The AR has come a long way since it rolled off Eugene Stoner’s drawing board. Find out what’s the best of the best when it comes to black rifles from 2017.
The hot new AR options this year:
- SIG Sauer M400 Predator
- Savage MSR 10 6.5 Creedmoor
- Noveske/Nosler Varmageddon in Nosler 22
- S&W M&P 15 Tactical M-LOK
- Alexander Arms .50 Beowulf Tactical
- Rock River Arms Predator HP in 6.5 Creedmoor
SIG Sauer M400 Predator
SIG Sauer has been expanding its reach into optics and suppressors the past couple of years, but it’s never lost sight of its ability to craft some of the best firearms on the planet. The M400 Predator is a case in point. Chambered in 5.56 NATO, the M400 Predator AR is equipped with an 18-inch barrel with 1:8-inch twist, two-stage match trigger and has an overall weight of 7 pounds. An M-LOK accessory rail makes attachments for predator hunting a walk in the park, while ½-28-threading makes for quick, easy attachment of a suppressor. On a coyote hunt in the Sandhills of Nebraska, the M400 proved exceptionally reliable in the cold and highly accurate even with fast follow-up shots. For a high-quality build with a great trigger, the M400 comes in at a relative bargain. MSRP: $1,582
Savage MSR 10 6.5 Creedmoor
Savage has built a solid reputation in the bolt-gun world with its highly affordable, highly innovative designs that the company is now rolling over to its new MSR line. Built explicitly for hunters and long-range enthusiasts, Savage’s MSR 10 Long Range is available in .308 Win. and 6.5 Creedmoor. The Creedmoor variant features a 1:8-inch twist in a 22-inch, fluted heavy barrel with QPQ finish, Magpul PRS Gen3 buttstock and free-float M-LOK handguard. The rifle also utilizes a non-reciprocating side-charging handle and Blackhawk’s two-stage target trigger, which makes for one highly accurate rifle. MSRP: $2,284
Noveske/Nosler Varmageddon in Nosler 22
If there’s one manufacturer that stands out in the world of cartridge development during the last couple of years, it’s Nosler. Pioneering new commercial loads such as the 26, 28 and 30 Nosler, the company is working hard to perfect the high octane, hot rod cartridge. The newest addition is the 22 Nosler, which is available in a Noveske-built Varmageddon AR and offers an incredible 300 fps increase in velocity over the .223 Rem. The rifle features an 18-inch barrel with 1:8-inch twist, MOE pistol grip and Super Badass charging handle. An NSR-15 FDE handguard features Key-Mod attachment points and matches the FDE finish on the rest of the rifle. Perfect for extending the range on predators, the Varmageddon AR in 22 Nosler is a tack-driving machine. MSRP: $2,869
S&W M&P 15 Tactical M-LOK
Smith & Wesson’s line of M&P AR-15s has long been a benchmark in the AR world, and the newest iteration, the M&P15T, certainly lives up to that reputation. The M&P15T features a 16-inch barrel with a 1:8-inch twist and 13-inch M&P slim, free-float modular rail system with M-LOK attachment points for maximum accessorizing. At just 6 pounds, the M&P15T is ideally suited for home defense and doubles as a fantastic truck and coyote rifle. Highly accurate, reliable and incorporating a lightweight, contoured barrel for maximum maneuverability, the M&P15T is also incredibly affordable. MSRP: $1,189
Alexander Arms .50 Beowulf Tactical
Let’s face facts: a .50-caliber AR with a name like the Beowulf immediately garners attention. And rightfully so. Bill Alexander has been a frontrunner in new AR designs and concepts, and the new .50 Beowulf Tactical is no exception. Featuring a Bravo Company B5 Systems SOPMOD stock, Geissele SSA or Alexander Arms Tactical trigger and Manticore Arms Transformer Rail handguard, the .50 Beowulf Tactical is no doubt one of the heaviest hitters ever built on the AR platform. The rifle comes in FDE, OD green or black, and features a flat-top receiver and 16.5-inch barrel with 1:20 twist rate. MSRP: $1,750
Rock River Arms Predator HP in 6.5 Creedmoor
I had the chance to shoot Rock River Arms’ newest AR, the Predator HP in 6.5 Creedmoor, during a long-range shooting class at The Site in Illinois, and I have to say I was thoroughly impressed. Featuring a forged LAR-8M lower receiver and A4 upper with Rock River’s crisp two-stage match trigger, the Predator HP performed exceptionally well on steel at 400 yards and was dead-on when we switched to shooting moving targets. The trigger is excellent, the operation is flawless and the barrel produced pin-point accuracy all day long. The rifle features a 20-inch fluted, stainless-steel barrel with 1:8-inch twist, low-profile gas block and RRA Operator Brake, as well as a Hogue rubber grip. Paired with Copper Creek loads in the 6.5 Creedmoor, the Predator HP proved to be a dependable, highly accurate rifle even at extended range. MSRP: $2,000
Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the Winter 2017 issue of Gun Digest the Magazine.
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