A West Virginia high school shop teacher and part time gunsmith named Melvin Forbes is the unlikely creator of one of the lightest deer hunting rifles on the market. His New Ultra Light Arms deer hunting rifles are incredible pieces of engineering but they are very expensive. On first glance they resembles a Remington Model 700 but on a smaller scale. Starter guns cost $3000 and an additional $100 for left handed version and can take six months to deliver.
Forbes has created many versions of his custom made rifles to fit a wide variety of actions. The gun models are named based on the weight of their actions. The Model 20 Ultimate Mountain Rifle for example has a 20 oz action weight. It is sized for cartridges like the .308 Winchester, .243 Winchester, 6mm Remington, .257 Roberts, 7mm-08, and .284. Likewise the Model 24 Ultimate Plains Rifle has a 24 oz action weight and is chambered for the .30-06. There’s even a muzzleloading version as well.
The New Ultra Light Armscan handle these calibers in a lighter configuration because it has a stronger action. Since the wall thickness of the barrel is unchanged at a a reduced diameter, the overall strength is increased. Forbes reported that he knew one owner had the gun for 12 years and shot 4.5 million rounds through it before the action wore out.
Another feature that distinguishes the New Ultra Light Arms is its stock. Unlike other synthetic stocks which trace their origins back to the fiberglass boat industry, Forbes designed his from the ground up using Aerospace technology. As Forbes says, it’s high tech but “we do not use anti-gravity paint.” Even at 14 oz., the stocks are very tough and have been run over by trucks, had horses walk on them, and been dropped out of trees with little damage. However, they can melt so watch were you put them. The stock also helps improve its accuracy by stiffening the action and barrel.
Listen to Melvin Forbes talk about his rifles:
If you do a lot of walking in the woods, a New Ultra Light Arms deer hunting rifle is a great high end rifle to bring along with you and make that long hike a little easier.