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December 18th, 2020

NRA Rifles of the Year — Golden Bullseye Winning Rifles for 2021

golden bullseye nra publications

golden bullseye nra publicationsEvery year the NRA Publications group announces Golden Bullseye winners for various product categories (rifle, handgun, shotgun, optics, gear etc.). These awards are like the Oscars for the shooting industry. There are many Golden Bullseyes given out each year because there are separate awards given by different NRA Magazines — including American Rifleman, Shooting Illustrated, and American Hunter. Here are the 2021 Rifles of the Year (Golden Bullseye Winners) as chosen by each of those three publications.

benelli lupo chassis golden bullseye winner rifle

American Rifleman 2021 Golden Bullseye Award Winner

Rifle of the Year — Benelli LUPO

American hunter golden bullseye award springfield waypoint 2020
American hunter golden bullseye award springfield waypoint 2020

The LUPO is Benelli’s first bolt-action rifle (“Lupo” is Italian for “wolf”). This new chassis-style hunting rifle allows for user fitting/customization out of the box. The LUPO design boasts no less than seven exclusive Benelli patents. It offers a built-in recoil reduction system, adjustable trigger plus grip-to-trigger “reach” customizable via receiver/stock spacers. The Airtouch Grip surfaces allow for a firm, comfortable hold on the rifle. The action comes with rails and an ambi-safety. Fort its innovative LUPO Benellit offers a 3-shot sub-MOA guarantee.

American hunter golden bullseye award springfield waypoint 2020

American Hunter 2021 Golden Bullseye Award Winner

Rifle of the Year — Springfield Armory Model 2020 Waypoint

Springfield Armory Waypoint 2020 Hunting Rifle

We’re in the thick of hunting season now, so we’re featuring an impressive new hunting rig from Springfield Armory. The new Model 2020 Waypoint rifles feature advanced carbon-wrapped barrels*, TriggerTech triggers, and carbon-fiber, hand-painted camo stocks. The actions are pretty impressive too — with precision machining, enlarged ejection port, and integral recoil lug. These Waypoint rifles rival full-custom hunting rigs, yet are reasonably affordable. Starting price is $1699.00 with stainless barrel, while the deluxe model with carbon-wrapped barrel and adjustable cheekpiece is still under $2,400.00.

Handsome Hand-Painted Carbon-Fiber Stocks

Springfield Armory Waypoint 2020 Hunting Rifle
Minimum gun weight with carbon-wrapped barrel and fixed cheek is just 6.6 pounds.

golden bullseye shooting illustrated

Shooting Illustrated 2021 Golden Bullseye Award Winner

Rifle of the Year — Savage Axis II Precision

savage axis II precision mdt chassis golden bullseye winner rifle

The Savage AXIS II has has been given a Precision Series upgrade with a MDT Chassis designed for Savage AXIS II platform. The MDT black aluminum chassis features an olive drab injection-molded skin. It has adjustable comb height while length of pull adjusts via spacers. An MLOK™ fore-end allows easy fitting of accessories. This rifle features a black-finished action fitted to 22″ carbon steel, button-rifled heavy barrel with threaded muzzle. The Savage AccuTrigger adjusts from 2.5 to 6 pounds pull-weight.

About the Golden Bullseye Awards
Now in their 19th year, the NRA Publications Golden Bullseye Awards acknowledge the finest products available in the shooting sports. The winners are selected by a seven-member committee consisting of editors, graphic designers and veteran NRA Publications staff, representing more than a century of collective experience in the shooting and hunting industry.

To qualify for consideration for a Golden Bullseye Award, a product must have been:

— Recently introduced and available to consumers.
— Used/tested by a staff member or magazine contributor.
— Reliable in the field, meeting or exceeding the evaluator’s expectations
— Innovative in design and function.
— Readily perceived as a value to the purchaser.
— Styled in a manner befitting the shooting and hunting industry.

“In the uncertain year of 2020, companies with in the firearm industry continued to innovate”, said American Rifleman Editor-in-Chief (EIC) Mark Keefe. American Hunter EIC J. Scott Olmsted added: “Companies in the firearm and outdoor trade industry continued to provide innovation, quality and value to us all. American Hunter is proud to honor these companies’ dedication to our pastime with 2021 Golden Bullseyes.”

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February 12th, 2020

Mauser 18 Named American Rifleman’s 2020 Rifle of the Year

Mauser 18 Rifle of Year golden bullseye NRA American Rifleman

This caught us by surprise — NRA’s American Rifleman Rifle of the Year is not a Ruger, not a Weatherby, not a Savage. It is a made-in-Germany Mauser. That’s noteworthy. The Mauser 18 bolt-action rifle has been named 2020 Rifle of the Year by the editors of American Rifleman magazine, as part of the NRA’s annual Golden Bullseye Awards. READ Mauser 18 FULL REVIEW.

Mauser 18 Bolt-Action Rifle is Rifle of the Year
How did the Mauser 18 win top honors? The American Rifleman says it’s because this rifle offers excellent “accuracy and ruggedness at an exceptional price point”. The Mauser 18 is available in both short action and long action types, with a wide variety of chamberings, making it suitable for nearly all types of hunting — from varmints to Big Game. The Mauser 18 is available in .243 Win, 6.5 Creedmoor, 6.5 PRC, .270 Win, 7mm Rem Mag, .308 Win, .30-06, and .300 Win Mag. The Mauser 18 is relatively light — rifle weight without optics is 6.4 lbs (standard) and 6.6 lbs (Magnum).

