The Benelli LUPO is Benelli's first bolt-action rifle and one that has a lot of technology, quality, innovation and craftsmanship built into it. Eric says he was able to travel to Italy last year for a first look at the LUPO before being launched here in the U.S. While visiting the Benelli facilities in Italy he was able to do quite a bit of shooting with the LUPO and had some specific takeaways from that experience, one of which was his surprise at how much technology Benelli borrowed from its line of shotguns. Eric says he didn't realize that shotgun technology could help rifles feel and shoot better but it does. Part of that comes from the ComforTech recoil reduction system and the Combtech cheek comb pad that reduces facial impact and vibrations. All the comfort and recoil reduction technology of Benelli's shotguns is transferred to this rifle for a more enjoyable and comfortable shooting experience. Another progressive technology is found with the barrel and the cryogenic treatment it gets, a process that takes the barrel and freezes it to -300° F with a cryogenically treated, longer choke tube that altogether provides more accuracy. Among other features, Eric highlights the advanced ergonomics and adjustability of the LUPO. Fine tuning your rifle to fit you perfectly is made easier with LUPO's ability to adjust drop, cast and trigger reach with included shims. When it comes to ergonomics, Eric says he had a chance to talk with a developer and they told him that with the LUPO they took the shape of the wing of a mallard and imparted those features into the lines and contours of the rifle to make for a more ergonomically friendly rifle. Available in .30-'06 Springfield, .270 Winchester and .300 Win. Mag., Eric says that Benelli has hit on some great caliber offerings and he expects to see a wider variety of caliber options to come.
A hot commodity this year may very well be Hornady's 6mm Advanced Rifle Cartridge (ARC). It's the first cartridge to be adopted by the US military before it was launched commercially and as a result consumers get the benefit of this cartridge having already gone through rigorous testing and evaluation standards. Eric says the main advantage of this cartridge is the long range performance, accuracy and reliability that is unique for its fit in an AR-15 pattern action. Eric says while there are other 6mm cartridges out there like the 6.5 Grendel, the difference between the 6mm ARC and those that have come before is that most of them have been wildcats. However, the 6mm ARC is a SAAMI cartridge, meaning all of the design specs have been standardized, so regardless of the brand you buy, all of them will have the same dimensions so that they will reliably feed and function. Eric says the 6mm ARC is getting a lot of attention and it's not just semi-auto fans looking forward to seeing it in action, but bolt gun shooters as well. For that reason, he expects it to be a popular product this year. Listen in as he talks performance and accuracy out to 1,000 yards.
Finally, Eric brings it home with the Smith & Wesson PC M&P 9 Shield EZ or the "EZ 9". The appeal of this 9mm is really simple and it's built into the name - it's easy. Easy to rack, easy to load, easy to shoot - it's the easiest on the market. This gun is great for shooters across the board but is versatile enough to speak even to those with physical limitations like young shooters or elderly shooters, those with dexterity issues and more. Smith & Wesson's specialty shop, the Performance Center, has also put their touch on the EZ9. Eric says the PC M&P9 Shield EZ has an incredible trigger, just under 4-pounds, and upon testing it's super accurate out to 25 yards. The Performance Center model is also available with different accent colors in gold, black and silver. It's a great, affordable gun that will compete well with other single stack 9mm's. It's the easiest handling and easiest shooting 9mm pistol on the market, Eric says.
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