  • Weight: 5.8 to 6 pounds
  • Stock: Composite, Savage AccuStock
  • Barrel: 22 and 24 inches
  • Overall length: 42.5 inches
  • MSRP: $1,499


Sig Sauer - Cross

Here’s a surprise. Sig Sauer’s first bolt-action, Cross, is a hybrid between precision shooting and hunting. This bolt-action is a great suggestion for any of your customers on the fence between a gun to use in PRS matches and a lighter gun for backcountry hunting. The design borrows some elements from Sig’s crazy cool MCX AR platform, such as a fully adjustable stock that folds and an ambi safety, plus the precision of one-piece aluminum receiver and bolt action. That’s First Lite Cipher camo, BTW.

  • Caliber:.308, 6.5 Creedmoor and 277 Sig Fury
  • Weight: 6.5 to 6.8  pounds
  • Stock: Adjustable LOP, comb and folding
  • Barrel:16-18 inches
  • Overall length: Collapses to 25 inches
  • MSRP:$1,600

Weatherby - Mark V Backcountry Ti

Speaking of light, Weatherby’s new Backcountry Ti (below) is a great suggestion for a customer looking for the lightest possible magnum production gun. It’s a sub-5-pound rifle that shoots a new magnum cartridge called the 6.5mm Weatherby Rebated Precision Magnum, which will be stamped 6.5 WBY RPM.

The company designed this cartridge rebated, that is, the base is narrower in diameter than the case. That way, it fits the smaller, lighter standard action bolt face, and that where it shaves a lot of weight. The Ti is for its titanium receiver, which is stronger but lighter than steel.

  • Caliber: 6.5 WBY RPM
  • Weight: 4.9 pounds
  • Stock: Carbon fiber, 3D Hex recoil pad
  • Barrel: 22, 24 and 26 inches
  • Overall length: 46.125 inches
  • MSRP: $3,349
Weatherby Mark V Backcountry Ti
Weatherby Mark V Backcountry Ti

Super-Accurate Rimfires

CZ-USA - 457 Varmint Precision Chassis

This is CZ-USA’s first chassis rifle. The Varmint Precision is chambered only in .22LR and the aluminum gun is made for competition, like Practical Rimfire Challenge or National Rifle League 22 matches. But it’s equally at home popping varmints from a bench. It has a five-round detachable mag and is threaded for a suppressor.

  • Caliber: .22LR
  • Weight: 7 pounds
  • Stock: Composite adjustable
  • Barrel: 16.5 inches or 24 inches
  • Overall length: 31.6 inches
  • MSRP: $999


Christensen Arms - Ranger 22

Christensen puts a lot of their centerfire tech into the rimfire Ranger. The trigger is a Trigger Tech Remington 700 match-grade trigger. The 18-inch barrel is a carbon fiber tension barrel, and the stock also is carbon fiber, which helps keep the total weight to about 5 pounds. It ships with a sub-MOA guarantee at 50 yards. It comes in classic black with gray webbing and tan with black webbing.

  • Caliber: .22LR
  • Weight: 5.1 pounds
  • Stock: Carbon fiber
  • Barrel: 18 inches
  • Overall length: 38.25 inches
  • MSRP: $795


Savage Arms - A22 BNS-SR

One of the best things about this Savage rimfire isn’t actually a new feature. It’s the  user-adjustable AccuTrigger. All rimfire shooters appreciate that they can customize the trigger weight, and many like the blade safety concept as well. We all know how important a trigger pull is to accuracy. Another way to get more accuracy is through a good barrel. Savage is using very good barrels, and this one is an 18-inch button-rifled carbon steel. The blow-back action is reliable and quick.

