Note: This Essay/Diatribe Also Appears In The October 31, 2021 Log Entry

A recent issue of the American Rifleman magazine contains a predictably laudatory review of the "new" Nosler M48 Carbon rifle in .280 Ackley Improved caliber. The article goes into detail on the "new" features of this rifle. These include, inter alia, a carbon-fiber wrapped barrel and a carbon-fiber-reinforced synthetic stock. Why is it that only "entry level" rifles like the Mossberg Patriot and the Savage 110 come with walnut stocks any more? There are various other wonderful things about the Nosler. It weighs 6 pounds, at least on Earth: on the Moon it would weigh only one pound. But I digress....

Needless to say other "features" include its not having sights of any kind. This lack is invariably touted as a "product feature" of virtually all production center fire rifles these days, when what it really is, is a cost-saving/profit-margin-increasing feature for the maker that they have convinced gullible buyers is "good" when it isn't. But again, I digress...

I know zilch about the caliber it shoots, the .280 AI. Given that it allegedly pushes a bullet weighing between 140 and 168 grains at speeds from 2800-3200 FPS, it must generate a fair amount of recoil...and in a 6 pound rifle it would be pretty noticeable. More so on the Moon, of course.

Here's what stunned me.  This so-called "new" rifle which more or less just rings the changes on those"old" nasty, bad rifles we've been saddled with for so long, has an MSRP of...are you ready? $3200.  Three thousand, two hundred smackers for a plastic-stocked Wunder-Schutzen that, according to the NRA's test firing, manages the astonishing accuracy of...are you ready?..ONE Minute of Angle. Right ho, that's the same level of accuracy as the Mossberg Patriot or any ho-hum, out-of-the-box Savage, and to get this stunning performance you only need to spend something like 3 to 5 times the price of either of those bad, nasty, old-style rifles.  Three Grand and change...you can buy a mighty nice Kimber Classic Select with a French walnut stock for half that price.

Needless to say, anyone with the money and the susceptibility to advertising who buys one of these Wunder-Schutzen Noslers can't put just any old scope on it. He'd just have to pony up for a Swarovski or something in that league, and not some cheap-shit $700 Swarovski, either. It would have to match the complete classiness of his new Nosler rifle.  A $3000-$4000 Swarovski would be just barely enough to match that rifle's up-scale presence. That would put the package in the neighborhood of $7000, all up.

There are several hilarious comments in the article—perhaps unintentional, but I'm not sure—such as this gem:

The bolt action M48...was inspired by bench guns assembled by the company's machinists...While the action and receiver contain familiar elements, it is no knockoff of any particular design...

Wait...it gets better: here's the follow-up sentence:

Like many current derivatives of the Remington 700, the M48 bolt sports twin opposed locking lugs, a fully recessed face and a plunger ejector. Also in the M700 vein is a two-position safety toggle on the right side just behind the bolt handle...

Here's another howler, again surely unintentional:

...the stainless-steel Nosler receiver has a flat bottom and right angles that hearken back to the Mauser 98/Winchester Model 70 tree...


...the accuracy and consistency we obtained will be more than sufficient for all but the most ambitious extreme-range hunters.

So this Wunder-Schutzen is really, really, so incredibly original that it's a "derivative" of the Remington 700 and the Winchester model 70, which are in themselves "derivatives" of the Mauser Model 1898. Still, according to the Rifleman, the Nosler M48, which shares features of the Remington 700, Mauser M1898, and Winchester Model 70 is all brand-new!  So I guess we must believe it, or they wouldn't say it, would they? So OK, folks, step right up, be the first kid on your block to get yer M48 Carbon here, it's all NEW, all BETTER than any other bolt action ever made!  And it's ONLY $3200!! Get one now before the price goes up! It shoots just about the same as that crummy old Savage 110 you've had for years!

I am old enough to remember when the Rifleman was an honest broker; if the editors thought a gun was overpriced or hyped beyond its virtues, they would say so.  It hasn't been that way for too many years now.