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2011 Golden Bullseye Winners

American Rifleman editors announce their favorite guns and gear.


Of the numerous, and varied, duties of American Rifleman's editors, few are as difficult as reviewing the past year's issues and selecting the firearms, ammunition product and accessory most deserving of a much-coveted American Rifleman Golden Bullseye Award.

"With hundreds of shooting and hunting related products introduced each year and covered in our magazines, it is a challenge to review and select the firearms, ammunition products and related accessories most worthy of the Golden Bullseye Award," said Joe H. Graham, Executive Director of NRA Publications. "This much-coveted award, now in its ninth year, is a symbol of excellence, innovation and quality in firearms, accessories and related equipment. Our congratulations to the winners."

NRA Publications will present its annual Golden Bullseye Awards and Golden Bullseye Pioneer Award at an invitation-only breakfast during the 2011 NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits in Pittsburgh, Pa.  

The following products, and their representative manufacturers, received this year's American Rifleman Golden Bullseye Awards.

Rifle of the Year: Nosler Model 48 Trophy Grade
There are few non-custom manufactured rifles on the market with the accuracy guarantee of the Nosler 48 Trophy Grade. Built on the same Nosler Custom action as Nolser's high-end rifles, the Model 48 features a match grade, chrome-moly barrel, Bell & Carlson stock and a crisp 3-pound trigger to guarantee a sub m.o.a. three-shot group for less than $2,000.

Shotgun of the Year: Remington VersaMax
In the VersaMax, Remington designed a shotgun with uncommon versatility. The VersaPort gas piston system uses seven gas ports in the area of the chamber and two self-cleaning gas pistons to cycle the action allowing any size shell to function without adjustments. The VersaMax can also be completely adjusted to fit almost anyone with replaceable stock shims, drop/cast plate and comb. For the hunter needing versatility, the VersaMax is well named.

Handgun of the Year: Taurus PT 740 SLIM
Though chambered in the potent .40 S&W cartridge, the PT 740 SLIM lives up to its name measuring only 1.04 inches wide, 5. 35-inches tall and 6.24-inches long with a 3.2-inch barrel. Light and compact with adjustable rear three-dot sights, the 740 is designed for function, comfort and concealment.

Tactical Gun of the Year: Les Baer Tactical Recon Bolt-Action Rifle
Precision shooters, such as military and law enforcement, require extreme accuracy from a rifle, and the Les Baer Tactical Recon provides that accuracy with a guaranteed 1/2-inch or better 10-round group at 100 yards with match ammunition. The Tactical Recon also features an adjustable Bell & Carlson stock, near vertical pistol grip and a 24-inch barrel. Les Baer's Tactical Recon can make the shot if the shooter can.

Ammunition Product of the Year: Speer DeepCurl Bullet
In developing the DeepCurl, Speer used utilized advanced plating technology to combine a lead alloy core bullet with an electro-chemically bonded jacket for weight retention and terminal ballistics at a cost comparable to other high-end bullets available for reloading.

Optic of the Year: Bushnell Fusion 1600 ARC Binocular/Rangefinder
Bushnell has continued its trend of providing advanced optics for the cost-conscious shooter with the Fusion 1600 ARC. In addition to having many of Bushnell's standard features—multi-coated optics, anti-reflective coatings, RainGuard HD hydrophobic lens coating, rubber armor and waterproof construction—the 1600 ARC provides accurate distance out to 1,600 yards for less than $1,000.

Accessory of the Year: RCBS AmmoMaster Chronograph
Without knowing the velocity of a load, accurately determining trajectory, drift, energy and downrange performance is almost impossible. Unfortunately, price has kept most shooters from owning a chronograph. The AmmoMaster from RCBS challenges that with an accurate, affordable, easy-to-use self-contained chronograph.

Pioneer Award: Melvin Forbes, Founder and President New Ultra Light Arms
As a young West Virginia master gunsmith, Forbes had a vision of a hunting rifle weighing less than 6 pounds, including scope and mounts.  It also had to be consistently reliable and accurate.  Forbes introduced his masterpiece at the 1985 SHOT Show and the rest is history.  His revolutionary approach to reducing weight from the bolt-action rifle without sacrificing accuracy and dependability, created a template that has been copied by many. For a quarter-century, hunters have banked on superb performance in easy-carry rifles from New Ultra Light Arms.

To see the Golden Bullseye Award Selection Criteria, click here.