  • Caliber: .22LR
  • Weight: 6.6 pounds
  • Stock: Laminate wood, Forest green
  • Barrel: 18 inches
  • Overall length: 37 inches
  • MSRP: $479


Winchester Repeating Arms - Wildcat 22LR

This little rimfire (below) was introduced by Winchester last year as a SHOT Show special, but wasn’t widely available until now. It’s built to be accurate, with an 18-inch button-rifled chromoly steel barrel. It has a detachable 10-round mag and the bolt stays open after the last round. The Wildcat also has a quick-detach action that comes right out of the bottom of the gun for easy cleaning, and you can clean the barrel from the back end, which keeps the action cleaner. Clever.

  • Caliber: .22LR
  • Weight: 4 pounds
  • Stock: Composite black
  • Barrel: 18 inches
  • Overall: 36.25 inches
  • MSRP: $249
Winchester Wildcat 22LR
Winchester Wildcat 22LR

Budget Bolt-Actions

Mossberg - Patriot Predator in 350 Legend

Mossberg is noticing that hunters want straight-walled cartridges for hogs and deer in states that don’t allow necked cartridges for big game. Last year, Winchester Ammo brought out the 350 Legend — a fast straight-wall that is made to throw less recoil and still offer excellent penetration on game. The Patriot rifle is a practical gun. It helped me drop a 150-inch Kansas whitetail at 306 yards in .30-06. The bolt-action has a straight comb, 22-inch barrel and a user-adjustable blade trigger.

  • Caliber: 350 Legend
  • Weight: 6.5 pounds
  • Stock: Synthetic black
  • Barrel: 22 inches
  • Overall length: 42.75 inches
  • MSRP: $396


Thompson/Center - Compass Utility

The Compass line from Thompson/Center has been around a few years now, and there are now various upgrades to the rifle, such as the Compass II line, which came out last year. But if your customer is looking for a budget rifle that has an MOA guarantee and a low price tag, show them the Compass Utility (below). It has a flush-fit mag, target crown and 60-degree throw, which is good for a budget rifle. If your customer prefers a better trigger, suggest an upgrade to the Venture II, which has T/C’s next gen trigger.

  • Calibers: Six calibers, from .223 to .30-06
  • Weight: 7.25 pounds
  • Stock: Black composite
  • Barrel: 21.125 inches
  • Overall length: 41 inches
  • MSRP: $325
Thompson/Center Compass Utility
Thompson/Center Compass Utility

Sidebar: 2 Other Notable New Rifles

Henry Rifles Combine Popular Tube, Side-Gate Loading

It’s amazing that a rifle like a Henry lever-action, that’s based on the original 1860s repeater, can still handle innovation. Yet here comes another new hybrid of sorts: Henry recently introduced the Side Gate Lever Action in .45-70, which combines their removable tubular magazine and a side-gate loader. Folks at Henry said customers demanded it. It lets you fill the mag and top it off after you fire, which makes total sense. They also have a similar gun in .410 that will be available this year. Power to the people!

  • Caliber: .45-70
  • Weight: 7 pounds
  • Stock: American walnut
  • Barrel: 19.8 inches
  • Overall length: 38.1 inches
  • MSRP: $1,077
Henry Side Gate Lever Action in .45-70
Henry Side Gate Lever Action in .45-70

Rock River Arms LAR-15M in 350 Legend

Rock River Arms has chambering its reliable LAR-15M in 350 Legend, which gives you a reliable, modular AR-style hunting rifle in the newest straight-wall cartridge. The LAR has a 16-inch barrel, full-length top rail for optics, 10-round magazine and six-position stock. All that, and it’s only 6 pounds.  No more excuses that an AR in a deer-sized caliber is too heavy to lug around the field or into the tree stand. You could almost look at this as a hybrid as well, although 350 is no PRS caliber. Now, if we could only figure out how to chamber a round without a clang!

  • Calibers: 350 Legend
  • Weight: 6.8 pounds
  • Stock: Six-position, RRA Operator CAR
  • Barrel: 16 inches
  • Overall length: 33 inches, retracted
  • MSRP: $1,100
Rock River Arms LAR-15M in 350 Legend
Rock River Arms LAR-15M in 350 Legend


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