It’s a common progression of things to see a company which has been successful in one area of an industry to expand into other, related, areas of the same industry. So, for example, a manufacturer of tennis rackets might choose to start manufacturing tennis balls, or a guitar maker may start to manufacture guitar strings, too. Today, though, we see an ammunition manufacturer who decided to start selling rifles.
In this case, we’re talking about is Oregon-based Nosler who is best known (as mentioned) for manufacturing ammunition. Their first production firearm is their Model 48 (M48) rifle. They’ve now released the M48 Mountain Carbon rifle.
Some people have been less than pleased with carbon barreled rifles, but Nosler may have taken care of those concerns with the Mountain Carbon. The American Rifleman Staff write,
The knock on easy-to-carry bantam rifles is that their slight build and thin-walled barrels can complicate field shooting—not what one wants for hunting wide-open expanses above the tree line—but our testing has revealed the Mountain Carbon to be an excellent shooter despite its impressive handiness.
When spun into yarns and fabrics, and then bonded with epoxies, tightly fused strands of carbon atoms can be used to produce materials twice as stiff as and five times stronger than steel per unit of measure, and gunmakers have started taking advantage of this efficiency in recent years. Thin carbon-fiber (CF) sheets are layered around rifled steel tubes to produce gun barrels, and the yarns/threads are suspended in a synthetic base material to strengthen rifle stocks without adding weight. As a result, alpine hunters and other light-rifle aficionados no longer must compromise performance for portability.
The Mountain Carbon’s CF barrel is more substantial, and by all accounts stiffer, than those trim barrels typical on 6-lb.-and-under rifles. It may slightly outweigh the “soda straws,” but not by nearly as much as an equally stout all-steel barrel. The 24″ barrel on our .280 Ackley Improved test model measures 1.150″ in diameter at the breech, tapering to 0.794″ at the steel bolster backing the muzzle threading, for a contour Nosler calls Light Sendero. While those dimensions correlate to other makers’ Varmint or Magnum Sporter contours, comparing weight is more telling. For example, Mountain Carbon barrels profile closely to Savage’s steel Varmint contour, which weighs 4 lbs., 2 ozs., (.30 caliber at 24″), or nearly 25 percent more than the Nosler’s full barreled action.
What’s more, this barrel boasts cut rifling, a rare feature in hunting rifles or anything less than a full-on custom job. Earnest debate swirls around rifling preferences, and detractors say cut-rifled barrels wear faster. On the other hand, their dominance in benchrest competition, where hundredths of an inch matter, also says a lot.
The M48 Mountain Carbon is a bolt-action rifle, so, some people may prefer it for that reason or dislike it for that reason.
Either way, if you’re in the market for a new rifle and you want something a little out of the ordinary (especially if you’d like cut rifling but a lighter-weight gun), the Nosler M48 Mountain Carbon may be one to consider.