The Hill Country of Texas boasts a passel of dedicated shooters and seems like a good place to look for a new rifle. That was Matt Bettersworth’s thinking when he set out to give Hill Country Rifles (HCR) a national face. I called him up to see how that face looked.
“Sure. I’ll ship one. How about a .270 WSM?” he said to me. It was a new cartridge then, a perfect pick.
The stainless Model 70 arrived promptly. It had a pebbly sage finish and functional checkering. The fit of metal to stock showed the care you’d expect from a rifle in the half-minute club. That’s right; Hill Country Rifles people demand precision. I can’t recall if, 13 years ago, they guaranteed half-inch knots. They do now, with factory ammunition. Even walnut-stocked models must meet that bar.
“There really isn’t one,” Matt tells me. “Our line has expanded since those early days, but we still hew to high standards. Three-shot groups with selected ammo must stay inside an inch at 100 yards for Dangerous Game Rifles and the affordable Harvester series, half that for everything else.”
HCR’s toughest test falls to the Long Range Tactical (.338 Lapua) Rifle with a Defiance Machine action, a McMillan stock and a Schnieder barrel. The companion Tactical Rifle is also in the .5 club. It comes with Remington 700 or Stiller action, McMillan or PSW stock, Schnieder, Lilja or Hart stainless barrel. Chamberings are offered in .223 to .338 Ultra Mag. Badger Ordnance components. A Cerakote metal finish, rail-mounted scope from Nightforce, Schmidt & Bender or Swarovski finish these rifles.
OK. They’re not ideal for steep carries on the mountain, or for navigating lodgepoles. More traditional is the Long Range Hunter, with a decidedly sporting figure and just 7.5 pounds of heft. It marries a synthetic stock of field dimensions with match-quality metal components. The Compact Sporter wears a shorter, heavier barrel.
Straight-combed McMillan stocks give HCR’s Sheep Rifle and Field Stalker Rifle svelte profiles. Stiller actions and stainless Hart barrels ensure snug groups. Like the Compact Sporter, they wear Timney triggers. Weights range from 6.5 to 7.8 pounds, depending on barrel length and contour.
Pages: 1 2
About the Author: Wayne van Zwoll is a regular contributor to the Gun Digest annual, and author of the Gun Digest Book of Sporting optics. He is a nationally-recognized expert on rifles, optics and western hunting.
Leave a Reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.