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19 Responses to 2011 Golden Bullseye Winners

Howard wrote:
February 05, 2012

Just sold my Benelli to purchase a USA made versamax ,hope I don't miss my sbe 11 with comfort tech

Wil Rohan wrote:
September 21, 2011

I picked up a new Taurus 740 Slim semi-automatic handgun last Thursday. After cleaning it, I took it to the range with 50 rounds of 165 grain 40 S&W CCI brass-case Blazer ammunition. I shot all of my ammunition in about fifteen minutes at targets seven yards away. I observed the following: 1. No malfunctions of any kind. 2. Using this somewhat moderately-power 40 S&W ammunition (listed velocity 1050 fps but more likely about 950 fps from this short barrel); I did not experience excessive “snappiness” finger biting, or any discomfort. 3. All brass fell about six feet to the right and four feet back (I recovered 42). 4. Most shots fell within a five-inch circle. One target had five rounds inside four inches. 5. I was easily able to fire two-handed (Weaver Stance) or one handed. 6. The magazines were a little bit hard to load but they did not slow me down as I proceeded to burn through the fifty rounds of ammunition. I was extremely impressed with this little handgun. It is a load of fun to shoot.

Brenda McElroy wrote:
June 15, 2011

Taurus???? I just bought a Taurus 9mm Slim and it's the most dissapointing gun I've ever owned, it jams, shoots all over the place. I think I will stick with Ruger and pawn this gun off on someone who is a Taurus fan.

Marc Rocque wrote:
May 05, 2011

I found it somewhat ironic that you chose the Remington Versa Max as shotgun of the year, and then several pages back in the issue, see a PRODUCT SAFETY NOTICE-WARNING "DO NOT USE YOUR REMINGTON VERSA MAX SHOTGUN" Don't feel too bad, your partners over at Shooting Illustrated did EXACTLY the same thing with the Bushmaster ACR, and the same warning is printed for it, as well.

Broker C wrote:
March 05, 2011

Been trying to get parts for almost 7 months now from Taurus for a PT111....its imposssible..there customer service stinks and they lie...better get a SW.or a Glock

JFike wrote:
February 27, 2011

VersaMax shotgun of the year...are you kidding me? Im not sure why Remington keeps making Benelli look a likes.....Benelli SBE 2 rocks! Benelli SuperNova rocks.....better guns, better warranty, shoot to of aim, no recalls, better fit and finish.

Phil L. wrote:
February 25, 2011

To Pete P are you referring to remington? americas oldest gun maker , guns that are made in the USA guess you have never bought more than one gun from them

Irving Forbes wrote:
February 10, 2011

Are you going to offer the VersaMax in Max 4 cammo? Thanks, Irving

Stephen Cea wrote:
February 03, 2011

I just bought a Versa Max. What do the labels on the chokes mean? Pass, over decoys, hardwoods... Is there a chart that matches them to the traditional label like FC, Mod, IMP CYL, Slug etc

Pete P. wrote:
December 28, 2010

Should we be surprised that the NRA has sold out to a substandard manufacture?

YankeeBob wrote:
December 26, 2010

I'll take the SR40 any day of the week over the Taurus!

JasonD wrote:
December 23, 2010

I'm sure that all those ad dollars from Taurus had no impact on this decision... I had a 709 Slim...worst gun I've ever owned...

James Dulin wrote:
December 23, 2010

I own nine Taurus handguns. The quality on all is top notch for their price. Customer Service, on the other hand, not so good. To anyone considering buying a Taurus, do it because you like the gun, not for the "lifetime warranty". And it's not just Taurus recent advertising dollars paying off. This isn't the first time they've won NRA handgun of the year. Remember 2005, and there was barely any Taurus advertising then.

Havanagunner wrote:
December 22, 2010

The RCBS AmmoMaster Chronograph has recieved terrible reviews on the net and yet a great recommendation here. Things that make me go, "huh"

shootah800 wrote:
December 22, 2010

You should get yourself a Taurus. Real, affordable quality. Go out and shoot one, instead of relying on your brother's roommate's uncle's cousin's opinion, or that of the gun snob behind the counter of your local gun store.

joeblow wrote:
December 22, 2010

Does Taurus still sell firearms................didn't think anyone actually bought them

Donald R. Hohman wrote:
December 21, 2010

About as fair as you can get with evrything that's on the market today.

December 21, 2010

Very informative and added a little more insight than gun magazines offer. I think all chosen were brilliant.

Casey wrote:
December 21, 2010

Glad to see Taurus's advertising dollars paying off...