Savage Model 25 Lightweight Varminter-T
As practical as they are, most thumbhole stocks are usually far from pretty. They've come a long way in recent years, though, and while they’ll never attain “pretty” status, they do get points for looking funky cool, as in Savage’s Model 25 Lightweight Varminter-T.
I love the linear design of this rifle—just looks like it’s made to put your eye naturally in line with a big-objective scope and let you easily shoot with a bipod from a sitting position. It also comes with Savage’s tunable Accu-Trigger and a vented fore-end, which will make your paper-punching sight-in work a ton of fun (and allow this gun to take you right into spring and summer prairie dogs). While I’d prefer this gun had a matte finish to the metal work, the satin finish shouldn’t wink in the sun like a sequined shirt and put howlers on high alert, especially if you’re using natural brush as a hide. Nor should the satin finish of the naturally colored laminate stock. With a detachable box magazine, an extra front sling swivel stud for bipod attachment, and four varmint-appropriate rounds to choose from–.17 and .22 Hornet, .204 Ruger, and .223 Remington—this 24-inch barreled, 8.25-pound rifle is a sound choice for coyotes wandering through short-grass, wood-edged meadows and agriculture plots that hold this quarry’s dinner of mice and rabbits.
MSRP: This is one game-specific rifle that won’t break the bank. The Savage website lists the Model 25 Lightweight Varminter-T at $732 to $754 depending on caliber.
Gotta love a company that can have a little fun with their own products. The “Z” in Hornady’s new Z-Max bullet stands for “zombie,” as in this is the one bullet, perhaps the mother of all bullets, that can possibly out the always dead, back-from-the-dead, can-you-kill-the-walking-dead? glowing-red-eyed evil of many a horror films. According to Hornady, Zombiegeddon is right around the corner, but until it gets here, you can use the Zombie-Max bullets on your varmint handloads and get a feel for the devastating effect they have on live creatures.
All joking and creative marketing aside (though if this stuff doesn’t leap off retailers’ shelves based on the packaging alone, then I don’t know a thing about selling), this green-tipped bullet design is said to deliver phenomenally flat trajectories. You may also be able to keep your loads reduced, saving your barrels from premature burnout and your coyote hides from large exit holes, because Hornady claims these bullets also provide wonderful expansion at lower velocities. There are plenty of .17, .20, and .22-caliber bullets available, as well as a couple 6mm and 7.62 offerings, and Hornady also offers completely assembled ammunition with Z-Max bullets. This line was introduced just before Christmas, so get out there and load up—I want to know what you think!
The Author Recommends: Coyotes (and zombies!) are a super excuse to reload and fine-tune your ammunition if you don't already. And whether beginner or novice, the Gun Digest Essentials of Reloading Premium Collection gives you all the information you need to go from loose powder and empty cases on your reloading bench to dime-sized groups on the shooting bench. Check it out, then go put a hurtin' on those howlers!