Rifles > Bolt-Action

Nosler Model 48 Legacy Rifle

The Legacy is what the late John A. Nosler envisioned the ideal rifle to be.


Since its initial offering, the NoslerCustom Rifle, the famed bullet company has introduced subsequent models—the 48 Custom Sporter, 48 Varmint, Trophy Grade Rifle (TGR) and 48 Professional Rifle—to fulfill customer requests. The Model 48 Legacy, however, was designed by company founder John A. Nosler shortly before his passing, and thus stands as a tribute to the industry legend.

The Legacy is built on a push-feed action of Nosler’s own design that combines the best attributes of several existing rifles. Machined from a 4140 steel investment casting, the receiver is flat on the bottom, sides and upper quadrants. The top, however, is round and drilled and tapped in the Remington Model 700 pattern. There is a large, integral recoil lug at the receiver’s front, and an integral block at the tang serves as a second lug. In addition to the traditional raceway, located on the receiver’s left side, there’s a full-length anti-bind rail on the right to maintain bolt alignment. The ribbed bolt-release lever is on the receiver’s left rear. The receiver is coated with NIC Industries’ Cerakote—in “Midnight Blue”—for corrosion-resistance and wear-prevention.

As with the receiver, the one-piece bolt is machined from a 4140 steel casting. It has dual-opposed locking lugs, the right of which has a groove that corresponds to the anti-bind rail, and six length-wise grooves both reduce surface area—for smoother cycling—and capture debris that could cause galling. Extraction is provided by an AR-style extractor, and ejection is by way of a plunger-type ejector. The bolt handle sweeps rearward when nearing the knob, with the latter having a single band of checkering. The bolt’s exterior surfaces receive Cerakote matching that of the receiver, and the interior surfaces and components—such as the firing pin and firing pin spring, for example—are coated with the dry lubricant Micro Slick, also an NIC Industries product.

Attached via a single screw, the Legacy’s Rifle Basix trigger unit is fully adjustable, and the test rifle’s trigger exhibited zero discernible creep or overtravel and broke with a 2-pound, 10.8-ounce pull—no tuning was necessary. The two-position safety enables the operator to cycle the bolt to unload when in the “safe” or rear most position.

Depending on the chambering, the hand-lapped, match-grade 24-inch Pac-Nor barrel is free-floating and in either a “standard” or “magnum” contour. Standard chamberings are .243 Win., .257 Roberts +P, .25-'06 Rem., 6.5x55 mm Swede, .270 Win., 7x57 mm Mauser, .280 Ackley Imp. and .30-’06 Sprg. Magnum contours include .308 Win., .300 Win. Mag., .338 Win. Mag. and .35 Whelen. The button-rifled stainless-steel barrel is absent of iron sights, has an exterior Cerakote finish and has a standard radius crown.

The rifle’s stock is Missouri-grown, No. 3 fancy-grade walnut, and the test rifle’s stock exhibited good figure. There is little doubt the wood’s density contributed to the stock’s 2-pound, 8-ounce weight and the rifle’s 8-pount overall heft. Immediately noticeable are a thick pistol grip with a noticeable cast, a roll-over cheekpiece and extensive, finely executed 20-l.p.i. checkering on the pistol grip and fore-end. The four basic Legacy groups (short and long action, light and heavy contour barrel) each have unique stock shapes to yield optimal balance with the rifle’s other parts.

The stock has glass-bedding in the bottom metal screw areas, the tang and the recoil lug. The company also uses pillars to prevent collapsing the bedding when the receiver and bottom metal are tightened (by the two action screws). Concerning the bottom metal, it is CNC machined from billets of aluminum. The hinged floorplate has John A. Nosler’s signature—a fitting feature—and is secured by a Winchester Model 70-type push-button release. The stagger-column magazine accommodates either three (magnum chamberings) or four (standard cartridges) rounds, and tension is provided by a steel follower atop a leaf spring.

