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We didn’t title a “finest general rifle” of the ten we examined in the course of the 2022 F&S Rifle Check, however all of us agreed that if we did, the Nosler Mannequin 21 would have taken the award. As a substitute, Nosler’s new bolt-action took the title of Greatest Looking Rifle and gained it palms down. 

Why have been we so enamored with this rifle? Partially as a result of it’s very nicely made, partially as a result of it shot exceptionally nicely, however principally as a result of it’s the whole package deal—providing almost all the things you want in a looking rifle and nothing you don’t. Since 1948, Nosler has made high quality bullets and firearms for severe hunters, and it’s clear that when Nosler went to the drafting board to conceptualize the Mannequin 21, there have been some severe hunters talking their minds. 

Nosler Mannequin 21 Options and Specification

  • Size: 41.65 inches to 44.5 inches
  • Weight: 6.8 kilos to 7.1 kilos
  • Barrel: Shilen Match Grade 22-inch or 24-inch
  • Motion: 4340 Chrome Moly Metal
  • Set off: Set off Tech (adjustable) 3.25-pounds as examined
  • End: Cerakote & Nitride
  • Inventory: McMillan Hunters Edge Sporter Inventory
  • Obtainable Chamberings: 6.5 Creedmoor (examined), 22 Nosler, 6.5 PRC, 26 Nosler, 27 Nosler, 280 Ackley Improved, 28 Nosler, 308 Winchester, 300 Winchester Magnum, 30 Nosler, 33 Nosler, 375 H&H.
  • Worth: $2795.00

The motion and one-piece fluted bolt physique for the Mannequin 21 are wire EDM machined from 4340 Chrome Moly metal. The motion is comparable in design to the HOWA 1500 with twin lugs, a plunger-style ejector, and a Sako-like, M16 extractor. Nosler presents lengthy and short-action variations of the Mannequin 21, and each are outfitted with a 2.5- to five.5-pound adjustable Set off Tech set off and a Shilen match-grade chrome steel barrel. 

The barrel is threaded on the muzzle, with both a ½-28 or 5/8-24 TPI, relying on caliber. The bolt deal with is barely outsized, however additionally it is threaded at 5/16-24 TPI to just accept after-market bolt handles, and it’s Nitride coated. Nosler Cerakotes all the opposite metallic surfaces on the Mannequin 21. 

Nosler Model 21 bolt and extractor.
The Mannequin 21’s two-lug, Nitride-coated bolt is outfitted with a sturdy AR-15 fashion extractor and a Remington 700-style plunger ejector.

The barreled motion is bedded with aluminum pillars to a carbon-fiber McMillan Hunters Edge Sporter inventory. It comes customary with a one-inch recoil pad and a 13.5-inch size of pull. There’s a minute quantity of drop within the inventory, however it’s not extreme. When a conventional-size scope is mounted—low—your eye ought to naturally line up with the middle of the scope whereas nonetheless affording cheek weld. It has a hinged flooring plate and an inside journal capability of three or 4, relying on the chambering.

Pictures Fired: How the Nosler Mannequin 21 Did in Our Check

Throughout our Area & Steam 2022 rifle take a look at, we fired the Mannequin 21 120 occasions. This included familiarization, precision testing at distance, and all of the taking pictures throughout sensible looking drills. There have been no problems with any variety. However that’s solely a part of this rifle’s story. I really obtained this rifle just a few months previous to our rifle take a look at and the very first thing I did was begin a logbook. It got here from Nosler with a advised break-in process, and whereas I don’t imagine a break-in determines the efficiency of a rifle barrel, I adopted the process as a result of the producer advised it.

Utilizing the Sig Sauer 140-grain OTM load, I fired 10 photographs and cleaned after each shot. I then fired 15 photographs, cleansing after each three photographs. Then I fired 5 photographs, cleaned the barrel, and fired a single, fouling shot. Subsequent, I fired 5 photographs for the document. The 31 photographs fired in the course of the break-in process produced a gaggle that measured 1.25 inches. The 5 photographs fired after the break-in process measured 0.566-inch. Each teams have been spectacular. Since then, much more five-shot teams have been fired with a further 11 totally different masses. The common for each group fired was a surprising, 0.94 inches. That is certainly a sub-MOA bolt-action looking rifle, and pound for pound, it delivers distinctive precision.

However there aren’t any benches or sandbags within the subject, and that is in spite of everything a looking rifle. And a looking rifle must carry out when taking pictures offhand and from numerous subject taking pictures positions. In the case of off-hand taking pictures, the rule with rifles is that if they’re butt heavy, they deal with nicely, and if they’re muzzle heavy, they’re simpler to shoot off-hand. The Mannequin 21 is neither butt nor muzzle-heavy, the rifle balances proper on the entrance guard screw, proper between your palms. Because of this it not solely handles nicely, nevertheless it additionally means it may be shot nicely within the subject. Due to this the Mannequin 21 carried out higher than each different rifle we examined in the course of the sensible looking/taking pictures part of our take a look at.

The hinged floor plate on the Nosler Model 21.
A hinged flooring plate is customary on the Nosler Mannequin 21. It permits for quick unloading of the four- or three-round inside journal.

Final Phrases

Although I assumed this a wonderful rifle, I didn’t love all the things about it. For pure perfection, I’d have most well-liked a set off/security system that locked the bolt when on secure, both a impartial or some destructive drop within the inventory, and a distinct colour scheme on the inventory. With its darkish black/charcoal base and random white speckling, the rifle seems to be prefer it was birthed within the backside of a pigeon cage. I’d additionally wish to see just a few extra non-Nosler cartridges provided. You may say I’m nitpicking, however, nicely, nitpicking is my job.

Learn Subsequent: The Greatest Rifles of 2022

I do nonetheless imagine that—pigeon poop inventory apart—the Nosler Mannequin 21 is likely one of the finest 5 rifles I’ve ever examined. It delivered flawless operation, nice precision, was comfy to shoot, it was not too heavy, and it was very comfy to hold and simple to govern. So far as bolt-action rifles go, you’ll wrestle to seek out one its equal with out spending considerably more cash. Many hunters will undergo a number of rifles on the lookout for that particular one. You could possibly simply begin with the Nosler Mannequin 21 and save your self a number of time, cash, and frustration.

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