The Guns of MeatEater Season 12

The Guns of MeatEater Season 12

Woodsmanship may be a more important hunting skill than marksmanship, but it’s easy to obsess over the rifles we use and love. And why not? Guns are fascinating tools, and becoming proficient with a rifle or a shotgun can be incredibly rewarding–both mentally and from a fill-your-freezer perspective.

If you’ve been wondering which shooting irons were featured in MeatEater Season 12, you’ve come to the right place. Steve and the crew used a variety of rifles and shotguns to take bear, deer, elk, squirrel, turkey, and rabbit, and you can watch all the action–for free–here. Episode 1 is live now, and new episodes drop every Thursday at 11am MT.

Weatherby Backcountry

Weatherby Mark V Backcountry 2.0

.338 Weatherby RPM

If you’re going to take a rifle into the unforgiving terrain of southeast Alaska, there’s no better option than Weatherby’s Mark V Backcountry 2.0. Weighing between 5.2 and 6.2 pounds, depending on chambering, this rifle is among the lightest and fastest on the market. It’s also super accurate and comes with Weatherby’s sub-MOA guarantee.

Dr. Randall Alaska

But MeatEater’s Randall Williams didn’t need a sub-MOA rifle to bag his boar. His Backcountry 2.0 was chambered in .338 Weatherby RPM and weighed a scant 5.4 pounds. It was fitted with a handy, 20-inch barrel and measured only 40 inches overall. That relatively short rifle turned out to be exactly what he needed when he took a quick shot on a big black bear at less than 30 yards.

Even if he had needed to take a longer shot, the .338 Weatherby RPM would have been more than capable. The .338 can launch a 225-grain bullet around 2,800 feet-per-second, which produces nearly 4,000 ft.-lbs. of energy at the muzzle and 2,000 ft.-lbs. of energy even at 400 yards. With a 200-yard zero, those bullets have only dropped about seven inches at 300 yards and 22 inches at 400 yards. For black bears in southeast Alaska, that’s more than enough power and range.

Weatherby Mark V - Custom Left Handed

.300 Winchester Magnum

MeatEater fans will recognize Steven Rinella’s custom Weatherby Mark V rifle from many episodes of the show and from this year’s Auction House of Oddities. In Season 12, Steve used this rifle to go after mule deer in Idaho and elk in Montana, and it didn’t let him down on either hunt.

Steve Mule Deer Shot

In Idaho, Steve used his Mark V to make one of the longest shots ever executed on the show: a 465-yard poke on a nice mule deer buck in thick cover. The buck dropped more-or-less where it stood, and that’s not surprising. At that distance, Steve’s 180-grain .300 Win. Mag. bullet was still traveling over 2,000 fps and delivering about 1,900 ft.-lbs. of kinetic energy. Steve had to correct for about 33 inches of bullet drop, but his Vortex Razor LHT was up to the task.

Steve made another great shot with his Mark V on a bull elk in Montana. Actually, he made two. His first shot from 328 yards landed right in the elk’s vital area, but the huge animal stood still as if nothing had happened. So, Steve took another shot that landed in exactly the same place. The elk was on the ground in a matter of seconds.

Beretta A400

Beretta A400 Xtreme PLUS First Lite Typha

12 Gauge

Steve used a Beretta A400 Xtreme 12-gauge shotgun to chase Osceola turkeys in Florida. The First Lite Typha pattern blended into the surrounding wetland landscape, and he smacked a silent gobbler as it approached his makeshift ground blind.

Steve’s A400 also did double-duty this season on rabbits in southern Michigan. Rabbit hunting sometimes requires quicker shots and faster reflexes than bird hunting, but Steve was able to bag several bunnies with his left-handed Beretta.

The A400 features Beretta’s exclusive Steelium Plus barrels and Kick-Off Mega stock for reduced felt recoil, as well as a step rib and enlarged controls for easier manipulation in all weather conditions. All of these features allow for quick second shots, fast reloading, and accurate shooting.

Beretta A300

Beretta A300 Ultima

20 Gauge

MeatEater’s Janis Putelis used a Beretta A300 Ultima semi-auto shotgun to chase turkeys in south Florida. He outfitted the 20-gauge scattergun with a Vortex Venom red dot for more precise shots, which turned out to be a great idea. He hit his bird squarely in the head, and the crew ate a smorgasbord of turkey arepas that night.

Janis Florida Turkey

Beretta’s Ultima line features the A300’s reliable operating system but enhances user controls with a large bolt handle and bolt release. It also includes recoil reduction technology, which is great for hot turkey loads.

For more detail on Jani's shotgun setup, check out this video.

CZ 457 American

CZ 457 American

.22 LR

The CZ 457 American is one of the MeatEater crew’s favorite rimfire rifles. Though it’s on the pricier end of the spectrum, the 457 is a handy little rifle with an attractive walnut stock and a great trigger. It’s also dead-nuts accurate, as Steve demonstrated in the squirrel woods of southern Michigan.

The 457 doesn’t come standard with a threaded barrel, so Steve had his 457 modified to accept a suppressor. The .22LR is already quiet, but a suppressor tones down even the hottest varmint rounds so there’s no worry about hearing loss.

Steve Shooting 457

To see all these guns in action, check out MeatEater Season 12, which you can watch here at for free. New episodes are live every Thursday at 11am MT!

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