All these rifles feature glass and alloy pillar bedding, with floated barrels. Hill Country Rifles tunes the trigger, even laps the rings for installed scopes. Stocks wear Pachmayr Decelerator pads. Dangerous Game Rifles with Dakota 76 actions have NECG (New England Custom Gun) sights and barrel band, and Talley scope bases with stout 8-40 Torx screws.
Most remarkable and, to my eye, most seductive, are Genesis and American Classic Rifles, both in walnut. Hill Country Rifles stockmaker Michael Ullman does wonders with the wood. The American Classic is truly custom-built.
“We take no more than three orders a year for those,” says Matt. They’re on Model 70 or Dakota 76 metal, while the Genesis is Stiller-based. Both must shoot half-minute. I can’t name any other walnut-stocked rifle anywhere that’s held to such a standard.
Price? Mostly, you get what you pay. At Hill Country Rifles, you’ll likely get more than you pay for. But finely built rifles can suck the pig on the dresser dry.
If Junior is moving back because at 25 he can’t land a job as recreation director on Microsoft’s campus, or Sis needs a ‘Vette for commuting to Burger King, you might consider HCR’s Harvester Rifles. Sporting and Tactical models boast Remington 700 metal; the Safari has Winchester 70 action and barrel. All wear McMillan stocks. Sunny Hill, Badger and NECG accoutrements, and HCR’s accurizing service, equip them for the field.
Accurizing, by the way, is available for any rifle in your rack. Hill Country Rifles gunsmiths check bedding and locking lug contact. They examine rifling with a bore-scope. Then, if appropriate, they glass- and pillar-bed the action, lap lugs and scope rings, re-crown the muzzle, adjust the trigger – and shoot the rifle until groups tape under an inch.
“If the rifle won’t drill sub-minute groups, we won’t ask full price,” says Matt.
My introductory HCR sporter in .270 WSM, a basic Model 70, delivered nickel-size groups. The next rifle, a 700 in .270 Winchester, came with a group that measured .3. Actions cycled like silk, a sure sign of honing. Clean, slim lines and perfect balance put these rifles to cheek before I felt their heft. Triggers broke like tiny icicles. No, you won’t find many icicles in Texas. But it’s a good place to look for rifles.
Find Detailed Gun Information
If you enjoyed this technical look at Hill Country Rifles, you’ll find lots of use in the 2012 Standard Catalog of Firearms CD. This digital edition contains more than 110,000 pricing entries and tons of nitty gritty on the guns you love.
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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.
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