This marks the second year of the Blue Book of Gun Values Top Ten Firearms Industry Awards for innovation and excellence in firearms and related accessories. Armsmakers at the 2015 SHOT Show did not disappoint, making this year especially tough for our panel of editors and experts to select the best of the best. True innovation through 2014 has been harder to come by than in years’ past, mainly due to lagging sales of existing product line ups in a down market. However, the following list contains some remarkable and truly unique firearms, optics, and even a suppressor. Our panel gave high marks to all on the grading criteria of quality, market need, and significance of updated design/features.
The following products represent the highlight of an industry rich in talent and true innovation.
Standard Mfg. Co. LLC DP-12
Merging the best attributes of both a pump and double barrel shotgun, the innovative new DP-12 challenges the conventional action of both pumps and doubles. One slide of the action allows for two trigger pulls, unlike its competition, the UTS-15 and KSG, which require a slide of the action after each trigger pull.
We liked not only this gun’s innovative action, but also its quality. Plus, it’s made by a well-known manufacturer of premium double barrels shotguns. This new Standard Mfg. Co. LLC DP-12 is quite a departure from what they’re known for, and we’re excited to see this model hit the market.
For more information, visit Standard’s website
Benelli Model 828U
Well-known gun maker Benelli has a great reputation for making best-in-class auto-loading shotguns since the early days of its famed inertia-driven actions. Now, they’ve not just dipped a toe in the waters of the over-under shotgun markets; it seems they’ve jumped in head first. We had a chance to handle this new 828U model at the 2015 SHOT Show, and we give it high marks for quality and true innovation.
Benelli has achieved a remarkable feat in stealing the most desired and appreciated features of its auto-loading shotguns and expertly married that into a wonderfully styled over-under shotgun. Features like a fully adjustable and “shimmable” stock, billet aluminum receiver wrapped around a steel locking system (for light weight), crio-treated floating barrels, and a removable trigger mechanism make this shotgun truly unique from other over-unders.
Bravo, Benelli; you have a winner on your hands and wing shooters everywhere will appreciate these innovative design features that make this shotgun VERY shootable.
See more of this new model here
Savage Model A17
A semi-auto .17HMR that just plain works deserves some recognition. We’re happy to spotlight one that not only works, but shoots AND is at a typical Savage price point! (Google some of the challenges that Ruger, Magnum Research, and others have encountered when trying to leverage this high-pressure rimfire cartridge into a blow-back designed action.)
Savage solved the previous problems by incorporating an innovative new lug that holds the bolt in place just long enough for the pressure to drop, and it seems to have successfully squelched the prior problems of early unlocking and case ruptures.
CCI has also developed a new variant called “A17” that shoots a staggering 100fps faster than typical .17HMR loads out of this rifle.
We think varmints, ground hogs, and other vermin won’t appreciate this new rifle as much as we do.
See a great video of this rifle from our friends The Gun Nuts at Field and Stream
Remington’s 700 Ultimate Muzzleloader
After a six-year absence from the modern muzzleloader market place, America’s oldest gun maker is back. On April 23, 2014, Remington announced the arrival of their new Model 700 Ultimate Muzzleloader, the most technologically advanced in-line muzzleloader we have seen to date.
Built on the 700 action with a closed breech system, this muzzleloader is providing centerfire-like performance. The U.M.L. (Ultimate Muzzleloader) ignition system utilizes a breech plug that is push fed a uniquely sized .308 case with a Remington 9 1/2 large magnum rifle primer. This patented ignition system creates a gas seal in the flash hole of the primer, resulting in a cleaner, hotter ignition and increased range, energy, and accuracy.
The Model 700 Ultimate Muzzleloader is available with either a synthetic or a laminate stock with primed case storage, 26 in. fluted stainless steel barrel, X-Mark Pro adjustable trigger, 24 primed cases, 24 saboted projectiles, and a hard case. Loaded with 200 grains of Triple Seven pellets and a Barnes’ Spit-Fire T-EZ 250 grain saboted bullet, the Model 700 Ultimate Muzzleloader can reach velocities over 2,400 fps. Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSR) on the 700 Ultimate Muzzleloader is $995.
See more of this new model here
AirForce Airguns Texan Model
After a couple years of research and development AirForce Airguns revealed the most powerful U.S.-made hunting air rifle, the Texan. The Texan has the famous AirForce look and feel, but it is a .45 caliber pre-charged pneumatic airgun that shoots a .45 slug at power levels in excess of 500 foot pounds. AirForce founder and CEO John McCaslin said, “When we started toward a serious hunting gun, we knew it had to be a larger caliber than most on the market today. Going with the .45 gave us the best balance of energy, accuracy, and stopping power.”
The Texan features a 34-inch precision rifled barrel and a side lever for loading and cocking. The lever is designed for smooth, easy action. All of the features that have made AirForce one of America’s favorite pre-charged airgun brands are present on the Texan, including the distinctive and unique AirForce look. The gun weighs 7.65 pounds and has an overall length of 48 inches making it easy to carry and handle.
AirForce Airguns has been innovating, designing, and producing precision pre-charged airguns at their Fort Worth, Texas headquarters for over 15 years. They are known for developing some of the most technologically advanced airgun shooting systems in the world and for making the original (and favorite) black airgun. The Texan is available in several shooting kits that include a scope and rings. MSR on the Texan (gun only) is $1,054.95.
See more of this new model here
Click here for Part 2 of Blue Book of Gun Values 2015 Top Ten Firearms Industry Awards.