New Tools for 2020-2021 Rules, part 1


The basic picture of the firearms industry is changing. Long range is king, and new ammunition development is front and center. There is a comeback in wheel guns, double guns, and some old and new school weapons designs as well.


First up for consideration are the folks at Sig Arms. Sig has been advancing at a rapid pace in terms of expansion of product offerings, and also advancing in quality regarding materials and end products.

Sig has a complete line of ammunition in the very popular and heavy sales cartridges as well as turning loose their own brand in the new and very advanced 277 Fury, which is based on a totally new case web construction design. At this writing, I have not seen tests performed on the new round, but rest assured I will try my best to gain access to both, being a new Sig Arms Crossover rifle as chambered in the 277 Fury. The 277 Fury is made up of a three-piece case that uses a stainless steel base cap mated to the thin brass case body. This unit retains an aluminum washer at the base or web of the case that compresses into the base of the cartridge upon firing.

The Sig Fury in 227 will generate 80,000 PSI at the chamber. This is a full 20,000 PSI above any other rifle cartridge offered today. The development of the Fury was based on a military contract wanting a sniper grade cartridge that was light weight and used on a short action platform. Currently, the new round is up for evaluation and consideration by the U.S. Army as a replacement cartridge for service rifles. The muzzle velocity with a 140-grain bullet is 3,200 fps which outshoots the 6.5 Creedmoor, although it does so with a complicated cartridge design that will cost a lot more to produce and cannot be handloaded at this time.
Sig is also offering 308 and 6.5 Creedmoor as well as very standard 30-06 big game ammunition. I have indicated this fact because I have been testing re live fire on my 1,000 yard-range regarding the new loads. I have found the 6.5 Creedmoor, when shot in a Ruger Precision gen one, to group under one MOA at 100 yards, and hold very well out to 1,000 yards on steel targets. I have also shifted the Sig 6.5 Creedmoor to the new T/C Smith & Wesson Custom Shop sniper rifle as well, and this rifle returned some outstanding results to 1,200 yards and grouped MOA at 600 yards with ease.
The 308 and 6.5 Creedmoor are on deck for big game field applications during the fall of 2020. More on all this at a later date. If enough targets are available along with the correct tags, the 30-06 Springfield rounds will see field time as well. In terms of warm target testing via the 277 Sig, only time will tell.

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Sig not only is busting loose in the firearms and ammunition departments, but the new lines of red dot and magnifiers are also making some major news. Tack these sighting systems onto the new Crossover in 6.5 or Fury, or over to any one of a number of AR variants Sig builds, and you have a complete Sig Arms rifle, ammo and sighting package with the same brand name and warranty behind each and every product.
In terms of the Crossover rifle design, it is totally new, made of a one-piece receiver that is as solid as the barrel mount itself, and can allow switching out barrels easily with no additional adjustments for cartridge head space. The rifle is slated to sell for about $1,700 and change. At the time of this review, it is the only rifle in the Sig inventory that is chambered for the new Fury 227 round.

Savage arms has changed hands
At a time when I though Savage was a rock solid as can be, the big surprise of the year came about when I learned that the company was sold to a couple of independent buyers who are reworking the entire rifle and shotgun line. Because the buyers inherited a manufacturing company that had just completely retooled the product floor regarding firearms tooling, etc., they fell into a pot of gold in some ways. Now, with brand new equipment and tighter tolerance then ever, Savage has moved into a totally new price point with some models. And in this case, the test gun I have in house representing the new company is the new Renegauge semi-autoloading shotgun.

The Renegauge is a gas autoloading 12-gauge with a totally new gas system that makes use of twin relief valves. This system will handle any and all loads being used regardless of the shot shell load. When fired, the same very small amount of gas is used to function the operating system. As such, regardless of the shot shell being a low recoil sub-sonic 950 fps load, or a 3-inch super magnum at 1500 fps, the gun functions exactly the same regarding its operating gas system. I tested 27 different loads ranging from super magnums to trap and specialized low sound ammunition ( without a single failure whatsoever. The gun’s function is so good, I intend to list it in my web site re Metro gun sub-sonic ammunition when used as a fully functioning autoloader that includes shooting the Metro gun System. This, my friends—and take it from a 50-year background in testing shotguns—is a first.
The new Savage is in the higher-end market because of its bank-vault-tight construction and materials, then built around the space age gas control system previous illustrated. The very new shotgun is a winner, hands down. More on this shotgun when we can get out of hot weather and into the warm target shooting in the fall out here in western South Dakota.


CZ Bobwhite 28-gauge 3-inch
CZ American now builds a very new 3-inch magnum 28-gauge, and Backridge Ammunition Tennessee, offers the shot shell for the shotgun as a nontoxic waterfowl or upland option. I introduced this shotgun last winter in my shot shell reviews. Now, with the gun in my hands for several months to date, and some winter weeks of rabbit hunting by way of the new Backridge bismuth loads in #6 shot, I can say that this shotgun is about the fastest to point, mounted with twin barrels, that I have used to date.
The chambers are magnet treated so those loaded rounds won’t drop out on the ground when you open the action. The materials on the box lock are of a high quality, being a mainstay with CZ for years. But the take-out-the-door price of the gun is still very affordable. Built with cut checkering, walnut stock and a nice deep blue, this side-by-side put food on the table all winter long around here. At a time when a good double gun that is not $3,000 and change can’t be found, the folks at CZ have done something about all that.
Moving in still another direction, a major development by the Benelli Beretta consortium is the brand new offering by Uberti of a dated Model 1885 Courteney rifle. This dates back to the early days of English big game hunting in Africa. English double rifles were the thing of the day, and when a hunter could not afford one, a second option was to order a Courteney single shot high wall chambered in 303 British Enfield. This rifle is a carbine length, very fast to point with outstanding balance. The sights are open, but the rifle has an option (modern) of mounting a weaver style rail so as to accommodate a scope or other sighting systems. Designed as a closer-range stalking rifle, but also flexible due to the use of the 303 Enfield round, this rifle is a natural for whitetail deer when taken up by hunters that are sure of their one-shot one-kill ability.
To date, I have shot the rifle extensively, as I now own one and shoot steel targets to 500 yards, and also have hunted the rifle off-season on mountain marmots here in western South Dakota. With the rifle zeroed for 150-grain bullets, and with several variation supplied by Hornady for testing, I have been shooting reference loads in terms of getting the rifle field ready for whitetail hunting.
Federal offers a single 150-grain soft nose for big game, and I do believe, based on my current testing, that this would serve me well in the event I can’t get something else to do the deed off my hand-loading bench (not likely).
Built with an open hammer at two stages, being half-cock safe, and full cock, the rifle is field dirt simple. With a hand extractor, and a correct design to the 1885 this rifle, it was hit on hard by gun writers across the board at Shot this last year. When I handled the rifle, it was love at first sight, and that’s when I put my order in for one of the first production runs in the Uberti 303 British Courteney.
In terms of pricing, the rifle will run the buyer about $1,800.