In announcing the M18’s selection, the American Rifleman stated: “…At an MSRP of $699, the Mauser M18 is priced a bit higher than most competing models, but well below any new-production Mauser since the height of the Cold War. While rifles in this class are typically spartan, the M18 offers a few extras along with better-than-expected test results. Purists who can’t separate the brand from its full-length-extractor/controlled-round-feed legacy won’t be fans, but hunters seeking an affordable rifle with reasonable expectations of Mauser performance and durability, likely will be.”

Mauser 18 Rifle of Year golden bullseye NRA American Rifleman

The Mauser 18 features a synthetic stock with a classic American hunter profile (like a Remington 700 stock). There are rubberized grip inlays. The steel receiver has a 3-lug bolt for shorter bolt throw. The rifle boasts a 3-position safety allows hunters to safely carry a round in the chamber without fear of the bolt being nudged out of battery. A five-round magazine offers ample capacity for follow-up shots. The Mauser 18 also features an adjustable trigger allows you to set your own preferred pull weight.

Mauser 18 Rifle of Year golden bullseye NRA American Rifleman

“The Mauser 18 was introduced as ‘The People’s Rifle’, and it has been embraced by hunters throughout the world who want a rugged, reliable, and accurate rifle at a great price. To be recognized as the 2020 American Rifleman Rifle of the Year further validates how exceptional this rifle is in its category.” said Jason Evans, CEO, Blaser Group.

Permalink Hunting/Varminting, New Product, News 7 Comments »
May 27th, 2016

Savage A17 Wins American Hunter’s Rifle of the Year Award

Savage A17 Semi-auto Varmint 17 HMR Rifle

The Savage Arms A17 rifle has been named the 2016 Rifle of the Year by American Hunter Magazine, which awarded Savage Arms a Golden Bullseye Award. “Savage Arms has created a modern rimfire rifle deserving of a 2016 Golden Bullseye Award” said Doug Hamlin of NRA Publications. Savage Arms President Al Kasper declared: “We’re incredibly proud to receive the American Hunter Golden Bullseye Award, and with this recognition, we’re confident we have produced a category-leading firearm.”

Savage A17 Semi-auto Varmint 17 HMR Rifle

The A17 is a 17 HMR semi-automatic with delayed-blowback action. Previous semi-auto 17 HMR designs struggled to cope with the extra power of the 17 HMR cartridge compared with a .22 LR. Savage solved that problem using a delayed blowback mechanism with retracting locking lug. You can see how that works in the video below.

Watch this Video — You’ll Learn Something about Semi-Auto Rimfires

This Savage-produced video demonstrates how the 17 HMR Savage A17 rifle works. The video includes nicely-done 3D Graphics that illustrate the function of the A17’s delayed-blowback action with “interrupter lug”. Using “X-Ray View” animation, the video shows what happens INSIDE the chamber as rounds are fired. The video also explains how the 17 HMR presents a tougher engineering challenge than the lower-pressure .22 LR cartridge.

Varminter.com Savage A17 Field Test and Hunt Report

Ammo Accuracy Results from Varminter.com Field Test:
Savage A17 Semi-auto Varmint 17 HMR Rifle

NOTE: This entire test was performed without cleaning the barrel. For each ammo type, ten (10) 5-shot groups were done. That’s seven times 50, for a total of 350 rounds. The gun used Savage’s original, first-generation polymer A17 stock. Some folks have reported better accuracy with the late-model A17s in the laminated wood thumbhole stock or the laminated wood Sporter Stock (shown below).

Savage A17 Semi-auto Varmint 17 HMR Rifle

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January 12th, 2012

Golden Bullseye-Winning Products Named by NRA Publications

Golden Bullseye Awards, 2012For what’s its worth, NRA Publications has announced its 2012 Golden Bullseye Product Awards. A few of the honored products, such as the Barrett MRAD, are indeed innovative and well-designed, while others, such as the Keltec KSG shotgun, have been plagued with problems. Some winners seem to have been chosen primarily for the value of their magazine advertising contracts… but that’s business for you. It would be interesting to see how this list would change, if the winners were picked by vote of real shooters and hunters, rather than magazine editors.

For American Rifleman, NRA’s flagship publication:

  • Rifle of the Year: Savage Model 111 Lightweight Hunter
  • Shotgun of the Year: Stoeger Model 3500
  • Handgun of the Year: Kimber Solo
  • Tactical Gun of the Year: FNH-USA SCAR 17S
  • Ammo Product of the Year: Winchester Elite Blind Side
  • Optic of the Year: Leupold Mark 8 1.1-8X 24mm CQBSS
  • Accessory of the Year: LaserLyte Laser Trainer Target TLB-1.

For Shooting Illustrated, a practical shooting publication:

  • Rifle of the Year: Barrett MRAD
  • Shotgun of the Year: Kel-Tec KSG
  • Handgun of the Year: Smith & Wesson SD Series
  • Ammo Product of the Year: Federal Premium Guard Dog
  • Optic of the Year: Nikon M-223 Riflescopes
  • Accessory of the Year: SureFire MAG5-60 High-Capacity Magazine

For American Hunter, NRA’s hunting magazine:

  • Rifle of the Year: Winchester Model 70 Safari Express
  • Shotgun of the Year: Beretta A400 Xcel Sporting
  • Ammo Product of the Year: Barnes VOR-TX
  • Optic of the Year: Swarovski Z5 Riflescopes
  • Gear of the Year: The Gun Tool by Real Avid
  • Vehicle of the Year: 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland
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