To test the .300 Win. Mag. Legacy, we fitted it with a Leupold VX-3 4.5-14X 40 mm riflescope in Leupold rings and bases and headed to the range with three hunting loads. In the standard chambering, Nosler guarantees the Legacy to shoot three-shot groups of 3/4 inches or less (standard cartridges) or sub-m.o.a. (belted magnums) at 100 yards using Nosler ammunition; however, our protocol calls for five consecutive, five-shot groups at 100 yards, so it was tested as such. That being said, after “formal” accuracy testing was completed, a single three-shot group using NoslerCustom 200-grain Partition from a Caldwell Matrix rest was fired at the range’s maximum distance of 372 yards, and it measured 1.57 inches. Could it meet the company’s guarantee? We’d say so.

During testing, there were no malfunctions; we wouldn’t expect any either, given the Legacy’s $2,595 price and Nosler’s reputation for producing high-quality products. The rifle’s heft, stock design and recoil pad work in concert nicely to help attenuate recoil. And despite no liquid lubricants on the moving parts, functioning was smooth and without issue—a testament of NIC Industries’ products. We simply cannot say enough about the Rifle Basix trigger; its performance was stellar and as good as you’ll find.

The Legacy is what the late John A. Nosler envisioned the ideal rifle to be. It is classically styled, elegant, thoughtfully designed and, during testing, proved flawless in functioning and quite accurate. Those who purchase the Legacy will discover this, too. 

Manufacturer: Nosler, Inc.; (800) 285-3701; www.nosler.com
Mechanism Type: bolt-action center-fire rifle
Caliber: .300 Win. Mag. (tested); 12 chamberings from .243 Win. 
to .35 Whelen
Overall Length: 44" (short-action); 44½" (long-action)
Weight: 8 lbs. (as tested); 7 lbs., 4 ozs. to 8 lbs., 4 ozs.
Receiver: 4140 steel
Barrel: 1:10" RH twist (as tested); 1:9" to 1:14" twist, depending on chambering
Sights: none; receiver drilled and tapped for scope bases
Trigger: Rifle Basix; adjustable; 2-lb., 10.8-oz. pull
Stock: Missouri black walnut; length of pull, 13½"; drop at heel, 19⁄16"; drop at comb, 1¼"
Accessories: owner’s manual
Suggested Retail Price: $2,595

Nosler Legacy shooting results

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2 Responses to Nosler Model 48 Legacy Rifle

fred wrote:
January 19, 2013

i usually dont complain much about a manufactures products. BUT since nosler became one of the elite, they have changed the way they do bissiness. they seem to have left behind the average income guy and have developed a swelled head. the guy running the store in bend oregon, seems to have no time for questians, his appearance seem to trump his desire to be helpfull.what im saying is harsh, but im not alone. as far as their rifles go, my CZ is 3 times the rifle that nosler is producing at a much inflated cost.

P. Canard wrote:
December 18, 2012

I'm surprised the rifle didn't shoot better. I've owned 3 different CZ centerfires, and they all shoot 0.5" with handloads and 0.75" with factory loads, right out of the box. The most expensive one cost $810 new, with an HS Precision kevlar stock. Price of Model 48 seems steep for accuracy delivered, and about 50% more than a Sako 85 that shoots at least as well and weighs less. My CZ 452 rimfire will shoot twice as accurately at 100 yards as this rifle with match grade ammo. A pretty rifle, but overpriced. For those who pay for the price, the rifle will probably do. If they have been working hard to afford to buy it, they probably don't have enough time for range practice to use more than its average accuracy. 4 out of 5 new rifles on the racks these days can't shoot better than 1" groups at 100 yards, and that may go for 4 out of 5 hunters as well. I am a Montana prairie dog hunter, and those group sizes are just horrendous for conditions here. Nobody who is serious about long range hunting here will accept a rifle that does not group considerably under 1" at 100 yards, and they generally don't want to pay more than $1000 for it. Local stores can't keep the CZ 550 and new Winchester Model 70 rifles in stock, as they are consistently very accurate at a good price.