Outdoor Life Names the Best New Rifles Shotguns and Hunting Optics
Outdoor Life names the best new firearms and sporting optics in the June/July issue, on newsstands now. The magazine’s test team spent a week in venues across Montana compiling data and testing each piece of gear extensively to produce the most comprehensive and objective rankings in the industry for new guns and optics. For complete results, visit outdoorlife.com
“Our rankings are about results,” said Andrew McKean, Editor-in-Chief of Outdoor Life. “We cut through the hype to supply sportsmen with data they can trust so when they spend their hard-earned dollars they’re getting gear that they know will perform.”
The test team evaluated 12 new rifles and six new shotguns in this year’s iteration of the annual test. The Outdoor Life rifle and shotgun test comprises three in-depth and time-consuming phases. Before the guns are fired they are inspected, measured, weighed, cleaned if necessary, and in the case of the rifles, scoped up. With baseline data ready, testers hit the range to determine performance, design, and accuracy scores. Firearms are tested in a variety of situations to ensure they perform on the range as well as in everyday field conditions.
“If you’re in the market for a rifle or shotgun this year, you’re in luck,” said McKean. “The new guns of the Class of ’14 cover a lot of ground, both in terms of price and application for different types of shooting. There’s something for everyone here, from long-distance hunting rifles to affordable rimfires to modern sporting rifles. On the shotgun side, we tested everything from entry-level pump guns to higher-end over-and-unders designed for clay target shooting.”
Outdoor Life’s optics test determines differences in quality and performance by applying both scientific analysis and subjective evaluation to each submission. The resulting score is based equally on the two parts of the test. Hands-on evaluations are performed in a variety of light conditions to determine optical quality, perceived image, and performance scores. In all, 15 riflescopes, 17 binoculars, and five spotting scopes were put to the test this year.
“Optics continue to evolve, especially riflescopes,” said McKean. “We stripped away brand names and reputations to determine the glass that delivers quality that will really perform in the field.”
Once the numbers are tallied, the top rifle, shotgun, and optics are awarded Editor’s Choice titles. Thanks to the vigorous testing products endure to receive the award, it is considered one of the hardest-earned badges in the industry. Going one-step further, Outdoor Life also considers the costs of the products to determine which offer the most bang for the buck. Products determined to offer the best value in each category are named Great Buy award winners.
For an expanded list of the tested firearms and optics with results, as well as information on ammunition picks, and top trends and innovations in firearms and optics, see the June/July issue of Outdoor Life or visit outdoorlife.com.
OUTDOOR LIFE 2014 GUN TEST WINNERS:
Rifle Editor’s Choice: Nosler Patriot
Rifle Great Buy: CZ 557
Shotgun Editor’s Choice: Franchi Intensity
Shotgun Great Buy: Ruger Red Label
OUTDOOR LIFE 2014 OPTICS TEST WINNERS:
Full-Size Binocular Editor’s Choice: Zeiss Conquest HD 10×56
Full-Size Binocular Great Buy: Bushnell Excursion HD 1Ox42
Mid-Size Binocular Editor’s Choice: Cabela’s Instinct EURO HD 8×32
Mid-Size Binocular Great Buy: Nikon Monarch 7 8x3O
Riflescope Editor’s Choice: Nightforce SHV 4–14×56
Riflescope Great Buy: Nikon Prostaff 5 3.5–14x4O
Spotting Scope Editor’s Choice: Alpen Rainier EDHD 25-75×86