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Montana's hotshot rifles

Sometimes the best arms are the ones at hand



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While the Classic and High Country rifles compose the backbone of Montana Rifle's firearms line (they also sell actions and barrels to numerous custom gun-makers across the country), Jeff Sipe is poised to manufacture a new series of rifles to sell in gun shops and sporting goods stores. These stainless steel production rifles will be available in popular big-game hunting cartridges with an expected retail price of around $1,200.

Depending on a hunter's interests, it seems impossible to go wrong with any Montana Rifle. But let me poke my neck out for a moment and offer a specific recommendation for Montana hunters who push their bodies and gear to the limit. For my money, I'd take the Timberline, a High Country rifle with a granite-green stock and a greenish powder coat on the barrel. My caliber choice would be the .260 Remington, an ideal cartridge for deer and antelope that is also sufficient for elk. So configured, the Timberline weighs a wispy 6.2 pounds. At $3,000, the Timberline is more expensive than an off-the-shelf rifle but reasonably priced for a custom firearm—and a great opportunity for Montana hunters to buy local. The only downside to owning a Montana Rifle is its potential to damage your ego. If you miss the shot, no one will believe it when you blame the gun.

More to shoot for

If you're hunting for a Montana-made rifle, you'll have no trouble bagging one. Aside from the Montana Rifle Co., top-notch local manufacturers and custom designers include:

Cooper Firearms of Montana, in Stevensville

Gentry Custom, in Belgrade

Kilimanjaro Rifles, (formerly Serengeti Rifles) in Kalispell

Shiloh Sharps Rifles, in Big Timber

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