Kansas City, Missouri, is known for its lively jazz music and award-winning Bar-Be-Que. Now for 2022, the introduction of the latest and greatest guns and gear come to KC. That’s right, this year the city is hosting the National Sporting Good Wholesalers Annual Expo, and I hit the ground running to check out the most recent additions in the industry, some seeing the light of day for the very first time. There was a lot to digest, but for starters, here are five of the best new rifles at NASGW that caught my eye.
Best Rifles NASGW 2022
Mossberg Patriot Predator in 7mm PRC
This rifle tops the list because I’ve had to bite my tongue on it for a little more than a month. After shooting it at the Athlon Outdoors Rendezvous, out to 1,100 yards, I knew it was going to be a big hit. Although it seems like a mere line extension, this rifle marks Mossberg’s first long-action Patriot Predator and kicks things off with Hornady’s decisive long-range do-all cartridge. MSRP on this beast is a minuscule $519, which means you’re going to find them for under $500 at most gun shops. That tiny investment gets you sub-MOA accuracy, a detachable box magazine, an adjustable trigger, and a fluted bolt & barrel. My favorite part about this gun is that it gives you a cheap way to test the waters of Hornady’s newest 7mm offering, and it comes right in time for deer season. (mossberg.com)
Rock River Arms LAR-22 Tactical Folder
Everybody knows that I am an AR-22 junkie, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that this one made my list. I love these guns because they provide realistic practice for a fraction of the price of sending 5.56 downrange. Additionally, working with rimfire lets you get a good bit closer to steel, vastly opening up training scenarios. RRA’s new carbine features the company’s NSP-2 side-folding stock, making it fit tight to your kit like your centerfire counterpart. This also carries over the same manual of arms that you might need to rely on in an emergency situation.
The rifle features a true .22 LR barrel cut with a 1:16-inch twist. It also comes free of any gas ports, ensuring bullets properly stabilize and exit the muzzle without deformation. Legacy features include the two-stage NM trigger, and the rifle even ships with a hard-side polymer case. (rockriverarms.com)
Pioneer 5.56 Underfolder
Let’s face an ugly truth, 7.62×39 is going to fade from the American backdrop in just a few short years. This with Russia continue to deteriorate, and most American companies don’t posses the setup for this cartridge. That doesn’t mean that we can’t enjoy Kalashnikov’s famous design. Rather, it just means we need a different chambering. Pioneer Arms brings the first 5.56 underfolder AKs to the U.S. market in 30 years. And they’re doing it in grand style.
A conventional stamped upper receiver and forged trunnion comprise the heart of this warrior. It also comes adorned with features like factory-source poplar-laminate furniture. Like all of the other parts, Pioneer makes the barrel in-house. It comes with a 1:8-inch twist, enabling stabilization of heavier .223-inch bullets. In your kit, you find both the traditional 45-degree slant brake and Pioneer’s own Combat compensator. It takes away what little felt recoil remains. Lastly, available thread adapters open option to any muzzle device of choice, including flash hiders and suppressors. (pioneerarmsus.com)
Live Free Armory Challenger
After the success of its AMP pistol, Live Free Armory has been receiving thousands of emails seeking a high-end, affordable 9mm Carbine. This year they have answered the call with the LFA Challenger. This Pistol Caliber Carbine sports a 16-inch barrel hanging of a proprietary billet receiver set. Affordability and functionality were achieved through a simple straight blowback system that doesn’t have a need for any gas ports, tubes, or any of the headache that comes with tuning these things. Ingenuity doesn’t stop there, as the Challenger is clad with numerous other proprietary features like its repositioned and extended magazine release. Don’t worry; it takes Glock mags, which might be the one carryover from the other leading designs. Lastly, there is a little room for customization as it is available in Burnt Bronze, FDE, Olive Drab, Tungsten, and of course, Black. (livefreearmory.com)
Traditions Shedhorn Muzzleloader
While shows like the NASGW Expo are jam-packed with modern technology, it’s still nice to see that the art of muzzleloading isn’t yet lost in this world. Tradition’s new Shedhorn satisfies states requiring a sidelock to hunt with during specific seasons or virtually any other muzzleloading season. This old dog knows new tricks, like a Cerakoted barrel, to help it resist corrosion from the elements and evil black powder. It’s also available in composite or camo stock finishes, drastically separating it from the front stuffers of our founding fathers. The 1:28-inch rifling does a fine job of stabilizing today’s lunkers, and it comes drilled and tapped for scope bases, giving you everything you need to connect at previously unheard-of distances for this firearm type. For those not into glass, the Shedhorn comes standard with Williams Fiber Optic sights, making it hunt-ready right out of the box. (traditionsfirearms.com)